Tree of Savior (Episode 87)
THE GRINDSTONE TRIBUNAL:
We have plenty along for the ride this time, as a lot of people wanted to say something about this title… Check out the entries from Word on the Wind, Chachera, Dabeer, Dreskar, Karochi, Dobar and myself as well close out this chapter of an actual free-to-play game for once.
Word on the Wind:
Ragnarok Online was my first MMO and the one I played longer than any other. Around the point that I started playing RO, World of Warcraft (Which I functionally never played) hit and basically became the standard by which all MMOs are compared to and have mechanics lifted from. As a result, a lot of the ideas that went into RO that I think make an MMO interesting aren’t seen much at all, at this point if only for the sake of variety.
I have never liked the idea of “This is a level appropriate monster, if you’re a burst-damage class, you can kill it in 20-30 seconds” which was the average encounter time in FF14 as of Heavensward. Spending that much time on a single monster is a slog in my mind. RO and Tree of Savior meanwhile tend to favor having a lot of monsters generally with low health pools compared to a player’s high damage and as a result monsters tend to drop quick enough that taking 20+ seconds could be considered an extensive encounter, like a boss. Item drops working how they do in rarity brings about manners in which newer players can get lucky and get a rare drop that an older player needs for some reason and can make money from, allowing them an easier time to advance their character. Monsters dying quickly facilitates these low drop rates.
Investing point allocations to statistics and skills actually means something. I’ve seen a lot of MMOs that don’t allow you to customize your character to a satisfying degree or at all, FF14 has stat allocations but they functionally mean nothing. One of my favorite things to do in RO was come up with goofy gimmick builds and seeing them to fruition. Similarly, RO had a species/property system in place so that given skills or equipment would be more or less effective against a given enemy depending upon these two factors. ToS retains this, though it is far simpler. Unlike RO, ToS has so much variety in just how a character can be composed that the Classic WoW problem of, “My build is worthless for endgame because everything I do is resisted.” is difficult to stumble into by accident. Many games, such as FF14, have chosen to forgo any kind of resistance/vulnerability system entirely to avoid this issue.
Does ToS have it’s flaws? Sure. What doesn’t? I haven’t really had any bug issues, so I suppose I’m lucky on that front. The local company seems to be rather earnest about addressing a variety of issues and the core gameplay is just something that appeals to me, a game that has a simple but effective infrastructure and lets you confront it on your own terms.
So I had known next to nothing about this game going into it, other then the name.So knowing it was free to play and the fact, that I wanted to join everyone in the fun(or not) I downloaded it and started. I started up the game , heard the title screen music and….well I am a sucker for some Celtic music. I started as a mage to play with the others,while I did not hate it since I did not want to get too ahead. I made a character to play on my own with, and basically played the game non stop other then when I was at work. Almost level 100 at time of writing this, I think I should say I recommend it,as my whole experience with the game has been a very enjoyable one.However then I think back to why I enjoyed myself,and when I really thought about it, I enjoyed the game because it reminds me heavily of Trickster online with a bit of Wonderland online mixed in(So much easier to level in ToS though). I enjoyed the wave of nostalgia everything brought with it. I liked the music the score may I mention is without a doubt my favorite aspect of this game, it is a very good soundtrack. However not all the songs belong in the area’s they were put, and the way some of the audio cuts to another sound or song is jarring, even if I was able to ignore it after awhile. I really like the graphics,the sprite work is for the most part well done for the old school effect of what they were trying to go for. However the sprites like glitching out from time to time, with their heads twitching or things jerking around, also everything could look a lot smoother,heck to mention trickster online again, despite being a game from 2003 it still looks better overall I think. I like the combat for what it is however, it requires little thought at times,not meaning it’s all bad cause as a swords master I feel powerful,which is enough for me to not get tired of beating mobs of enemies. The more I think about this game though the more I want to play it,but not really because I am totally in love with it. I enjoy playing it, but I really feel like I did when playing Trickster before it was tragically shut down(Played it for almost 10 years BABY).I liked ToS because of how nostalgic it made me feel. However it does have quite of few of these tiny problems that keep on popping up that, other Grindstone members have talked about them so I won’t mention them all again. Was these problems enough for me to dislike or not enjoy the game, no not even close to being enough. However I do not think I am going to be the majority here….or maybe I am and I am not looking at steam reviews enough, hehe.
Recommended?: YES and NO.
YES if you really want a nice little retro feeling mmo with a few updates that make it feel a bit different and fresh, as long as you don’t mind some problems along the way.
NO if you’re feeling really unsure or if you know all the problems of the game will add up overtime(and I feel they might for a lot of people) Even I will admit there are quite a few much better MMO’s that are a lot like this game or feel very similar.
