A Look at Riders of Icarus

By: Althea "Briseadh" Damgaard | Views: 325

I enjoyed this game enough when I got into some of the closed beta testing that I decided I would buy a founders pack. This may not be my primary game, but it will be one of the games I will have in my bag of entertainment for some time. It’s like old school with a twist of a brand new world and a new way of enhancing your character. The systems are refreshing while having a comforting design that us long time gamers have seen and may have missed depending on what games we gravitated to.

Initial Overview

One of the first things I liked was the choice of standard or action mode for your game play. Over the years I’ve grown from standard movement to what has been dubbed as the action mode. Older games could be played without using the mouse much at all other than an easier way to turn your camera and character how you want. Newer games include needing the mouse to do some of your attacks. I find I like action mode even on the classes they say work better in standard mode thanks to my experiences in Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) and Black Desert Online (BDO) where the mouse is used for a combination of things while fighting. I’m still working on remembering to set my pet to guard mode before closing the familiar screen so I don’t have to reopen it or hit ‘insert’ to change the mode I am in. Thankfully knowing the key that changes it quick helps and if you don’t like the default key-bindings, you can always change them.

The thing I had to change the keybind on was the run/walk toggle.  It was the ‘/’ key. Yes, that blocky rectangle is supposed to be the ‘/’ key. A lot of my guild mates changed it just so it was readable, but there is a greater reason to do so. If you don’t hit enter first and then type /g to get into guild chat, it slams you into walk mode. It can get you stuck in walk mode, at least in the early access it happened to several of us. I changed it to some off the wall ‘Alt+F’ or something like that. Something you couldn’t possibly hit by accident.

Once I had myself sorted out with the modes of play and no more fear of being stuck in walk, I got down to playing a berserker. It is supposed to be the easiest to play, but I have this thing of Briseadh, my main character in any game being a crazy, big weapon wielding chick. It’s stuck since the first iteration of her in Warhammer where she was a high elf swordmaster. In the last closed beta I had to go with my quirky sense of making her really big eyed and cute like there was no way she was lifting the sword off the ground. We even got dresses at one point to put the characters in. So her short beta time had her in what was better for a nightclub outing for dancing rather than fighting with a big sword. I found quickly I did like bashing things in this game.

The berserker has several combo commands that if you hold down the key they will cycle and then do a build up bar. If you let it fill up three times, from lighter orange through to red-orange, it produces a big hit. Other classes have the same thing, but I noticed them faster on the beserker. The first one you learn from the start has the awesomeness of spinning your enemy in the air three times and landing them on the ground. A few levels later you have the skill that has you raise your two-handed sword over your head and slam it down on your enemy as if to split them in two. Sure it is not overly realistic, but it is fun and rather satisfying when you pull it off correctly. I’ve even had her spin three enemies in the air at once with this skill. Those poor archer skeletons lined up in one part of the Lavalight Cavern, the first dungeon of the game, never had a chance!

I did a duo run of Lavalight Cavern with my priestess and a sorcerer. Only time we had to stop was when he ran out of mana. I have yet to figure out how to run out of mana on my priestess even with furious attempts at casting. Only thing I want is my target-ally heal (available around level 18) as I had a hard time keeping the sorcerer’s health up since the only thing I had was an area effect spell and a self heal. Try healing a sorcerer that is both the tank and dps in an elite dungeon. Is he going to stand still for about two seconds to suck up your heal? No!

The old style MMO trinity is alive and well in this game. We tried the second dungeon of the game, Carleon Manor, with my beserker, a guardian, and a sorceress. We had the DPS to wipe things out, but that final boss had some really nasty tricks up his sleeve that a healer could have counteracted. I can’t remember what the highest level we tried, but we got pretty gutsy. The worse thing that could happen was our characters had their pixels rearranged and a possible debuff of dire wounds that lasts 10 minutes!

I would like to make a side note about the Carleon Manor dungeon. There is the courtyard and from there three doors for the left wing, main manor and right wing. The party member with the key will see sparkles on all three doors, but the key can only be used once. Be sure to choose the left or the right so that you can at least do the side quests for that wing. The dungeon has to be reset so you can run in, get the key again, and go for the other side if you want to get all your repeatable quests done before turning them in. We thought this was a bug at first, but after a lengthy email discussion with GMs about it, we confirmed this is how the game designers meant this dungeon to be. I still haven’t got back there to see what a vampire cook would have in his kitchen, but I’m not sure I want to!

The flow of the game is pretty easy as you have quests to follow in order, though you might feel like you run in circles to complete some areas. Not only do the quests advance the story, but they teach you about the most important thing in this game, familiars. After all it is “Riders” of Icarus. Familiars can be mounts, pets or put into seal stones, but always start as mounts when tamed.

Obtaining Your Familiars and Their Uses

Familiars have to be tamed by going into taming mode and then hitting the spacebar when you see the “space” indicator pop up on your screen. If you time it right you will wind up on the back of the beast. It will buck you all over the place and try to knock you off. Most of the time you are just riding it out, but the W, A, S, and D keys will be shown on the screen with icons. Be sure to hit the correct key when its icon lights up. If you miss hitting it on time, you will more than likely lose the taming battle. If trying to tame a flying mount, I recommend trying to line up with it on a flying mount of similar size. You do get a special bird that lasts for seven days after you activate it as a familiar and another quest along the way will give you a sparrow to help with this if you did not buy a founders pack.

