Skyforge is a 3D third person sci-fi MMORPG with fantasy elements and action oriented combat. The game is set on a planet called Aelion that features both persistent and instanced zones. Players start off as powerful immortals and can eventually ascend to become a god.
Release Date: July 16, 2015
PvP: Duels / Arenas
Pros: +Gorgeous Sci-fi environments. +Unique skill system. +Varied PvP options. +Multi classing system.
Cons: -Weak story/lore. -Unorthodox user interface. -Weekly experience caps.
Skyforge is a sci-fi themed action MMORPG with a third person camera set in the world of Aelion. The game bills itself as an "AAA Sci-Fi Fantasy MMORPG" and features a large variety of classes (thirteen) with a unique multi-classing system. Players can develop every class on a single character without ever needing to make "alts". With numerous late game ten man raids, several PvP options, and a massive skill tree progression system (Ascension Atlas) Skyforge looks promising.
Skyforge Key Features:
- Ascension Atlas Progression – thousands of different ways to customize and "build" a character. (Looks like Path of Exile's skill system or the Sphere Grid in FFX).
- Multi Class System – players can switch between any of the game's thirteen classes at will. All classes can be leveled on the same character.
- Varied PvP options – numerous maps with 6 - 24 players. Free-for-all, Team Deathmatch, Payload, and Capture the Flag modes available.
- High Production Value - Great visuals, interface, and music.
- Unique Variety of Weapons - From traditional SMGs and Assault Rifles to Dual weapons.
Skyforge Featured Video
- Cryomancer - the traditional offensive magic user class in Skyforge. They use cryogenerators to manipulate ice in battle.
- Archer - long range damage dealers that specialize in the use of bows and traps.
- Berserker - as the name implies, Berserkers are an offensive melee class that specializes in dealing as much damage as possible to their opponents. They use chainblades in battle.
- Kinetic - Kinetics use their gauntlets to twist and manipulate energy, which lets them throw projectiles at their opponents and manipulate nearby gravity to protect their allies.
- Gunner - longed ranged damage dealers. They have high DPS but are vulnerable up-close in melee combat.
- Slayer - the traditional "rogue" or "thief" class in Skyforge. They're a stealthy class that can quickly enter and exit battle. They have high damage but relatively low armor.
- Monk - capable melee damage dealers that specialize in the use of staves.
- Warlock / Witch - offensive spellcasters that specialize in dark magics and curses. They have brooms that can be used in combat and as transportation.
- Paladin - with mix of offense and defensive capabilities, Paladins can stand toe-to-toe with enemies and support their allies with holy powers.
- Knight - masters of the spear and shield, Knights are the traditional tank class in Skyforge.
- Lightbinder - the traditional support class in Skyforge. Lightbinders use the power of light to buff their allies and increase their damage. They also shield their teammates from damage.
- Alchemist - Alchemists carry around portable laboratories and can debuff and damage enemies with acid sprays and fire attacks. They wield bladed claws and provide excellent support to their party.
By Sean Sullivan
Any game set in a science fiction universe blips on my radar. When a game tries to incorporate mythology (however loosely) with futuristic fantasy concepts, I’m sold. Understandably, Skyforge caught my attention months ago, even compelling me to use my primary email when signing up for the beta (as rare as a Great Comet). While my first impression of the game was hampered by cheesy dialogue and one NPC whose face I couldn’t stand, I’ve grown to admire Skyforge. Unlike Echo of Soul and a few other recent releases, Skyforge has strived to operate from a slightly altered formula, abandoning some orthodoxies. It’s not without flaws. Some wonky mechanics may hold the game back in the long term. For now, Skyforge is worth your time, but keep in mind the open beta did just release, and this review will be updated to reflect additional changes to gameplay and end-game content.
Taking on the role of Prometheus, I set about creating a human to spite the gods, not realizing they would become one. Skyforge’s character creation follows the rulebook, featuring expected sliders from height to bust size. Some notable additions are included, such as adjusting your character’s running locomotion and their stance, further binding the player to their character. You can also change your appearance at any time in game by talking to the stylist. More games ought to allow you to return to mold the clay.
