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Rank 3
10 Apr 2013
PostedJun 18, 2013 3:02 pm

Scarlet Blade Impressions from a Neophyte Player

Since the farthest I have gotten so far is Level 25 with my Medic, I hesitate to leave a game review, however I believe it is important to get my impressions down so they can be passed on to the developers and help improve the game -- where possible.

For the most part, I can ignore the blatant sexuality, much of which seems to come from the NPCs. The Players I have encountered are quite respectful, and come on to my characters far less than the players of CN's FusionFall (note that this is based on a universe of children's and teenagers' cartoons) for my female characters. Sometimes the nudity pushes things, but if I let that bother me I wouldn't be able to enjoy the rest of the game, and this being only my second MMORPG, I am enjoying much of it.

World Build and Characters
The world is lush with detail, and the characters do have good design. There seem to be limits assigned to the designs on the male NPCs, so they are clearly not the focus. I believe the optional designs on each of the six classes can allow the Player to select a look that properly conveys their character's attributes, although the Sentinel does not necessarily have to be so child-like. I would have liked to see an option with a more mature frame for the class, even if she has to do the splits for one or two Skills. All the same, the classes are worth exploring.

Having seen the Whipper's Level 15 armour, I wonder if this is a commentary in some way on how exposed she is due to the nature of her weapon: slip past it and you're inside of her ability to counter, making her one of the most vulnerable of the Arkana. I wonder if this is why some attacks snap around and damage your own Arkana if you become overzealous during battle. Or am I reading too much into an attempt to get a woman onto the battlefield naked?

I wonder if the Cyberskins could have more individualistic designs for each of the classes the way the Mechs do. Since they give off a leather bondage impression, the Medic's does not seem to suit her.

I believe the Shadow Walker, the class I chose for my first character, could be improved so she gains a better advantage in combat. This is because her Fade and linked attack, and her Secret Charge, can only get her into the battle. She doesn't really have much with which to sustain her should she have to participate in extended battles, apart from potions. By contrast, the Medic has great healing feats, and being a ranged class she can pick out her target from a crowd of mobs, bringing them in without risking involvement with a crows of Aggressives. I count the Whipper as a medium-range class even though she is a melee fighter, and she has a feat to pull enemies out of the crowd and into her more casual attack range. I have yet to sufficiently explore the other three, yet the Defender's buffs look promising. The SW needs something, I believe, to keep her competitive and to get Players to want to keep using them. So far the Medic is my favourite class, although in a build that focuses on attacks and healing, and completely without buffs. This is in part due to how much easier I could take Drasil's Boss Mob with my Medic than with my Shadow Walker, who still has not defeated him.

I think that the different classes should also come with different dialogue flavours, so that for example the Defender is forthright, the Whipper cunning, the SW curt and quick, the Punisher perhaps a little trigger-happy, the Sentinel energetic, and the Medic gentle. It seems wrong to see the Medic and Sentinel so quick to curse, for example.

Gameplay - Controls
After attempting Marvel Heroes, I truly appreciate the option to use the keyboard as part of the controls for my character. The other game not only runs slowly on my computer, but control is bound completely to the mouse. I could deal with that, but not the slow running. Scarlet Blade allows control with both mouse and keyboard, making it far easier to pick out an attack sequence.

Targeting is a major issue, and the solution ought to be easy, if someone wants to go through the comparatively simple process of addressing the issue. Whether clocking or tabbing, it seems that it's tricky to target what you want right when you want to, and that can lead to getting killed, in the most extreme of circumstances. It would be nice if the computer could prioritize enemy Arkana over enemy mobs. Developers could also give us 'target nearest enemy' and 'target attacking enemy' keys to help cope with such situations.

Gameplay - User Interface
The quickslots are somewhat limited, and make pre-planning quite necessary, to a degree that new players would not be able to do so so fully. But at least they are there. I do enjoy being able to move the overlay map around the screen, and to adjust what appears on my Quest Tracker. I do wish there was something to automatically detect whether parts are overlapping critical game functions, like the buttons on the bottom right of the interface. At first I confused locations on the overlay map with what was underneath, but I soon learned from that.

There is also the matter of anti-Arakana combat within the disputed areas, like Caergate: something should indicate to an invading Arkana whether or not a target is within a certain amount of levels of that Arkana's own level, so unfair combat does not happen as much. To the Players who manage to sneak into the enemy camp, however, I say 'congratulations,' as that could not be an easy trick to pull off.

As someone who dislikes spending real-world money on the electronic and temporary, this becomes a more major issue. I am told that the game was designed so that anyone who wants to enjoy the full experience would quite literally have to pay for it. I understand and dislike this system, pure and simple, especially since some items that should be considered as essentials are only available in the Item Mall, and only at the cost of real money. I am referring here to Pet Datachips and extra storage for player inventory and warehouses, mostly, but also other optional items like other pets, bikes, and lingerie (until I get any with higher stats, the Lingerie Unsealer, even if I get one, is useless). I believe that some of these items could be offered as loyalty incentive to players who stick around and actively play the game for a certain period of time, or achieve a certain percentage of the level cap. Being able to obtain these items would greatly improve player satisfaction. I do not think there is anything wrong with a weekly or monthly free code either, if at all possible.

I would like to know if it is possible to enhance my Medic's Gamma Vestal Suit into, for example, a Gamma Vestal-SP Suit. If not possible, I plan to acquire it as a mob drop, and enhance that.

An EXP Booster and Lingerie Unsealer are listed in the Loot Box prize list, and I still hope of getting these items, rather than basic vials.

This is definitely at a premium, especially if you cannot use a Guild's warehouse to augment your own. To a point I can understand having an expiry day on the Extra Bag, however another should probably take its place: Depending on how much time someone has to play, it is extremely hard to make Level 30 before the Extra Bag vanishes. The expiry could also only decrease during gameplay time, and not in real-time, so players can enjoy using multiple characters if they want. Extra storage is one of the things I wish was available for in-game currency, being a necessity to avoid returning to a base on an extremely regular basis.

These are my impressions so far. Please feel free to comment. I will probably add more as I play more.
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