Citadel Forged with Fire
This is my full review of Citadel Forged with Fire.
I did an early review for the closed beta which only lasted a couple of hours. You can read it here: https://arlekiel.net/early-review-citadel-forged-with-fire/
Anyway, sorry for the lateness on this review, but I wanted to make sure I got every aspect of the game right before making any judgments.
As of right now, I have 148 hours of gameplay.
Yep… I have been busy lol!
Also I want to take a moment to clarify from which perspective I am judging since its important as well for me to share my starting points so everyone understands from where I am parting.
- The game is in Early Access so I expected a considerate amount of bugs, disconnects, unfinished content, and general instability.
- The game is being done by a small dev studio called Blue Isle Entertainment so I wasn’t expecting a triple A game.
With that in mind, please take notice that those points were the basis to form my own personal criteria and review the game.
The game is not truly a survival, therefore even if it shares a fair amount of elements (like constructions and tames) it feels drastically different from games like ARK, Conan Exiles, and (for some) its direct competition, Dark and Light.
You don’t eat, do not poop, and you don’t die from harsh climates. Personally I can tell you this is a COMPLETE WIN as it impacts the game flow in an amazing way, allowing you to focus on what you deem like “fun” and forget about stuff like “collecting meat” or having to worry about being in a cold weather… In fact the gathering (as soon as you hit lvl 5), its not complicated at all, since no matter which weapon you use, you can get “extract” and start getting via magic all the resources you need from around you. Therefore if you are looking for a “true” survival this game is not for you. However I can promise you that this small changes, improve the game for the better.
Therefore, I think there is a fair debate on if this game is truly a survival, since the only limiting factor you have its your mana, and its the main fuel of the game and all your activities. Its what drives you to get better equipment, what drives you to level up, and gather flowers to craft potions. In a way its what limits you to just don’t go around to everyone’s bases and start shooting till your heart’s content.
In general the game, it’s fun at least on the first stages, you go gather, level up, kill some wolves and learn some cool spells. In general its a fun premise, it strips down the genre to its core and allows people have fun without any complicated tasks. From a game design perspective it makes the flow more easy and fun to the player.
Visuals and sound
In the sound department, the game is not bad, but its definitely not getting an award soon (at least on the music)… Its not that it has horrible music, its just that its nothing epic or even extremely good to not make me want hear to my own personal music. So yeah, most of the time, I had the background music on mute, and I am hearing my own music, while leaving effects on.
One note here.. is that you can hear your footsteps, but you CANT hear other people’s footsteps. This is a huge letdown for hardcore pvpers, since its core strategy for people to hear the footsteps of the enemy, and for the enemy to sometimes crouch to avoid making sounds. They definitely need to work on this, however as I said… its EA and this game is not Overwatch to have this as a big issue.
On the graphics department the game looks good. It has good visuals, they all follow one theme and style so it helps with immersion (its not like on Archeage JP servers with hello kitty cars). In general the graphics make it for fairly good looking game. Also the engine runs on Unreal 4 (correct me if I’m wrong), so the graphics are up to date. Also the game is fairly optimized so even if your graphic card is not up to date, you can still enjoy the game on epic settings (one of my PCs runs on a gtx 960 and I was able to run the game on epic just fine).
However even if the graphics are good… the animations… OH MY GOD… they are AWFUL… with my guild we got this inside joke, in which we say that we our characters run like “dumb babies with poopy diapers“… and you actually do, the animation of the main guy is horrible. Also the general animation of the wolves leave something to desire. Sometimes you would even see some orcs running like crazy to one spot, ignoring everything around them. Don’t know if its a network bug, animation bug, but it looks weird.
In general, and as I stated before the game has good flow, and its a stripped down version of a “survival game”. No eating, no pooping (even though you run like you poop in your diaper), not real survival elements, however I see that as a good thing, and make the game stand by itself.
In terms of damage spells, there is no way to put this.. but there are huge balancing issues. Some spells are plain useless, while others do monstrous damage. However to be honest for me that’s not a big issue, as I mentioned before this little balancing issues are normal in an Early Access game. I would just expect a re-balancing at some point.
