Monday, July 15, 2013

The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot: Oh look, floating castles :O

Have you ever wondered how it's like to own your very own floating castle? What about a floating castle that is filled to the brim with every awesome treasure imaginable? How about summoning some monsters from god knows what realm to guard your precious loot from intruders? Last but not least, what if I throw in an opportunity to plunder your neighbouring castles as well?

In the land of Opulencia, the fictional setting in Ubisoft's latest MMORPG+RTS (for reason you'll find out later) game, The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot (quite a mouthful, I know, so I'll call it TMQFEL), you can just do that. Own your floating castle, pack it with impenetrable defenses to guard against intruders who want to steal your treasures while trying to pillage other players castles as well.


the name is so long that i keep forgetting how to pronounce it


Thanks to my dear friend Joshua, I had the chance to obtain a closed beta key for this game, and after playing for almost 2 days already, I must say that the game can be quite enjoyable and challenging at the same time. It's quite different from other brands of MMOs that you can find out there, mainly because of the style of gameplay itself.

The game is fundamentally divided into 2 parts of gameplay, Attack and Defend according to the name given in the game itself and you can pretty much guess what's the difference between the two. As you can guess from the name of the game, the objective of the game is simple and it mainly revolves around the treasure room that can be found inside every castle. As an attacker, your aim is to loot the treasure room of another players castle (you must do it within 3 minutes and without dying) while your job when defending is to prevent other attackers from looting your own treasure room. I'll go more into the details of the Attack and Defend mood below.


le treasure room: the single most important location in the whole game


In Attack, you basically control your hero to pillage and loot other players' castle. It has the basic mechanics of a normal RPG, where you direct your hero to fight against hordes of monsters while avoiding traps, with the gameplay, controls and interface roughly resembling that of Diablo 3 with 4 active skills that you can choose from your list of skills available. Veteran players who are well versed with RPG games shouldn't have much of a problem here as there' not really anything new. Even the equipment for your hero is similar to those of other RPG games, with it divided among different colour signifying its rarity.


i guess the picture is pretty much self explanatory


However, one thing that I find different in the castle attacking is that the fight is much more challenging in a way, and depending on the castle's level that you're attacking, sometimes a lot of strategy is needed as the monsters have different abilities and powers, not to mention that there are traps lying around to make combat more tough. After all, the castles are designed by players to keep you away, so you must really plan on your attack strategy every time before you go rushing into another player's castle.

Of course, there are also NPC castles for you to attack if you're looking for something of a bit less challenge or if you're looking to play safe, but where's the fun in that right?


choosing who to attack is not always easy, the NPC castles are in green while player castles are in blue


The second part of the game, the RTS mode, or Defend as it's called in the game, involves something relatively new that I've seldom seen before. It mainly involves you trying to build and fortify your own castle with your minions, traps and rooms to prevent other players from plundering your own money and life force (yes, other players can steal your stuff), the two currencies that you can find in game.

It's one of the part where you need to put a lot of brain juice to work, as you need to devise up a route that is as cost effective as possible but also as deadly, so other players would think twice before waltzing into your home sweet home and carting away all your precious cargo. The gameplay works in such a way where players have to reach the treasure room before the time limit to be able to loot from your chest, so as long as you can delay them long enough (if your minions and traps can't kill them) you don't have to worry about your treasure getting stolen.


bird cages bar your way if you cannot get 3 stars during your pillaging quest


Of course, the game has a mechanism in place to stop people from looting your castle dry, the bird cages will be automatically deployed for 3 hours if your castle gets successfully looted so you don't have to worry about coming back to find all your hard earned money gone.

It's quite a fun game to be honest, in Joshua's words it's like a combination of Diablo and Dungeon Defender and I pretty much agree with him. You can get the best of both worlds in this game, where you have to constantly out-maneuver other players in game, meaning you have to find ways to beat their defenses while making sure yours doesn't fail.


the interface where you construct and deploy your minions + defenses


With that being said though, there's some area in the game that definitely needs improvement on.

For starters, unlike most MMOs where the common strategy is to blaze through the levels, TMQFEL requires you to pretty much sit through your levels, meaning that you must make sure that all your castle defenses and hero's equipment must be strong to be able to take on stronger players. If you choose to rush through your levels, what you're basically going to end up with is a poorly equipped hero that is incapable of taking down any player's castle while having like an open party at your own castle, where other players can simply walk in and out.

How you fare against other players depend a lot on your level of technology and equipment, which can only be obtained using resources. They can be generated from your own castles or looted from other player's castles, but I find that resource generation from your castle is slow while the three hours shield effect on other players once they get looted pretty much prevents you from farming. Which means that basically once you run through the castles that you're able to loot and collected your own castle's resources, you have no choice but to take a break and come back later after the attack cooldown and after your resource is harvested.


which means you're gonna spend a lot of time sitting in your own castle


Of course you can choose to attack castles and just obtaining loot from monsters, but I find that the method is too slow to be reliable. So basically you just have to wait for your own castle to have generate enough resource for you to upgrade. And pray that some idiot would try and loot your castle and die a horrible death, because you then can profit from them.

The wait can be either a good or bad thing, depending on how you look at it, it prevents you from spending long hours on the game but when you really feel like power-leveling you cannot really do so.

But in overall, I would say that the game is refreshingly enjoyable. It offers something that I think is quite new in the realm of MMO games, the duality of the gameplay and it's something that is really challenging. Very seldom do I find a game where I have to plan to ensure that my wealth in game would not be threatened. Yes, the threat is constantly real in game. Some may find it frustrating, but I just find it funny to see how people die in my castle sometimes and I enjoy the thrill of breaking other people's defenses too. Definitely worth a try.


the sarcastic little almost non-existent storyline also serves as an amusement too


The game is still in close beta though, but you can still check out their trailer video at http://youtu.be/qb9igaot1mY and keep an eye on the game's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TheMightyQuestForEpicLoot as they'll constantly give out keys for the game. The official website can be found at http://www.themightyquest.com/. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some plundering that I need to do.


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