While you might expect to dress like a romantic vision of Athena or Zeus, Skyforge includes contemporary clothing. Become the doppleganger of a Wall Street executive or choose to put on your Sunday’s best, a flowing carolina blue skirt. Although you can only choose from six outfits to start, there are plenty more to unlock through quests or by purchasing them from the marketplace. Upon completing a quest, I received a polo shirt you would expect Larry David to wear while golfing. Seeing other players don the casual short sleeve and tank monstrous creatures was ridiculous and entertaining.
I am somewhat disappointed with character creation, as it is limiting. For players like me who prefer to roleplay as Dr. Frankenstein, you won’t be able to delight in crafting monstrous avatars. Skyforge sliders bounce between inordinately jacked to Victoria’s Secret thin. You could justify the lack of Perfect World-stylized sliders by claiming you can only model characters as Ancient Gods were depicted—even the ceaselessly drunk Dionysus had a six-pack. I would have enjoyed creating a blubbering mess of an Immortal, but I’ll have to stick to Chinese-developed games for my creations.
A Simple Mythology
Free-to-play games aren’t renowned for delivering powerful narratives, and Skyforge maintains the trend. In Skyforge’s universe, anyone can become immortal, seemingly by dumb luck. You and everyone else just happen to be rolling sevens at Caesar's Palace. So now as an operative of the gods, you're tasked with vanquishing foes on the planet of Aelion from a central hub-station. Ultimately, you’ll come across the forces of darkness and fight them too. It’s a story riddled in clichés and repackaged tropes. Some of the dialogue is laughably weak, but I don’t hold it against Skyforge. Lore is typically on the backburner in a free-to-play title. Combat and the class system is what concerned me.
Change Your Godhood Anytime
While there are quite a few classes, only three are available to free-to-players from the start. You’ll meet them in the training room set to music that sounds uncannily like it was ripped from Deus Ex. Starting classes are the Cryomancer (Mage DPS), Paladin (Melee Tank), and Lightbinder (Support Healer). You can switch between them anytime outside of combat, a welcome trend in many MMORPG’s like Final Fantasy XIV. They’re distinct, and their abilities become increasingly entrancing as you progress. I constantly switched between the three classes as I played, although ultimately I preferred the Cryomancer—her ability set being the most blockbuster.
Ten other classes can be unlocked, bringing the total number of playable classes to thirteen. Unlocking additional classes will take time, unless you choose to purchase a Collector’s Edition for the Knight and Alchemist. In about one week, you can unlock the second tier classes: Kinetic, Archer, Necromancer, and Slayer. Lastly, the Knight and Alchemist take about four weeks—these measurements are purely speculative.
Classes are optimal for certain situations. As a Cryomancer, my health was drained by a boss. Switching to Paladin, I was able to wreck the nipple-bearing villain. However, when dealing with groups of mobs, the Cryomancer offers far more crowd control, and I could easily shatter enemies. So, don’t stick with one class early on. Try everything. It keeps the experience fresh and reinvigorates your engagement.
As an action-oriented MMORPG, Skyforge is smooth and fast-paced. Swinging my sword as a Paladin is like watching ballet–my character pirouettes and slices through enemies with grace. Each hit rewards contact through heavy sound effects and excellent animations. While the basic attacks can become repetitive, you quickly learn new moves to season combat. In a couple of hours, I was summoning hurricanes on my Cryomancer and raining down ice picks to pierce the Virth on Dankit island.
There’s no tab-targeting in Skyforge. Your target is based on your crosshair, similar to Neverwinter. As enemies move around your screen, you’re forced to realign yourself. Even as a tank, you’ll be kiting enemies and power dodging their attacks while retaliating with rich movesets. Some mobs can soak up damage with multiple health bars like an atypical fighting game. Instanced fights in particular can be drawn out and become a bit tedious. Even the first dungeon isn’t a pushover, though my third ally did decide to AFK so it was left to two of us to clear the place. We whittled away at the bosses' health and eventually won through perseverance. From what I understand, later game instances become increasingly challenging, something I look forward to suffering through.
