This will be my 3rd time writing a review for AoW. My first review I deleted myself because, well, I hit delete instead of edit, my bad- but I was goin to change it completely anyhow. So I rewrote it, and it became the #1 helpful negative review for a while(I'll get into why in a second), then I stopped playing for a while. And again I started playing again for another 3-4 months. Somewhere inbetween playing again and now my #1 negative review has "dissappeared".
So here's a new one in two parts: one for the game, one for Snail Games USA.
TL,DR version at bottom.
--------On the game itself.--------
This game is like most F2P games--- F2P and P2W. Also lots and lots of grinding, or just pay for silver.
In beta the tutorial, menus, actions, well almost everything were explained horribly and it wasn't just the translations. Even when I made a smurf character after the Winds of Destiny addition in Oct-14, it was still mostly the same. The cutscenes are still translated horribly, but usually makes for some funny reads.
Combat is based on ping, if you bought the latest cash shop set for 30$, and if you have the rare ultra-powerful ancinet move sets(you get them easily by paying players for them with silver). Last time I played everyone was in mostly the same 2-3 schools and used the same cash shop sets and/or ancient sets.
The one thing I really like about this game was the random encounter system, where you can possibly get great skills and useful items for crafting by making npc's like or hate you . But you get the random encounters rarely if you don't pay for VIP.
Graphics are alright, nothing too special.
Music is ok for some area/scenes' songs and horrible for others.
Flying skills can be fun but only half of them are really useful.
Crafting mini games are ok, better than some mmo's.
--------Snail Games USA customer service horror story--------
I started playing AoW about 1-2 months before beta ended(I think in Feb/March 2013.) I ended up getting VIP about a week before release, and actually bought the Gamestop retail edition when it was officially released out of beta(April 2013). I have played AoW from roughly Mar-13 to 9-11-13 then from Feb-14to Nov-14, and had kept my VIP status 90-95% of the time, bought the retail edition, payed for in-game silver(from Snail's site), and was paying for cosmetic item/mount rentals. Since Mar 2013 to Sep 2013, I had purchased 2,150 gold from Snail's official site(using Zeevex cards), and I ended up(stupidly) spending 718$+ on 2,150 gold for in-game for cash shop items.
The little break from playing was because my account was frozen for no reason, for 1.5-2 months.
I had set up a stall overnight(VIP only) an hour or less before server maintenence, with the contents worth I think over 3000+ Taels of item(most of the higher valued items I was selling were scripts, although I was also selling cash-shop gold items too.
So I went to sleep, woke up the next day and tried to sign into my only character, and my account was frozen. So I check my Snail Passport, just a freeze notice.
After many inquiries as to why, I finally get told I was "involved in illicit taels activities" about 2-3 weeks after being frozen(their old ticket system was being worked on in midst of all this). Then another 2-3 weeks go by and I get a reply, and I'm quoting my Snail Passport reply: "Greetings. We have checked your account (acc. name) in system. The query result inform that it invovle to trading illegal tales. We consider that the illegal taels amount is not too much. Offical decide to unfreeze for you. Please do not do that again. Thanks for support."
I had ONLY ever topped up, purchased silver, and/or gold from SNAIL'S OFFICIAL SITE. I've always assumed somone who bought silver from a non-official source, bought the items off me in my offline stall, and I got punished as well.
The worse part of it was that for the 1.5-2 months I was frozen I had VIP, cosmetic items, mounts, and a windrider that all went to waste, some of which I had just started the rental time. I was told in another ticket that they cannot and will not even give me the same items back. I played for about a week and was still mad at what happened and how they went about it, then i quit playing for about 4 months or so.
When I started playing again my plan was to try to play it 100% completely F2P. I did this for a while, but after being VIP for so long it just sucks playing it f2p. Almost every little thing in the game is pretty limited to free players, which is great to battle gold bots/etc, but if you start off as a f2p player it might be ok. But if you were VIP before but now now, you will hate it. I ended up having people in game buy it for me for in game silver for the last month or so I played in Oct 14.
-------------TL, DR ------------------
AoW is a high-learning-curve, mediocre at best, usually confusing F2P and P2W mmorpg that is full of fetching/finding/grinding, repeating the same boring raids, laughing at the bad translations, and always waiting on the time-based rank+skill leveling system.
The combat is useless unless you have good ping and you pay for the cash shop sets or a lot of in-game money for highly coveted rare skills from ancient sets. Not paying for VIP is very restrictive. Most the people playing are in the same few schools and use mostly the same sets and combos.
Honestly, do yourself a favor and just don't waste your time on this game.If you end up doing so, do not give them any money, for what happened to me and many, many, others, could happen to you.
I was completely stupid and spent 700$ while wasting a year+half of my time so you didn't have to.