Published on July 9th, 2013 | by Rainb0wDashie
The Rainb0w Review: Legends of Equestia Pre-Alpha
Legends of Equestria (http://legendsofequestria.com) is an MLP MMO where players are able to explore the in-depth universe of Equestria by creating your own custom pony avatar and embarking on many different quests and adventures which can be found throughout the game. You’re able to earn and customize your very own cutie mark, as well as take part in the game’s massive and comprehensive story. You can also fly around, use magic, raise a pet, grow crops, cook food, and take part in countless other activities, either with your friends, or by yourself.
This weekend Equestria Forever had an Open Server Weekend Spectacular where they opened up three of their servers and allowed bronies to download and play the game for the weekend to stress test their servers. Unfortunately I was unable to play for most of the weekend because I was unable to download the game from the Mega link, and was only able to play when one of my friends hosted it on Dropbox for me just so I could download it.
So once I got in I immediately started taking screenshots and writing things down, so here’s my first impression of Legends of Equestria!
(please keep in mind that this article does not reflect the experience you can expect from LoE, it’s merely just an expression of my first time playing and how the game reacted to the limitations of my computer)
I’m going to get all the negatives out of the way first, mostly because the bugs I noticed were the first things I started writing down. Also, I’m not going to focus on graphics because the game is made on the Unity Engine, and Unity Engine has its limitations.
The game has some standard MMO controls. Map opens with M, Inventory with I, Friends with F, move with WASD. Pretty much the controls that have become ingrained on MMO players and are pretty much instinctual at this point. The only problem is I couldn’t get any keyboard controls to work. M didn’t open the map, I didn’t open the inventory. None of my keys when pressed opened up any menus. I’m not sure if those controls were disabled or not, but it was a little disconcerting that I couldn’t open up the map to find my way around Ponyville, so for the first hour I just spent exploring the town and found my way around pretty quickly. I also found a bag icon in the bottom right that I had overlooked and found that it opened up the inventory screen.
Menus and GUI:
The inventory screen was a little buggy. When doing quests, the rewards didn’t show up immediately and there was no hover text to tell you what they were or what they did. There was also no hover text on equipped items like the dandelion bracelet so I was unable to tell if the item was merely for show or actually had stats. I was lead to understand that there were hostile mobs in the game so I would assume that items would give you stat boosts, but item information is pretty much a staple in MMOs. The character portrait was bugged too, as you can see in the screenshot you can see the minimap right behind my character. I don’t know if they’re going to add backdrops behind the characters, but anything would be nice so the minimap doesn’t faze through the inventory menu.
Next I noticed an issue with the chatbox. It was situated behind the interface bar and when clicked on it to type it would come in front of the bar and wouldn’t go away unless you pressed a number or clicked on an action (or the more annoying option of pressing ESC and then closing the options menu). Most MMOs have a chat box that fades out when you hover your mouse away from it or click out of it, so that would be a good thing to implement. Also the chatbox’s scollbar wouldn’t always track with what was being said in the local and server chats. A couple times I found myself looking at a stalled chatbox wondering why nopony was talking, only to realize that the scroll bar was stuck halfway up the box.
Lstly, agood thing to implement would be some indication of what kind of traffic is on the server and system information like ping and FPS. In the server select menu there was only a name for each server, so I was unable to tell how much traffic was on a server or what my ping was, or even if the server was able to be joined. I tried joining a certain server for 10 minutes and kept getting a “Refused to connect” error before I went to a different one.
Camera and character movement:
I couldn’t get the camera to pan around my character. The left mouse button didn’t drag the camera when held and the right button would make the character and the camera move. I finally figured out that A and D made the character spin left or right with the camera stationary, but this caused problems with moving the character because when using A and D the camera didn’t move along with it so you had no idea which way your character was facing until you moved forward.
A big thing that bothered me was that I couldn’t move with both mouse buttons depressed. In MMOs, pressing both mouse buttons allows your character to move forward and allows you to move the camera as well, so you can control both the character’s and camera’s movement with just the mouse. This is a staple in many MMOs so not being able to utilize that was very awkward at first until I realized you can achieve the same affect with holding W and the right mouse button. I really hope they change that though.
Things I liked:
Now that all the negative stuff is out of the way ,I want to spend a little time talking about the things that I really liked about the game. It’s a short list but they really impressed me
- Walking animation was very smooth
- Flying animation was very smooth
- The character and camera tilt when flying left or right
- The tumble the character and camera does when strafing
- The hoof-beat sound the characters made while walking
What I’d like to see implemented:
Aside from the bugs I mentioned being fixed, there are a few things I’d like to see implemented that, in my opinion, would make the game a little more aesthetically pleasing.
More music and sounds:
Don’t get me wrong, the music in the game was great, there just wasn’t much variety. In Ponyville it felt like the same song was just stuck on repeat and it got a little annoying after a while. Having multiple music tracks to an area played at different intervals greatly increases the atmosphere of a game, and so does silence. An area doesn’t always need to have music playing constantly, sometimes players would like to have a break from the tunes just so they can hear the birds or listen to the wind. Adding some ambient sound effects would also help in that regard. Things like different sounds when walking over grass, wood, or cobblestone. Or water splashes when players fall in the river.
A better organised character creation menu:
To me, the character creation menu felt very off. At first I didn’t know I was able to scroll down, and even then it was a little confusing on how to customize my character. I think adding tabs for character colors, size, and race would dramatically improve the creation menu along with adding some helpful text explaining things for bronies new to MMOs.
This is a minor thing, but it would be cool if they implemented a name randomizer button as opposed to it generating a random name once when you create the character. it was a little tedious having to exit and reload the character creation menu just to get a name I liked.
Well that’s my first impression of Legends of Equestria’s Open Server Weekend Spectacular. I know I missed a big part of the game like other towns and hostile mobs and the combat system, but I was stuck in Ponyville and couldn’t figure out how to leave. All the roads kept ending in invisible walls…
Summary: This is my overall review of the parts of the game I experienced. Again, these ratings do not reflect the actual quality of the game, it just my opinion on what I've experienced. I'm sure that once they make sweeping changes to the game and get rid of most of the bugs the game will be absolutely awesome. I mean, it's awesome now, but there's so much that can be improved on that I'm hopeful this will be an amazing game and I'm looking forward to a stable build. I've also enabled user ratings, so if you played the game you can give your own rating on what you've though of the game's pre-alpha build.