Posted in AdventureQuest 3D

Small adventures in AdventureQuest 3D and Guild Wars 2

Feeling a bit in a routine funk as of late, I pulled on the emergency cord by my desk to activate a good old-fashioned MMO tour. I have a list of MMOs I either haven’t tried, haven’t played much, or haven’t visited in a while, so until the funk is over, I’ll be visiting one of these on a week-by-week basis. Worst case, I get some fun blog posts. Best case, I find something that’s surprisingly fun and sticks.

First up? AdventureQuest 3D. MJ over at MOP is a huge evangelist for this game and keeps saying how it’s incredibly underrated, so I must give it more than a passing time of day, I suppose.

If you’ve played any MMO, ever, then AQ3D is not going to trip you up. It’s a very straight-forward — and slick! — MMO with tab-target combat, loot, stats, etc. What seems to distinguish itself is the generally wacky humor (I am a fan of the drackens — the dragon-chicken hybrids) and the ability to collect and swap between classes. But for the first night, I worked on getting my game legs with combat, gearing up, and getting to know a questing system where there is no mini-map or bigger map. There is insta-travel between regions, though.

By the time I got to the main town, I felt in over my head. There were so many quest givers and things to do and places to see that I didn’t know what to do first. So I focused on popping my head into the first zone, doing a couple of Ranger quests to get tokens for that class, and hung out with the weird band at the inn. Oh! And I picked up my free Massively OP cloak that I had totally forgotten I unlocked several years back.

Mini-dungeons are something that I discovered about Guild Wars 2, thanks to dailies. They’re not much, usually a corridor that’s topped with a puzzle or a small boss. Interesting experiments, if nothing else.

Meanwhile, while there are plenty of things to be doing and appreciating in Guild Wars 2, I keep logging in to find my interest pulled in a dozen weak directions without any strong goal in sight. And then I just join whatever world boss squad is going around killing baddies mindlessly. It’s something to pass the time, but it’s not going to keep me here long.

Posted in AdventureQuest 3D

AdventureQuest 3D: Brutalcorn vs. Syperstar

Sometimes you just want to dwell in a sphere of entertainment that doesn’t take itself very seriously, but instead relishes the opportunity to have fun and be silly at every turn. For that experience, you could go to Weird Al, Terry Pratchett, or AdventureQuest 3D.

Lately, I’ve been doing a fair bit of the latter. I wanted to get into an MMORPG on a mobile device, and AQ3D was the best candidate for such an experience — proven, popular (in a cult sense), and free. I hadn’t played AQ3D since back in its alpha/beta period, and so I wasn’t really prepared for the much more fleshed-out game that I discovered.

I also wasn’t prepared for the Brutalcorn. Or the other thousand wackadoodle things that happen in this game. In fact, when I first started a character and Death finger-flicked my corpse over a lengthy series of credits, my kids were laughing so hard that one of them fell off the couch. “Dad, you’re still flyyyyyying!”

It’s not a super-deep game, especially in the graphics. It’s probably a good thing that AQ3D goes so stylized, otherwise it would be an eyesore of pointy polygons. But I’m discovering that there’s fun in the simplicity of the quests and combat and a certain childish joy to the humor and weirdness that one encounters.

For example: battle concerts. This is a real thing that this game has become known for, taking real world bands and having them play in-game as characters. You can go in and dance around with everyone else during these songs, but it gets interesting when enemies and bosses drop into the crowd and you’ve got to kill them while the song props up your morale. It’s a hoot and worthy of a few repeats. I’ve gotten several cosmetics from the Breaking Benjamin battle concert, including a zombie skin that I wear with pride.

Also, I encountered a Baby Yoda pet. I had no idea this was in the game but now I want it more than anything else I’ve ever wanted. Does Disney know that AQ3D is doing this? Probably not. Shh. Let’s not tell them.

My greatest foe yet: A giant chicken. I haven’t been able to kill it, solo or with a partner, but I’m lurking about hoping that a group will come along. Until then, it taunts me with its poultry in motion.

I find that, for a mobile MMO, AdventureQuest 3D does most things right. It’s easy to understand and use, there’s a nice automatic movement during combat, and I know that I’ll be able to swap classes at some point. My only quibble is with the camera, which is a constant issue I’ve had in 3D mobile MMOs. I’m always needing to use two fingers to move the camera around along with my character, an issue that would be solved by a chase camera (which never seems to show up in these games). I sometimes feel that I’m spending half my time readjusting the camera instead of just playing, which is a shame.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have some chicken nuggets for dinner. Homestyle.

Posted in AdventureQuest 3D, Try It Tuesday

AdventureQuest 3D: The Phantom Launch


AdventureQuest 3D didn’t actually launch this past week — it was more of a soft launch, what the devs are calling open beta. From what I can tell, it marked the start of a persistent game open to the public, so that’s a soft launch in my book.

I’d been pretty excited to give this a go on my mobile devices, but that wasn’t in the cards. While the PC, Mac, and Android versions all came out on the 19th, the Apple version is (at the time of this writing) still going through the approval process. I told myself that was fine, I could wait… and then impatience got the best of me and I logged in over the weekend on the PC client so that I wasn’t completely behind the curve. I’m counting this as my Try-It Tuesday pick because I did spend a lot of time fiddling about in it.

