UPDATE: This game has been shutdown and is no longer available
Behind Eligium’s average looking graphics and generic combat are some truly interesting and unique features to be found in the game. A few of the aforementioned features include: a unique mount- and pet-system which lets you raise your mounts and pets from infancy, after hatching them from their eggs, a skill mastery system which makes your skills stronger every time you use them, several class advancements (called class tiers in the game) and large Guild vs. Guild or Faction vs. Faction PvP battles.
Eligium Featured Video
After starting the game and getting to the character selection screen my first thought was: “Oh no.” as I had seen that there is no character customization in the game. What I did notice though was one reasonably unique class; the druid. The druid appears as a playable class in several other MMORPGs but still Eligium’s druid is still quite unique, since it can take the role of either a summoner or an illusionist (shape shifter). Other classes you can choose are the Warrior, Hunter, Mage and Fighter and these classes (including the druid) are all race-locked so you automatically choose your race by choosing your class. All classes/races do have both genders available with the exception of the Fighter, which is a Panda, as it is a genderless class/race.
The only other character customization you have available is the choice of a faction (Holy Empire or the Empire of Glory, the faction you choose decides your starting area) and the selection of a Virtue (Bravery, Devotion etc.) which allows you to get bonuses from joining a party with players who have virtues linked to yours (for instance someone with the virtue of ’Bravery’ will deal an increased amount of physical damage to enemies when in a group with a player who has the virtue ‘Devotion’.) I decided to go with the Druid since it seemed like an interesting class (especially the Tier 2 version; the Illusionist).
Hot ‘n Dry.
The first thing that struck me after logging onto my character was the starting area. Whereas normally the starting areas are nearly always good-looking areas (and most of the times even the best-looking areas of the game) the starting area in Eligium is nothing more than a desert. In my honest opinion this is not the best start of the game since it makes you feel as if you’re lonely in the game and it does not really give you a good first impression of the landscape, however it does give off a feeling of seriousness. It shows you there is not going to be any fooling around in the beginning with tutorials lasting over half an hour, but that the game gets serious straight away.
The graphics overall are average to say the least. The terrain is often very plain but the NPCs and buildings look fairly detailed. As for perspective you have the ability to move the ‘camera’ around freely by using the right-mouse button and the game actually offers you one of the largest ranges of camera movement (ranging from top-view to first-person perspective) that I have ever seen in MMORPGs.
Combat in Eligium is basically the same as in any other MMORPG. I spent most of the first few levels simply spamming the 1 and 2-buttons over and over again until the monster was finally dead. The skills do have some interesting features though, as every time you use a skill you gain 1 proficiency point in that skill and once you reach a certain amount of proficiency points the skill will level up, making it stronger. Once a skill has reached level 5 you can go to your class trainer to upgrade the skill to a new tier (Novice, Advanced, and Master Etc.) which you can do about 5 times, meaning your skills have a maximum level of 25. Another thing that sets Eligium’s combat apart from most other MMORPGs is mounted combat. Once you have obtained a mount you can hunt down monsters while sitting comfortably on the back of your mount. Also a nice addition (but not really unique) is the presence of Boss/Elite monsters and monsters with special effects. For instance a monster can have +10% extra attack power in comparison to other monsters of the same species.
Hatch, Grow and Ride
A very unique and interesting system in Eligium is the pet and mount-system. In Eligium players have the ability to hatch pets from an egg, after which they can nurse them from infancy to eventually grow into either combat pets or mounts by using magic powders obtained by disassembling superior (blue) and higher ranked (yellow) equipment. At the moment there are not that many pets or mounts available, but more will be added to the game in the future.
Eligium also has a PvP-system. Other than the normal Player vs. Player dueling there is also Guild vs. Guild wars and Faction vs. Faction wars, in which the Holy Empire and the Empire of Glory (which are the two factions you can choose while creating your character) clash with each other to decide which of the two is the strongest. As the game is still in Open Beta there has not been much information about these wars, but it has been said that these wars could be fought by up to 200 players at once, which seems like an amazing feature.
Another thing worth mentioning is the game’s animations. Despite its average graphics Eligium does have one of the best skill, character and landscape animations that I know of. The skills look (even at low level) very good and the landscape actually changes as you move through it (for instance the grass will move while stepping on it). The character animations also look very fluid and natural which just gives the game a nice feel to it.
I got a feelin’
The game does actually have a bit of a lonely feeling to it, which is mainly because the landscape is often very empty and the game’s music is mostly just a looping wind sound. The character movement does not feel very fluid since there are only 8 directions you can move in, like in the early RPG games where going from straight ahead to diagonal was a choppy and instant change, but this does not really negatively affect your gameplay and you get used to it quite easily.
Final Verdict: Good
All in all the game does have quite a unique style and gameplay aspects, making the overall experience a good one, despite the average graphics and generic combat and quests. Although at first glance it may not seem like a fantastic game it does do a good job of keeping you absorbed and makes you want to keep playing it. Its interesting skill/mount system and the large PvP-battles only make an extra reason to keep on playing this game. It might not look like a diamond, but on the inside, it definitely is.
Eligium System Requirements
OS: Windows XP/ 2000 / 98 / Vista
CPU: 1.0 GHz Intel P3 or equivalent
RAM: 512 MB RAM
HDD: 4 GB Free
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce 5500 or better
OS: Windows XP/ Vista
CPU: 2.4 Ghz Intel P4 or equivalent
RAM: 1024 MB (1GB) RAM
HDD: 4 GB Free
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce 6600 or better