Ether Saga Online
Ether Saga Online Overview
Ether Saga Online is cartoony game with an oriental theme and music. There are three races to chose from (the Ren, Shenzu, and Yaoh), but each share the same six classes. Each race starts with a unique pet, which aids the player in combat, but starting at level 15 players are free to catch any creature they choose and raise it as a pet. The abilitiy to distribute earned points among different elements rather than stats adds another a layer of originality to Ether Saga Online. Overall, the game looks and plays like many other games in the genre. The presentation and graphics are sharper than previous games since Ether Saga is a recent game, developed by the same team behind Perfect World. The six classes are:
Rogue - Relies on stealth and cunning. Equipped with dual-poison tipped daggers, rogues make deadly opponents.
Dragoon - The main melee class who uses lances and serves the role of a tank in groups.
Conjurer - The primary offensive caster class that possesses the most powerful spells in the game. Conjurers use amulets to channel their power. They wear light armor.
Ranger - Equipped with bow and arrow, the Ranger fights from a distance and is capable of disabling opponents with snares, traps, and other abilities.
Shaman - A hybrid class equipped with a powerful hammer and with the ability to cast healing and buffing spells. Shamans can serve as secondary tanks or supportive healers.
Mystic - The supportive class in Ether Saga. Mystics use staves and wear light armor but can cast heals and powerful buffs on their allies.
Ether Saga Online Screenshots
Ether Saga Online Featured Video
Ether Saga Online Review
By Erhan Altay
Ether Saga Online is one of the first major MMORPG releases of 2009. Published by the team behind the mega-hit Perfect World, Ether Saga went into open beta testing in mid-March and has been available to the general public since. The game is not quite as detailed as Perfect World; it is far easier to jump into and simpler to learn. The graphic style is also a step down from Perfect World’s, but still impressive with nicely done, bright cartoony graphics.
Like all games published by PW International, Ether Saga Online has a distinctly oriental theme. The three playable races have Chinese sounding names: Ren, Shenzu, Yaoh. The classes are your classic fantasy stock but some have slightly different names: Rogue, Dragoon, Conjurer, Ranger, Shaman, Mystic. Those with WoW experience will notice how similar each class icon looks with the class icons used in World of Warcraft. The appearance customization in Ether Saga is very limited, which is a disappointment considering that was one of Perfect World’s best features. Each gender of each race has 5 face and 5 hairstyles to chose from. Additionally, each race starts with a different pet though they are all functionally identical.
Walky Talky Quests
There is no separate tutorial zone or area in Ether Saga but players do start near a NPC that provides a very beginner oriented questline. A small, circular question mark button also makes an appearance near the middle of the screen, and when clicked, provides information on various topics such as character stats, movement, and so on. The questline (which involves talking to the various nearby NPCs) is well worth doing for the experience point reward, but the help button is more annoying than useful. The game’s controls and interface are generally well done but aren’t anything out of the ordinary. Anyone with gaming experience should be able to figure them out right away. Movement is done through either a point and click method or with the WASD keys. User interface menus (such as your inventory or character stats) can be opened with either the mouse or through keyboard shortcuts. The mouse wheel zooms the camera in or out while right-clicking and dragging controls the camera’s rotation. From my experience, the game does a poor job with the default graphic settings, so players must go to the system menu and manually set the game’s resolution and visual quality.
Bright but Dull
Ether Saga Online is not as visually stunning as Perfect World but it’s clear the developers were going for a different look. The atmosphere is more casual and, dare I say it, childish in comparison. This is not in and of itself a fault since the graphics and colors are still impressive and visually pleasing. The trouble is the game world feels empty. There are currently two servers and each has about a dozen channels, which seems like overkill considering the amount of players in each one. There is always activity in the major cities but while hunting all I saw were hundreds of monsters with no players in sight. The first few quests are rather dull and have you run back and forth from one NPC to another. This can get frustrating but at least an auto-walk feature is there to help you. The quest log itself is well organized, as is the rest of the UI. Progression feels a bit slow paced since players only receive a single skill point per level. Each class has a single skill line which means new players really have no choice when it comes to picking skills. Stat points are handled in a unique method; players gain 5 elemental points every 5 levels to distribute. This averages out to a single stat point a level but the game holds off and only awards them every 5 levels. Putting a point in each of the elements has a different effect and they are:
Oora: +3 str, +crit change.
Unda: +20 HP, +regen rate.
Widu: +1 int, +1 resist, +crit damage, +resist.
Pyra: +3 int, +crit chance.
Erda: +1 str +1 dex, +crit damage.
Danger From an Unexpected Source
Strangely, monsters don’t start becoming aggressive in Ether Saga for a very long time. I consider everything before level 15 to be the beginner phase (so no aggressive monsters until then makes sense), but even monsters higher level than that tend to be passive. It is at level 15 that players can start catching their own pets rather than using the one that they start with. Almost any creature can be captured, though creatures around your own level are easier to catch. Different pets have different stats and skills so it takes some experimentation to find one that works well with your class and play style. But while the game world is littered with what seems like an over-spawn of monsters, the main sense of excitement and threat in Ether Saga Online comes from other players. Many of the game’s zones have open PvP, which means any player can attack another, though PKing comes with stiff penalties. Killing another player labels you as a player killer, which puts your name in red, leaving you open to attack by other players. Additionally, if you die while your name is red, you have a chance of dropping equipment or items from your inventory.
End Game Present
Only very recent free-to-play MMORPGs have large-scale, instanced dungeons similar to the type found in pay-to-play games. Luckily, Ether Saga is one of them and there are plenty of unique dungeons to explore, though most require a medium-sized group to complete. The loot and experience gained in these instances is superior to the rewards found in the mainland, and their mere existence makes Ether Saga a more team-oriented game than similar titles, such as Rose Online or Seal Online. Ether Saga is still a new game but so far it seems to suffer from a very common problem among free games – a small population. Hopefully, it can build up its community and fix up some of the early level quests to make them more exciting.
Final Verdict: Good
Ether Saga Online is a brightly colored MMORPG with simple gameplay. What it lacks in originality it makes up for with a complete package, including in-depth features such as the pet system, large game world, and varied classes.
Ether Saga Online Videos
Ether Saga Online Character Creation
Ether Saga Online Beginner Video
Ether Saga Online Classes
Ether Saga Online Town Walkthrough
Ether Saga Online Official Trailer
Ether Saga Online Links
Ether Saga Wikia [Great Resource!]
Ether Saga Online System Requirements
OS: Windows 2000/XP
CPU: Pentium 1.5Ghz
RAM: 512 MB
HDD: 6.3 GB
Graphics Card: 64 mb video memory
OS: Windows XP or Vista
CPU: Pentium IV or better
RAM: 2.0 GB or more
HDD: 6.3 GB
Graphics Card: 128 mb video memory or more