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Call of Thrones Review
Nov 1,2011 05:11 by Sara Lau6
Does a full 3D gaming world still sound so appealing that you take a try even you know nothing else about it? As such tech is employed in more and more games, its appeals slide the opposite way. Yet honestly speaking, it’s the initial reason I gave a shot to the 3D browser-based MMO: Call of Thrones.
Perhaps because I paid too much attention to its exquisite graphics showing a cascade falling down a mountain, I simply didn’t see the two panels that involve character creation and mount-and-pet selection and directly clicked the Play bar. Only after glimpsing accidently at one friend’s prettier avatar companied by a cocky golden phoenix (as a mount) and a blue dragon (as a pet) did I realized what I had missed in the game (I am newbie to MMO). In fact, not only is what’s mentioned above, the initial interface also contains the selection of region out of three choices, which bring about different outside landscapes. That explains why my avatar is running in shiny plains while my friend’s playing in icy northern environment.
Starting the tutorial, I came to realize the upper hand gained with the 3D tech of the game over those without it. Practically, the game is also quest-driven, not different from games of this kind too much, but it is completely those strategy RPG like Castlot and Heroes of Myth. Yet powered by 3D technology, the game visualizes every relevant movement that is usually done by a simple click in those text-based games. That is to say, we can see avatar running to the set regions, fighting against NPC monsters or bandits, and conducting various activities like collecting iron ore and so on. All the animation is, in fact, designed in an automatic fashion that we don’t have any concrete control as in the 3D client games, say, finding the way to a destination and setting pace for avatars to move, etc.
3D environment and vivid avatar work well to better emerge us into the game. But the other side of the coin is that animation slows down the game pace, which is piled on by the lack of concrete control. Even the combat can be left proceeding automatically. In Call of Thrones, combat is designed with two modes: manual and auto-combat. The difference lies in whether skills are selected personally or automatically. The selection of manual-or-auto is not solely constrained to combat, but offered in many quests such as collecting resources or eliminating thieves instead. Only that such offer (except in combat) is indeed a covered promotion form of transaction: auto mode under these situations requires consumption of Voucher or Gold, or more frankly, real money.
If we set aside or see through the 3D surface, the quest provided in the game show its actual crudity, leaving much to be further polished. Quests are varied but invariably boring, such as killing a few monsters, collecting material to craft and learning weapon skills, etc. Not much to play but click and watch. And I could only sigh desperately when the quest of posting a proclamation on the city bulletin board conjured up, for all it’s about is to see my avatar run over to a nearby building and then immediately turn back and nothing else.
And taking quests is the only activity to attend to and the only way to level up, unlocking other playable systems, such as the Arena accessible after Lv. 20. Basically, challenging other players in Arena is like confronting NPC monsters or enemies; and combat is more interesting in Manual mode than the auto, especially when there are more weapon skills and attributes in the choice list.
And to speak of the weapon specialization, it delighted me with the design that four weapons match against each other, but it confused me with the description. Just look at this: Polearm weapon is said strong against two-handed type in one sentence, but described vulnerable to it in another. How can that happen? And such confusion blemishes the interesting strategic possibility.
Call of Thrones is publicized to set in the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history. After playing it for certain time, I simply didn’t figure it out or sense its role of such a back story. It strikes to me that its core gameplay remains second-class at best and that the pure great 3D application is not enough to level it up to a higher level.
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