What Would You Change About… Echo of Soul?
We’re asking “What Would You Change About… Echo of Soul?” this time round. Published by Aeria Games, this free to play MMORPG features classic theme-park style gameplay with quest based progression.
Whilst the game has plenty of features there are a few things that make it miss the mark on being a great MMORPG:
- Co-Op Soul Purifying - It is a pointless mechanic. The idea in the game is that when you kill things you collect their souls, corrupted chaos souls that need purifying, which can be done at a station in the main settlements, and are then converted into improving your four soul abilities that can be used to give temporary buffs to your character. Players have the ability to purify souls out in the field with other players, not only this but they get more purified souls than they otherwise would than if they did it on their own at one of the purifying altars. If the co-op mechanic is to give players a way to purify when out in the field then it simply means that it’s an inconvenient system to start with, but if it’s a half-cocked way to get players to work together then we stand by the comment that it is pointless. It doesn’t even take a “hey can we co-op purify?”, players just throw the menu up on any passer-by who will generally accept so as to purify their own chaos souls, then both go on their way and never speak again. What we’d like to see is the benefit coming into play by giving more chaos souls to players when they are in a group, encouraging players to work together for the greater benefits and potentially make new friends and questing partners.
- Instanced Areas - The game has way too many instances. The world is divided up into mini private areas as if it would need to do this because it’s not able to handle too many players in the same area. Maybe you could think that it’s not an issue since there are higher AAA MMORPGs like Star Wars: The Old Republic or Neverwinter that use heavy instances. However, the problem is that Echo of Soul goes overboard, even the tiny areas linking two zones can typically have its own instance, worse than that, they have numerous versions of the same instances, so the already small population is constantly divided up and the knock on is that the game feels quite empty in places and you’re constantly facing loading screens when traveling.
- PVP Matchmaking - Players, regardless of levels, are thrown into the same PVP battleground. There’s nothing more “WTF…” than loading up to join a PVP battleground at level 10 when the feature unlocks and being placed against level 60 players in their best gear with more abilities than you, making you look like the snivelling n00b that you are. The Matchmaking isn’t so much badly designed, this pairing up is done on purpose due to a low population that couldn’t work with having players be grouped by level increments (unlike every other MMORPG). The reason this is such a big issue is that the battleground are a 30 man 15 vs 15 fight in huge arenas; if the Developers had had some forethought that, perhaps, their game wasn’t going to be huge and be overwhelmed with players then they could have (and still should) divide the PVP up into brackets, reduce the map size and thusly reduce the number of players needed per team. Alternatively give players a secondary option to queue for level ranged Battlegrounds OR an uncapped Arena.
- The Name - There’s something about Echo of Soul that just doesn’t sit right. The first time we heard it we thought it was a typo and initially kept calling it Echo of Souls, but even Echoes of Soul or Echoes of Souls; the games name sounds like a bad translation to English (which in all honesty it very well could be).
- Uninspiring and Generic - The game has no innovation. Whilst there’s nothing major about the game that is terrible the biggest issue the game faces is that there’s also nothing that’s really amazing, everything is kind of bland, overdone and generic. From the games’ dated and lacklustre graphics, typical “Go kill 10” quests that are truly uninspiring to the classical/traditional/same old same old user interface, quest logs and controls we can honestly say we’ve see this game in a few dozen different forms with other titles. The days of cloning World of Warcraft are way behind us, that’s a ship that has sailed and it’s too late to jump on the band wagon, so we’d say developers need to change their attitude to making MMORPGs and stop focusing on what was successful (WoW’s initial success was its mechanics and format, but its continued success is far more than that) instead focus on being innovative and pushing the MMORPG genre into the next generation.
So that’s what we’d change with Echo of Soul, but more importantly what do you believe should be changed? What do you think could/should be added to improve the game? What would you add to your own personal wish list? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
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