[Hero Online] As I was developing a post on the theme of “please stop making EQ clones,” I stumbled upon the open beta of a new MMO that seems be a bad Diablo clone. Would a lack of instancing make it a bad EQ clone, instead? In addition?
Has anyone tried Hero Online? I ran through ten levels and change last night. My present recommendation would be not to mention the game’s existence except as a warning, but I am open to the notion that things become interesting later.
Hero Online serves as a good example of how to replicate without innovating or improving. Heck, it might be the exact shade of game you were looking for, since the market is large. To me, it looks like a poor version of what we already have.
Character creation: pick one of four novice classes. Done. Each novice class has a sex and character model set for it. At level 10, you can pick a real class, although each novice class seems intended for a specific advanced class.
Gameplay is click-to-move. V picks the closest monster (or click on one), A starts the auto-attack, S picks up loot off the ground. X to exit combat mode, Z to meditate (rest). After leveling, you will receive notice about which NPC has a fedex or kill ten rats quest for you. Repeat until next level. The NPC interaction screens were cumbersome but pretty.
Itemization is a lot like Diablo II. Items also have restrictions based on sex and class.
As you level, you get stat points to add to your three stats and skill points to add to your weapon or class skills. You can have those weapon and class skills at level 10. They give you a few more options in combat. Mine were variations on “hit somewhat harder,” although there may be subtleties I missed. For taking the advanced class of Hunter, I also got a taming skill and a passive defense skill.
The taming skill is an interesting variation on most games I have seen. Everyone can have a pet, and the hunters tame them. My wolf was slightly higher level than me by the end of the night, and players in broadcast were bragging about vastly higher-level pets who were clearing boss mobs on their own. Not that I trust random people bragging in beta to show how everything will work… Mount and pet options seem to include wolf, bear, horse, and eagle, but that is all the depth I can give you. I like pets. My wolf did not want to eat hay.
The other interesting variation was a running experience bonus that seemed to be +1 for every defeat since you logged in or died. I am not sure about “logged in,” although the player FAQ suggested it, but it definitely resets if you get careless and die (watch the hp bar while testing how taming works :p). So if you want to grind to level 100 all at once, I think your progress will be at increasing speed; I was getting more from bonus than base by the first time I died, but I am not sure that it was tallying it with the rest. The way that experience is tallied, it was unclear if I was getting the bonus, if it was bugged, if it went to some other pool… Most things are translated, but how motivated was I to research the point?
Fun anti-bot technique: occasional pop-up asking a simple addition question in a random part of the screen. Win and get a small prize! Lose and…probably something bad. This might be a bad place to go AFK.
The website promises excellent writing. None of it had appeared by level 10, but maybe that is Hero Online’s value add. They had a story to tell and writing Yet Another Fantasy Novel was not the way; no, this demanded Yet Another Fantasy MMORPG!
The setting is medieval China. Last interesting note: there is a promise of movement skills, so you can do fun wuxia stuff. Think City of Heroes super leap and super speed.
The graphics are pretty, although not enormously varied in what I saw. Not that early monsters are ever varied, but I saw wolves, boars, bears, apes, and different colors of thieves in similar outfits. Each character model is the same; the equipment was equally identical as far as I could tell. I imagine this spreads out at higher levels, though you will always have many copies of the same four people running around.
So there is the full review from early in open beta. The bugs I saw were few and minor. The new ideas I saw were few and minor. The reasons to play I saw were few and minor.