First things first: last week's no-post was due to it being sort of a holiday (at least it was close enough for me to figure a no-post was justified). Anyway, let's get back on track. This week I decided to take a look at Secret of the Solstice, a free-to-play MMORPG currently in the open beta phase.
The look of the game is basically top-down 2.5D, with 3D backgrounds and sprites for characters, enemies etc... The anime influenced art style is nice, nothing we've never seen before, but it's definitely got a charm factor. Actually, I've found myself admiring it's look more than some full 3D MMO's I've tried.
Like quite a few similar games, every starts out the same class type. After levelling to 16 (why 16?) there's a little quest to complete and then you can pick your "guild", which is your job/class/whatever you want to call it. The game seems to assume you've looked around the forums a bit, because the class names (squire, apprentice, neophyte, acolyte) aren't as descriptive as they could be.
Gameplay wise, it's your typical MMO (ie. it's going to be a real grindfest at later levels). It's nice to see that every once in a while, you'll run into an odd quest or two that tries to mix things up a little bit. For example, my level 16 neophyte just completed a quest that consisted of carrying a "freaking heavy letter" (yes, that's what it's called) across the city, only to find that another letter which was "also freaking heavy" needed to be returned to the starter of the quest. Sure, it was a little on the boring side, but the reward wasn't bad and it adds a nice quirk factor to the game.
It's likely that whether or not the game will appeal to you will depend mostly on whether or not you're into MMOs that aren't full 3D, as well as the general look of the game. Me? I'm going to keep playing some more, as there's something about it I like that I haven't yet been able to put my finger on. If I find out what that certain something is, I might tell you next week.