Seal stones can augment your armor and most items have a slot, even early on. Common seal stones can be bought from shopkeepers around the world while elite ones have to be looted from mobs. They have a higher chance of dropping off named bosses in dungeons, but my beserker has acquired some from common mobs in the level 20+ areas. To use one you right click on it in your inventory and your familiar window will pop open. You then click on the familiar that you want to seal in the stone. You can hover over a familiar to see what the seal stone benefit would be even if the seal stone is not of the same rank. This is how I played around figuring out what would be better for a beserker versus what to put on my priestess. There are physical defense, mana, physical attack, critical hit, etc bonuses you can get based on the beast you put in the stone. Make sure the correct level of stone is used. Every ten levels you must get the next higher stone. Levels 1-10 will use a level 10 stone, levels 11-20 will use a level 20 stone, etc. You cannot get a seal stone removed from armor from what I have seen so far in the game, but until later in July it is restricted to level 25 as the top level. The higher rank the familiar you put into the stone, the higher stats it will add to the augmentation when applied to your equipment.

I did mention familiars can be pets and these require a scroll of the proper rank, common or elite, and also of the correct level range. Use the scroll and select the mount you want to turn into a pet. Every familiar, whether as a mount or a pet, will have bonuses it adds while being used. The fun thing with pets is you can have them passive just for a defense buff, have them in guard mode, or make them downright aggressive so they attack everything as soon as you get close enough. The pets do help with tougher solo fights and the buffs make the regular questing more fun. However, they have stamina limitations and will disappear when it runs out. You will either be dumped on the ground by a mount or possibly left hanging in a dire fight if it is your pet. There are stamina potions in the game to help keep the familiar out longer. Also, the priestess can heal pets if they are standing in the area effect spell. I have yet to acquire the target ally to heal spell to see if it can target a pet or if the player’s pet gets healed when they are.

Once you hit level 20 you will learn about talents. Every five levels from level 20 on you can pick a talent and currently the game shows up to eight slots for talents though until the game extends beyond level 25, you will only be able to pick two. There are three groups of talents to choose from and each has a total of six talents. Your first two talents will be the first available out of two of the groups. You have to be level 30 before you can choose the second talent in a grouping. I suppose you could wait, but it appears the goal is to let you work with two groupings with one as the major and one as the minor to augment the character to fill in the eight slots available at the moment. I am not sure if eight will be the max or not.

The crux to the talents is you need sealed familiars. The stones used to augment your equipment can be used to add to your talent pool. You now want to pay attention to the number of points a familiar would add to the talent pool. This is the other stat you can see if you hover over a familiar after activating a seal stone to use. The points do not change per the trained level of the familiar, so there is no need to level the familiar for this use and you can simply go with the level ten stones sealing the familiar as soon as it is tamed. The amount that you can have in your talent pool will increase as you level and each consecutive talent in a grouping will require more talent points than the previous one.

Crafting

I have not figured out crafting beyond the simple things you can sell back and make a little money on if you use your own harvested materials. There are materials you need to buy to pair up with the harvested material to make things. It is a pretty simple system without a ton of layers to it and as you learn one stage it opens up the next. Currently there are two stages to handle the games L25 limit.

Food, potions and special items for taming are probably the things you will use the most out of crafting. However, I just acquired a heroic armor piece recipe out of Lavalight Caverns that would be fun to figure out. So the main items may not be worth making other than leveling the skill, but there are recipes out there to make some possibly cool things for your characters. I really suggest running the dungeons several times to get some good money and loots that may drop good things for the crafting, as well.

Plus Stats for Armor

You can take any armor from normal stats to ‘+’ stats. Each piece will tell you the max it can go to. Most starter armors are up to +5, but currently there are armors that will go to +15. You use elite tempering stones, one per plus to be added, to enhance the armor. All stones will have a level on them. The level on the stone will have a normal chance if the same level as the armor and greater success the higher it is. I suggest using stones closer to the level of the item up first and saving the really good ones you get for those +20 armors.

There are only a few of these that you get at the beginning from the quest that teaches you about this. You want to buy extraction tools of the appropriate level, like sealing stones it is level 10 for 1-10, level 20 for 11-20, etc., in order to acquire more stones. You can even use it on a normal weapon or armor piece with no enhancements and get tempering stones to use. A shopkeeper or general merchant usually has these extraction tools.

Conclusion

I had a lot of fun taming familiars and figuring out what I could do with them, which is one of the main premises of the game. You can pretty much solo the game if you want and it’s pretty easy to stop and pick up where you left off no matter how long you get to play. You will want to group for the fun of it and for the elite and heroic dungeons. Definitely do not skip trying to do these several times at the various levels with your friends. I will suggest not rushing to level 25 because you can do it in a couple of days, but this game is being opened up to higher levels slowly. Take your time and enjoy the ride!

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About the Author

Althea "Briseadh" Damgaard
Senior Editor

Althea joined Gaiscioch back in October of 2009 and has been here ever since with only a few month hiatus between Warhammer and Rift. As soon as she knew they were in Rift, she jumped ship to Faeblight and has followed them onward through every chapter since with a few side games thrown in for spice.

She has been an avid player of RPG style games since 1980 when she first played Dungeons and Dragons. Since then she has created her own tabletop gaming world used with various rule sets as D&D progressed. Once she could get online she played MUDs. Her MMO days started with Everquest and have moved through over a dozen games with some lasting only a month's time in her life and others going for years. She has tested several games from the perspective of a disabled gamer with hand issues due to her multiple sclerosis.

When not playing games she can be found writing, reading, and painting. She is even adding woodburning this year as another artistic outlet to go in conjunction with her husband's wood carving. The hope is that the painting, woodburning, and wood carving turn into a fun little business to be enjoyed.

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