MMO Cartographer: Climbing the Tree of Savior

    
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A friend of mine from one of my other hobbies recommended Tree of Savior to me a while back, but I was deep down in other games at the time, so I didn’t do much more than log in and create characters. Since then, there have been a lot of changes introduced, particularly with the Re:Build update in January that reworked the classes, which makes it the perfect destination for this latest round of MMO Cartographer.

I hadn’t been paying attention when that patch happened, so the new Scout base class was new to me. I didn’t even know until I had been playing for a couple of weeks that there was another update planned that just hit a week ago on May 14th, adding new classes and raising the level cap to 420.

This is an isometric game with a cute anime-style graphics in a more muted color palette than a lot of cute MMORPGs. I logged in and looked at my old characters, a Swordsman, an Archer, a Cleric, and a Wizard, all standing around in a room on the character selection screen, just as cute as when I last played. I added a Scout into the mix and headed in to the world for some fun.

The first thing I encountered was the movement tutorial. I had forgotten that it was an arrow key movement game that makes more use of keyboard than mouse. Luckily, I had upgraded to a new computer since my previous adventure, and now I have a number pad that functions as arrow keys for the purposes of the game; my previous laptop had extra small arrow keys and no number pad, which made playing somewhat frustrating at that time. I adapted to the controls faster than I expected to. The UI isn’t too obnoxious or cluttered, but it does have some oddities – F2 to open inventory, for example.

Having mastered the skill of walking, I moved to the first quest NPC. I hit the space bar to get through the conversation and set off to give the order to assemble. (Incidentally, not reading quest text is a bad habit I picked up that I am trying to drop.) Quest areas and quest NPCs are marked on the map, so it wasn’t too hard to find them. The map also shows you how much of the current zone you have explored. Main quests are marked with gold flags over the NPC’s head, and side quests are blue flags.

My first blue flag quest sent me to go kill a giant kepa, an onion monster. It wasn’t especially impressive or intimidating, just being a large onion, but it was only the first boss I encountered. This game throws big baddies at you periodically from the very beginning, which goes a long way toward making you feel like you’re powerful and really doing something in the world. It’s nice to play a game that doesn’t have you just killing rats and wolves (or small onions and cabbages, in the case of this game) for the first several hours. After completing the quest, you can head back to the quest giver on foot, or you can ever-so-conveniently press backspace to just teleport there.

The first zone contains more tutorial material, often attached to quests. For instance, goddess statues offer your benefits and points of fast travel, depending on which goddess it is, and an NPC sends you to find one. That spawns a giant mushroom named Mushcaria, one of those low-level bosses I just mentioned. By the time you’re done with the first few zones, you’ll have a pretty good grip on what you’re doing.

You’ll also probably find yourself ready for your first class advancement too. You have a character level and a class level, and when you reach class level 15, you get to climb onto the first limb of the class tree. You see, this is not a game with 5 classes, as you might think from what you’ve read so far. There are literally dozens of classes.

In fact, each of the base classes has over a dozen subclasses each. You also get a new appearance outfit to go with your new class. My Scout went Outlaw. And that’s only the first class you are adding to your repertoire, with the next coming at 45. You, as a normal, sane person, might want to go do a little research into these classes to see what build you want to go with. I, as a less normal and sane person, based my choice on a quick reading of the class description and the outfit I would get. I’m a no-regrets kind of girl.

You aren’t stuck with what you pick, in any case. You can earn class change points that you can spend to undo your horrible, bad, no good decisions.

When you finish the first zone, you move onto the city zone of Klaipeda, where you will find vendors, trainers, and, of course, more quests. There are also a lot of player shops offering things like repairs and item identification. This probably won’t be the first time you’ve seen other players, though. It seems like there are plenty of people just starting right now, probably because of all the changes that have happened so far in 2019. Furthermore, people have responded to me when I speak to them, and I have seen people having actual conversations in local chat. There is a guild promotion system that lets you see what guilds are recruiting. (I may join a guild in the near future, but not currently being in one, I can’t give you a first-hand account of the guild systems.)

