Here is a review for Battle of the Immortals done by Erhan Altay of MMOHut.
Battle of the Immortals Review
Battle of the Immortals is an action packed free to play MMORPG from the creators of Perfect World. The game was built using a different engine than previous Perfect World Entertainment titles and plays like an old school action-RPG. The isometric camera view, and ’2.5D’ graphics aren’t cutting edge, but Battles of the Immortals has plenty of interesting features to pick up the slack.
Cookie Cutter Characters
The closed beta for Battle of the Immortals started on April 13th, 2010 and is scheduled to end on April 30th. After a wipe, the open beta should start shortly after. Each server has multiple channels which are duplicates of the same game world. This feature keeps certain areas from suffering overpopulation while still allowing friends to play together. Players are given five character slots per server which is just enough for the game’s 5 classes. The classes are all standard fantasy archetypes and include Berzerker (damage dealing warrior), Champion (tank), Slayer (rogue), Magus (mage), and Heretic (priest.) Character customization is very limited. Players can chose from five hair styles and ten face styles. That’s it. Regardless of the options selected, characters end up looking very much alike.
A Diverse World
The game world of Battle of the Immortals borrows heavily from an assortment of cultures. New players start off in an Egyptian setting, but are soon catapulted to the bottom of the ocean, then onto the exotic Easter Island. Asian themed areas are also included, as is a frigid Nordic island. The varied environments help keep the visuals interesting, but the game’s heavy use of automation means most players will never feel immersed in the game world. Controls are simple enough. Like most games with isometric camera views, movement is done exclusively with the mouse. That means Battle of the Immortals is a click-to-move game, but keyboard shortcuts are available to make interface navigation and skill use much easier. A series of help menus provide new players with basic instructions, but the controls themselves are not complicated. Instead, players will pick up the basics as they complete a never ending chain of quests.
Running on Auto Pilot
Like many Asian MMORPGs, Battle of the Immortals has a built in auto-navigate feature in which players can click on the name of an NPC or monster and watch their character automatically move to where they are located. Most quests either involve speaking to a certain NPC, killing a certain number of a particular monster, or collecting a certain number of a particular item. All three types of quest are easy to figure out and can be done with minimal effort. The first dozen or so quests reward players with potions and equipment along with tons of experience. Questing is so rewarding that leveling without them is unthinkable in BOI. But with them, levels go by fast. Players can easily hit level 20 in their first play session. Even with the level cap set somewhere around 95, that’s pretty fast.
Touch & Feel
Fast paced gameplay and an interesting game world may give players a good first impression of Battles of the Immortals, but the font and interface are likely to cause frustration. The text in the game is nearly unreadable and just looks plain ugly. Obviously this is a localization issue since the game was originally developed in China. Hopefully this problem will be fixed before the final release. Another headache is the interface. The inventory and character menus look rough and are needlessly complicated. Bag space is also terribly restricted. The game gives away a lot of items with gift boxes, but just juggling these freebies along with the potions and loot collected is a hassle since players only have 25 inventory slots to work with.
Fight Against the Odds
Combat is for the most part fluid, but doesn’t feel quite as responsive as in Diablo 2 or other high production games. Monsters have a tendency to bunch up literally on top of each other which looks a bit cheesy. Perfect World Entertainment has beefed up the aggressiveness of the monsters for the Western version of Battle of the Immortals. This means that even at low levels, enemies won’t just stand around to be beaten on like the monsters in Jade Dynasty or Ether Saga Online do. Players have several tools in their arsenal for dealing with these aggressive monsters. The first is something called XP skills. Unlike regular skills which require MP to use, XP skills can only be activated when the XP bar fills. These skills deal massive damage in a large area of effect radius. They are perfect for quickly completing kill quests since monsters tend to bunch up together. The second tool is the pet system.
Gotta Catch ‘em All!
One of the most interesting features in Battle of the Immortals is its pet system. Players don’t start with a pet, but any class can get one simply by killing monsters. Almost every monster, including some bosses, have a chance of dropping them selves as a pet when defeated. When this happens, they’ll float where they fell but the player’s cursor will turn into a lasso when hovered over them. Right clicking on the monster at this stage will add it to the player’s pet list. Like player characters, pets have five stats (Vit, Spr, Str, Int, Dex) and can learn skills. Each pet has a different primary stat and either a magical or physical attack type. All pets start at level 1 but quickly level up as they share experience with their master. Pets gain 2 stat points per level that must be distributed among the five stats. Player character also gain two stat points, but only after level 20. Until then, the game handles stat allocation automatically. Only one pet can be activated at a time, and two more can be kept in storage. An additional pet storage slot is available for every 30 levels a player progresses, but that is still far too limited. Dismissing old pets is the most difficult decision players have to make in Battle of the Immortals, and it would be been great if we were able to store them someplace like in Pokemon.
Mounts & More
Players also have to manage various mounts in the game. There are six mount slots to work with, but given the large variety of mounts even this may prove limited. The first standard mount is granted as a reward for completing an instanced dungeon. Later, mechanical mounts and even mounts that can be ridden by multiple players become available. Besides mounts and pets, there’s a host of other features included in Battle of the Immortals. Each week players are given 300 minutes of double experience time that they can activate and deactivate as often as they like. Players also earn salary points based on how many hours they spend online. These salary points can be used to purchase premium items and serve as an alternative to the item mall which requires ZEN. There’s also a controversial in-game botting system called Combat Aid. It requires ‘energy’ to use. The amount of energy required means it is only viable starting at level 60, but it just goes further in promoting automation over player input. The reasoning behind an official bot program is always that people are just going to bot anyway. It still feels like a lazy move on the developers part, and definitely makes the game feel less credible.
Delivering the End Game
Besides instanced dungeons that require parties of up to 6 to complete, the game offers a simple PvP system to keep high level players interested. Starting at level 31, players can click a little blue shield icon near their health bars and turn on PvP mode. This allows them to attack and be attacked by other players. But PvP is not a complete free for all, killing innocent players will turn a player’s name yellow and eventually red. Players flagged as murderers in this way will drop equipment upon death. Another feature that is only available later on is the Tech system (level 35) which is the main method of crafting. The ability to tweak weapon and armor stats through forging and gem socketing also adds a level of customization to the game. Most weapons will naturally gain experience as they are used and become more powerful. This means even gear acquired during earlier levels can still be made useful. All these features will benefit players who stick around, but is Battle of Immortals worth the effort? Well that depends on taste. It’s not the most cutting edge game, but it is casual friendly and easy to play.
Final Verdict: Great
Battle of the Immortals isn’t perfect, but it is a highly playable MMORPG with fast paced gameplay. Progression feels well paced, and new features slowly unlock as players level up. The pet and mount systems are top notch, but the game does too much to promote automation. Even with the diverse environments and quests, there’s never a sense of depth to Battle of the Immortals.
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