Snail Games, the fine folks who brought you Age of Wushu, are set to bring Black Gold to the Western gaming market. I got a chance to go hands-on with it last week and I am extremely pleased with what I saw.
Black Gold’s setting is based around two opposing factions. Each of these different factions has three races to choose from.
The first faction is the steampunk themed one. It’s got humans, dwarves, and a third, yet to be shown race.
The second faction is the one that rejects technology and utilizes the forces of nature. The only race they had to show when I played the demo was their elf-like race. I was informed, though, that there was a druid-like race, either in the form of a bear or a wolf. Nothing has been released about the third race for this faction.
Each faction has their own unique look in terms of buildings and armor. As can be seen from the screenshots, the steampunk faction buildings look very industrial age and the nature faction buildings look wild.
The class system is a bit reminiscent of World of Warcraft with a slight spin on it: there are six classes with three different specs for a total of eighteen different possible combinations.
A neat function of the spec system is that it is very easy to switch between them. If you have a group of people who want to do a dungeon, but your tank leaves in the middle of it, one of the beefier classes can change specs and take on the tanking role so that you do not need to quit the dungeon or recruit more people.
I got the chance to play a caster class. There were two damage specs and one support spec. I played through one of the damage specs.
There was a magic missile kind of ability that instantly cast, another missile like attack that would take a few seconds to charge, a heal, an AOE with tornadoes, and a few other spells.
The game itself plays a bit like a mix between a traditional tab-targeting MMO like World of Warcraft and a more action-style MMO like Tera. You can actively dodge attacks and you have a slide/evade that you can use by pressing a direction twice rapidly. However, your spell bar is much longer than games like Tera or Neverwinter.
PvP All Day, Every Day
If you are a fan of PvP, you are going to love Black Gold. Just like Age of Wushu, the game is completely built around it.
There will be constant PvP. Starting from when you hit level 15 and continuing throughout the rest of the game. There will be no safety from your enemies. Even NPCs will be fair game.
So far, all servers will be have PvP enabled. If you are looking for a game where you can ignore PvP and just focus on PvE, Black Gold will probably not be your cup of tea.
The thing I am most excited about is mount combat. I got a chance to play in an instanced arena with others who were playing the demo and the mounted combat was awesome.
Each faction has their own mounts and, at least in the demo, there are two mounts per faction. Each one has a light and heavy mount. The steampunk faction had a mechanical spider and a bipedal walker. I only got to see the natural faction’s heavy mount which was a giant mammoth.
The mammoth had a light and heavy attack. The heavier mounts move slower than the faster mounts, but do more damage.
Players outside of mounts have a decent chance against mounted players due to their ability to evade. Speaking from experience, it is pretty difficult to strike a player from a huge mount when they can easily run circles around you.
Striking Black Gold
When I finished the demo, I felt pretty impressed by the game. It’s got a very unique setting, a solid combat system, and it seems like it’s going to be a lot of fun so long as Snail Games settles on a good pricing plan. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this will not be a pay to win as I really hope to get into it when it gets released.