Skills and talents have to be unlocked from the Ascension Atlas, a huge grid littered with connected spheres like neurons—that’s inevitably compared to Final Fantasy X’s sphere grid. Some nodes provide bonus stats to spirit, whereas others unlock new talents like the Cryomaster’s Exhaustion skill. New nodes are unlocked with three types of earned resources: Sparks of Destruction (red nodes-attack), Sparks of Creation (green nodes-defense), and Sparks of Balance (blue nodes-secondary stats)—collectively known as Sparks of Insight. There are also Sparks of Evolution that can be used to unlock any node in any class Atlas. Finally, there are class specific sparks, used to unlocked intermediate nodes and aptly named according to the class you’re playing. The Ascension atlas features two "levels." The class specific lower level and the much larger main level. Class specific abilities are unlocked on the lower level while general stat boosts and universal talents are unlocked on the main level. New classes must also be unlocked on the main level before being available for play. It seems like there's a lot going on but it's really a simple system.
The Ascension Atlas can seem daunting but, so long as you pay attention, the layout becomes self-evident. It’s another layout I enjoy as it’s presenting old information through a new lens. Moving through the Ascension Atlas ultimately unlocks higher tiered classes, but there is no linear progression. Any one of the starter classes can unlock any next tier class. Switching between classes does not alter your character’s base stats. Every stat you gain on one class is collected and saved to benefit every other class.
Breaking free from orthodoxy, there are no levels in Skyforge. Instead, players accumulate “prestige,” a term previously inseparable from Call of Duty. And how far you progress in the Ascension Atlas only contributes one-third to your total prestige.
Carved in Gold
At 2,000 prestige, you unlock the Order System, the aspect of the game that proves you’re a god—beyond godmode (I’m hoping to pull a Saturn and eat my own children in future patches). By exerting your influence, you recruit new followers, build your own cult, and set up sanctuaries across the eight zones of Aelion. Each established monument awards additional stat buffs, somewhat defeating the purpose of a classless system as you choose which stats to reap bonuses from. I’m not sure how it will ultimately play out as I haven't had the chance to fully explore the Order System.
Beyond erecting pillars to your glory, your adepts can be assigned to undertake quests for you, such as defeating outlaws or curing an epidemic, increasing your reputation in the particular province. It plays out like a mini game. It seems designed to occupy player’s time when they have capped out their Spark accumulation for the week.
So, to the disappointment of some, you cannot go into Skyforge and grind like a Guangdong gold-farmer. The Spark cap has been a polarizing aspect. A set number of sparks can be accumulated each week. Starting off, you can earn about 10,000 Sparks of Insight, and 5,000 class sparks (this number is not a science so please correct me if I’m wrong). The limit increases with every subsequent week that you play. As far as I can tell, late-game will be very difficult to max out your sparks (about 1-2 months in), making the cap irrelevant for higher prestige players. That’s pure speculation and remains to be seen, as I’m not sure how developers plan to handle cap raises in the future. The Spark cap is why it takes time to unlock new classes, as you need enough sparks to progress to the Advanced Atlas before new classes become available.
To me it seems the developers are trying to discourage the grind mentality. By de-emphasizing skill progression, new areas of gameplay are centered. You can still improve your prestige by arming equipment, completing story missions, PvPing, farming spark replicators, and more. Keep in mind that only one-third of prestige is determined by Atlas progression. Also, by capping players each week, you end up with a weekly group of players all hovering around the same prestige, meaning, theoretically, there’s a larger pool of players queuing for the same dungeons. It should allow the low-level dungeons to remain relevant as time goes on.
The cap does alleviate pay-to-win issues. Players can purchase spark boosts, but they won’t be able to gain any more than the ubiquitous spark cap. Instead, purchasing premium access is meant to appeal to the player without enough free time to max sparks each week. Will people purchase spark buffs for a game they can’t fully invest their time into? I’m not sure.
But of course, capping is not without its issues. Some players have claimed to max their sparks in three hours, but the claim is purely conjecture as I haven’t see any evidence yet. The problem is that eventually you will cap your Atlas and collecting sparks will become useless. Some form of higher nodes will be necessary to maintain progression or perhaps something akin to Diablo 3’s paragon system. But then again, that should only apply to players who refuse to play other classes and playing multiple classes is an inherent design aspect of the game.
Very few free-to-play games can contend with Skyforge’s stunning visuals. The environments are sharp and clean, animations are vibrant, and character models are detailed enough to distinguish their appearance from adjacent models. It borders the line between realism and cartoony—a game where you pick up loot through pokeballs—with a bold, bright polish set against a serious fantasy tone. But not dark fantasy; it’s new age science fiction fantasy where even the most dreary elements are splashed with scintillating colors. The music is good but it doesn’t distinguish itself against other excellent compositions, such as Jeremy Soule’s Elder Scrolls Online soundtrack. Nevertheless, the soundtrack fits the environments well and helps evoke the melange of fantasy and science fiction the game strives for. Since its initial launch, Skyforge has already received numerous large content updates which demonstrates the developer's commitment to the game.
