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Estiah -- Browser-based MMORPG [Maintankadin guild is up!]

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Estiah -- Browser-based MMORPG [Maintankadin guild is up!]

Postby Mex » Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:46 pm

So, "browser game" and "MMORPG" seems like a terrible combination at first glance, but this is actually really well done. There's a lot of depth to it, but the learning curve is quite gentle for a game that's so detailed.

It's different from a lot of browser games in some very notable and very positive ways.

1) Time investment. Logging on twice a day for 10 minutes is about as hardcore as this game gets. Limited turns per day, and a completely automated combat system mean you can log in as infrequently as you like.

2) Premium content. There is none. Or rather, none that has any impact on game balance. You can still donate if you like, but you don't get any power boosts, extra turns, or anything like that. All rewards for donations are purely convenience / vanity things.

3) Farm alts / cheating. A lot of otherwise promising browser games are marred by people either creating large swarms of alts to farm, or to give themselves referral credit, etc. MyBrute was a pretty classic example. In Estiah, the benefits for doing this are very minimal, and the penalties very harsh.

In those regards, it's something that you can enjoy very casually. Success comes from understanding how the game combat works, and through properly exploiting synergy and probability, rather than a flat out time investment.

It's also completely ad free. There are no ads on the site itself, and not even on the forums. As far as I can tell, it's supported entirely by the generosity of donors. They don't do their own ads either, which is part of the reason that I'm posting here (not to advertise, but to get the word out to an audience that I think could really appreciate / enjoy it).

The basic premise is fairly simple. Your character is defined by a "deck" (or gear) of charms. You create this deck, and it is then played out, in a random order, against your opponent's deck. There's a large variety of charms, but the basic starting ones are generally confined to melee damage, magic damage, armor (melee protection) and ward (magic protection). Strategy is inherent in selecting the right charms for the fight (ie against an enemy that used a lot of melee and ward, you would use armor and melee against them).

It's obviously not for everybody, but if you're interested in checking it out, here's my referrer link (it basically means that everytime you gain a level, I get a very small boost. If you'd prefer to sign up without referring, that's cool too, I'm doing this primarily because I want to see this game get the attention I feel it deserves).

Once you've signed up, you'll want to make sure that you pick a job and do it. Jobs are one of the primary means of character growth, and they reset once a day. It's okay to miss some days though, and in fact at certain times you'll want to stop doing jobs entirely to slow down your levelling.

After that, it's time to hit up the first dungeon, Inachis Sewers. This will introduce you to the basic combat mechanics of the game. Don't worry about your deck for the first three fights -- you'll win automatically. Note that the fourth fight though, the Rat God, is a guaranteed loss if you don't buy charms from the bazaar (he has 60hp, you only do 45 damage with your default charms. You need to buy at least 15 more damage -- any combination of charms bought for 100g will accomplish this). Look up the top of your screen, and click Inachis -> Market -> Charm Bazaar to do this.

With the Rat God dead you can experiment with Arena (fighting caged animals), Gathering, or even PvP. It's important to remember that no matter what you do, it's pretty much impossible to 'screw up' your character before level 20. I made a lot of choices that, given the option, I would change, but because growth is exponential, early mistakes get eaten up by power boosts later on.

I've only started recently, but it seems to be a really well designed game, and frankly I'm surprised I haven't heard about it earlier. It's a great example of how good browser games can be, and that they don't all have to be Farmbook or Evony =)

I wouldn't be surprised if there were already a few Maintankadins who played, so shout out if you've given it a go. For those new players who do decide to check it out, feel free to ask any questions here. There's also a lot of good information on the wiki (http://progenitor-softworks.com/ew/inde ... =Main_Page), and the forums (http://forum.estiah.com).


UPDATE!

We've got a guild up and running. Membership slots are limited though, and to expand we need people who can contribute some amount of money, materials, and building. If you're level 10 or higher, play daily, and are willing to donate a bit of your spare cash or mats to help build the guild, then either post in this thread, send me a PM, or message Lemex or Thornir in-game.
Last edited by Mex on Mon Jun 07, 2010 9:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Estiah -- Browser-based MMORPG game

Postby guillex » Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:02 pm

This ... is by far the most in-depth browser game I've seen.

