Elyon’s closed beta test came and went, and boy am I happy with what I played. It was unfortunate that the test fell on Mother’s day weekend, since I couldn’t play as much as I wanted. But in the time I did get to play, I was thoroughly impressed. In my initial impressions, I argued that the game could be one of the defining games of the decade, and I still have a good feeling about it. Will it be the game of the decade. I don’t know. But it’ll certainly be one of the major MMOs this side of 2020. But what’s got me so excited for this game? It’s not the gameplay I’m excited about. It’s whom it’s for.
Objectively, I know nothing about this game really stands out. The game just feels good to play, and all the progression systems are streamlined to the point that it feels like every piece of gear obtained and used builds towards character progression. In fact, fans of V4 will know it plays almost exactly like that – except that Elyon is a full-on PC MMORPG.
It takes 30 minutes to get to level 20. I remember how getting to level 18 in Diablo II took me a whole afternoon. And now the game gives out levels like they’re hotdogs at a Costco. In fact, players don’t even have to level to 20. After their first character runs through the tutorial, players can skip it and get the first 20 levels. Levels are gained through questing and grinding mobs.
The story missions won’t give enough experience points to meet level requirements for later story missions, so players will need to do side content, that being dungeons and PvP. Side quests are also relegated to a single NPC. After completing the quests and killing a few mobs, players will reach the minimum required levels to continue on with the story.
Gear progression and strengthening is pretty much the same as it is in Black Desert Online. There’s an enhance system that increases the item level and stats, and there’s the ever looming fear of items breaking upon failure. The game features “breakthrough items” that will break on its enhance failure. Anyone who’s played BDO will be well aware of the risks. (And it’ll probably make for good streaming content).
Items characters might not need has a place in their progression too. There’s a collection system that looks ripped right out of V4; players collect items found in the game, and if they don’t need those items, players register them to their item collection. Character stats are directly tied to the collection, and thus players get stronger simply by collecting items. Bear it mind that the item is used when it’s registered to the collection.
Looking for trouble
Players will need to take advantage of all the systems if they’re aiming to compete. One of Elyon’s main features is the open-world PvP. And this game really is an open world. The world is huge and open, and the map is separated between two rival factions: the Ontari and Vulpin. The large map offers a sense of scale as well; I encountered no invisible barriers for me to explore, and so I enjoyed exploring the colorful world of Elyon. I didn’t encounter many loading screens, and the pop-in is not as bad as it is in a game like Black Desert Online. The game felt large – and when I was playing in enemy territory, it felt dangerous as well.
After a certain point, I just wanted to hang out in the borders and cause trouble. I love the Warlord and what felt like an endless supply of crowd control. Combine that with his heavy armor and I had very little trouble dealing with multiple players. I really enjoyed the PvP in this game; it was very easy to keep up with. The game communicated all the conditions of players and rewarded those gamers who knew their kits.
It’s too early to make calls on balance for me. but let’s just say as a Warlord, I literally had at least one CC ready at any given moment. My longest cooldown was a 60-second one, and I felt that I slotted neatly into a particular team composition as a tanky stunbot (which I love). Early on, roles are clearly defined when it comes to PvP. It’s another part of that streamlining: You’ll know exactly what you’re getting into when you pick your class, at least for now. The DPS classes will be there to deal damaged
and get CC’d, there are healers to keep the party alive and get CC’d, and there are tanks to do what they do best.
Everything about this game has been polished to a shine. Every innovation found in games from the 2010s can be found right here. Of course, none of this is all that mindblowing. And as fellow MOP writer Tyler pointed out in his recent article, polish isn’t what’s going to drive real innovation. But from what I’ve played, I don’t think Elyon’s future playerbase isn’t looking for that.
So what’s got me all hyped up? Well..
This game isn’t for us
It’s for the children. It’s for the younger players who grew up on Roblox and are entering high school. It’s for the players who are experiencing the MMORPG for the first time.
Veteran MMORPG players cut their teeth on Guild Wars, Ultima Online, World of Warcraft, Elder Scrolls Online, Lineage 1 & 2, TERA, Blade & Soul, The Secret World, Star Wars Galaxies, Asheron’s Call 1 & 2, City of Heroes, and dozens more. Those were our games. They gave us so many unforgettable experiences. It could be the first raid, finding the love of our lives, getting into that first feud with another player, getting ninja looted. Those are moments we all hold dear. I’ll abstain from the rant, but I doubt Fortnite (or any battle royale) is capable of fostering quite the same kind of interactions we experienced from MMORPGs when we were in our teens and early 20s.
In other words, we’ve seen it all, and we know what we like. And Elyon isn’t going to impress the veterans. But for the younger folks who have yet to experience the magic of the MMORPG, Elyon will be a solid recommendation for the years to come. Everything about this game is easy to get into. And from my initial impression of the PvP, those who’ve played games like League of Legends will enjoy the tightly designed PvP. The game running on Unreal Engine 3 means the game’s going to be able to play well on many systems.
Most of all, the players warmed my heart. While the closed beta ran for only about three days, there was so much excitement for the game on the Discord. The enthusiasm from players sharing their characters, participating in the events, and just enjoying the game was refreshing. As someone who plays and writes about Eastern MMOs, I know criticism is easy to come by. But I love seeing the positive vibes this game is getting.
When the CBT ended (the community says it’s going from Elyon to Elyoff), there were people excited to play with the friends they made in the closed beta test. There was so much goodwill coming from the participants, and I felt extra happy to hear that some people actually made friends in this test. That’s what the old days were really about.
So I’m really excited for this game. And I encourage folks to give the game a try. It’ll be a shame to skip it just because some jaded gamers see it as “more of the same.”