Lets Give Them a Try

I’ve said this a few times in the past, that I haven’t really been a ‘gamer’ all my life. My brief adventures with The Sims hardly counts as having a finesse for games. I’m quite particular about what I like to play. Starting off with MUDS (I played a local one called Redemption for a number of years) before breaking off for EverQuest, then breaking off that for EverQuestII. When I gave Wizard 101 a try I was astounded at how much fun it was. Of course it’s exceptionally unique compared to all other games I’ve played, with turn based card game combat rather then a button mashing experience. I’m fairly certain I’ll go with the life time subscription as soon as I can (not for a few months yet, but it’s in the works). It’s one of those great games you can just lose yourself in for hours, and don’t let the bright colours and funky text throw you off, it may LOOK like a game for 10 year old children, but creating your deck and defeating encounters is hard. 

Along those same lines I decided to try out two more ‘free’ to play games. One of them was ‘Shaiya‘ by Aeria games. Like your typical ‘free’ game in order to get the really cool stuff you’re going to want to subscribe. Character creation is limited between two races on either a good or evil side. I made a human priest and was dumped in a world that reminded me VERY much of guild wars  except not quite. The very first things you do is go grab a number of quests that follow the straight and narrow ‘kill X number of Y’ creatures. In this case it was thief monkeys and a few foxes. To loot items that dropped on the ground it was exactly like guild wars as well. 

I ran around and picked up four quests including a time one, and then thought to myself why would I want to play this when I already have a game that’s almost exactly like it and actually looks a lot better. Logged off and uninstalled it. You remember those group of spammers who sit in the middle of the community areas in GW and spam about their sales over and over? Well those same people hang out in Shaiya in the common area, spamming their wears too. The game may change, but the people and conversations do not.

After giving that game a very brief try I decided to play Mabinogi, which is a cute anime style game by Nexon. The only problem right from the outset with this game is that even though it claims to be ‘free’ you have pretty much 0 control over anything at the outset without paying for a subscription. Want to customize your character to something other then the very base default character? Well you’ll have to subscribe. Faces, eyes, hair, mouth, outfit, everything was based on having a subscription. Want pets? Need a subscription. Want better spells and access to unique quests? Again, need a subscription. The game was also completely filled (at least from the start) with a LOT of intro movies. Every 10 seconds I’d have to watch another 5-10 minute movie about the world, I spent a lot more time doing that then anything else.

I also have a quirk with ‘click to move’ type games. I hate having to click my mouse for anything at all. At least the previous game let me use my wasd keys, this one was mouse controlled only from what I could tell. W101 is by far the ultimate winner letting me use my arrow keys. You’re dropped off in a little community and have to wander around learning how to do various things. I made my first encounter with a group of bots. Ok, it was more like 10 groups of bots. One of the very first quests sends you to discover your ‘smash’ skill and learn basic combat. Go kill a few foxes that are over the way. Immediately as soon as a single fox would spawn, a train of 10 people following one another would rush past me and demolish the mob. It was funny to watch them all run after one another. 

I hear that the game is quite popular, but for me it just didn’t do anything. Needing a subscription to customize anything at all, not to mention the very clunky UI and all the bots just made me realize what an amazing game Wizard101 is for being a ‘free’ one that actually delivers. I had fun stepping out of my box and giving a few other games a try, I imagine I’ll continue as I hear about other games. This is completely new to me, I typically settle into the ‘popular’ MMO’s and stick there without giving anything else a try. Actually, playing all these other games makes me appreciate what I do play so much more. 

Hope everyone else had an amazing gaming weekend!

5 Responses to Lets Give Them a Try

  1. Openedge1 says:


    1 gem (W101) out of how many turds is the issue.

    The reason these games are full is they are a global game for one (You will easily see Asian, German, Spanish, etc…while talking in chat), and it is free.
    The amount of freeloaders in the world is quite huge.
    Busy also does not equal quality when we discuss free games.

    But, the two you chose were radically worse than others I have tried.

    Some to maybe look at are…

    Silkroad Online, which at least has an interesting premise with the traders route, where players are either merchant carriers, thieves or guardians of these caravans..or has a European Renaissance world to play in. But, the PvP aspect can get you easily killed at all times, and the grind is HUGE.

    Perfect World offers flight which is quite exhilarating once you reach level 15 I think (maybe 20) and you can fly EVERYWHERE. Nothing else fun but just flying around though.

    And of course Runes of Magic, the 100% WoW free close now entering final stages of beta (most anyone can play now…)…but, has it’s own niggling issues like grind, bad audio, and boring quests.

    So, while I may not be exactly true in that yes, everything I have heard about Wizard 101 is really true, this does not include the multitude of other junk out there waiting for the ganker or grinder who wants their lunch for free.

  2. Odius says:

    GW is my ultimate fav free game even though you do pay for a box. I also played Dofus for a LONG time and ended up paying for the subscription to explore further. I plan on trying out Wakfu when that comes out since I’m such a huge Dofus fan. Sword of the New World is also an okay free game. It lets you go to like level 20 for free and then you need to pay.

    I don’t think there will ever abe a truly decent free game where you don’t need to pay for something.

  3. Scott says:

    I enjoyed the heck out of Wizard101 in beta, but clearly I was not the target demographic so once it went live I left the game. I did appreciate that KingsIsle not only asked for beta feedback in the usual forums but also sent periodic surveys so they could get specifically targeted input. Great mix of multi-player RPG (as usual with the lobby-style games, “is it really an MMO?” pops up) and CCG combat though. Lots of fun, and truly had effortless open grouping. See a fight? Just step in and you’re in the group. No barriers, no penalties.

  4. stargrace says:

    Not exactly true, Wizard 101 is ‘free to play’ too, and it’s amazing. :) There are a few gems out there, it’s just a search to find something that I personally enjoy. Obviously these games are winners to a LOT of people, both games were absolutely packed with people. They’re just not for me.

  5. Openedge1 says:

    Ugh…two really bad games to try…so sorry.

    So far the “free to play” market is all junk. Guess we know why they are free. Guild Wars is a much better game in that respect. But, you buy a box which means you do pay for something and get quality in return.

    Best to wait for other games like Spellborn and Aion or go back and try DDO, LOTRO, or something else unique.

    Good luck

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