I missed the first Cabal. I’m not sure why, but it just never crossed my gaming vision. From what I’ve been seeing said in Cabal 2, I wish I’d given it a try, it sounds like something I would have enjoyed. Cabal 2 is an action oriented MMO, with fabulous visual effects, and a variety of things to do as you level up. Dungeon running, pvp, questing, grinding, portal hunting, it has something for nearly any action preferences. I recently spent some time giving it a spin, and came away with a pretty positive impression.
And I have made the Coolest. Character. Ever. I love how she looks. But you can probably guess that based on how many of the screenshots here are focused shots on her.. Mea culpa – I was too busy admiring her to take many other screenshots!
It was an easy download, and installed with no problems. It loads quickly upon opening, and thus far I’ve not had any problems with bugs, glitches, latency or framerate. The game website is easy to navigate, loads quickly, and account creation is quick and easy as well. All in all a passing grade for the backbone of getting to play.
Character generation is superb. I was really able to customize, and in game most everyone actually looks different from one another. Sure, I saw one or two other characters with the same hairstyle I had – but no clones anywhere to be seen. I spent a very long time in the character creator, happily playing with sliders and settings looking for just the perfect look – and that’s the way I like it. I’ve made a ton of characters, just to play around with new looks. But don’t worry if you just want to get to the playing – there are presets for quick selection.
My only real complaint is one I have with every game – I wish there were even more hairstyle options! But with Cabal 2 I do have to add a caveat that it’s got a fairly large selection comparatively. I only wish that game publishers would start providing hairstyle options of the same hairdo with or without bangs. I like to give characters in games updos to prevent clipping, and I hate the look of bangs. This usually only leaves me with one or two choices – and that’s the case with Cabal 2. It is, however, a personal preference. I can’t fault Cabal 2 for the options – there are plenty if you’re not limiting yourself so tightly. Two thumbs up on making a pretty character to run around the world.
Outfits are seriously lacking though. I’m assuming that will change with time, but for right now, there aren’t really many appearance choices. But aren’t I pretty? I really don’t think I’ve made a character I like the looks of as much as this one in a game before.
The UI is just the way I like it – simple, streamlined and without frills. There are no needless scrolls or designs, just clean lines and legible information. Everything I need is right there in easily seen view – I have yet to have to hunt up something I want to see, or wonder what a puzzling display indicates. Even the cash shop buttons are subtle. Don’t I normally rant and rave in this section? But in the case of Cabal 2, I really don’t have much to say other than well done.
You can see the UI in the shot above as I haven’t yet figured out how to remove it for screenshots, but here it is with more windows open. More UIs like this one, please.
Cabal 2 is first and foremost an action MMORPG. It is fast paced, and based around class combos. Early on the game is really easy, but as you progress in levels, player skill becomes more and more important – it is absolutely vital to know your combos inside and out, particularly with the more skill intensive classes like the force blader (which is a lot of fun!!!). Each class plays very differently, so it is one of those games where finding the one you enjoy the most will make a significant difference. I am much better with the priest, as I am pretty much a healer and buffer through and through, but I think I enjoy the force blader more even though I’m not very good with it. :)
You begin the game with a cut scene of your character and a young girl who is revealed to be your sister. No lone wolves in Cabal 2! Everyone is on the hunt for their missing sister. This is the first encounter with what becomes very aggravating as you make alts – there is no way to skip through the cut scenes. You’re forced to watch them over and over again with every new character. It puts a bit of a dent in my altatis.
Once the cutscene is finished, you’re thrown into a mass fight. This was very puzzling to me the first time through – the abilities you have when the fight begins have nothing to do with your class, and then after a certain length of time you suddenly and without warning switch to your class abilities. I was left floundering in confusion. Luckily the fight is not very difficult, so I simply mashed buttons until it was over. It’s really not a good start to a new game, and after I popped into the main game I was not feeling very hopeful.
I started to enjoy the game more once I was wandering around, however. The combo system is very well done. In order to reduce the amount of skills in your hotbars, each step in the combo chain simply alters the skills on your hotbar. So a simple 3 step linear chain would be pressing 3, 3, 3. As you progress in levels those chains spread out, particularly with the combo heavy classes like the force blader and force archer.
Animations and special effects are superb. Here is my priest in the process of wrapping snaring chains around an enemy so she can run away and safely snipe from a distance. It looks really beautiful in play.
