I give Aura Kingdom a big Thumbs Up. I’ve been playing for a few days now, and AK is a welcome relief from a lousy game like Allods. This is not an in-depth review, but some first interesting impressions that may cause you to seek a more in-depth review, of which there are plenty. One of the best reviews is the one on YouTube by MMO Grinder. But here are some of my thoughts. I may have covered some things that MMO Grinder didn’t talk about.
First of all, AK is a low stress game to play. You level quite quickly. In an hour or so you’ll be at level 10, if you read all the text of the quests, of which there is a lot, but the story is interesting. If you are an AltaHolic [ addicted to many toons ] then the next times through you can click Skip, but the first time though it’s best to slow down and read the dialog. There is almost no voice acting. So put on your reading glasses and settle back. The story is worth it.
Where to Start? – Eidolons Perhaps
Eidolons are a major part of the game. These are spirits that accompany you on your journey and are a major part of the game. The acquisition, care, and evolution of these companions is designed to occupy much of your effort.
When you create your character, you get to choose from a few starters, and they stay available throughout the game. One is a healer, if you are not, and the others are bad-ass if you are a healer.
Don’t let her small size and cute look fool you, she can kick butt with the best of them, and she will heal you when you are in trouble. Unless you are a healer class, I recommend starting with her. At level 28, I left the second Eidolon, Sigrun, behind because Merrilee was more survivable in solo dungeons. Sigrun kept dying during the fights.
The Reaper Class gets an additional three pets to play with:
So you can play with up to 3 at a time out of 6 choices. And that’s right out of the box.
Art Design and Graphics are Beautiful
The Art Design and Graphics are more modern and beautiful than Wow – up until Pandaria that is. While not as nice and realistic as Tera, this game is very beautiful and interesting to live in.
And Bad-Ass Eye Candy NPCs in town.
It’s a shame that you can’t play this bad boy. But your only choices are Anime humans as the playable race.
Mounts and Costumes
If Mounts and Costumes are your thing, then there is lots to choose from.
Now that is one bad-ass mount.
And if you want to ride a big white tiger, with a lovely little squirrel companion, this is your game.
There are way too many mounts for me to put them, or any more of them, here. Go look them up on Google or try the game.
Free To Play – Not Pay to Play
Did I mention that AK is free to play, and you can really ride around on a mount for free. If you want to play for free, for a long way without feeling disadvantaged, then this game is great. You may want to spend some money, but unlike Allods, you are not strong-armed into spending money. The first mount you get, an Ostrich, is plenty fast and lasts forever without feeding it. I’m not even clear that different mounts have different speeds. Only different looks. Smaller makes it easier to get quests in town, so the Ostrich is actually a favorite of mine.
You get three characters per server, and there are two servers, so that’s six characters for free. There are twelve classes, so that’s half of the available classes you can try for free.
Dungeons that Don’t Stress You Out
I did Eight Solo Dungeons as Dailies today at level 29. They appear to be auto leveled so anyone above level 14 can play them. They were fun and engaging, at least the first time through. Very little trash and a story line – surprise. I’m tired of games where you have to be at the top of your game or you die, or if not all the team members are at the top of their game, you all die. If dungeons like that are not at max level, folks just come back when they are higher and blast their way through them.
The deep end game players spend all their time grinding to get gear to survive. I’m not interested in grinding.
There was very little trash in these dungeons. One dungeon at level 20 – Dimensional Warp – does require three, up to five – people, but there is no trash, just walk in lock down three magic shackles and then kill the bosses that appear. They are challenging, but three of us did it with some work, but not fear of death.
But the solo dailies were more interesting. Not sure if I can party up with folks to do those. I’ll give it a try sometime.
I see high level players coming back to the 20-30 area where I was, apparently to do Archaeology and Daily quests. So once you finish an area, they have some content there to keep you coming back to mix with lower level players.
Costumes are to Wed For Apparently
That sure looks like a wedding dress to me. Tera just added weddings. Looks like AK has had them for a while, although I haven’t confirmed that actually. Lovely dress tho.
On the quirkier side of costuming, there is candy for you too. Chocolate Bars and Lolly Pops at least.
And apparently bathing suits too.
Armor with No Look
A while ago, I wrote a post wondering where Fashion was going in video games. Little did I know at the time that AK had already gone there. It turns out that the Armor in AK has no look at all. If you don’t wear a costume, then you appear in your underwear.
But without the costume, this is what you look like:
Weapons have a look, and there are skins for them to change their look. But armor is completely invisible. Right On, AK. Why waste time giving armor a look when Costumes are what folks want. You get a costume when you start, along with your armor, and you can buy others for very cheap in the level 10 area. And they don’t keep all the good stuff in the pay store. You get better costumes with quests as you go. So, AK is not stiffing you and keeping you from looking decent if you don’t buy things.
Also they have promotions. I got a nice mount, and M / F costumes and a lot of other goodies for buying and spending as little as 1 AP – well the minimum outlay is actually around $2. I do have to work until I’m 40 to ride that cool raptor mount. And alas, mounts are not account wide. But costumes apparently are Account / Server wide. So hand-me-downs work perfectly well.
The classes, all 12 of them, are well balanced and while I have only played them at low levels, they are all survivable and level well. There are two that do less well:
Ranger – a pet-less archer. The long cast times on the skills is a common feature and common problem with archers in many games. Without a tank pet, like GW2, this class has trouble. The healer Eidolon is not a tank. But maybe another Eidolon may work better to tank for the ranger.
Gunslinger – duel pistol wielding class runs out of ammo more quickly and needs to reload. Even at less than level 10 I was feeling this as a problem. Try the Grenadier – cannon wielder – since she never seems to run out of ammo.
The Guardian is a very fun class to play. Sword / Shield wielder with plenty of stopping power and a blocking shield skill from very early on.
This skill not only stops damage, it reflects it and it lasts long enough to take down bosses.
Other notable classes to play are the
Bard – music damage – which is common in many games these days. This bard is a healer, so bring an Eidolon like the Unicorn which is a tank / DPS pet. This class was fun to play. Lot of damage – Rock and Roll On!
Wizard – magic DPS damage, and Sorcerer – death magic DPS both play well with a healer pet.
Sword classes like Ronin, and Duelist – one and two swords – these do continuous damage and play quite easily, at least up to level 15. I look forward to playing them to high levels.
Did I mention that the skills are very fluid? Not as Action Based as Tera – you can’t swing without an enemy in your sights – but the cool downs are very short so you can hammer away with every class except the Ranger.
I hope you give Aura Kingdom a try, if you like this genre. I’m having fun, leveling quickly and following the story line.