- Release Date: 2008
- Publisher: alaplaya
- Developer: NetTimeSoft
- Genre: MMORPG
Florensia is a free-to-play anime-styled fantasy MMORPG whose storyline holding fast to its adventure theme. Against its island and ocean settings, Florensia presents an intriguing game world encompassing fierce combat on land as well as adventurous exploration of the far sea, which expands the gameplay and allows players to switch between different gaming experiences.
Unlike some Asian MMORPGs that never overcome the barriers of locations, Florensia enables you to start your adventures both on land and above sea. After selecting a server, you will be instantly taken to a fantasy world. Perhaps you are looking forward to some social connections in this game. Don’t worry because it is possible to chat with your fellow countrymen at any time. Similar to Fly for Fun, Eden Eternal, and Grand Fantasia, Florensia is known for its kawaii manga-style graphics, high playability and simple accessibility. But the game also suffers from some flaws among which the lack of content is probably the most disappointing one.
Florensia does not elaborate on its background storyline. All we know is that the world is made up of four islands, including Cardiff, Magnel, Exeter and Chester. According to some ancient legends, the present panorama of the world is caused by a great upheaval due to the misuse of magic. Now the world is regarded as a land of explorers which is full of precious artifacts and remains of ancient civilizations. As aforementioned, Florensia is inspired by the great maritime expeditions of the eighteenth century when ferocious pirates were running amok and wreaking havoc on innocent people. But it is easily to realize its similarity to other games, such as Bounty Bay Online and Dream of Mirror Online. The world is infested with all sorts of monsters, like grumpy bestiaries and giant lizards, giving you the opportunity to join in soul-stirring battle against waves of enemies. It seems that Japanese designers are particularly fond of creating fabulous manga-style costumes to embellish their characters. Little girls wearing corsets and petticoats will venture into the battleground fearlessly with swords and guns in their hands. There is a good chance that you will be charmed by this kind of graphics.
You are provided with four classes to choose from, including Explorer, Mercenary, Noble and Holy, when you start to create your avatar. In fact, the four options adhere to four classic archetypes, that is, Thief, Warrior, Mage and Cleric, respectively. And it is typical of Asian MMORPGs that a special system will allow you to change into a new class and specialize in the path of your choice once you have reached a certain level. For example, if you are a holy, you can become a priest or a shaman. And in Florensia, the prescribed level is 40.
The customizable options are limited to the minimal standard. Although there are different faces, hair colors and hair styles for you to choose, most of them are visually similar to each other. Besides, the choices of armors are also limited, so you will not escape from the fate of being a clone to other players.
As a pirate-themed game, Florensia entrusts the full management of a ship to your avatar at the beginning of the game. Piloting the ship, you can leave the land for the boundless blue ocean. Five different types of ships are available, each of which boasts its own unique peculiarities and advantages. Of course, your boat has its own data sheet and its own skill tree which can be evolved independently. And your boat and your avatar can be in different levels at the same time, but a large gap is not recommended.
Florensia stands out from most of current free-to-play MMORPGs, thanks to its playability and accessibility. You control your avatar with the keyboard or the mouse, depending on your preference. You can click on an NPC to commence a conversation or click on a monster to open hostilities. When engaged in combat, a shortcut bar will provide easy access to various useful functions like skills and potions. Additionally, it also enables you to quickly switch your weapons.
And in the initial phase, the evolution of your character is relatively simple. Each level-up will earn you two points that can be distributed among your various characteristics like strength and intelligence. You can also use the points to upgrade your skills. At first, you may feel bewildered about how to assign your points. Fortunately, you can learn all of those from a NPC teacher. After you have reached the required level, you will be given full freedom to spend your earned points to your liking. There are also a lot of passive combat skills which can be used when fighting against your opponents. As far as I can see, you should pay attention to developing your avatar in a balanced way by equally allocating the points. Only in this way can you compete against powerful enemies ahead.
And the selling point of Florensia lies in its sea adventures. When you get tired of exploring the land, you can march into the monster-infested ocean by piloting your own ship. Perhaps you think your tasks will be greatly complicated, but it offers little refreshing surprises indeed. To begin with, you are invited to do some farming work in a sea park which is crowded with aquatic animals and mythological monsters. What’s worse, a countless number of pirate ships are patrolling across the ocean, threatening to plunder your hard-earned treasures. In this case, you have to fight back for the sake of your dignity and interest. It is very simple to navigate across the danger zone. Having chosen your course and speed, you can take the plunge into fierce naval battles against your opponents. Depending on the class of your ship, you will have access to different weapons, which adds a certain degree of variety to the whole game. Damage is inevitable, but your ship can repair itself after a severe clash. As your ship level up, you can buy new skills as you do for your character. Besides, you can also go to the dock to get some upgrades by combining a variety of elements. For example, you can craft some equipment for your avatar. In short, if one puts aside the management of the crew, this part plays almost the same like that on Earth.