Thus, Syppi the Rogue entered the world. The art style of AQ3D seems to divide people, but I’m on the side that likes it. It’s a somewhat low fidelity game to accommodate the mobile crowd, but the stylish cel-shading art helps one get over that.


I’m pretty new to the whole AdventureQuest scene, but what I got from the start here is that it’s very tongue-in-cheek and willing to be all sorts of meta. Zorbak, the somewhat-evil little critter that serves as your tutorial guide (despite him hating them) has a lot of laugh-out-loud comments if you take the time to thumb through his whole dialogue.


Zorbak is very up front with the state of AQ3D — open beta is still beta, and this game has a long, long way to go. It’ll probably launch before the end of the year, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be near what we’d think of a launch state. The devs have a good track record of pumping out content, so here’s hoping.


Yes sir!

And off I was. The current client uses the same interface that’s designed for mobile, although a PC-specific UI is presumably on the way. What would probably feel very natural for a mobile user is a little awkward for the PC. For the most part it’s easy to intuit, but there are missing chunks that require some adjustment.

The combat and movement both are fine, which is definitely a big plus. No auto-attacking here; you’re going to be spamming the action buttons a lot. Could use more contact response from mobs and sound effects. I liked how my character looked swinging her giant dagger around (a sword, really).


The tutorial is pretty entertaining. The dialogue from the few NPCs is worth reading in full, and I liked how this above guy was flinging skeletons to and fro in the background. Nice touch.


I started off with a bare-bones inventory save for my awesome Massively OP cape. I’m going to wear this with pride! Do pink and orange go together? No matter.


This… is not the MMO you want to play if you’re worried about fourth wall-breaking. Sally here was a hoot, particularly when you brought her back the amulet of her mother, confirming her death. Sally kind of cracks up and goes insane. I hope she becomes a supervillain later on.


Following the tutorial is the introduction of the town of Battleon. It’s an amusing place to poke around in, especially the inn. This picture begs an explanation.

The inn also has a “secret” passageway down into the sewers where some level 10 slimes await. Too high level for my blood, so I’ll come back to that later.


The band playing on the stage was pretty amusing. Would have loved to hear music from them, though.


About half of Battleon’s buildings can’t be entered, as you get a notification screen like this one. It was like this in alpha, and I had hopes that these places would be built by the time open beta went live.


I’m guessing this studio loves its little in-jokes among the small dev team.


Even tombstones are under construction! Lots of work seems to have gone into these screens.

Anyway, I went out into the first zone and gamely worked on quests. Without a map and with only the ability to track one quest at a time, it was a little confusing. I would love a multi-quest tracker — and quests that pay out better rewards than a paltry handful of coins and XP. I’m still wearing my gear from the tutorial.


I remembered back during my dev tour that there was a cave with a giant chicken/dragon thing, so I made my way in there. Took a lot of fights against these level 3 beasts to get to her at the center. Finally, there I was, drinking in her majesty. Then she pecked me to death.

AdventureQuest 3D will be mostly a mobile activity for me, so I was happy when the Apple store unlocked it on Saturday night. The download was incredibly small and quick, and I was back onto the same character I played on the PC not 15 minutes previous. The interface definitely works better with mobile as it is and I ran it through the paces for about a half hour with no difficulty. I couldn’t enable some of the more advanced graphic effects without bringing it to a crippling halt.

All in all, it should be said that AQ3D is very, very much in a beta state. It’s a little too grindy and the gear system isn’t the clearest in the world, and there isn’t much to do right now other than follow the string of standard quests and hope to level up. It’s probably best enjoyed on an incredibly casual basis right now until more features and content gets added. I think it has a lot of potential, to be sure, and the core functionality is there, but this isn’t as full-featured as you might expect from a standard (even a cheap Asian) MMO. There’s probably no shame in waiting until release.

On the other hand, the Halloween event starts this week, so I do want to see what they come up with for a haunted house. Should be interesting.

Posted in AdventureQuest 3D, Elder Scrolls Online, Master X Master, Neverwinter, Project Gorgon

Six MMOs I’m considering playing this fall

We’re now deep into September, which means many things for my life. It’s the start of the school year for my job, what I always see as the MMO expansion season, and the onset of the fall and preparation for winter. As I settle comfortably into both World of Warcraft and RIFT right now, I’ve been considering what I might add to my roster for the remainder of 2016. I have several options in front of me, and if things calm down a bit more, I might be playing one or more in the near future. So what’s being considered?

1. Project Gorgon

It’s not a question of whether or not to play Project Gorgon, it’s just a matter of when. I hate this whole early access nonsense, because you never really know when to leap on board, even when the games go into quasi-persistence. There’s three thoughts here: Just play it already and roll with the changes that are sure to come, wait for the Steam early access release that should come by the end of the year, or really hold out for the official launch in late 2017.

