This little onlinegame was once a really good one. It had a really nice developer team with friendly gamemasters, a community which was always fun to have a chat with. Regular content updates with bug fixes, where the developers often listened to feedback. New game modes, new levels... but: these times are all over, and I must WARN you about this game.
It started with the acquisition by Sega at the end of 2011. The guys at Three Rings said, there won't be any changes because of this. It was the first lie, because of Sega, there were suddenly EU servers. Although this was positive, everything went VERY slowly downhill since this. I'm not going to cover much gameplay elements, because these are available in other reviews.
A few weeks later in November 2011, they have released a content update with recycled boss levels, which are very same, but only harder. What's the catch? Per level, you needed a "shadow key", and it was findable as a 1% drop in lockboxes, something where you had to spend 2$/€/whatever to open one (if you wanted to of course). For a 1% chance. The community responded by a massive protest, saying that everyone should boycott this. Especially because the developers never did such a rip-off before. One week later, the shadow keys were available for "a limited time", for an energy price of 1800, something around more than 6$. The following weeks they were permanently added for purchase. This was not to be the first money try controlled by Sega.
The next "big" thing was in 2012 a new boss level added as a DLC, for purchase with a 7$ fee. Once again many community members were upset about this, since they had released in 2011 three whole boss and many other levels for free. Although you may say, "but they need to earn money too!", you may be right, but this was abused by an increasing money greed by Sega, slowly completely ruining the future and meaning of the game. I will shorten the next events in 2012: After several other cash grab attempts, the most hilarious attempt happened at the end of 2012. It was the guild hall update, and seriously EVERYTHING was overexpensive. Only people with 24 hour free time, farming the same repetitive levels 100 times per day, or 3 - 4 digit number wallets had the pleasure to burn their cash, or better said, to customize your own guild hall.
Meanwhile, Sega had found out that people don't like DLCs. They like costumes! Which means, the development for all other stuff like from their view pointless things like content updates are completely throttled, and costumes were released and updated regulary, sometimes several times in a month. Usually one costume box was available for "free" if you purchased energy for more than 20$. Later these boxes were available for energy as well, but on the same real-money level.
In December 2012, Three Rings had announced the Battle Sprites, little pets which are a nice help in a battle, but not really necessary. The community was hyped. 7 months later, in July 2013, they had finally released the Battle Sprites. What happened in the meantime? Nothing at all, only tons of cash promos with even more costumes. Please note, most costumes aren't something new. They were simple reskins, a cheap color change. Even a 12 year old could achieve this in programs like Paint.net
or Gimp with a few clicks. More about these Battle Sprites: If you get your first one for free, the Sprite is level 1, and completely useless. You can level it up until level 100, but this will take a develish amount of time, if you aren't planing to level it up the rest of your life. Here grins the cash grab again: There were plently of purchaseable items to speed up the progress. Veteran players which had a lot of minerals and materials by previous level missions had the best chances to avoid the cash grab as good as possible on their way to level the poor Sprite up to level 100. And there are the next things to facepalm about:
The Battle Sprites are completely unbalanced. The Dragon, which was meant to be an offensive Sprite, is ridiculously weak. The half-offensive-defensive Ghost Sprite has more offensive powers and damage.
Even the defensive Cat Sprite is better than the Dragon, because the skill "Heart Attack" makes it much easier for you to spam your own attacks, if there are heart pickups everywhere. Major balance problems like this aren't fixed; it's still the same today! And there are no signs that they care about this, or the developers are not allowed to care about it. Gameplay bugs, glitches or balance problems have a pathetic high chance to be completely ignored at all, which wasn't the case in 2011. Today they will only issue an emergency patch when one of their cash "promos" stuff has a little texture bug, glitch, or whatever. It became very obvious that it's all about new cash stuff and costumes now, and many veteran members have left the game because of this situation. This online game has too little content to live without content updates, these were an important reason for many people to stay. And since these people have left the game, there are now only these left which think the current situation is perfectly okay and everything is great. Which is another problem:
While you had in 2011 a lot of people free for an adventure or a chat, this is today only partially the case anymore. Many people have developed their own closed-circle-connections in their guilds, like to talk or blaspheme about other people, because of boredom or whatever reasons (I can confirm this with the German community, English could be different). Since there are no new content updates anymore, except one or two simple short missions in ONE year, some people stay there for Social Engineering. The game supports Steam trading, where you could trade energy for games, items from other online games items or more. Which is very attractive for some people. But I have kept the best to the last:
In early months of 2014, someone has hacked the game, and has duplicated items in auctionhouse or had gifted them to other people (as far as I could see it on the forums before it got censored away). They have banned almost everyone who has purchased or accepted such duplicated items in the auctionhouse or via trade, and how are we and other people supposed to see if a virtual item is actually "real" or not (since when are virtual items real anyway?). A friend of mine got such items via a trade, and he gave me some to me and a few guildmates too, because free things are always good, isn't it? From their view obviously not. Many others, including me, got banned in a massive ban wave, with hundreds of other people, and they absolutely don't care about it, nor my massive amount of playtime or invested money. I had contacted their support, which said, "We require a healthy mind from every player", refusing to take off the ban, and indirectly saying I'm a liar. But they´re the liars they already knew about that bug for weeks and didn´t fix it.
Their gamemaster staff became like "brainwashed", handling situations for their profit. In 2011 they have never thought about crazy things like a massive ban wave, just because one bad guy set a fire in the game (metaphorical). It was a time where they have cared about their people very intensively, if people were actually happy about the game progress. And it's all over. No active content development, no mature and friendly community anymore, no new things, no hope at all. This game is for every interested gamer a hopeless case now if you want to play it for a long time. Because Sega treats Spiral Knights like a cashcow, milking it's milk til it's blood and bones. No wonder why one of their lead designers called Nick left Three Rings this year. It was once a very promising and great game, until Sega came in. I could extend this long text even more, but I will stop now.
Thanks for reading!