Molesting mobs has never been more laid back
Yes. Another MMORPG that requires you to grind your way to the top. Another WoW lookalike, and almost the identical twin of Perfect World Online. Not surprising since Celestial Destroyer is brought to you by the same developers of Perfect World Online. However, although I've been playing so many MMORPGs, so much so that it's really hard to actually get addicted to one particular title, I was quite surprised that I have actually spent countless sleepless nights just to hack and slash my way to a higher level. Maybe it is because Celestial Detroyer has a system that allows me to play, and at the same time surf online.
Firstly, you have to stop comparing this game to WoW, although I have to frankly say that since WoW is such a success, many developers have tried to use WoW as a benchmark for many of their MMORPGs. However, there are a fair bit of differences in Celestial Destroyer Online. For one, the graphic is way different as the design team is from China and the environment is largely based on cultures of the Orient. Even the art style and names of NPCs are very Oriental, so much so that I had a hard time remembering the names of the NPCs I had to meet or hunt down. But with the fantastic help of the awesome pathway tracker, which I will talk about next, looking for NPCs and mobs for quests were a breeze.
Now, speaking of the pathway tracker, this add-on is the next best thing since the creation of instant noodles. You can track all NPCs, quests and mobs with just a click of a button. Remember all those running you had to do in many MMORPGs to get from one end of the map to another? Well, I for one know how tedious that is, but with the tracker, all you need to do is open the corresponding message box and click on the NPC you want to get to, and voila! Your character is automatically set to run to that particular NPC without a hitch. If it takes a long time to get there, you can always set your game to windowed mode and proceed to surf while your character takes its time to get there. Even the world map is clickable. You can open the map, click on the spot or area you need to go and your character will automatically run by itself to that exact spot you just clicked on. With this awesome feature, you can multi task and not get bored while waiting for your character to run to some field of choice to molest some random mob.
Grinding has always been a big issue in games like these. Grinding is tedious, an act that requires more patience and long-suffering than putting up with nagging in-laws. Especially when in a hurry to get to a level that is enviable by others. I started off as a noob, playing stage-by-stage to gage the time it takes to reach the basic level of 30. Level 30 is where everything starts to get interesting. When starting off as a newbie, you kill mobs such as boars, butterflies and all manner of animals. As you advance to the next level bracket, most of the mobs that need hunting are humanoids. Somehow, I feel that the humanoid mobs in this game are somewhat brainless. All they do is stand around waiting to get their ass handed back to them; it's as if they are waiting around the field for a party to start or something. In hunting areas for players below level 30, the mobs have absolutely no aggro. You can heal yourself in the midst of scary, eerily laughing mobs and yet none of them will attack, except for some rare occasion that one of them is going through PMS. But that doesn't mean killing them off is easy since the amount of experience you get out of hunting higher level mobs is not very encouraging. I am not saying that you would be put off completely from killing mobs, but at times it does get a tad frustrating. However, there is a way out of manually killing each and every quest mob, which I will talk about later.
My two biggest obsession with Celestial Destroyer is the skill tree and the magical item dubbed as the "kozo". The kozo is basically a magical item that provides extra skills and stats. Your character can equip one kozo at any given time and each kozo that your character uses binds to the character - meaning the kozo cannot be used by other character hence it can't be sold or traded. The kozo is not just another item that can be bought with money (unless you want to take the risk of entrusting your gold to the black market). Your kozo can be upgraded as well as merged with another kozo. However, to merge and even "rejuvenate" your kozo so it can be unbinded to your character, you would need special cores. These cores can only be obtained through monster drops. And since cores are a rarity, obviously the mobs that drop them are boss mobs. To upgrade your kozo, it has to be equipped; and your kozo will also gain experience points as your character gain experience points as well. However, the kozo gains XP very slowly. I gage that it takes roughly 10 levels of your character to gain one level of kozo. In order to upgrade your kozo, you just need to visit the relevant NPC and upgrade it - at the same time paying a small sum in gold.
