- If you don't mind the fact that it's a WoW copy, you will find the graphics quite nice.
- Many casual activities (main story, side quests, reputation events, PvP, group-based PvE).
- Questing is relaxing.
- It does nothing to encourage social interaction.
- The content is not very challenging.
- Gender/race-locked classes with limited customization options.
- It lacks original content.
Tarisland from Tencent is an upcoming fantasy MMORPG for PC and mobile. The game debuted in beta, giving us a much-awaited chance to see what’s up with the infamous World of Warcraft clone. Without any further ado, let’s get to it.
Avatar Customization and Playable Classes
Creating a playable character is the first thing one does in Tarisland. From the get-go, the gender and race-locked classes are a disappointment. In the past, this was a common practice to minimize the time and resources allocated to creating different character models, equipment, and other race/gender-specific customization options.
It’s a justification we could accept from an indie company striving to make its first game, but Tencent is no indie studio. It’s the largest video game company in the world. It surely has the means to commit what’s needed for all players to create a character according to individual taste. But no, Tencent skimps on that. So, if you want to play a Paladin, let’s say you’d better feel comfortable with a smug-looking blood elf Arthas-copycat who strides about like Gaston from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
The class selection is decent. We have a fair assortment of heroes that can fulfill the role of tank, healer, and/or damage dealer.
Each class has two specializations allowing it to perform differently. For example, the Paladin can be a melee DPS or tank. The Ranger is a damage dealer that specializes in Hunting with a bow or relies on Taming and pets.
Once we decide which hero we want to embody, we move on to the character customization options. Several basic options for hair, skin color, makeup, and accessories are available.
Graphics and Atmosphere
The amazement at this unabashed copy of WoW is hard to describe. The art style, character models, and many other visual elements make us feel like we have stepped into an alternative Warcraft universe. It only takes a quick look to see where Tarisland gets its looks.
Tencent did such a good job mimicking WoW’s aesthetics that it deserves a thumbs up, even if it’s in irony. After a bit of looking around, it became clear that Tencent copied more from WoW than the art style.
Is the name SilverLit inspired by Silvermoon? Do all elves build their cities around a tree? Is your mage companion named Jeya after Jaina Proudmoore? Funny enough, it doesn’t look bad at all. It’s a copy, but it’s a good one. Eye-candy cartoon graphics create an inviting atmosphere. The game looks all right, but is there more to it?
Main Story and Activities
The story itself is quite generic, but surprisingly, the delivery is above average. Your character has lost its memories, save for the ones involving combat. You help the people, uncover plots, and everything else expected from a hero.
We can say that Tencent found a sweet spot between the number of main story quests and cutscenes. You won’t lose yourself in the narrative or sit on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next, but the story is pleasant enough to keep you mildly entertained.
Plus, discovering which WoW characters served as a source of inspiration is oddly entertaining. The subtitles don’t always match what the characters are saying. The lip-syncing could use a bit of tweaking, to put it mildly.
One rather annoying thing is that the main quest is time-gated. You finish a chapter and have to wait almost 24 hours for the next one to unlock. Maybe that was just a beta thing to prevent the players from devouring the available content. Or maybe you can immediately obtain access to the next chapter using a premium item.
Microtransactions were disabled in beta, so we don’t know how it will work. Waiting was not an issue, as there were plenty of things to do.
You can pass the hours with side quests, achievements, reputation events, PvP, and group content. Reputation events are very much like world quests in WoW. You need to kill monsters, solve simple puzzles, gather items, escort NPCs, and assist the inhabitants of this world in various other ways.
These uncomplicated little tasks make you popular with the factions. Reputation rewards include crafting recipes and mounts. Reputation also unlocks flying in the zone associated with that faction and auto-pathing. Yes, the game offers this feature once your character reaches a certain reputation level.
Dungeons, Raids, And Battlegrounds
Group-based content is the meat of a good MMORPG. That’s what drives players to interact and work together. The game implements the holy MMO trinity. A dungeon group has one tank, one healer, and three damage dealers.
Tarisland does group content in such a way that you don’t have to exchange too many words with your fellow adventurers. A handy guide tells you everything you need to know about the boss fights. Read it and you’re good to go. To help you with the boss encounters, ground markers show what you need to avoid and audio notifications signal when you need to stack, spread, interrupt, attack adds, focus on a certain mob, and so on. It’s like the DBM is built-in. That’s not a bad thing. A performance meter shows DPS, healing, and other details of interest. You don’t need to rely on add-ons and that’s great. Too bad that the content is so uniform.