For taming, the game has some bugs (some inventory glitches with the pets, and sometimes they disappear) whoever with each patch they seem to be solving one by one all those issues. In terms of animals, the game offers orcs, wolves, elks, horses, dragons (kinda like small wyverns), black dragons (bigger kind of dragons), pyrant (fire monsters), forest guardians (similar to trents), death weavers (Harry Potter style), giants, horses, unicorns, and as of the last update we also got hogs, skeleton guardians, and a fire dragon (biggest dragon). There isnt much variety of monsters to be honest, whoever all of them are tameable and I somehow they feel different from each other which is something that I enjoy (I truly hated how mobs in FFXIV are 90% all the same)… fighting a death weaver is not the same as fighting a horse. They behave different and although the AI is not 100% perfect, for EA I do believe its a step in the right direction (quality> quantity).
For PVE, the game offers caves in which you can fight some of these monsters, and since you can fly you can have some amazing aerial battles against dragons.
Here is the end of a fight I had with some guildies against the fire dragon 🙂
Its a shame I didnt recorded the whole fight, to be honest it was truly epic!
In terms of PVP, even though they need to balance some spells (for example: heal beam is useless and necrosis way too op), since you can fly and attack it does offer some nice good PVP core mechanics, whoever a duel is usually won by the mage that is holding the most amount of potions, and since some spells do too much damage, you can sneak behind a enemy and with two hits kill him. Yes they need to work on PVP and PVE, but for an EA game its nice to see the core mechanics and the direction they are planing to take.
In general the game has good gameplay, the elements are there, I just think the game misses some content, which in reality is to be expected. Whoever each week they keep adding monsters, recipes, and more goodies :), something that I believe its making the game better and better 🙂
In terms of structures you have your typical base buildings (similar to ARK, Conan Exiles, and DnL). You can build shields to protect from far away damage, and turrets to shoot players. There are also turrets that grant bonus armor to people in your guild. In general the raid mechanics are ok. They need to balance some stuff there, that’s for sure. However there is a BIG issue that I do feel deserves its own section and that it Telekinesis.
Telekinesis (tun tun tuuuun!)
Personally I consider this sole issue to be sole root of all evils in the game, and the main reason why this game didn’t flew up and high when the hype was there. I also consider this the reason why we got SO MANY empty servers… and to be honest one of the biggest flaws (in terms of response time and game design) from Blue Isle Entertainment.
To fully understand the main issue of this spell, we need to understand offline raiding in citadel in which your only defense is a shield (that you can pass and then cast spells inside), a magic turret (that was bugged and useless up till last patch and which damage even now is not even remotely good) and walls (which they increased the HP, meaning you spend more mana casting spells to damage them). When you raid a building the game is not designed like other MMOs in which all the structures you build, are owned by your guild. Instead they are owned by anyone on the server and everyone can literally “delete” on build mode any building that is unclaimed, no matter who or when it was built. The only thing stopping people from deleting your base , by making it yours is your Throne. A structure with a throne on it, makes it unavailable for random people to delete your base on building mode, allowing only your guild (“house”) to be able to build , modify and delete your structure. However chests are all unprotected (no passwords, or access levels), so every visitor has access to your stuff.
So far… everything looks far from perfect but no big issues right? I mean the game is in EA and they can work on improving their raid mechanics, increasing damage from turrets, and making shields more viable…. but you in theory you could build a base and expect people to spend a HEFTY amount of resources raiding you and searching for your throne. In fact its a good mechanic even to have to hide your throne. It makes it feel different from other games (like ARK), and gives the raid a sort of objective.
However.. and this is where the issue starts… someone had the BRILLIANT idea of making a spell that would allow you to grab structures and demolish them in an instant… If you saw the trailer of Citadel, you could see a wizard flying with half a turret from a building and throwing it away. The main issue for that spell is that even if its mana cost is high (10 mana potions would be enough to tear down a whole base, so its really not that high)… and even if its CD is 60 seconds (for offline raiding this CD is neglected since you are raiding someone that is sleeping or at work, meaning you potentially have HOURS, plus there was a bug , in which by switching weapons you could reset your CD), the spell is broken to its core… its a horrible DESIGN DECISION from the perspective that raiding works DIFFERENT from other games like ARK or Conan…. In Citadel once you find the throne its GG for the other party, and this spell made it stupidly easy for someone to just wipe you instantly. No matter how big or complicated the base its, you could just walk tear a chunk of walls, to get to the throne…. for the throne you didn’t even needed to lower its hp to destroy it, you could just use Telekinesis on the floor where it was placed, destroy the floor and therefore the throne instantly..worst part… this spell was usable on other player structures on PVE server…
The game design decision for this particular spell was sooo wrong.. when I first got it, I imagined something that it would only work on abandoned structures and my own structures and that it would inflict massive damage on pvp. Needless to say the damage on PVP is laughable.. it does like 30-40 damage (which is nothing)… Instead we got an overpowered spell which allowed free griefing even on PVE servers.
