Asta (Episode 88)
THE GRINDSTONE TRIBUNAL:
Few got into this game in time, and fewer stuck around to write up a tribunal, among those that did however… we have words. Dobar, Dreskar, Karochi and myself offer up our thoughts, but all reach a solid consensus.
A little background about myself, in most MMOs, I tend to make my first character a male human and might try other races if I want to try alts. I hate when games lock classes by race or by sex, whether it was the summoner in Blade and Soul, a couple of classes in Tera, or the berserker in this game. I generally also do not like to play the loli race, no matter the game. I say all this because the berserker is the only class in this game I kinda liked, though archer and rogue were okay with me. It is odd to see the standard warrior archetype that has a summoner or warlock type summon and an ability to vanish from the fight and lose all hate, even in dungeons. Even then, no matter the class I played, it was just pressing a few buttons when the cooldowns ended and endlessly killing mobs in kill quests.
It is so weird to be in such an empty community that might have 100 on at a time, and I might be generous. This felt as empty as Black Gold Online, but even more boring. All the dungeons we saw were kill 20-30 enemies and kill a boss, and it felt disappointing, even when we had four people in a five man dungeon. I tried the dungeon finder on my own a few hours and only got one queue the entire time. You see the few people in faction chat beg others to join events. I have seen people complain that there was not enough people for a battleground to queue, despite all the begging from people. This community is probably smaller than some college classrooms, at least on the one US server.
At least because of the tiny community, there is almost no chance that you will be ganked in open PVP, even though the only chance you might run into the other faction is in the level 55 zone, Wado, and even then, you probably have to go out of the way to find it.
There is nothing interesting about this game, this game probably has a smaller community than Meridian 59, and there is nothing to look forward to, even in the level 55 zone. While there are MMOs I hate more than this, like Allods Online, I find this game pretty boring and not worth the time to play.
Recommended?: NO, there are dozens of better MMOs out there and a number of better WoW clones.
This is one of those games where seeing the small interesting sparks and ideas coming through left me rather hopeful that we would be getting one of those, sadly all too rare, games that were flawed but interesting. That hope was quickly dashed as the stretches of gameplay became more and more tedious, the chat empty and barren like the world itself. Those few interesting ideas were just that, few and far between, environments were all generic and blended together until far too late, the storyline was insufferable and the quests had the usual shortcoming of so dull we skipped reading anything about it. Here we had a world that could have been something more, something special and all of it was thrown away to make a clone of a game a decade past its prime.
There was no creativity or care put into the substance of the game, it was just made to be like World of Warcraft because they thought it would catch on. Rather than making something truly unique, rather than learning from a decade of progress within the genre and trying to bring new things to the table. The developers instead offered up half-hearted efforts to recapture nostalgia from a game that wasn’t even their own. Perhaps that is why I am left so angry about this title, all that wasted effort when doing something unique in a world we don’t see often in the MMO genre, was instead put to a cynical effort to make money and follow the leader.
If there is one thing I can think to say in defense of this game it would be playing through it has given me a greater appreciation for those few games that decided to take a risk, that decided to try something new and interesting. In the end I don’t feel anything but scorn for Asta and just can’t wait for it to be uninstalled and a distant memory, but it has made me appreciate all the advancements we have received since WoW ruined the old genre and new contenders stopped trying to chase the crown. Asta never learned that lesson, and it shouldn’t be a surprise what my recommendation will be, hell even the Koreans didn’t want the game and it was shut down long before it was ever a twinkle in a corporate suit’s eye to bring it to the United States.
ASTA: The War of Tears and Winds. Tears or Wind, which will win? Will the playerbase stay around, depressingly throwing more money at the game hoping in vain that the game might eventually get fun and crying themselves to sleep? Or will they all quit, leaving only the wind to inhabit the upscaled lands they once roamed. Either way, who the fuck cares?
I suppose it’s fair enough that they didn’t make a huge deal about the game launching, since it is painfully obvious that the game is nowhere near finished. Though who’s here to give a shit; Both the players and the developers have moved on at this point. The most obvious sign of there being no one looking over anything was when we were fighting #undefined_crow_boss in the first dungeon and all of us took damage, yet also got an achievement for not taking damage. And even though I enjoyed the confusing train-wreck moments the game had, there was too much grind between the laughs that it was mostly a draining experience.
ASTA is the second most uninteresting trash I’ve ever played. The first spot still goes to Allods since that was also a vanilla WoW clone with a decently unique coat of paint on it, except that entire game was centered around a pay-to-win system that also made PvE unbearable. In ASTA I never felt like my character was too weak to handle anything or that I was being restricted. I was just very, very bored. So it really isn’t the worst thing ever, but much like it might be better to live in a trash can than in a cardboard box; you really should aspire for something better.
I can’t entirely hate this game. Hell, I think I was the one most insistent we keep pushing forward, settling on a cap of seeing at least the second major dungeon, and a level of 25 reached… which I accomplished… But yeah, this was a rough one to want to play. Confession time, I’ve been working on a real life grind of a workout program for the past month or so, so planning my day around a gym visit, to be capped off with an afternoon of gaming turned out to be a bit harder than I thought it would…. With Overwatch, I didn’t have the problem sneaking in the playtime.
This game, I didn’t want to fucking start.
It’s not that it’s inherently bad, but I’m like, SO done with this kind of game now. The Secret World spoiled me. There’s a reason I don’t want to look at Star Wars: The Old Republic anymore. While I did at least find something to be valued in this game, it’s not a game I want to play. Which is sad, because I think I’d be pretty decent at it. The mechanics were simple to understand, and the combat, while basic, was easy enough to grasp. I would dare say I had fun with the bosses. But this world is far too large, far too spread out.. to feel this empty.
I think what sealed it in for us was our “farewell tour” in which we all took a station master mount to the far edge of the map, to see what lies beyond in the game. Thinking just how long it took us to get to where we stopped… and knowing we barely scratched the surface to the amount of quests in locations… was more disheartening than anything. Sure, there’s tons of content! Quests galore! But I can’t imagine how much the leveling must get slowed around that time. We were three major areas into the game, with a solid week of play under our belt, and there were more than twice that remaining.. and all that while… no one else was there to be seen. A massive playground, eerily abandoned.
People like to toss out “dead game” if they see less than 10 people in a given area on an MMO. Try half of that in the spammable faction chat, and you have a pretty damned good reason to call a game dead on arrival.
Recommended?: NO. The key to an MMO is to have more than a few people playing it.