Before I start, I should list my “experience” with Korean-made RPGs~! These are off the top of my head so I’m probably missing some: Zenonia (never finished but played late into it), Zenonia 2 (midway through), Zenonia 3 (completed first playthrough only), Zenonia 4 (completed first playthrough only), Seed 2 (midway through), Seed 3 (maybe midway through?), Inotia 2 (late into the game), Inotia 3 (finished), Inotia 4 (most likely midway through), Elphis Adventure (stuck at Jeanne d’Arc era), Destinia (midway through), Advena (somewhere in the beginning), and Illusia (beginning). For what it’s worth, I played a bit of Seed (the first one) as well but the translation was so painful, I deleted the game shortly after the character got to the harbour town at the beginning of the game. 😛
I have a love-hate relationship for all the RPGs that Gamevil, Com2uS, and CH Games publish. On one hand, I play them because I guess I kind of enjoy mindless hacking and slashing. After all, their games aren’t known for amazing plots or characters. 😛 On the other hand, I will complain about them tirelessly on Twitter.
One of the main things that drives me insane is the fact that each company holds inventory space hostage. With the exception of Zenonia (the first one) and other cell phone ports of older games, every single fucking RPG requires you to pay for inventory space out of your own pocket. I’m a natural packrat when it comes to RPGs so only have 9 – 12 slots is really useless to me. And I pick up everything I see because, in many cases, it takes FOREVER to make money solely from grinding enemies so I need stuff to sell. Also, I’m pretty sure that even if people aren’t packrats, they’ll run of space fast because, seriously, if you’re going to be carrying around potions and alchemy material (for synthesis and stuff), you’re not going to have space for anything else.
There ARE games where money doesn’t seem to play too much of a role though — like Inotia 4. To me, you pretty much have to rely on enemy spoils and the Fusion Machine to get what you need since, honestly, enemies and selling stuff won’t get you very much. At least, not unless you spend hours slaughtering the same monsters over and over.
Oh, and that’s another thing. Incessant amounts of GRINDING. I suppose you can get by with stocking up on potions and spamming the hell out of them but for titles with item cool down times, this probably isn’t the way to go. Actually, for RPGs that have player versus player battles, I would think that’s a form of encouraging people to grind. Why can’t developers give me more substance or some other alternative to strengthening characters instead?
Adventure Bar Story, which isn’t a KRPG (and certainly not action-oriented), gets around this by implementing another system to level up characters. In that game, you eat food to gain experience and food can be obtained by cooking raw ingredients which are found lying around in various dungeons or purchased at towns. In other words, you’re not required to spend hours beefing up your party or character by enacting constant genocide on every single evil creature you come across.
Speaking about levelling, there are even games like Elphis Adventure that allow you to pay for extra stat and skill points. I am convinced that Com2uS designed it so that enemies in the game are extremely tough (offensively and defensively) just so that you would go this route and take out your credit card to pay your way through the game. Granted, if you can get into a steady rhythm of alternating between normal attacks + special attacks, you can probably get through a bit of the game without falling into the trap of grinding to level up. Unfortunately, things can get rough once you end up in France (or was it Britain?). 9__9
Another common and aggravating factor of KRPGs is the sidequest system. It is the same in every goddamn game: You have to kill x-amount of monsters, or you have to get x-amount of spoils from certain monsters, or you have to collect x-amount of materials. Why can’t these sidequests be self-contained stories that don’t involve fetching items or murdering monsters, such as solving a mystery in a town or escorting a merchant somewhere? I know those are usually main quests but honestly, they could work well as non-crucial quests too. In fact, I’d LOVE to see these implemented but I suppose it’d require more thought and writing for the designers. 😛
Oh wow. This post is getting long! I should sum up some other rage in point form!
- Quest-giving NPCs that aren’t marked on a map. For some reason, there are some games where, if an NPC is in a building, you won’t see the indication of a quest (usually in the form of an exclamation mark) on the mini map. It really won’t kill you to put an “!” above a building, you know. Players aren’t so stupid that they’ll stop in front of a structure and complain that there’s no one standing in front of it to give them a quest.
- IAP-only materials like scrolls needed to reinforce weapons. Yes, these aren’t necessities but given that the option is there, it’d be nice to be able to buy them in-game with in-game currency. Elphis Adventure is guilty of this. I’m not sure you can ever purchase the scrolls needed to use the Blacksmith for ANY weapons or armor customization at a regular merchant or if any enemies drop them. The hilarious thing is that you can simply dismantle equipment to get the OTHER materials needed for strengthening. WTF?
- IAPs for useful items like appraisal scrolls. I forgot which KRPG it was, but unless you got them from quests or enemy drops, the only other way to get them was from an in-app purchase.
- Penalties for game over. I only see this as another scheme by developers to lure people into buying those special resurrection items from the IAP store.
- Not tablet optimized. The hotkeys on some of the games are not easy to use due to their positions. Unless you have giant man-hands, you have to stretch your right hand a bit to hit the furthest ones. 9__9
Naturally, I’d love to see innovation from these companies but the mindless formula sells so I really don’t see it changing any time soon.