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Feb 3,2012 02:02 by Sara Lau0
Although Loark opens only one server and its gaming world is not densely populated by real players, it seems to me that Loark tries to be different from all its predecessors, including Crystal Saga, who has tens of servers running and all its public spaces overloaded with players.
So many games announce their setting as a fantasy world around the birth of universe, but it takes imagination and expression to make it believed. Although Loark is just another story-teller to lure gamers by connecting the earth planet events to the mysterious universe, it does show some effort in visualizing a fantasy world by letting you see more. For example, deeper crystal waters, bigger size for all buildings and objects, wider outer space view from the floating base, clear sight for a distant hill. And this way, you are aware that your eyes are freed from vision rules and possibly potential to read mind (one of the skills). Is it just a result of 3D? Is it just a matter of graphics? I wonder if I am really alone in thinking that the small size of targets and surroundings may strain eyes and shrink the success joy.
The skill system of Loark is fascinating. Even the most primary skills in Loark can be highly effective. “Spurt” unfolds a fire fan over multiple enemies. “Flicker” shortens travelling by jumping directly to another territory. At level 13, you obtain the ability “reap” to absorb spirit power from enemy. Level 16 enables you to slow down the enemy by continuous damage, when you cannot fall it down before they reach you. Level 25 is a milestone as it unlocks “paralyze”, which frightens your enemy into disability for 10 seconds. Imagine how much you can do in 10 seconds! Level 30 players are massive killers as they not only spit fire but put the whole passage on fire and burn all the enemy in the passage to death. Players are taught to try such skills immediately they become accessible.
Besides the efficiency of skills to make the game easy to pick up, the arrangement of help-NPCs in instances is quite a balance of newbies’ fear of PvE. The simplified control system is another reason that people sit down to carry on the game. Loark is based on click-to-attack and click-to-go modes. Generally speaking, these subconscious clicks are followed by expected results. Only sometimes, the responsiveness is not normal. It’s beyond the natural rule to flee when you are besieged, but you may also feel hard to go at ordinary speed when nobody is near. And when you click continuously, as the game suggests, the power of each click won’t add up. Instead, the effect of each action is demonstrated one after one, regardless of how soon you expect the damage. This is why continuous clicks sometimes make little sense.
Music and sound effect is totally absent from this game, possibly to help with the effluence of service. Maybe some feel ok without it. But it’s still advisable to add a little dose of music, for better gaming experience.
All the above mentioned about Loark is just a tiny defect compared with its quest presenting method. There are three places you can see the process of your quests, some shows “complete”, some shows “incomplete”. The previous quest won’t change when completed. Instead, they appear again before you begin the new one, until you click “complete the quest”. Maybe this quest will go on forever if you won’t. That’s to say, you have to review what the previous quest-related NPC said when you are facing a new human-NPC the new quest leads you to. And what’s more, you can often find somebody citing himself in a third person tone. For example, Tom says: “when you complete, come back to Tom in southern region. He can tell you more”. I have two interpretations for such carelessness. One is that the maker is aimed at core gamers who won’t bother to read. The other is that a forgetful old man is teaching kindergarten kids to read.
Given that Loark is loosely based on a Chinese game called QiangCheng, I was not expecting too much in its English version. But when I first enter the game, I was shocked by the Newbie Training Camp. However, as I finished growing up in the identity of a newbie, I realized the game does not change itself too much to tailor for gamers beyond China.
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