At the beginning of November thanks to courtesy of Gameforge I had the pleasure of attending the launch-day event for Kingdom Under Fire II, which took place in the Reichenstein castle on the banks of the Rhine. This allowed me to learn a lot more about the title developed by the Korean Studio called Blueside, the European debut of which is impeding (November 14). We were also able to put the game through the paces and see what it feels like. Unfortunately and despite all this I still ended up with more questions than answers.
An MMO, is it not?
The developers self-define their game as MMOARTS Massively Multiplayer Online Action Real-Time Strategy. In essence, we're dealing with a rather exotic hybrid of two genres that don't seem to have much in common: a classic MMO with a spectacular, arcade combat system, an open world, and a host of tasks requiring the destruction of legions of enemies; and a real-time strategy, in which we control a variety of troops and try to outsmart and outmaneuver the enemy.
Our goal (for the next project ed. note.) was something very big, with great armies. During development, we came to the conclusion that in order to present the huge scale of the project while at the same time enabling players to really become the commander on the battlefield, we'd have to introduce elements of MMORPG action games into the formula of RTS said David Wang, Business Development Manager at Blueside.
How practical is it? The problem is that... it is difficult to assess. During the show, we were presented with the beginning of the game, which wasnt really unusual merely another MMO form Asia. We travel through the open world, talk to stranger, watch cut-scenes, fight, and follow the locations that we need to visit to complete subsequent quests. By advancing to new levels, we obtain points for which we acquire new skills. We also purchase new equipment, of course.
This combat system is reminiscent of what we know from games like TERA or Black Desert Online (although I was under the impression it was a tad closer to the former). We mangle enemies in real-time using attacks assigned to the left and right mouse buttons (respectively, fast and strong), from time to time using special abilities (under the keys 1-9). We should not forget about the defense, dodging and parrying attacks otherwise, our demise will be swift and economic.
The devs will give us access to five classes of characters on day one. These will be: Berserk (a persistent and aggressive melee warrior), Gunslinger (a hybrid melee and ranged character), Spellsword (uses magic and melee weapons), Ranger (most effective against single targets, using daggers or bows) and Elementalist (a sorceress using elemental magic, supported by a large battle bear, strongly resembling a creature from the movie Golden Compass). In the future, the set will be enriched by the sixth heroine Dark Sorceress, that is a witch commanding the magic of darkness and ice, whose distinguishing feature is that it will be effective only on medium to far distance. Interestingly, there's no healers among the available heroes we regenerate HP with items and individual abilities of the characters.
The game features both PvE and PvP. Characters were designed on the "rock, paper, scissors" principle, which means that their strengths and weaknesses are quite clearly defined.
Siege of Reichenstein Castle
Although the presentation and the game itself left me with a certain feeling of dissatisfaction, the accompanying event was a lot of fun. The organizers have taken care of numerous attractions, such as, in particular, sword-fight shows, magic tricks, fire breathing, and juggling. The mainstay was an extensive outdoor game, during which we visited the castle and performed quests reminiscent of typical RPG tasks ( mostly based on, as one of the organizers joked, backtracking walking back and forth between different buildings of the castle complex). There also was the mandatory, quasi-medieval feast. So yeah, that was fun, and some cool memories. I will include some photos I took in this article.