I wasn’t satisfied to just try out one character, so I also played a Swordsman (who went Retarius at class advancement time), an Archer (who went Ranger), and finally, a Wizard (who went Sorcerer, which is a demon summoning class). As of this writing, my Wizard-Sorcerer is my most advanced character. It’s hard to not get hooked on a class that blows stuff up so very well. I am still basically a newbie, but I am exploring new zones, and I may report back with my further adventures. I have a long way to go to get to 420, but I foresee myself giving it my best effort.

Every other weekend, Massively OP’s Mia DeSanzo opens up her satchel of maps and decides where to go next in MMO Cartographer, Massively OP’s journey through MMO worlds, be they old or new, ordinary or unusual, or well-loved or long-forgotten. Expect the eclectic!
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Ririrawr
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Ririrawr

have had my eye on this title for a while and been wanting to try it out… but keep shying away at the last second for (mostly imagined up) reasons, so gonna keep an eye on this column :3

sooo, looking forward to hints about chara-progression, monetisation and f2p roadblocks if any

Leyaa1
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Leyaa1

Nice read. I’d like to read more of it in the future with more insights into game mechanics.

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Utakata

This article makes me regret I didn’t pursue this game further after I poked at it awhile ago. >.<

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_strangetruth

There’s a bit there in Settings which lets you choose between Keyboard or Mouse. And you can re-bind keys if you want :)

I’m glad you’re enjoying the game so far. There’s a lot of needless negativity about this game since the very beginning and I know it can be off-putting. For me, however, if I enjoy the game then who cares? There will always be people complaining about everything and anything. As long as I’m having fun, their opinions don’t really matter to me. If I let myself wallow in their negativity, it won’t do me any good. And when you even ask these people, they haven’t played the game in years or months and yet they still actively spew hate about it with such disproportionate passion that it makes you question their motives. Really weird tbh.

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greyformat

Oh jeez, this game. Me and a few friends played this game up to 300, was quite the chore but we got through it fine. Only one of us continued playing, well up until they completely revamped the class system and it’s progression. To put to wit, the last one of us playing maxed over 18 or so characters (the more characters you have progressed, the higher the xp bonus applies, so by the 6th or so he was sailing in the breeze for leveling) and had made specific builds for each of them. From the chronomancer with linker and other support roles, to the inquisitor with monk, paladin, and sadhu to compliment the physical side of things. The revamp RUINED over 3/4’s of those characters, their entire purposes erased and he was left with this wonky streamlined mess that he couldn’t salvage. Even worse, they started making the game more team dependent, meaning he actually needs to party to clear content he was already soloing with no problem. This is a game with a dwindling player base, it CAN’T AFFORD to force team-work on most of it’s content. It’s why wildstar’s flame when out, the moment attunement quests got in the way, their 40 man raid aspirations went up in flames.

So yeah, the unique class frames and freedom of playstyle choice went out the window with their updates. It’s like they are trying to kill their own game to bring back players that were intimidated with the previous set-up, not knowing they’ve long since moved on in this petty biz of rare second chances.

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Bruno Brito

I don’t know if they actually set out to make a spiritual successor to RO. This game is more akin to MU online, if i should say.

Several problems i see, as a RO enthusiat are pretty much feel-based, but they are there.

1- The world feels extremely small. Ragnarok was BIG. E X T R E M E L Y BIG. Travelling in Alberta was a damn chore because of how much rubberbanding RO had and how huge it was. But you being slow, made the world feel HUGE. My common path of traveling to Payon and going to the Pay_Dungeon took quite a while, and that allowed you to breathe in the world. There were nooks and crannies in several maps. They were needlessly large sometimes, but that added to the worldly feel. ToS feels like Diablo. The maps are extremely linear. You have a beaten path to follow. They’re pretty but you rush through them fast.

Which brings me to my second point:

2- Linearity and the leveling process. If there’s something that Ragnarok players know, is that RO is anything but linear. Yeah, it was a grindy mess. But it was YOUR grindy mess. I’ve seen several people just stay through Payon’s dungeons until Orc Dungeon. A lot of Swordies and Thieves liked to rush Sewers. I never even stepped foot there, since one of my favourite spots are Wolves. Not only that, but since a lot of your leveling was tied to grinding gear for endgame or midgame leveling, you would farm your budget gear until your better stuff. Since i like to play weird stuff, i always play a 1st character alchemist on every classic server i play. So there i go, stabbing wolves slowly but surely until i actually decide to farm Cart Revolution. Slowly but surely autoattacking everything in sight. Or as a Swordie, you go Bashing stuff until your mana dries up on the fourth mob.

