Friday, May 29, 2015

Kingdom Under Fire II (Part Four)

Gameplay (Continued)
Questing And PVP
Just like all other games, "Questing" also forms the bulk of KUF2's gameplay.
KUF2 - Quest GiversKUF2 - Quest Content
You will primarily be following along with the main storyline quests (in yellow) but there's also the regular fillers or side quests (in blue) that you can do as well.

And the way these all work is following along with the main storyline quest, it will gradually bring you into the various mission zones as well as field zones that are found in the game world.
Which is all fine to be honest...that is until I've reached level 20+.
While being okay initially (when I first started playing the game), I can't help but found that the questing became more and more repetitive as I progressed.

At the start, all the quests (main and side) were taken in such a way that you only needed to do the mission zone once. However, towards the end, they became "split" in such a way that you needed to clear the same mission zone multiple times.
Perhaps it doesn't seem like much to you, but it does tick me a little having to keep redoing the same zone with the same scenario (and landscape) over and over again though (to clear all its related side quests). Especially those very hard and "draggy" ones.
Apart from that, the gameplay's pretty bland to me and does not offer much replay value in my opinion (unless your into grinding for the best equips and troops for your character).
Mostly its just to clear the main and side quests for a particular mission zone. And once that's done, your practically just repeating whichever one that gives you the most EXP and gold (for your effort) in order to level up and unlock the next couple of missions.
In other words, as it is, the game probably won't make it too far beyond the storyline plot (in terms of longevity).
KUF2 - PVP Zone In World MapKUF2 - PVP Battlefield
The make or break factor, in my opinion, might possibly boil down to how its PVP gameplay is handled. But that, my friend, is still a question mark.

For as far as I know, the only "PVP Zone" found in the world map requires two teams of four (4 vs 4) to play. And as I played alone and couldn't find anyone else interested in trying it out with me, I'm not quite sure how that goes. But I'm guessing it could just simply be a fight to the death (of the heroes and the troops on both teams).
As for the huge PVP button found on top of the mini-map, that one seems to be "still in the making?" as its "Start" button is greyed out and the "ranking list" appears to be empty as well.

Character Stats And Hero Skills
KUF2 - My Stat Vs Pro
Character stats-wise, KUF2's made in such a way that its pretty much "idiot-proof". All of a player's core stats are found on what you wear and use. Your weapons, armors and accessories.
And naturally, the better (rarer) your equips, the more stats and stat options that they possess.
The only form of variance that you'll be able to find here is perhaps a statistical one at best. It will largely depend on your luck and ability to loot equips with the "right" kind of stats that you might want your character to have.
Some players prefer more defensive stats while others might want more offensive ones.
The rest of your character's individuality (which separates you from another one of your kind) lies squarely upon what kind of hero skills you decide to pick up for him or her.
Its implemented in a pretty "peculiar" way as to speak.
KUF2 - Hero Skills
Though different, depending on whether your a Gunslinger, a Spellsword or a Berserker, hero skills are subdivided into two categories, those that use gold to learn (gold-based) and those that require skill points (skill point-based).
KUF2 - Gold-based ExampleKUF2 - Skill Point-based Example
Gold-based ones are default and compulsory. To learn them, all you need is to get to the required character level and pay its necessary cost (in gold).
In other words, everyone has access to them (and can max them all) long as they are of the same class.
Skill point-based ones, on the other hand, requires skill points (which you are only given a couple, 1 or 2 points, per level). As such, they are rather "limited" and depending on which branch or branches you decide to pursue/max, your character's fighting style will become different (as will the troops that you decide to bring with you into a battle).
For instance, most of my skill points are allocated under "Swordsmanship" instead of "Shooting". Therefore, my fighting style is more or less up close and personal rather than ranged.

But that's just talking about my Gunslinger, of course. Another Gunslinger can opt to learn more "Shooting" hero skills and his fighting style will become more "range-ish" than melee.

