Four Winds: Final thoughts on Elyon’s first closed beta test

It's not really for you - it's for them. But you'll have fun too.

    
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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.

Airtight streamlining

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.

Most sidequests are found from a single NPC.

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.

I enjoyed the challenge tower. It’s got some fun mechanics and was actually pretty challenging. Challenging content less than 3 hours into the game? Nice

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.

It’s a flaming hoverboard. It’s lit fam. If this doesn’t scream Gen Z, I don’t know what will.

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.

A GM paid us a visit to incinerate us all when the CBT ended!

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.

Thigh. Sliders.

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.”

The four wind tiles in Mahjong open all sorts of winning combinations for players of this ancient game – and the “Asian” MMO subgenre is just as varied as the many rulesets in Mahjong. Join Massively OP’s Carlo Lacsina here in our Four Winds column as he covers the diverse assembly of MMOs imported from the East!
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Ozzie

Yeah I just can’t see it. Black Desert is a financial success, but it’s still a niche game. I’d be surprised if BDO’s player count was even competitive despite it’s pseudo-F2P model. But it does make a lot of money, because that’s what it does best.

Elyon is aiming straight into that same bullseye. It seems to want to be a profitable, niche game. It doesn’t care much about its popularity. Doesn’t need to. The monetization, grinding, and fallback progression is the real draw and the true target. So being a popular well-crafted and well-received game is directly at odds with their actual strategy. They’re not even aiming at it, so why would they hit it? I just don’t see it.

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partiesplayin

What about the no player trading. This I do not like.

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Kevin Smith

Overall the game played pretty decent. I did notice input lag on some skills. They will need to tweak that before launch or they will get blasted since it is a action combat pvp game. Other than that I enjoyed it.

They did have an survey after and the last question was what can we do to improve for western audience. I put it simple western audience doesn’t like to just grind monsters over an over for xp gains like eastern players do. If you go by the success rates of eastern MMO’s converted to western you will see that has been a huge difference between the markets.

Overall I hope the game does good. There needs to be a newer open world pvp game for those that want it. This is something else that doesn’t normally hold up in the western market but only time will tell on that one.

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aYates

Sounds like fun, but open world PvP worries me as a non-PvP player. If it’s just an occasional encounter that’d be fine but if I’m constantly getting ganked, I’m out. And, I like to explore the whole world, not just my faction’s side..

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styopa

Gotta admit, your ceaseless enthusiasm is at least tapping outside the gates of my cynicism.

BDO failstacks? That’s a giant minus. Asian market players may dig that crap but even people I know who LIKE BDO (and fundamentally, I kind of do as well) *despise* that crappy mechanic. Major strike against.

Open world PVP: I get that some people like it. at least a half-Strike 2 for me.

“the players warmed my heart” Cynical gates slammed back shut. Gushing fanbois in a limited CBT are – opinionwise – completely irrelevant to a meaningful objective look at a game.

“In fact, fans of V4 will know it” dude, you linked a BING search? Who uses BING that’s not an MS employee?

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Leiloni

It doesn’t have failstacks but it does have other systems.

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Arktouros

If this game is at all relevant in a year I’ll be shocked, let alone be a memorable game for anyone. These kinds of easy access, bright and colorful Asian MMOs are constantly being produced and exported over to NA/EU to grab as much cash as they possibly can from an audience who’s so thirsty they think these tap water games are like wine.

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Dug From The Earth

Pretty much my thoughts exactly.

When I look at the poor state of the mmorpg genre, this particular aspect of it is one of the elements I disdain the most as it does nothing to improve it, but gives a visual impression that its much more than it actually is.

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Vanquesse V

What does “relevant” even mean?
This is not a dig at you personally, but I see that word brought up all the time when it comes to mmos, particularly when predicting a less than stellar expectation once launch hype has died down.
If the game gets meaningful new content in a year does it matter if the people not playing are talking about it?
FIFA, Roblox, LoL and Fortnite are massive games, but I rarely hear anything about them. Does that make them irrelevant?

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Arktouros

The way I use the term “relevant” in regards to MMOs is games that have any kind of impact or consideration when it comes to current MMO discussion. Over the last 20 years many, many MMOs have been created a vast majority of you simply just don’t ever hear about anymore past their launches. Like I can think of at least 3 MMO games I know about but I don’t even honestly remember their names let alone would discuss them in regards to current MMO happenings. The fact you even know about FIFA, Roblox, LOL, Fortnite, etc despite not being involved with them shows their relevance.

This is not to conflate the term with “failure” as I think so long as a game is making money and has an audience it’s satisfying to make said money then really isn’t a failure by business standards. To illustrate this I’d point to something like Bless Online which was a failure but still is relevant because of how big of a failure it was.

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bobfish

Whilst I think your belief that Elyon will hold some memorable place in MMO history is misplaced, it is a nice evolution of TERA.

The combat was good, the progression is very Asian MMO in style, so will be a painful grind at some point, and it has the vast array of activities without overly focusing on any one.

For me though the standout feature is the skill system. Not only do you have a limited skill set to work with, you can also bind skill profiles to allow you swap setups easily. On top of this skills have five morphs each, that really how they work and how they can synergize with each other. It’s a great system and I hope it allows for the variety in builds it suggests and we don’t end up with too many must-use metas going around.

I think it will be fun for those who wish to move on from TERA, or Blade and Soul, maybe even BDO players looking for a fresh experience. It certainly isn’t going to make a dent in the player bases of WoW, ESO or any other western MMO though.