Fury League Review
By Jeremy Vancleave |
As far as the MMO scene goes, things certainly seem to be tired and stagnant. Many out there understand the need for grind in these games, but just can't stomach days and weeks of repeatedly killing the same types of creatures, only to do it again with no real end goal in sight. Auran's Fury attempts to address that. It's strictly PvP (player versus player) combat. There's no overworld, no quests, and no real storyline. It's basically the same thing as an online shooter with lots of upgradeable skills and armors. While it brings together some interesting ideas, Auran's grafting of an arena shooter to an MMO has produced an awkward beast.
Think about the drive to play MMOs in the first place. It's basically a drug addiction. You hop into the world and soon get your first "hit" - either a powerful item, level up, new skill, or whatever. Then you search for the next high, but it's just not as thrilling as before, so you need something better. Eventually only the most powerful items will quell your craving. Once you realize this, one of two things happen: you burn out and bail or keep plowing forward because the hits still feel so good.
Fury doesn't really operate with the same kind of formula. The game "world," if it can really be called that, is simply an unnecessarily large lobby where players can interact and form groups to queue up for three types of combat. Populating each zone is an overabundance of NPCs, many of whose functions seemed like they could have been consolidated. For instance, there are separate NPCs for armor condition and durability repairs. You can't sell items to any armor vendor; you have to go see a specific guy. There are way too many NPCs that hand out new or upgraded skills. It seems like Auran could have combined these functions and wound up with about 75 percent fewer NPCs and made it easier for the player to figure out what's going on. As it is, the NPC overpopulation makes it seem like Auran was just looking for an excuse to make the various oversized player lobbies feel less empty, which seem to exist solely to give you the faint illusion of an actual game world.
But there really isn't a game world here. There's a hack-job of a story told by a horrendously-voiced narrator and the lobbies, but really this game exists mostly in its combat arenas. By talking to one of the NPCs, you can enter Elimination, Bloodbath, or Vortex matches. Elimination is team deathmatch, Bloodbath is deathmatch, and Vortex is a variation on the standard capture the flag game type. Combat is mostly what you'd expect. You get roots, charges, heals, ranged damage spells, melee attacks, buffs, and debuffs. Skills are assigned to a hotkey bar, so the fighting is all 1 - 9 rinse, repeat; something you've done in many games before. The major difference here is most skills are on extremely quick cooldown timers, meaning combat is more fast-paced.
Gearing up for combat isn't really the same as what you're used to. You don't really level in this game, at least in the traditional sense, and there aren't any static classes. After each arena match you earn essence, the amount of which depends on how well you did and what type of skills you used. The four main types of skills are Decay, Life, Growth, and Death. These are basically all available to you, as long as you have the essence to buy them from NPCs.
Once you've got a few skills of whatever type, you have to decide what you want to slot on your action bar. Skills and equipment in this game cost equip points, which you have to keep under a limit. It's up to you to determine which tier of item or skill, of which there are 10 for each, you want to equip. Tier 10 items and skills have slightly more powerful damage, heal, or statistic ranges, but have an extremely high equip cost. We found it's just as worthwhile to equip around tier seven or eight to make the best use of equip cost cap room. Since there aren't any set classes, and your skills are only limited by how much essence you have to buy them, you can switch from damage dealing tank to healer to ranged caster to debuffer to anything. Or you can combine skills from all those class types to create whatever kind of crazy hybrid you want. Just keep in mind you'll be doing a lot of armor, skill and tier tweaking every time you decide to switch roles, though this process is facilitated by allowing you to save and store builds for later access.
While skills are purchased with essence, items can be acquired in a number of ways. After every match you're given a random assortment of items to put a claim on, which gives you a chance to win it. Even if the item isn't useful to the skill build you're using, you can still sell it for cash, which is added to the money you get after each match to buy items at vendors. Armor and weapon vendors are split into two types: those who sell randomly generated items and those who sell items with fixed statistics. The latter type of items is rather expensive, and the better ones require bulk donations of essence to faction members of the four skill types to access. With the random vendors, you pay a fee to have them crank out any piece of armor of tiers one through 10, which may or may not be useful to you. We've gotten quite a few good "drops" off of these guys, but ultimately it seems to be a rather large money sink.