Naturally, the skills of a Spellsword and a Berserker will be different and so will their fighting styles (so its best to go back and read more about the classes first).
Even though it sounds simple enough, there are still some points to note:
  • Before you can decide which "paths" to branch out on, the four starting hero skills of each "branch" MUST be learnt and maxed.
    Apparently, the system greys out all the other skills before then.
  • Hero skills can either be "active" or "passive". Active ones are represented by square icons while passive ones are shown with round icons.
  • As a further subset of the previous (active or passive), hero skills are also differentiated by whether it affects stuff at a "troop" level or at a "hero" level.
    The difference?
    One, troop level skills affects troops (but can also be used on the hero if its a buff or a heal) while hero level skills affects the hero only. Two, troop level skills activates (or can only be used) when you have troops present (in mission zones) while hero level skills can be used regardless (in both mission and field zones).
    Don't get it?
    Take for instance, these two active skills shown below.
    KUF2 - Hero Level SkillKUF2 - Troop Level Skill
    "Dual Shot" is a hero level active. It is a skill that you activate to make your hero perform an attack. This skill can be used in both the mission zones (when your with your troops) and the field zones (when your alone).

    "Reinforcement", on the other hand, is a troop level active. It is a skill that you can cast to heal your troops or your hero. However, as it is a troop level active, you may only use it when your in the mission zones. While out in the field zones, the skill is greyed out (disabled).
  • Not only that, regardless of whether they are active or passive, some of the skills (especially hero level ones) also come with their "conditional/situational triggers".
    KUF2 - Storm Blade
    Take for instance, "Storm Blade".
    KUF2 - Storm Blade Left ClickKUF2 - Storm Blade Right Click
    By choosing to only just activate the skill, left click or right click during activation, the resultant effect on the skill's attack will come out differently.
    Now usually, I would have suggested that you read a skill's info for more details, but however this time round, I will not. Cause even for me, it still draws up a question mark after I read the skill info several times (due to its improper or poorly translated descriptions).

    Instead, what I would suggest is for you to go with your gut feelings (after reading the info) and choose which skills to learn. Once you've gotten them, try them out in the open field zones to get a hang of them.

    Most often, the "triggers" are typically left or right click on your mouse. But sometimes, depending on the skill, it might also be "E" or "Spacebar" if they are state-dependent (knocked down or stunned).

Previous: KUF2 (Part Three)Next: KUF2 (Part Five)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Kingdom Under Fire II (Part Three)

As previously mentioned, this game (KUF2) is generally all about its Hack-N-Slash and RTS. And so the better question to ask is, how does it all fit together in the grand scheme of things for Kingdom Under Fire II's gameplay?
Hint: Think about what you've already know. Mission Zones, Field Zones and Leadership Points.
KUF2 - Leadership Points Quota
Basically, at the start of each day, you will be given a daily quota of 1000 leadership points ("Ordinary Leadership").

As and when you participate in mission zones, whether you win or lose, you will gradually start to consume your leadership points.
Depending on the "scale" of the mission, some may take as little as 20+ points to as much as 100 over. But generally speaking, I've found that doing about upwards of 10 "regular" missions would tend to deplete your daily quota of 1000 (with each regular mission taking about 30 to 40 minutes of your time or more).
Anyway, if you do manage to not spend away all of your quota, 20% of whatever that's left over would be put away into a reserve pool ("Accumulated Leadership").
Leadership points are deducted in such a way that you will spend your daily quota first before touching upon your reserves.
As such, as long as you don't play hardcore, the chances of you depleting all of your daily quota AND your reserve pool is pretty slim.
KUF2 - Field EXP And GoldKUF2 - Leadership Recovery Potion
But in the case that you do, then your pretty much stuck with just idling yourself away in the field zones (with its very little EXP and gold per kill gains) for the rest of the day.

However, perhaps as some consolation, if you do find yourself having looted some of these stuff called "Element of Vitality" (from the monsters out in the field zones), you can also choose to mix it up with some "Star Powder" (obtained from monster drops and disassembling of stuff like "Magic Stones", "Armors" and "Weapons") and make a "Leadership Recovery Potion" to replenish some leadership points to further your fun in the mission zones.
Sadly though, I believe that you are only allowed to consume one such potion a day (so its still not possible to sustain your gameplay through them).

