A free, full 3D, MMORPG for your iDevices. How does it stack up?
Checkout my updated impressions after the massive 1.3 update!
Many games have been advertised as being “MMOs” on the App Store, but pretty much all of them don’t offer a “true” MMO experience. That is, synchronous multiplayer with a large number of other users via the internet. Asynchronous methods of multiplayer have been used, but don’t quite satisfy the interaction that a real MMO requires. Luckily, with Pocket Legends, the days of asynchronous multiplayer and fake MMOs can take the back seat, the MMORPG is here!
Pocket Legends is a true MMORPG on the iDevices, and is surprisingly polished for being the very first of it’s kind on the platforms. I’ll say straight up that there is a lot about Pocket Legends that needs to be tweaked, added, or refined, but that doesn’t stop it from being a fun game that my sister and I sunk about 3-4 hours into today! I should mention that my sister, while an avid gamer, was never a fan of RPG games, and she had a great time zapping fools with lightning as an Enchantress. I made sure she learned the “heal” spell ASAP.
Pocket Legends brings all the requirements of an RPG to the table. There are three classes; warrior, archer, and enchantress. Once you create your character, which is sadly quite lacking, and give them a name, you get dropped into
the game hub, which is a town (or rather, a “towne”). You are immediately aware that you are in an MMORPG by the folks spamming various emotes and chatting away in large groups. You can even shake your phone to “/wave”. Neat. There aren’t many emotes when you first start, but you can buy extra emote packs in-game for 99 cents.
Quests are instance-based, meaning that, rather than traveling from one area to another in-game, you have to create or join maps from a list. Considering the fast nature of mobile gaming, this isn’t a huge deal, as traveling across expansive worlds would have been a bit tedious. You can create private instances that are password protected, or just join a random mission to help out. For the price of nothing, the game comes with quite a long quest that will see you leveling to around 10-12 before the end of it. At the end of every quest, there is a bonus dungeon for looting and gaining gold.
The gameplay is very standard for MMORPGs, with a maximum of 4 spells available at a time, and health and mana that slowly recharges over time. You tap the attack button to automatically lock onto an enemy, and will auto attack until they are defeated. Oddly, I found that the auto-target system enjoyed targeting treasure chests, despite a plethora of enemies nearby. This was lame, but not a huge deal. As with most RPG games, there are plenty of different spells,
appropriate to the different classes. Some are AOE spells, others can buff your party, and some are for brutal attacking. You gain these automatically as you level up, but can choose which ones to spend points on as you gain them.
While there are no guilds yet, there is a friend system the is functional, but not as robust as I would like. At the moment, there is no way to invite friends into your instance. Instead, they have to go to their friends list and join you manually. Also, you aren’t notified when friends come online, so there’s no grabbing someone when they jump in to help out with a tough boss. You just have to hope they join yours. Push notifications also would have been welcome in this respect, as so many other games these days make use of them.
While I can’t vouch for the iPad version, the game looks great on my 3G iPhone, with surprisingly good effects for spells. The art style is very similar to World of Warcraft, with a 3D cartoony feel. The frame rate certainly takes a hit with 5 players and many enemies on the screen, but most of the scenarios were able to easily be handled with minimal effect
on gameplay. I like that equipment and weapons actually show up on your avatar as you equip them. The sound isn’t amazing, but works well. I especially appreciated the funny dialogue/voices that come from the main dungeon bosses.
One of my biggest issues with the game is the lack of a real driving story line. It would be cool if, as you progressed through quests, you arrived at different towns of the game to chat with other players at your level. At the moment, everyone is tossed into the one town, and it’s kind of a mess. Or perhaps if there was a world map to give some perspective as to where you are going or progressing in the game. Even a choice to which quest you’re going to take at your level would be great. At the moment, there isn’t a main quest with optional side quests, there are just various dungeon packs that progress what little story there is from one instance to another. Understandably, Pocket Legends was designed to be played in short bursts of time, but I feel this has somewhat lessened the desire to keep returning to the game to prepare for the next epic quest. That doesn’t make the game bad by any means, as it’s still a lot of fun to
play. I’m just wondering how long that will last for really active players who level up quickly. The good news is, dungeons and quests remain purchased for your account, not just your character, so you can start a new character without paying for everything again.
Pocket Legends is a true MMORPG that is light on story, but strong on gameplay and fast instance-based quests. While some of the later dungeons can take quite some time with a 2-3 players, with a full party of 5, they’re generally not too tough to complete in 15-20 minutes. It has all the necessary requirements of an MMO game, but still has far to go before it reaches the same bar as some of the more popular RPG games out there.
Wait a minute, what am I saying!? This is a freaking full-on mobile MMORPG! It’s a lot of fun to play, especially with friends; and to me, that’s more important than having every feature under the sun. If you’re new to RPGs, or have friends that play games like WoW and are wondering what the big deal is, definitely give Pocket Legends a try. If you are an experienced RPG player, you won’t be disappointed. Just keep in mind that, as with all MMORPGs, the game is constantly growing and evolving.
Here’s a list of some suggestions for additions to later builds of Pocket Legends. I’m adding this because this is a game I plan on playing for some time, and I would love to see it fleshed out more as the months progress.
- Player to player trading. What’s the point of collecting great loot that’s not in your class unless you can give it to friends?
- More character customization. What if I want to be a warrior, but would rather be a different animal than a bear?
- Better friend system. Notifications when friends come online, and the ability to invite them to your current instance.
- Guilds! And perhaps a private place for your guild to gather.
- Use a world map to organize quests, rather than one big list.
- Different world hubs that are unlocked as you progress so you can easily link up with others at your level.
Feel free to chime in in the comments!