Sarcan’s Wind of Luck Arena Preview
Sailing to Victory
ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MMORPG.com on October 21, 2014
The time has come to hire a crew and battle for fame, expertise and piasters on your own war ship. As captain of a Caribbean, Mediterranean or East Asian vessel, you’ll head out to sea, get the wind in your sails, prime your cannons and engage in explosive naval warfare. Wind of Luck Arena (WoLA) is a Free to Play Multiplayer Battle Arena game by independent developers “Trazzy Entertainment”.
‘Rocking-the-boat’ of the Player versus Player experience, you are put in command of historically accurate warships of the age of sail. Commanding a small galley or sleek cutter allows for quick turns to avoid long-ranged fire but requires getting in close with fewer guns. Large four mast galleons are beasts upon the seas with banks of cannons to shred their enemies if they can keep up due to their lumbering speed. Each and every ship offers its own feel and strategic value in the dynamic sea fights you will encounter.
As I took command of my first vessel, a catamaran of Asian design, I quickly came to appreciate the complexity of the systems of WoLA. Currently there are nine tiers of ships to balance any battle queue. This is just one aspect of progression within the game, however, as each ship also has armament, navigation and equipment abilities you can unlock as you gain expertise with that ship. As you gain in capability, you get the option to upgrade various aspects of your vessel from the types of cannons to the strength of your hull. You can also hire specialty crew at the tavern that can provide bonuses to your ship and crew.
There are no levels and combat is dynamically skill based and is a reflection of how well you drive your ship and aim your cannons, catapults and harpoons. Using a Fair Shot system, this is a close as possible to real world cannon targeting and shooting as is possible in a game. Each cannonball is an individual object with no pre-calculated results. Cannons are fixed horizontally and can only adjust elevation. This keeps the playing field level between large and small ships as they can maneuver to avoid or get hit with less shot when they see they are being fired upon. But watch your wind indicators because a wrong turn could literally take the wind out of your sails making your ship easy pickings.
Besides the different sized cannons, you also have different types of ammo alongside your standard cannon ball. Chain shot is great for taking out masts and sails to bring the fast moving sloops to a stop. Grape shot can take out the crew and fire bomb rounds put those large ships ablaze. All add to the fluidity and strategic planning of a skirmish. This assumes you can actually hit the target, which I found very challenging and will take much practice to perfect. It is hilarious when you’re one of the last two people afloat and both are terrible shots, spending 10 minutes firing at each other until you finally get a good hit to score the win.
The session based team vs team battle arenas are set in spectacular and exotic locations. The seascapes are very well done aesthetically but also add to the combat strategy. The need to utilize islands for cover and add varying approaches to a challenge and to the variety of battle conditions. The effects of the art design drew me in and gave me a sense of being at sea again.
One issue, however, is that the overall aesthetic design was lacking in weather affects. The seas were always calm and the sun was always shining in the games I played. I hope that in the future that variety is added to the weather, time of day and other environmental displays that can add spice to the arena. I would love to see, among other things, fog. As the game is still in development, I am optimistic that these are features being considered.
As with any F2P game, there is the question of whether there is any buy to win elements within their monetization of the game. I am really pleased with the way Trazzy has gated their content to keep the P2W out of the equation. Regardless of how much real money you spend to buy gold, you don’t have any advantage over F2P players. There are a few ships that can be purchased directly with cash but they are of equal power to the tiers they are in.
The only thing that is purchased only with gold are extra slots so you can have more active ships. This is going to be the primary way to have more ships in your arsenal and could get expensive for those who wish to own them all. Keep in mind you can sell any ship you have to free up a slot for another ship without losing any progression other than crew experience. If you purchase the same ship in the future, all upgrades you unlocked previously with expertise will still be there.
In game currency, the Piaster, is needed to purchase equipment and crew for your vessels as well as keep them repaired. While you can convert gold to Piasters, this is a convenience as you earn a fair amount of Piasters just from battling.
The ability to buy all the equipment you want doesn’t do you any good if you haven’t earned the ability to equip it. There is also an option to purchase an Admiral Account with gold that adds +50% more fame, Piasters and expertise after each battle. In the future subscribers will also be able to form Flotilla and be able to join battles together (premade) and create brotherhoods (Guild).
I have to say I am enthralled with Wind of Luck Arena. It’s a breath of fresh air to the arena game genre (yes pun intended) where skill and strategy are such a huge factor. While battles can be fast paced and end quickly, most are challenging, engaging and take time to complete, though not too much. The only downside I can see currently is the lack of population during development that makes it challenging at times to get a match. While there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, this is a game I highly recommend take a look at, if for no other reason than to give me someone to shoot.