Hack-N-Slash Mode And RTS Mode
KUF2 - Hack-N-Slash ModeKUF2 - RTS Mode
As part of the allure of the game is its Hack-N-Slash and RTS gameplay capabilities (and the ability to switch in between them), it is only right that you learn how to play the game in both of the modes.
KUF2 - Controls
Taken from the in-game loading screen, the above shows you all the vital controls that you will need to know of. But out of them all, the most important ones to remember are (in my opinion) "Tab", "~", "F1 - F4", "Z, X, C", "V" and "Alt".
  • The "Tab" key allows you to switch between the two modes, Hack-N-Slash and RTS.
  • "~" and "F1 - F3" allows you to select your Hero and troops individually, while "F4" makes you select them all at once. (Mostly useful when your in RTS Mode.)
  • "Z, X, C" commands your troops to enter "Offensive", "Defensive" and "Hero Support" modes. (Mostly useful when your in Hack-N-Slash Mode.)

    In Offensive Mode, your troops will engage and attack all enemies aggressively while on the other hand, in Defensive Mode, they will only attack when under attack. In Hero Support Mode, your troops will engage whatever enemy troops that your hero is currently attacking and (as far as I know) all supportive skills that they have will also be based around you as their target.
  • The "V" key toggles your friend or foe identification. It basically just puts a huge red dot on all enemy targets in your view. Turn it on to allow you to spot where the enemy masses are or turn it off for more realism. Its your choice.
  • Lastly, the "Alt" key allows you to interact with elements found on your HUD (like your chat window for instance) while your in Hack-N-Slash Mode. Pressing the key will bring out your mouse cursor so that you can select stuff on your HUD. Else, any movement of your mouse will only turn your character about (change where its facing).
Mission zones are just about the only place where you'll get access to the RTS Mode. In all the other zones (city and field), since there are no troops for you to control, you will solely be moving about in the Hack-N-Slash Mode.

Hack-N-Slash Mode VS RTS Mode
Relatively speaking, I've found that both of the modes tend to be "flawed" in some sense.
Though they each have their own pros and cons.
KUF2 - Fighting In RTS Mode
For instance, although I've found that it is much easier to issue different movement orders to your troops individually when in RTS mode, it is however, too simplified in such a way that you have only your "move" and "attack" commands.
Right click on empty space to move there and on enemy troop flags to attack them.
Furthermore, depending on which unit (hero or troop) that your currently selecting at the moment, your hotkeys to skills also much so that it becomes hard to cast the active skills that you want (especially at critical moments).

And to make things worse, the Hero (your best offensive asset) is left motionless in "blocking stance" without contributing much to the battle at hand.

But the pros is that whilst in RTS mode, you can have a good grasp of the battlefield and its easy for you to direct your troops and even rush past an enemy defense line to attack their supportive assets (like healers and long range units).
KUF2 - Stranded TroopsKUF2 - Downed Basilisk Boss
Conversely, in Hack-N-Slash Mode, I've found that its pretty hard (if not impossible) to direct your troops to attack different enemy troops or to position them in different locations.

Additionally, they will also be easily "trapped" or "stranded" by the slightest of enemy forces. Even a single enemy in their way will stop them from following your hero past a blockade.

However, the best advantage to using this mode is that its much much easier to focus yourself and bring down a specific target with all of your "firepower" (since your best asset, the hero, is under your full total control).
Whilst controlling my hero, I can take down the basilisk boss from almost full hp to zero in just a mere 30 seconds (when I had a hell of a time doing so in RTS mode).
As such, the best way to go about playing this game is still to combine both modes (use Hack-N-Slash during most of the time fighting and only go into RTS to rescue stranded troops or when using AOE skills).

Previous: KUF2 (Part Two)Next: KUF2 (Part Four)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Kingdom Under Fire II (Part Two)

The gameworld of Kingdom Under Fire II actually consists of a relatively large world map filled with sporadic instance areas and/or map zones.
KUF2 - World Map GIF
With the storyline as the "driving force", you will basically be moving about in some flying contraption...all over the gameworld...visiting these places.
And as you continue to level up, the amount of such places that you can visit will slowly increase...gradually unlocking a couple at a time (per level).

