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Uncharted Waters Online 2015 Game Review

UWO 2015 Review

There aren’t a lot of games specifically about sailing the open seas, having your own crew, and making your own adventure out of it in a rather free form setting. As such Uncharted Waters Online remains successful after almost 5 years of service, now with a Playstation 4 version on the way later this year. And even though the game might be looking a little outdated, the game offers a wide variety of fun gameplay activities that it’s still amazingly active community will gladly join you in.

Uncharted Waters Online 2015 Game Review

The community is friendly. A good thing when their ships are 20x larger than yours.

The community is really something I was happy to see so active. Inside each city or outside the ports I’ve seen a ton of players going on their business and sailing everywhere doing their own thing. When doing follow up reviews on MMOs these days, most are ghost towns in the starter zones, so this was startling to me. Apparently having no competition for your genre makes a big difference in keeping the game active over time.

Basic Beginnings
When you begin making your first character you will notice that you can only choose among 6 nationalities. These nationalities are mainly the countries that have done a lot of trading or were major world players in the age of colonization. As you’d expect, that means the starting zone is primarily staged on the European coastlines, leaving players to choose between England, the Dutch Republic, France, the Spanish Empire, the Kingdom of Portugal and the Republic of Venice as their home port. Besides their sailor’s home, they can also choose what kind of class to be. There are three classes in these games, and even though you will have to make a choice, you aren’t necessarily bound or forced to play this specific role. The player can choose between adventurer, merchant, and soldier. These classes are exactly what they are named after, so don’t expect them to fair equally in a fight. That’s just how Uncharted Waters Online rolls (or sails). Gameplay doesn’t have to be about seeing how has the biggest guns, but can rather be about who has the best strats to make a ton of money without getting robbed.

Uncharted Waters Online 2015 Game Review

My first matey is a real seadog.

Even if you choose the role of soldier, you aren’t bound to being one. Especially for new players it is recommended to enlist in school and take different classes for each specific role to see what the fuss is all about. If you simply want to trade goods, sail from one place to another, and do not mind the lack of excitement of having your life on the line, then that’s what you should do. You won’t be held back for failing to complete any specific class based objectives so don’t worry and just do what’s fun. This can be a rare and jarring realization in the MMORPG world, but I assure you it’s a nice change of pace. Though UWO isn’t quite on the level of a full-fledged sandbox, its style of content certainly seems to have been a front runner moving towards that movement. As such if you dig the idea of sandbox gaming but still like a little bit of structure in your objectives, Uncharted Waters Online offers a happy medium.

I myself decided to do a bit of everything to test how the game has evolved over the years. I like adventures, I like to be rich, and I would never back away from a good fight in a video game. And this is perfectly fine, if you’re willing to put in the time. Each class levels independently, so leveling all your classes can be a slow process. But to maximize your experience it is certainly worthwhile. This isn’t just about experiencing gameplay as a tank versus a dps, but an entirely different perspective on every aspect of the game.

Story
The storyline in Uncharted Waters Online isn’t half as bad either, it follows the evolution of the Age of Exploration. As you progress, you’ll witness the rise of the English naval power and spread of European influence to the New World. If you’re not a total stickler for historical accuracy, and can overlook a few anachronisms, it does give you a nice education about how the world ran in the era of pirates and awful maps. Not Somalians in speedboats but the real gritty swashbucklers drunk on rum and singsongs!

Uncharted Waters Online 2015 Game Review

Despite the aged graphics, sea battles feel quite intense.

Gameplay
Since I had chosen to belong to the Dutch Republic, I began in Amsterdam. Rather than setting sail to disaster, I choose the wiser route of starting off in school. When I was done following the tutorial so in-depth, it deserves a placard upon completion, I was sufficiently ready to set sail. First stop? The rich shores of England, full of novice captains and lush riches. Or so I thought.

My first fight turned quickly into a melee battle as our crew went head to head. I simply didn’t have the biggest swords and lost. My second fight went a little better, but I think my luck wasn’t with me that day. I ran out of cannon projectiles right when the ship I was fighting with was on its last health points. So I had to return home, and experienced the life of a pirate to get my payroll back in the black. When you plan to steal booty, you also have to have enough resources for when the fights don’t go too well, or you will flat out fail. When leaving port, you have to check if you have enough food on board and other items you might need, such as say cannon projectiles! Wasting a good chunk of cannons with no return on investment costs you greatly, not just from ammunition costs but also from food and rum spent on your crew.

Uncharted Waters Online 2015 Game Review

One area of missed realism, my avatar is way too fat for doing this much running.

And the game chooses to strike a rather realistic tone in this department. For instance, ships aren’t simply sitting around in a ship dealership with sleazy salesmen waiting to take your coin. No you have to slowly build up your ship with different parts over time. In this vein, might say your ship has the same development as your character. You can’t just sail the seas on your own, you also need a crew to help you out. As you might expect, larger ships require more mateys to stay functional, meaning you have to visit the local tavern to recruit additional scallywags over time. This doubles as the location to listen in on rumors about fabled treasures.

