Warlords Awakening, also known as ELOA, is a brightly colored anime inspired action MMORPG with an isometric camera angle. Inspirit is set in a large open world and features a unique class system that allows everyone to carry 3 weapons, each with their own set of skills, at once.
|Publisher: Playwith Interactive (Previously Webzen)
Playerbase: Shut Down
Type: B2P MMORPG
Release Date: July 24, 2015 (As ELOA)
Pros: +Great interface. +Useful built in encyclopedia. +Unique 3 weapon class system. +Good pet system.
Cons: -Poor English translations. -Aiming skills can feel awkward. -Repetitive environment design.
Warlords Awakening Overview
Warlords Awakening, previously known as ELOA, which stands for Elite Lord of Alliance, also known as Inspirit Online, is an anime inspired fantasy action MMORPG with both point and click and keyboard controls. Start by choosing one of 4 playable classes and 3 races. Each class has access to 3 unique weapons that players can switch between at will, revealing distinct abilities to be used situationally. Explore an expansive world brimming with monsters, dungeons, and other players. Collect pets that allot bonuses to experience, movement speed, and more. Or ride you pet for faster travel. Learn a craft and create your own weapons, armor, accessories, and alchemy, using resources collected from around the world. Level from one to forty and compete in PvP arenas, or crawl through dungeons with your friends.
ELOA Key Features:
- Plenty of options - Start by choosing one of 4 playable classes (Knight, Mage, Gunner, and Psychic) and 3 races (Kartu, Liru, and Sapiens).
- Unique 3 Weapon System - Each class has access to 3 weapon types and each has their own set of skills. Players can switch between these at will.
- Transcendence System - Upon reaching level 40 players begin gaining Transcendence points which they can use to further customize their character.
- Built in Encyclopedia - Excellent in game encyclopedia that reveals monster information, drops, and more.
- Pet System - Pets can be used as mounts and have useful skills (Repairs, auto pick up loot, etc). Pets can be upgraded and evolved.
- Crafting Options - 4 Types of craft skills (Weapons, Armor, Alchemists, and Accessory).
Warlords Awakening Screenshots
ELOA Featured Video
Warlords Awakening Review
By, Sean Sullivan
I’m a longtime fan of top-down action RPG’s. Diablo I and Ragnarok Online were two early MMO’s that I sunk hundreds of hours into, and I still wrap myself in nostalgia for those games. So when I learned about ELOA I was excited. Far from being a new game, ELOA released in Korea in the beginning of 2014, under the title ELOA. As usual the West had to wait for Eastern gamers to have their fill. But, with the release of open beta I could find out if another Korean game was worth selling my soul to. Just a heads up, ELOA had a bit of drama during the early bits of its Western release. The game originally launched as Inspirit Online by Game Release Entertainment, but Game Release had no legal license to the game, which Npicsoft owned. Npicsoft partnered with Webzen and brought the game "officially" to the West on October 13, 2015 (Open Beta). The Webzen version shut down later and the game was picked up by GamenGame.
Beginning with character creation I was amped to create my idealized waifu; no more OKcupid for me. You choose your gender and one of three races: Kartu, Liru, and Sapiens. They could be appropriately renamed: Human, Lolli, and Elf/Draenei—something else. Designing your character consists of choosing between 20 hair styles, 28 predesigned faces, and 21 eyes. While it seems limiting—lacking sliders found in most contemporary MMORPGs— there are enough features to distinguish your character.
The art style is reminiscent of Nexon’s Dragon Nest, another anime focused aesthetic that offers a similar character creation system. Scrolling through the faces I couldn’t help but laugh at how fearful or blasé their expressions are, while others have squinty eyes typically reserved for Boulder, Colorado. I was surprised that the developers chose to include heterochromia as an option; but considering South Korea’s obsession with plastic surgery I shouldn’t be too baffled (Seoul is the world capital of plastic surgery). But ELOA is a top-down game, so your appearance isn’t a focal point unless you choose to zoom in. I chose my skin color and the right shade of hair, before selecting a class.
There are four classes to choose from: Knight, Mage, Gunner, and Psychic. From the character creation menu each one has a corresponding attribute graph to help you judge the classes particular play style. While the knight is defensive-oriented, the mage focuses on offensive damage. And each class has three distinct battle styles that you’ll be using throughout the game. I chose Sorcerer, because magic attacks have looked the coolest since Ragnarok Online’s Lord of Vermillion spell.
