Looking for a free-to-play fantasy MMO but are tired of this current worldwide epidemic of mediocre games? Well stick around, because we’re about to step into a magical 3D world of color complete with flying mounts and Sprites! Let’s take a look at this game, evaluate the perks, and decide if this FTPMMO is download worthy.
Published by Aeria Games, Grand Fantasia was released in closed beta format on November 17th, 2009. On December 1st, 2009 Grand Fantasia enjoyed its open beta release. Grand Fantasia—also known as Dreamy Journey Online in other locations—is developed by EASYFUN Entertainment Corporation, the same developers behind HolyBeast Online.
Story of the Sprites
Grand Fantasia has a deep back-story that really sets the stage for the game which is set in a fantasy world called Saphael. As the story goes, the world has been held in balance by the power of the Sprites. Before the division of the people of Saphael, the humans enjoyed communion with the Sprites.
Back then, the world was a utopia and there was a multitude of Sprites. Over the course of time the tribes of Saphael began to divide themselves and the bond they once had with the Sprites was lost. Nature was also being conquered by the human race as they built up vast cities. The desire for control drove many humans deep into the earth where they conjured demons and dragons that are now threatening the entire human race.
Those who have preserved their connection with Sprites are called Sprite Messengers. The Sprites have given these Messengers magical powers to fight evil and help restore peace to the world. Unfortunately the unity of the Sprite Messengers ceased. However, a few Messengers unified and fled to an island, which they named Siwa, where they could pursue unity with nature. This is where the story picks up. Your character is one of the many descendants of the treasured Sprite Messengers; the children of Siwa Island.
First Things First
First impressions are everything. When you sign into Grand Fantasia—right from the start—you are introduced to an environment of beautiful 3D graphics and thoughtful music scores that really create a fanciful ambiance. The character customization process is actually fun! Who knew? You are given the opportunity to choose from a wide selection of hairstyles and colors, skin tones, and even eyes.
If you didn’t get your customization fix when you created your character, hang on because you’ll have the opportunity to customize your pet which is a Sprite. While you will choose your Sprite’s class that determines its starting skills, you won’t be choosing a class for your character.
Sprites play a very pivotal part in the Grand Fantasia gameplay. These pets assist you character with things like looting, gathering, and helping your character by crafting items. Sprites improve in their particular skills and accumulate XP by accomplishing different jobs that you assign. This pet system is a really fun dynamic and adds more depth to an already interesting RPG.
The UI is clean, well organized, and easy to use. Nobody likes to spend half of their time trying to figure out where things are, or how to use them. The Grand Fantasia developers took that seriously and in turn developed a very nice interface. Grand Fantasia also has the auto-walk system—you know, you can point and click the NPC of your choice and your character takes off walking. It’s simplistic and I like it.
In Grand Fantasia, everyone begins as a novice and progresses through gameplay until level 5 where your character will begin their first job. Your choices are:
Fighter- Fighters are capable of using the heaviest armor and are the tanks as they can really take on damage. They are excellent melee fighters. Fighters progress to become Warriors and then have the choice between Paladins or Berserkers.
Hunter- This class can really pack a punch with both dual weapons and their bow and arrows. They are a very agile class. Hunters progress to become Archers and then either Assassins or Rangers.
Acolyte- Acolytes play a very supportive role in combat with their buffing and healing spells. This class progresses to become Priests and then either Clerics or Sages.
Spellcaster- This class plays a very offensive role in battle. Utilizing their magic skills, Spellcasters cast powerful spells that cause serious damage. While they are powerful from afar, Spellcasters are very weak and basically defenseless up close. They become Mages and then progress to become either Wizards or Necromancers.
Home Sweet Home
Gameplay begins on Siwa Island, which is your characters home. You will remain on the island for the first few levels and will be able to leave at level 6 after completing a particular series of quests. At level 5, be sure to conclude the job advancement quests. Failure to do so will result in the inability to accumulate more XP. Siwa Island really serves as a tutorial. The quests are fun, yet simple… and so is the combat. Don’t worry though, the intensity will pick up and you’re sure to find much more challenging quests as gameplay progresses.
Once you are able to leave Siwa Island, you have the opportunity to choose between three destinations. All three locations offer just about the same opportunities, so don’t worry about making a wrong choice—there isn’t one. Something that you’ll quickly notice is the abundance of quests. As a Grand Fantasia player, you’ll never be at loss for something to accomplish. I love this depth and any other RPG fan will appreciate it as well.
Those of you World of Warcraft fans will feel right at home with Grand Fantasias adaptation of Bind on Equip. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this term, Bind on Equip simply means that once your character has worn an item, that item will not come off—it’s permanent. There is no trading either. You’re stuck. Some gamers like this; I’m personally not a big fan. Just be sure to keep this in mind as there are no equipment test drives.
Talents and Coming of Age
Players are also given another opportunity to set their character apart from the rest with the talent system. The talent system in Grand Fantasia offers players the opportunity to master various talents by combining items. Once equipped, these talents net special bonuses. Each player is only offered a particular number of talent slots, so be mindful of your choices.
Grand Fantasia also offers PvE and PvP gameplay. It sounds great until you discover that you are not eligible for those queues until you reach level 31. I think this is a real letdown and don’t see the necessity of making gamers wait for this mode of gameplay. I’m surprised that you don’t get carded at the PvP arena “door.” You know, 21 to drink… level 31 to play.
The Final Word
Grand Fantasia is a fun, upbeat twist on a typical anime style MMORPG. The pet system is entertaining, engaging and adds more depth to an already in-depth game. I love the graphics which have a very original style that is both fun and inviting.
Unfortunately, for some the common fantasy theme is a put-off. While I really enjoyed the background music, some players have complained saying that they find it repetitive. I suppose if you enjoy the music, the repetition isn’t a concern. My biggest complaint with Grand Fantasia is the inability to access the PvP modes until level 31. This is something that I find frustrating and I do not understand the logic behind this requirement.
All in all, Grand Fantasia is a great game and a blast to play. I would definitely recommend downloading this game and giving it a try, especially if you are a RPG fan.