In recent years, high-end downloadable free to play online games is a growing business and sub-category among passionate MMO gamers. Fly-for-Fun, EVE:ONline, Last Chaos, and others make up the list of games increasingly appealing to players with low budgets, but love for the MMO experience as much as paying players (such as Guild Wards, World of Warcraft and Everquest to name a few).
Equipped with a 2003-built machine, the author was able to find not only 8 games to play totally for free, but all from the same gaming portal site, Aeria Games. However, that is not to say, “Go to Aeria now!!” or other sales-like banter trying to speed new players to Aeria’s already overflowing ranks of 12 million global members. Below is merely an account of what the author had to go through (or didn’t) in order to enjoy an easily available portfolio of games with the least amount of trouble possible.
The author is the proud owner of a computer built around an ASUS P4P800 motherboard, mounted with a Pentium 4 2.0 Ghz processor, 1 Gigabyte of high-speed DDR-RAM, a GeForce 7800 AGP video card with 512 Megabytes of on-board video RAM, and a hard drive of several hundred Gigabytes (installed after a fatal crash in 2005). In addition, the author is fortunate to play his online games using a Broadband Internet connection in an apartment complex with few broadband subscribers.
Not being an expert on computer configurations, over-clocking, tweaking of hardware or other technical know-how to bend the limits of his machine, the author is nonetheless an avid MMO gamer. You should also know that the author is also not well to do enough to buy a newer machine. Despite this, the following test was made using an old Aeria Games account, sacrificing a few dozen Gigabytes of hard disk space, a hard disk clean up and ‘defrag’, and a week of simultaneous downloading of the company’s leading games.
After successfully installing each game, the author proceeded to test which game(s) would run the fastest, which one(s) had difficulty, and which one(s) would not run at all. Here are the results:
Dream of Mirror Online (“DOMO”)
- Symptoms: No slowdown whatsoever, could run several (3) programs in the background of Windows (virus protection software, Bit Torrent downloads, etc.)
- Verdict: Fine
Dynasty Warriors Online (“DWO”)
- Symptons: Will add this info when I d/l and play the game October 14~
- Verdict: TBA
Grand Fantasia (“GF”)
- Symptoms: Slowdown when run on the maximum graphical settings, but improved greatly when set to medium/low settings
- Verdict: Tolerable, but having too many things on-screen made it very slow for half-seconds, frequent deaths occurring mid-animation was frustrating.
Kingdom Heroes (“KH”)
- Symptoms: A lot of slowdown when run on max in-game visual settings, but turning off settings for distance rendering, water, model detail and environment animation relieved some of the slowdown
- Verdict: Unplayable. Desire to enjoy the visual and graphical fullness of KH was unfulfilled, and under my current system’s status, not worth my time.
Kitsu Saga (“KS”)
- Symptons: Ran just a tad slower than GF (being that they are similar games), but KS did require a couple hundred megahertz more than its cousin, resulting in quite a bit of slowdown on full graphics settings. Other than that, it played fine and setting graphics lower + a high-speed internet connection resulted in a pretty good time. Besides, it wasn’t the graphics that attracted me to it – it was the foxes and the hope that it would be a better game than GF (but I still love GF)
- Verdict: Very playable if you’re willing to sacrifice a little bit of graphics, but you will still need a pretty stable Internet connection.
Last Chaos (“LC”)
- Symptoms: Some noticeable slowdown when the screen filled with 20 or more enemies/players, but runs smoothly with less on-screen models
- Verdict: Tolerable, plays fine the way it is if you accept the fact you may take a few hits during a flurry
Legendary Champions (“LGC”)
- Symptoms: Kind of a mix between GF and KH – graphics aren’t that great to begin with but dumbing them down didn’t really seem to make a huge visual difference, but for my machine, decreased the slowdown a lot but still choppy. PVP was pretty intense even with a high speed Internet connection, but to be expected with all the pking and pwning.
- Verdict: Somewhat playable, but a better machine would do wonders. CB was a PVP fest, OB will hopefully have less PVP orgies and a better chance to enjoy the scenery and questing with a few people.
- Symptoms: Very similar performance to that of LC, but some spell casting and glowing weapons’ animations slowed down when used simultaneously by multiple characters
- Verdict: Tolerable, similar to LC
Shin Megami Tensei (“Megaten”)
- Symptoms: Too many people/enemies on screen made it choppy, and keeping up with party coordination was somewhat belated and not good for teamwork
- Verdict: Tolerable, with some hesitance to play in coop battle. Okay if I go it alone.
Twelve Sky 2 (“12Sky2”)
- Symptoms: Smooth play for the most part, reduced graphical settings improved play and animations, but coop-play and quests with 20+ enemies were very difficult to survive
- Verdict: Acceptable-to-near-Tolerable, actually similar to Kingdom Heroes but the simplicity of the 3-d models used probably reduced the burden on my computer
Wolf Team (“WT”)
- Symptoms: Smooth play until more than 5 people are on screen, then accuracy and movement is strained and choppy even after reducing settings.
- Verdict: Tolerable but your kill-death ratio due to slowdown, packet loss and ping rate (broadband connection or higher is highly recommended) may suffer greatly