Astellia is a fantasy MMORPG from Barunson E&A that makes moves back to the original feel of the genre, with a few new twists. Astellia follows the “holy trinity” concept of Tank, Healer, DPS. There are five classes to choose from most of us will find a niche we enjoy playing.
For the purpose of this review I was given access to the closed beta which took place June 25th – July 1st. During the beta I was able to play for roughly twenty hours. The purpose of the beta was to stress test servers before full release of the game. There were two north america based servers hosting players from across the globe.
This was impressive for me in a couple of different ways. During all of my time playing, there was no lag or hiccups. Even in high population social areas, the game played smoothly. There are very few AAA titles that can claim such a smooth beta performance.
Character creation was an impressive experience. There are five different classes to choose from; Archer, Assassin, Mage, Scholar, and Warrior.
The Archer strikes a balance between high mobility and powerful ranged attacks. The Archer can lock down any battlefield through immobilizing snares, and feats of evasive acrobatics when enemies get too close for comfort.
The Assassin is an agile, cunning, dual wielding fighter. Employing subterfuge to lure unwary opponents into ambushes. Inflicting damage over time attacks, and executing devastating finishing combo attacks.
The Mage utilizes a variety of elemental imbued magic to blast away opponents. When wielded defensively, it can be molded into a shield or grant teleportation of short distances.
The Scholar, the healer, uses their astute knowledge of magic to empower, cure, or render aid to injured allies. When necessary, they can manipulate these restorative forces into a more destructive power to fend for themselves.
The warrior, a classic Tank, specializes in commanding the flow of the battlefield. Rushing deep into the enemy ranks, safeguarding allies from harm, and striking down foes with lethal precision.
You can’t just have special abilities, you have too look good as well. The character customization is deep and varied. You are able to dictate everything from height and build, down the the chest hair of your character. As well as scars, tattoos and make.
The game starts with a short tutorial portion that introduces you to the basic game play mechanics. Shortly there after you gain your first Astel. Astels are basically pets that can stand in for other party members.
This is a key feature in that it allows players to effectively adventure on their own without having to rely on other players for help. There are Astels which can fill each key roll in a party, DPS,. Tank, and Healer. Astels are acquired and use a trading card mechanic to improve. They also gain experience and level up with your character.
The early game is split between side and main quests, as well as dungeons. Another key feature is having dungeons that can be played solo, or with other players. Every dungeon I came to was able to be cleared solo. Each dungeon also scales difficulty to either a solo character, or a group. Playing solo allowed me to go at my own pace and gave me a deeper understanding of my class abilities and party composition with Astels filling out the team.
One noteworthy aspect of the game is the Dungeon ticket system. Each player is awarded a certain number of dungeon tickets, that allow them in a dungeon. For the beta period, this was twenty. When all tickets have been used, there are daily and weekly quests that can be completed for more tickets. There is also a ticket regeneration system, with players gaining one ticket every thirty minutes, even while offline, up to the maximum of twenty.
Overall, the graphical quality was impressive. There were very few technical problems during my playtime. I was able to quickly pick up and learn the mechanics. Any veteran of MMOs will be able to do the same.
This is the strength and the weakness of this title. I quickly found myself going into auto pilot. Every quest was inevitably, go talk to NPC X, or go to this are and kill things. The ability to click on a quest and your character would automatically move to the location ruined my sense of exploration and wonder.
The repetitiveness of the quest lines began to grate on me and I quickly found myself skipping dialogue that was unimaginative with voice acting that was downright terrible in some cases. I appreciate the novelty of these feature, but they seem to form a kind of cognitive dissonance in an MMO.
My final con about the game is a personal pet peeve. 95% of the characters in game are female. Which is fine in and of itself. However, every one of them suffers from fantasy armor disorder. Every outfit seemed to be skin tight, or barely covering the bits that would turn the game into a much more adult themed title. I understand the desire to make characters attractive, but I feel this title took it a little overboard.
Overall, I give the game a two out of five. While it does explore some welcome new mechanics, it feels like too much of the same for a brand new title. The next closed beta, as well as the final release, in North America are TBD.