Echo of Soul
Publisher: Aeria Games
Echo of Soul is the latest Korean MMORPG to be published by Aeria Games. I was fortunately enough to get into the closed beta to check the game out. I found a few very interesting things tha I want to dive into right away.
Upon starting Echo of Soul, we are treated with a nice intro video setting the stage and establishing the game's lore. Your avatar is called a soul keeper due to your ability to collect the souls of the monsters you kill in your travels. After the intro, we begin to create our avatar by first selecting one of five gender locked classes. You have the warrior, archer, guardian sorceress and rogue. You have a reasonable amount of things you can alter as you create your avatar ranging from the shape of her face, hair styles, and even skin color.
After diving right in after creating our character, we are put right into the tutorial world which is pretty fast paced. Starting out, you are in a outpost that is under siege by some army of darkness and you are asked to quell this assault and take out the leader. The list of tutorial quest mostly involve of course the usual learning to use your abilities types and managing items and equipment. You will also learnt he assortment of skills like gem embedding, cooking and even acquiring your first mount.
In the tutorial area you will even learn about the Soul System. As soul keepers, you gather up souls of the enemies you defeat. When you are at a outpost or village with a soul gem, you can convert all the gathered souls into gems that you can use at anytime to act as buffs. The four gem abilities are called Hope, Innocence, Courage and Peace and they all vary in the buffs they offer which can range from enhanced defense, attack buffs, to earning an extra bit of experience.
As you continue to progress quickly through the game, you will eventually hit level 10, you'll be able to finally pick on of two class paths for your character. These usually lead to different areas of making your character a bit more diverse. With the warrior you can follow the path of the berserker and be a huge damage dealing machine or be the tanking Protector path. You can make your Guardian deal huge amounts of damage with area of effect attacks as a Stormguard or use debuffs and stuns as you tank as an Earthguard. The style of game play seems to appease many different people.
The world of Echo of Soul seems to be shaping up rather nicely. As I travel the world it seems everything for the time is easily accessible and each area is a decent size which help making multiple trips somewhere to not feel tedious. After the tutorial area we are finding ourselves traveling through a giant forest, across a giant grassy plain, running the streets of a mega city, trenching through swamp lands and fighting through hordes in cryptic ruins and dungeons.
One of the things that Echo of Soul is putting a lot of focus on is their PVP system. You can have of course ahve traditional PvP combat in the open world but they also offer an arena instance with a 15 vs 15 player system. The objectives of the instance PvP are a king of the hill variation where you can have control pillars for a certain amount of time or until one team has reached the required points to end the match.
After competing in a few of these, it seemed a bit unbalanced mainly because they are matching off low level players against higher level ones. The higher level characters will always have the advantage with having more skills and abilities even if the combat is scaled to make it seem even. Hopefully this is fixed before the game comes out of beta. Overall it looks like Echo of Soul is appearing to be a very solid free to play MMO for people to enjoy. Definitely keep an eye on this release from Aeria Games.