Craft of Gods Review
By MMOHut's Erhan Altay
Craft of Gods is a fantasy MMORPG based on Slavic mythology that’s developed by the Italian studio Kalicanthus Entertainment. Hosted in Europe, but open to players everywhere, Craft of Gods bills it self as the MMORPG of free choices. Recently it has made good on that slogan by opening a free to play server. Prior to September 2010, Craft of Gods required a monthly subscription. Now, the original premium server coexists with the newer free to play server. The two servers offer unique experiences. Free users face several restrictions which can be made up for using Kun, the premium currency.
Light vs Dark
When registering an account, free players can skip the part that asks for a serial key and start downloading the 1.5 gb client right away. After a lengthy patch process, players set the game’s resolution and can create their character. There are two rival factions to chose from, each with three races available. Both factions include one human race, but the other four are culled from Slavic legends. The Hyperborean, Velet, Voldkodlaki, and Dyagv may be barely pronounceable but they are unique. Each race has its own starting location, and appearance customization options. There are several hairstyles, hair colors, face styles, and skin tones to chose from. Additionally, players can use various sliders for things like hip size, muscle build, legs, and stomach.
A Whole New World
Upon logging in for the first time, players will notice how attractive the game world of Akvilon can be. The graphics aren’t exceptional, but the development team did a good job with it. The visuals are especially pleasant compared to how often we see nearly identical graphic engines in free to play MMORPGs. the background music is also pleasant, but other sound effects are missing. The biggest flaw in Craft of Gods is the general sense that it feels unfinished. Many generic sounds and attack animations are lacking. Having a cow stare at you while your health diminishes can be awkward. The interface is confusing, but at least a big original. The chat box is located in the top right corner rather than the usual bottom left spot. The map is hard to read, and the minimap is nearly useless. Movement is controlled via W,A,S,D with the right mouse button controlling the camera. Players start near an NPC that offers a beginner quest. The dialogue screen is also poorly designed, quests players have already accepted will continue to appear next to ones they haven’t, and even quests that are too high in level will be listed.
The world in Craft of Gods is vast. There are around 25 maps, but the size and scope of each makes the game feel huge. Monsters are usually not clumped together as in most MMORPGs, which also helps make the world feel larger. Players will spend the first few levels killing local woodland creatures. The experience rate and sense of progression are slow paced, so its important to complete quests. The trouble is that the quests do a poor job establishing a sense of direction. It is possible to review quest instructions in the task menu and to see blips of where quest objectives are located on the map, but a better minimap would have gone a long way. It doesn’t help that the free server as a reduced experience rate either. The level cap is currently 100 and players earn five stat points and an ability point each level. There are four stats and they are strength, agility, stamina, and intelligence. Simple enough. There are no classes in Craft of God, instead players customize their character by allocating stat and ability points. There are 14 categories of ability (called ‘schools’), ranging from different magic types such as fire, water, storm, etc to physical abilities like close range attack and defense. A max level character will have accumulated enough ability to points to max two of the fourteen schools and get about halfway through a third. Of course it is possible not to max out any school and instead mix and match between all available abilities. This is, however, not recommended.
Any Mount, Anywhere
Mounted combat in Craft of Gods is seamless, as is the act of acquiring a mount. Players can tame any level low level creature they come across. Nearly all of these tamed creatures can then be mounted including cows, giant centipedes, and so on. The free server restrictions start to creep up with the pet system as players will need special scrolls to tame higher level creatures. These scrolls must be purchased using Kun, the premium currency. Craft of God has a total of 6 crafting skills, but only four are supported on the free to play server. Resource spots are scattered across the world and include metal veins, trees that can be chopped down, and so on. Other restrictions include things like inventory and storage size, total number of guild members (10), and so on. Of course small microtransactions can be made to over come these restrictions. Each map in Craft of Gods contains several dungeons, but access to ‘Epic Dungeons’ which contain better loot and reward increased experience can only be accessed via the use of special teleportation scrolls. Other restrictions include rarer potions, food, and ress stones on the free service. Craft of Gods is one of the few MMORPGs to keep parallel pay to play and free services, perhaps following the example of EverQuest 2: Extended. Even with the restrictions, the system does work. Players can experience everything the game has to offer for as long as they like. The developers allow players to switch between the two servers, so players who find themselves putting in a lot of time can upgrade to the subscription model.
Few MMORPGs these days include a player housing feature, so its refreshing to see one in Craft of Gods. Players can purchase homes, decorate them, and invite their family members over. The family feature is independent of the more common guild system and allows players to designate their character as the son, father, brother, or other family member of another character. Both parties must of course agree to this kinship before it becomes official. This feature allows for many role playing opportunities, but may largely go unused by the average player since Craft of Gods has a chronic shortage of players. The situation may improve now that the game has removed barriers to entry and made it self free to play.
Final Verdict: Fair
Craft of Gods looks good, and has an original character development scheme. Unfortunately, it feels to barren. The recent move to open a free to play server was a great move, but its obvious that the game wasn’t developed with that model in mind.
Pros: +Tame and mount almost any animal. +6 races split 2 two warring factions. +14 ability types. +Crafting and resource collection skills.
Cons: -Lack of direction. -Free server comes with some restrictions. -Large world, but small playerbase. -Interface could use work.