Alaplaya has recently started publishing
, a 3-D enriched environment MMORPG geared towards different styles of combat and classes. Sadly, at the time of printing, this game is undergoing Closed Beta, whereas the only ways to have recieved a key are practically unavailable to those anxiously wanting to play it due to the hype surrounding it. Alaplaya is the publisher for many MMOGs that are typically unique, interesting, and not of the 'norm'. It seems that the decision to 'aquire' Florensia under its list of titles will prove them to be more capable of handling 'standard' MMOGs out there, keeping in tune with a soon-to-be classic MMORPG like Florensia.
I was lucky enough to score a Closed Beta Key from MMOsite while they were still available. Once again, to obtain one it was basically the whole "spam the forum and spend some MMOsite Forum Points". I'm normally unkeen to this method of obtaining Closed Beta Keys; but I can't complain considering I wasn't naturally invited by Alaplaya to actually participate in this Closed Beta session outside of obtaining a key for myself. The community seems close-knit, those who were fortunate enough to start playing around the time that the beta session begun are known amongst each other. Unlike other communities, so far I haven't seen too many people being insulting, unappreciative, or rude to other players in general. If you follow my community focus articles, this is a huge perk for me.
I wonder..too many things I could do right now..
The graphics are superb, there's not much I can say bad about them. Even in Closed Beta, I haven't seen too great of graphical errors. The character animations are rather fluid and well-designed. Each character class has their own idle animation, which seems to fit the class perfectly. Seeing as I have a somewhat decent computer (nothing top-of-the-line), I ran the graphics at full resolution. Therefore, be warned that all of the screenshots I've taken in-game are at that graphical acceleration rate. Some of the skills that my main character (Mercenary Class) uses are a little over the top. I say this in high regards, but at the same time it does interfere with my gameplay. The animations and effects of some of the skills (even at earlier levels) seem rather time-extensive just to show off what your character is doing. I haven't the experience to say this applies to all classes; but the one I'm more aquainted with, certainly.
The battle system is interesting, as there are two different types of battles: Land and Naval. This all, of course, follows the aspect of having your own ship while having a character to fight on land. The land stuff is rather routine and nothing that seems irregular. You level up your Land Combat in order to use points into skills and further your character's physical attributes. Currently, a lot of the lower-leveled quests aren't translated properly or that they simply do not function properly. This is not a complaint, but addressing some of the concerns of Closed Beta players. We are all aware that they'll get fixed eventually; but for now, some newer players may become a bit distant and lost over these things if they don't keep an eye out on the Shout Chatting that goes on almost 24/7 on Florensia.
Oh Crap, you sunk my Battleship!
Now the aspect of the game that pretty much everyone wants to know about
: Naval Battles. In Florensia, you get to build your ship out of parts you buy or those you get from quests. The controls area little frustrating at first, more so if you're like me (*cough* stubborn *cough*) and not read the nice manual that pops up telling you how to do the most basic of commands or actions with your newfound ship. Anyways, you press the Space Bar to switch into "battle mode" - this is where those within your three ranges (in front and to both sides of you) can be shot at using your cannons (and, of course, use your Skills to shoot more cannonballs or slow down your enemy). It's rather fun once you start engaging enemies. I loved toying with the camera angles to get it just right so that I felt like I was part of the action myself. Other than that, there's loads of fun that can be found out in the sea....including getting lost.
All-in-all, the game has high potential. I haven't really found much to complain about in this game except for some of the more common bugs (due to it being Closed Beta, my 'complaints' aren't too valid at this time). There's loads of things to do and how the NPCs interact with the characters and each other seems oddly unique. I particularly enjoy how elaborate the conversations are when you accept a new quest. While there isn't much there when you start the quest, the Quest Log does have some nice information about the 'storyline' between the NPCs you're interacting with. Because of this, I found myself feeling as though I was part of this 'World' that I was engaging, even though it has anime-like graphics. I know that sounds a bit 'ugh' to some of you, but that's just how I've felt about alot of games with similar graphic-engines - except Florensia seems to break the typical feeling I have over them.
Customising your ship? Yep, that's how bloody cool Florensia is!
So will I recommend this game to people who want to try something interesting when it finally reaches Open Beta? You bet your knickers I will. It's an elaborate game, with very similar features and feels that doesn't throw you off (if you're an avid MMORPG'er). While at the same time, there's enough 'unique' aspects of the game to make you wonder why you hadn't started playing this when you first heard about it.
There aren't many games out there that compare to Florensia; more so on the Free-to-Play subscription model that it will most likely keep. I'm curious, however, how the Cash Shop interface will be and what type of ships and characters we'll find after it's released. If there's no Ship-based Cash Shop items, that's Alaplaya's loss (in my opinion). I've heard rumours about there being a Cash Shop, so I tend to just allow my imagination to run a little wild with the numerous possibilities that lay in store for someone who's willing to put down a few bucks to get some in-game items.;