It's always a good sign when I have to tear myself away from playing the game of the week so I can actually write about it, and that's exactly what happened this week. The culprit is Rappelz, the latest MMO from GPotato, which officially comes out tomorrow.
I've got to say that GPotato seems to have a keen eye for highly addictive games, a statement their latest entry supports. It's another straightforward "kill everything in sight to upgrade your character so you can kill everything in sight" MMORPG, but as with their other games, the magic of Rappelz lies in its pacing.
Leveling is actually slower in Rappelz than it is in either Flyff or Space Cowboy Online, but this issue is resolved by adding other methods of character advancement. Not only do you get experience from fighting monsters, you also earn Job Points. These go towards new skills, upgrading existing skills, or raising your Job Level, which is necessary for unlocking higher level skills.
A big point of Rappelz is taming and summoning creatures, and this is something you can start doing fairly early in the game. My character is only level 13, and I've had a pet Pantera (no, not the metal band) since I was level 11. Like you, your pet also gains both experience and Job Points. Unlike you, your creature doesn't need to worry about Job Levels. There are also ridable creatures which you can't own, but you can rent for 6 hour (in game time) periods. These make getting around a lot faster and easier.
Personal shops are implemented - something I think no MMORPG should be without anymore. I love being able to walk away from the computer for a few hours and return to find my character much richer. One issue arises in the form of "stamina", which doesn't effect you character's performance, but the rate at which you gain experience points and job points. The fastest way to regain stamina (besides potions) is to log out of the game, so you may find yourself torn between raising your stamina levels or your cash flow.
There are three different races to choose from: Asura, Deva, and Gaia, each with their own home city. When I first left the Trainee island and arrived in the Asuran home city of Kahlan, I was breifly awestruck. Towering statues spouting flames, huge stone walls rising on all sides around me, this looked like the home city of the race which represents everything dark should look. I've since taken a brief sightseeing tour of both of the other cities (by teleporter, walking or riding at my level would be impossible) and they're both nice looking, but not as impressive.
PVP is possible, but I find it surprising that there is no storyline set-up for it. Sure there are other races, but you're not at war. You just live in different areas. I suppose I've been a spoiled in this area by my time playing Space Cowboy and Anarchy Online, but PVP, especially large scale PVP, is what keeps long time players coming back, in my experience. There just doesn't seem to be much motivation for it at the moment in Rappelz.
The game officially launches tomorrow, so if you want to join in on the chaos that usually ensues on the first day of games like this, I suggest you start downloading soon. The download is 1GB (as in one gigabyte - ie. big) so depending on your connection, it may take a while.