Dark Ages Review
The is an extensive back story that unless the player reads around, is pretty much outside of the game. In a basic story the player “awakes” from their mundane life and become an Aisling. Aislings are people who have the power to join one of the classes in the world of Temuair.
Dark Ages has some unique gameplay experiences. Unlike most MMOs, or even normal RPGs, you are in full control of your stats. Rather than having your stats increase by a certain amount every level the player is given control of where the stat points will go. This gives players greater control/connection to their character, but also makes it easy to mess a character up. For example a Monk in the game main strength is from kicks, which require constitution that also affects HP.
Neglecting this means that the Monk’s kicks are less effective and his HP will be lacking. Skills also have a certain level of control. Skills/spells will level up as you use them and higher level spells will require the lower spells to be raised to a certain point. This is both a good and bad thing as some skills can be ridiculously hard to level because they are so slow. Players can spend hours upon hours leveling spells. The game also does not have an auto target or any targeting system at all. To do a physical attack the target has to be in front of the character and for spells the spell has to be activated and then have the target clicked. Its a very old system, which makes sense since the game itself is very old.
Dark Ages has a religion system. The Priest class has the ability to become a priest in a given religion. There is a religion for each class and becoming a priest/worshipper will give you some benefits. For example Gliocan priests can heal scars from dying. Outside of some buffs from “praying” there is no real benefit for joining any religion.
Unlike most games who have GMs(Game Masters) to deal with disputes and what not, the game has its own politics system. This politics system takes the form mainly with the Guard/Judge form, however there are higher ranks such as a Burgess. The guards are in charge of keeping order in their respective towns/areas and look out for “sleep hunters”. Earlier I mentioned how long it can take spells & skills to level up. There are third party programs that aid in this process by casting/activating spells automatically with no input from the player. This is against in game law so if players use these programs and leave their player there, they can be charged for sleep hunting and sent to jail, or even banished from the town. Its an interesting system to say the least, however it doesn’t always work out well.
There are a number of classes in Dark Ages that range from the Warrior, to the Priest, Wizard and more. After attaining the maximum level of 99, the player is confronted with 2 choices. They can either Master their class or Sub. Mastering requires certain spells, skills, HP and MP levels. After this completing a quest will attain the player a Master status that gives the player access to powerful new equipment and new quests. The other choice is subbing. Subbing gives players the ability to become another class while keeping their current spells/equipment. These sub classes are generally very powerful at the lower end levels, but depending on the choice of classes, can be less than wanted at the Master stage. After becoming a master players can travel to Medenia and sacrifice their master grade equipment to become a medenian class. The classes are improved versions of the normal classes, that at the beginning are no better than Masters, but end up being far stronger. The trade off in this though is that a new exp is required, known as AP, which is very slow to obtain, making “Ab leveling” very slow and time consuming.
The game sports a 2D graphics style, which makes Dark Ages looked dated, but also gives it a nice art style. There is however lagg, slowdown, and sometimes minor freezes that are inexcusable for a game with such low system requirements. The audio is OK at best, but nothing great, you’ll most likely turn off the music.
Dark Ages has a number of unique, and interesting ideas, such as the politics and religion systems, however it never reaches greatness. The game is free to download & play outside of mastering and certain quests, which helps a bit, but what you pay for really isn’t worth it. If your up for it you won’t have a bad time, there is just a lot better games around.