Shaiya Online Review: The Ultimate PvP-Focused MMO
by Dworkin, MMO Game Reviewer
With so many MMOs available for download, both free and subscription-based, it can be tough to figure out which ones are worth playing. Those looking for something a little more on the adult side may be interested in free MMO Shaiya Online.
Shaiya Online differs from other MMOs purely on style, which immediately makes it a viable contender when competing against other titles on the market, though there are several other factors that help bolster its credibility. A fantasy-based MMO, Shaiya Online has its players focus on slaying terrible beasts that plague the world.
Right off the bat, the first thing about Shaiya Online that makes it stand out from the rest of the market is the game’s Easy, Normal, Hard and Ultimate perma-death mode.
When a character dies in Ultimate mode, it’s permanent, and the player will need to start all over again from the beginning. This adds an additional element of challenge for hardcore players, and it influences players to be very careful rather than just running rampant.
Ultimate mode, which is the game’s perma-death mode, is just one of the few difficulties that one can pick—yes, it’s an MMO that offers difficulty options. Easy mode doubles earned experience but omits special skills, Normal mode offers standard earned experience but caps the level at 50, so on and so forth. Naturally, players must unlock the Hard difficulty by playing through Normal, and Ultimate must be unlocked through Hard, so it’s not possible to just start on the hardest difficulty, adding replay value to the title.
The story presented in Shaiya Online is not very complicated, but it is immersive enough to make its players feel a part of a long, epic battle of sorts. The large, brutish Nordein people are warring with the elvish Dumianas after the former were removed from the throne. The humans have come in to side with the Dumianas, and the players are required to pick a side of the endless struggle: either the Alliance of Light for the Dumianas or the Union of Fury for the Nordein.
Graphics and Controls
The controls differ from the standard kind of MMO combat, instead adopting the first-person shooter key setting; players can use the WASD keys to keep moving while attacking their opponents, adding some additional skill to gameplay. Players can also tap the space bar to jump, which gives it more of a platform feel instead of using the point and click method.
The graphics are pleasant and run efficiently on a variety of different systems. The color scheme works well without relying on heavy hues to mark its environment. Though the environment seems to be lacking a little bit in life, the creatures have a decent aesthetic to them as well, so it all works out in the end. It would be wise not to expect the level of artistry that other games like Aion, but this doesn’t mean the style is poor in any way; it’s stylistic in its own way.
One thing that may please veterans but throw off new players is a rather short tutorial. Shaiya Online seems to rely heavily on a player’s self-responsibility, pushing players right into a brief tutorial that doesn’t actually tell them much of what to do. The first portion of the tutorial is triggered by starting the first quest, and the remainder only occurs when the player tries to look through the various hotkeys. At some point, the game will also suggest players go to the official website to learn more about a certain feature, so it can be a problem if a new player wants to dive right into the game. Of course, veterans to MMOs will find this satisfying as it gets much of the dull learning experience out of the way.
PvP and Blessings
During player versus player combat, players will earn a currency called Blessing points, earning a varying amount per player kill or when destroying a relic from the opposing team in a PvP zone. The difference between this and other currency is that the Blessing is earned globally for the faction rather than for the character itself, which means it will provide various bonuses at certain points. For example, enough Blessing points will increase success rate with lapis linking or reduce regeneration of health and mana points.
Shaiya Online is rated for players 18+ only because of some (actually very little) nudity, violence (mobs bleed and somehow this is considered too much for younger players) and strong language in the player chat.
Shaiya Online may have a typical core, but it does offer its own fair share of unique mechanics that give it an edge over its competitors. As far as free to play MMOs are concerned, Aeria Games has a successful formula for its title, which means it could be around for a long time to come.