All dungeons seem to follow the same design: three bosses with a couple of add packs in between. The path is linear, so you cannot take a wrong turn and get lost. Arrows pointing in which direction to go guide your steps. Dungeons are woven into the main story. However, there’s nothing memorable about them unless you are invested in the lore.
We have normal and elite dungeons and raids. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that not all fights were tank and spank. Even in leveling dungeons, you need to follow some basic tactics. It’s nothing too complicated but enough to keep the group engaged.
Raids are one-boss dungeons that require a bit more attention. Two PvP battlegrounds presenting different scenarios were available during the beta. Tarisland has fast-paced target-based combat. If you are satisfied with WoW’s combat, you will find nothing wrong here.
Character System and Gear
The character system is based on skills, talents, and ultimate abilities. The skills are active abilities one uses in combat.
Each specialization has six different skills and a talent tree. Players upgrade talents using silver coins (in-game money). Talents change the behavior of your skills. Each class has access to two ultimate abilities that may include utilities such as increased movement speed, stun, interrupt, or damage mitigation. The customization potential lies in the talents. They’re many and they seem quite complex.
The game offers some build recommendations, but you can mess around with the talents in any way you want. Characters have six main attributes and a ton of secondary attributes. An artifact allows players to enhance their main attributes and gain all sorts of other benefits. For example, you can become more skilled in crafting.
Gear, of course, plays an important part in boosting your attributes. It plays an even more important part in your chances of being accepted into a group.
The equipment level makes the matchmaking world go round. PvE activities come with equipment-level requirements, which is fine. Party leaders asking for way more than the requirement was not fine. Equipment is improved with inlays (gems) and empowers (enchantments). It’s a good old system that we’ve seen in many MMORPGs.
Crafting and Miscellaneous
Like all other MMORPGs under the sun, Tarisland has a crafting system. Players use mats to create gear, consumables, gadgets, and other items. Seven days of beta was too short to make an accurate impression of the usefulness of crafting. We noticed a fee to switch between learned professions.
Tarisland gear is purely functional, meaning that it affects stats only. To change your appearance, you must use costume and weapon skins obtained from activities, achievements, dungeons, and the cash shop. Individual armor skins are not available. It’s the entire apparel or nothing.
The navigation system includes mounts and teleportation. Mounts are available from early levels. To use a teleport node, you need to reach it first by foot, so you will do a bit of exploration before zapping your way through the land of Taris. A neat quality-of-life feature is that you can sell inventory items without visiting a vendor or the auction house. The interface is fully customizable with a drag-and-drop feature allowing players to change the location of various UI elements.
Is Tarisland Pay to Win?
That’s the question on everyone’s minds. Premium options were disabled in beta, so we don’t have a clear answer to it. Silver and gold were plentiful thanks to beta-exclusive rewards.
The cosmetic market uses a currency also received as a play test reward. Silver is the general currency obtained from game activities.
Gold, on the other hand, is not, which leads us to think this is the premium currency. You can trade gold for silver, but not the other way around. What’s worrisome is that the trade center, aka auction house, uses only gold. Gear is bought with tokens obtained by running dungeons, so there is no concern here.
Bag space is one of the most common things that drive players to the cash shop. Three options allow players to expand their inventories: buying packs from others through the auction house, using bags crafted with the tailoring profession, and buying packs from the market using the in-game currency.
We’ve seen our fair share of World of Warcraft clones, but none as blatant as Tarisland. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but Tencent has more than showing appreciation for Blizzard in mind.
The game unashamedly caters to the Chinese player base that has lost access to WoW. Most likely, it also aims to grab a bite from the rest of the world. And depending on how it will handle premium features, it may find a niche among those looking for a hassle-free MMORPG.
Tarisland may run on PC, but – at its core – it is a casual mobile game that captivates the audience thanks to its resemblance to WoW. It provides a nice diversion, but it doesn’t look like the kind of MMORPG that keeps one hooked for years.
It has group-based content, however, it does nothing to encourage interaction. The character system seems interesting and the combat is fun, but without challenging content, what’s the point of it? We didn’t mention performance because this was just the first beta test. Overall, the game runs smoothly on PC.