Category: 3D MMORPG
PvP Support: Yes
Pros: +Good graphics +Large class selection +Unique pets
Cons: -Generic questing -Anime style not for everyone
Aura Kingdom is a free-to-play anime MMORPG from X-Legend and published by Aeria Games. Players Tcan choose from a number of classes and Eidolon companions to battle enemies in a large, diverse world. As players progress, they will discover more Eidolons, unlock new abilities, and have access to certain abilities from other classes.
Various Classes - Choose from 11 (and growing) different classes, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Each class has its own characteristics making some better at tanking or healing.
Eidolons - Eidolons are battle companions, essentially turning every class into pet classes. Each Eidolon has its own unique abilities and choosing an Eidolon that complements personal playstyle is entirely possible.
OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 (32bit/64bit), Windows 8
Processor: Intel Pentium4 2.8 GHz or better; AMD K8 2600 or better
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: nVidia GeForce 6600 or better; ATI Redeon X1600 or better
DirectX: Version 9.0c
Hard Drive: 6 GB available space
Aura Kingdom is one of the better looking anime MMORPGs I've come across. The visuals are quite sharp and the environments are varied and detailed. The large number of Eidolons are each distinct in look and abilities. The skill animations are big and flashy. And gear can be rather attractive, even in the lower levels. The world is typical of the genre but brings a bit of sharpness not usually seen.
Every MMORPG needs classes and there's no shortage in Aura Kingdom. At present, there are 11 classes to choose from, each with their own strengths and weaknesses that are nicely labeled during character creation. There is the sword and board Guardian, the quick hitting Duelist, the heavy melee Ravager, the debuffing Wizard, the classic spell-casting Sorcerer, the healing and buff-focused Bard, the heavy gun Grenadier, the quick dual pistol Gunslinger, the up close and personal Brawler, the ranged physical damage Ranger, and devastating Ronin. One unique aspect of combat is that there is no mana/MP/spirit bar. Each ability has its own cooldown, so abilities can be used freely. The typical tab-targeting is still present but the flashy animations and telegraphed attacks from enemies gives combat the feeling of a more action-focused system. At level 40, players can choose a subclass and take certain abilities from that class. For example, I took some higher damage Sorcerer abilities on my Wizard to better handle groups of enemies. When grouping with others, subclasses can become more important because certain abilities, such as Sorcerer damage over time abilities, do not stack, so having two or more players trying to use Sorcerer abilities will lead to less damage overall.
Of course, the biggest focus in Aura Kingdom is the Eidolons. Eidolons are companions that fight alongside you and each has its own unique abilities and look. Each player can choose from a starting Eidolon when creating a character with more becoming available during progression. Essentially, every class is a pet class. This opens up a lot of variety and makes soloing much easier. A low defense Wizard can use a tank Eidolon, freeing them to focus on attacking. A melee class can add a ranged DPS or healing Eidolon and each class has a special combination attack with their Eidolon. Eidolons level with the character as long as they are summoned and only one Eidolon can be summoned at a time. As Eidolons progress, they can go through various evolutions, making them more powerful. The available list continues to grow, so finding one that fits individual playstyles is more than possible.
Questing and Core Mechanics
For those who dislike or have trouble finding the areas or NPCs they need to find, there's an auto-path system. Simply click on the link in your quest log and you will automatically be taken to the designated spot. You will automatically use your mount, after acquired, when using this system as well. There's also a nice gliding system in place. If you're standing at a high point, you can jump and glide very quickly around the map.
Unfortunately, the questing here is pretty generic. Kill X number of enemies or gather X number of items for NPCs happens often. Occasionally, there are quests where you enter an instance and must use stealth to plant bombs or listen in on conversations. This adds a nice change of pace, however these are few and far between. Crafting is quite simple and materials are abundant. Each item has a number of upgrades it can take which makes getting more gear a bit less important. There are also costume slots available. Costumes have no stats and more can be purchased in the cash shop or can be a ques reward. Titles in the game add stats to your character, so gaining achievements takes on more importance and there's a large list available to complete; everything from completing certain quests to listening in on NPC conversations in a certain zone can give you a new title. Dungeons are also available, some being rooms of enemies culminating in a boss battle while others are simply a single boss.
Aura Kingdom combines some nice animations and a few unique mechanics that sets it apart from other anime MMORPGs. The graphics are better than expected and the combat, while not actually novel, does add a different feel to the familiar. The variety of Eidolons is nice and for collectionists, not many games can compete. In many ways, this is just another anime MMORPG with a new coat of paint, but that paint is pretty nice and the game continues to grow in content, so it is at least worth a look.
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