First Impressions on ELOA
7 Overall Score
Great graphics, interesting pet system, combat is fluid and fun.
Questing is boring, the translations are extremely poor, not particularly original.
Last week we got the chance to check out ELOA (Elite Lord of Alliance) during its “initial beta” (closed beta). Steeped in a bit of controversy over the previous title “Inspirit Online” which according to the developers and publishers Webzen was an illegal copy of an early beta client, Elite Lord of Alliance is reportedly a more well-rounded, featured packed “finished” version of the game.
As we loaded up the game for the first time we looked over the five available classes (Blood Knight, Sniper, Psychic, Mage and Assassin Warrior), there are four available races unique to the world including the Sapiens, Kartu, Liru and the Naru; the Naru are a female only race and can only be Assassin Warriors, likewise Assassin Warriors can only be female Naru. There wasn’t too much information about the different races, a little bit of fluff that sounded like excerpts from some prophecy as opposed to any cultural or historic information about them.
We went with the Assassin Warrior, what with being the special unique snowflakes that we are, and that loaded us up straight into the middle of a battle where our Fortress was being assaulted by the Ogre Clans, who appear to be the main bad guys for the overall story-arc. Graphically the game looks great, its own style that really does have a high quality feel about it and offered some quirky effects during the initial fight such as Ogres parachuting into the battle. Delving later into the game the general environments were well done, detailed lighting and water effects really helped capture the atmosphere of some locations.
The biggest initial issue with the game for us was the dialogue. Firstly the translations had some really bad spelling and grammar, even without knowing in advance it was immediately obvious that this was originally published for the Asian market. Secondly was the amount of banal dialogue you had to go through to actually progress a quest, boring and generally uninformative or repetitive reams of text with the NPCs saying the same thing a few times. Another interesting… quirk.. we found was trying to talk to NPCs that walked around, when initiating the conversation and the chat window you could still move around, but so could they, so if whilst talking to them they decided to keep walking it would close the chat window and you’d have to start again, which was mildly annoying.
Combat however was a lot more successful, as an Assassin Warrior our forte was dashing in and out of battle, unleashing high burst damage and using our evade and dodge attacks to get back out, early combat wasn’t particularly difficult for the most part but there were a few situations where we got a little ahead of ourselves. One of the nice mechanics were the battle stances, which each class has three of and can switch between instantaneously, opening up new abilities; they typically revolved around a Solo stance, Party stance and PVP stance, with the different skills complementing those situations. However, we were free to use them at any time and could switch between them during battle offering us our full complement of skills.
The pet system was another decent feature, able to loot pet eggs in the wild, earn them from quests or buy them from pet vendors, we were able to summon them as a personal companion who would give us various boosts in combat, special abilities, and some could even be used as mounts. Pets can be levelled up and once you have two of them reach max level then they can be combined to make new pets; a pretty cool feature that was a little way out of our level range to test, but interesting nonetheless.
There are a few features that we unfortunately didn’t get the chance (or the level requirements) to test out, such as PVP which can range from 1v1 up to 4v4 battles or a MOBA style PVP game. Instead we had to focus on levelling and picking up quests to progress the main story-arc, which took us into a variety of dungeons and new areas. Questing was fairly typical in a “go kill X number of mobs”, but not in any particularly new or interesting way, just what we’ve seen over and over in every other MMORPG.
The game isn’t the most original or ground breaking, there’s very little in the way of innovation as even the “stances” have been done in plenty of other games, pets only had a small amount of utility, and the questing was fairly bog standard. In the MMORPG genre Elite Lord of Alliance doesn’t particularly stand out or offer much new to players, albeit what it does is good and the game looks and plays really nicely, for veterans of the MMORPG genre there’s not that much to be gained from the title. However, picking ELOA up as your first game wouldn’t be the worst thing that could happen, providing your reading level is on par with the games spelling and terrible grammar.