Guns of Icarus Online, is by far one of the most promising games I've seen in several months.
The game takes place in a charming Steam Punk-ish, apparently post-nuclear world, where the few fractured remnants of the human race are battling for territory, and resources. The primary means of transportation over a barren, unforgiving world, littered with wrecks and ruins from an age long past, is by a type of Zepplin battleships, which are built out of spare parts and scraps from various wrecks found on the surface. The ones you experience in Guns of Icarus Online, are the military types, armed to the teeth with innovative, obviously home made weaponry, featuring lots of Gear wheels, and some greasy, messy technology.
The Gameplay, as far as I've experience, are primarily a type of Death Match. In a 2v2 match, where two ships are paired against another pair, and a 3v3, same thing, but much more expansive and difficult combat.
There are multiple ships to choose from, each with their own strengths and weaknesses...Small and light? Large and Heavy? Armed to the teeth? Favoring defense? Somewhere in between? It all depends on the specific captains style, which is where the really exciting part of this game comes in.
This game is entirely unwinable without team work, and here's why:
Each ship has a crew of 4 total players.
The standard layout of a ship's crew is as follows:
This person is the Captain of the ship. He controls where the ship goes, at what speed, when, and how they attack, if they attack at all, and when its time to get the heck out. They also coordinate with other team captains to launch flank assaults. They order the rest of the crew, such as what parts of the ship needs repairs the most, and what guns should be manned in preparation for a broadside. The Commander is the backbone of the ship, and sports several utility/maneuvering abilities that can do everything from speed up the ship, to increase evasion and defenses(However, this wears on ship parts, and threatens to cripple the ship if used recklessly, demanding a Commander to be clever in his ability usage, to avoid stressing his crew)
The Engineer is the heart of the ship. Without engineers, the ship would rapidly become a floating heap of scrap metal, and fall apart within a few volleys of enemy fire. An engineer is the only means to which a ship can take a gigantic beating, and still remain functional. They also sport the ability to put out fires, and buffing the equipment temporarily to give defense boosts, minor speed boosts, and damage increase, depending on the parts they buff. An engineer needs to keep an incredibly cool head in a firefight, and always heed the call of his commander, lest he misses a vital repair on a ship part. Due to each part having a cooldown timer after being worked on, an engineer needs to be a professional 'schedule' keeper, and be able to keep a steady, constant rhythm to go from part to part to part, fixing them as required, and knowing when to break the schedule in favor of higher priority pieces(1 engine going out with 2 working, is not more important than a leaking balloon...Cause you drop to your death....)
Gunners are the tooth, claw, and nail of a ship. These battlehardened warriors of the clouds are the only means to laugh in the face of an enemy's fire and shoot back with a mighty old "IS THAT ALL YE GOT!?". They're hardened, vicious, merciless killers, who favor sitting down at a weapon station, and using their expert aim, and large arsenal of ammunition types, to unleash hell on their ship's enemies. A gunner's primary job is being entirely offensive, though they are equipped with a spanner in case their weapon should be destroyed, allowing them to atleast make it operational until an engineer comes around to bring it to full potential. A Gunner's best moment is when they know what ammo type to use in what situation, to out-damage their opponents with clever, innovative use of their chosen weaponry.
These together, make a ship, and the most cordinated, best tactically skilled ship comes out on top. It is 4 players, being forced to corporate as 1, collective player, fighting against another behemoth of a collective of players. Imagine the Commander being the brain, and the engineers/gunners being arms, legs, etc.
The game permits clans, even preset crews that you can join a match with, to create not just a single crew, but an entire navy, that you can take into battle.
You are of course fully capable of customizing your character(Or your ship, should you wish to be captain!), choosing which gender, what hairstyle, what ethnicity, and what fashion statement you wish them to display; Are you a noble sailor of the high clouds? Favoring honor and good sportsmanship, who dresses in proper naval uniform and behaves like a true man/woman of the royal navy? Or are you a pirate, the scoundrel of the skies? Do you dress in rough leather, cover your face in masks, and sport threatening hairstyles, spiked helmets, and a Jolly Rodger? or something completely your own concept!? It is up to your own personality, and more items are added regularly, to both customize ship AND character as you wish! (Dyes(for characters) and paints(For ships) are available as well!)
The graphics 'could' be better, but they are still very poweful, and are very demanding, even on the higher end rigs. My best advice, if you're having lag issues, is to turn off Post Processing, it increases your framerate dramatically, without losing too much fancy looks.
Also, you'll lag when there's fire. Get used to it!
This game's community demands to be of a different caliber than your average MMO. Due to the high level of maturity, and ability to take orders, as well as the demand for being able to have an ability to take the game seriously when fighting starts, the players who are trolling/refuse to accept orders, or simply do poorly and decide to screw around rather than play the game, thereby ruining the fun for the others? These people don't last long, as griefing/trolling is considered extremely tabboo in this game. Due to this, the game's community sports a far higher number of reasonable, mature, adult individuals, who are courteous, and friendly.
Muse has gained a new level of respect from me. They are engaging, and listen to the playerbase, without mindlessly giving into them. They have fun-loving, but still mature and talented employees, who consistently log ONTO the game, and permit people to not only hang out with them, but to even play the game with them! They are even offering events where you can test yourself against them for a chance to win free stuff, should you beat them!
Progression in this game is quite strange. First of all...Levels? After level 4, levels no longer matter! Between level 1 and 3, you are a 'novice' player, which means some harder aspects of the game are turned off, to avoid you making progression impossible for you(Such as customizing weapon setups, and some harder to use ships). Upon reaching level 4 with ANY type of crew, be it sailor, gunner, OR engineer? These limits are lifted, and the game opens up its highest difficulty in all its splendor.
However, after you exit Novice mode? Levels are no longer anything but a bragging rights number. There are no skill trees, which set you apart from others by building the 'best build' for whatever patch you play in. THere's no 'gear' that makes your ship better or worse than the other, depending on what they have equipped. The only means of 'progression' you have? Is your own skill, your own experience, your own capabilities. You rely ENTIRELY on -yourself-, not a 'talent tree' or 'hot bar' with 'specced skills'.
This is all why, this game is worth it. Come play it with me, come serve me aboard my ship, and I'll see if you're worthy of serving under me ;3