For me, WarGaming are a company that create some of the world’s best war related games. World of Warships, World of Tanks, World of Warplanes… You get the idea. They’re all highly rated games, but they do have a niche – if you couldn’t tell from the titles, they’re very much a development company that enjoys a game based around war. However, there is a new game that they’ve recently published into Early Access – Pagan Online, developed by Mad Head Games.
A Venture into the Unknown
It’s brave, for WarGaming, to publish something that they don’t have so much experience in, but I think they’ve got a banker in Pagan Online. The story is pretty good and has plenty of different points to it, with probably over forty or fifty hours of gameplay in it. Some of it is a bit grindy, but overall, the underlying story is a lot of fun to play through. What impressed me most, which I didn’t really expect, is the story is broken into nice little chunks, that you can do as you please. As someone that has recently enjoyed dipping in and out of games lately, I can approach the story when I want to, even replaying parts to get better recipes and items.
There are some pretty good mechanics within Pagan Online too, with a solid crafting system and, something you don’t see enough of these days, actual mechanics to defeat bosses. All too much lately I’ve noticed that boss battles have become a bit more button bashing to attack the boss, with some occasional dodging or hiding required to prevent you from dying, but it’s different in Pagan Online. Without wanting to spoil it for people who haven’t actually hit a boss yet, they all seem to have different thinking to beat them and it’s a refreshing breath of fresh air.
There’s also a lot of really brilliant scenery in the game, with loads of distinct battlefields and locations to explore. Each one is well crafted and feels fairly populated as well, giving the world you’re fighting to protect some real life and a proper vibrant feeling. The developers have really thought of everything – from scorched Earth to Winter wonderlands, fighting your way through everything is terrific fun.
The Dark Unknown
Something that was a tad confusing in Pagan Online was the character choice. At no point are you told that your first character is your only character for a good while. There are eight characters overall, although five are locked behind a grind-wall, and as soon as you pick one of the three available characters, that’s it for quite some time. You will have to spend a significant amount of time grinding in order to play as a different character. There isn’t any “try before you buy” option either, you just pick one and if you don’t like it, well you’re bang out of luck. I can definitely understand having a few characters locked away, but preventing paying players to access content they’ve paid for is a little dodgy to me.
It doesn’t end there with the dodginess either. I do know that they’ve said there won’t be any micro transactions in Pagan Online, and there are currently no micro transactions in the game, but… It is primed and ready for micro transactions. Now I would hate to be seen as putting words into the mouths of the developers, and it may be completely coincidental that a lot of their game looks like it would lean towards having micro transactions in it, but in my experience, it’s not. Give it a year, and we shall see what direction the developers took.
The Final Word
Pagan Online is one of those games that I can’t recommend purely because it’s in Early Access. They’re asking for a good chunk of change in return for their game, and I think that in its current state, it’s not worth it. There’s a lot missing, and with it looking quite micro transaction-y, it’s one for the “wait and see” pile. There’s a lot of potential there, but until it’s fully realised, and a direction has been set in stone, I’d avoid it.