Apparently, Florensia is based on a number of existing MMORPGs, such as maritime-themed games Tales of Pirates and Bounty Bay Online, and land-based games Fly for Fun and Dream of Mirror Online. In detail, your equipment can be improved in two ways. On one hand, the “sealed” objects that you find can be brought to a dealer’s store where you are able to reveal their special properties. This principle, which comes straight from Fly for Fun, requires the use of fish. Furthermore, your weapons and armors can be upgraded by using magic stones dropped by monsters. Along the way, you will probably be in need of reagents, that is, crystals which can be extracted by the blacksmith from unused equipment. Though the system is attractive in appearance, it suffers from too many uncertain results. But on the other hand, if you are willing to spend money in the item shop, you will be freed from many worries.
In addition to the above-mentioned features, there are no more crafting elements in Florensia. But it still consists of group battles, guild formation and PvP combat, which are the most basic content of MMORPGs.
The manga-style characters are particularly animated. And the colorful and shimmering game settings are designed primarily for young audiences. Although some areas are less successful visually, Florensia is likely to appeal to a wide audience.
Florensia is a recommendable model of ergonomics. It boasts smooth manipulation as well as excellent playability. However, it is regrettable that we are provided with a low number of skills on land adventures and there is also a lack of strategies during naval battles, which would tend to make the game boring and repetitive.
The gameplay is centered on monster-bashing, and it takes an increasing amount of time to level up throughout the game. It is undoubtedly a great challenge to ascend to the maximum level which can be only achieved by the most persistent players. In the meantime, we still hope that Florensia will have a slightly more substantial content.
Asian MMORPGs tend to have difficulty in differentiating the musical themes from the sound effects. In fact, they are totally two different aspects of a game’s soundtrack. In this case, the former is much more convincing than the latter.
Whatever its qualities in terms of visual effect, Florensia presents a confusing world that oscillates between Western history and Japanese imagination. And it must be said that the lack of storyline and uninteresting quests offer little help.
Thanks to colorful graphics, accessible gameplay and compelling advancement, Florensia provides a perfect start. But beneath its attractive aspects, the game suffers from an ultra-cliché gameplay and rather poor content. We are already tired of the repetitiveness of this genre. The fans of piracy can turn to Bounty Bay Online; enthusiasts of building characters can give Rappelz a shot; and hardcore gaming group can try their luck in Dream of Mirror Online. As for Florensia, its greatly-limited content is short of some depth in those aspects. However, the game is still young, so we hope that future additions will enhance its playability in the long term.
Upheaval subsides. Turmoil renders the then heavenly continent into five islands dwelling on a vast sea like scattered beads of a broken pearl necklace. Yet aftermath turbulence refuses to fade easily, with dispute and discord lurking for potential victims. It leaves survivors no choice but to still fight their way through, on land and at sea. Adversity sweeps away the weak and smiles upon the strong. So courageous soul, keep your sword in the scabbard ready and imprint your exploits in the history of Florensia.
There are four character classes in the game, based on which players can create their own avatars. They can choose to role-play as Explorer, Mercenary, Noble or Saint. Four classes have differentiated major attributes of strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom and will; and the weakness and strength of each make combats in balance and teamwork an advantage. Each class is equipped with special weapons in light with their different skills, such as guns for the explorer, swords for the mercenary, as well as spells and runes for both saint and the noble. Once at level forty, players can switch their initial avatars into two more advanced classes with greater abilities. For example, a mercenary can choose to become a gladiator or a guardian swordsman; while a noble may transform into a magician or a magic knight. Combats on land are interesting and immersive with endless fun deriving from varied choice that players can engage themselves in challenging other players in PvP mode, party fight and guild war, or confronting NPC monsters and bosses in dungeons or subscriptions of a hundred-storied tower.
Compared with fights on land, adventure at sea is another story. Players need to build their own ships, sail to uncharted coast line and assail provoking enemies or pirates to gain hegemony. There are five different types of ship available in the game. The Armored Ship is defense-oriented with great protective powers against assaults; the Assault Ship is flexible in both short and long range combats; the Torpedo Ship unparalleled in guerrilla tactics, can take enemies by surprising release of torpedoes; the Maintenance Ship can snare enemies with stealthily laid underwater mine; while the Big Gun Ship can strike heavy blows to ships in distance.
Besides adventure on land and at sea, a wide range of systems are also playable in this game, such as the trading system, mini games, auction houses and personal shops, etc. There are inexhaustible fun in Florensia. Play it and make your own conclusion.
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