The good part is that THIS SPELL IS FIXED 😀 and as of now, it only works on your own structures and abandoned ones.
The bad part is that the spell is now effective useless (why spend mana when you can just press B and delete abandoned structures), the PVP damage is laughable, and mana cost way too high.
The worst part is that this issue has been going from beta, and a lot of people lost their bases, spent HOURS building and lost everything in minutes, and due to that left the game…
I think we can all agree that games have a curve in which they start strong and then they kinda grow stronger and stronger over time, until the hype dies and then they slowly start to go down..This sole instance (in my opinion), was the main reason why so many people left the game, and why the game wasn’t able to monetize on all the hype that it generated.
To be honest I totally understand why many people would decide to leave such an awesome game for something like this… I mean why invest hours of your day doing something that you feel proud, only to see it turn to ashes next day, only because you went offline a couple of minutes. Personally I had to leave my PC online with my char at nights, to at least hope it would stop people from raiding me… it kinda worked (I still got raided with telekinesis, but I was actually online, so I was able to kill them all-well Sphinx was lol!).
This issue affected so many players that as of right now its difficult to find a good server (with more than 10 people online), on my server it was full for the first few days.. but right now its literally my own private server…
This video illustrates the whole issue and another player’s opinion
credit: Reject Gamers.
In conclusion (about telekinesis)…
Yes the issue was fixed…. but this was something from BETA and it took them way to much time to acknowledge this particular issue and do something about it (personally I think it would have been better for them to just disable the spell while working on a fix). Guilds worked hard and lost their bases, and probably the interest in grinding again… I would only hope people who left because of this, give the game a second chance and 🙂 I hope to see all servers going full =) again!
Server population issue
The game itself is not bad, it makes me think that maybe it needed a little bit more time on the oven to monetize better on the initial hype. It also a big bummer the whole telekinesis incident, since I actually believe that it was a bigger disaster than what the devs realize. Some conversations inside of my guild, were on the line of “why play right now, if we can get offline raided and there’s no way to defend against that”… also some other discussions on Steam and forums were on the lines of “I lost hours of work” “I got raided on a PVE server” and so on… to be honest I do not know how this skill on its state passed through initial game design, but then again I do not know why it passed through beta, and how it sneaked its way all the way into early access and then the first week of the game… Even if its solved the main issue now is that servers are empty… the core mechanics of the game need more people in order to be fun.. If there’s no one to raid against or build a defense castle to fend off intruders, then why play?
I hope people would give this game a good second opportunity, since its a 100% fun game, when you are in a healthy populated server… also this bring another question into the table… How is Blue Isle Entertainment, going to solve the population issue? Right now there are a bunch of unused servers with 0, 1 or maybe 2 people playing on them.. on my server me and my friends call it our “private free server” since we literally play alone. So part of this question is… Is blue Isle going to continue paying for empty servers? or are they going to do a merge to increase the population of servers while decreasing their costs? Whatever is their next step, personally I also believe that they should let the community know asap… since right now due to all these circumstances people are spreading false rumors about a wipe… and the mood on the community is among the lines of “why play if its empty” or “I heard there is going to be a wipe, so why invest time now”…
They need to do a sort of relaunch, of some sorts.. the game has potential and the hype in the beginning was great.. but right now everything is so empty..
The main good thing about this game
The main thing about this game that is good is Blue Isles Entertainment… if you have some sort of years of experiences in the MMO market, you realize that one big thing that is actually killing the market are overseas companies which (almost all of them) believe that “localize” a game is synonym of just translate stuff without ANY EFFORT of making some sort of adjustment to appeal to North American audiences… look at Archeage and their regrade system, Black Desert and the whole issue with the p2w debacle (and their amazing response “But Korean audiences loved this change”)…. One thing companies need to understand is that just because “Korean gamers” love something dosen’t mean we north american players are going to “love it”…
That’s why personally I love when a game is being released, produced, and developed by a north american company (in this case Canadian)… and at least on my experience I can say that Blue isle Entertainment have been a pretty open, cool dev studio that has been doing its best , and they should get some big thumbs up for that.. As a gamer I feel the necessity to at least make an effort and support this kind of behavior.