Man, my opinions on this game are extremely mixed… which looking back at my thoughts on the past few games seems to be something of a common theme for me. Then again, unlike the last two games I paid for, where I was leveraging my enjoyment against the price paid, Tree of Savior was free, and yet I’m probably even more divided about it.
This was a game that going in, I did want to like, and for the first few minutes, everything seemed nice. As a former Ragnarok Online player, the aesthetic style of the game immediately meshed with me, and I have to admit I wasn’t actually too down on the combat; as I’ll take any form of “action” combat over just clicking on an enemy and then watching my guy attack. However, this all soon changed as I had made the unfortunate mistake of picking the archer class as my first class. I don’t know what they had in mind when they made this combat system, but it sure as hell wasn’t the archer classes. My god, you can only attack on enemy at a time with the archer, and you NEED to be locked on to actually hit them, but either the game’s targeting system will only pick the furthest enemy from yourself even when you are surrounded, or it will simply unselect a target because you were backing up. Hell, this even extends to the skills, where if you thought you wanted to back up before casting, then tough luck, you’re now firing off all your arrows away from the enemy. This seriously feels like a combat system designed for the swordsman class, and then they just threw in three other classes because of contractual obligations.
While changing classes to the swordsman did alleviate some of these problems, the game did not hold back in showing me just how much more it could screw up. From amateur design decisions to extremely low spawn rate quest mobs, the game did not pull any punches when it came to shitty MMO design clichés. While I like the “retro” graphics they went with, it really feels like they stuck too close to that “retro” feel for all of their game design choices. So much has changed in gaming since when I liked Ragnarok Online, and while I loved it back then, there’s a reason why I no longer play it; even though it is available for free. Then again, even comparing it to Ragnarok Online doesn’t seem fair, because at least that game felt decently put together for the time, and they actually understood how to do a class system. I mean, yes, Tree of Savior does technically have a lot of classes, but they are all under the 4 main classes; and even then, they all just feel like “more advanced swordsman” or “slightly better archer”.
Oh yeah, and as pretty much everyone here will rage against, screw only being able to make a guild if you are the one specific swordsman class that is a super late game class and has no actual use (even in combat) aside from making a guild. Hell, that one thing alone pretty much sums up my feelings on this game; so many horrible decisions that actively try to break anything good the game was doing. Still, I don’t entirely hate this game, and honestly, I think much of my rage against it simply comes from the fact that I actually really do want to like this game. It should have been a game I enjoyed, and instead I honestly can’t wait to move on to another game, and play something that was actually put together by people who knew what they were doing.
Recommended?: NO, unless you have already played all the good free games and don’t wanna pay any money for an MMO.
This is a game that I will let you know from the start that I can’t stand. This is one of those games that makes me sit back and try to find some excuse to leave, anything, did the cats get in a fight again “oh no I need to go break them up.”, did the pizza burn in the oven well I better go see to that. I just couldn’t stand anything about this, but that was in degrees as is so often the case and a lot of these are subjective as you would expect but others are just bad game design decisions. I also want to make mention that the ‘porcelain sex dolls’ that Jon talks about creep me out extremely. The world design has some interesting ideas like the gondola system, or actually allowing for people to have the same first name because they have different last names aka Team names, the class system is an interesting idea that could have made for some deep thoughts about later class diversity but doesn’t, and allowing cash shop currency to be bought and sold on the auction house is always welcome to me.
The downsides are that the game’s combat, especially after playing systems that are far more robust like ESO or TSW, show the faults even more. The sound design is off with too much emphasis and punch put into the basic attacks which drowns out all the special attacks and prompts into a mindless mush, the game feels like it was built for the warrior class only and then had others tacked on, YOU CAN’T MAKE A GUILD UNLESS YOU PLAY ONE SPECIFIC CLASS AND CHOOSE ONE SPECIFIC SUBCLASS THAT IS OTHERWISE SHIT, the game runs terribly for what should be something even a toaster could run, the animations are all over the place even more hilarious being the emotes that are freeze frames instead of actual emotes. I know some people will enjoy this, and this game was so clearly not meant for me but I can’t in good conscious actually recommend this to anyone. This game is yet another example of having a year to sort out bugs and they are still here and even getting worse.
Recommended?: Haha, fuck NO
Why do we play games like this? Do we want to show off how many levels we’ve had no fun getting, or do people actually enjoy the grind? If so, why not play a game that maybe put a tiny bit more effort into making the game not play like complete shit? Or maybe it’s the awesome levels of customization you can eventually get on your white skinned, brown-eyed and usually brown haired character?
