Atlantica Online
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Journey across the globe in your search for Atlantis

     A frequently overlooked aspect of online gaming is that of the free to play download client based games. To be sure, few measure up to the quality of the highly financed, professionally developed, masterpieces crafted by companies such as 2K, Ubisoft, Square Enix, Treyarch, and innumerable other studios. Well let me add a group to your list. NDOORS Interactive. This company, which was recently purchased by Nexon created a free to play game in 2008, that combined not only turn based strategy, but also rpg and adventure themes. Atlantica Online is an epic adventure following you, the main character in your quest for Atlantis, and all the perils you face along the way. Journey across the Earth, meet historic figures, learn skills, battle others, and find your way to Atlantis in this well made free to play game, Atlantica Online.

     What makes a hero? Depending on who you ask it might vary. Some say a hero requires magic. Some say a hero requires strength. Others might even believe a hero must have scantily clad female companions, or handsome well toned men depending on personal preference. The fact is, Atlantica Online(AO) holds all of these qualities. Right as you start the game, you are given the option to choose from one of many classes. Archer, Gunner, Cannoneer, Musician, Spearman, Swordman, Axeman, or even the much sought after Power Saw class. All of these classes, excluding power saw, are availible right off the bat, with Power Saw being unlocked once you get a main character to level 100. You begin your journey in Asia at one of four sites, all named the Forest of Spirits, and travel throughout the story line to places such as Bran Castle, The Hanging Gardens, the mythical Yggdrasil from Norse Mythology, and many other places. Hard to believe this is all contained in only about 2.5 gigabytes of data.

     Now, all these places may sound overwhelming, and help is also a definite must for players new to the game. So, fear not! In their infinite wisdom, NDOORS implemented a mentor system. Now, while i will say not all mentors are that helpful, usually most are willing to assist you to a good extent. After that, once you join a guild, your guild members will always be more than willing to help you. However, these guilds are a double edged sword. Should you join a guild thats in trouble, maybe the nation they belong to is at war, you will be able to be attacked by any member of the Nation with which you are at war. Still, all is not lost as you may fear. War lasts only a few days, and rarely occurs, if ever. However, should you ever find yourself in war, you will need equipment to aid you.

     Part of leveling up is the thrill you get when you unlock access to new features. In Atlantica that still holds true. There are three different types of armor, which are for ranged characters, melee characters, and staff users. In addition, this armor, when you are not in battle is displayed on your main character in detail, for all to admire. Of course, generic armor is boring, and so varies based on your gender. However, there aren't just one or two tiers of armor, but 17 tiers of armor. usually becoming usable every 10-15 levels. This also applies to weapons, which, depending on their quality, may even take on a hue to further show just how magnificent and legit you are.

     "Tons of armor and weapons? Thats sweet! But wait, did you say every 10-15 levels? That's not sweet!" Well, at first it may seem to be a great amount, but this is a well made game. Bear with me, and i'll explain. You see, while it takes a good number of levels to gain access to these new armors and weapons, you gain levels very rapidly at first. many players do not even feel that the first 80 levels are much of a challenge, and if attempted by a dedicated player, can be done in just a couple of days. Depending on your level of motivation, you could get to level 96 in about a week. However, after that, it slows down. you didn't think this game was going to be easy did you? Now, for those of you who think this game caps out at level 100, you might think that, but you'd be wrong. In fact, the level cap in Atlantica Online is in fact level 140. It is a landmark level that few even dare to dream of reaching. I must sound like a broken record, but fear not! You aren't alone in your endeavor!

     For you see, why take on the ancient world, when you can have the help of mercenaries to make it easier. Not easy, not by a long shot, but easier. For each type of weapon, there are even more types of mercenaries, all of different calibers, all wielding varying skills, for varying strategies and players. Perhaps you want a tank build for pve. There's a merc. for that. Perhaps you want you want a stun build for intense pvp. There's a merc. for that. Maybe you want insane AOE units for easy mob killing. Once again, there is a merc. for that. I cannot stress this enough, there are so many possibilities in this game, it's not even funny. it's just down right impressive. Find out you don't like a mercenary after a while? Thats fine, you can always replace them with another, so long as you're willing to do a little work to get your new one up to snuff.

     If you are looking for extensive pve options, don't worry. There are over 20 main quest lines, dozens of side quest lines, multitudes of titles to obtain, and large numbers of indivdual, squad, guild, and nation dungeons to conquer. If you think you will ever be able to do absolutely everything in this game, think again. if nothing else, there are a vast quantity of crafting skills you can master, and then capitalize on to make a profit and buy desireable items and costumes from other players. The economy, is nearly entirely player driven, even if it is a little inflated on some servers.

     Whether it's player versus player, or player versus environment, or even just a desire to sit around and craft while being social with others, Atlantica Online holds many things for you to do. While not being the absolute best in terms of graphics, for a free game, it looks, and plays very well. Certainly not a Warcraft clone, or really a clone of anything, it is in a class all its own. And why not? It is an excellent game that, so long as you don't mind a little work, is entertaining and very fun to play. I give it a 9/10 for several reasons. It's original, holds a lot of potential time for playing, and considering its a 2008 release, its still very much active and receiving updates. Of course, there are the faults. The game isn't new player friendly, and there are the annoying gold spammers. In addition, if you don't purchase items from the item mall, you might find it's very hard to begin earning money(Might i suggest you buy only Atlas Ore if you do buy from the mall). however, that said, this game is well worth trying out, and might just surprise you.

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