We’ve been giving Auto Assault a ‘test-drive’ for the past week, and pass the knowledge from that week onto you. We are taking a fresh look at this vehicular MMO to see whether or not it’s a game you are likely to get into right away.
We’ve been following Auto Assault for quite a while now. It’s hard to believe, but it’s been a full year since we had our developer interview with NetDevil. Since then, a lot has happened but nothing has changed at the games core.
Up until the games release, I had not played the game even during beta, due to lack of time and inability to fit my schedule around the play times. So, even though I had a decent amount of knowledge on the game, I didn’t know that much until I finally logged in for the first time. I will be posting my review of the game in a couple weeks time, so this article is more of a ‘what I think so far’. As you can imagine, it’s hard to give an MMO a good review only based off less than a week of playing.
Character creation is always half the fun in an MMO. It gives you the opportunity to fine tune a character to your liking. The creation process is pretty straight forward in AA, but the options for your character style are near limitless. If you have played City of Heroes/Villains, you can expect a similar creation method. Even though there are three different races to choose from, I tend to always go for the Human first. In the end, I chose to create DarkTiesto, a Human Bounty Hunter. I found out pretty quickly that Bounty Hunters are a very popular ‘class’, so I knew I was going in a direction I would not regret.
One thing I noticed almost immediately, is that this game reminds me a lot of City of Heroes. Yes, ones a super hero MMO and ones a vehicular MMO, but strangely there seemed to be quite a connection. I believe that both games must use the same game engine, because the UI and font choices are quite similar.
As is expected, I began in a ‘training hall’, where I had to accomplish a few small missions before I left. One thing I liked was that when you talk to an NPC for a new quest, it will give you a number such as  that will tell you what level the quest is designed for. It’s also color coded, just like the monster names to give you an even quicker idea of difficulty. After finishing these small missions, I landed in a place called The Ruin Fields.
I have to admit that the graphics impressed me from the get-go. The world is very dark for the most part, but is incredibly interesting. Of course the game has many sci-fi elements, and the environments reflect this. Lots of futuristic buildings with bright neon lights around! Even though I couldn’t get how similar the game was to CoH out of my head, I quickly found one huge difference in the two… the loot system. This system doesn’t play a small part by any means; You will find loot constantly. It seems that any one type of item in the game can be looted from either a monster or a static object.
As I was hunting around, I looted a new piece of armor, and it was actually beneficial. It’s not too often in any MMO you will find loot you can actually use right away. You can loot new armor, weapons, consumables… anything you may end up needing.
What makes this MMO stand apart from many others, is the fact that anyone can be a superior crafter. You don’t have to choose a certain class, you will simply have the ability for crafting from the get-go. As with any crafting system, this one was confusing at first but I caught on pretty quickly. I am still not up to par with everything crafting related, but I am learning. Basically, after you reach your first town you will be able to do a quick quest to take up your first crafting expertise. I chose projectile weapons, which allows the creations of new turrets.
In the end, there are a total of 17 different type of crafting methods, only 7 of which you can learn per character. Each crafting skill can improve simply by crafting. After I crafted a few smaller items, I quickly got my skill up to 10. As you improve your said skill, you will need to start crafting items relative to that level in order to improve the skill further. For instance, if you craft something with a difficulty of 10, you should have a skill around that area if you care to raise it, or else it will do you very little good.
Not only can anyone craft though, it’s a major part of the game. You don’t only have the ability to craft, but you should craft… it’s half the battle. You don’t have to hunt very long in order to realize this either, because you will constantly find crafting related loot. Crafting loot can vary from hubcaps, salvaged glass or plastic, various metals and etcetera. I am currently level 16, and some of my crafting supplies are well over the 100 mark, so they do certainly add up. Any town you go in to, you will see a lot of requests from people willing to buy some off you, so there’s very little use in wanting to trash them. At this time, Grease seems to be in huge demand.
An MMO of any kind wouldn’t be a true MMO without an abundance of quests, and this game has tons. Without a doubt, Missions are the serious way to go about leveling for the first while in your characters life, because you will level at a very steady rate. At a time where you may earn 4XP per kill, a simple 10 or 15 minute mission may give you 400XP or more as you get up there. As it stands, my character is level 16 and has leveled solely on quests. Of course, I earned XP from monsters I kill because of a quest, but missions in themselves are where the true XP is.
So, that right there may take out the ‘grind’ that’s far too common in many MMO’s. I personally love the “Level as you quest” method of things, because you level as you enjoy the game. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there will be grinding to be had, but I have personally not felt it in the least up to this point. The max level cap in the game is 80, so there’s no doubt that you will reach a grind at some point in your characters life.
I am not sure at what point you will begin to run out of missions to do, but they are adding even more with an upcoming patch. I have not even had a slight chance to run out of any missions. As soon as one is completed, there are more to be had right in the same area. Once one town begins running low on quests, you seem to end up at a completely new town which will unleash a slew of new ones on you.
Many of these missions are repetitive. Some will require you go kill a specific type of monster in order to loot a special item. Others may ask you to go to a specific area in order to gather a sample or plant a device. Even though some missions are repetitive, I have not felt a hint of boredom. Because each mission, despite being similar to the last, will require you to explore a new area or a path you have not taken before. That in itself helps keep things fresh and interesting.