I woke up one night feeling the jitters… it was… addiction. I had this immediately need to play a game that I had felt was awful. It was as if I was drawn to play the old Uncharted Waters for the SNES. It was a weird sensation I had not felt in a while. When I went off to work I came home and the first thing I wanted to do was play this game. It was such an odd feeling, why was such a terrible game… so addicting.
On a second look on this game I’m finding that it is a very great game for a very small niche of players… myself included. It also has, I feel, drawing power if it can ‘do it right.’ I think the biggest setback on this game is that I know this game won’t be getting too much attention and will be very slow to develop. On the other side the interactive world will keep me entertained for quite some time. The draws for this game are it’s a 16th century European trader game. This draws in the Pirates of the Carribean child crowd, business simulation people (like myself), and your Elizabethan era people. As I said, not a big crowd… but a niche crowd.
This game also has at least some limited ability to spread. After about a week of playing this game I immediately got one of my closest friends to start playing it and my girlfriend. The fact that it’s free means that you can continuously refer this game to everyone and anyone.
In some ways I always hope that gaming companies use Google and search out criticism of their game. In this way I always make sure to include criticisms even in the most favorable reviews. This one is no exception.
If this game is going to reach a wider audience the first thing it needs is… a shorter school. The tutorial for this game takes about 20+ hours to do. This is because the tutorial is very thorough and covers all tasks. Each task gives you a quest you have to carry out related to that lesson. Unfortunately this thoroughness takes away from the gaming experience and you end up feeling like you should skip out on the school for some time.
Instead what needs to happen is just leave it at the basic school and then indicate levels of fame required to unlock new sections of the map. The remaining school quests should be converted simply into quests that will grant fame and money over time. This time can also be used to create some international characters that can be used in future quest updates.
There is also a lot of things in the game that people will not need to know. I, for example, had to learn about hand to hand combat in a ground invasion as a trader. I mean I’m sure that’s great for your maritime pirates but my calling will direct me away from combat wherever it is possible. I would not have been so bothered by it if I could choose between three quests and choose to skip out on the ones not related to my calling.
On top of that the rewards for school never seemed like they were anything over the top. You spend all this time doing it and you get less than what you could have gotten if you had just traded your way around. If you finish this whole series there should be some pretty massive reward at the end. What I ended up getting was a chest piece that had roughly the same stats as my school uniform.
Another thing missing from this game is an achievement system. No matter what people say, achievements are fun. Achievements give you a sense of success in your task and encourage you to do other things you may normally not do. Especially in games that have grinding having an achievement system in place can give you a goal to head to…. even if the goals seem farfetched and extreme.
Achievements also give the game some structure. Korean games are notorious for lacking structure and emphasizing too much on game play. It is no surprise that Korean games have been hesitant to adopt any system that gives structure, not to mention an achievement one. Achievements let you know that what you are doing is in the intended purpose of the game. It’s designed thinking about people who sit around all day running in circles wasting their time.
One thing this game does insanely well is professions. This of course is because the game is all about professions. In your typical game you will adopt a profession and level it up slowly over time. The benefits of the profession will be seen eventually… but slowly. In Uncharted Waters Online the effects of your profession are seen immediately. Your trade skills are those that level based on your activity. I for example have the trade skill Livestock Trading. This means every time I go to trade livestock I will be able to purchase more at a time.
Once you level up your trade skills so far it will give you access to a profession. A profession will offer you a title and after leveling them so far you will gain access to more trade skills. You can find a copy of the table for trade skills progression here.
After a while you will gain access to a crafting profession. The crafting profession will allow you to produce products you can sell to market or sell amongst players. My big money maker is to buy Pigs or Pork, transform Pigs into Pork, and then make the Pork into Ham or Pork Sausage depending on the market rates for both. The trade box gives you the ability to chain make these and after every single you have the chance to make an extra 1-2 more of the good. As you can see, this multiplies your product increasing your needed carrying capacity but also giving you insane profits.
Unfortunately with all of these nice things I have to say about this game I always have to give it a thumbs down to the general public.
The game unfortunately is a gem that will ever only appeal to a smaller crowd. If you love sailing games or business simulators than you’ll love this game. If you love playing a fluffy man rodent against some massive dragon than… probably not the game for you.
There is currently only a single North American server so if you do end up trying this game out add me, Troublmaker. Don’t be confused with Troublemaker the leader of a very small uninfluential trading company.