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Wakfu: Pay up for a better tomorrow

IMMA CUT YOU

Wakfu is an MMO unlike any that I’ve played before, which is possibly why I love the game so much. I’ve written about this game in the past, back when I was an eager participant in the game’s open beta.  During this time, I leveled two different characters, a Feca and a…  uh, healy chick (the name of the class eludes me at the moment) to get a grasp on combat, the game world and on what exactly is expected for an up and coming incarnate in a world ravaged by a massive flood.  When the open beta ended, so too did my full access to the game, as Akama never intended this one to be utterly free-to-play.

Which is fine.  Money is the grease that keeps the industry cogs spinning, after all.  Can’t make a profit on a free game.  Unfortunately, as a penniless blogger, I wasn’t ready to pony up the cost of a subscription just yet.  The version of Wakfu I have experienced in the past few weeks has been very different from the game I played back during the open beta.

Wakfu has since released to the eager arms of anime lovers and/or tactical masterminds, bringing a unique experience to a genre that is utterly dominated by the tank/heals/dps formula… though you’d never know it unless you jump right into the game with a subscription.

Wakfu is the sequal to Dofus, created by Akama and distributed by the enigmatic Square Enix.  I’m not sure what the story really was in Dofus, aside from the fact that your goal as a budding adventurer was to track down and covet the Dofus, magical eggs that double as the source of great power.  I’m only telling you this because that sets the groundwork for the story in Wakfu.  It doesn’t make it less weird, though.  You’ve been warned.

Between Dofus and Wakfu, an ogre named Ogrest did a couple of notable things.  He A) fell in love with a doll, B) obtained all of the Dofus ever, C) challenged the gods, and D) lost the doll and then spent a couple of years crying on top of a mountain.

But that makes a problem, you see.  Ogres aren’t small dudes, and as a result, Ogrest’s tears completely flood the world, wiping out all life and civilizations and creatures.  By the time you come into the picture as an incarnate in a heavenly cloud realm called Incarm, dry land has once again surfaced, and the beginnings of four great nations are just beginning.

The eventual goal here is to find Ogrest himself and murder him right up to stop that mopey jerkwad from crying. Or, if you so choose, you can say “ehhh, screw that” and dedicate your time to level grinding, an extensive crafting system, joining one of the four nations and running for office, or becoming a merchant king who is rolling in the dough.  You control your own fate in Wakfu, which is what I love the most about this game.

Combat is performed on a grid with each ally and enemy taking turns with their movements.  Each class is amazingly diverse, and you’ll find yourself playing the game differently depending on what route you take.  Aside from gaining levels, your spells can also be leveled up by repetition, up to a massive level cap of 100.

Combat hasn’t changed much from my original post during the beta.   What I really wanted to talk about in this article is the divide between the free to play version and the subscription version.

Home sweet bag

If you’re not a subscriber, everything that makes Wakfu a unique experience is stripped from the game.  You can’t alter the delicate ecosystem, which is actually the namesake of the game.  You can’t sell items out of your haven bag.  You can’t even use money.  I’m fairly sure you’re also unable to group with people who are subscribing to the game, which seems a little odd.

Don’t get me wrong:  Wakfu is a beautiful and complex game that deserves the monthly fee.  But my major complaint is that I wouldn’t have known that unless I had played the beta.  Without selling items, gaining gold and having a reason to craft, Wakfu is reduced to just an obscenely long level grind, which is a real shame.  There’s so much more to see in this game, but I worry that new players who stumble across Wakfu for the first time will just write this game off because of how limited the players are.

I would have preferred to have seen players who did not subscribe restricted to the starting zone of Astrub, able to craft items out of materials they collect around that first area (they don’t have to be amazing, or even useful).  Players can collect money and use it to purchase simple items, but can’t trade it to another player or make mass purchases each day (to cut back on Kama farmers.  What?  WoW has gold farmers, after all).

I may come back to Wakfu someday, when my finances make me more comfortable with signing up for another monthly service.  In the meantime, if you stumble across this article in your pursuit of a unique MMO with cheap monthly fee, I’d urge you to try Wakfu.  There’s more to this game than a level grind.  I just hope others get a chance to see that.

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