Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Review: Darkness and Light

Hi everyone,

Well its been a while without a review and my exams are done, so here we go!

The game: Darkness and Light published by GameNGame (and therefore F2P).
The website: http://global.onlinedal.com/default.asp

Lets start with an introduction to the game. For those of you who know what Defence of the Ancients (DOTA) is, Darkness and Light (DAL) plays almost exactly like DOTA. The main difference is that DOTA requires Warcraft 3 and The Frozen Throne to play, where as DAL is a standalone game/client.

For those of you who don't know what DOTA is , I'll explain the basic structure of DAL:
Each "match" is a game played between 12, 10, 8, 6, etc.. players. Arranged into 6v6, 5v5, etc.. teams. Once the teams are finalized and the game is started, each player choose a "hero" character, which change depending on the team they are in. In DAL there is two sides, Darkness and Light (surprised?), both have different heroes but maintain a similar structure. I'll explain more about this later.

Once heroes are selected, the game begins and you spawn in your own "town". Each team has a town, which they must defend with their lives. If the entire town is destroyed, or the temple of the town is destroyed, your team loses. To help you, there is defensive towers and guardians to ward off any enemies. To travel from your town to the enemies town, there are paths cut through the forests, which also contain defensive towers to aid you further. When you start the game your heroes don't stand much a chance against these towers, thus each town spawns waves of "creeps" which are monsters whose goal is to run from your town to the enemy town and attack anything in sight on the way there. By killing these creeps you gain experience and gold, with the former allowing you to level up and obtain new skills and the latter allowing you to purchase items from the item shop.

In order to facilitate dynamic game play there are also creeps that spawn on their own, in the forest, that will attack anyone in sight. You can go and kill these creeps to gain experience and gold also. Of course, while killing creeps you may run into heroes from the other team. You can also kill them for exp and gold, or maybe they will kill you! When you die you must wait for the timer to resurrect and as you get higher level the timer takes a minute or more..so avoiding death is always important.

The main feature DAL has over DOTA is that you can set a time-limit on the game. Once say..30 minutes has expired, a "boss" monster from each team spawns (from your temple) and they both advance towards the "middle" of the map. Once their, they duke it out and the last boss standing wins. Of course, all the heroes are still alive also so they play an important role in who wins. The bosses spawn with a predetermined level (higher level == stronger) which is based on the amount of enemy buildings/guardians your team has killed. It goes as high as 6, and as low as 1. I find this feature VERY appealing because it allows you to sit down and spend no more than 33 minutes on a game (3 minutes for the boss killing), so you never get stuck in a game longer than you wanted too.

So that's the general idea of the game, onto the actual review now. As I mentioned previously, each side has a set of heroes the players can choose from. And although they may seem different, both sides maintain the same structure for heroes. There is a few strength based heroes, a few intelligence based, and a few dexterity based for each team. The characters damage is dependant on the stat they are "based" on. Each hero has 3 stats: str/dex/int, and 6 secondary indicators: def/aspd/running speed/atk/evasion, and of course hp/sp. You can accent your hero by buying items from the item shop in game with the gold you receive from killing creeps. There is a wide variety of items, including healing potions, weapons, armors, summoning scrolls, etc... What adds dynamic is the ability to combine items into "new" items and then upgrading those items further with upgrade stones. There is no shortage of things you can do with money, which I think adds brilliant dynamics to the game and the item shop is accessible from anywhere in the map so there is possibility to change items on the fly.

In order to add the "MMO" title to it, there is a lobby of games to join once you login to the server. Each time you win a game, you get exp points for your account and "cra", which is money you can spend at the "Personal shop". The exp points level up your account, which just gives a general idea of how "good" you are. If you lose a game, you will lose exp (but not cra).
And also, since people leaving mid-game is a huge problem in DOTA, in DAL they are punished by losing 1.5x the exp they could have gained, and getting "dishonor" points. Dishonor points add to your dishonor rank which appears as a huge red strike next to your name and thus its hard to find a host who wont ban you on sight once you have lots of dishonor. However back to this "Cra". You can spend this cra at the personal shop and "rent" items for X amount of days. These items will appear under the "personal" item tab in-game, and thus still require gold to buy. None of them are grossly overpowered, and I think its good motivation for people take games seriously, as cra is a hot commodity.


Overall I find the game very enjoyable and easy to get the hang of, yet hard to master. The community is a lot more "forgiving" than the DOTA community and thus its a lot easier to get started in DAL than it is in DOTA. The only real qualm I have with the game is a few balance issues, but since its still in open beta stage I have may faith things will change. There is also a Korean version of the game which receives regular patches for balance/tweaks, and the GM'ing of DAL is done quite well especially for a GnG game, which are notoriously bad for there customer service.

The game offers a good 30 minutes (or longer if you'd like) of enjoyment and pits you and your team against other players for PVP/PVE style warfare. There is also a new guild feature, which is still infant, but allows for guild communication channels and an emblem to proudly show which guild you're in. A great game for those casual gamers who cant dedicate hours a day to a standard MMO. But, since its not a TRUE MMO in my mind, it has to lose some points on the ratings.

Rating:
8.5/10

Advice:
PLAY

-RF

1 comment:

seanyboyyo said...

Nice advice: Play

good mmorpg review