Players familiar with traditional MMOs won’t have any trouble figuring out character progression in Cabal 2. It’s a pretty standard level to acquire new skills and attribute points system. With each level you acquire 3 attribute points, and these can be spent on various stats like damage, health, mana, critical accuracy, regen, etc. There are pvp specific stats, so it does seem as though pvp will require specific builds for viability, although I’ve not participated in the Cabal 2 pvp yet so I don’t know how much of a difference it makes. I do assume that it matters, however. I built 2 force bladers and 2 priests with different statting, and I did definitely notice a difference even by level 10.
I don’t have the time to devote to detailed testing at the end game (which I haven’t reached yet), but the difference was distinct enough that I am wondering how robust the system is, and whether there is ‘one build’ that is most effective, or if you can build based upon your preferences and playstyles. I am really hoping for the latter – customization systems seem rather extraneous when there is one path that is clearly more powerful than others. So far I’ve noticed the priest is much more linear than the force blader – the crit based priest is much, much more effective than the healing based priest as the crit priest deals more damage and heals more. It’s spiky, but clearly better. The force blader is much murkier and leaves the question open.
One thing that is really nice is there are different ways to progress. You can run dungeons, pvp, there is a main storyline, and for grinders like me there are plenty of repeatable quests and mini monster spawn abysmo portals that randomly pop up around the game world. I have one character leveling using the main storyline, another repeating dungeons, and a third just grinding the repeatable quests. The dungeon runner and grinder are tied for first, with the quester coming in dead last – but that shouldn’t surprise anyone who has read my reviews before.
I just love the abysmo portals and actively hunt them down whenever I see one. A smashable object that spawns swarms of monsters or a portal into a monster-packed instance? Count me in. Smash smash kill kill. They remind me a bit of rifts in RIFT, although they’re not nearly as flashy. I make sure to always have the repeatable quests for the abysmo portals in my journal!
Each character can only learn one crafting and one harvesting skill – it seems rather obvious to pick the harvesting that goes with your craft of choice. Harvesting is time based – simply go to the NPC and pick what you want to harvest, then wait for time to tick down. This is the only place I’ve seen noticeable pay to power in the game thus far – free players have to run all the way back to the crafting island in order to pick up their harvesting, but subscribers can do it from anywhere.
Items are instantly crafted, using a combination of harvested components as well as shards from deconstructed gear. The shards seem to be random, and each craft requires a hefty amount of them, so certain high end, desired shards are worth a very tidy bundle. You could probably get rich by focusing simply on running dungeons for gear to destroy to sell to crafters.
I don’t find the crafting system anything particularly exciting, but I do like the interplay between crafted and dropped gear. It seems like crafted gear is better overall, but in order to make the crafted gear you have to acquire dropped gear so the economy doesn’t seem to be flush with worthless items. Yet, at least. But it seems that the time it takes to harvest the harvesting components and the random shard type balances out the speedy acquisition of dungeon gear, which is great to see. Crafters and dungeon runners often seem to be at war over the value of gear, but in this game, as a crafter, I was as invested in the gear from dungeons as I was my crafting.
Although I will admit that the time block on harvesting is a bit annoying when I look at it from the standpoint of a player crafter rather than an overall economic view. It turns crafting into a kind of sideline rather than something to pursue full time. An organized guild would do very well with this system – choose one or two dedicated crafters of each type for the guild, and have everyone else feed them harvested materials.
I am a bit torn on the game’s community. On the one hand, the chats don’t seem to be filled with the noxious racism and cursing that is so common in games. On the other hand – well, as you can see in my screenshots, there is almost nothing but abbreviations. People seem to largely remain enclosed within their guilded communities, and I am really not fond of that mentality. I haven’t encountered griefers – but I haven’t interacted with anyone either. It’s a very lonely experience, but at least it is generally asshat free. There are bouts of conversation in heavily populated zones, so the trick to keeping abreast with the community in Cabal 2 is to keep up with the leveling curve.
Is Cabal 2 for you?
My overall response is positive. While there is nothing that jumps out to excite me, there is also nothing that jumps out to frustrate (aside from the dearth of fashion, but even a fashion queen like myself will admit that I can set aside my clotheshorse tendencies for a fun game). I am still playing it, so am likely to post more detailed impressions as I get more experience with it. It’s a good merge of a traditional MMO with an action game, and I very much appreciate that. Action games are a lot of fun, but so many of them stick you in instanced arcades, and I prefer an open world where I am interacting with other people. Cabal 2 does that very well. Add in the glorious character creation, and I have no real complaints. It does feel a bit dated due to the extreme ‘tunnel run’ style of the world creation, but it’s a solid game with no major flaws that I’ve experienced so far.
It is worth noting that I have yet to have an inventory problem – and that is really something.