When it comes to MMO’s, there are few titles that rise to the top. You could say they’re the cream of the crop, the top dog, or the best of the best. Released in France in 2004 and internationally a year later, Dofus has become a smash hit in the MMO world. Developed by Ankama Games and running in Flash, Dofus has become a worldwide hit with millions of players taking part. While the sequel, Wakfu, is long out of beta, Dofus still grows in popularity. It’s time we took a look at the legend.
The first thing that struck me about Dofus was the exceptional design and artwork. Every character bleeds life and it’s clear that the incredibly talented design team was in love with this project. The adorable sprites come to life with fluid and intricately detailed animations that are heads above many other Flash-based MMO’s. The world itself is just as well-designed as the characters. There are multiple moving set pieces in each of the zones on the map that help suspend disbelief and bring life to the world. With seven islands spread out across two continents, there is virtually every environment and locale a player could ask for.
The music is melodic and enchanting all at once without becoming overbearing or nauseatingly repetitive. Sound effects can be humorous at times, but this is to be expected when you spend a few hours slaughtering mosquitoes and painfully cute sheep right out of the gate.
Dofus’ storyline is simple enough starting out, in that players are treasure hunters seeking the mythical and powerful Dofus. The Dofus are legendary dragon eggs which contain untold power. Ancient stories say that should someone claim all of the Dofus, they’ll be on par with the gods. The story strips away all pretenses and lets things unfold as they would. After all, you are a treasure hunter seeking treasure. We all are. That’s just how a MMO works.
Players start on the floating island of Incarnam. Serving as a starting zone, Incarnam is a place where players can learn the basics of Dofus with relatively low risk to their characters. The zone is near perfect in its design as it clearly teaches players everything they need to know to get started. There’s a deceptive amount of length to Incarnam as it can take several hours to complete every side quest and take in everything the floating island paradise has to offer.
Before getting to Incarnam, players create a character using one of the 15 available classes. That’s right, 15. And each one of them is available from the get-go. No hidden classes, nothing to unlock after reaching the level cap of 200, and no purchasing expansions or add-ons to unlock any “secret” class. It can be a bit much for new players trying to figure out which to choose, but there are great descriptions for each class’ role during the creation menu. There’s also a complete list of skills that can be acquired so players will have a great understanding of where they can take the class should they decide to commit.
Altaholics should have no problem diving into Dofus. With 15 classes, male and female variants, and a level cap of 200, there’s so much potential and possibility with each new character.
Despite there being 15 different classes, each one is wonderfully unique. Each handles differently and serves a role when it comes time to find a group. And as players march towards the level cap, their skills only become more varied. Thus knowing your character and their abilities is key with the traditional combat system Dofus uses.
Using and old-school turn-based and grid system, Dofus’ combat system begins out simple enough, but quickly escalates and requires more advanced tactics if players want to avoid the slow walk-of-shame back to the phoenix. After initiating combat with an enemy mob on the map, players are transported to another map for the actual fight, much like Final Fantasy. On the combat map, players select their starting position on the grid. After picking starting places, combat begins in full. Players have roughly 30 seconds per turn to attack and move. AP and MP determine what and how many actions a player can take during their turn. Both AP and MP refresh each turn. Skills and attacks use AP while MP determines how many squares a player can move each turn. After the player finishes their turn, enemies will cycle through their respective turns and this repeats until one side is victorious. Depending on class, it becomes a strategic balance of attacking and movement. And unlike many other MMO’s, players can’t rely on spamming their basic attack to win. Even fresh out of the gate, this will only guarantee loss.
While there is a tremendous amount of good to be found in Dofus, there’s also one sour note. Dofus isn’t advertised as a subscription based game, but if you want to play more than what is essentially a trial, you’ll need to subscribe. And this fact isn’t mentioned until leaving Incarnam and the following city. After making it past the walls of Astrub Village, a pop-up appears saying that while you’re free to explore the game there’s little point as you’ll gain nothing from it. In fact, checking out the differences between paying members and non-paying members, there’s virtually no point in playing if you won’t subscribe. While the incredible starting experience of Incarnam may give players all the reason they need to purchase a subscription, it’s a rude slap in the face for those not expecting it.
Fortunately, subscriptions are at a reasonable rate with a wide variety of subscription terms. You could chose to play anywhere from a week to a full year. So for those that have to game around a schedule, it’s easy to play Dofus in small doses without feeling like you’ve wasted money.
In a world where an online game lives and dies by its community, Dofus has proved it has the right stuff. From a Flash-based game came a sequel, a cartoon, a manga, and countless hours of entertainment. Despite the deceptive nature of the subscription, I whole-heartedly endorse Dofus. Whether you’re a long time fan or a newcomer, there’s a great time waiting to be had in Dofus. Download it today!
GamingClimax.com Writer and Author of ZeroAnd09 Blog