Vindictus - After 2 Years Of Hassling Bosses w/ HeroesBy: KradisZ posted at Aug 07, 2012 7:47 am
The pinnacle of the attraction to Vindictus are Bosses and Skill among that there are 5 ways to play it all so far none of which are dull. (Posted and as of August 08, 2012 for the 5 ways to play; Evie, Kai, Lann etc.)
Vindictus being out for 2 years and doing well in that time frame has attracted many players seeking challenge and intense action. Vindictus is an action MMO ran off Source engine. With that in hand, combat is extremely fluent and smooth.
After playing it for 2 years and since the beta here's what I have about it, in fact so much I don't think I can even write it all and will have to add it in later..
Whether you're gliding furiously across the map, blinking left and right, spinning like a helicopter, pounding your fist/pillar into the floor, or golf swinging your enemies off the map with a hammer Vindictus has a lot to offer for a free-to-play game.
Like what there's so many free to play games these days what's so good here now?
Well if my previous sentence before the question above didn't even entice any kind of curiosity then let me tell you a bit if you even care at this point :(.
Bosses in Vindictus are anything but trivial. They will smash you, wreck you, destroy you in a few hits.
Well if that's the case why even bother playing if I'm going to die and sit there watching a death camera forever?
The thrive for skill and intense action reward the player for defeating foes of such strength. In the long run your character will develop into a beast itself.
Many of the boss fights early on can somewhat be dumbed down to feeling all the same, but the end game material is what makes things interesting.
For a free to play game utilizing team strategies to take down a boss or pure skill by hardcore players is fun to watch or get yourself toned into that same position as the hardcore player. (e.g. I play an Evie and I like to solo Glas or Aghlan)
The dragon raid Elchulus available at Level 40 - This raid is up to 24 people with anyone able to participate within the levels of 40-70. The mission will be enabled to begin when 16 players are in the lobby. Additional players may then join even after the event has begun up to a maximum of 40. Now that sounds all typical and like anything else.
But what's fun about this raid is the arena is huge and you're all on the same side as the 24 players trying to take down this behemoth of a monster. In terms of scale your character is about as big as Elchulus' paw. What's interesting is when the dragon takes flight you have 4
catapults ballistae on either side of the map which must be manned by a player. Giving you a total of 8 shots. Should you land 4-5 hits on the dragon he'll be dragged into the floor ceasing his fireball assault on the players(you) and crashing into the floor unable to get up momentarily giving players an opportunity to unleash havoc on the beast.
Raids are great and most boss attacks are unique- They can be done once a day but raids generally range from 8-24 people in Vindictus, there are however a few raids which are ran Solo only. The bosses are generally of gargantuan proportions and will mostly tower over your character, and one boss will even uh... literally tower on top of you... you can find that one at Level 50.
Boss attacks generally come in the form of body charging, meteor showers, annoying teleportation and backstab, telefragging, lightning blasts, grabbing and crushing you and throwing you into the floor like trash, take you into the air for the ride of your life literally, dropkick you, block and counter, super saiyan explosion aura you, freeze you into an icicle and break you, hop around you like a hyper dog, dismantling itself and using its remnants to smack you, shoot homing fireballs, unblockable tornados, perform snoo snoo. And so on, you name it and it might be possibly there if not eventually it will be if it's not entirely inappropriate. (wait what was that last one?)
Playable Characters - Each with their own unique style of game play
Now with most games we're all used to creating our own character. Vindictus is slightly different where in the game you create a hero with a given name. The hero is what defines your style of play.(You can still have your own username but they'll be calling you as MyHeroOwnsX176 plays a Lann)
Lann - The fast and the furious speedy one, blurring like lightning between his foes victory is all he cares about.
Fiona - Defensive guardian, slow and strong but fast in reflexes
Evie - The mage & caster class stereotype
Karok - The giant, the bruiser type hero, the one and only who can interact with bosses directly
Kai - The archer/ranged class, meant to be a boss killer
Vella - The evasive sly reactive class, she works upon evasion and countering
More to come...
You mention unique for each one how so? (Edit August 08, 2012: 2 Video demos placed with their respective hero)
I'll rank each one with a difficulty from Easy to Insane to Retarded Jaw-droppingly Hard and describe how they all differ.
