Tree of Savior reminds me in many way of Ragnarok Online, some of the mechanics are updated from Korean MMOs of old, some of the control options are brought to today's standards - while still keeping some weirdness - but most systems feel a bit dated. Obtuse skill systems, stat systems that shouldn't be, grinding baked in my aspects of the game and some bugs impacted my experience, but overall I think this is a nice MMORPG that should satisfy anyone with a craving for these old-school experiences.

You start up by creating your character from one of four classes; Fighter, Wizard, Archer and Priest, The game tells you with meters how they are adapted for certain roles, complete with a 'difficulty' meter. You're then launched into the game and you can choose from three control types; mouse, keyboard or controller. I had some issues with the 'mouse' setup, even if it was the one I wanted to use the most, some quest items that I had to interact with weren't clickable, I had to switch back to keyboard mode to be able to activate them. Otherwise the game can play like a click-to-move action RPG or some weird dual-stick hybrid where you move and attack at the same time - that's how it was with archer anyways.

You have two levels in ToS, a character level and a job level. You very slowly gain experience for killing monsters and completing quests gives you experience cards that you use. I find that a weird system, but when you level-up you recover all of your HP and SP and enemies around are damaged and knocked back, so there's at least some reason why you'd want to keep your level-ups for specific situations. Your character level imparts you stat points that you have to place, and your job level gives you skill points. Stat points were dumb then, they're still dumb now. There is theoretically a 'good' way and a 'bad' way to allocate them, so they should be automatically placed for you. Even if you want to try a different skill build, there's a right way to place them. I personally probably messed up my character by putting a ton of points in spirit, even as an archer, but that's because the SP recovery rate is terrible and there's a cooldown on all recovery items. There's also Stamina, a weird stat I could never understand, mine almost never went down - and when it did I didn't know why - and there were items scattered all around to restore it.

The skills aren't much better, I like the idea of having multiple ranks of a class like 'Archer' that you can then branch out to 'Ranger' or 'Quarrel Shooter', and then you have circles, so you could decide to learn 2nd circle archer skills instead of moving on to another rank. You can only get 5 tiers of each skill per circle, so if there's a skill you like and want to level to max, you'll need to take all circles of that job - and use skill points on stuff you don't want to use. I was surprised by the number of archer skills that can't be used together, and most of them were attacks anyways, so I wasn't too hot on having a bunch of skills that do more or less the same thing. If you want passive boosts to your skills, they cost silver and take time to train and they give really small bonuses, so I didn't think that system was great.

The world map is vast and huge with a ton of different zones with typical MMO quest fare, but I was quickly horribly under-leveled. There are two towns you can start from and they all have their own quest lines, but after a while you're almost better going back to the other town and starting the quests over. I died a few times specifically because I was about 30 levels under enemies and they swarmed me. Otherwise the battle system is pretty fun and satisfying, being able to deal damage to huge swarms of monsters with area of effect attacks is cool and you can move and kill enemies fast enough - having SP potions helps doing that - to never really stop. Like old MMOs, you can sit down to regenerate - and craft, upgrade gems and do other stuff, so you need to take a breather from time to time.

Speaking of crafting, you get a large number of items and they're all more or less useful for something. Random junk can be placed together in a collection - and completing them gives you passive stat boosts - and you can feed your gear and gems to other gems in order to level them and socket them into your gear to increase some of your stats at the cost of others. I'm not usually against risk/reward systems, but the combination of stats raised/lowered by gems always worked against me, so I almost never used the gems in the end. You also get cards - from random enemies, quests and from many bosses - and they can be used for... Something? I never managed to figure what to do with them besides feeding them to gems. There are plenty of bosses in ToS and they were all easy from what I've played, generously indicating damage zones with red overlays on the ground, things like that.

I really liked Tree of Savior! A bit of nostalgia, a bit of free MMO charm and some good music/artstyle came together to make this neat little thing. If not for other games, I would still be playing this one and if you feel like you have the time for an old-school inspired RPG, this might scratch that itch for you!

AuthorJérémie Tessier
Categories4/5, MMORPG