I didn’t catch the first release of Eternal Magic, so the Steam release this past spring seemed like a good time to get into it. I guess everyone else thought the same thing because the world was pretty crowded at that point. Flash forward to now, and the crowd has thinned out a bit, but I was able to grab a random instance with strangers without a wait and I wasn’t alone in the game world, so it is still alive and kicking, and worth a stroll-through for this edition of MMO Cartographer.
I was pleased to see that none of the classes are gender-locked, but the character customization is limited to choosing from a small collection of faces, hairstyles, and hair colors. This wasn’t a dealbreaker for me, but it was disappointing to see in a 2019 release. The graphics aren’t cutting-edge, but I thought my character was attractive enough when I was done picking what I could pick. This is not a game with an option to be outright ugly anyway.
One of the things that struck me as a little odd is that you have the opportunity for a free name change between levels 14 and 30. I don’t have a problem with it; it’s just a weird offer that I haven’t seen in any other game. I guess that’s one way to overcome your newb reputation.
All characters go through the same tutorial arc, and it is every bit as interesting as those usually are, which is to say, not terribly. Especially the second or third time around. I can’t remember the story beats offhand: something, something, something, werewolves. I am probably getting a little jaded after playing so many games, though, so you might find it enjoyable. And hey, there are werewolves.
The game has autorun and areas connected by portals, which makes it hard to get a mental overview of how the world goes together. Or maybe that’s just me. I am not going to get on my soapbox here about what makes a game world feel like a world. You can probably figure out where I come down on that. The autorun is very convenient, though, when you aren’t paying attention to where you are at or where you are going. It is colorful and pretty, but I didn’t get a sense of it as a singular, continuous place.
The game gives you some free doodads to get you started and through questing, and before long, you and everyone else are running around with a cute bunny-girl pet. I thought that was nice. This isn’t to say that the game won’t try to get you to spend money. There are many opportunities to spend your hard-earned cash. For instance, you can either gather a large amount of in-game currency to start a guild, or you can just pay real money for it. That’s going to register at different places on the ick scale for different people.
Speaking of guilds, when I first tried the game out at the Steam launch, I found it pretty easy to join an open guild, but when I logged in again more recently, it had been disbanded for not paying some kind of upkeep. It seems likely to me that the cost of starting a guild and keeping it going works to keep the total number of guilds down to a relatively reasonable number. As much as I love small and weird novelty guilds, there’s something to be said for not watering down the community with too many of them.
My first character was a gunslinger. I have until recently avoided gun-centric classes. I don’t have a logical reason for that since I was perfectly willing to play archers and casters, which when you get beyond the aesthetics are essentially the same thing. I would say that it is just a case of “I don’t want guns in my fantasy,” except that I played a hunter in WoW. At the end of the day, it probably has something to do with the anime-ness of the gunslingers in various games. (No, anime-ness is not a word. Or it wasn’t until I made it up just now.) The thing is, they usually do look pretty cool and usually do decent DPS, so in conclusion, I was just dumb for not playing them much before now. This version was fun, too, for exactly all the reasons that playing DPS is fun. I found myself at level 29 by the end of my first play session, between questing and instances.
My second character was a priest. Again, not a class I usually gravitate toward. It was also quick to level, though, and I felt much more useful in instances being able to heal people a little bit when I was the lowest level player there. For a healer, it is also quite easy to level up solo through questing, plus the boosts from the instances I popped into.
I tried a few other classes, just to see what they were like, and I didn’t have any particular complaints about how any of them played. I don’t even remember what the storyline was, other than being directed to kill bad guys here and giant spiders over there. It’s not that the game is bad as such; it just doesn’t have anything outstanding or remarkable in it. It is basic. It’s good filler if you’re waiting for something and just want a little mindless gaming. It’s the Candy Crush of MMOs.
This is where someone pops into the comments and says that I played only to level 30 or so and it gets much better later on. Buddy, that’s a losing argument. I know because I keep trying to persuade people to play Black Desert Online with me, assuring them that the game starts at level 50. Nobody wants to stick around for that. If you don’t have anything to hook people in the first 10 levels, give or take, you’re going to have a lot of pass-through traffic.
Let me just sum it up this way: Should you play Eternal Magic? Sure. Why not? It’s free to give it a try. But for the vast majority of Massively OP readers, a crowd that generally has a great deal of MMO experience and higher expectations, it is probably a little thin to be anything more than a time killer between other games.
P.S. Because it seems worth mentioning, sometimes the game’s security software kicks you to desktop because it thinks your computer might have a virus it probably doesn’t have. Don’t panic.