Poo and Peaches - Wind Slayer CB Review
Poo and peaches.
This is the most accurate way to describe the first ten hours most people will spend playing Wind Slayer; poo and peaches.
I am not joking, no matter how much I wish I was.
Wind Slayer is a free MMORPG (with premium content available) which just recently started it's closed beta. Players familiar with Maple Story will feel right at home in the 2D, side-perspective environment.
The game itself is very enjoyable to begin with, but quickly makes some terrible mistakes. Where to begin?
Firstly the control scheme (and possibly my biggest gripe with the game): The arrow keys are used for movement and A, S, D, W are used for actions such as attacking and picking up items. Most gamers are well used to using their left hand (ASDW) for movement and this control is quite uncomfortable. I immediately went into my key settings to rearrange my keys to be a bit more bearable. I almost cried when I discovered that while most keys can be reconfigured very simply, the arrow keys were one of the few that could not be changed.
This means that if you find this control layout uncomfortable, you're stuck with it.
This doesn't make the game unplayable, as the combat is simple enough to manage, it simply takes some of the enjoyment out of the experience.
Speaking of combat, Wind Slayer has a fantastic 'idea' for PvP: The Arena.
I say idea because at this early stage it doesn't quite work. The idea is that two teams of up to 9 players get together and duke it out, last team standing wins reputation and a PvP currency known as "Vicky". Naturally some of the best looking and strongest items are available only by using Vicky and, as I said, this is a great 'idea'...
The problem is that as I write this the Arena suffers such horrible lag that playing in the Arena is almost impossible. All commands respond a little over a second after you've pushed the key which forces you to guess what you'll need to be doing ahead of time, input the command and start praying.
Secondly, the grind. The levelling system is identical to some other MMORPG's. You start as a trainee, with no special skills or abilities and slowly make your way up to level 10 where you can choose one of six classes: Warrior, Assassin/Rogue, Mage, Archer, Priest or Monk. Sadly getting to level 10 takes ages and without any special skills other than Weak Attack and Strong Attack (and you'll only ever use Strong Attack) becomes incredibly boring and repetitive.
Of course, once you get to level 10 you have to pass a tedious quest to change to your desired class.I myself chose to become a mage.
Becoming a mage requires you to collect a total of 36 different items (before you get any of your special skills >.<) one of which is a token that requires a large amount of Vicky to buy. This forces you to participate in the unbearable Arena for quite some time just to get the amount of Vicky needed to get this one item for your class quest. Obtaining Vicky points is confusing as it seems to be almost random; Sometimes a win would get you 4 points and a loss could score you 18 points.
100 points is what you'll need (plus gold) and even then, it's only one item you need for the quest.
The rest of the items are obtained from monsters, which means straight back into the skill-less, boring battles. Which brings me back to my first point:
Poo and peaches.
Wind Slayer has an unhealthy fascination with poo. Every enemy you encounter for the first four levels will almost certainly be some type of poo, called Pupu's. Yes, I know they're called Pupu's which does not necessarily mean they are, in fact, made of poo, but their design would suggest otherwise.
While this is not a concept unique to Wind Slayer, the developers have taken this fascination with poo to new heights. Most items you pick up to begin with are some form of "doo-doo" and even go so far as to describe the numerous "Crumpled Newspaper"s you pick up as being "smeared with feces" and having the nearby NPC's commenting on how bad you smell. In my time getting to level 10 I must have collected more excrement than a barefoot stable hand.
Perhaps most disturbing are some of the types of Pupu's you'll come across, from the "Well-done Pupu" (sporting a stylish purple hairdo) to the "Blood Pupu" (Do I need to describe it to you?) with many others in between and this is just within the first ten levels. I'm expecting much more poo to come beyond level 10; it wouldn't surprise me if Giant Seeping Vampire Poo's were lurking around the next corner.
You have been warned...
As for the peaches, sadly, they are likely to be the enemy you will need to obtain your class change quest items from, being the last enemy you encounter before moving on to more dangerous territory. I spent a few good hours just grinding away whilst slowly drooling into my lap and mumbling "Millions of peaches, peaches for me..." over and over again. I imagine there will be many other players finding themselves in the same situation.
So far I am only judging the game from levels 1 to 10 and I imagine it will only get better from here on with fancy new Mage spells to fry all the Pupu's with.
Though some important aspects of the game have been overlooked, many other parts are still quite good. Quests and Gathering abilities help to break up the monotony and the abilities to craft items and set up in-game stalls have been integrated very well.
Occasionally one of your enemies may drop a unique card that can be added to a collection. This is a fantastic addition for collectors like myself with a huge 880 cards to collect in total. These cards can vary from Monsters, NPC's and Items and, when added to your collection, will give additional information about the Monster/NPC/etc as well as specific bonuses such as extra EXP when you defeat that kind of monster.
An option to show Available Quests in the quest menu allows you to see which quests you're eligible for. So even though you can only have 3 active quests at any one time you'll still know exactly which quests are ready to go and where they are.
Also if the Arena gets the attention it deserves then you'll find this to be one of the best pick-up-and-play MMO's around.
Until then, I'd recommend at least giving it a chance, despite it's problems. It's free, it'll run smoothly on just about every system and can be a lot of fun too.