So far I can say that:
- You get direct access to the community manager and dev team on the Discord (thumbs up and a big hug to Skell).
- You can send them an email and they read it
- They are hosting streams and answering questions from the community
- On the first week they pumped patches literally everyday, sometimes twice a day, trying their best to solve issues.
- They have been very open to the community
- They are releasing new content every week
- They posted a trello board so the community can vote for new content.
Needless to say.. they are doing their best, listening to the community and implementing changes and for me this is one of the best things that you could ask for an MMO… I’ve played many games through the years and one of the main things that turns me off from a game is where you have something that is hated by 99% of the server and yet, the company refuses to do something.. here the changes may not be coming as fast as you wish or they may be making some mistakes as company but there’s no doubt that as a player YOU ARE BEING HEARD…AND THEY ACT ON IT…
Trello board to vote for content
The trello thing was an awesome idea, since it keeps you hyped about whats coming next, while also makes you as a player to have an active role on this early access stage of the game.
Gameplay: 4.5 stars
As I said in the review, however though of taking out the “eating and pooping” factor out of this game.. deserves a pay rise… the game has an amazing gameplay because it allows you to focus on the stuff that its fun: taming, building, creating, exploring, crafting, fighting, etc etc.. The only restrain that you have is your mana, (and your health), but since flowers are everywhere its actually a resource that is there to make thins fair and balanced while also not keeping you from enjoying a nice amount of hours having an amazing gameplay.
Visuals: 3.5 stars
The game has good graphics, but the walk cycle for your character is horrible. That’s why It gets a solid 3.5. If they fix the animations of your main character this game could easily get a 4-4. Things are good, but not perfect yet.
Sound : 2.5 stars
The game sound is not bad, but its nothing amazing either… also there is this missing element of not hearing your enemy’s footstep. However and as I said in the beginning, since this is an EA game I am not being to harsh.
Content: 3.5 stars
The game offers a good amount of content for an EA game and the fact that that they are adding new stuff every week its something to be excited about. However even for this standard the lack of monsters is something to take in consideration. On the other side of the scale, we get that monsters behave different from each other (fighting an orc, or a horse is a different experience), and that’s a good thing to consider… However as for this stage, we believe that they earned a good 3.5 🙂
Fun factor: 4 stars
The game its fun, there is no other way to put it.. the main issue right now is that even if the game is fun, there’s no one to share the fun with.. a core element with an MO is precisely the “M” Multiplayer… If I were expecting solo game I would be playing sims or skyrim but for Citadel I would expect to find more people and play with them. However taking aside that factor (reason why they lose a star), the game definitely has this “fun factor” of building your castle, flying in brooms while having an amazing duel, and exploring caves 🙂
Total: 3.5 stars ( down from 3.6)
Not a bad score 🙂
Finally, I hope this review, would help people to realize the amazing points this game has to offer… while also avoiding any hype related over expectations. The game is EA and for its currents development is a good start, and I cant wait for the devs to continue working on this and give us an amazing game that we can enjoy at its fullest.
Its game in perfect shape? no… is it in a good spot to grow into something truly amazing? yes, does the devs have the intention and motivation to make this happen? hell yes!
As I said the main selling point for me and this game is the amazing communication the Blue Isle Entertainment has with its player base, and while they are not perfect, as long as they continue in this path, I can see this game growing and at least from my perspective, I do expect great things from this title in the future.
As its current state, as long as they fix the server population (difficult task if they ask me), and they at least tell us if they do have plans to address this either by a merge or just waiting until players return), I think would do amazing things to this title, however to be fair, they just released the telekinesis patch so I am guessing they are still debating what their next step.
Should I buy this game?
If you like Harry Potter and Minecraft its a complete YES…
If you like ARK but hated the dinos and you love magic then YES…
Feel free to comment about this review and the game. Would you recommend it to a friend?