måndag 20 januari 2020

Game Review: Arcanists

What was Arcanists?

Arcanists was a 2D game similar to Worms and published by Jagex for their website FunOrb.com. It had a strong community going, despite lack of updates. It was possible to buy so called FunOrb membership that accessed certain locked features in the game. This features most importantly gave players advantages via new spells. I did not get these upgrades as I didn't feel it was worth to spend money on a monthly subscription for a game where a lot of people hack or DDoS.

If you know nothing about it, you had a single player unit. You also had a spell book. The spell book could contain a finite number of spells. These spells were used to attack enemies in combat. The game was a turn-based player-vs-player battle royale. If you fail to terminate the enemies, most maps would start exploding.

What could you do in Arcanists?

You had a 2D character that you could customize cosmetically. There were unlockable achievements. You could gain rank or loose rank or play unranked games. Ranked games were for paying members only. You could create a room and invite friends to play the game with you, or just invite random people.

Why did people play Arcanists?

A majority of the players had in some form or another had also played RuneScape. RuneScape is a very boring game, as everyone who has tried it knows. So, we RuneScapers had to fill our time doing something else. One day RuneScape started making advertisements for their new game platform at FunOrb and I just had to try it. Maybe partially because it contained a substring of my RuneScape username, "zORByt".

There was a "community", scoundrels from all over the world wrote all sorts of extremely stupid and offensive things 24/7. If a moderator entered it only got worse, as the language used was simply adapted to avoid reasons to get banned. That said, most moderators were "silver" moderators, and these do not have any admin rights. Their only superpower is that if they report a player, that player is much more likely to get punished than if the report were from a normal player. This of course assumes that a rule was broken. Some of the posts, did have comedic value. It may have helped that no one liked moderators.

When it comes to gaming, the game had replayability. Not in the form of levelling up, but in forms of having fun and learning to become a better player at the game. If you played against a person that was apparently bad at the game compared to yourself, you could use that as an opportunity to try out new risky strategies. When you take the possible spells that you can have, the possible spells the opponent can have, the world map, the players position on the map you get a combinatorial explosion of different possibilities. Just like in chess, except that this game had action that everyone can appreciate. If you did not feel like experimenting with new strategies, you could goof around by summoning implings that could be supercharged by arcane spells. After being supercharged, these could be moved similarly to the player to anywhere on the map and create huuuge explosions.

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