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Rise and Shiny recap: Fiesta Online browser version


Fiesta Online is getting pretty long in the tooth. Heck, it's a game I have played and returned to several times over the years, and I've never quite stuck with it. Don't get me wrong -- the game is quite nice-looking for its style and always seems to have a ton of players on, but there are a lot of titles I would love to be spending time with. Unfortunately, I have to pick and choose, and a game like Fiesta Online will normally land on the list of games that I play very infrequently. I had a great time recently when I toured some high-level content with the developers and was more excited to hear about a browser version of the game coming out soon.

Why would a browser version matter? I have predicted (and I am still sticking by this prediction) that most MMO content will be delivered via the browser within five years. The truth is that most MMO players probably play a browser game already, especially when you consider games like RuneScape, Dark Orbit, Battlestar Galactica Online, Club Penguin and scores of others, but I mean to say that the browser will become the accepted way to get your MMO content. Yes, one day we will look back, giggle, and say, "We used to download and install massive files just to play a game!"

So how does Fiesta Online's browser version perform, and what is the point of having one in the first place?

Fiesta Online loading screen
In case you're not familiar with Fiesta Online, just imagine a relatively typical Anime-inspired MMO. Like most of those MMOs, the differences are subtle... but there are differences. I'd say the primary difference is that it boasts a very robust cash shop, a unique resting mechanic that is more fashion than necessity, an intense high-level game, and fun graphics. All right, so that sounds almost like I described every other Anime-inspired MMO out there, but you'd just have to jump in the game to find out. Fiesta Online feels nice and is normally quite easy to run and understand.

"I can understand covering the basics of gameplay for new players, but what about some helpful hints for those players who are hitting max level for the first time?"

The game includes quite a few tutorial pop-ups and hints along the way. None of this stuff is rocket science, and after seeing tutorials for such basic things, I found it a little tiring after a while, but I guess it is important to remember that a game like Fiesta Online could very well be the very first MMO for a lot of players. Strangely, most helpful pop-ups disappear after a player levels up some, and I cannot remember many pop-ups at all in higher-level areas. I can understand covering the basics of gameplay for new players, but what about some helpful hints for those players who are hitting max level for the first time?

The game also includes standard auto-movement, something I love to see in any game. Yes, auto-movement can be a bit obnoxious, and many players seem to think that the mere existence of the tool is cause for alarm as it destroys the very fabric of immersive gameplay, but I tend to think of it as a useful tool when needed and a chance to sit back and look around the environment while the character on the screen is running along. Also, it is a choice that's rarely (if ever) forced on a player.

I rolled a ranged character and enjoyed his animations and ease of use, but I became a bit confused as to why the game would have me easily taking down enemies for newbie quests and then send me to another quest that asked me to attack monsters that killed me in two or three hits. Somehow I grabbed a quest I wasn't supposed to yet or the game just pointed me in the wrong direction. Sure enough, after dying many times, I found several more newbie friendly quests in the adorable starter town. I've become quite used to the kill-ten-rats variety of quests mainly because I have been forced to. I've even started to like them somewhat, despite the complete lack of imagination it takes to develop one.

Fiesta Online screenshot
While I played the game and had a good amount of fun re-visiting the game, playing in the browser was no easy task. At all. There are really two reasons why you would want to port your video game to the browser. The first is that you lower the barrier to entry. If you allow players to just pop into your game without having to first go through the download and install process that might be a standard experience, then it is much harder for a player to ignore your game. She might very well find herself glued to the screen three hours later because all she had to do was visit your game's site and hit "play."

"The problem with Fiesta Online's current browser version is that it seems to actually require a lot more system power than the client version and it doesn't work most of the time."

The second reason is that you lower the system requirements and again attract more players. The problem with Fiesta Online's current browser version is that it seems to actually require a lot more system power than the regular client, and it doesn't work most of the time. I streamed the game live per my usual daily stream, but I had to ditch the recorded video instead of using it in this article because it showed nothing but a broken version of the game. Load times are ridiculous, the game crashes the browser most of the time, and performance can be wonky. I am not sure there is any benefit at all to using the current browser version of Fiesta Online. Certainly it cannot be easier for players to access it, and new players who try it might come out thinking, "This game is a piece of junk."

When it works, the game plays just like the client version. When it works. I am sure that over time the bumps will get smoothed out and the game will become a much better experience in the browser, but as it stands now, I would rather just download and install the client. The client also doesn't have its graphics options disabled as it seems the browser version does. Fiesta Online is one of the first foreign MMOs I can remember that offered anti-aliasing and looked pretty neat.

If you have played Fiesta Online before, then you will probably still be excited to see the browser version. I am still enthusiastic despite the fact that I literally could not access the game half of the time. I was tempted to download the standard client so I could make my report that way, but I stuck to the original experiment and played in the browser. It's still a fun game, and all of the wonderful social opportunities and neat cash-shop items really make it a gem of a freebie, but stay with the client version for now.

Next week, I am going to be checking out Dark Ages, a 2-D MMO by KRU Interactive. After watching Adventure Mike play Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds on the livestream channel, I had to try one of the company's other titles. Join me in game or in the chatroom of MassivelyTV!

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 and Facebook!

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