It's pretty impressive that The Lost Titans, a new browser-based MMO by ZQGame, launched in China and was supporting 600 servers within six months, but China is a unique, browser-eating beast. I've talked about the foreign browser market before and often marvel at how so many players in the West scoff at browser games. It's not as though "browser" is a genre; it's a delivery system. But here we are, getting ready to scroll through comments to read about how "browser games" suck. That's like saying, "MP3s are bad music."
Still, I cannot deny that some browser-based games do indeed suck. In fact, the last time I played The Lost Titans live, I found myself so bored I almost could not finish the stream, but I thought I'd try again with a fresh perspective. Despite finding many of the same issues I had before, I was surprised at how much further the game has come. I sat down with ZQGame's Laura Stephens during this latest livestream to talk about the game.
One of the reasons that many new games like The Lost Titans seem to bore older players to tears is because of its convenience. I agree with the need for auto-walking and quests that are essentially a linear, steep ramp to eventual -- and I mean eventual -- greatness to satiate content-devouring players who would grind their hands bloody if it meant that they could be number one at anything on the server. I also agree with the helpful nature of these conveniences for people who have mobility issues or problems with controlling an MMO avatar. And it's not as though the mere presence of these shortcuts somehow offends my old-school sensibilities with their new-fangled ways and loud music! No, it's the fact that these hand-holding measures often cover up content that is neither interesting nor fun.
"It's all very solo-able, however, and even though leveling is quick and easy (at least to the level I got to), I found myself thirsty in the middle of the ocean. That is to say, players, players everywhere but no one left to group with."
I often wrestle with the fact that I am simply used to playing a lot of games. I have seen it all just like any other writer who covers games. So I have to be able to suspend some of my boredom and look at a game with as fresh a pair of eyes as I can muster. When I look at The Lost Titans with these new-ish player eyes, I see a game that is very beautiful, filled with many ways to level or play and a ton of players to play with. There are players everywhere in this game, so there should be no shortage of PvP victims or groupmates. It's all very solo-able, however, and even though leveling is quick and easy (at least to the level I got to), I found myself thirsty in the middle of the ocean. That is to say, players, players everywhere but no one left to group with.
Every other player was busily running around leveling or disappearing into instances, waiting for one of many daily timed events (which go off through out the day to accommodate many time zones) or even attacking one of the AFK dummies that allows players to level while away from the game. The experience you get from attacking one of these scarecrow enemies is minimal, but it's still a bit shocking to finally realize that the next generation of MMOs is very different from the ones I cut my teeth on. I didn't need to group, but I wanted to. Perhaps if I had more time with the game, I would eventually find a batch of friends, but I am a ramblin' writer. It will be a while before I will see the newer content like The Core of Aristos, a massive area that provides some of the most challenging content yet.
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When you play, you roll one of four basic classes and can tweak them by customizing armor and weapons as well as by learning skills that can be leveled individually. It's not a sandbox, but it's nice to see such a themepark game offer many different ways to play. Late game PvP seems to be all the rage with the kids these days, and The Lost Titans is chock-full of chances to stab fellow players. There are arenas, proving grounds, and guild battles. Many of the maps (and there are a lot) offer PvP areas embedded within PvE safe zones. If you want to avoid PvP, you can, but it's just as easy to pop in and cause some trouble. You will have to be careful, however, because there is no warning that I was aware of that said, "Hey, you're about to die."
Many of the in-game events and cooler mechanics do not pop up right away. Heck, you can't even see many of them until you hit the high teens and twenties. Fortunately, it takes only a few hours to hit those levels. On my higher-level loaner character, the screen was filled with optional arenas and event calendars. There's also a lottery wheel, a controversial gambling device that has become very popular even in many "standard" Western MMOs. Sure, these gambling boxes or lotteries or wheels are controversial, but I can promise you they make a lot of money. That's fine by me, especially when you can buy chances at the wheel by using gold that was made in-game.
There's also a pretty cool pet system that offers all types, even some pets that the community had an actual hand in creating. Some of the pets are small and cute; others are massive. Size does not matter, according to Stephens, and different pets have different abilities that can be trained and tweaked for better in-combat results.
Events are obviously the big thing in The Lost Titans. I didn't see any events during the first livestream, which explains why I didn't have as much fun. If I had seen the PvP events like the dueling, guild battles, or Zeus' Fury (an event that combines both PvP and PvE), I would have had a different reaction. There's also one called The Unstoppable; it's basically a massive giant that appears on the outskirts of the city for the players to take down... if they dare.
The Lost Titans is a lot like many other games that give players almost too much to do. Sure, there can never really be too much for players to play with, but it takes a while to figure out which event is which and how to participate. Luckily the grind is really light, and leveling is very easy, so by the time you hit the 30s and 40s, everything will probably be second nature. I need more time in the game, myself. I'll be sure to play some more and report on what I find. Hopefully I'll have a giant trophy to brag about next time I write about The Lost Titans.
Each week in MMObility, Beau Hindman dives into the murky waters of the most accessible and travel-friendly games around, including browser-based and smartphone MMOs. Join him as he investigates the best, worst, and most daring games to hit the smallest devices! Email him suggestions, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.