Lann - A dual wielding swordsman by default and later on a spearman if desired, speed is what caters to him the most, if you enjoy attacking fast and going nuts around your enemy he's the one to play... however, his difficulty is Retarded Jaw-droppingly Hard. His defense tactics are something called Slip Dash or in the future Liberation or something for his Twin Spears. Slip Dash is an ability that allows Lann to survive in battle, it grants him a 0.3 second invulnerability upon using and costs 7 mana at it's maximum skill level. He can perform another dash after for double the cost with the same effect. Yes that's correct 0.3 seconds of invulnerability. That is the time gap of how little you have to time yourself for an attack to dodge, apart from that everything else is take a hit and lose hp.
Why can't he block?
For those who are insane enough to master the technique of Slip Dash, they will come to realize he doesn't need to block. Lol, he's simply too fast/too good for it.
Lann's are extremely high in DPS and invincible if the defense technique is mastered.(E.g. Had one Elchulus run where a Lann did 40% damage to the dragon... 40%... the run was 12 minutes long an average run takes 30-50 minutes)
A simple demonstration of Lann fighting a near end-game boss.
Fiona - Sword and shield, although with a typical gear set up and being the tank of the roster. She isn't just classified as tank. Her damage output can be one of the highest out of everyone when utilizing a hammer. In the future updates to come her sword abilities will be buffed from its current state giving it more utility and speed. Her shield doesn't act as just defense it allows her to nullify attacks completely and enables her to counter attacks in a flash when using a small shield. Her difficulty lies within Easy because she's generally hard to kill and has more defense than anyone else due to the shield.
She's probably the only character that isn't killed off in a few hits from bosses. Some Fiona's in endgame take a boss' attacks like a boss. She just simply won't die when defense ratings of Fiona can reach as high as 14k if you seriously have everything maximized to defense. Most bosses attack power only reaches about 13k. At the 10k mark you're already able to survive about 9-14 hits from an end-game boss.
Fiona is the only character able to block against enemy attacks(I don't count Mana Amber as a block since it costs 40 stamina per shot, blocking on Fiona requires nothing and only reduces stamina upon being hit, Karok isn't a block since you have to take a hit to make it go away.)
Evie - The mage of the game, she can be classified as also the only healer of the game when using the staff she is the only hero able to conjure a temporary magical station where players can run and absorb a health orb from the spell healing a large portion of health based on the Evie's intelligence stat. Her damage output is also high, some like to consider her a machine gun when using the staff due to the spamming of Magic Arrow's, or the fastest non-stop attack class when using a scythe with Insane Reaper activated. Evie falls under the category of Easy. Why? Because she's also the only character with a mana shield.
The mana shield makes Evie practically invulnerable except maybe 1 or 2 attacks in the game from one or two bosses. The mana shield on its last shield will block any amount of damage and completely nullify it. The extra damage won't reach into her health pool and if you can avoid damage long enough with blink(scythe) or mana amber(staff) then it'll regenerate. But as long as you have that one shield regenerated that next hit will be completely blocked!. If it doesn't even shatter your shield then you'll be able to fully absorb another.
An interesting way of spell casting in Vindictus for Evie is a charge meter, with every level it approaches to a higher concentration where other spells are available and previous spells are removed from the cast. Although the spells aren't an entire encyclopedia the few handful of spells are fun enough to enjoy throughout the game without feeling bored of them. This spell casting system is what makes Evie unique in game play.
A demonstration of Scythe Evie gameplay of a relentless assault on Shakarr
Karok - He is an interesting new character to the gaming industry of action RPG. One of his features is interacting with bosses. Not by like talking them down or making funny gestures at them or asking them for quests. But more along the lines of playing "mercy" with them.
Certain boss attacks Karok can Clash with them. For instance Siglint; the Earth Dragon, when Siglint takes flight and attempts to swipe a player from the ground and fly him into the air and drop him into his/her death, Karok has the chance to be able to Clash against this attack and instead of being swiped up by Siglint, if successfully Clashed, Karok will lock with Siglint for a short time and throw a dragon that's about 100x bigger than him into the ground. Other bosses may include grabbing their attack and holding it off letting other heroes/players come in and unleash as much damage as possible. He's the only one who's able to perform wrestling-type techniques in the game against foes others cannot interact with.
Ever play a game with 4 Karoks that can clash really well? I remember one time fighting Ingkells and the guy clashed Ingkells as a Dark Knight with the stamina boost, and had his stamina pot drank with an intense reaper going on as well. The Karok practically held the boss on the spot for almost 30 seconds where the other 7 people just hit the boss like a punching bag.
