First Ten: An Ecila Impressions Piece

A free to play oddity.

Ecila is a game that I went into expecting to completely hate it, and came out of the first ten levels mostly bewildered and feeling like I was subjected to someone else’s acid trip. Ecila launched on Steam yesterday and everything in the game feels like something from around 2006-2007. It’s a Korean MMO developed and published by the very fake sounding DevFun Inc. I spent some time trying to see if this is a relaunch of an old MMO and it appears to be completely new.

But that’s just the start of this rabbit hole.

I think I realized this game is complete crack around the time that an NPC asked me to get ingredients to make Cherryade, which is the name of the game’s starter health potions. In order to make the cherryade, the NPC needed 20 eggshells. My character had the function to ask why I need eggshells to make cherryade and the NPC’s response was that he wasn’t qualified to explain it. I’m sorry, what?

It’ll take about ten seconds to notice that Ecila is heavily influenced by Alice in Wonderland, only one of those versions where the story is fed through a bad machine translation into Korean and then fed through another bad machine translation back to English. There’s a lot of really weird stuff in this game, like killing an egg creature called an ‘Umpty’ and watching it throw up a fried egg as it dies. There’s an oddly stereotypical looking rabbit who claims to be a turtle.

One thing you’ll definitely notice if you’re playing on a monitor that’s smaller than 20 inches, or like me you’re playing on your laptop, is that the text size is very small. Unreadably small in some areas, and there’s no way to scale the UI that I could find. There’s also no way to turn off the music.

Combat is very simple and there’s going to be a fair few people put off by the auto-combat option. Personally I don’t care since this isn’t a game I have high expectations out of to start with. Every area is littered with different types of enemies with their own stuff. There is an element of light strategy in that each enemy has a weakness to one hand, two hand, or bow weapons, and you can create setups with each one to more efficiently kill. There’s nothing groundbreaking here.

There is a lot of repetition in Ecila, as you might expect. You’ll take a quest that asks you to kill x number of mobs, turn it in, and then get another quest sending you out to kill that same group again. Some of the enemies are definitely mislabeled in what they should be weak to. The game completely closes out if it loses connection to the server.

Ecila is overly expository in some areas and ridiculously vague in others. For example the game tells you pretty much exactly where to go and provides you with equipment for many quests, but eventually you get to a quest to gather cacao fruits and the game’s just like “eh whatever, you’ll find it.” I’m pretty sure I need to harvest them from fruit spots throughout the world, but the game tells me I need a hoe to do that and I’ve spoken to every NPC I could find and none of them sell the tool.

I’d be playing more, but the server either went down for maintenance or crashed and it’s unplayable. Ecila isn’t a game you’ll be jumping in excitement to play, but so far it’s quite the experience. Nothing mind-blowing, but it makes for some really weird conversation.

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