NIDA Online shut down late last night, after approximately eight months in service, so last night I decided to take a plunge into the game and see just why the title fell short of its one year anniversary.
What I found was a game that wasn’t all that terrible, but nothing special. In terms of cookie-cutter MMOs, this cookie was that plate of Christmas cookies you get from relatives and neighbors that eerily look identical. They are home cooked, but have the strong sensation that the person simply unwrapped store bought items, arranged them on a plate, and called them their own.
I created an Artificier, a tech-based character, who did all of his fighting through guns, not unlike my character in Aika Online. My starter pistol was replaced at level ten with a shotgun, and buying ammo was quick and easy (click on a button on the HUD, no need to be in town or at a vendor). At level fifteen, however, I purchased myself a machine gun that tore through enemies like a hail of knives through air.
By the time I logged off for the night (the game shut down at approximately 3am my time), I hit level 20 and felt like I had accomplished absolutely nothing. I had finished a total of five quests, each one having me kill dozens, if not hundreds, of the same two or three mobs for the sake of finding three or five of whatever item they dropped. Sayries, for example, dropped shells that I needed for a level five quest. I leveled from eight to fifteen before I retrieved all five shells, which I turned in to find my next quest? Get three Sayrie shells. These are non-repeatable quests.
I wanted to get the essence of what new players see when coming into the game, and what I found was an uninviting world filled with monsters who, should you partake in the game’s quest system, you will be slaughtering by the hundred until they no longer give you a viable source of exp, only to finish one quest and then be sent right back for the next. It isn’t a test of patience, or tolerance of grind like in most other Asian MMOs, but instead you get to a point while questing where you simply ask yourself “where is the challenge?”
Moving around is a chore, with the WASD system broken, and the point/click system shoddily put together (I had regular moments where clicking yielded no movement). The combat system is a combat system, there isn’t much more to say about it. Nothing special, but nothing horrible about it either.
I’m sure I will be berated for not giving the title more of a chance, but the focus of my play time over the course of the day yesterday was to experience the game as a new player would, and judging by the dearth of posts on the forums pre-shutdown, and the lack of people in-game, I get the feeling I was one of the few remaining who cared to even take a peek.
NIDA Online is a reminder that for all we rag on mainstream Korean MMOs, there is in fact a level of quality that borderlines on comatose, and I for one feel bad that Gamekiss put so much of their own support and funding into a title that the developers obviously couldn’t care less about.
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