Walking With A Click
Navigating the map is a matter of right clicking terrain, similar to Dibalo 3, so WASD lovers may need to turn around. You can use the arrow keys to move, as all your skills are bound to the left-side of your keyboard. But it’s a control scheme I haven’t been able to tolerate in over a decade. The camera angle is locked, as is typical in an action RPG, whether it be Pillars of Eternity or YS. Skills are bound "1-4" and "Q-R" with "A" designated as your basic attack, or you can right click. Because it's a top down game lining up your basic attack with "A" is difficult and I don’t recommend trying. You’ll often miss, and it feels discombobulated as you try and negotiate moving around the battlefield while launching attacks.
Of all of Inspirit’s features, combat is where it shines. Each class has three battle stances that can be changed at any time. As a mage my stances are ignition, ice, and nemesis. Stances are bound to “F1,” “F2,” and “F3” respectively. Or you can press “~” to cycle through stances. Every ability serves a purpose for particular situations. My first ice move is a glacial hammer that crashes enemy craniums, but only from a short distance. Whereas the fire move "Burning Fire" hurtles fireballs in a wide arc in front of my character. I often started with my electric moves, stunning enemies in their place before knocking them back with Flame Ring. Cycling through movesets in the middle of combat optimized my attacks and allowed me to punish enemies who stood in my way.
The ability to change between elemental attacks—or stances on other classes—feels like switching between skills trees in any other MMORPG. Prudence warned me that end game combat will be complicated. Nine moves in each stance makes the potential for 27 hotkeyed abilities to cycle through, once all skills are unlocked. That doesn’t mean they’ll all be useful. Perfectionist players will narrow down the perfect rotation early on and omit unnecessary movesets, but the potential for a varied skill set makes for an interesting combat system I thoroughly enjoyed playing.
It’s a system designed for multiple enemies, and mob-pulls reflect the notion. Like Metin2, mobs are not single creatures but groups tagged together. Attacking one goblin brings the whole village to defend their honor. It’s clear that PvP will consist of knowing exactly which combination of stances to survive, lending to a high skill cap. But combat is not perfect, and I had a small issue.
There is a weird animation when entering combat I found off-putting. The transition from running to attacking looks like a frame being skipped; the transition animation doesn’t exist. Your avatar goes from light-jog to baseball-pitch-fireball throw instantaneously. It’s jarring to the eyes, and is more noticeable when using “A” to launch attacks than right-click.
It's A Purple World
Starting off,the world is shrouded in an orchid mist, giving every object a royal purple haze. Every instanced zone is covered in the same veil, and while it does add to the fantastical aesthetics, in the same way as Trine II, it becomes repetitive. But you do escape the royal crown after the first three zones, finally greeted by a lush autumn forest—still inhabited primarily by fungi. But the auburn world is only an instanced zone, and you’re quickly thrust back into the phlox forests. It comes across as lazy, and the varying aesthetic in dungeons clashes with the otherwise ubiquitous presentation. If a dungeon is located in the same forest, shouldn't it be of the same aesthetic? Apparently not. While I don't despise the environments, and found them pleasant enough, the same labyrinthian layout for every zone wore down my patience.
But adventuring the tinted purple world to strumming guitars and violins set to a whimsical overture is overwhelmingly charming, and fits the anime theme well. Then the fast rhythm guitar in instances, straight from FLCL, amped me up for the dungeon grind. It’s a soothing soundtrack I highly recommend listening to. But the happy-go-lucky music is juxtaposed as black humor against all the children and newlyweds murdered by ogres in Inspirit’s forests.
What Did You Say?
The NA/EU open beta did just release, so I’m not surprised to find that the voice acting in the game has not been translated to English. Although I am a smug purist, so I prefer the Korean dialogue so that I can’t tell if the acting is good or bad. They did manage to translate the opening cinematic, an odd touch. Quest text is in English so you can still play without issue. But, some of the text is wonky, bleeding over the edges of the UI or formatted in an odd way. But overall, it’s bearable and nothing stands out as being overtly ridiculous.
