Hi everyone. I'm really glad that most of you understand our circumstances with the game. I know waiting is tough - the more I want a new game, the slower its release date seems to approach. But believe me when I say that I'm behind this game. I've had a chance to putter around more in the Korean client and I've liked what I've seen. Obviously, there's only so much I can tell about the game (being that it's in Korean, which I don't speak or read), so I can't offer up commentary on the full experience, but this feels like the type of game I would enjoy playing as a player. I'm kind of picky and sometimes have a spotty attention span as a gamer, so don't take my personal recommendation lightly.
Here are some things I've liked so far:
- Crafting seems deeper than in a lot of other MMOs. Three of the four Trade Classes are accessible in this beta client, and I've played around on Tailor and Blacksmith. You buy design recipes to learn, gather mats, and some mats you refine into special extracts that you use in the final crafting process. A lot of thought has definitely been put into it, and it seems like it'll give rise to a thriving economy.
- I love swimming! The way you can dive (even if you're wearing heavy armor, I know) feels strangely relaxing. You can fight and do material collection underwater too - I'm excited at the potential for an epic underwater battle in the game. Also, when was the last time you played an online game where water wasn't just A) a barrier, B) something you just wade through, or C) going into water kills you (deadly water!)?
- The game has really good aesthetic sensibilities. As MMO players, you guys probably notice how the more "realistic" MMOs tend to be the graphical powerhouses, while the anime-styled MMOs look a bit more 'budget.' LO is probably the nicest-looking anime-styled MMO I've seen, and beyond raw graphical power, the areas feel well-designed. You can tell the artists used pictoral reference of buildings and natural areas from various places around the world, as each location gives a very distinct feel (and each map itself is quite spacious). That said, my computer here at the office is far from a souped-up gaming rig, and it plays the game without any problems, so these good looks shouldn't come at the cost of lessened performance (unless maybe you're planning to run Lime Odyssey off the integrated graphics processing of a five-year-old laptop, but I digress...).
- The music is great; I leave it on most of the time when I'm running around. But it's from Yasunori Mitsuda, my favorite game music composer, so it would've been more of a surprise if I didn't like the music.
- I have no idea how much tweaking will be done to the combat and battle system in the future (almost guaranteed to be some), but it seems you get a point per level to put into skills, with two trees accessible by each class. There also seems to be assignable stat points, though so far we're not sure if you assign ALL your stat increases, or whether all your stats increase as you level up and these points are just for you to augment your general stat build by bolstering an area where your class is weak, or maxing your strong suite. I'm sure the info is out there somewhere on the web...in Korean.
Anyway, that's a general impression from my recent time spent with the game. As I said before, any number of things could change between this and when Korea finally launches their Open Beta (or when we're finally ready for Closed Beta).
The other thing I wanted to address is, for those of you who are saying "At this point, I'd rather have an unfinished game than wait any longer." Let's look at what you're asking for.
Last year, at this time, I was looking forward to the release of Final Fantasy XIV, an upcoming MMO from Square-Enix. With all they'd learned from their previous MMO, FFXI, surely they'd be able to make FFXIV a really compelling online game and a polished, fun experience.
Unfortunately, when the game came out, a lot of the elements left players scratching their heads. It felt like there was so much missing from the game that players had paid money at retail to join a beta. But it was the full, commercial version, and publications thus treated it as such. Reviews were not kind, to put it nicely, and the image of the game that impressed itself in the public consciousness was "FFXIV was a product that should have been in development for another 6-12 months before they released it." Now, Square-Enix has a new producer on the game who's working hard to improve the game in many ways, completely overhauling things like guild quests, the fatigue system, and how players are able to buy and sell goods on the player market.
The team has made many improvements to the game since it launched (though at this point, they're still not actually charging the monthly service fee yet), but think about this: a game launches only once, and that's when its ability to make an impression on audiences (even audiences who don't actively follow that genre) is at its zenith. Even if FFXIV becomes a really great game later on thanks to the continued corrective efforts of its development team, how many people will come back later and give it a chance? How many will re-evaluate their negative first impressions of the game? Not as many as S-E would like, I'd bet. New games come out all the time, and even people who would enjoy the re-tooled FFXIV may have completely passed it over by the time it's ship-shape.
Now of course, that's not the same scenario Lime Odyssey is in, but I think the truth behind the story of FFXIV's launch is still applicable here. That's why you don't release still-in-development software, and why we want to make sure Lime Odyssey is something you'll really enjoy before putting it out there.
Other analogy: "Man, I really want this bacon and eggs! But ugh, this frying pan is just so slow! When will it ever heat up? Hmmm.... *eyes the raw bacon and eggs*" Zoiks, don't try that at home, kids. But yeah; you get the point.
Anyway, hopefully I made our case well enough there. Once again, I'm glad you guys are an understanding bunch. Cheers!