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Tree of Savior

Tree of Savior is a Korean top-down 3D fantasy MMORPG where players defeat endless numbers of monsters to level up and advance to new classes. Party up with other players to crawl through dungeons, craft new items, and explore a charming world.

Publisher: IMCGames
Playerbase: High
Type: MMORPG
Release Date: March 28, 2016
PvP: Arena/Open World
Pros: +Attractive art style. +High quality musical score. +Large variety of classes. +In-depth crafting system.
Cons: -Invisible walls. -Poor controller support. -Sporadic pacing. 

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Overview

Tree of Savior Overview

Tree of Savior is a fantasy MMORPG and widely considered the spiritual successor to Ragnarok Online. Start by choosing between one of four archetype classes: Swordsman, Cleric, Wizard, or Archer, and advance to new classes by leveling up, mixing and matching skills from multiple classes. Grind endless numbers of cute creatures, across a multiple zones with fairy-tale atmospheres. Crawl through dungeons to upgrade your gear and encounter one of over 200 uniquely designed bosses, requiring teamwork to defeat. Join a guild and engage in large-scale warfare with other players, rendering no zone safe from enemy attacks. Or enter the arena and test your skills. Craft new items and power up existing equipment to gain the upper hand on the battlefield.

Key Features:

  • Class Variety - choose from one of four starting classes and advance through over 80 classes.
  • soundTEMP Soundtrack - grind to a captivating soundtrack composed by soundTEMP, the same musical group involved with Ragnarok Online.
  • Dungeon Crawling - explore instanced dungeons to upgrade your gear and defeat aesthetically distinct bosses with other players.
  • PvP - join a guild and engage in large-scale warfare or enter the arena and test your skills.
  • Fairy Tale Aesthetic - explore a charmign world brimming with intricately designed characters and landscapes copied from the pages of a fairy tale.

Tree of Savior Screenshots

Tree of Savior Featured Video

Full Review

Tree of Savior Review

By Sean Sullivan

Tree of Savior looks like the spiritual successor to Ragnarok Online, as far as cute anime-inspired characters, but IMCGames’ MMORPG is its own experience, with a flavor that is both sweet and sour. It’s a straightforward game with a simple premise: grind until you need to buy a new chair. Flaws are readily apparent, and in part exemplify how limiting systems like trade for the sake of curtailing illicit activities is a failed experiment. But the cracks in the walls don’t detract from Tree of Savior’s overall engagement for players who have been hungry for a sensory-pleasing Korean grinder.

Made In IMCGames’ Image

Every player begins character customization by narrowing a limited selection of a hairstyles to match their avatar’s vacant eyes. Choose between four classes split between two sexes, molding your character with predefined hairstyles tied to hair colors. It’s impossible to stand out straight outta the workshop. Defenders may point to the game’s simple, yet charming, graphics. But Ragnarok Online released in 2002 and offered more variety than Tree of Savior; at least Ragnarok Online had skin tone variety. Why can’t I create a Swordsman with a short ponytail and flaming hair? There’s a simple answer. Customization is locked in the vaults of the cash shop.

Like Black Desert Online, Tree of Savior pushes streamlined player models where every character adheres to a set standard. It’s as if the game exists in a vacuum where females with short ponytails must have dirty blonde hair. While a player’s chosen class and silly hats serve to accentuate differences it seems creativity in character creation is losing its grip across the genre. Instead of customization upon launch, players are expected to earn in-game items or turn to the cash shop for individuality. While not game breaking, Tree of Savior captures a worrisome trend for players interested in personalizing their avatars.

“My Viscera!”

From the first attack on I was addicted to Tree of Savior’s combat. I’ve been saying for years that what made Ragnarok Online’s combat engaging is that enemies explode, and ToS remembers. As if they’re made of glass, wild hogs obliterate into tiny fragments in an outward firework explosion. Grouping a dozen or more is a satisfying 4th of July extravaganza.

Like other Korean MMOs Tree of Savior returns to the roots of its cultural genre by stressing mob-grinding over quest progression, perhaps trying to capture the essence of what makes old Korean MMORPGs so popular. Thanks to fluid combat animations and flashy, but simple, attacks the game keeps combat engaging even when repetitive. Tree of Savior even flexes its grinding muscles when leveling. Instead of a simple ding and self-congratulatory “Level Up!,” increasing your number causes an AOE that does damage to any mob on-screen, drawing them to your position. “We heard you like grinding, here’s some more fluffy enemies!”

