I very rarely enjoy drawing attention to myself as I am not one of those people that relish the notion of gaming fame. I prefer to keep to myself and small circle of social friends, something that I learned when I achieved notoriety in previous games. Though I am so impressed with the beta that I have dared to leave comment.
The game is overwhelming when you first set foot on the realm and right from the beginning you find yourself bombarded with the sheer depth this game has to offer. Trying to perform simple tasks from other MMOs would then yield a more options than you were ever expecting. I feel a sense of nostalgia with MMOs of the past and not the heavily watered down versions we see these days catering to newer generations shorter attention spans. It was pleasing that upon catching fish I was given the option of what to do with it (granted we were unable to sell raw fish), from drying to preparing a variety of differing meals. Every aspect of the game I approached I found myself bombarded with more options that required further research. Whilst some may be quick to dismiss this as being overly complicated I find this approach very much appreciated as it provides different endgame avenues that because of its depth won't feel like a filler.
There is so much of these additional side options known collectively as 'Life Skills' that it will be very difficult to easily introduce new players to this game. How can you honestly expect to fit years of development into the first few hours of game play without overloading the player. Though I believe the initial starting tutorial is sufficient to get people on their way.
Performance / Game play
Despite my xbox being magically in NA through black magic, I found that I had no issues with connection or even lag. This I found rather surprising and overly optimistic of how much smoother the game will be on EU servers at full launch. I was able to continue my ventures in the world in some of the most densely packed combat zones with everyone spamming any attack they could remember with no perceived frame drops or lag. All this from a BETA on a distant server is something to be praised.
Graphically it would be unfair to comment as despite the options saying 4K, it was only an up scaling, then again at only 23gb download can't really expect more than that. For the visuals in game though, taking those very first bright new steps into the world and then spending several minutes looking at the video settings was something that all of us will remember. I am sure there will be more options to amend graphics at full release, so this is not an overly big concern. Despite these things the game looks beautiful already, the level of detail in the scenery to the way the world is populated with its creatures and AI. It gives a better feeling of an actual living world rather than soulless AI waiting for you to give them something to do. I was even amazed that the blacksmith had gone to bed when I needed to repair my gear.
The game does a very good job at making every aspect look and feel more believable. I chose to play as a wizard mostly because in my aging years I no longer find it interesting to be top dps etc and from my research the wizard/witch are the closest you can come to making a support/healer in this game. An aspect of which I tried out with a random group at the shrine south of the BETA map. It was easier to discern party HP and I found the healing abilities where smart enough to target the ally if I looked in the general direction. Then in between healing I would get to drop nukes with spectacular visuals that make the game more pleasing to behold.
When looking objectively at the BETA it is difficult to discern what will and won't be available at full launch and I found myself referencing the PC version frequently to gain more insight. Currently the concerns I have for the game there are options available on PC to amend to my pleasing, so I can only assume that they will also be present at launch. A few things that I did find that I would like tweaking would be the following:
Skill Menu - Please change 'Learn' to either 'Learnt' or 'Known'. This was initially confusing as I was trying to learn a skill from the main setting. As the game progressed I just found it more of an irritation. The layout of the skill menu in general I can understand is easier to navigate as apposed to the PC variant and given how seldom people will spend in there I can't really make a solid case to make it similar to the PC.
Processing/Manufacturing - I would like to suggest that once we have achieved the required knowledge as in the recipe turns blue. That it would be a nice feature to be able to click on the blue recipe for it to automatically pull the required materials from inventory, rather than having to do it manually. A feature that I learned from fishing, given the multiple different species caught then had me going back and forth selecting the ingredients over and over.
Node Manager - Please add an option to find these guys, also some of the times, looking for the arms dealer would lead me to the blacksmith (Heidal, being the example). Though especially when working on my mini empire and visiting nodes, I was struggling to find them. Imagine my surprise that one node manager was a giant rock and not a person.
Overall I have been really impressed with the BETA to the point that I am already feeling withdrawal symptoms knowing that my adventures will be cut short rather soon. The level of assistance in game is remarkable with regular announcements and GM conversations. This gives the feeling that the company really care about the game and its players and reminds of the great MMOs of the past where you could literally summon a GM to you in order to help with issues. I have never played a BETA that has left me engaged and wanting to continuously play more. I applaud the efforts its taken to convert this game into a console edition and eagerly await the announcement that you are launching the game one hour after the BETA ends.
Thank you for reading