This game controls like shit, runs like shit and looks… decent, I guess. I mean, it’s hardly the breast looking game around, but tit’s alright aesthetically. Though I don’t think this game’s all it’s racked up to be. It just seems like a re-skin of Ragnarok Online without any improvements even though RO came out fuckin’ centuries ago. Why did they dredge up this abomination of a PC original PS1-to-PC port and release it now?
The thing I feel most worth mentioning about this game is the soundtrack. Unlike with the game, people are more mixed in opinions on this one. Some say it’s weird and not fitting and therefore bad. Some say it’s weird and not fitting and therefore glorious. I’d say, separating the soundtrack from the game and just listening to it on its own merits it’s a pretty solid soundtrack.
All in all, get the soundtrack; not the game.
A little background before we start, I have never played any of the Ragnarok Online games and the main MMO I played when I was younger was Final Fantasy XI, so I came in with no feelings of the series. When I started playing the game, I was having a decent time, I was not running into as many problems as other people, and I was going through zone after zone just fine. The longer I played the game, the less I was enjoying it. The outdoor zones felt more like hub towns in other MMORPGs, where you did a few quests and you were done with the area in maybe twenty to thirty minutes, unless you were farming for certain items, where the indoor sections took longer and the instanced dungeons felt exactly the same for each of the ones I saw, 100+ powered up mobs and one boss.
And here lies one of my biggest problems with the game, I started getting bored of how repetitive the game was, which I know is what it suppose to be in a Korean grinder. I did enjoy the music, though I some of the music does feel out of place. The more time passed, the less I played and as of this post, it has been a few days since I played the game and have no desire to go back.
I wish there was a way to test out the different advance classes and be able to see how the abilities actually work, but as far as I know, once you pick a class, you are stuck with it. It would be such a pain to have a level 225 character and find out what you picked was not good. This unfortunately leads to having to look up guides to find the flavor of the month combination that might be nerfed in a few months. It also does not help that if you need to make a guild, you need a throwaway character leveled up really high to unlock Templar, or use another character slot if you want to make a lot of money with Alchemy.
I do have other problems with the game, there seem to either be too few or too many enemies in an area, and both of these make the game not fun. While I liked that the game has controller support, my biggest problem is when my controller disconnects from the computer, and it causes the game to crash. I was fortunate to not hit too many grind walls, but I know that if i kept playing, I would hit a grind wall very shortly, and that would have been even more painful.
As the days went on, I went from liking the game, to tolerating the game, to not liking the game. While I may not hate it as much as other people, I probably will not be playing it again, unless I was really bored. I did like the music, but the rest of the game is not something I am into. It does not help that I do not care for old-school grinders anymore.
Recommended?: NO, maybe try it if you are really bored and are fine with Korean grinders, otherwise, there are many better options.
I wrote this whole script.
This whole fucking script.
I knew damned well had I not, I’d be doing it anyway, as Dreskar was having none of this game, and I knew that rage was going to shine forth in the script, and there is no way I’m doing another weeaboo bait episode with an overtly negative slant… I mean, they’ll see one anyway, cause I know how they do, and I don’t need to hand a stack of kindling AND the matches over to “Kazuki Kyocera” and his waifu avatar. There might be a lot of people shitting on this game on Steam (seriously, even the positive ones are just trolling now.) but those who love the game LOVE it, and are already on high defensive mode. We are at DEFCON Baka, people!
But with all that negativity, I can’t bring myself to hate the game, because I really don’t care. I mean, I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy this classic grinder gameplay. It’s not fun walking into a new area and seeing everything take a 10-20 level leap ahead of you, knowing you’ve got a few hours to waste in your future. But I still almost felt the desire to continue on. I wanted to see what new skills I’d obtain with the next class… to see what the new area would bring… to see what new bosses and dungeons awaited… but I couldn’t be assed. And I can be even less assed to hate the game enough to tell people not to play it either. Maybe I did find the graphics quite appealing. Maybe I really dig the music that plays as I’m carving my way through enemies. Maybe I just find it funny that there are now TWO correct responses if a Jeopardy tile ever says “This cute anime-styled Korean-Grinder Fantasy MMO by Kim Hakkyu takes place during the apocalypse of a European mythology.”
Am, I still going to be playing it though?
Oh, by the way, this is also the click-baitiest TITlecard I’ve done, and I spent way too much time on it not to share it with you all. Also, if you’re looking for the original wallpaper version, I’ll have that right here as well. Fap on, fappy fappers.
Recommended?: YES. Despite it being an absolute broken pile of porcelain fuck dolls, I can definitely see the appeal for those who would want to put up with it all.