Karok's difficulty ranges at the Insane level. This is because his defense mechanism requires him to take a hit. Taking a hit at the precise moment during an attack sequence with Karok is his technique of survival amidst combat.
Kai - Now I haven't played Kai yet as I seem to have removed myself from Vindictus for the time being I have heard he's a boss killer and was only released recently.
Vella - Inspired through an April Fools' joke, the developers received such optimism and pleas for an implementation of their joke as an actual playable class in the sense where the game play isn't a joke with the prospected idea they presented. Further polish and development are on its way and she will be introduced with Season 2 of Vindictus.
Story - It's an okay story ***SPOILERS***
The story in Vindictus resembles much of what I remember from Ragnarok Online just in a different presentation.
In Season 1 of Vindictus the story plays out that you are a mercenary of low rank in the game and you slowly make your way up to be one of the higher generals in command that everyone relies upon and remains in disbelief at your character's ability to perform all their tasks and beyond. Some NPCs even get jealous and completely disregard your skill as just luck over and over in complete denial.
However the main story doesn't revolve around that. It revolves around a prophecy of paradise. That when all Fomors are destroyed and the last drop of blood has been spilled of the Fomors the goddess Erinn will reveal herself and show everyone to the land of paradise. So basically kill everything that's not a human or civil and paradise will be shown by some god. There are oracles throughout the lore of Vindictus Season 1 where one of them is the chosen one to become the goddess Morrighan, the god who released all the fomors... I think I might be inaccurate about that if I am call me out on it.
But they are generally the ones who are trying to fulfill their prophecy of bringing Erinn to light and bringing the land to peace. In a twist of events eventually one or well actually quite a few of NPCs become bosses you have to face. Something on your first play through you might not expect just from the way it was all presented. With the last boss actually being a friend of your character in the story. The ending to season 1 was quite... tingly? To me it was anyways, I thought it was a nice way of saying good bye to all the NPCs with a memory wipe.
***SPOILER END ***
What about the future of Vindictus past Season 1?
From what I've researched the stories are mutually exclusive between Season 1 and Season 2. Season 2's main town is called Morban. And with my predictions that's a pirate-named town. With designs of a kraken to be fought and a pirate captain boss and Vella holding cutlasses and eye patch the give away couldn't be more obvious. Running around on broken ships look interesting as well.
Gameplay seems to be different a bit too... from speculation, JUST SPECULATION MIND YOU, that the game seems to move away from dungeon-type running and into an open-world environment in Season 2.
Transformation - A sick and wicked feature to unveil during its time
Transform in Vindictus does not mean hexing something or upgrading something. It is an ability.
An ability which your character summons in combat granting god-like strength and capabilities with its user. What do I mean?
For instance, The Dark Knight(not Batman) path is catered towards those who prefer destruction, power, and duty. The Paladin however is more towards teamwork and defense. The opposite essentially of the Dark Knight
There are only 2 paths to choose from both of which none instill any regret regardless of which path you go!
The Dark Knight - Catered towards extreme damage and relentless assault. This Dark Knight path is all about damage, carnage, havoc. The Dark Knight has a special skill in its later form that can stun/freeze any boss for a few seconds and cause massive damage with this spell. Now of course we want to be able to kill big baddies and brag to our friends or the party that you can do the most damage and is the most valuable player on the team but... what makes the Paladin so enticing?
The Paladin - Catered towards defense and minimal damage increase along with teamwork boosting effects. Paladins on the other hand are teamwork players or at least their aura and effects will make them that by default. Paladins grant Special Power(SP) to nearby players whereas Dark Knights only grant a great boost in stamina which you can't exhaust in its time frame before it goes back to your normal stamina so Dark Knights are more of a solo path. Paladins also have massive defense boost increases. With their special ability later on The Paladin's skill creates a shield around its user and launches a set amount of reflected damage back to the boss and any nearby enemy. The shield that's created on the user nullifies the next amount of damage by an infinite limit for 1 hit. But Paladins are weaker as some would say, I have to differ and say well... this
Just because Dark Knights are all damage doesn't mean it's super powerful, Paladins if played right eventually make enough SP to perform strong moves faster than a DK ever will, and the other thing is a DK doesn't get a massive defense boost like the Paladin, if you're dead you do 0 damage, if you live you live to fight again.
