Echo of Soul Review
Echo of Soul is a new Fantasy MMORPG published by Aeria Games that focus’ on fast based combat that can easily get you killed if you make a bad move. It has five awesome classes to choose from, of which neither is a dedicated healer of any kind. This is abnormal for any MMORPG as usually there is always a healer class in the game. This means the Raids that will be added when open beta ends will be quite challenging when there is no single class that specializes in keeping team mates alive through healing. As such tanks are in even higher demand in this game than is normally expected in any other game. This game does not try to force you into group play either which is also nice. The ways of gearing up in this game are vast and will suit which ever play style you are in to. Whether you want to PVP and only PVP all the way to max level, or grind and quest solo, or group up with fellow players, you will always be able to get the gear you need to continuously progress forward.
This game is making a big statement and this review is going to give my opinion on whether or not this statement has truth to it. Global Development Project Manager “Junhyung” claims that this game will “contain everything an MMO player could ever want”. This is a huge claim, especially considering that this game originates from South Korea and what their gamers will want and enjoy could be quite different than what we seek here in North America.
This game contains five typical MMORPG classes which are the Rogue, Warrior, Sorceress, Archer, & Guardian. There is no healer class but each of these five main classes can choose a subclass at level 10. This is a good move on their part as it doesn’t pigeon hole you into a specific role and allows for some diversity in builds. On top of this, there is also a Soul system which brings something new and refreshing to the game. By killing monsters you obtain not only loot, but also their soul as well, which can be used to make items or apply a short lived temporary buff, of which all also give a %20 exp increase for their duration. This does provide an incentive to grinders as you would get loot & you would also get more experience, therefore theoretically leveling quite quickly. Quests on the other hand are also not as tedious to do, at least early game. I experienced a lot of quests that only required killing a monster at most five times, while others required you to talk to NPC’s or gather resources. Overall though these were quite easy and fast to do as well. From what I can tell grinding or questing are probably both equal in speed. For the more hardcore players it is possible to reach level 60 in as little as one to three days, while it would take casual players maybe two or three times longer to do so. As such this game is highly geared towards casual players and reaching max level is of no real accomplishment. Whether you quest, grind, or PVP only, reaching max level is extremely easily and obtainable.
This game does also offer crafting professions, but unfortunately only two of them actually involve crafting. The third profession is a gatherer profession. This is a huge negative for the game as this means you can only craft items if you buy materials that have been gathered by someone else, and likewise also means gatherers will never be able to craft items of their own. This is of course excluding the fact that you can make multiple characters. On a positive note though leveling a profession is fairly easy as well, but character level is tied to crafting. As such you won’t be seeing low level characters crafting end game viable items. As a side note though crafting some items makes no sense at all. You can make several different types of hamburgers in the game for example but only a single ingredient is needed to craft each of them, bread. How one can make a hamburger from nothing but bread alone is beyond me, but I guess it makes things easier for everyone.
As for the economy of this game many players might be shocked to see how things are in this game, I sure know I was. In most MMORPG’s income is a big deal, how much money you make through trading, grinding, or questing actually matters. In this game however monsters do not drop any source of direct income at all. So while in other games you might get gold for killing monsters, you don’t get any money at all in this game. Instead you just sell loot you don’t need or do quests and so on to get income. Then you go to a vendor to see how much stuff costs and once again your are shocked. Items as cheap as a few silver to at most a few gold for the better, stronger, or more valuable items. You can make a new character, do two or three quests, and then you got enough money to go buy an entire set of armor and weapons from a vendor in town.
PVP in this game is also a little different than in other typical MMORPG’s. This game offers two types of PVP, one is Battlegrounds, and the other is open-world guild vs guild battles. The open-world GvG is self explanatory but the Battlegrounds is similar to capture the flag in FPS games. In Battlegrounds there is a mode where you must capture resources on the map, while in another mode it is similar to King of The Hill where you must capture and hold a point. This is where the PVP shines as the games combat is extremely fast paced. Don’t expect a healer to save you from death in this game, it’s all or nothing. Besides these forms of PVP there are also PVP events that are available daily.
The Cash Shop is the next topic of debate. Free to Play is a phrase with very high stigma attached to it. Many developers abuse the Free to Play genre to milk money from players and as such this creates a hatred or disdain for the genre as a whole. Thankfully this game is not part of the Pay-To-Win category of Free to Play. Browsing through the shop nearly everything they have for sale is purely cosmetic. You can also buy a mount from the cash shop but every player in the game can get a free mount from a quest before level 10, and they also can get another one just for logging into the game seven days in a row. You won’t be finding mounts or decorations with stat bonus’ on them, or weapons and gear pre-upgraded and such.
No game can go without its share of negatives though. Some people disregard the fact that the game is in beta, and therefore is not a complete product. But also these individuals fail to provide specific feedback that would help the developer tailor the game to North American gamers. One of the biggest negatives for me in this game is the controls. I don’t like certain aspects of simply moving my character, or the fact that I cant use a skill while moving at the same time, or that I have to turn the camera with my right mouse button and I can not rebind it to the left mouse button. In fact neither the left or right mouse button are rebind-able. The ideal combat system in this game for me personally would be similar to Tera or Rift where you can move freely and use skills at the same time while also simply being able to move the mouse to move the camera. Granted the perspectives of those games are different. Another downside is gold selling spammers. When you log into the game the only thing you will ever see in chat the entire time is gold selling website spam. It is quite annoying to be honest. Likewise chat is not world wide but zone specific. Don’t expect to be asking for help on a quest, or for advice, or try to even find some one to trade with through chat as you are likely the only person in your area until after level 50. Finally graphics in this game are not superb and the yellow text used for NPC names can be quite hard to read at times.
As a final note before I give my rating for this game in its current state, I would like to point out that when looking at reviews of a game that just came out, it is very important to actually see what it is they are saying and not just look at the end result and decide the game is not worth your time. Likewise taking into consideration whether a game is in Alpha, Beta, or Full Release is also crucial. Currently on Steam this game has a mixed rating with %56 of the reviews positive. If you were to go look through the reviews though you would see most of the more recent ones are all positive and many of the negative ones claim it is a pay to win game, which it actually is not. On the other side of the spectrum if a game has overwhelmingly positive reviews it is also worth taking into consideration the genre the game comes from. If you were to go on steam right now you would see nearly every single game related to zombies has positive or overwhelmingly positive reviews. This should be alarming to every one as it is literally impossible for every single zombie game to be extremely good.