But you’ll grind the same spots as everyone else, pulling the same mobs and AOEing them to death, hoping you’re on the channel with the least number of players (or at least playing with social enough people to form a party). The meal is good, but the seasoning is the same no matter how many times you cook it up. And without much variety in spots to grind each alt will see the same sights and evaporate the same cuddly creatures. It’s not an issue unique to Tree of Savior, but it does create a feeling of monotonous labor. Without other avenues of gameplay beyond mob slaughtering you have to love the grind to be enamored by Tree of Savior.

Too Many [Classes]

A quick glance at Tree of Savior’s class variety makes the game’s choices look paltry. Choose between one of four archetypes: Swordsman, Wizard, Cleric, or Archer. Don’t be fooled. Tree of Savior digs deep to provide extensive class customization. As players level they ascend to new classes, choosing a new title every 15 job levels. Each ascendancy opens two new classes or the option to ascend to a higher tier of a previous class. A Wizard can choose to become a Pyromancer or Cryomancer, and next a Psychokino or Linker, or ascend up to three tiers of Wizard (expanding their available class skills). And classes stack so a Swordsman that becomes a Highlander will still retain the skills of a Swordsman.

With 7 tiers of job ascendancy players can customize their builds for a huge diversity of skills and combat roles. And no higher-ascended class is necessarily better than a previous tier class. What matters is the mix and matching of skills derived from classes to create a build. But my favorite feature of class ascendancy is each one has its own costume that invokes the Western aesthetic charm prevalent throughout the game.

The elephantine issue is any mistakes are permanent. Once a class is chosen it cannot be undone. So, if a player desires a certain playstyle (PvP) but doesn’t read guides and ascends on intuition they do so without the ability to reroll. It’s progression that runs alongside the min/max mentality of Western players, demanding research and forum lurking to be competitive. But it’s also free form, so experimental players can play however they choose.

In my old age I’m not one to care anymore to follow strict class guides. But I do like to experiment. And having to level new characters each time you want to try a build is crushing. It creates a sense of anxiety when choosing what class to ascend to. “Am I making the right choice. What if I actually like playing Pyromancer?” I want to experiment with class builds not drunkenly rush into something without fully understanding my choice. With a proposed max level of 500 it may be a long time before I realize I’ve screwed up.

Controller Or Keyboard

PC controls are unorthodox for modern games. Instead of point-and-click or WASD players are relegated to the arrow keys and Z-V, among other keys, to explore the world. The last time I used arrow keys in a game I was busy not paying attention in English class. It’s a mapping that’s odd at first but quickly becomes comfortable. Moving on a top-down plane with the arrow keys is natural, and while it wouldn’t work in traditional MMORPGs like EverQuest or World of Warcraft it shines in Tree of Savior for ease of use.

I was the player who shunned console party members in Final Fantasy 14, but using a controller in Tree of Savior is smooth as Southern butter, melting from the first exploding mob—as far as combat. Any action other than fighting with a controller is a struggle: navigating menus, opening setting,s scanning the map, etc. The UI was designed for PC first, with controller support tagged on. My wrists appreciate the addition, and I found myself using the same abilities enough that I wasn’t overwhelmed by the bindings. But I can’t say Tree of Savior is a game that could be fully enjoyed with a controller alone. You’ll have to bounce between keyboard/mouse and controller if you plan to use one.

A World Of Hallways

The world is a series of zones intertwined by corridors like the vines crawling across its paths. It’s an enclosed environment—almost claustrophobic if it wasn’t for ToS’s bright colors. Maps aren’t straightforward hallways but are laid out a like child’s first maze. It’s easy to be sidetracked by some curious turn, only to discover a dead end. One path extended on my minimap but I hit an invisible brick wall on approach. In the game’s defense there was a translucent rainbow guarding the path, and maybe there’s a way to cross the treacherous rainbow. But I have my doubts, and it seems like a cheap fix.

What is missing from Tree of Savior’s world is a sense of secrecy. Unlike Black Desert Online it doesn’t appeal to my inner Shackleton. Instead I felt herded into channels where legions of mobs awaited my Gladius. As if the game is shuffling me along the same highway as everyone else until my character is fat enough to slaughter. If it wasn’t for Tree of Savior’s vibrant presentation and head bopping beats it’s world layout would raise more issues.

~ ~ A E S T H E T I C ~ ~

Tree of Savior’s art style is unmistakable: a cool color gradient that’s soft on the eyes, inhabited by innocent characters wielding weapons of cute monster destruction. It’s the mental image I have of Ragnarok Online memories—tainted by time. Creatures are varied to avoid color-sickness indicating stronger monsters. And attack animations are smooth. Engaged NPC images are intricately designed and endearing thanks to Maggi An Jeong’s unmistakable work (who also created character models for Granado Espada).

