Vindictus – Free to Play Action MMORPG

So Nexon has screwed us all again. The Dragon update is out and it’s not working on the East server; as in hardly anyone can enter. Things have been going downhill in this game for a while(more pay2win), but this is beyond stupid now. Four days and no fix to the situation and no announcement that it will be fixed, and no acknowledgment from the company that there is even a problem.

This is how I am with Vindictus. Excited about playing the game, then going back and feeling disappointed, and encountering some new or old glitch and being bored of its repetitiveness and lack of content and leaving the game again. If you haven’t played or even heard of Vindictus, it is an action based hack and slash MMO. A unique MMO upon launch, now others have entered the arena and have been arguably better, with better graphics, more content etc.

Launched in 2010, with the open beta becoming available in October, Vindictus was a breath of fresh air in the stale genre of MMO’s. Featuring real time combat, outstanding graphics(Source engine that powered Half Life 2) and real-time physics, many players welcomed this new game. The game starts off allowing you the choice of four characters(one missing to be introduced later but is in the Korean version now). All the ‘classes’ in the game are gender locked, as the game merely allows you to play as a character, not necessarily a ‘class’.

Lann, a dual wielding swordsman who functions as the main dps in the game able to use dual swords(more evasive and defensive capabilities) or dual spears(dps, but loses the ability to dodge properly). His dodge can go through pretty much anything as it allows less than a second of invulnerability when being done(0.3 seconds).

Fiona, the closest thing to a tank in this game as you’ll get(there are no real tanks in the game). She uses a shield, small or large, and a hammer or sword. Small shields allows knockbacks from smash(hard attacks) but give the ability to counterattack enemies for heavy damage and knockdown. Large Shields give more defense and allow the player to stay in place and close to enemies for openings to attack. Hammers provide more dps while being slower and having the ability to inflict critical normal attacks and have a more powerful moveset. Swords provide faster attack speed, and being able to block faster, but cannot crit on normal attacks, and has a less powerful moveset, with the most powerful move taking the longest to actually perform.

Evie, the magic user in the game. She uses a staff and scythe, with staff functioning as a support and the scythe having more dps and giving a better dodge(Blink). The staff was actually revamped, and now she can be even more of a dps than a scythe Evie, with better defensive capabilities. The staff has a better chance of sustained dps due to her having long range moves(some bosses cannot be touched when in certain states).

Karok, the big brawler. Karok uses two weapons, pillars and cestus. While slow, he can do major damage, and his dodge ability cancels the enemies attacks(only blockable attacks) when timed correctly. He can throw his pillar, but loses defense, however he gains offensive power. The cestus weapon gives him improved hand to hand abilities. He is the one character in the game than can hold or grab bosses. Kai, an archer that has not been released in the North American or EU version of the game.

The game is most exciting when in Raids or fighting bosses, as enemies in the game for the most part are brainless. They might differ with looks, but the only thing making them stand apart form the earlier enemies would be HP and damage, and different attacks. But its still one or two types of attacks, and running mindlessly at the player and attacking. The only thing that makes them particularly dangerous is that they read controller input, which means if you start an attack, they then start theirs, and you may get hit because you didn’t time it correctly.

Every mission has an end boss, which much like Monster Hunter requires you to memorize its patterns and learn how to dodge and effectively counter its moves. Bosses are fairly easy on Normal difficulty, but things get much harder on Hard and downright brutal on Hero difficulty. On Normal difficulty, the enemy HP bar is present, they do less damage and you have more secondary weapons. Hard Mode the HP bar is gone, bosses hit harder, you get half as many secondary items, but you get more XP, gold and an additional drop. Hero mode require you be over 50. Like in Hard mode, there are no HP bars, bosses hit much harder, and move faster, but the rewards are much greater, as they have the chance to drop rare scrolls, and items you cannot otherwise get in Normal or Hard mode.

Higher level raids can only be played on hard, and lower level raids can be played on Hero. This is where Vindictus truly shines for most people. As these raids give precious items and require teamwork and skill to win. However with the game becoming more pay2win/gear2win, players can simply buy the best armor and enchant it with the best scrolls and tank/dps the boss to death. If you go to see videos of Vindictus you will see many ‘solo’ videos of raid bosses.

Content in Vindictus is pretty limited as is, even if it is a year old, the game feels pretty anemic. This is probably due to the fact that a lot of the areas of the game are practically the same, save for some slight color differences. Perilous Ruins, the first are in the game, is composed of eleven missions. The area is the same but with different layouts and obstacles with harder enemies being introduced in later missions. Unfortunately however, Perilous Ruins is much like Ruins of Sanctity and Hilder Forest Ruins, those have eight and seven missions respectively. So you will be seeing and playing the same area twenty six times. Not only that, some missions have you repeating the same area for completion of Oaths for quests or to unlock other missions or for specific items.

Further exacerbating the problem is how the game is structured. This is not an open world MMO, but an instanced based one. You have two main hub ports essentially. One is a small village called Colhen, the other is a castle called Rocheste. These are the only two main areas in the game with a path between them that takes about a minute or two to travel between. You access missions by going to the docks, and a ship takes you to the battles.

Since it is instanced based, it relies on peer2peer connections, so if someone in your group has a bad connection or lives far away from you, then the group may suffer as a result of lag. And there are two things in this game which kills the player a lot, lag and glitches. And there are quite a bit of glitches in the game.

Lag is to be expected in an MMO, sometimes the server is under strain, lag spikes with your connection, etc. However, with Vindictus being a peer2peer game, the lag can be atrocious at times depending on who you’re playing with. Since the game is action based and in real time, any sort of lag can and will be dangerous. I pointed out that Lanns have a 0.3 seconds of invulnerability when dodging, well imagine lag coming into play and you mess up that dodge. Or you simply mistime attacks and you miss that valuable window to dodge. Thus the problem becomes much clearer. Glitches have been present in this game since Open Beta, and while some have been resolved, others have just been less frequent.

Support from the Nexon, the publisher is a major issue as well. Recently there has been a hacking wave of sorts. Many were hacked, none were compensated or had their items returned. Hackers were brought to the company’s attention, but none were actually reprimanded. Botters have been rather rampant as well. Since the missions are instanced, it is fairly easy to bot, and crank up your characters stats for one hit kills and invulnerability. In the most recent update, some of these hacks have been patched.

The population has been dwindling as well, maybe due to the repetitive nature of the game, lack of content, poor customer service, having more pay2win/gear2win style gameplay has turned off some players or players have simply migrated to other more impressive games launching.

The nature of the game(hack and slash) makes it seem even more repetitive than it really is, which has pushed many players away. This game has a lot of potential but it is holding itself back, and with Tera, C9, RaiderZ, and Guild Wars 2, it may not be as unique and fresh as it once was.

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