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The tedious quest for okay loot: Impressions of 'The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot'

Three heroes standing on a pile of gold, how can that be boring?
Three heroes standing on a pile of gold, how can that be boring?

Author’s Note: The Mighty Quest is currently in open beta. As such, many of the points brought up in this impressions article are likely to change.

The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot is a free to play online action RPG developed and published by Ubisoft that proposes an interesting twist to the usual loot grind. What if instead of sending your adventurer through a series of premade or randomly generated dungeons, you could go through a limitless assortment of modular floating castles lovingly designed by your fellow players to be the most anguish-inducing deathtraps they can afford? It’s an interesting proposition, one that’s definitely worth humoring despite a few problems emerging as it transitions from idea to game. Unfortunately at the time of writing, it’s also one that lacks any sort of long-term longevity.

To be fair, designing castles and filling them full of monsters and traps, the game’s approach to Player vs Player combat, is pretty fun once you get the hang of it. There’s always one more tweak you can make to ensure uninvited guests have an absolutely dreadful time navigating your lair of doom. Shame the castle-building aspect is currently married to an action RPG that’s just not particularly engrossing. Functional to be sure, but eventually the game get dull once things get going. Regretfully not even the game’s Shrek-like humor is enough to relieve the tedium once you’ve heard the Earl of Evil aka the Wizard ask if you “can smell what the Earl is cooking” for the eighth time.

On paper, Mighty Quest covers the basics. Chose a hero from one of currently four classes, storm the castles of rival players, get neat-looking loot, level up to increase your abilities, then do it all over again. The classes appear to be reasonably balanced and each full of personality. Thus far, character class selection covers the basic RPG trinity with the brutish melee-focused Knight, swift-footed Archer, and spell-slinging Wizard. Meanwhile the rock-and-roll-themed Runaway mixes up the established formula with a mix of mid-ranged spells and brutal agility-based melee attacks. Sounds like a solid foundation for some classic dungeon-crawling fun right? Well, yes and no.

Unfortunately things start to fall apart when the game finally gets to the fine details. Characters have an average of twelve abilities split between three skill trees and advancement occurs along a completely linear path snaking through all three of them with no deviation. There is no real customization beyond picking which three active skills you take with you on dungeon runs, no specialization at all, and the skills themselves are mixed in terms of utility. Meanwhile the loot does not fare much better, at least not esthetically. To be sure there is a definite feeling of progression as far as statistics go but regretfully the armor for each class is just a different variant on the same theme, the same outfit but with slightly different colors. The same sense of visual progression one sees in games like Diablo or Torchlight is just simply not there. In the Mighty Quest, the most significant sign of progress you’ll see is when you finally complete your first set of armor so your character can stop raiding castles in their underwear.

Finally, the ultimate question, just how free is “free to play?” For The Mighty Quest, free is best described as “better then some but worse then others.” The previously mentioned Runaway is only available after buying a fifteen-dollar “Attacker Pack” which otherwise does little and unlocking additional characters after your initial selection costs approximately nine dollars US in gem-like “Blings” per character. Other then that, the game is actually relatively reasonable when it comes to the “nickel and dime” transactions. The item shop does not sell any equipment more powerful then what you can find while playing the game, just the usual experience and resource production boosts that are typical of most free to play games.

It’s unfortunate that at the end of the day, The Mighty Quest’s greatest flaw is that it is simply unremarkable despite its intriguing premise. But regretfully a good dungeon-building simulator can only shine so much if it’s married to a fairly humdrum action RPG. Time will tell if it will become a worthwhile action RPG but for the moment it’s better viewed as a way to pass the time until Torchlight 2 goes on a Steam Sale or Blizzard has a price drop on the inevitable Diablo 3 Deluxe Edition…

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