So they both have their ups and downs for both paths but you can't go wrong heading in either direction in Vindictus, though you might be like "damn I wish I went that way". There are other alternatives or some strategy involved to improve yourself.
Sword Lanns as Paladins make it very far, with one person I've come across at about 59 extra attack speed(+0.5% per 1 attack speed), he granted him self Slashing High skill making his character have infinite stamina for a few seconds and increasing his further attack speed by 10% totalling a 79 which is a 39.5% speed up in animation. Not to mention with every attack he gains a large amount of SP like any other and can afford to make a few mistakes here and there should lag screw up his Slip Dash defense. In the 2 minute time frame you're allowed to stay in transform this guy performed about 4 Furious Seven's on a boss(That's 28 gliding furies in 2 minutes not to mention the additional manual ones during to generate that amount of Special Power). It was insane!! Watching 1 player go postal on a boss is always amusing especially as a Lann
However Twin Spear Lanns as Dark Knights utterly wreck bosses too, they just spin like a helicopter chopping them out repeatedly non-stop, with the high extra damage boost the DPS goes up exponentially but the danger arises as well for the player since defense isn't there. With enough skill the player can maneuver himself around the bosses and the extended attack range to both transformations make kiting and slicing very easy once practiced enough.
Videos to come later.
Praise praise praise zz, I need to hear about bad things too since nothing's perfect.
Okay, as per usual I like to give everything it's fair share of good and bad after many hours of experience just in hopes to give you some insight before wasting your valuable time since I've accomplished that for you should you decide to avoid it!
Game hosting - This is a serious detrimental attribute of Vindictus. When you play dungeons or go on runs in Vindictus it is hosted by the party leader. If he/she has a bad connection, expect everyone else to experience bad frame rates, rubberbanding, non-registering hits, bad timing. This is serious, for an action-intense game and with some abilities limiting to 0.3 seconds of defense a lag spike of 1 second is a death sentence to your character. Some abilities work off critical hits where others it grants buffs and if it doesn't even register due to latency and lag they will amount these skills to nothing.
The only dungeons that ARE hosted by Nexon's servers are the 24-man raids. For the 8-man raids pray your party leader has a beast of a machine and a good internet connection. Otherwise be prepared to facepalm like no tomorrow.
Pay to win - Although not a serious issue but the game is headed towards that direction. Pay to win. You can play the whole game's content for free but at a certain level and part, it starts feeling a bit impossible without buying cash shop items to enhance your character, and by enhance I don't mean aesthetically/looks-wise, I mean gear power wise. I
f it's not gear power it would then be resurrections for your party/yourself during a run since most of the majority of the player base can't survive the end game raids without being decimated by the boss else it's fail and restart and lose all your time and money for repair bills on your equipment and a gain of absolute nothing.
End Game Equipment - It's like winning the lottery to obtain level 70 armor. Throughout many runs I've seldomly seen anyone with a full set, there may be more in fluctuation now but they cost a whooping 300 million for certain pieces, a whole set could run you about 750million gold. Players farm enchant scrolls to try and sum up to this money with scrolls being worth in the range of 300k-20mil each. Or do dragon raids repeatedly and hope they get the luck of the draw.
Dragon raids tend to last on average a full hour or just under since you can only beat a dungeon within an hour before it automatically fails you and boots you out. Doing 3 of them means about almost 3 hours of your day is gone. Sounds like nothing but the wait times for parties to fill up and start take a while too. Not to mention if your party fails you just lost about 30-40 minutes. You never know when the boss is going to die for those end-game ones until they're at their very last breath then its noticeable. During these raids if they do last about their maximum length; an hour, it gets very boring quickly because you're busying chasing a boss that can move across the map every 10 seconds or so and then it gets extremely redundant, not to mention you're throwing the same attacks over and over for an hour.......each character has only 4 mainstream attacks with some even at 3, the majority of the time you'll be using them (i.e. LR, LLR, LLLR, LLLLR L being a left click R being a right cilck), for a mobile boss you'd be only using the fastest attacks possible which are your first 1 and 2 smashes because landing the 3 and 4 ones you'd better have high attack speed or it's never going to happen.
Loading Boat - Now this one is just me, but I am so annoyed of the loading boat by my xth run, it wastes a couple minutes for everyone intro'ing and showing off what they got before the match loads, after about that xth run say 100 runs I've probably lost at least 5 hours just from all the accumulated minutes lost to that transition before every dungeon run.