Almost every MMORPG has a similar copypasta interface that can be ripped from any one game and injected into any other. Skyforge is the black sheep of the family. The interface is not intuitive and may require a few hours to habituate. You’ll have to look around and pay attention to understand its nuances; this isn’t 9Dragons. It can feel clunky and cumbersome as every UI element is accessed from a separate screen. I didn’t mind it so much as other players, but I can see how it’s a turn off. It has a console development feel to it, not that Obsidian or Allods Team have hinted at a future console release, though there will be gamepad support. It is sleek and captures something akin to a simpler future sci-fi computer network, not that gods should need the internet.
If you reach around 30,000 prestige, you unlock a quest to achieve god mode, a rather poorly advertised feature of the game. In order to do so, every node in your Atlas must be filled and upon completion you can transform into a powerful god. It awards an astronomical amount of damage, hence why it requires a hefty amount of reagents called faith to activate. Upon earning 70 faith, you can turn into a raging god for about 15 minutes. There is a weekly quest that awards faith but god mode can only be used in PvE content, not PvP. I have not had the chance to try godmode so it remains to be seen how it plays out.
Please Buy Our Premium Subscription
Of course, we have to discuss premium access. Skyforge begs you with a bucket to sign up for a premium account, with constant reminders about how great premium access is. It increases the rates of all of your resource accumulation, meaning you reach your weekly limit faster. It’s designed for people without enough time to cap each week. I’m skeptical that it will sell. You can buy premium time with the in-game currency, but it requires you to exchange credits for platinum. Additionally, there’s an active market determining the exchange rate. My advice is to exchange all of your credits now for platinum. The exchange rate is likely to drop, yielding less platinum for your credit.
There are two editions of the game for purchase: Standard Edition and the Collector’s Edition. The standard Starter Pack costs $15 and starts you off with some helpful items, such as Credits, bag slots and more. Whereas the $60 Collector’s Edition grants eager players the Alchemist and Knight to start with, as well as a unique mount, title, and premium account time for 60 days. Neither pack is necessary to succeed in the game, and should be purchased for people who want to support the developers. Everything can still be earned by playing Skyforge free-to-play.
Final Verdict - Great
Skyforge is a gorgeous game, with fantastic animations and a well developed class system. It’s not without its flaws. Combat, while seemingly repetitive at first, becomes fluid and exciting as new abilities are unlocked. The console-y interface may turn off some players, but looking past that there’s plenty of depth to Skyforge. I’m not sure how capping progression will ultimately play out, but I’m not entirely opposed to the notion. Judgment will have to reserved for the future. Overall, Skyforge offers one of the better free-to-play experiences. At the end of the playthrough, the main question is: “Did I have fun?” I did. I highly recommend Skyforge to anyone looking for a refreshing MMORPG.
Skyforge System Requirements
Operating System: Windows XP / 7 / 8 / 10
CPU: Dual Core E2160 1.8 GHz
Video Card: GeForce 8600 GTS, Intel HD 3000, Radeon HD 4650 or better
RAM: 2 GB
Hard Disk Space: 20 GB
Operating System: Windows XP / 7 / 8 / 10
CPU: Intel Core i5-4430 3 GHz
Video Card: GeForce GTX 275, Radeon HD 4870
RAM: 4 GB
Hard Disk Space: 20 GB
Skyforge Music & Soundtrack
Skyforge Soundtrack coming soon
Skyforge Additional Information
Developer: Allods Team & Obsidian Entertainment Collaboration
Game Engine: Proprietary Game Engine
Release Date (Open Beta): July 16, 2015
Steam Release Date: April 13, 2017
Development History / Background:
Skyforge was developed through a joint collaboration between Mail.ru's Allods Team (Nival) and U.S. based Obsidian Entertainment. The game has been in development since 2010 and its first closed beta began on March 11, 2015. Skyforge was first revealed to the world at the 2012 Russian Game Developers conference. After several rounds of closed beta testing, Skyforge launched into open beta on July 16, 2015. Skyforge released through Steam on April 13, 2017.