Ether Saga Odyssey
Ether Saga Odyssey is a free-to-play 3D MMORPG that transports players to a world based on Ancient Chinese mythology inhabited by cute but troublesome monsters that can be caught and trained as pets to assist in battle.
|Publisher: Arc Games
Type: Fantasy MMORPG
Release Date: July 1, 2009 (NA)
Shut Down Date: January 4, 2016
PvP: Duels / Open World
Pros: +In-depth pet system. +Good variety of classes/races. +Possession system (auto-play).
Cons: -Limited character customization. -Grindy generic gameplay. -Pay-to-win elements.
Ether Saga Odyssey Overview
Heaven is in chaos and it’s up to you and other brave heroes to set things right in Ether Saga Odyssey, a free-to-play 3D MMORPG. Journey through a world based on Chinese mythology in pursuit of your heavenly quest. Choose from eight unique combat classes with distinct appearances and abilities. From the defensive powers of a Dragoon, to the devastating spells of a Conjurer, there’s a class to suit any playstyle with the ability to advance to more specialized classes later in the game. Capture and tame an almost limitless number of pets. Pets can accompany you, complement your skills, and help you get through the toughest of battles. Ether Saga Odyssey officially shut down on January 4, 2016.
Ether Saga Odyssey Key Features:
- Unique Stat System – distribute your stats among a variety of elements instead of the usual stat system.
- Cute Pets – capture and tame any type of monster in the world. Fuse with your pets to transform into powerful warriors.
- Reputation System – complete quests and build your reputation with various NPC’s in the game.
- Possession – got a boring or grinding quest? Let the Possession temporarily take control of your character and do all the dirty work for you (Automates the quest).
Ether Saga Odyssey Screenshots
Ether Saga Odyssey Featured Video
Ether Saga Odyssey Classes
Ren – typical human race that rules most of the major cities with influences spreading far and wide. They are tasked with gathering the fragments of the Divine Chalice.
Shenzu – demi-gods that focus on spiritual growth and achieving higher levels of consciousness. Their quest is to capture the banished general who was reincarnated as a powerful pig demon.
Yaoh – once animals, they have been acknowledged and granted consciousness by the leaders of Heaven. Their task is to locate the missing Sacred Ark.
Mogui – descendants of dragons whose mission is to make their existence and power known to the other races and to the gods.
Classes are race-locked with two classes per race.
Ren Dragoon – a melee class that fills the role of tank in a party. Uses spears and lances and can wear Guardian Armor which has the highest defense stats in the game.
Ren Ranger – can deal massive damage to enemies from long range. They are masters of the bow and the use of snares and traps.
Shenzu Conjurer – can cast the most powerful offensive spells. They can also assist allies with a variety of buffs.
Shenzu Mystic – a healer class that can also cast buffs on allies. Staves are their weapon of choice.
Yaoh Rogue – relies on stealth and agility to take down enemies. They employ poison-tipped daggers to deal additional damage to enemies.
Yaoh Shaman – healers that can also serve as secondary tanks due to their ability to equip Guardian Armor. They use warhammers in battle and also have the ability to cast powerful debuffs on enemies.
Mogui Maven – offensive spellcasters that rely on curses that deal damage over time instead of spells.
Mogui Hellion – a melee class that fights with dual-axes. They can unleash their rage to launch powerful attacks. They can also wear Guardian Armor.
Ether Saga Odyssey Review
By, Marc Marasigan
Ether Saga Odyssey, or ESO for short (not to be confused with Elder Scrolls Online), is a fantasy-themed anime-style 3D MMORPG developed and published by Perfect World Entertainment, the developers behind the widely-popular MMORPG, Perfect World. The game was officially released on July 1, 2009.
Ether Saga Odyssey is set in a fictional world, called Middle Kingdom, a prosperous land based on Chinese mythology. The Leaders of Heaven are in turmoil over the banishment of their General, the breaking of their prized chalice, and the loss of an ark called the Treasure of Heaven. Players are tasked with finding the General, collecting the shattered chalice-pieces, or searching for the lost ark, depending on their race, or class, since classes are race-locked. Players journey through a land of lush forests, rocky terrain, and pristine lakes, inhabited by cute, but deadly creatures in their quest to find the lost treasure.
Players start the game by picking their server and realm which can either be PVP or PVE. They then proceed to creating their characters. Players can pick from 8 combat classes divided between four-races, the Ren, Shenzu, Yaoh, and Mogui, with two classes available for each race. They then get the chance to customize their character’s appearance which is severely-lacking for a client-based game. Players are only given a handful of options for face style, hair style, and hair color. I’ve actually played browser games that offered more options for customization, well, not by a mile, but definitely better than 7 or 8 options.
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After creating their characters, players are taken to a starting zone where they are taught the basics of movement, camera control, gameplay, pets, as well as the location of important NPC’s through a series of quests that ends with the player being transported to one of four locations depending on their race where they start their respective quest lines. Oddly, the game's interface and movement feels remarkably familiar to Perfect World's other titles - namely Forsaken World, Perfect World, and Jade Dynasty. This is probably because all of these games are powered by the same Angelica 3D engine.
The in-game locations are pretty varied ranging from sprawling oriental-themed towns to large inhabited trees in the middle of a lush forest. The game’s cartoony anime-style graphics are great but not really groundbreaking, think Rose Online and Dragon Nest. The same can be said for the game’s music and sound effects. Also, for a game that came out just a few years ago, the starting towns seem pretty deserted, which means that no new characters are being created which spells bad news for Perfect World Entertainment.