Type of Zone
KUF2 - World Map
As far as these places are concerned, they can generally be summarized into the following three zone-types, Mission, City and Field.
  • Mission Zones
    KUF2 - Mission
    Mission Zones are essentially "dungeon-ish" areas whereby you follow some specific scenario (and its instructions) to fend off monsters or kill them and clear the zone.
    KUF2 - Mission Score And RankKUF2 - Mission Reward
    Depending on how well you've performed (during the mission), you will be given a mission score, ranked accordingly and then assigned with some random rewards (appropriate for your performance bracket) to choose.

    However, before you blindly join any of the mission zones, there are certain things that you might want to know about first.
    KUF2 - Mission EntranceKUF2 - Mission Entrance 2
    Before creating or joining a mission zone, right at the mission entrance, you will usually be shown with some minor details about the zone (if you bother to hover your mouse cursor over it).

    These details often include stuff like the "Level Requirement" (this is actually also the level at which you will first unlock the mission zone) to participate in the zone, the number of players and troops allowed to join and the quests that you have that are related to the mission zone.

    Once you've gotten a rough idea about the zone, you may then use the "Party List" button to create a new instance or join an existing instance. Alternatively, if your feeling adventurous, you may also attempt to solo the mission zone all by your self as well (by clicking on "Single").
    As for the "Quick" button, as far as I know, it seems to be a quick join button that allows you to immediately join in any available copies of the mission zone. However, as the system is made in such a way that you can only join instances which have not started yet, this pretty much renders the "Quick" button useless.
    Anyway, regardless of whether your doing it alone or in a group, the next few pieces of mission info that is shown to you (and your group) in the window with the big fat "Start" (if your the team leader or doing it solo) or "Ready" (if your a team member) button is equally important as well.

    In this window, you will find an indicator (in words) that tells you roughly how difficult the mission would be, how much leadership points it would cost you (to enter) and how much troop stamina would be deducted from the "Stamina" stat of the troops that your bringing in.
    From what I can tell, the actual amount of leadership points deducted isn't accurately shown here. The value reflected here only indicates how much is needed to "enter" the mission zone. There appears to be a smaller "secondary deduction" that is made when you clear or complete the mission (which isn't noticeable unless you've bothered to tally).
    Similarly, the actual amount of troop stamina that is deducted isn't shown here correctly either (although its close). From what I've noticed, the actual amount deducted appears to be some other "value" that is derived from god knows what system variables and then equally borne (shared evenly) by all the troops that you've taken into the instance (each troop has its own stamina stat of 100/100 when full).
  • City Zones
    KUF2 - City
    As its name suggests, City Zones are monster-less populated instance areas where you will find your much needed amenities.
    KUF2 - Storage ManagerKUF2 - Item Crafters
    Things like storage, auction, mailbox, troop skill trainer, item crafters, item upgrader and quest NPCs can all be typically found in this zone.

    The only important thing you will need to know about the place is how to get yourself in and out of the zone. And as far as that is concerned, meet "Portal-san".
    KUF2 - Portal WhiteKUF2 - Portal Blue
    The "White" one puts you back into the "World Map" while the "Blue" one transports you to an adjacent "Field Zone".
    Which brings us to the next item on the agenda...
  • Field Zones
    Field Zones ultimately behaves quite similar to a City Zone. They house their own quest NPCs as well as provides some basic amenities...not quite everything...but just the more needed services like repairing and regular buying/selling of stuff (to clear your inventory of loot or load up on consumables).
    The difference?
    KUF2 - FieldKUF2 - Portal Red
    A field zone harbors monsters within them while a city zone does not (and sometimes, as an event, high level "boss monsters" may also be spawned). Additionally, mission zones can also be found there the form of "Portal-san", Red Version.
    The "Red" portal functions just like the mission zones that you see in the world map. As for the other two, the "White" one throws you to the world map while the "Blue" one just takes you back into the adjacent city zone (that its linked to).
    Just remember though, that at times, the servers may become wacky. So if you ever find yourself in a seemingly empty field (with no monsters) and your HP stays stuck at a certain number (not regenerating), that is a sign that your in a non-functioning channel.
    When that's happening, use the channel option at the top right corner of your mini-map to switch to another channel.

