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Throne of Fire Preview

Sara Lau
Apr 20,2012  08:04 by

Throne of Fire is a free browser-based MMORPG developed by Snail Game, known as one of the earliest MMO developers in China. The game, originally released in China, is currently in its sneak peak phase.

You start out selecting one of seven classes. There’s no customization option in the beginning, so once the class, gender and name are done, you are good to go. The game world is presented in side-scrolling interface, which allows you to explore freely to talk to quest NPCs. So in terms of creativity in game scenario design, the game has successfully outweighed tons of other isometric RPGs based on Chinese martial arts. Since the game is based on western fantasy, the graphics are quite different from those brightly-colored Asian style games. I actually did not feel even a little bit dizzy while I gaze upon the screen to follow the traces of my avatar. Graphics are above the average, the NPCs’ images showed during dialogues are very impressive. They are not computer-assisted drawings, but intricately and delicately drawn oil-paintings with highly detailed clothing and facial expression. “It should be a good game”, I told myself after the first glimpse of the game. However, as I progressed through the game a bit further, honestly, my enthusiasm drained little by little.

Firstly, it is not an action-packed side-scrolling game featuring seamless scenarios. Each scenario just contains a very small explorable area and the horizontal range is just around the same size of 2-3 screen length. So you will have to use portals on both ends of the side-scrolling map to travel through the game world. Alternatively, thanks to the quest auto-tracking system that is similar with Dragon Born and Soul of Guardian, and tons of other Chinese-made browser game, I went through a rather boring journey leveling up from 1 to 10. In wilderness maps, mobs are also stand in one place, static, just like NPCs. They don’t react in any why until you click on them and select the combat option from the pop-up menu. Combat is carried out in a turn-based battle screen and is far less than thrilling. I found myself always had huge level advantages over the enemies: each combat lasts no more than 20 seconds, in most cases, a successful hit was more than enough to send your enemy away. Enemies did not fade away after being defeated, so you can challenge the same enemy again and again, until you meet the requirements of quests such as “slay x amount of monsters for certain items to show your valor”. Auto-combat is also a signature system with full of “Chinese characteristics”- “On hook” is such a thing called in this game: You pre-set the times that you would like to beat the monster, pay a little bit game coins, then you go AFK and come back later for experiences and loots.

Tutorials content ended when I was around Lv.12. But then I found I can hardly proceed. Most events are level-locked, such as the first instance map at Lv.15 and a “customizable castle” system that was still not available during sneak peak; however, the level grinding efficiency became insanely low. What’s more, I become stuck on the primary task, which asked me to either create or join a guild. It tried to rip me off 45,000 coins to create a one, but I couldn’t afford that much; I tried to join an alliance, however the game seems completed dead, every alliance ignored my request. To be honest, I have never seen such a deserted world chat channel during my previous MMORPGs experiences as I have in this game. Instead, celebrating for players who “unbelievably achieved a XX winning streak in arena” and “time-limited sales” fly through the world chat.

The game boasts “Next-Generation level graphics and gameplay”, but all are just big exaggeration. It is merely an old-school RPG that is coated with pseudo “side-scrolling” label. How to create more authentic next-generation level gameplay is a worthy consideration left for the developer.

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