Easily my favorite aspect of Tree of Savior is its soundtrack, with a library now part of my YouTube playlist. Fast tempo beats with jazzy overtures and singing guitars set the mood to grind. While a classical ensemble, complete with piano, sets Orsha’s jovial fantasy setting. Korean composers soundTeMP are excellent at creating atmosphere, and will sound familiar to players of Ragnarok Online and FlyFF.

No Trades Need Happen

Direct trading between players is nearly non-existent, even when in a party. If you’re picking up swords from mobs as a Ranger you can’t throw one to your Swordsman buddy. Nope. The only choice is to head to the bazaar and pawn that shiny sword off. As with Black Desert Online, trading limitations may have the good intention of limiting gold selling but it has done little to curb chat spam advertisements. And sites have already discovered loopholes by abusing the market to pawn off gold. So long as a game economy exists there will always be a way for gold sellers to thrive. Trading suffers, providing no benefit other than annoying players.

In games where collecting items off shattered monster corpses is half of progression it seems silly to limit trading. Tree of Savior isn’t alone. Trading is an intricate aspect in MMORPGs, a part of the spontaneous interactions that makes inhabiting virtual worlds appealing. Removing a system in the name of curbing an inevitable black market only hurts the player.

Token’s Out Please

While cosmetics are obviously locked in the cash shop there are a few convenience items that appear slightly too convenient. Most noticeably, enhancement scrolls that players can use to charm headgear with three RNG stats. Given an infinite amount of pocket change someone can keep rolling stats until they have the perfect combination. However, all cash shop items can be purchased with in-game silver, albeit at a significant cost.

Tree of Savior also includes a subtle subscription service disguised as a purchasable item called a Token. Tokens are active for 30 days and include increased EXP from killing monsters, the ability to list more items on the market, and more, including increased movement speed which is apparently active in PvP. Considering the drop-off rate for most MMORPG players [before they hop to a new game] the 30 day token time seems like a fair allocation. And I’m not convinced the advantages it offers necessitate a pay-to-win slap. It is an item that can be purchased within the game, and at higher levels the XP boost alone makes it appetizing.

I’m going to go ahead and assert that the casual everyday player doesn’t need to sweat the cash shop items. But the competitive-minded, hardcore players looking to invest in a game like it pays her bills may be dissuaded if they feel obliged to avoid spending any money.

Final Verdict - Good

Tree of Savior is a game judged entirely by two spheres: aesthetics and combat. If you are a fan of cutesy anime-inspired graphics and enjoy pummeling large group of mobs to head-bopping beats then Tree of Savior is the MMO for you. It is not revolutionary, nor is it without flaws, and had I not played Ragnarok Online religiously then I may be more apt to give ToS a lower score. But it is a niche title, one that neatly fills a gap that’s been missing for years and is easily distinguished. Before playing Tree of Savior just ask yourself, “Am I built to grind?”

Screenshots

Tree of Savior Screenshots

Videos

Tree of Savior Videos

System Requirements

Tree of Savior System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: Windows XP SP3 32bit
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz
Video Card: nVidia GeForce 9800 / ATI Radeon HD 4000
RAM: 2 GB
Hard Disk Space: 3 GB

Recommended Requirements:

Operating System: Windows 7 or Windows 8 64 bit
CPU: Intel Core i5 or better
Video Card: nVidia GeForce 600 GT / AMD Radeon HD 6000
RAM: 4 GB
Hard Disk Space: 3 GB

Music

Tree of Savior Music & Soundtrack

Additional Information

Tree of Savior Additional Information

Developer: IMCGAMES
Publisher: IMCGAMES

Creative Director: Kim Hakkyu
Concept Artist: Maggi An Jeong-won
Composer: soundTEMPO

Steam Greenlight: May 12, 2015

Closed Beta 1: August 04, 2015 - August 10, 2015
Closed Beta 2: October 27, 2015 - December 10, 2015

Early Access Launch: March 28, 2016
Release Date: April 28, 2016

Development History / Background:

Tree of Savior was developed and published by Korean games company IMCGAMES. It is the brainchild of Ragnarok Online creator Kim Hakkyu, and originally released in South Korea into Open Beta on December 17, 2015. Tree of Savior's International version was posted to Steam Greenlight on May 12, 2015 and greenlit in less than 10 hours. The first International closed beta test was held on August 04, 2015 and lasted for 7 days, ending on August 10, 2015. Tree of Savior entered Closed Beta 2 on October 27, 2015 and ended on December 10, 2015. Tree of Savior was initially announced to launch on June 19, 2016 and included three tiers of Founder's Packs that granted players Early Access to the game. Controversy surrounding the model lead to a player-held vote in which IMCGAMES decided to hold one month of Early Access for Founder's Pack purchases, beginning on March 28, 2016, before releasing as a free-to-play title on April 28, 2016. IMCGAMES is also known for Granado Espada and Wolfknights.