Shaiya Online appears to be a beautiful, mystical and generally engaging world of fantasy on the surface, and in its advertisements. The opening screen and character creation process solidifies this claim too, with large, vibrant animations and the floating castle scene that is above. If anything, this game will remind players of old school Dungeons and Dragons (DnD).
All of the themes of the game are deep rooted in fantastical and medieval elements and there is a wealth of description about the two factions you are forced to choose from, before you even make your character. Like DnD, depending on your “alignment” and your race, you are limited to the jobs that you can choose from. Not all races and players will have access to all of these options on one account. On the “good guy team” you have your humans and elves. On the “bad guy team” there are death eaters (giants) and vails (dark elves/drows).
Deatheaters in Shaiya are the Giants of any other game. They are strictly a warrior-based race and their lengthy anti-magic description will prove it.
After selecting the alignment of your account asked if you are absolutely sure, you are prompted to create your character. There only about 5 choices each in hair selection (some are just a color change), facial features and 3 choices of what height it’ll be. As far as the depth of character creation goes, the game lacks compared to its paper and pencil based, imagination fuelled predecessor.
Like its predecessor, all girls are unusually attractive, regardless of the color of their skin. Is this Mr. King’s dream?
Once getting in to the game, most may immediately be disappointed. Those who yearn for Aion style graphic demand or anime-inspired art, will not find that here. Shaiya sticks to the fantasy element and with its character design and environments, stick to it. The disappointment I found was that the actual environments weren’t very attractive themselves and neither were the enemies. Besides the gorgeous loading screens and character models, the game disappoints with the aesthetics of its interface and environments.
One of the problems with this game and other Aeira games I’ve played, such as Megaten, is that most of the learning of the game is based on a player’s self-responsibility. The tutorial is short and doesn’t teach much. The first part of it is activated by the first quest and the rest of the introductions are available after fumbling through buttons to find where the hotkeys are. The game even tells you “go to the official website to read more about…” If players want to delve straight in to the experience, this is definitely a problem, because in the beginning, you’ll spend more time reading how to play and what to do than actually experiencing it.
What points go where? -Shrug- Iuno.
Shaiya in most aspects is very run-of-the mill in its style and feel. There are game modes that allow different extents of content based on the one chosen. Combat is auto-attack and the moves aren’t quiet as flashy as you would see in a J-RPG. Movement is versatile in the fact that WASD movement is functional and the camera can be rotated using either the mouse or the keyboard. Skills can be learned through expenditure of skill points and they are rooted in a skill-chain system. It makes it seem like combat would function like a fighting game, but it really just prevents the player from spamming skills at early levels. There are several different types of skills, including “specials” which aren’t available in easy mode. Levelling gives stat points which need to be distributed. Stats have main attribute bonuses and derived ones.
Color coded enemy difficulties, the quest and levelling system, equipment and classes…Shaiya is a game that you’ve seen before in all of the others that you may have played. It’s a warm familiar feeling and a cryptic sense of Déjà vu.
In my honest opinion, there isn’t really much wrong with Shaiya. There are some mild irritation and some functions that have been done better elsewhere but it isn’t such a bad game. If being cute isn’t your style and you’re decisive about what role you want to play in this virtual world, Shaiya may be just your cup of Earl Grey tea. Action moves at a moderate place and there is a fair deal of players to enjoy it with, plus plenty of replay value. To say this is one of my favorite games or even one of the ones I would consider frequenting though would be a lie.