Conclusion: Great (4/5)
If you have read the full article, you notice I sound really enthusiastic, and that’s because I really am. If you are a big fan of sailing a ship, be it either for coin or, adventure, or action, this game has mastered the concept. Its only drawback is in the lagging graphical department, and in total content. However as the years have passed by, the world has continued to grow, with more and more realms to explore and story to experience. If you’re a gameplay over graphics kind of gamer, Uncharted Waters Online is a must try. With its still active and awesome community, this old seadog still seems to have plenty more years ahead of it. Besides, we pirates need new blood in the waters to keep fed! See you on the open seas…

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  • Saul Colwind

    Play this game at your own risk. The management is corrupt and hired a
    player to be a GM. He is still banning people that his player character
    is enemies with. Not only that but it looks like OGP’s contract will
    expire soon and the developer (KOEI) wants to find another company to
    host the game. In other words the game’s future is uncertain at this
    point in time.

  • Spartaman

    The stuff in this game are from real history or folklore. I played this game for over a year, it’s definitely not tailored for the modern MMORPG players who just like click here for quest, go there, kill stuff, report, no thinking needed.
    This game is very challenging that you feel accomplished when you get your new ships, leveled up. Very old school MMO, you can only appreciate it if you are older. I think the people playing this probably average 25-35 years old. I met people as old as 65 playing it, haha.
    You don’t get this kind of game in North America because it is made with subscription model in mind in Japan, it’s never intended to be free to play. They simply made it into free to play when they port it out of Japan.
    The free to play games we got here made with cash shop sales in mind when they make the game play. I get access to everything in game and there is no energy bar or running dungeon consume some coin etc crap, I never felt the need to pay for it.
    You should definitely try to see even if you aren’t interested in the theme, just to see what real mmo should be like when they are made with monthly subscription in mind.
    Never had problem with the management, previous people probably got banned for buying gold, I saw those messages warning people not to buy gold from gold sellers.

  • Spartaman

    The stuff in this game are from real history or folklore. I played this game for over a year, it’s definitely not tailored for the modern MMORPG players who just like click here for quest, go there, kill stuff, report, no thinking needed.
    This game is very challenging that you feel accomplished when you get your new ships, leveled up. Very old school MMO, you can only appreciate it if you are older. I think the people playing this probably average 25-35 years old. I met people as old as 65 playing it, haha.
    You don’t get this kind of game in North America because it is made with subscription model in mind in Japan, it’s never intended to be free to play. They simply made it into free to play when they port it out of Japan.
    The free to play games we got here made with cash shop sales in mind when they make the game play. I get access to everything in game and there is no energy bar or running dungeon consume some coin etc crap, I never felt the need to pay for it.
    You should definitely try to see even if you aren’t interested in the theme, just to see what real mmo should be like when they are made with monthly subscription in mind.

  • Razor

    After about a week or so playing this game, here are my impressions.

    Let’s get this out of the way first: past masters, Netmarble, ruined this game by introducing a flawed dungeon system which sank the economy…many people have mentioned this in other reviews. Happily, new masters, OGPlanet have fixed this, and have presided over the renaissence of this game, including it’s launch on Steam, which has seen a resurgence in player numbers, with many new folk (such as myself) joining the game of late. Problems relating to dungeons are gone and everything is a lot more balanced and fair.

    Right, on to the actual gameplay: one word – DEEP. This is an extremely detailed, almost dense game. Think EVE on the sea if you want an analogy. It’s slower-paced and more thoughtful than your average “kill 10 boars, then kill 20 bats” type of MMORPG. There are 3 main skill tree branches under classes for Adventuring, Trading and Maritime (soldier) You can have skills from each. You are not restricted to only trading if you choose merchant at character creation, for example.

    The Trading aspect is deep and complex, incorporating an excellent crafting system where you can make products from raw materials; make sausages, ham and leather from pigs, tailor your own clothes, design and build your own ship etc.

    The Adventuring aspect is all about exploration and discovery, incorporating a complete world map where undiscovered cities are added as you discover them. Hunt for treasure in dungeons and ruins, dig up artifacts, indentify new species of animal. There’s too many things to list here.

    The Maritime aspect is where it falls down a bit in my opinion. It’s basically the same as other naval or pirate MMOs such as Voyage Century Online and Pirates of the Burning Sea. It’s fun, sure, but it’s not really my bag. That being said there’s a large amount of options and customization as far as cannon, type of shot, melee battle tactics and items and land battle combat to get to grips with.

    The biggest downsides are the games somewhat dated visuals, serviceable, but nothing too fancy. (on the plus side, this means the game runs on potato-power PCs with no problem) and the tutorial system, which is very long compared to most run-of-the-mill MMORPGs these days. However, I reccommend doing the tutorial quests instead of skipping them, as you will get free ships and gear from completing them, as well as a good amount of money and skills by the time you graduate from the advanced level course in each of the 3 class courses.

    Last thing to mention is the community. This is easily the friendliest online community I have experienced in a long time. The School chat channel is full of helpful and friendly people ready to answer your questions. This is a blessing, as the game is extremely complex.

    Overall this is a fun and original game which offers a breath of fresh air from all those “cookie cutter” MMORPGs. It’s deep and complicated, but rewarding for those who stick with it past the over-long tutorial.

  • Tchubacca

    It’s not a casual game, that’s for sure. Doing anything takes awhile since sailing is serious business. That said, I love it! The graphics are terrible, the music is repetitive, the on-the-ground combat is probably the worst I’ve ever seen, and yet I keep double clicking that UWO icon on my desktop.

    The community, for the most part, is better than any mmo I can remember. They’re a mature bunch, most seem to be adults, because uwo really isnt a game for children. It takes patience and planning to get ahead.

    ship to ship combat is simple but satisfying. The trading system is, again, simple but satisfying as well.

    I rate the game 7/10, but in my heart it gets a 10 because I think I’ve found a new home ^^