I know yall have plenty of games this season to keep you busy. However, I want you to take a look at this little gem right here titled Lunia.


A week ago I stumbled across this site http://www.mmosite.com/ while trying to find info on Ragnarok Online 2 beta (which is an awesome MMORPG so far despite the bugs and the game only being what seems 10% of the expected content, though that 10% is more than most MMO's starting out). The site gives out info on all the MMO's out there (full game, closed beta, and beta), and features reviews and guides. What is interesting is they have each of them ranked, so you can see what is hot ,or what people are anticipating, and that everyone in the community is playing these days.

Anyway, for the majority of this week I dropped Ragnarok Online 2 for a little while to try out the games on the top 10 list. So far I've tried out 2moons, Dream of Mirror, Asda Story (omg it looks like Kingdom Hearts Online lmao), Perfect World, and Lunia. I already own since release Lord of the Rings Online, and Granado Espada (so damn glad this game went free after a month on retail my pockets were hurting paying for so many MMO subs). Other than Lord of the Rings, all the games are free to play, with an optional cash shop to buy uber items, and exclusives, not found in the game to usually help you give a little of an edge over those who wish to find their items. I opted for the lifetime membership for Rings because the cost was basically having a subscription going for a year and half a month. Worth it in my opinion since I can pick it up when ever I see some new content I want to play down the road. Oh and lets not forget as of now Rings owns WoW as far as PvE content goes. What hurts Rings is the required specs to run the game smoothly is out of reach for the crowd WoW has capitialized on. Not everyone has a rig that can run the game on Ultra Max and still get frames over 60 with a lot of shit going on screen like mine can (sorry to brag).

So back to free MMO's I've tried. Mind you these are the ones that are ranked the highest on the site, and at other communities.

Ragnarok Online 2 I think has the most potential as of now. The art direction, graphics, user interface, music, and Ragnarok style character advancement is all there. Just as of now the things just as upgraded classes, you that Final Fantasy Tactics style sort of thing that was in the first one, is not present. Neither is the other races. You can only play as humans. Also the game is buggy. Also, it seems after a certain point you are just leveling your character when really there should be content and skills there, like the continued leveling up is a placeholder. Its like if someone gave you the WoW, or any game, demo then said you can only experience the content in the demo, but it continues to allow you to advance without the rewards that are suppose to be there. Like playing Mario Kart with only three stages, when you know there will be more coming, and on the third stage after you cross the finish line you can keep driving around the track forever until they decide to release the fourth. I noticed this, and it feels a little weird to me. Hopefully, a lot of this will be fixed once American closed and open beta arrives next year. Oh they still have the gender of your character being what put down when you signed up. So stupid! Really cool, and first for Ragnarok, is you can change jobs and equip skills learned from other jobs. Subjobs in a very FF Tacticsish. What I really like is how this game feels like a console single player rpg to me, but there are other people there too. The story cutsceens are a part of this, and not just the paying attention to gear stats, and purchasing new skills. Last, you can customize your character's look in interesting ways. From wearing bandanas to hats to backpacks.

Another interesting MMO is Dream of Mirror. Has its own excellent aspects that does well too. Like plenty of unique classes to choose from, as well as 4 interesting races. You can pick male or female versions. Thank you. This game has a loveline system in place. Which is something becoming popular in Korean MMO's. Basically, the game will play match maker with someone in the game at anytime. A heart beat sound will start, and get faster the closer you get to finding the person. When you are within range a pink line draw towards the other person. This system is in place as I see it to promote people meeting up to adventure together in an interesting random way, as well as to find someone to get married in the game with lol. Since, your newbie curiosity will lead you to befriend that random person, and maybe do a quest or two together. Random friend matching make system. I like the sound of that. The game is also cell shaded which makes the look of the game interesting with anime style art direction. The user interace could use some work. As sometimes it lags. And how they organize your quests needs a ton of work. Like you will have a quest in your log thats says go here and meet this person. So you do, but nothing happens. Thing is you then read more details, and it you realize you already did that, and the actual quest is somewhere else in your log. Confusing. And then somethings in the option menu does not work the way it says it does. For instance, showing other people's equipment says Show Equipment with a check box. However, to show other's equipment you have to uncheck. Very strange. Also, they do not have my my monitor's max resolution but they have the next resolution up from mine. I don't get either. Another thing to note is the difficulty ramps up after level 10. Surprising since I think most gamers that give this game a try because of curiosity would be turned off the first couple of levels because its too easy, while suffering from "killing rarabs" syndrome.

Like Ragnarok Online 2 you can have a subjob. The way Dream does the subjob is different than any job system I have experienced in a game. Your main job has three areas you can spend skill points in. Two offensive styles and one defensive/passive skill tree. The two offensive thing I find unique. For example, the wizard class' two styles is the usual casting magic with MP, however the other is casting using consumable items. Both offer the elemental magic, but different variety of attacks in terms of what is AOE, single enemy, or status debuff. So you have to make some tough choices on what to spend your points on. Here is when things get really interesting though. For the subjob, you have two offensive slots and two defensive/passive slots granted to you. Meaning if you have taken time to play other jobs you can make some very original job combinations. Say, a tank with the ability to heal, and cast elemental magic from scrolls while using ranged weapsons. Got to say learning different jobs is time consuming though because it resets your level like FFXI.