Previous: KUF2 (Part One)Next: KUF2 (Part Three)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Kingdom Under Fire II (Part One)

Editor's Note:
Owing to the fact that the "white elephant" CPU only affects my ability to record video clips but not in-game screenshots (as yet), I've decided to push forward and see how far I can go with this.

As can rejoice a bit knowing that "All You Need to Know About Games" isn't going down just yet. Not without a fight.
Kingdom Under Fire II
Anyway, this next game that I've picked up is called Kingdom Under Fire II.
KUF2 - RTS ModeKUF2 - Hack-N-Slash Mode
And while it doesn't seem to have a lot going for it, but still, I've found its gameplay to be somewhat kind of "refreshing" (in its own right) it actually involves a combination of RTS and RPG (hack-n-slash) elements.
During fights, you can choose to go into bird's-eye view and play it as an RTS...OR...go into third-person view and play it as a hack-n-slash.
If this sounds like an interesting game for ya, why not follow me over the next few weeks as I go on to explain just exactly what KUF2 is all about?

The Download
KUF2 - Download
As far as I have experienced, the downloading of the game client was pretty much hassle free. Upon installation of the starter kit, all you need is to run the client and wait for it to finish downloading. That's all.
As of this post, the entire game client is sitting at about 6.88 gigs on my HDD.
Other than that, you might (perhaps) want to know that the game seems to have region restrictions (I believe). Therefore, I'm not quite sure (to be honest) whether you can download and play on the server of this publisher's (from the link that I've just posted).
Try at your own risk or google for one that's in your region instead. You've been warned. XD

Character Creation
Kingdom Under Fire II's character creation is pretty basic. There's only two steps involved in it, Class Selection and Character Customization.

Class Selection
In Class Selection, there are only three classes for you to choose, Gunslinger, Spellsword and Berserker.
  • Gunslinger (Male)
    KUF2 - GunslingerAggressive and reckless, the Gunslinger is always at the very forefront of a battle and likes to charge directly towards his enemies, breaking their formation. Mixing the styles of both melee and ranged attacks, the Gunslinger is able to work equally well in all sorts of situations.

    Primary: Dirk      Secondary: Pistol
  • Spellsword (Female)
    KUF2 - SpellswordThe Spellsword is a wise Dark-Elf warrior that can turn the tide of a battle to her advantage using her elemental magic. Unlike fragile Sorcerers, the Spellsword is also well-adapted to fighting at the very center of the battlefield and can switch her combat style according to the state of the battle.

    Primary: Rapier      Secondary: Wand
  • Berserker (Male)
    KUF2 - BerserkerWith his sheer brutal strength, the Berserker is able to largely affect the outcome of a battle via the immense fear that he inflicts upon his opponents. Capable of sweeping away hordes of enemies with one single swing, the Berserker shows what a true conqueror should look like.

    Primary: Claymore      Secondary: Gauntlet
And sadly, these classes appear to be race- as well as gender-specific. So if you want to be of a certain class, you WILL have to settle for whichever race (and gender) it is that it had been designed with (in mind).

Character Customization
KUF2 - Character Customization
In Character Customization, I've found that it has also been greatly much so that you've only got your avatar's face to customize.
The rest of its body isn't "touchable" at all. Totally.
And as far as facial customizations are concerned, as you can see, its largely down to some options for your hairstyle, your facial features (how wrinkled it is, does it have bushy eyebrows and a mustache or beard, etc), some scars and tattoo designs and some color change selections.

Even the more in-depth alterations (that you can do) appear to be limited to the face as well...such as changing the position of your eyes, eyebrows, nose, chin, mouth and stuff like that.

Next: KUF2 (Part Two)