TBC Overall Score
Graphics are pretty decent and the music score is well performed
Tedious linear quests with no variation, same content, features and format as other R2 Games titles
R2 Games have just released the open beta of their new RPG Stormthrone: Aeos Rising and so we took some time to give it a bit of an extended play through to see just what was on offer. R2 Games are pretty consistent with the types of RPG’s that they publish, to the point for many where they feel very similar using the same functions and features and gameplay mechanics, we were interested to see whether Stormthrone is going to be any different or just another reskinned version of their other games (spoiler alert: it wasn’t all that different…).
When logging in the first half decent surprise was that there were six different classes, a far cry from the typical three “Trinity” classes that are often in there are other games i.e. Warrior/Tank, Mage/Caster and Archer/DPS, we got a full range of Warrior, Rogue, Mage, Paladin, Priest and Hunter. The naming of this last class, which whilst not uncommon, has stood out for us that they didn’t go with the more traditional Archer or Ranger, basically we think they’ve tried to take some World of Warcraft elements and put them into the game. Why do we think this? Well a lot of the graphics/characters/monsters look VERY wow-like, ranging from Bloodelves, Kobolds and Worgs, and whilst WoW has no monopoly/ownership on these the graphics look so similar that it did kind of stand out. That aside, as ever the artwork and landscapes were pretty spectacular and at least the scenery that you pass through is pretty nice and there’s a ton of environments we passed through on our road to level 30.
So what else is the same? Well there is auto pathing hyperlinks in the quest, Battle Rating values to show how strong you are, a dozen icons offering view daily rewards, login rewards, cash shop rewards, etc. and the overall graphical user interface is very akin to their other RPG’s. Features are on locked as you progress through the game, some considerably later than they are in other games, but players will see the same pets, mounts and gear levelling up systems that R2 Games are so fond of, all of which go towards increasing your Battle Rating.
What was a breath of fresh air was that this wasn’t the typical “squad building” RPG with automated instanced based combat, which in all honesty we loathe because it’s so boring, it was action-based combat where we controlled our character and had a number of attacks on the hotkey bar, actually getting access to quite a few of them relatively early on. These skills can be upgraded with Skill Books as well as players acquiring Talent Points when they level up to increase their overall stats and abilities. The mage we were primarily DPS, ranked as being a five out of five stars difficulty to play (we’re not sure why) and our primary skills focused on long ranged ice spells, AoE blizzards and summoning a ball of ice that would flow across the screen attacking everything nearby. We had a polymorph spell to get in and out of melee combat quickly as well as a polymorph spell to CC our enemies, though we never had to use it.
Unfortunately with combat, even up to level 30, the PVE was ridiculously easy, even as a squishy mage our best tactics were to run into the middle of a group of mobs, gathering them together, then just spamming our AoE whilst firing off our ball of ice across the screen to kill as many of the required mobs for that particular quest is really needed as quickly as possible. That is pretty much is the only quest you get: go to , kill number of , then go to , over and over and over. Questing is 100% linear, you will progress through the map on exactly the same route as everyone else, acquiring a “Quest” to kill the next type of enemies that you were conveniently about to bump into. We were the only ones using our gather and spam kill technique as it seems like most of the classes have some pretty powerful AoE and so everyone else was doing pretty much the same as the mobs respawn almost instantly and pose very little threat (I don’t think we took more than 10% of our total health in damage in the entirety of our play through), but thankfully we had ranged attacks so could probably plow through them a little more quickly.
There was some type of storyline going on, but we got so bored of it early on that we ended up speeding through all the text just to try and get to some interesting content, whatever is going on there’s a veritable shitstorm going on judging by the amount of enemies and bosses that you have to kill, everything from blizzard invasions, undead skeletons, drunken pirates, giant scorpions and a whole host of other enemies. That is, unfortunately, however be else seemed to be playing the game as we progressed through the levels at a similar pace to a lot of other players, loot drops were so common that it got to the point where we were and even bothering to pick them or the drops coin up and will just kill and move on. In part this was due to the fact that once you killed an enemy it dropped its loot onto the floor, which you could manually click to pick up, unfortunately whether players, allied NPC’s or instantly re-spawning enemies it was often pretty hard to click on the loot and it was only after about 40 minutes of playing we noticed a pop-up every so often saying to press “X or G to auto-loot”; easily overlooked given the amount of notice spam flashing on your screen constantly.
We managed to go far enough to try out a couple of dungeons (if they were any different to the normal game content apart from you could do them with random group members or fill your team with NPC’s if players were unavailable, but people don’t talk and we actually only realised that we actually had players in our team when loot started asking us if we wished to need or greed roll (when running solo you obviously get all the loot). This we unlocked the PVP Battlegrounds feature but were queueing for the best part of 30 minutes waiting for a group but nothing launched unfortunately. The biggest challenge the problem faced was against the horde mode boss fights where we had to fight different big game bosses solo, fighting back waves of enemies and then taking the big boss on our own; it still wasn’t really a challenge though.
Ultimately the game suffers from having the same content throughout, whilst the mobs looked different all they did was melee attack and swarm, and not even with any real power to them to ever be concerned. Bosses occasionally had flashier attacks, but all they were really were a bigger hit point pool breaking up from the three hit kills of the normal enemies, which stayed pretty consistent as we levelled up at the same pace that the enemies got stronger, the only difference being was that our quests change from having to kill five of the same enemy up to having to kill 15 of the same enemy… yay… The graphics are the strongest part of the game, though the music score composition is impressive and dramatic the actual quality that is played back is pretty bad. As ever this game is going to attract the type of players that actually like them, and there are a lot that do because they keep getting made; we continue playing? No, unfortunately playing for two hours and feeling like you’re still playing the same content that you played in the first five minutes of the game is a particularly fun.