Battles are "animated".

I like. I'm also following you now, Mecxs. ;)
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Re: Estiah -- Browser-based MMORPG game

Postby amh » Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:46 pm

Hehe, I just kicked this level 1 player's ass while fighting for a mining node.
I used to play a paladin.
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Re: Estiah -- Browser-based MMORPG game

Postby Thornir » Thu Apr 22, 2010 5:40 pm

I'm looking to see where this goes :)

Mentor me pl0x:

http://www.estiah.com/user/register/index/id/76952
Many fall, but one remains. - The Stranger
Men are but flesh and blood. They know their doom, but not the hour. - Patrick Stewart
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Re: Estiah -- Browser-based MMORPG game

Postby Mex » Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:04 pm

guillex wrote:Battles are "animated".


Actually a common complaint I've had from friends about the game is that there's not enough action. They want to see cartoon versions of their character doing battle etc. I can sort of understand that, but ultimately any browser game is going to be fairly limited in its scope.

Estiah tends to put substance over style. It's very simple in terms of graphics -- there aren't even icons / images for loot or enemies. It's almost entirely text based. Still, the effort that could have gone into making the game more visually appealing has been used to give it a really good balance.

PvP at my level (17), for instance, feels balanced. If I go up against someone with a poorly made deck, I'll destroy them. On the other hand, if I go up against someone with a deck specifically designed to counter my style of deck, I'll get crushed. Those players who have spent the extra time to develop their characters by levelling HP skills will really see it pay off.

Speaking of which, you can get quite a large power boost early on by leveling some basic +HP and +Spirit skills. Spirit is basically your charm capacity -- how many charms you can fit in your deck. As you increase it, you allow yourself to last longer (if nobody dies, the first combatant to run out of charms in a fight will lose), which opens up a new strategy for winning battles -- turtling. With bonus spirit and HP, you can fill your deck with armor and ward and outlast opponents. This is especially potent at lower levels.

As you win fights, you'll notice that you get skill points based on which charms you used (ie if you use swords, you'll get sword skill, which at 100/100 gives you +1 dex and +1 power). What isn't necessarily obvious at first though is that you can also get skill points for how you win fights. There are three important skills here, which are both powerful and easy to level early on, but get harder to gain as you get higher.

Survival - Beat your opponent with less than 10% HP remaining.
Spirituality - Beat your opponent with less than 10% of your charms remaining.
Cheat Death - Fulfill the requirements for both Spirituality and Survivability at the same time.

Spirituality is generally pretty easy to raise. You just pick an opponent (look them up on the wiki) with a set amount of spirit, and use a deck that has one more charm than that, stacked with as much defense as you have.

Survivability is generally a bit harder, because while you can always rely on playing one card per turn, you can't necessarily rely on taking a certain amount of damage. Still, by looking at the total damage a creature does, you can construct a deck with just enough defense to survive its onslaught.

Some good examples of creatures to level these skills on are,

Weak Imp, in the arena. This guy has 12 spirit, 27 hp, and does a total of 55 damage. That means that if you want to outlast him, you'll need a deck of 13 cards, that does less than 27 damage total. This means that you'll be stacking the deck mostly with protection cards, which mitigate most of his damage. This makes getting survivability / cheat death on him hard.

Prairie Sprite, also in the arena. This is probably the best creature to skill up cheat death and survivability on, although you may need to wait until level 7 (but not 8, you won't get skill points for creatures 4 or more levels below you). The sprite has 17 spirit, and does 83 damage -- all of it magic. That means that if you can create an 18 card deck made entirely of armor (plus some small damage charms, not enough to kill it), then you can get easy cheat death skillups, provided that you have more than 83 health (doable at level 7). If you don't quite have 83 health yet, you can add some ward in, although this will make things slightly more RNG.