Next is 2moons. This one rated high, and there is a lot of buzz around this one too. Okay user interface is kinda bugged or clunky, while some of the graphic settings do not work properly. This game is not beta anymore, but a lot of stuff seems broken. Like music loops sometimes only 1/4 through the track. Quest tracking sucks. Finding an NPC on the map is a pain in the ass. For newbies you got to point your mouse over each little dot to find someone. Also, your first non-newbie quests will tell you to go somewhere, and because of the lack of a world map you may have no idea where that may be. You cannot quit a dungeon without logging out. Pain in the ass because I accidently hit the wrong floor three times in a row because of interface lag. So I just logged off. Another thing is classes determine gender much like Diablo and PSO. Not a fan of that. I hate the stereotype of male characters being warriors, and females being casters. So fucking stupid.

2moons does not seem much at first. It seems like your standard Diablo clone with better graphics. However you will notice the action speed is ramped up, and once you gain multiple attack skills you will find linking skills uninterupted one after another refreshing compared to slower paced MMORPG's. Not to mention the animations and special effects aint bad either. One thing to note is this game teaches you a hard lesson right out the gate, especially if you pick a caster. I walked up to the first creature in the newbie starting zone, and got owned in two hits. Very jarring if you are justed to the standard sit there and attack, or PSU where changing your distance is more so you can attack uninterupted and to not take unnecessary damage. I mean it is understood in a game like PSU that you will move around a bit, but 2moons does not have that type of feel intially. It feels like WoW, you have auto-attack and you hit the skill you want to use binded to a hot key. Your experience in this type of gameplay is to attack take damage and heal when you need to. Here moving to not damage is important giving the game a more twitchy feel. Once you are above the enemies level or got better gear you do not have to move at all. The problem is there is no way to judge that when encountering an enemy for the first time since there is no level displayed. Same goes for other players. No idea whatsoever who is what level, and if they will be a perfect match to party with. I mean its almost 2008 here this is basic MMO shit.

Another thing is npcs' that can give quest have an icon over there head. Awesome a lot of games do that. However, here they will always display the icon even if they have a quest you can't do until level 65 in some cases. So it is like you see icon on npc over the distance and you like cool let me see what he has, only to waste time that you can't do it yet.

Other than those things the game is pretty solid. You gotta get past the newbie shit first, learn some skills, and get out there. Looking at some youtube videos of higher end gameplay the game seems rather intense too.

Next up is Asda Story. This game is basically Maple Story with 3D graphics and had a love child with Kingdom Hearts. Really cool game. Must say its hard to find NPCs some times for quests. Does the stupid gender of what you signed up as thing. I don't get it Korea? There is now WASD for this game and relies on pure point in click. This makes the game slower paced in terms of battles, not to mention attacking and walking is slow. Then also the user interface lags, so you pressing a skill hot key multiple times just to get off an attack sometimes. Also sometimes when you click on something in a window, say a quest decription or "Buy item" it does not work after serveral clicks or exiting the menu completely and starting over. Its an annoying bug sometimes. I think its related to another player or object being behind that portion of the window. Needs to be fixed. The graphics are fun though. Especially since it looks like Kingdom Hearts. Lots of noobs running around named Cloud or Sora variations though. The equipment system is different. Basically armor is empty of stats. There are slots on equipment where you must equip gems with stat bonuses you find or buy giving the armor or weapon stats. Not much else to talk about. It is worth a try if you have time. The other games I have listed are better.

Now we come to Perfect World. If you read anything about this game you will be sure to find things said like "Better than WoW" and "Best MMORPG and its free." Well let me tell you, once you load this game up and start creating your character you are likely to say "Well it sure earned that. No fucking kidding!" I think its the catchy theme song that gets engraved in your head because you will be spending a hour customizing just about every aspect of your characters appearance. I mean it even has a picture uploader so you can have a way to model the face of the character after yourself or anyone for that matter. The only gripe here is you can't really control the height of the character, but only stretch parts of the body which can make them look deformed. The upside is you can go back and edit any part of your avatar any time you wish. But hell what character creator gives you like 20+ templates for each character and class. Meaning each template has its own uniqueness to it. For instance, the Werefox race/class you can pick the standard fox girl template as advertised, but there is a template so you can be a bunny girl(looks exactly like a Viera from FFXII) or devil girl (or Succubus) with devil taill and horns among others. I can't say I have anything bad to say about this game. Other than animation of distant npcs and pcs is designed to scale down when the game engine and graphic cards out there can more than handle it. Just seems like an odd choice because it makes the game seem like all the money was blown on designing everything within a radius of 30 feet, and just drops off when you look any further. The game is just about "perfect" from what I have experienced in the game so far. The quest log is awesome. You click on a quest in your log and it makes a way point for where you need to go, and gives map coordinates. There are plenty of classes to choose from with 3 races. Yes you can choose male or female. The game is a bit more hardcore than WoW in the aspect you have to spend points after you level to boost stats (a lot the games on my list are like this btw). Also money is a bit hard to come by. Not a problem since you can find equipment upgrades and a lot of stuff you find has stat variations. Also armor and weapons have stat requirements to use along with level requirement. Therefore, you must keep in mind on what type of character you want to build as far as spending points goes.

