Even four years in early access were apparently not enough for Wolcen: When the developers released their Diablo clone on February 13th to the gaming community, the servers suddenly crashed under the onslaught. Online games are hardly possible in the first few days, plus annoying mistakes that even spoil the complete progress of some buyers. The developers pull the emergency brake, temporarily shut down the servers, apply hotfixes and then limit access. Because there is also a lack of communication (after all, not everyone is on Twitter!), The displeasure of the players increases, and user ratings decrease rapidly. And still: Wolcen is a real surprise hit! At times, more than 100,000 players are logged on to Steam at the same time, so the French Hack & Slay keeps up in the top field for more than a week, In the test for Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem, we clarify why and what problems the indie game currently has.
Note: Our test video is in progress and will be submitted shortly!
The fact that Wolcen was originally called Umbra and was originally intended to be an ambitious action role-playing game with an open world, free camera and complex crafting does not show in the finished game. Rather, the developers make generous use of the competition, which means that Wolcen playfully places himself somewhere between Diablo 3 and Path of Exile – everyone has to decide for themselves whether this is an advantage or disadvantage. The most noticeable plus point of Wolcen is the good graphics, which are based on the Cryengine and clearly depend on their competitors: You can expect richly detailed environments, clean textures, beautiful lighting and rich magic effects, and the almost 20 hours long campaign with lots of cutscenes in game graphics garnished.
Source: PC games
As a disgraced soldier (or soldier) you knock yourself into it through a trashy action that draws neatly from the fantasy moth box: set pieces from The Lord of the Rings, Warhammer and Diablo are bravely merged here into a plot that is never really exciting is, but is hardly worse compared to the competition. With chic locations, good English speakers and a few decent boss fights, Wolcen's campaign can even score points here and there! Another highlight is the orchestral soundtrack, which underlines the dark atmosphere class. Too bad, however, that the game chases us through the action in strictly linear ways, there are no side quests, factions or decision-making moments here Grim Dawn clear ahead,
Hands-on video: Umbra used to look so different!
Good foundations, barren transformation
Click dead monsters, bag loot and watch the experience bar as it grows, then dash into town via the town portal, sell loot and back into action – Wolcen has learned the basics well! The battles against the monster hordes look great thanks to massive animations and play nicely brisk: For example, your hero can play a dodge role at the touch of a button to avoid attacks. Melee fighters also automatically attack enemies on request, while mages enjoy standard attacks that jump over multiple enemies. In short: the action is not original, but feels good from the first click.
A specialty of Wolcen should actually be the opportunity to transform into one of four huge monster figures. However, the feature was so cropped in the course of development that it hardly makes any sense: If we turn into a giant demon or angel of death, it looks cool, but unfortunately our predefined attacks in this form are simply too weak. So, the transformation feature is at best only able to make yourself invulnerable for a moment, should it get hot.
The talents: flexible, but also simple
Source: PC games
The developers have dispensed with a fixed class system, instead, new talents are simply dropped as loot, similar to Path of Exile. You can switch your skills in and out at any time, this invites you to experiment. Nice: The talents level up over time and unlock modifiers with which you can adjust the effect a little. Unfortunately, these effects turn out to be rather unspectacular: Where most of the abilities can be visually changed in Diablo 3 or Path of Exile, many modifiers in Wolcen are limited to the status values, for example a higher chance of critical hits or lower resource costs. That would have been more exciting.
The choice of active talents is only limited by the type of weapon: If you put on daggers, bows or pistols, you can access ranged rogue talents, while magicians are reliant on staffs or corresponding off-hand items to be able to do magic. Melee can choose between one and two-handed weapons, combinations with a shield or two one-handed weapons are also possible. Mixed classes such as a pistol ice mage, a necromancer archer or a warrior villain are also feasible, but the options here are much more limited than with Grim Dawn or Path of Exile.
Source: PC games
Skilltree inspires experimentation
Wolcen also copied his passive talent tree from the latter. It is not quite as extensive as the competition, but it is still big enough to support a lot of playing styles. In addition, the skill tree is divided into several slices, which you can rotate as you like to arrange the network of status improvements and according to your wishes. So you simply choose what suits your style of play: Increased life regeneration, higher block chance, larger pool of resources and much more are available, up to powerful special effects such as stackable attack bonuses, life suction, poison auras or a strengthening effect that is different according to the armor you put on. Great: For a small fee, you can also reset your points at any time.
Source: PC games
However, some of the passive bonuses don't seem to go to the end: When released, the warrior effect "Bane of Tyranny" was still overpowering, only the patch 1.0.4 weakened it to a reasonable level. Other advantages, on the other hand, have little to no effect, in some forums players complain about broken or weak talent, which becomes a problem especially in the end game. Pet classes like a necromancer can hardly be played properly at high levels. It's a lot easier as a melee, because here you basically just have to level up the active talent "Bleeding Edge" and combine it with the right equipment, and your opponents will fall like flies. The developers now have to work hard and ensure that other builds will become more important in the future!
Source: PC games
There is still a lot to do in the loot system. Wolcen throws us regularly with white, blue and yellow items, so a loot filter would have been desirable. We did not encounter any set items in the entire test, but there are at least legendary items (orange) and unique items (purple) that only drop more frequently in the endgame. The highest-quality items can also be purchased for a lot of gold from a randomly appearing dealer, although this is rarely really worth it: In the test, we examined about two dozen unique items and found that only a few had special effects with which one could play would effectively be turned inside out. For example, one time we found a villain weapon that doubled all projectiles – a cool effect, but it seems to be the exception, because the rest were limited to any status bonuses that are sometimes more, sometimes less useful. It is a pity that the developers were no longer inspired by Diablo 3, which only really took off with the Loot 2.0 system!