The Daily Grind
Ether Saga Odyssey follows the same concepts and gameplay elements as other MMORPG’s including the proverbial breadcrumb quest system where players go back and forth completing various tasks for NPC’s which can be as simple as talking to another NPC’s to killing mobs, collecting items on the field, or more tedious tasks such as killing mobs and looting specific items from their corpses. However, unlike typical MMORPG’s where players can take on multiple quests to kill specific mobs and kill two birds with one stone, ESO requires players to separately complete each quest’s requirement. Taking on a quest that tasks the player with killing 30 specific mobs alongside one that requires them to kill 20 of the same mob requires the player to kill 50 mobs instead of just 30. This makes grinding a persistent problem in the game. Fortunately, ESO has a temporary auto-play features called Possession that allows players to do other real-world stuff while their characters do all the dirty and boring work. To use the possession feature, players must have Possessor statues in their inventory as well as Jadeons that are used with the statue. Possession allows the players to set specific variables such as skills, consumables, and potions to use, as well as when to use them. The feature also allows the player to set variables to control which items the character will loot which is actually a big help since ESO also has a problem with limited inventory space.
Stats, Skills, Combat
Ether Saga Odyssey features a stat, skill, and combat system similar to classic MMORPG’s but with a bit of a twist. Players gain both stat points and skill points as they level up. In ESO, however, instead of distributing stats between Strength, Intellect, etc., players distribute them between elements, putting stat points in Erda, the game’s earth element, increases a players Strength and Defense while putting points in Windu, the wind element, increases Intellect and Resilience. Skills, on the other hand, are automatically unlocked upon reaching certain levels. Skill points are then used to increase the skill’s level. The skill points needed to level up a skill also increases along with the skill level. Different character builds can be accomplished by choosing the right skills to improve. Unfortunately, with only a handful of skills available to choose from the variety of builds that players can come up with is also a bit limited. Combat makes use of the classic point and click system with the hotkeys being used to cast skills. Killing mobs is extremely easy and so is leveling up as long as you don’t mind the almost endless grinding.
Gotta Catch ‘em All
Pets play a big part in Ether Saga Odyssey, aside from assisting players during combat, players can also fuse with their pets to grant them additional skills as well as sharing all damage received allowing players to take on tougher mobs. Players start out with a race-specific pet and gain the ability to catch other pets when they reach level 15. Pets can be either male or female which affects how they interact with their masters. Pets also have different elemental affinities and base attributes that also affect the player’s stats when they fuse with their pets. Pets, however, just like in real life, need to be taken care of to be effective partners. A pet’s hunger, or Belly Points, affects their effectiveness in combat and will fight at 100% as long as their Belly Points remain above 90%. Pets can be fed with tasty snacks, which can be bought or looted from mobs, to keep their belly meters full.
Out For Blood
Players who want to engage in PVP can either duel someone in safezones (towns) and PVE realms or join a PVP server. Beginners in PVP realms can’t participate in PVP and can’t attack or be attacked by other players. PVP becomes available when a player reaches level 45 at which point they can be PKed (Player Killed) anytime outside of the safezones.
ESO’s cash shop has a reputation of being pay to win among the gaming community and it indeed lives up to its reputation with pets that can only be effective in PVP once players purchase certain items from the cash shop, locked instances that offer better gear to players with keys, as well as items that allow players to attack you from the air (OP ranger anyone?), as well as weapons and gear that give paying players the ability to 2-shot free-to-play players. The game does offer a feature that allows you to exchange in-game currency for premium currency, inflation has basically ruined it. Exchange rates that initially started around 200:1 now go for as high as 2000:1. It's worth mentioning, the in-game currency to premium currency exchange in Neverwinter (another game from Perfect World) also suffered from the same type of inflation. While gold is pretty easy to come by especially if you have a few alts *cough cough* bots, that’s still a whole lot of work just to play at par with someone with a little extra cash to spend.
Final Verdict - Good
Ether Saga Odyssey has everything players look for in a typical MMORPG, an interesting storyline, great graphics and audio, a unique pet system, as well as time-tested gameplay mechanics. This, however, is a double-edged sword. While there are players who like to play games that feel familiar, there are also those that look for games that bring something new to the table, or at least improve on classic features. The limited character customization, grinding quests, deserted starting zones, as well as the game’s pay to win elements don't help it out either. Overall, it's worth checking out, but don't expect anything revolutionary.
Ether Saga Odyssey Videos
Ether Saga Odyssey Links
Ether Saga Odyssey System Requirements
Operating System: XP / Vista / 7 / 8
CPU: Pentium 4 @ 1 GHz
Video Card: Nvidia GeForce 4 Ti4200 / ATI Radeon 8500
RAM: 1 GB
Hard Disk Space: 8 GB
Operating System: XP / Vista / 7 / 8
CPU: Dual Core 2.5 GHz+
Video Card: Nvidia GeForce FX 5200 / Radeon 9500
RAM: 3 GB
Hard Disk Space: 8 GB
Ether Saga Odyssey Music & Soundtrack
Ether Saga Odyssey Additional Information
Developer(s): Perfect World Entertainment
Publisher(s): Perfect World, Gameastor, Arc Games
Engine: Angelica 3D Engine
Closed Beta Date: February 2, 2009
Open Beta Date: March 17, 2009
Shut Down Date: January 4, 2016
China: June 26, 2008 (Published by Perfect World's Wanmei.com Portal)
Taiwan: August 26, 2009 (Published by Gameastor)
Development History / Background:
Ether Saga Odyssey was developed by the large Chinese MMORPG developer Perfect World Entertainment using their own proprietary Angelica 3D engine. The game launched in 2008 in China before being localized in the U.S. in 2009. The game's lore is inspired by the iconic Chinese novel "Journey to the West." The game first launched in the U.S. as "Ether Saga Online" but was later renamed to "Ether Saga Odyssey". Ether Saga is one of those free to play MMORPGs like Mu Online, Knight Online, and Ragnarok Online that developed a strong private server following.