It's definitely worth doing a bit of research, and trying to get these skills early. As you progress in levels, you'll find that it becomes much harder to predict exactly how fights will play out, so you'll have to spend a lot more action points in order to get the skills. Also, 10 HP and 2 spirit is a much bigger boost when you only have 50 HP and 18 spirit, than it is when you have 500 and 40 :)
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Re: Estiah -- Browser-based MMORPG game

Postby guillex » Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:47 am

Well shit, if I'd known about those 3 skills, I'dve been stacking my deck that way from the get-go.

I don't know if I'll actually be playing Guillex anymore ... I did a bit too much gathering in the beginning with him... Who knows though.

I has another character... I'm not telling right now, though :D
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Re: Estiah -- Browser-based MMORPG game

Postby Mex » Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:21 am

Remember -- you can't make any "wrong" choices for a while. Gathering is something you'll need to do a lot of at some point. For each of the four gathering skills, there's an extreme equivalent (eg extreme mining, extreme logging, etc), which gives you skill points for beating random monsters or players while gathering. Extreme gathering skills give 3 HP per rank, and are one of the biggest sources of bonus HP available. There are 4 ranks of each extreme, and 4 types, for a total of 48 bonus HP. However, to get all four ranks, you need a total of 760 skill points per skill, which at 4 points per encounter, is 190 encounters, or 760 encounters for all 4 extremes. In my experience, you've got about a 25% chance per gather of encountering monsters or players -- so 760 encounters equals 3040 gathering trips, or 30,400 action points. At 10 AP per hour, that's 127 days straight worth of AP, doing nothing but gathering!

Of course, you don't need to do that all at once, and in fact it's better not to. Throughout the game you'll be needing materials from gathering quite often, and if you blow through it all early, you'll just waste AP having to redo it. Note that gathering also gives Explorer skillups, which also give bonus HP and Spirit, and allow you to in turn get Treasure Hunter skillups, which also give HP and Spirit.

As I said, the game's got a lot of depth to it :) The moves you make early on are nothing but drops in an infinitisimally large ocean. If you accidently give yourself 6 more Power points than you wanted now, for instance, that won't matter too much when you're rocking 600+ in your main attribute. By the same token, if you spend a bit of extra time gathering now, that's simply time you won't have to spend later.

I made a couple of alts a week or so after making my main, promising that this time I'd "do it right", but all that happened was that I noticed I did things a few levels earlier, or perhaps spent a few less AP on them, but at the end of the day, my main was still much more interesting. I still play them, and it's interesting to do some some of the dungeons in parallel, but they don't feel that much more powerful than my main.
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Re: Estiah -- Browser-based MMORPG game

Postby Thornir » Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:06 am

For what I've done, I'm having a blast. The game is REALLY in-depth for a freeloader game. The game is very slow-paced; I thought waiting for the next weekly raid in WoW was long, but 20 Action points every two hours? Maybe 'm just trying to play to much, or maybe its a barrier to limit powerleveling, but Ifeel like I use up my Action points really really fast.

I beat the Sewers for the first time; Rat God was super easy with a couple mre charms. I think I'm gonna power my dex and int on this guy, but I went for Shop Assistant as my job; I'm also trying to herb-gather alot, and I've already discovered 3 different places :) .

Overall, it's not something I'd play for hours on end, but I know what I'm gonna do when I got nothing to do, like servers down or the like.
Many fall, but one remains. - The Stranger
Men are but flesh and blood. They know their doom, but not the hour. - Patrick Stewart
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Re: Estiah -- Browser-based MMORPG game

Postby Argali » Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:30 pm

I can't find a way to sell charms. Am I just missing it, or are charms permanent?
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Re: Estiah -- Browser-based MMORPG game

Postby Mex » Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:42 pm

Yeah the pace gets frustrating at times. I won't lie, I have actually gone to bed at like 9pm before because I couldn't wait for the next damn dungeon reset (4am in my corner of the world!). Only once though :) If you're really enjoying it, but getting frustrated by the pace, alts help (just make sure there's no interaction between your main and alts -- ie mentoring, PvPing, etc. Once you get to high enough levels, you can do raid dungeons together though I think). 1-10 is very similar for everybody, but after that strategies can diversify a little, and once you pick a class at 20 things start to really branch out.

