First Look at Soul Master

I'll add in some screenshots tonight when I'm online (since I'm doing this post at work). Currently, I'm a level 15 Priest, which, if not the highest level, is one of the top. Since I have work and sleep, this is probably not the case anymore. D: I wanted to go melee, but because of gender lock, I am forced to play a magic class.

So, in Soul Master (dubbed SM from now on, 'cause I'm lazy), it walks you through the tutorials. The tutorials are reasonably paced, to slowly teach you everything that you need to know about the game. The basics of the game seem to be pretty intuitive and can be grasped fairly quickly. Obviously, like any other game, there is more than just the basic stuff. XD

It's the first time people have recognized me so much, in this game. PVPing last night, there were four people from different games who called me out on previous games I'd played, with one of them being LLLLnstinct (named Fang in SM), who came to my game, got owned a couple of times, and left. XD

Anyway, that has nothing to do with gameplay. So, PVE-wise, it starts off REALLY promising. The way this game works is that you get a "lobby" area. It's a map with shops and such, and you talk to the NPC to start an instanced dungeon to do your missions.

Channel 1 Lobby, beside the Mission Giver. It actually isn't laggy, despite the number of people.

Now, the interesting thing is that the maps all have different objectives to give you the full range of the different gameplays with this engine. You have a missions to tower defend, standard RTS (build buildings, spawn units, conquer), and adventure (more or less with the main character running around, getting some units, and owning mobs in the path).

The storyline seems solid, with an NPC that follows you on missions telling you the story in chat bubbles, which makes me read it. XD I'm pretty sure that no one read those lengthy boxes of text in Allods, but I'm sure that most people took time to read it in a chat bubble here. XD

Lastly, and most importantly, the PVP. I played a couple of rounds so far. I believe I'm around 13-0 at this point. It seems that you can only play it under the same format of an RTS-ish game, with your main character as the hero. The thing that makes it different is that you don't need to destroy the enemy base to win. There is a second win condition of destroying an enemy hero three times. This gives you an alternate way to win when you're struggling resource-wise.

So, anyway, enough of the overview of the game. It's time to get down to the Pros and Cons:

Nice CB events. The first event was that the first 10 people to login were rewarded 100 dollars to stress test their server. Suffice it to say, with so many people rushing the server, we blew up the login server. The events generally give out Item Mall cash, which is good since it carries over to Open Beta. It's not a bad thing to have so many people that you overflow the server. It's better than having too little. XD (That is what the beta test is for anyway, to test servers.)

Unique gameplay. Now, this is a toss-up if you like the blend, but I enjoy it. It gives you a nice mix of RTS and Dota. It also removes most of the micro-managing, which I suck at, so maybe that's why I like it. XD

Graphics. This is yet another toss-up, but I LOVE THE GRAPHICS. I'll post a pick of my toon. There is some nice detail in the armours and, of course, chibi = win.

PVP. After level 9 or so (for better or worse), there are no more missions. You can choose to repeat the missions for half the EXP from running it the first time, or PVP for decent EXP. Now, if you're like me and win every match, the EXP is better than running the same instance over and over again until your face goes blue. Assuming you're around 60-70% win rate, the EXP is still comparable to grinding. It's a good way to force more people to PVP. *thumbs up*

Limited Classes. Due to gender-locking and only three classes overall, it is clear there isn't much variety. However, a game like this is more about skill than character build, so I can overlook it a bit. (That, and they have a post about new classes coming later.)

Server load. Right now, the servers are overloaded and that causes some issues in-game, like random DCs. Hopefully, that gets fixed or it'll be a serious hindrance.

Lack of PVE content. Getting people to PVP is nice, but I wouldn't mind more missions to progress the story. The second map you go to is literally all grind with no story.

The unforeseen:
Item Mall Impact. How big of an impact the Item Mall will have in the game is obviously a huge factor that has yet to be determined.

End notes:
For now, SM seems pretty interesting and the unique gameplay fits my strengths. I'll be trying to grind to lv30 to get one of the First to 30 CB prizes. The backbone of the game seems solid; it just need some more fluff (missions, more classes, etc).