Searching For The Philosopher's Stone
There are four spheres of crafting: Accessories, Armor, Weapons, and Alchemy. You can only learn one trade at a time, but you can change trades later on if you’re disappointed. I decided to learn alchemy since I was a mage, and I burned through mana like a Catholic housewife through lottery tickets. Some of the recipes seemed a bit odd, and don’t even try to correlate with our own reality; to craft a small HP potion simply grind up some gold and iron ore with your mortar and pestle. Annoyingly enough, you can only practice your craft at the appropriate NPC, so there’s no whipping up potions on the fly. And that somewhat defeats the purpose of alchemy as I can’t make myself potions before entering a dungeon. I have to travel back to town and talk to Shuban, the old man wasting my time. Practicing alchemy doesn't earn you experience in the craft either. Instead, you pay gold to unlock the next level of recipes, akin to Dibalo 3’s jewelry system.
Can We Name Him Kitty?
Pets are not mere decorations you leash to your character as a cutesy addition; they serve an important purpose in ELOA, buffing your abilities. Pressing “L” will call up your pet box, where you equip a desired pet after hatching it from an egg. The game awards you Tough Meru in the tutorial, a lamb that made me think about dinner, that when leashed grants bonus attack power and HP absorption. Each pet grants its own bonuses. And your pets grow by feeding them food, leveling up with the more food you give them. At level 10 two pets can be combined, a la potara style, to create a stronger, rarer pet.
Pets are also rather handy as you obliterate the goblin population. Pets will pick up fallen loot for you—a handy collector so you can focus on the grind. By pressing “F5” you can mount your pet for faster travel. My docile bear somehow grew ten times his size to let me hop on, but I didn’t let the discontinuity bother me.
Open Your Wallets
For a free-to-play title profiting off its cash shop, the selection in ELOA is lacking. But that’s because before OBT, pay-to-win elements were removed from the shop to create fair gameplay. It’s an odd reversal of what you would expect for a game opening to the general public. In the shop you’ll find surprise gift boxes, experience bonuses, cosmetics, and crafting scrolls. All of the items function as conveniences, rather than obvious advantages. But for a charming title, Inspirit needs more kawaii outfits. I guarantee they’re added soon.
Final Verdict - Great
ELOA is not an industry innovator, but it is a polished presentation of familiar elements. Although the stance-based combat system does make fighting sequences engaging and fun as you grind mobs, it’s not enough to create a series that will necessarily enjoy longevity. It’s a charming package. I’ll be playing for a while.
Warlords Awakening Videos
Warlords Awakening System Requirements
Operating System: Windows XP or newer
CPU: Pentium 4 / Dual Core
Video Card: GeForce 7600+
RAM: 1 GB
Hard Disk Space: 4 GB
Operating System: Windows XP or newer
CPU: Pentium 4 / Dual Core 1 GHz+
Video Card: GeForce 8000 Series+
RAM: 2 GB
Hard Disk Space: 4 GB
Warlords Awakening Music & Soundtrack
Warlords Awakening Additional Information
Western Release Date: October 13, 2015 (Webzen Open Beta)
Foreign Release Date:
South Korea: Q1, 2014 (Published by Netmarble)
Webzen Closure: November 08, 2016
Game&Game Closed Beta: November 13, 2016
Game&Game Open Beta: November, 17 2016
Game & Game Shut Down Date: August 11, 2017
Playwith Interactive Relaunch (As Warlords Awakening): August 1, 2018
Shut Down: June 28, 2019
Development History / Background:
ELOA, called Elite Lord of Alliance (ELOA) in Korea, was developed by the South Korean MMO developer Esta Games and NPICSoft. It began its closed beta testing in South Korea back in Q3 2013 and released into commercial service in Q1 2014. Game Release Entertainment licensed ELOA for international release in and its closed beta began on June 26, 2015. The international version from Game Release Entertainment (GR-Ent) has no IP blocks in place except for a Korean IP block. Despite what Game Release Entertainment claimed, they had no license to the game and their version, called Inspirit Online, was actually an illegal private server. The official version was brought to Western gamers through Webzen on October 13, 2015.
Webzen shut down ELOA on November 08, 2016, but the game was picked up by portal service Game&Game—which launched closed beta testing on November 10, 2016 and lasted until November 13, 2016. GamenGame shut down the service for ELOA on August 11, 2017.
The game relaunched as Warlords Awakening on August 1, 2018 as a buy to play title through Playwith Interactive as the new developer and publisher. The game was shut down on June 28, 2019.