In ToS, you almost don’t spend mana. Your first levels are a breeze. The leveling process isn’t hard, and it’s pretty much unstoppable since they keep increasing the cap, something RO doesn’t do unless it’s a core change to the game ( Rebirth/Renewal ). You blast the zones full of aoes, something really scarce in RO. Status distribution is way more complex in RO. RO doesn’t have a leveling quest path, and while i agree it would be nice to have some, the one in ToS is NOT good. It’s ONE path, it’s extremely linear and locked, it feels caustrophobic.

I think most of the issues i have with ToS could be summed on that word: The game feels caustrophobic. It feels closed. It feels as you don’t have much to do with it. Or on it. It doesn’t feel like you’re building to anything. And this is a problem inherent with most MMOs nowadays, altho i feel ToS is particularly bad at this: You feel disjointed. Too powerful. You’re not starts from rags to riches, or to 0 to hero, you’re starting by busting weak heads too easily to then end up busting weak heads too easily. And the path you drive to reach there is locked and boring. Ragnarok have really few quests, but they have some of the BEST QUESTS ever done in MMOs. I’m not joking. No MMO, not even WOW will EVER achieve a quest so good like Rachel Sanctuary chain, or the chain that makes you discover the murder of the King, or the best of them all: Bio-Ethics. If there was a quest that almost brought me to tears, that was it.

ToS doesn’t feel like a spiritual successor. I don’t even think they wanted it to be. It feels nothing like RO outside the isometric view. Not even the combat feels like it. I really wish we had a successor for RO, and i honestly still thinks that ToS could be it, but it requires several core changes, that won’t happen.

ToS is not that game. It won’t be.

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PanagiotisLial1

I think they pretty much just wanted to draw partially from RO graphical feel(a lot) and character progression(not so much). Yes I agree it felt closer to MU and the low server caps when it first released didnt do it any favors either.

It can be fairly fun for many though. For me its in the “sort of fun” category which means quite low on my list.

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Bruno Brito

That’s the point, the fun factor is closely linked to what people expected it to be. ToS was announced and people quickly jumped the gun towards “It’s RO, but better!” and IMC didn’t try to clear that perception, since it gave them a boost in people testing the game. But it wasn’t really what people expected it to be.

The fun-factor, like the feel-factor is pretty subjective, and yeah, ToS can be quite a fun game. But for people who expected it to be a better RO, it isn’t. And considering how much the games suffers nowadays, i’m willing to bet quite a lot of people expected that.

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Suikoden

I like this game a lot, but to me there seems to be a lot of needlessly overly complicated systems. I just get so confused that I quit. Kind of like DFO. I love the heck out of the idea of that game, but there is so much they throw at you at once, I don’t know what half of it is for. ToS is a lot like that. This game also has controller support as well, and I think that the combat is a lot more fun with the controller.

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TomTurtle

I had fun for a fair while with this title until I started to be underleveled for the quests, but that was a long time ago. I’m not sure if that issue was addressed or not.

Having played Ragnarok Online many years prior to my playtime with Tree of Savior, I found it to be an enjoyable enough experience. It’s nice to see a bit more coverage of the game here on MOP.

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agemyth 😩

I was in need of something RO-like that wasn’t an auto-playing mobile game recently and ToS managed to fill that role for me this time. It feels good enough to be my Ragnarok Online 2 right now. The class system is fun and I’m glad they don’t make you do class quests anymore since it encourages experimentation.

This is a grindy game though, so if you have zero interest in killing thousands of mobs sometimes on a single map at a time you should be wary. There are a bunch of simple optional quests that help guide players around and give bonus XP, but they are easily skipped (at least they have been so far for me).

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Minimalistway

Alright, going to download it tonight, the game looks beautiful and i’ll admit this is the only reason to try it, i want to see the world.