Because the first ten levels would be maybe five minutes of gameplay.
One of the columns I’ve wanted to keep up here for a while is The First Ten Levels, an impressions piece of the opening moments of various games where I stop after when? Yes, level sixteen. I wanted to do that for Elyon, but ultimately ended up on the first 30 levels, because while I assumed Elyon’s fast paced leveling from the beta was just a beta thing, that’s actually how the game is rolling. Seriously, you are level 22 before you leave the tutorial world.
I’ve maintained the Elyon is an aggressively average game, but in a way it feels like Bluehole Studios looked at how they’ve screwed up Tera over the years and decided they might take a crack on not stepping in those same potholes. It’s not the kind of game that people will get home from work and accidentally punt the cat because they’re so excited to get another session in before it’s time to throw some boxed macaroni and cheese on the stove and call it dinner, but it’s hard to be angry at it in the same way I was at Onigiri.
Elyon is an action MMO but I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s fully action. It’s more like a tab-targeted game where you don’t have to hit the tab button. I’d call it faux-action almost because my character won’t do their basic attacks unless I have a target tabbed in. Why can’t I shoot my guns at nothing, game? It also leads to utterly obnoxious moments where I kill an enemy and my character immediately starts chastising me for trying to do an attack and not having a target tabbed or whining about how “I can’t use that on a dead target.”
Which I will say is my biggest gripe with this game so far. It doesn’t know when to shut the hell up. Your character will talk incessantly while you fight enemies and obviously nobody from Bluehole’s translation team said that there’s too much exposition. A reasonable game would tell you an attack isn’t valid with maybe a small beep. In Elyon your character talks. And talks. And talks. And talks. And talks. “You can’t use that because you’re out of range.” “You do not have line of sight to your target.” “Your skill is on cooldown.” The messages telling me about the effects, for the most part, are longer than the effects themselves.
To put how annoying this is in perspective, I played through one of the single-person dungeons and the end-boss has sort of an attack that very temporarily (probably a tenth of a second) disables your abilities. So for the full three minutes of the fight all I could hear was; You can’t use skills you can’t use skills you can’t use skills you can’t use skills you can’t use skills you can’t use skills you can’t use skills you can’t use skills you can’t use skills you can’t use skills you can’t use skills you can’t use skills you can’t use skills you can’t use skills you can’t use skills you can’t use skills you can’t use skills you can’t use skills. It’s literal torture.
This is where I start out the impressions piece by making it seem like I absolutely hate the game, and then start talking about how it’s not bad. Elyon isn’t a terrible game. I like the combat for all of the annoying voice lines. It’s not exactly intricate and in comparison to say New World it’s rather inferior. But it’s fun. There’s a lot of shooting, slashing, dodging, and stringing together abilities and combos. It’s not the most intelligent or strategic combat system, but it does a pretty decent job. Like I said, Elyon is aggressively average.
I love my big stupid cockatoo mount. It’s so ridiculous that it becomes endearing. You can get one from MMORPG.com, they had somewhere in the realm of 2,000 keys remaining as I post this.
And also there’s a hoverboard mount you can get from somewhere.
The leveling process so far is 100% planned for the player. You follow the main quest to a new area, get told you need to be one level higher in order to continue, and then the game directs you to a set of 8-10 side quests that involve killing enemies, and by completing those quests it gets you the next level you need to continue. These aren’t repeatable quests, they’re just there because the game predetermined how much XP you’d likely have at that point and how much you’d need to get to the next level. You’re on a treadmill that barely pretends to be free-will.
I’ve only come across one pvp zone in the game so far, and I imagine pvp in Elyon is going to be a massive zerg rush with one side on each server just about dominating the other one. There wasn’t anyone else there except for one or two people.
Fishing is in Elyon because it’s an MMO and every legit MMO has fishing. You get fish that you dismantle into resources that can later be used in a skill. I haven’t gotten far enough to use the dozens of fish fillets I crafted, but I did fish enough to get to the next fishing level. You can afk-fish but since every fish takes up its own inventory space and the poles have limited durability, you can’t do it for long. Fishy fishy fish fish.
The first 30 levels also didn’t get me into housing, although I received several items to be used when I eventually get a house. There are items that grant you passage into resource mines, and I’m not sure if these resources are on the overworld map as well but I haven’t seen any. More information when I get a house.
At level 25 you gain access to the first 1-person dungeon, the concept of which is self-explanatory. Their main purpose appears to be to obtain relics and specifically a currency called dungeon conquest badges that can be turned in for equipment and random boxes. I’m not sure if the rewards scale because the badges are still being given out on level 46 dungeons and the shop inventory only shows level 30 gear to me. There’s a daily limit of four dungeon reward runs and it does get a bit annoying as every day you run the dungeon it naturally gets easier as you level up and get further away from the intended player level but still can’t access the next dungeon.
Relics are essentially their own stat system where you slot relics into armor and each one adds points to a pool that you can use to gain extra stats. You upgrade relics by feeding them other relics, and I have to assume this is integrated into the end-game monetization where you buy insurance to make your upgrades fail less. There are also notices every time someone upgrades a high level piece or gets something really good out of a loot box.
The skill system is neat as you level up you get more skill points that can be used to further customize your individual skills. There’s a customization level that I’m sure will be min-maxed within the next 24 hours.
Elyon is like extra mild chicken wings. It’s like one-ply toilet paper. Like cottage cheese. A plain balogna sandwich. It’ll get the job done and so far it’s not offensive with its approach, but it’s also not an experience I can imagine anyone jumping ahead of the line in order to try out. If you want to play Elyon, the good news is that it’s free to play. If not, I can guarantee you’re not missing out on anything exemplary so far.
More impressions on Elyon as I play through.