The Free MMO Roundup : Vindictus
The Free MMO Roundup : Vindictus (or why my mouse hates me)
I find it interesting that Vindictus doesn’t get more attention in North American gaming blogs. It seems to have a perfect formula for those who enjoy online games and the fantasy genre. Perhaps because it is a translation of a Korean game that is wildly popular (Mabinogi Heroes) it doesn’t get the street cred that it deserves. I played it for awhile, until my computer suffered a horrible case of sound and stability issues, and I’m sure I will go back to it.
The game is a twitchy hack and slash third person view game in the source engine from the perspective of a mercenary in a fantasy world engulfed in a never ending war against the beasts of the ‘formers’. The game is separated into several chapters and actually has a very rich story line and engaging characters that can either be enjoyed, or skimmed over depending on your mood. Missions can be completed alone or in groups and as the player progresses in one of several unique characters they get access to new skills and new equipment.
Why my mouse hates me…
Vindictus has the benefit and drawback of having a client to download. I love games that don’t have a client but I do recognize that some things just don’t mesh well with web applications like Unity3ds implementation. The client allows combat to be more fast paced, and well.. twitchy.. To attack you hit your left mouse button. Simple enough right? It is! But who wants to just swing a sword? Instead I want to do incredibly complex moves, I want to be able to emulate the best of Korean cinema with a flurry of jabs feigns and counter attacks ending in a penultimate strike of such awesomeness that I sit back and sigh with contentedness! So I have to click more.. left, left, left, right.. left, right.. left left left right! My mouse becomes something that takes so much abuse I can almost hear it slowly cracking under my hand. I can get a new mouse though.. Those 100 gnoll captains I just eviscerated was worth it.
But no game is always free!
Of course games must make money, and Vindictus I think has the best system for encouraging people to purchase in game. There are really two revenue streams. The players’ ego, and the players’ dedication. Ego pays for upgrades to how your character looks. You can’t have the really cool hair styles, tattoos, etc that do very little except make you stand out. (Yes, you can also buy pretty underwear for the characters to replace what they come with, a look that is unflattering, but PG. Hey, at least they know their audience). The second revenue stream is the dedication of the players. Twice each week players get a limited amount of tokens used to go on missions. The more missions you do, the more they cost and dedicated players find they can run out of the twice weekly amount in a day! You can either dip into your wallet to get more tokens, OR, by joining a newbie player’s mission and helping them you can earn more tokens. I love the system because it encourages people to buy into the game, but it also provides new players with experienced powerhouses willing to help them out.
All games have flaws…
I think the biggest flaw, and the one that got me a few times, is the repetitiveness that is needed in Vindictus. When I was playing the game was still being translated from the Korean version so not all content was accessible. Even when new content was there though, players are forced to do the same mission hundreds of times in a row to gather the right items to make equipment, or to get the right amount of experience to be able to progress through to the next chapter. All games have some repetition, but killing the same polar bear three hundred times just to get ONE item begins to wear on you.
I definitely would recommend Vindictus. Even if you have another game you play religiously it is great to be able to take a few minutes of pure hack and slash combat to ease the nerves, just make sure you have a spare mouse handy.