Open beta 26.02.2014A Uplay account from Ubisoft
is required (Come on, Valve! Stop this nonsense, please! Keep these games away from your store or ask other developers not to mess with your DRM...)
After too much handholding
(15-20 minutes or so) with no way to skip you get to build your own castle in the sky. Initially it contains only bare necessities and three rooms. After placing traps and monsters to prevent other people from looting your mana and gold you have to beat the new-design castle yourself before it gets published. If you take too long, anyone will be able to take the treasures away from you.
You cannot place large numbers of monsters because you have a low budget at the start. You are just another newbie, unprotected and insecure. Other people may storm your gates, kill your monsters, loot your gold and mana. There is a way to defend your castle together with your monsters but I have yet to figure it out.
You get the resources to equip your hero and your castle by either collecting them from two wells (initially) or pillaging other people’s castles. And when you do it, you find out that camera controls are bad
. Camera can be turned only by 90 degrees every time, four times to make a full circle. And what’s worse: it is impossible to change key bindings. And I wish camera turning were better when you have to choose what castle to loot next.
Then there is ability bloat or something. At about level 5 or 6 you find out that the number of open slots on your action bar is less than the number of available abilities. What to choose? Or is it possible to buy more slots with cash? You cannot drag other abilities (I think) while storming a castle and you cannot immediately equip looted items.
But is the game fun? Yes, quite fun. Only if Uplay doesn’t screw things over. Oh, yes, I also like the colors and the overall approach to graphics. It is a fairy-tale game. It inspires good mood if you can play. But if you can’t…?
Do I recommend the game? Only if the servers are stable. Otherwise, wait for it.
After playing a couple of days (most of the played time counted by Steam is me doing something else while the game is alt-tabbed) I can add new information.
When other people attack your castle and take all your treasures it seems that only a percentage of the gold and life force in storage is taken. The treasures in your wells are not affected. They are safe. Right after a successful attack you cannot loot them but they get rebuilt quickly and then you can loot them.
Getting other people’s treasures can be as hard as it gets. Right after explosive traps become available and the traps that catapult your hero into the middle of a bunch of the explosive traps every step you take in an enemy’s castle can be deadly. Fun? Not sure.Chicken castles!
However, there is a silver lining. Some friendly souls have decided that offering people a fast way to get loot and XP might be more fun. I’ve found one castle (and I am on the lookout for more) that instead of traps and monsters is populated by chickens only. With a proper level, these “monsters” give a lot of XP, drop a lot of loot and gold. High five! My castle is now one of them. Too bad I cannot place the chickens proper for my level: gold is hard to come by.About in-game currency changes.
Judging by third-party wikis available on the Internet prices for castle upgrades have been drastically raised after the latest patch. And only the heart of the castle now requires life force for upgrades. All the other upgrades (except for creature upgrades in the research lab and new creatures in summoning portal) require gold.
I am now at level 21 and my castle is the same level. While one enemy castle can give you about 1000 gold (if you are lucky because people jealously guard their treasure) you need 26k to upgrade your portal (allows summoning new creatures), 20k or so to upgrade your research lab (allows improving existing creatures), 85k to upgrade your blacksmith to be able to make level 24-29 stuff (armor, weapons, jewelry), any piece of equipment costs between 18k and 40k. So basically you rely on drops.
If you are frustrated by dying a lot in other people’s castles, there are NPC castles, which are somewhat easy. And then there is a hidden feature: you can buy loot and potions (you cannot buy castle upgrades) with blings. For instance, if you don’t have enough gold, you press Buy button in the blacksmith shop and you see the option to purchase the item with blings. So those are useful.
Earning blings in the game is slow: they are only given by taking part in competitions (25 for a spot close to the top) and completing quests (one per zone). Buy them? They will not make your progression too easy but you will definitely be able to wear a complete set of gear proper for your level the way the developers probably intended.Slow levelling
Even with blings that allow you to buy one-hour (real time, not in-game time, so don’t alt-tab out) 50% boosts for magic find, gold find, and XP levelling will be slow. But then why do I need to level? Raiding some bosses at lvl30? Some cooperative gameplay? No idea. Maybe there is nothing at the top except the ability to build your castle the way you want and stuff it with monsters and traps.