Another obsession would be the skill tree. For beginners, it is a little confusing as there is a few types of skill groups to twiddle with. As a noob, you will start off with four novice skills which needs to be built as you go up each level. The maximum rank for novice skills is rank 15. When your character reaches level 15, you will have to choose a clan to pledge yourself to. There are five types of clans with bizzarre names; GreenCloud clan, GhostLord clan, SkyTome clan, Joyous clan, and GhostTrail clan. Once you choose your clan, you are stuck with it forever and ever; unless you reroll of course. There is a help option where it gives you the basic explanation in terms of skills and background story of each clan. So, reading every single thing does help in the choosing of clan. Now, back to the skill tree. Each clan have their own set of skills. At each level bracket, a set of skills would be unlocked and it is up to you to distribute your skill points. On top of active skills, there is this set of passive skills called "Librum". You will only gain one celestial point after every five levels. The Librum skills effects your active skills as they give extra stats to them. And so far, these skills can not be reset, so you have to choose carefully.
Now, some of you may wonder; since this game is free-to-play, how is the company to survive? Well, the item mall, or known as "Empyreal Treasury"in the game enables players to purchase in-game items with real money. At first, I tried to play the game without buying anything. It is not impossible to do so. However, by purchasing the items from the mall, your whole gameplay is made way more convenient. For instance, refining your weapon is important to increase attack power, as well as adding stats to it. However, there is a chance that the refining process fails and your weapon will disappear. Gone with the wind. But if you purchase this particular amulet called "Preserve Amulet" and use it while refining, if the process is unsuccessful, your weapon will just decrease in level. In that way, all the refining you've done till then is still intact. On top of amulets like this, you can also purchase in-game materials that increases the size of your bag and store. These materials can not be obtained in-game and instead needs to be purchased with real money. Unless you don't mind going to the town every other time to sell your drops, then I suppose you can live with a small bag.
My biggest gripe in Celestial Destroyer is the quests. There just doesn't seem to be enough quests to enable my character to level up easily. I understand that there would be quite a bit of grinding in MMORPG games such as this, but to run out of quests? That's really frustrating and downright silly. It is not to say that there aren't any quests at all, but there the remaining quests do not suit the level of my character. It is just ridicules to molest mobs; not a few but a whole lot of them when they are not giving me good experience points. For instance, the quests that are left at level 26 onwards are kill-X-number-of-mobs sort of quests. These are fine, IF the mobs are not "green" level mobs that only gives me meager experience points. Since I tested this game in Open Beta Phase, I sure hope there will be a patch that will solve this problem.
In terms of weaponry, they are pretty basic. At each level bracket, there is only a particular weapon and armor available depending on clan. However, in order to add stats to weapons and armors, fusing is a must (or perfusing according to the in-game term). You can perfuse your gear using amulets dropped by mobs. However, your gear can only be perfused with one type of stat (like Dodge+1 or Hit+1). So, it is vital to choose which stat is more important to your style of playing. On top of perfusing, refining is a must. If you don't refine your weapons, your attack power is stagnant and killing off higher level mobs would be even more tedious.
As I mentioned earlier in this article that there is an easier way of killing mobs instead of manually whacking them one by one. When the kozo is equipped, there is a gauge that builds up as you kill mobs. When the gauge is more than half full, you are able to activate this feature called "Amalgamation"; which basically works like a bot. Your character at this point will attack mobs in that area, and depending on settings, you can choose whether to pick up drops, attack all or only quest mobs, as well as set the skills to be used. This really helps a lot, and I particularly love this feature as it enables me to be lazy. I can avoid all the tediousness of killing large number of mobs. However, it is a waste that the gauge empties itself pretty quickly. There is another way to refill the gauge though; which is by purchasing this item called "Shaded Moon" from the item mall. Be warned though; it is pretty expensive although extremely useful.
There are still promises of more mounts, pets and other sort of upgrades. Since Celestial Destroyer is still in Open Beta Phase, I am still frankly hoping that the next patch would fix some glitches and make grinding and questing more fun. But so far, this game feels interesting and is able to go far with the help of its community of players.