Skyforge (Episode 78)
THE GRINDSTONE TRIBUNAL:
The usual make the rounds this time, with Dreskar, Dobar, and Karochi offering up their thoughts along with mine. This one seems to go in two directions…
This is one of those games that certainly disappoints me, but not for the reasons you might think. Skyforge is a good game buried beneath the horrendous ideals of a Korean grinder, and trying to do too many things at once. The combat feels good, at first, until you begin getting higher and higher in prestige and seeing fights take longer which makes you feel weaker than when you first started out. The game looks good but has a terrible performance on multiple machines and can actually hinder your ability to react in the mechanics-heavy boss fights. The classes seem interesting and genuinely unique from each other, but they take weeks to unlock and then start off much weaker than the classes used to unlock them and with no gear to call their own.
The pantheon system sounds cool on paper but ensures only the largest among the game will get to experience the Pantheon exclusive content if they grind for it. The grind is atrocious and really adds to that sense that you are making absolutely no progress in the game, to top it off with that terrible weekly limit forced on you by developers who don’t seem to see the problem and wish you would play more of their farmville game. The story, while having interesting layers to it, is presented so poorly because of all the grinding you just can’t give a shit about who is doing what to betray whom and which god you have offended for what action which is a terrible slight against the house of Obsidian who make some of the pinnacle of RPG stories out there.
Recommended?: YES conditionally, if you can stomach just how Korean this American/Russian game is.
This is one of these games that feel worse the longer you play it, contrary to the usual statement you hear from other MMOs, where the game gets better later on. In the first 3,000-4,000 prestige you gain, you see a large amount of adventures opening up fast with quests falling in rapid succession, but by that 4,000-5,000 mark, the game slows to a crawl, where battles take longer, the environments and enemies do not change and you have to grind the same dungeons over and over again if you want sparks to increase your prestige and unlock classes, holy texts and tablets to upgrade your temple and other items to help upgrade your adapts. The grind is real and the payoff was disappointing, as you unlock new adventures, dungeons, and open-world areas that did not feel that different than before, and you might have to wait until next week to see a new dungeon because of the cap, unless you grind holy texts for your order to increase prestige. This is old-school, take months to reach “endgame” levels of grinding.
Looking at stuff left to unlock, I only see more disappointment, as none of the new adventures and dungeons felt new and refreshing, the raid unlocked at 30,500 prestige does not seem interesting, and even the distortions at 68,000 prestige feels like so much grinding for so little payoff. The more I played and saw what was coming, the less I wanted to play this game. I see this game having a small top-heavy fanbase with most of them merging their pantheons to create a handful of super-pantheons just to enter “endgame” and everyone else being left to do nothing, kinda like what happened with 40 man raids in Wildstar.
Recommended?: NO. The only people who I think would like this are the kind of people that miss the glory days of games like Final Fantasy 11, where you had to grind months to even access endgame and years to gear up in it. The more I played, the less fun I had.
I’m convinced Skyforge is actually just a new Russian therapy method to cure completionism. Every time you reach a milestone, you unlock more milestones. It isn’t a journey with a destination, it’s someone dangling a carrot in front of you at increasingly ridiculous range and wondering when you’ll give up.
The gameplay is (compared to other MMOs) pretty unique, which is why you’d at first feel inclined to keep playing. It’s decently challenging, sometimes through bullshit (like bosses spawning infinite adds) but at times there are some genuinely interesting mechanics-based fights. The way the game keeps being challenging is through tiering everything you do, which -sounds- great, but that entirely removes any feeling of progression. You are always just as strong as the enemy (except when you play a new class, in which case you’re completely useless) making combat really samey.
I don’t believe an MMO is all about endgame, but I do believe it needs one. The game needs to end somewhere so you can do other stuff than grind your character. Skyforge just goes on and on with more bland dungeons to grind and more atlases to fill.
It’s weird how things turn out, isn’t it? We specifically said we’d choose this game because “screw it, we want to play something we LIKE for once” and the burnout hit Grindstone so fast that we’ve ended up with two “NO” recommendations from two people that actually liked the game at first.
In fact, said burnout was so fast that the core work group of Grindstone was tired of the game by the time I was ready to play it. Most of this input in the video was directly from their experiences…
Mine weren’t so bad.
Maybe it’s just the nature of the game? I actually liked playing “Cookie Clicker”, “Conspiracy Clicker”, “Princess Maker 2”, “A Dark Room” and yes, even “Sakura Clicker”, as many of you who’ve added me on Steam have questioned for the past week. I don’t know what it is about the format. Slow steady progression? Constant awards given making it feel like you’re always gaining something, even when you’re spinning your tires in the mud.
Maybe it’s the fact there ISN’T any sort of defined “endgame” at the moment, keeping the majority of people from being able to bitch at me for not reaching an arbitrary gear-grinding holding pattern to the next expansion. Enjoy the endless journey motherfuckers!
One thing of note is that Guild Leader Level Patreon Member Ching Hsiang Hung made constant reference in the Beta Tester Script Notes, and even the script itself, that the game did it’s best to kill your immersion. I kind of agree there. There were plenty of times I was starting to get into it, but something about the way it executed itself came off strangely. I even had a major problem with the UI at first. Something about it gave me the kind of screen/character disconnect I had in Hawken.
Still I think this game has one of the best ways to handle a multi-class system, especially with stats being tied more to the atlas, and less to your equipment, which luckily you share four pieces of between all classes, only needing to worry about keeping weapons upgraded for each class. The slot upgrade system was pretty nice too, giving even further stat boosts to all equipment you had, regardless of the class you were using. Yes, starting out with a new class is a real PITA solo, but that’s nothing a good group can’t fix.