Black Gold – Two universes in one game
You know what impressed me most at Snail Games’ booth at E3? It wasn’t the fact that they had one of the best pieces of swag I got (which, by the way, is totally going on my wall):
It wasn’t even the awesome, “Can you Wushu?” martial arts faceoff competition onstage. And not even the politeness and friendliness of the Snail staff was at the top of my list (though it’s a close second).
What really impressed me was this game – Black Gold Online. http://bg.snailgame.com/
I’m a fan of steampunk. I’m also a fan of fantasy. It’s very rare that I find a game that actually does one or the other very well. I’ve never found a game that blended the two together so seamlessly. This game does it.
In BGO, you choose either the steampunk side or the fantasy side. Both are fighting over a newly discovered resource they’ve labeled “Black Gold”, though it’s not oil (if that’s what you were thinking). It’s found in the mountains that separate the two different communities. One side uses it naturally, the other to power their mechs. As you can see, opposition from the start.
What really pulled me into this game, though, is the fact that you really have to be skilled. In extremely popular MMORPGs that gain millions of players but shall not be named (WoW, that was kind of a long sentence…), as you level up and go out with your cronies and collect gear, it really doesn’t matter how much you know your character. You press buttons, and you win. (Seriously, I went back to “The Game” awhile ago after an extremely long break, had no clue how to play anymore, and still ended up not dying and getting geared.)
In BGO, line of sight is everything. Not only do you choose which skill you want to use, you have to know the skill in order to aim it properly. There’s also dodging built into the game when you double click your direction. You can roll forward, jump back, or jump to the sides. You get a certain amount of energy to do this (which does quickly refill), but it makes PvP that much more intense. Learning where someone might go, and aiming in that direction anticipating that movement requires real skill.
You also have to know your character. You will build personal combos based on an in-depth character tree. Two characters of the same type will play completely differently dependent on which skills were chosen.
There’s also two types of fighting. On the ground hand to hand, and via a vehicle. For the steampunks, there’s a mech you fight in. For the nature lovers, a giant beast. These vehicles give you a different set of skills to work with, and you can jump on and off of them during battle to switch it up.
Besides the more in-depth mechanics, the game is also beautiful. Water graphics are really well done, and each side’s environment is skillfully crafted. On the fantasy end, the land is lush and vibrant, filled with life. The steampunk side is dirty and gritty, the land beaten down. Both are great depictions of both worlds, and as you progress through the game, they’ll blend together more where the intense fighting is near the central mountains.
I’m really excited to play this game in closed beta soon, where I’ll be able to play for more than 20 minutes like I did at E3. If all goes well, this could be my new “Game that shall not be named”.
BONUS – I received some closed beta keys from the guys at Snail. I’m figuring out a way to disperse a couple of them through a contest of some sort. If you have a good idea for one, post them in the comments below, and maybe that’s what I’ll do to send them out!