I have to weigh waiting for more features and less chance of partial wipes with the fact that it’s more-or-less persistent now and there’s already lots to do. My thinking is to hold out for the Steam release and then take it casual from there.

2. Master X Master

Not technically an MMO — yet people keep calling it more of an MMO than almost any MOBA that came before it. I took a look at some previews and really found myself warming up to its PvE side, various characters, and fun gameplay. I’ll definitely take a look when it releases, but how long I’ll stay is a huge question mark.

3. Neverwinter

Yeah, I might go back to Neverwinter. I always have a soft spot for Cryptic games, and Neverwinter is actually doing huge right now. Loads of players, lots of content added, several platforms — and the assurance that this is a game that has a long future ahead of it. Would like to try a new character and perhaps make it further than I did in the past.

4. AdventureQuest 3D

Currently this title is eyeing an October release, and while it’s most assuredly going to be very content light when that happens, I’ll be putting it on my phone as my go-to mobile MMO. I want a pocket MMORPG and this one, given enough time and care and affection, could blossom into one worth playing. The enthusiasm of its devs and community is downright infectious — and there is no cure.

5. Elder Scrolls Online

I picked up a very cheap copy of this a while back and it’s been sitting on my shelf like, “Play meeeee!” And I’ve been ignoring it because I’m a jerk to video games like that. It’s a case of a game that I really haven’t spent a lot of time in, has shored up its weaknesses with a lot of content, has a promising future, and could be a potential if I want to give it a go.

6. The Unknown Dark Horse Underdog

And then there’s always the possibility that moods and whims might lead me somewhere else entirely. Oh, at times I’ve looked at RuneScape, Trove, WildStar, Marvel Heroes, and even Guild Wars 2 as possible fall entries, but most of those might be best left alone… for now.

I have a separate list for 2017, although that’s much more in flux at the moment. Fingers crossed for a better year for new and upcoming MMOs!

Posted in AdventureQuest 3D

AdventureQuest 3D: Adventurers (not yet) needed


You might recall — because your entire life revolves around my petty gaming habits — that one of the three MMOs I’m looking forward to playing this year is the small and strange AdventureQuest 3D. I did a preview piece on this game for Massively OP last month, but to sum up, this is a 3D MMO version of a long-running flash game and is supposed to be pick-up-and-play on many different platforms.

There’s a glimmer of promise and potential to fill a niche here, particularly if this proves to be very playable on mobile. I’d love the thought of being able to log into the same account on my iPad, iPhone, or computer and enjoy the same experience. Not a lot of games are doing that, obviously. And after talking with the devs last month and hearing their passion for making a world full of explorable secrets and ever-evolving events, I’m honestly intrigued.

It doesn’t hurt that this studio has a strong underdog thing going on with it. The kickstarter did fairly well, yet this is a small team without a lot of formal titles trying to make a game that we’d all want to play. From what I can tell, the community is both small and rabidly fanatical about both AQ3D and the game’s developers.


That said, right now the game is so pre-alpha that you can practically see the painters rushing ahead of you to slap colors on mobs and developers shoving gold in their pockets before you arrive. I logged in last night to putter around without devs lurking around (not that they were unpleasant!) and was instantly beset by a small group of what I’m going to call AQ3D enthusiasts.

Somehow I got recognized as being an “interviewer” (which was an odd term — “press” or “media” is usually more the standard). I guess that the devs have been trying to take more press on tour through the game, and when I was on my own tour, the player train that followed us was quite substantial. This shows you the game’s size and incomplete status, when the mere appearance of anyone different or slightly important warrants rapt attention.

I ran around the game’s sole town, Battelion, looking to see which structures I could enter (there’s only about three or four right now). A sign at the inn advertising “Adventurers (not yet) needed” amused me, a tip of the hat to AQ3D’s alpha status. As I’m doing this, people are following me and we’re chatting about a few features.

I really do like how I could switch classes on the fly, so I tried out both the Warrior and the Rogue. Warrior wins out, just because he can do a whirlwind attack that’s awesome for groups of mobs.


But despite the devs drumming up interest in AQ3D and trying to raise general awareness, the truth is that the game as it is is practically barebones. There are four classes, a handful of small zones, one town, and a single (new) dungeon. The sound didn’t quite work right for me the whole session and the animation/latency was off, too. From what I remember, the game played a lot tighter during my dev tour. Maybe I broke something with the settings.

I did run a dungeon — twice, in fact. Right now these look to be public dungeon experiences, as in anyone can run in and participate. So it’s more like being part of a small dungeon zerg alongside strangers than a steady march through dangerous territory. AQ3D is trying to create these segmented dungeons where each section has a different challenge, but all I saw so far were rooms (outdoor areas) where you had to kill all of the mobs to proceed. At the end was a boss, some poor level 5 NPC that got steamrolled by all of the level 12s.

Rough and not quite ready for adventurers as it is, AdventureQuest 3D is definitely on my radar. As I said, I have a feeling about it. Probably won’t be the be-all, end-all of mobile MMOs, but it could well be an accessible, addictive, and slick little title when it comes out. A sleeper hit, even. But the developers have a LOT to do here before the game’s purported release this fall.