They also talked about how a lot of MMO development took several years and the budget of a small country. I agreed with them on that. So they wanted to create their game in a much shorter time period yet have it still feature free-to-play accessibility along with old-school PvP. It was a tall order, especially considering the time frame they were looking at. Again, though, the team seemed capable of pulling it off.
But did it? I spent half a week (I will explain later) in the game, and my impressions are right past the cut. Faxion Online off and on during the beta. I also participated in a developer tour, and I can say that the game hasn't really changed much in that time. Sure, the team added in a lot of features and tweaks, but those were things it talked about and that I was already familiar with. I've watched the game grow and tighten up, and I'm still very fond of it. Over this last week, however, I found some flaws that simply must be fixed, and soon, or (in my opinion) the game could go the way of The Chronicles of Spellborn. In fact, there are a lot of similarities between the two games, and that worries me a bit.
"The customization options are good enough, but the real joy comes later in the game as players are allowed to expand their characters."
The real joy for me comes from the art style of the game. I will always choose a stylized game over a more realistic one, mainly because "realism" is not yet easily achievable and usually comes out looking pretty cheesy. Stylized, when done right, can be timeless. If you look at World of Warcraft, you will find a game that could keep the same look forever and probably get away with it because of its stylized nature. The stylized feel is the first thing that reminded me of Spellborn. The two games don't look so similar as feel similar, but that's only a good thing. I absolutely adored Spellborn's look and feel and was happy to see that the developers didn't make a humorless game.
Of course, the graphics engine is the first and most worrisome area of the game. The game just does not run smoothly. Granted, I am playing on a slightly dated machine, but this machine can play Lord of the Rings Online, Vanguard and other pretty games with almost no issues. There is simply something wrong with the code or engine that runs Faxion. I asked about it in chat a dozen times, and performance appears to be an issue for lots of the players. Folks with gaming rigs, players on laptops -- heck, even Twitter agrees -- that the game runs OK but only at low settings. It only really looks good at higher settings, the level that causes it to crawl at single-digit FPS.
Please, no more walking. Yes, quests are numerous and easy enough to finish, but your character spends more time hoofing it around that any sane man can stand. Again, Spellborn comes to mind. I remember players fantasizing about mounts, dreaming of the day when they could get from one spot to another with more ease and speed. I'm all for the scenic route, I truly am, but when the route is the same over and over, then I want a scooter, a winged unicorn... anything to get it over faster.
I wish I could say that I experienced more of the PvP gameplay than I did, but due to some account issues, I did not get into game until mid-week. Most of my time was spent futzing with graphics settings and running, at a very slow pace, across miles of the same paving stones. The saddest part is that the rest of the game really does look awesome. Each zone is themed after a different sin, and they all feel slightly different. The PvP is supposed to be glorious, as well, and there are a lot of players enjoying it, but the first few steps in the world for a new player will probably be more Hell than the developers intended.
So in the end, two critical things need to happen to improve my enjoyment of the game.
First, performance, performance, performance. The game looks good, but it does not look so good that it should run like molasses. I had to literally turn everything to low or off to get it to break 20-something FPS. If the developers can fix the performance issues, and fast, they will be more than halfway there.
Second, give us a break on the running. Yes, today's playerbase seems to be just fine with any amount of punishment as long as you dangle some sort of prize (in this case, PvP glory), but for the love of my poor, blistered feet, give new players some sort of mount, trolley, or wheelbarrow to help them get around. Having to run around in the same areas so much, and for such basic quests, was boring.
If the developers fix these two main issues, they will have won me over completely. Of course, I did not experience the PvP that makes up most of the game, so I have no idea what type of issues might or might not be going on there. Still, performance affects everyone. Good luck to UTV.
Next week I will be pounding the pavement in LA during E3, so there will be no Rise and Shiny. Hopefully, though, I will find many new games to show you! See you then!
Each week, Rise and Shiny asks you to download and try a different free-to-play, indie or unusual game, chosen by me, Beau Hindman. I welcome any suggestions for games -- drop me a note in the comments or email! You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Raptr!