Black Gold Online – Game fails to live up to its lofty ambitions

With grand features previewed and announced for Black Gold Online, I entered the China server’s debut test phase with high hopes, hoping for a quality MMORPG since developer Snail Game did a commendable job for Age of Wushu. Boy was I wrong.

 

Graphics

Yes, this is just the debut test phase, but I was expecting more. The HD textures seem to be missing, and I only got improved graphics after bumping up some settings which are only recommended for 64-bit systems. Just look at the character creation video below, without the 64-bit parts activated.

And yes, there are no sliders for female chest size, height or other parts, with focus mainly on the head and facial regions. Hopefully, this is just a preview of the whole customization system.

 

Combat

While combat is being marketed as “non-target” action combat, the marketing and development teams at Snail Game obviously have not tried games such as Dragon Nest or TERA. Normal attack still has a skill shortcut button which cannot be removed from the hotbar.

And yes, players will not be able to remove the mouse cursor. So what is the “non-target” part? Well, for melee characters, players can move close up to the target, and start spamming the normal attack shortcut. If your character is too far away, nothing will be hit. Genius, no?

 

I spent like 30 minutes trying to find a rectile mode (the crosshair thing in the middle of screen) and also a way to activate my left mouse click as the normal attack shortcut. Nope, there isn’t any. When normal monsters attack players with majority of their skills, the attacks are locked on as well.

So where does the dodge function (double tap WASD) come in? Well, for certain monsters or bosses, they have AOE skills, where the function comes in handy. Or in PvP, where players want to dodge certain skills or avoid melee attacks. Horrendous feature.

 

World view

The technology area seems like a watered-down version of Defiance, the recently launched MMORPG by Trion Worlds. The cliffs, barren lands and brownish textures seem a little too overpowering, although some may argue that is the intended visual.

The monsters include several mutant types, mad scientists, robots or a mix of everything. It is like a post-apocalypse era, found in games such as Fallout and some indie online games. Not very impressed.

 

The magic area is much more colorful, Avatar-style. Lush forests, ancient structures, colorful plants are all part of a really awesome eye-candy experience. The contrast between both technology and magic areas is really impressive.

Black Gold Online screenshot

Other features

The world is big, really, really big. But for the starting areas, some players may notice after a short while, there is really nothing much to see, since the environments are all basically the same.

Black Gold Online screenshot

Features such as FPS mode for the technology faction when hopping onto a mecha is great, with a real feel of being in MechWarrior Online minus all the heat control systems.

There are “dynamic events”, world quests where players in a certain area can fight together to ward off invading monsters. This is pretty much like the one found in Guild Wars 2. Players in parties will set to earn more points when such an event is completed.

The multiple advancement classes system is something not common these days, and I have to commend Snail Game on this. But some of the classes don’t really make sense, even after reading through the description.

For example, the Dark Priest class I was playing is from the technology side, claiming that the class learned the forbidden dark arts which is frown upon in the magic faction. Where is the technology part of this class? Hmn…

Black Gold Online screenshot

Final thoughts

Yes, I have only played half of the available content released in this test phase, but I am already getting pretty bored. Overall, Black Gold Online is trying really hard to imitate Guild Wars 2 while introducing its own elements, which failed to impress.

For those seeking a vast open world, dynamic events, technology and magic, BAM (big ass monsters) and stuff, I really suggest you look to buying a copy of Guild Wars 2, which has just seen a permanent reduction in price (free-to-play after purchase).

Guild Wars 2 is also launching in China in around 6 months, and Snail Game better hope that its launch is a mess. Other than that, I see no reason why players should play Black Gold Online instead.