Breakdown - The Scores
Gameplay - Vindictus has many unique styles of game play. Each one being unique on its own and refreshing and different from the rest but not to an imbalance where you feel you can be ignored and labeled useless. The game revolves around skill even though later on some things become feeling really pay 2 win, it still boils down to skill. The controls are easy to learn and the system catches on fast. However going through some of the earlier bosses repeatedly to try out these other styles of game play gets a bit boring at times but that's if you do long sessions concurrently without playing other things.
Away you go gnoll... you can fly now! (Fiona performing Ivy Sweep smash kick)
Many fun things players do are like block and counter kill Fiona's, Karok's pillar bashing into the floor, Lann's gliding fury is fun, you're practically moving around like The Flash on your 3rd person camera. Lann's ultimate is known as Furious Seven where he performs 7 gliding furies and is invulnerable during the performance, it looks like Cloud Strife's omnislash except you get to control the directions in which way to slash across your enemy. Be wary that this may cause motion sickness though if you're not used to it. Evie's casting system is satisfying and firebolts are so destructive it obstructs your view upon detonation when it comes in contact with an enemy for just a brief moment but sends the victim flying or burning.
Due to its many unique styles of game play and fluency in combat plus the challenging monsters the game play deserves a 9/10. The one point missing being that the environments in the game are rather dull in the early game and is recycled a lot that you get sick of seeing it, not to mention that a lot of bosses are duplicated or iterated. Kobolds anyone?
Sound - Sounds fit very well and all the voice-acting for each character aren't horrid with all their "hyeaahs!" and "Rrrrrrrrrrrreaah!" "Hoowah" and what not. The music for the bosses are definitely catchy for some of them and fit the game's theme very well. The weapon noises and spell effects also aren't subtle, they are strong, loud, and memorable.
I'm giving this a 9/10 as well the one point missing being that they didn't have any music for any of the map traversal before the boss leaving it kind of soundless and mindless when all you hear is sword sheathing noises which sometimes hurts the ears after a long while. I won't go into voice-acting for the story because the way it was presented was more of a picture book when you had dialogue between the NPCs in town.
Visuals - The graphics are nice, it's Source engine, constantly evolving. The textures are highly detailed, characters are highly detailed in their armor. Plenty of armor sets to mix and match as well as costumes on the cash shop. Normal maps are present in the game and special effects fit very nicely. Monsters are fairly detailed, bosses are very very detailed. NPCs are presented in a 2D cutout visual inside building rooms. Only a few certain NPCs you'll ever get to see their 3D format during cut scenes within the game.
Environments fit each area to their theme and how they are described in preceding quests leading up to the area. Overall it fits very well and deserves a 9.5/10, the 0.5 missing being the environments are kind of crappy in the beginning game and is recycled a lot. Towards end game though the arenas/dungeons differ by quite a lot.
Story - The fact that it was free to play was an even greater attraction. The story although a bit cheesy, it had mysterious elements along the way wondering what each/next episode held as updates came. (Ingkells update being the most surprising one at first appearance) Most of the anticipation was for the bosses though along with the armor sets they came with. In a sense even the armor creation reminded me of Monster Hunter, where you defeat huge enemeis and use their materials to recreate their armor on to your own character. Overall I think its story fits with a 9/10 since it's free content. The 1 point missing that the general story line of kill everything rang the bells of Ragnarok Online's story,
Originality - If I'm basing this off at the time of release it was quite original 2 years back, not very many games surfaced with this calibre of action. The bosses were tough and rough. Even the Gnoll Chieftain was considered Very Hard early on. The game also has its way of achievements but they actually mean something.
Achievements or Titles as they are in Vindictus grant permanent stat boosts to your character without equipping that title. This drove me nuts as I tried to get every single one just to try to max out my character, in the end I got burnt out and extremely bored of the game itself (291 titles / 336). However apart from that the game's simplistic system and story and attraction all mixed together to create a fun game makes me generate a 9/10 for Vindictus without hesitation.
Old school Vindictus... tokens...
Gameplay - 9/10
Sound - 9/10
Story - 9/10
Originality - 9/10
Challenge - Consistently Hard - The game is challenging and after 2 years of experience I still struggle in the game.
Lasting Effect - Replaying as other heroes/roles is fun as you discover a new side of the game and how to approach it. Though going through all the missions again might bore you.
Score: 45.5/50 -> 91/100 (Evaluated August 07, 2012)
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