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The Ten: Updated Wednesdays-Fridays-Sundays

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Gobball Grind: Or, let's talk about Wakfu...

Weird name, weird game.

So, I haven't updated in a little while. I also haven't gotten a good night's sleep in a while. If there's one reason I have lost the will to live, it is because I have finally found a MMORPG that I like to play. Unfortunately, it has crippled me in every other aspect. Dammit, I'm even playing it as I write this article.

What is Wakfu? Well, it's a free-to-play MMORPG developed by the creators of Dofus, another older MMO that may or may not have been better than Wakfu. Square Enix picked up the title and the release date is pretty soon-ish, but now it's in Beta. The mechanics work well enough and not much will be changed, so I guess I can talk about it.

The battle system is time-based, with bonuses becoming available whenever you play fast enough. The battle mechanics are much like Final Fantasy Tactics, except there's groups. Being timed means you have to choose your moves wisely and effectively, so it adds a new level of strategy. Overall, a really good game.

However, I've been playing for a week now, and I have one major/minor gripe with the game- the enemies don't aggro, and you choose to fight enemies if you want. That's all well and good, except enemy levels skyrocket from area to area. You could be fighting a level 10 monster in one place, step over to the next area, and there are level 20 monsters- which you could fight if you have a nice group, but enemies also live in packs, so you are sometimes going to fight a cumulative level of 35 or 40 in an area that is supposed to have level 20 beasts inhabiting it.

Group play is really essential, but a lot of Wakfu members have no sense of timed bonuses and take their sweet time building up the gauge. Higher leveled group members receive more XP, though, so you're taking away from the grind levels of your fellow members if you're too high. However, if you ever wish to move further than your main city area, you need to fight stronger monsters... so it's a double-edged sword.

You don't have to fight, though. The amount of jobs available is pretty impressive- and certain professions fall under a profession class, so to speak. Gatherers can mine, cut down trees, pick flowers, fish, reap crops, and comb enemies for materials, which they can give to other professions that specialize in cooking, crafting weapons, making equipment, and the like. Everyone can battle, of course, but certain people might want to keep away from it.

Wakfu is supposed to be about community. People are supposed to make sure the ecosystem is in check, trade within nations and with outside nations, and deal with politics amongst other members- mediating wars and making sure trade goes as planned. It's a very cool concept, to have the economy revolve entirely around the members. There is one small problem, though. This is economy and politics we have going, here. Most gamers, especially MMO gamers, don't really care about either of those things. Already I've seen absolutely ridiculous prices for items on the market, and people pretty much keep to themselves or have no idea what they're doing on the servers- they just don't seem that interested in expanding. And that's really because each nation has so much to offer in their own way that you could spend all your time leveling and trading within them rather than explore other places. However, enemies and items are sometimes only found in one nation's ecosystem, and some of these nations are not allied... which is where the game could really get fun, dodging enemy PCs while trying to get into NPC battles. That doesn't seem to be happening anytime soon, though.

I don't know how to feel about Wakfu right now- it's very addictive, but maybe that's just because it's an MMO with a TON of grinding in it. I hope its concepts are explored more deeply. Right now, it's free- so why not hop on for a little bit and see how you like it?

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