Astellia Online 2020 Impressions - This Isn't Looking Good.
This game had a lot of potential. It launched to its share of fanfare, for sure, but interested players quickly dispersed as the dev team behind it opted to launch the game as a buy-to-play MMO as opposed to a free-to-play MMO and made a lot of bold promises.
While Astellia was completely free-to-play in each region it launched in, it was also riddled with pay-to-win, something that the Western release of the game was supposed to do away with with their alteration of the business model.
Additionally, promises were made to unlock each and every classes gender restrictions, as South Korea has an unreal obsession with gender locking.
Fast forward to the end of September 2020, Mrs Stix and I decided we were going to go ahead and stream Astellia for all of our viewers to get a gauge of how the game was doing in 2020, and the lack of updates, the broken promises, the poor optimization after an entire year of being online.. were all incredibly disappointing.
Well, disappointing would be a nice way of putting it. For a paid product like this, this is a terrible state for the game to be in.
We powered through for the stream and didn’t see anyone – not a single other player in 4 hours of playing.
There were a few people in the chat that we saw, and – I know, we were in the level 1 through 20 zone, so players are unlikely to be running around unless they’re new to the game themselves, but this gave a very poor sense of activity.
Not only was the chat mostly dead for the server, but nobody was around doing anything. Even in games like TERA and Blade & Soul – heck, even RIFT had players around low level areas, and they’re.. all very low population MMOs now.
The game was still incredibly unoptimized – I had substantial FPS drops wherever I went, but I guess this is one of the many limitations of Unreal Engine 3, right?
The combat was probably slower than I recall, and utilizes a hybrid tab-target and action combat system kind of like Guild Wars 2 and Revelation Online, but not nearly as action–definitely more tab-target, even with the action mode enabled.
Which doesn’t bother me as I’m a huge fan of tab-target MMOs anyway, WoW and Final Fantasy XIV being my two favorite MMOs of all time.
Astellia had some interesting mechanics: The Astel system that provided an almost party-like group of minions that would aid you in battle, removing the need to really play with other people.
A world that actually had things to do: Side-quests, minerals to harvest, the main scenario. It looked great, but was very limited by its engine.
And overall.. could have been a really, really good MMORPG. It’s a shame to see the state the game is in, and my guess is if they don’t go free-to-play soon, with their lack of updates, there won’t be anyone left to even play the game.
Going free would bring a surplus of new players into the game, but would also likely result in a lot of pay-to-win, so who knows.