Do you love PVP but hate the leveling grind associated with most MMO’s today? If so, then Forge is definitely the game that you need to play. Forge is a fast paced online arena game that emphasizes a player’s skill over everything else. Classic selection Screen, displaying a notable Pathfinder skill. Upon booting up Forge, I decided to play the Pathfinder class, which is a ranged, energy based damage dealer. The Pathfinder is similar to a traditional hunter or scout from other MMO’s, using a bow and traps to quickly eliminate enemies. I found that I was most effective when positioned behind my team, preferably somewhere elevated where I had the opportunity to reign damage down on my foes. This skyward positioning also provided me with the field of vision that allowed me to call out the positions of enemies to assist my teammates. Further, due to the Pathfinders relative inability to absorb large amounts of damage, I found placing myself behind my team offered me the best survivability. When faced with one on one combat, I found myself kiting and trying to slowly chip down the other player’s health, while limiting the amount of damage they could do to me. I found it extremely helpful to place traps at choke points approaching my location if I knew I was going to stay stationary for a long period of time. With that being said however, I came to learn that with the play style of Forge, repositioning and getting the jump on your enemy is key. Optimal positioning for Pathfinder, behind teamates dealing tons of damage. Other classes are a different story, as I found as a Pyromancer trying to use the terrain to my advantage was key to ambushing enemies. Their ability to also deal large amounts of damage means a players must be smart in choosing when to fight, when to block and when to flee. Against all enemies, your cooldowns must be timed appropriately. Most abilities have fairly long cooldowns, so blowing all of them on one target can leave you extremely vulnerable for the next few seconds. Overall, I found both Pathfinder and Pyromancer classes to be an extremely fun while requiring a fairly low level of skill to play and enjoy, but a large amount of skill to master and dominate with. The play style of the Assassin, a melee energy class, was drastically different. As with most rogue-like classes in mmo’s, timing is everything. You must learn when to use your stuns, who to use them on, and wait for just the right moment to pop out of stealth and assassinate your target. The assassin has one very unique ability that allows the player to take their target into the realm of shadows, basically creating a one on one combat environment. This skill can be used to take damage dealers away from a fight or to rip tanks away from the front lines, exposing the rather squishy targets behind them. Another great strategy is to steal the enemy healer, which leaves their team to quickly die without healing support. I found that each of these options are viable choices, but the true nature of the ability adds a very high skill cap to this class, as the player must decide who to remove from the fight and when to assist their team in the greatest way. Assassin taking enemy pathfinder into the realm of shadows. The combat in Forge is unlike most mmo’s in the sense that there is no auto-lock targeting system, and all abilities are “skill shots” aimed by the player. This not only adds to the skill cap of the game, but also increases the level of fun as it breaks free from the standard ‘sit in one position and cast at an auto-locked target’ gameplay style that seems to be too common in MMOs. Also it gives the player the ability to utilize their own jukes and other dodging methods when it comes to avoiding incoming spells. There is also a blocking system which allows the player to block incoming spells and attacks, however it reduces your movement speed and prevents the player from casting any spells while also decreasing their resource generation for a short period of time. Overall, combat feels smooth and natural, and as a veteran of the arena style game I can personally say I thoroughly enjoyed it. The maps in Forge give the player the ability to choose where they position themselves, and good players must utilize elevation skillfully. Roof and tree tops are a viable option to gain a vantage point on your enemy, and I often found myself rotating between the same few places on maps because they we’re exactly what I needed while playing the Pathfinder. The developers created well positioned spots for all classes near choke points that create a balance, truly allowing the outcome of a match to be determined by the skill of a player. On the melee side of things, there are many objects that are usable for cover to protect yourself while moving up the battle field, as well as the ability to sprint, and block incoming spells. Overall this adds to the game’s skillcap, as it creates a whole new aspect for the player to make decisions and show off their true skill with their favourite class. While the maps were well designed and the objectives well placed, I found that they were somewhat difficult to learn as there is no way in-game to get a bird’s eye view. This is my one problem with Forge, as it was easy to get lost and thus unable to find your way into the area where the current team fight was underway. With experience this slowly fades away, but for new players, a bird’s eye view would be very beneficial. Warden using invulnerability to tank damage. From a technical standpoint, Forge is a great package overall. I found both the graphics and sound quality extremely high for something that ran well on my middle-of-the-line computer with no problems whatsoever. The lighting and shadows were done very nicely and spell animations crisp and clean. The sound design was well done, and the overall experience was well above average for a game of this genre and nature. Simply put, Forge is a great game. Not only does it eliminate the grind found in most MMO’s, the classes are balanced, the combat is fresh, and the maps are well designed. It is the complete package for a gamer looking for a competitive MMO experience. Summary + Quick and informative tutorial + Fun and balanced classes + No grinding + Fun combat + Great graphics and sound quality – Traversing maps can be confusing at first Final Verdict: Forge is a must-play game for anyone looking for a competitive skill based MMO.