One of the main features of Perfect World is after a little while you gain the ability to fly, except for the elf classes they start out with it. So the later portions of the game have lots of areas where you have to fly to reach. Yeah WoW does this, but only for a few places. Kinda interesting though because the most anticipated MMORPG right now is Aion, and that is the main feature though fighting in air and not just travel. And Perfect World seemed to beat them to the punch. Still can't wait for Aion though (The art direction is just sick, and the gameplay looks awesome). But yeah this one is far worth a try, especially if you are tired of WoW or PSU.

Ok now for the main event, and what inspired me to create this post, Lunia. This game beats everything out of pure fun factor. This game is ranked number 1 on mmosite. However I skipped over to try the others first because I glanced at it and saw it was top down view like Diablo with colorful anime graphics. Looked at some youtube videos and was not impressed at what I saw. Also mention the fact there are only three preset classes (the other 3 are not in the english version yet) with no gender control So I skipped. Well my curiousity got to me, wondering why it was ranked number 1. So, I read up on it, looked at more videos. I read someones comment saying the game does not look like much but you really have to play it and you will be hooked. So I said what the hell, signed up and downloaded. Maaaaaaaaan I can't find a damn thing wrong with this game. User interface is a breeze to navigate, music, and the presentation. All excellent. Most of all the gameplay. This game is fun. Got it? Fun. Sure its a dungeon crawler. Sure there is grinding. But what MMO isn't? They advertise the game as an Action Arcade RPG. At first you may be thinking, that is a lot of genre mixing there. But damn it pulls it off. The stage advancement is like Mario World. You start at level 1-1 and advance forward, while selecting the state is a nicely designed overworld map. And you can go back to finish up a kill/collect quest, or find secret treasure chests you missed.

Don't be fooled by the cutesy graphics. This game will throw lots of shit at you. Just about every stage has bosses and sub-bosses. The first main boss I got to my character was one shotted by one of his attack. This game teaches you to be on your toes at all times, and keep moving a develope a strategy for each time of enemy. To ad to the action arcade feel, you only have 3 lives lol. You die 3 times its game over. By stage 1-4 the difficulty really ramps up, making the need for a party if you planning on playing the game straight until you hit that need to level up more wall. By then you will be facing many sub-bosses and even bosses you have defeated on previous stages in a harder variation. Do not be surprised if you have to fight those same bosses again with extra enemies added, or fight boss after boss in a row without a break. This game will make your hands and fingers sore. And its in that classic button mashing type of sore when those type of games were fun. Though I still wish the controller support will be added soon, so I don't cause my hands to suffer from carpletunnel syndrome.

Despite not having anytype of way of customing your characters appearance, however armor and weapons found are designed in a way to add uniqueness so not everyone is looking the same. You also have a choice of setting up a party a la PSO/PSU. Or you can make things more seamless by selecting a stage and you will join up with anyone else that has done the same, except the game will not place you with someone who has reached a certain point in the stage. My guess would be to prevent people from completing a stage without doing anything like people used to do on PSU before they added the ability to go directly to a lobby you want.

The point is Lunia is the shit. I highly recommend.

Overall I must say I'm impressed with the amount of free quality MMO's out there. And it really has been a learning experience too. Seeing what gameplay aspects are shared between them, and what aspects are unique and really add to the game, or do not work. Most of all I have learned the importance of having a a good user interface. I think that is part of the reason why WoW is so sucessful. It so easy to jump and figure out what does what, and it gives you know problems, then you can add mods to enchance it. Shitty UI or overlooking a feature can be a diservice to a MMO that would be other wise excellent.

So yeah with the holidays out and plenty of games coming out do not forget about the freebies on PC. Most do not require great specs to run. I pretty much recommend all of these titles with Lunia and Perfect World as musts. As for Ragnarok Online 2 I advise waiting for US beta release. The only way to play right now is via the Korean version (and downloading an english patch that is not perfect) and even then the methods required to play it online are illegal. So I have to warn you there. The first method to sign up for an account requires you steal someones identity namely someones name and a Korean Social Security Number. Not hard to find at all you will be surprised. The other method is less in serverity and easier, which is playing on a emulated server. The latter of course will have more bugs because of lack of staff to apply server side hotfixes. And since its illegal there is no telling when the game developer will find out and shut it down. Luckily one in particular wisely does not make you sign up using personal information. So both methods are risky. Fun game though.