Set in the mystical world of Chantra, every month - working
with your fellow guild - one player will take control of the
entire game world and gain the opportunity to wreak havoc
upon their cowering enemies using a number of supreme, ArchLord
powers. For their can be only one ArchLord. The world of Chantra
is designed around the five elements, fire, spirit, earth,
water and air. As you move through the world, from the dark
expanses of the Orc home world through to the bright, light
marble of the human world, you can play as one of three races
including Humans, Moon Elves's and Orcs. Take part in massive
real time battles between guilds accommodating hundreds of
players. Or, for those that wish to engage in more solo based
play, you will be able to partake in an extensive range of
quests to explore the world and level your skills...
I am in the midst of playing Lord of the Rings: The Third
Age I thought, excellent, Elves, Orcs and Men. This will
be like LOTR, only bigger. Well, at first glance it
certainly is bigger and prettier, but a good picture does
not a good game make.
of the first thing you notice is the lack of options when
designing your character. Although there are three races to
play, there are a number of restrictions built into the beta
version. For a start you cannot be a male elf. Apart from
the skewing in the demographic - presumably females will gravitate
to female characters and males to male characters, making
most of the elves girls and most of the humans male, we'll
try not to discuss the personal hang-ups of people who choose
to be the Orcs - the lack of making significant changes to
the look of your character, to produce a recognisable individual,
has you running around the game area loosing track of who
you're ready to choose and what do you get? Well, for the
Humans you can play as a Knight (male), an Archer (male) or
a Mage (female) each of which comes with a limited number
of hair and face changes. For the Orcs you get a Berserker
(male), Hunter (female) and a Sorcerer (male) and the Elvin
Ranger and Elementalist are both female. All the characters
are well drawn and in the game play all, except a few of my
Orcs, moved with a fluid grace I wasn't expecting from an
on-line game. My poor Orc, however, appeared to have his legs
taped together, so would spend his time gliding round the
game area in a most unnerving way.
I cranked up the game and found myself in a mysterious Elvin
land, clad in short skirt, corset, a nice set of suspenders
and tights and it wasn't even my usual Saturday night in.
Armed with what looked, suspiciously, like a bit of dubious
driftwood I ventured forth to brain some poor local. In my
book, the smaller the better works well. Moving around is
pretty easy, just right click where you want to be and you
will find yourself jauntily running to that spot, showing
only a reasonable amount of white panty. If you look closely
enough you can see that the panties have an amount of detail
which speaks volumes about the character designer and his
need to find a real girlfriend. Still,
I was off to brain something, a task I found also very easy.
the starting village, which acts as a safe area, you'll find
a variety of local wild life that you can beat to death with
your bit of wood. Successfully beating up the weak and defenceless
gains you experience points, possibly the sort that leads
to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The pigs I killed didn't
look like they were having a good day. So it's back to the
Elvin village which looks, for all the world, like teenage
fetish heaven, to find out what I can do with my points. It
turns out, very little. Seems you have to go on quests or
learn to cook, something which sounds a lot less fun than
braining little bright eyes.
is the nature of on-line games. They require a lot of your
time to get anywhere and from what I can tell they are addictive.
I work with two men who are virtually wraiths, having played
World of Warcraft, they stay up till the wee small
hours and talk about their game as if it were a real world.
So, given that there are a number of similar games on the
market, why choose this one? Well, for a start, if you can
get enough mates together in a guild to really push things
around Archlord allows you to become supreme ruler
of this world. Now there's a thing to aim for. As supreme
ruler - if only for a month - you get all kinds of great things,
which allow you to be benevolent or extremely sadistic.
is the want of a lot of PR companies games are provided with
little in the way of a manual. Now I don't mind this as a
well designed game should allow for a little human intuition
at the start. There is nothing worse than having to spend
an hour reading some turgid manual before you can go off and
kill something. Happily Archlord's basic movements
are pretty self-evident, meaning you will be up and running
in no time, though, I suspect that to get the best out of
the game you will have to read the manual.
when reviewing a new game I'll play it for about forty hours
first; this one I gave up after about thirty, not because
it was bad, but because I found myself still up at three in
the morning. This game is addictive. The world is huge and
is just as much fun playing on your own as meeting new on-line
friends and banding together. If you want a massive game where
you can quest for hidden treasure then this is for you. If
you want to form Guilds, and battle for supremacy of the land,
then this game is also for you.
that the review was done on the Beta and not the finished
game, I can only assume that the final thing will be horribly
enjoyable, extremely addictive and will most probably destroy
whatever social life you have. Considering that this is normally
not my sort of game I could see myself disappearing into this
new world. For those of you who enjoy on-line games I think
you've just been given a whole new world to explore.
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