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I’m back and still gaming.

Well, things have been a bit quiet around here, haven’t they? I’ve still been playing games, of course; that’s never likely to change. For over a year all my spare blogging time went into Astrek Association, our Firefall fansite, and since we put the site on hiatus and stopped playing Firefall I’ve had enough other ups and downs that I just haven’t had time to get back to blogging.

So what am I playing? Well, I’ve stopped looking for the One True Game, the game that will capture my attention for years at a time the way WoW did. Those days are gone. (Games like Civilization and The Sims can still do that, but they don’t have the social element I’m looking for.) Earlier this year I was playing Warframe full-time – which has developed remarkably since I last played it, and we had a lot of fun in it. I have no doubt I’ll be back. We’ve spent some time in SWTOR, and I intend to spend more before the upcoming Shake Everything Up expansion in October, and my WoW guild is raiding again.

Skyforge

Lately, though, my spare time has been going into Skyforge. It’s an action-combat MMO in a magitech setting where you play an Immortal, one of the few people gifted with more than one life, and as your power grows you evolve into a fully-fledged God. Skyforge is level-less (your progression is measured by your Prestige, which is a sum total of the abilities you’ve unlocked and the equipment you’re using) and class-based, although you can unlock and change between classes readily on one character.

There are a few things that stand out about the game:

  • The combat is fun and satisfying; it’s not crazily spammy the way some other action combat games are, and although you’re fairly limited in terms of number of abilities, the combat system is deeper than it first appears. Telegraphs are handled by animation, rather than by floor designations, and despite my inexperience with action combat games (because mostly I don’t like them) I’ve found it perfectly manageable.
  • The monetisation is not punitive; the premium currency pays for everything (including ‘premium’/VIP status), and can be purchased using in-game money.
  • The classes are interestingly varied, with a distinct range of playstyles and variety between the classes. Flavour also varies from medieval fantasy to magitech sci-fi; ranged classes include the archer and gunner side by side, while in melee you’ll find light-channelling paladins and chainsword-wielding berserkers.
  • Progression is interesting; you earn various currencies which you then spend on unlocking stat buffs, abilities and talents in a skill web reminiscent of Path of Exile, and this progression then moves you towards earning new classes. It’s hard to explain concisely, but works quite elegantly in practice.

There are some irks to the game. One big obstacle is the pantheons mechanic – pantheons are Skyforge’s equivalent of guilds, and there’s content that only reasonably sizeable pantheons can access. Our little few-person pantheon-of-friends just isn’t going to cut it. The UI is cursor-locked and modal, which makes it controller-friendly but an unnecessary obstacle when you’re a keyboard-and-mouse player. And, being a F2P game, regional chat is lower than the lowest common denominator, and hard to ignore. That said, no game is perfect, and the annoyances certainly haven’t spoiled Skyforge for me yet.