Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Shards of the Dreams

I came upon this game called "Shards of the Dreams" due to an advertisement placed on Yahoo! Games. Since it was browser-based and doesn't require much time to get started, I decided to give it a check.

Shards of the Dreams - Account CreationShards of the Dreams - Request for Permission
At first look, the website for this game looks pretty decent. In addition, it appears that I can use my facebook account to play. This would definitely save me the hassle of going through account creation.

Indeed, all I needed was to make sure that I'm logged in facebook and then click on the connect button. A pop-up asking to allow the app will appear. After allowing the request, check the terms of service and click continue.
Shards of the Dreams - Character CreationShards of the Dreams - Inactivity Limit
Character creation seems pretty much like all other browser-based games that you can find out there in the market. There's two sides to choose, the usual four classes (tank, thief, healer and mage) and a gender option.

Since there's no other customization options, I guess we won't be expecting much differentiation between players then.

Oh by the way, do note that there's a time limit, for inactivity, to character deletion for characters below level 8.
Shards of the Dreams - Game Interface 1Shards of the Dreams - Game Interface
The game interface looks kind of like those olden days isometric RPGs. But since its a browser game, we shouldn't have high expectations right? Frankly speaking, I wasn't having much expectations when I saw the game on Yahoo!.

Looks aside, I noticed that upon logging in, there wasn't any tutorials for newcomers. The only thing present was an NPC with an exclamation mark on top of his head. I guess the developers probably figured that the game is a no-brainer and thus there's no need for one.

Talking to this NPC will start your very first quest in the game, searching for a missing cat. Extremely easy task, right? That is if you know where to look.
Shards of the Dreams - Radar
Being a veteran gamer, I'm sure you will first start looking at the radar for any tell-tales. Surely enough, you should notice that the game provides a green arrow pointing towards the quest location. And as you approach closer, a green dot with ripples will appear on the radar to show you your target.
Shards of the Dreams - CombatShards of the Dreams - Loot
The combat in this game is fairly simple. Your character just shows a simple slash animation against your target and then damage numbers or miss pop above the heads of both. Sorry, but even for skills casting, there isn't any fancy animations here. For my rogue at least, not sure about mage casting magic.

During combat, your character does not regenerate health and mana points. So if you get attacked constantly without a pause in between, you will die. However, the good thing is that your character will quickly replenish them after exiting combat.
Shards of the Dreams - Movement Mechanics
One thing interesting about this game is the movement mechanics. I was expecting to jump into another map after moving my character to the portal like in other games that I've played. However, what I saw was a map with various circles representing sites of interests or villages instead.

These circles are of varying distance away from each other. And to get to these locations, one must wait for certain amounts of time depending on your character's distance to that location. You must wait for your character to literally traverse the map to move in between places.

I'm guessing there will be other faster modes of travel being implemented into the game in the future. Probably there will be more locations added and a larger map too, since I see a transport method option.
Shards of the Dreams - Shop NPC
The costs of beginner equipment is appalling. Apparently, the starting village's equipment merchant doesn't seem to sell much stuff oriented for beginners. There are only a handful of items that are sold cheap enough for beginner wallets.

With monsters looting about 4 to 6 coppers while armors costing 15 to 20 silvers, your basically stuck with whatever you have or looted until you've managed to save up the silvers.

If the full set of beginner equipment costs 110 silvers, that would mean you would have to kill at least 2,200 monsters. Some grinding that is...and not to mention this is for beginner items. I seriously can't imagine the costs of stuff at higher levels.
Shards of the Dreams - Character InfoShards of the Dreams - Skills
The skills and talents of the character is another thing that's worth mentioning. There are only four skills/abilities seen in the talent window and most of them are without much descriptions at this point in time. Perhaps the game makers are still in the process of implementing more skills. Or maybe more skills will be discovered as I level higher. But in any case, the lack of skill descriptions only shows that this game isn't quite fully developed as yet.

Therefore it would only be logical to conclude that rather than calling it a game in beta, as stated on the site, I'ld say that this game is somewhat in between alpha and beta stages.

There is a serious need to balance the game mechanics, touch up on information descriptions on various items and skills and implement more stuff. Until this 'raw ore' is polished, don't count on this game to give you your fix of entertainment. You might be better off searching elsewhere.