Thursday, November 1, 2012

Artix Entertainment games.

There are a lot of you who've probably never heard of these guys, there are some who probably play their games.

Anyways, Artix Entertainment originally came out with a Free-to-play flash game called AdventureQuest in 2002, it was given an optional one-time upgrade fee in 2003 and a free-user server cap around the general time of release, back then it wasn't as popular but later on the free user count was restricted to those who stayed up for weeks on end continually attempting to log in. This was a major problem and caused a lot of negative criticism of the game and AE for the low capacity (between 2K and 4.5K) of the F2P server. Although it was removed around July 14, 2010 or July 14, 2011 (The wikipedia pages for AE and AQ have conflicting dates) it still made enough of an impression on the players that it caused more than a bit of bitterness towards the friendly folks over at AE. The gameplay is decent, although there's enough restrictions on free users (For instance, a good deal of the quests are tough, even for a level 40 fighter), the guardians (Paid users) are the only ones that can survive most of the storyline quests and the fact that most of the gear is expensive.... Micropayments are required for upgrades and most of the stuff is INSANELY stupid, some stuff is practically USELESS and yet they won't let you sell it to free up a space..................

With the popularity of AQ, AE released a prequel game on 9 June 2006, known as DragonFable.
DragonFable is everything AQ SHOULD have been, but wasn't. It took place from a third-person perspective most of the time, it used a 2.5D isometric view that I've NEVER seen used better, it had a better potion system, little to no micropayments needed for the best gear, more gear slots, more attacks, you didn't need to buy spells as new abilities were unlocked as you leveled up, and you could play through a LOT of the storyline without an upgrade.

And then it all fell apart.... They started requiring Dragon Amulets (The upgrades) for final bosses of quest-lines, making more and more "Fetch this" or "kill this many" quests required to proceed with wars, and on top of that I don't think the game's had a relevant update in a LONG time, it still uses Flash 8! In six years a good game went from awesome to pitiful. The early quests are still fun but most of the cool one-time events have passed, the rest are just filler to keep the players occupied whilst the Dragonlords (Paid users) get the real meat of the game. I do still recommend playing at least the first few quests, they're good.

Later, they came out with another game, yet again ANOTHER prequel to AQ, set 5,000 years before it and 4,995 before Dragonfable (And runs on the same engine, but tweaked a bit). The game has absolutely NOTHING wrong with it other than the fact that it's only got two or three people maintaining it, it's pretty much abandoned and doesn't have any decent limited-time sidequests to it any more. The Mecha-combat is cool and the storyline (If it has one) is nice for a Flash game, at least in the beginning. After a bit it becomes convoluted and contrived rather than coming to a decisive end (Sort of like comic-books VS manga) the gear is neat, you get to blow things up with giant robots and right aliens with light-saber clones (although the hand-to-hand combat is repetitive after a bit) The game just needs some competent people making sure they clean it up from the mess it's become and is given some interesting side-quests, the game has a LOT of potential to be cool (Just like DF does) if they put a bit more work into it.

AE's first game with a real-time system, simplified (More super-deformed than the typical anime style of the other games) graphics, and multiplayer. AdventureQuest Worlds started out terrible, got decent, got good, got REALLY good, went back to decent, and then dropped into the "meh" territory AEs first three ORPGs fell into, except this game's still got regular updates! The 13 Lords of Chaos saga was cool, the first few fights were neat and the storyline was fairly compelling.
Then it tried to be The Legend of Zelda, and EVERYTHING went down hill........
There's only one Legend of Zelda, it's made by Nintendo, anyone else who tries to make a game in the same genre has, so far, in the games I've played, failed. They started requiring puzzles to be solved to get to the area bosses, they scrapped the PvP format that everyone loved, they started showing ads when you died, and most recently they made the main town impossible to navigate! The game is okay, the first few quests are nice and SOME of the puzzles are fun to solve but most of them you can just warp to someone who's in the boss chamber. The episodic format is good, it's sort of like free DLC expansions, I stopped playing the game at about the Seventh Chaos Lord Saga (Around this time last year), so that's about the sixth episode of the main storyline (seeing as we have yet to see a Second Lord of Chaos fight). The game is okay as far as about the fourth or fifth Chaos Lord (Some of the best hard-to-get gear are from those two), but the side-quests are getting more and more tedious and some of the yearly events are repetitive, some of them aren't interesting and most of them would be considered filler if this were a console game.

Released on July 17, 2009, Warpforce is a split part of the Devourer saga (What passes for the main quest line of AQ) and is a VERY interesting concept, I don't think it's gone as far down-hill as the other AE games. In fact, it might not even be in decline (That'd be something). It's pretty cool, the gear is awesome and you can do all kinds of stuff that AQ limited, I think it's still a good game (although I'll have to check)

Later the same year, AE acquired Epic Inventions LLC and their one PVPMMO, EpicDuel. EpicDuel doesn't have a subscription base, rather it relies on microtransactions (In the form of a paid-for currency called Varium) I've been playing ED for a while now, and I still get on it occasionally, but around level 25 random matches become impossible. All kinds of people buying Varium and getting bonus weapons and armor and robots and buying all kinds of stuff and in the end it gets to the point of sheer insanity and you can't win. If they had more of a storyline and balanced the Varium-users out to at least give a GHOST of a chance to beat them, and made the bosses a little weaker so that free-users can beat them (Like in WoW where they give you the option to fight them nerfed or full power or higher than original) it could be a better game, it started out okay but after a while (When you get into the high levels) you can't go anywhere, and it takes a TON of XP to go past level 30.

Hero SMASH! is AEs second in-house developed MMO (Which uses the same basic engine as AQW), originally called Super-Hero Quest, AE was issued a joint letter of cease and desist from Marvel and DC (Essentially Walt-Disney and Time Warner) and had to rename the game HERO SMASH!. With a cool concept behind it and stylized graphics, you'd think it would have been a cool game, and it was for a bit, but like AQW it became repetitive (And this happened REAL early, I was an Alpha tester!) The game is worth playing if you've got a few minutes to waste.

The first game by the company's main artist, Milton Pool/Miltonius/Nulgath headed up the OverSoul project, making it in the theme of other AE games, but with a much darker undertone, and apparently is an MMO with PVP and PVE and Cardbattle elements to it, I'll be playing it soon.

AdventureQuest 3D: Legend of Lore

Little is known about the game aside from that pre-registration started a while ago and that the team behind it has changed the format several times. I personally think they should make it a client game and have the players download at least PART of it. I don't know why, but seeing as they like to keep things browser-based I have a feeling that keeping the games in the browser detracts from the quality somehow.

Well, that's all the games they've got, the people are helpful and quick to answer questions or respond to bug reports, the only thing that's wrong is they don't have decent phone support.

All in all certain limitations to their games seem like they're either necessity driven, or greed driven. If it's necessity I get it, but if it's greed driven then it's completely unacceptable and it makes them seem like EA.

The link to the company site:

All images from Google Image search.