One of the most crucial rudiments of any MMO is a generous and liberal reward system. With so many competitors in the free-to-play area, a successful games should offer simultaneous enticements to players, to keep eyes from wandering toward more bountiful landscapes. Developer Softmax (MagnaCarta 2, the War of Genesis series) seems to know this formula well. If it wasn’t for TalesWeaver‘s hourly reminder, I wouldn’t have noticed how much time was lost within Anomorad’s vast kingdom.
Based on characters from the Korean novel, Children of the Rune, TalesWeaver gives players the choice of starting the game with one of nine distinct characters. Beyond divergent weapon abilities and initial stats, each personality offers his/her own unique prologue and narrative impetus. As expected, storylines interweave like the threads of a opulent fabric, many expanding on the backstory of Boris Jinneman, a seventeen-year old distressed by the death of his elder brother. With the family’s cherished sword- Winterer, in hand, the youngster sets off on an expedition to uncover the details surrounding his sibling’s enigmatic demise. Each of TalesWeaver‘s plotlines is broken into chapters; not only does this episodic structure convey the sensation that players are actually making progress in the game world, but they also provide points where gamers can experience the world from the perspective of a different character.
Embarking on TalesWeaver‘s journey is comparatively painless. Once players download the 1.7 GB client and create a free membership at GameNGame.com, they are ready to embark on their adventure. Running in either an 800×600 or 1024×768 resolution in either a full-screen or windowed perspective, the game’s hardware demands are modest, with the title running smoothly on a humble netbook. TalesWeaver‘s meager requirements stem from the game’s graphics, which employ a generous amount of meticulously hand-drawn 2D artwork. Recalling the visual style of classic 32-bit role-playing games (albeit in a higher resolution) each of the title’s characters and enemies are excruciatingly adorable- with kittens, gingerbread-men, and wolves all rendered in amorous detail. Special attention was given to TalesWeaver‘s environments, from the game’s leafy foliage, intricate ground tiles, and building detail- pixel-art aficionados will be perpetually captivated.
As players take on quests offered by NPCs, and vanquish a constant cascade of foes, they’ll discover that experience is TalesWeaver‘s lifeblood. Instead of automatically augmenting a character’s abilities which each level increase, the game compels players to pour their XP into stats boosts, skills, and even the game’s combo system. As gamers add new offensive maneuvers to their repertoire, they can gradually build custom combinations which take into account the player’s weapon type and combat range. With a myriad of ways to develop your character, TalesWeaver offers a astounding amount of flexibility and is a welcome reprieve from the linear progression offered by many MMORPGs.
While Talesweaver can be enjoyed by a solitary adventurer, a number of design decisions implore players to interact with others. Beyond the requite PvP and Club vs. Club battle arenas, the game allocates environmental points to adjacent team members, which work like MP, but are shared by the entire party. As expected, the game offers both chat and emoticons for interactions, although since the game launched last month, Talesweaver‘s American community is still in its infancy.
Already a success in Korea and Japan, TalesWeaver has the potential to capture the attention of Western audiences by overlaying a web of intricate storylines on top of its habit-forming character building. Fans of Namco’s renowned Tales series might want to consider trying this free-to-play adventure.