Anime role-playing game Stella Fantasy has fully launched – a rarity in the web3 world – without requirements to pay or sign in with a crypto wallet. Polemos game expert Cavan “Caveman” Roe takes a look at what’s available.
With yesterday’s launch, web3 action RPG Stella Fantasy is clearly positioning itself ahead of anime competitor Honkai: Star Rail, due for release on April 26.
Stella Fantasy, made by South Korean studio Ring Games, is similar to web2 games such as Genshin Impact, Final Fantasy XIV, and Black Desert Online in terms of genre, setting, and graphics.
This free-to-play game requires no wallet to sign up and was probably the easiest onboarding for a fully live web3 game I have seen to date. You can download the game (Windows only) by visiting the official website. Players can also purchase NFTs to enhance their gameplay experience.
You are the anime protagonist who just woke up in an unknown world, having lost your memory. The aim of the game is to explore, hunt, craft, trade, and interact with other players and characters while trying to regain your memories and save a priestess.
Players can also develop their own part of this virtual world by building and customizing their own frontier town.
The basic setting for the game is a multiverse where mana flows and creates dimensional gates called Abyss Rifts. Players can explore these rifts to discover different worlds and civilizations.
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The blockchain integration involves crafting and trading NFTs (unique digital assets). These NFTs can be unique items, skills, pets, mounts, and more. The game uses the Binance Smart Chain.
When I first jumped into the game I was met with the marketing trailer intro, which is quite stunning and has a solid soundtrack that gets you ready to save the world.
Text, and more text
There is a lot of text dialog setting up the scene and lore of the game. This was fine for me as I grew up playing a lot of Japanese RPGs before voice acting came along, but I could see some players quickly losing interest with how much text you will have to read. The game can feel more like you are reading a manga than playing a game at some points.
Once you get through the dialog you control a squad of up to four characters, all with very unique skill kits in fast paced action battles. With 15 characters there are quite a few possibilities to set up your crew.
The battles are engaging, but short. There are time limits to finish the battle, which I felt took some of the fun out of the game and reduced the skill cap. Even if you land all the abilities and dodge all the attacks, there are battles you just can’t win because you are not strong enough. This is, in effect, a huge paywall. It really hurts at this point because you start to see all these incredible abilities and skills, but can’t push very far.
The need to buy in
The only way to pass those levels is to level up or buy new characters, and levelling up seems almost impossible without a fourth person in your squad, which you have to buy. A community member mentioned that there is a free fourth character if you can make it to a later stage of the story line, however making it that far seems unlikely to me without laying out some money.
So the question is did this game get me hooked enough to buy a fourth character? The current price for the cheapest character in the game’s token amounts to $95. I am right on the edge.
For me, it’s not enough. The effective paywall I am running into means that as a highly competitive player, I will hold out until there is more incentive to join. Perhaps competing directly against other humans, PvP, could pull me back in, but until then I’m happy to wait on the sidelines.