Edit: Update! My “final” word on Atlantica Online is here:
I’ve played a bit more, the game has changed a bit (it’s still in beta), and I wanted to show off some pretty screenshots. If the last Atlantica article I wrote was too long, this one will be a bit more palatable… unless you are literal about that “picture is worth a thousand words” thing.
First, the AutoMove is now a core part of the game. Previously, you had to buy a “license” that activated it. Now, there’s no limit. Sweet.
Second, the Stamina system now recharges. It’s still a limit on combat, but it’s more generous. It’s heartening to hear the devs taking complaints to heart and trying to meet partway at a solution. I think this was a smart business move, but the system never really did bother me in the first place. It’s more a case study of the feedback cycle.
Third, it’s a little more grindy than I thought initially. The newbie experience is quick, but it settles into more grindish sentiment as time goes on. I’m almost to level 30, and it’s taken as much time to go from 20 to 29 as it did from 1 to 20. It’s not really a surprise, but it’s a bit of a disappointment.
Fourth, crafting is… interesting. Anyone can learn any skill, so it’s not limited like WoW. (Which is good and bad for the economy, but I like the freedom and potential.) You gather the materials necessary for crafting, start the crafting procedure… then run off and fight. Combat produces “work” that is applied to your crafting. It’s an odd system if you’re trying to make logical sense of it, but since you’ll likely want to be out killing stuff most of the time anyways, it’s good enough. It does mean that those who find the combat less than appealing will not find refuge in crafting. All in all, I’m OK with it because I like the combat system, but I’m not so sure that it was a wise design choice, as it effectively creates more grind and cuts off what could be an alternate progression track. Even so, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of things to craft, and digging into the system could take plenty of hours, if you find yourself liking it.
Fifth, gear is interesting. I wrote before that you could combine old weapons and armor to make more powerful versions of the same. It’s a nice way to cull the vendor trash, since you can just roll stuff into your existing gear. There are a few troubles, though. One, it’s a binary combining system. Two level 0 swords will combine to a level 1 sword, but you can’t add another level 0 to that, you have to make another level 1 sword and combine those into a level 2 sword. A level 2 sword winds up needing four level 0 swords and 4 enchanting gems. That adds up in cost and pack space. Two, early equipment can fit anyone. Stronger gear is restricted to melee, ranged or caster, and there are class-specific bits of gear in there even later. This puts even more of a strain on pack space, since you can’t just have your swordsman wear the extra helmet for a while until you can upgrade it for your gunner. It does allow for specialized gear for different roles, so it’s not all bad… but it’s very easy to run out of pack space in short order.
Other than that, the game is still beautiful, the community (in-game, anyways) is good, and I’m still having fun with combat. It’s not going to be for everyone, and there are some strange design choices that I’d not have made, but it’s a good game nevertheless. And it’s free. Did I mention that?