Here is a review from Jamie Skelton of MMOHut for the game Aika.
Aika is a fantasy MMORPG published by Gala-Net (Flyff, Rappelz, and Allods Online) and produced by JoyImpact (Neo Steam). Combining classic MMO elements with special twists on ideas like the personal pet (Pran) and rewarding PvP combat, Aika is a beautiful game with potential to be one of the best F2P MMOs available.
The Dark Arts are for Men Only
Aika offers six classes to choose from: two melee (Warrior and Paladin), two ranged (Rifleman and Dual Gunner), and two casters (Warlock and Cleric.) Classes are gender-locked, meaning only male characters can be Warriors, Riflemen, and Warlocks, while only female characters can be Paladins, Dual Gunners, and Clerics. Character customization itself is not fantastic, but there are enough options for hair, hair color, and face to feel at least a little bit apart from the rest of your newbie brethren. Although gender-locked classes are a disappointment, each class offers something unique to both PvE and PvP elements. Regardless of class, players won’t feel unwanted for groups or PvP.
Involved in the Story
Aika has a great deal of classic MMORPG components, including storyline-based questing. Quests in Aika are made more intriguing, partially because to receive them, players must go through series of scripted dialogue between the player character and the NPC. This is a different system than the traditional block of text followed by objectives and a reward. The artful story-telling doesn’t get in the way of clear quest objectives, which are included in both an on-screen tracker and decent hints in your quest log. Even when the quest dialogue fails to expose where the “bad guy” is, the quest interface will direct players to the name of the enemy they need to find and what area it can be found. And, as a bonus, Aika is well-translated and localized – the “Engrish” common to many free-to-plays is nowhere to be found.
Meet Your Fairy Daughter
While other MMORPGs may make you wait dozens of levels before earning access to signature things in the game, Aika gets the ball rolling early. You only gain a few levels before you’re sent off to meet your Pran (also known as your “daughter”). The Pran is essentially a pet system somewhat similar to that of Perfect World International. Prans are fairy children, and the first part of getting your Pran is to find three “rare” drops off three enemies found outside the city within an hour. Although these are rare drops, they are relatively easy to get – I got each of mine in less than ten kills of each creature. Next is choosing the type of Pran you want: Fire (offensive), Water (recovery and defense), or Air (evasive). Collect the right amount of elemental essences for your Pran choice, which are rare drops from the creatures nearby, as a sort of tribute to your Fairy and the Pran system. The essences may take a while to get, unless you choose to trade or buy them off other players, who are pretty willing to make that arrangement. Finally you’ll get your Pran, who starts off as a little buzzing fairy that annoys your Captain, but will eventually evolve into a young girl, whose appearance will change based on the choices you make in feeding and talking with her.
Not only do you get your Pran early on, you don’t have to wait very long for grouping, either. Before you even hit level ten, you’ll be assigned to check out a new area via a teleporter. This fortress is designed for groups, and comes both with both a normal mode (designed for levels 10+) and a hard mode (designed for 16+). This actually comes as a pleasant surprise for those who enjoy grouping in MMOs, but often find it sparse before end-game content. An in-game LFG tool, that combines chat with a group search features, is also available. Players who prefer to go solo, however, are free to ignore the instance missions if they like, and come back and solo them at higher levels.
Excuse Me, Lord Marshal
For those who love the adrenaline rush of PvP, Aika won’t disappoint, with several types of PvP events that can host thousands of players in massive raids. A common starting point for players are Battlegrounds, organized arena team play similar to that in World of Warcraft – a sort of PvP training ground. These battles can range from teams of 6 to teams of 24, in matches created by players. Players have full choice when creating a battleground as to team size, time limits, game modes, and the winning score criteria.
PvP opens up further in the world itself, in two other types of PvP: Castle Sieges and Nation Wars. Castle Sieges are regularly scheduled events that pit guilds of players vying for the chance to capture the flag of an enemy castle. The winners become rulers of the defeated nation, and the leader of the guild who contributed the most to the win becomes the Lord Marshal, granting that single player the right to change the nation’s tax rates, withdraw from the national treasury, and even make announcements to the entire nation. Players must be careful not to abuse their power, however, as that may make enemies in future PvP scenarios.
Nations, of course – of which there are five – can also war against each other, invading territories, destroying guardian stones, and stealing from national altars. Lakia’s five nations also compete for control of relic, locked away in Temples. These relics grant nation-wide buffs, but also must be protected in the owning nation’s temple, which Lord Marshals can direct monetary assistance to. The entire Aika PvP system is intricate, and successful nations are those that work cooperatively, planning both offensive and defensive moves, as well as managing resources through the current Lord Marshal.
Gearing Up On Your Own
Crafting is also available for players who enjoy it, allowing them to create their own armor and weapons at a significant discount to directly purchasing them from vendors. Materials are a very common drop from any enemy, and the crafting UI (available at a forge in town) is simple enough to understand with just a few clicks. Gear can also be enhanced through an enchanter, have its requirements leveled down by a smith, or have its properties transferred to another piece of equipment – all convenient ways of managing and enhancing your gear without stress.
An Orchestrated Story
From the moment you set foot in Aika as a young Aitan, the strong tones of the soundtrack surround you. This isn’t a weak soundtrack either, no boring repeats of some generic music. This is a soundtrack fitting of a full-blown RPG. Special events and quests will also suddenly throw in a new musical piece, to switch you, for instance, from the idyllic tunes of the countryside to something more militaristic as you meet your regiment’s captain. At the same time, the system knows that music can be overbearing and will silence itself after a while of staying in the same area. The music isn’t the only thing to amaze you, either: the entire world is populated with beautifully created graphics, natural lighting, and scenery worth pausing to look at from time to time.
Final Verdict: Great
While Aika may not be the most inventive MMORPG on the market, with many systems familiar to MMO veterans, it certainly stands out from the crowd. The game has a charm about it, whether it’s making an individual feel valuable even in the midst of a battle against hundreds, or making social aspects a key element of its PvP system. Aika is a great game for those who enjoy meaningful player versus player combat, and offers a stellar RPG to boot, making it an MMORPG worth trying at least once.
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