Unfortunately you can't sell charms, only items in your inventory. You also can't trade gold or items between players. This might seem harsh, but it helps prevents things like farm-alts from being too powerful. If you're sure you're never going to use a charm again, you can "archive" it to take it off the list when building your gears, but I find I still use even the low damage charms if I want to try and use as many charms in a fight as possible to get skillups.
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Re: Estiah -- Browser-based MMORPG game

Postby Passionario » Sat Apr 24, 2010 2:32 am

Interesting.

*signs up*
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Re: Estiah -- Browser-based MMORPG game

Postby Candiru » Sat Apr 24, 2010 4:11 am

Ohh I managed to beat the pirates at level 4, but I can't use the nifty charms I won until I am level 5 :(

Quite a nice idea for a game, do the stats actually do anything other then meet requirements for equipping charms? (And levelling you up I guess.)

Raising survival by just loading enough damage to kill something on your last attack seems quite easy to do. I've been nuking the 30HP rat in the arena with some wands to do that.
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Re: Estiah -- Browser-based MMORPG game

Postby Mex » Sat Apr 24, 2010 5:08 am

Yeah, a lot of the dungeon charms you get you won't be able to use, either due to not having enough stats, or not being high enough level. You can check the wiki to see what charms drop in a certain dungeon to evaluate whether it's worth doing. You'll definitely want to do Inachis' first three dungeons. The sewers drop a good variety of charms which allows you to make a flexible deck, plus you get 500g for beating it five times. The pirate hat from River's Edge will easily last you until level 10, and possibly beyond -- it's fantastic for any sort of turtle / defensive deck. Inachis Battle Tournament also gives Lightning Reflexes, which I've seen players use well into their 30s. You'll want to farm 5 of those purely for times when you need magic burst damage.

Just on the note of IBT, it's a fantastic opportunity to skill up heroism, which you get for beating creatures in dungeons that are 2 levels higher than you. The four fights in IBT are levels 9, 10, 10, and 11, and you can clear them as early as level 7 if you've got an excellent deck, and fairly easily by level 8 (although by that point you won't get heroism off the first fight, but that's okay).

Stats are purely there to determine a) your level, and b) which charms you can use. They have no effect on your damage, hp, etc. They aren't even tied into "traditional" RPG roles (ie Int for mages, Pow for fighters, etc). For instance, Int and Pow are used for fist weapons, while Dex and Con are used for ice magic.

Just a note on stat distribution -- you ideally want one primary stat, and one secondary. These two stats determine your "primary" charm type, and which class you'll take down the road at 20, 30, and eventually 40. This post does a really good job of explaining the relationships between stats. You can opt for a more balanced stat distribution if you like -- it will allow you to use a much broader range of charms, but prevent you from using newer and more powerful charms at the earliest possible level.

For instance, my primary stat is Con, which is 33% of my stat pool. I then have Dex and Int equal at 25% each. This is sort of good, and sort of bad. It's good because it lets me use powerful maces and powerful spears. However it's bad because I can't use the most powerful maces and spears available to me at this level, I'll need a few more stat points before I can do that. It's all a bit of a balancing act, but you'll get the hang of it as you get into the early teen levels. Before then, it doesn't really matter too much where you stats go, since requirements are much lighter.
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Re: Estiah -- Browser-based MMORPG game

Postby Passionario » Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:16 am

Good news: River pirates are more or less on farm now.

Bad news: Final fights in other 4-5th level dungeons (HolyGrace Square, High Summoner's Study, and that place with bunnies/yeti) end up with me getting soundly trounced. Any advice?
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Re: Estiah -- Browser-based MMORPG game

Postby Candiru » Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:42 am

I haven't tried holygrace square yet, but the high summoner's study is down twice.

The first two fights are quite easy, but for the last one I just went all out with the highest damage attacks I had. He kills you rather easily if he targets you, so just stack all attacking spells and hope he focuses on one of the imps first! He goes down quite fast as he doesn't cast any wards/armour at all. (And you do have two imps helping you with 12 free damage a turn at the start)
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