[First Impression] Ether Chronicles Online

Started by Blood_Raven, Dec 24, 2009, 01:51 PM

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Before I proceed I need to let everyone know that this is a First Impression, and therefore none of what I write in here are definite. It's just how I perceived the server upon joining.

  • Server Stability: 8

The server is currently low in population meaning that there's not enough people to push it at its limits. Some lag spikes are apparent during weekends when the server hits more than 15 people but the rest of the days lag is not noticable. Despite this fact though, the Admins say that the server will be switching to a more powerful system in January, which will practically eliminate all experienced lag. Even without the transfer though, the server is stable enough about 80% of the time to deserve a 8/10 rating concerning lag.

  • Server Availability: 10

The server is always online. At least for the 1 month that I have been playing it has never went offline, and as far as older players say, this has been the case since the beginning. Therefore a 10/10 rating on Availability is appropriate.

  • Community Friendliness: 7

This rating is a bit tricky. There is no single community. The server is a faction server and it has gone in great lengths to seperate the four factions in all aspects. Therefore each of the four factions is a community by itself. I have noticed many similarities in the attitude of players belonging in the same faction. Three out of four factions are friendly and helpful, willing to assist new players with any help they might need. They are also polite and fun to hang around. One of the four factions however is consisted mostly by douchebags. And I'm not saying that just because they pvp. This is a pk server, a certain level of hostility is expected. Those faction members simply have no manners, whether you're a new player or an old player. From the in-game conversations to the forum posts, members of that particular faction prove day after day how major jackasses they are. I am not going to say which faction is the one I'm talking about, but if you wish to try the server out, my advice is to make a test character in each of the four races. You'll immediately know which faction is the rude one so you can simply avoid it and associate with the other 3.

Since it's only one of the four factions that has the attitude problem, it's unfair to generalize the rating. Therefore since only 25% of the server has manner issues and the other factions are exemplary in behaviour, a rating of 7/10 has been given for Community Friendliness.

  • Eventfulness: 7

The server approaches events by a different way. Instead of throwing events on a daily basis, the GMs prepare events that last for weeks which have background story and every one of them introduces new content in the game. The new content varies from new dungeons to new quests or new game systems. Along those major events which are referred as Chronicle Events by the creators of the server, there are a few other events that are constant in the game which are either byproducts of the main events or stand alone.

I will not give this server a 10/10 for its events though. While I understand that the Chronicle Events need time to get planned and executed, and the content which they introduce also takes time, the server still needs daily events to keep the players busy when they're bored. I rate this server 7/10 on events simply because while the ones it has are awesome, it simply needs more.

  • Game Master Friendliness: 10

I have absolutely no issues with the Game Masters so far. As soon as I logged in the forums I added the Head Admin in my MSN contacts and after 5 minutes my request was accepted, something that I couldn't manage in other servers. The Game Masters listen to players and their suggestions instead of just dismissing them and generally I don't get the feeling that they consider themselves superior to others just because they are Game Masters. There have been no reports of corruption so far, not even a hint, and the GMs are generally loved by the players. I rate the GM friendliness a perfect 10/10 without hesitation.

  • Game Master Availability: 8

Game Masters are usually available, but not always. 80% of the time, when I want a Game Master's attention for an issue, I can find them. This 80% can be easily made 100% if they hired a couple of more Game Masters to fill in the gaps of their absence. A 8/10 rating on availability has been given for that reason.

  • Game Master Helpfulness: 10

Whether it is a glitch I find in the game or an issue I have concerning the custom content, the Game Masters are quick to respond and stick with me until the issue is resolved. No issue I had lasted for more than 15 minutes before getting fixed which shows devotion and commitment on their behalf. 10/10 without question.

  • Economy: 9

The Economy in this server is weird. First of all, it's not only about Zeny anymore. There are things more valuable than gold (such as Ether Crystals, Construction Materials, Racial Tokens and so on), and they are implemented in such a way that hoarding will never become possible. The trading system is broken down to many components and in my opinion is made more flexible by the introduction of other currency types. The only thing that makes this rating less than perfect is the ammount of trading already present in the game. This is going to be fixed on its own when the population of the server increases but so far it's simply in good standing - not in perfect standing. 9/10 for Economy therefore.

  • Guild Competition: 8

The sprit is there, people don't just hang around in towns talking about random stuff; they're out there in the fields, hunting eachother. The Admins have made pvp very rewarding by introducing a custom pvp system based on PvP tokens. The Rift which is mentioned earlier on my review is also a good gathering place for pvp-hungry players and most of the pvp goes down in that place. There is a lot of competition so far, but again, as with the economy, needs more players to reach perfect rating. 8/10 for Guild Competition.

  • Class Balance: 10

Perfect Rating on Class Balance should be taken with a grain of salt. Current max level is 99 and classes are unchanged, therefore the server's class balance simply complies with official class balance. If you think iRO is balanced, then Ether Chronicles is balanced too. Not much can be done to change that.

Custom Ratings

  • Server Originality: 10+

It's beyond perfect. Simply. I have become addicted to the Racial Benefits. The Game on its own is exceptionally addictive. So much that attempting any other server seems pale in comparison. Building up our Headquarters through the building system gives me a sense of accomplishment I haven't felt in any other server. The Siege I haven't had the pleasure to test out yet so I can't offer my opinion on it. The events are also very clever and have a strong impact. Last event for example, Storm Inbound actually scared the hell out of me. Which is an accomplishment for a ragnarok server to have such an influence on me.

From the novice quest itself, when you realise that you are dead and work your way on to resurrect yourself, you start getting the feeling that this server is not your standard RO. And you don't get the chance to get used to the custom content before even more new content is introduced. All in all, I would rate originality more than 10 if such a rating was applicable.

  • Website and Forums: 8

The Server totally depends on its forums and website to work. Forums are really active, with good structure on subforums and all the information you'll ever need to run and play this server neatly laid out for all users to use. Website lacks your standard control panel features such as ladders, but the Game Masters have substituted ladders with an in-game map called Halls of Legends where all players that deserve to be there have a statue with description on it on why they got the statue. I give a 8/10 on the website and forums rating because those rude members of that particular faction keep being rude on the forums as well. Posts containing abusive language are moderated but that doesn't stop them from being jackasses without actually using abusive language.

  • Overall Rating: 87.5/100

This server is a definite must for any RO veteran who wants to experience something fresh and new. The server's future looks bright with a ton of new content on the way. The only real weak point of the server is low community. I am sure that if the community continues to increase in those rates however, Ether Chronicles Online can go nowhere but up. Definitely worth a shot.