Monday, June 06, 2005


Fate - A Diablo-style RPG

I recently tried the demo version of a new game called Fate. This game is essentially a Diablo 2 clone but it does have some unique features that sets it apart, and there is no denying the fun factor of this game. While the game is highly derivative, it does just about everything right to give it that "just 5 more minutes" addictive gameplay.

You start the game as a male or female adventurer. You get a club, one identify spell and one town portal spell. Yep, they work just like in D2, you right click a scroll to use it. You can buy scroll books also, and the game actually gives you a discount if you do. You can equip items. Items have different attribute level requirements, such as Strength 30, or Dexterity 25.

The background to the game is that there is a dungeon near this little town. The town has NPCs that either give you quests or want to sell you stuff. You can buy magic items, armor, weapons, enchantments to your items, etc. Like in D2 you have a chest in town where you can stash gear.

Combat in Fate is pretty much just like Diablo. You swing your weapon by holding down the left mouse button on a monster. You automatically pick up some loot (potions and gold) by running over it, and items you click to pick up. The items are randomized, so you can get different magical attributes on the items you find. You can cast spells if you buy a spell and learn it in town or find a spell while adventuring. There are spells to heal you and/or your allies, summon monsters to help fight for you, or do direct damage.

Leveling up works just like Diablo 2, you can assign points to skills and to attributes. The attributes you can assign to are Strenth - melee damage, Dexterity - ability to hit, Vitality - how much damage you can take, and Magic - your magical affinity and power. You have different skills like Swords or Duel Wielding or Charm Magic, etc. You can assign points to these areas to give your character bonuses when using those skills.

Instead of hiring mercenaries like in D2, you get a pet. Your pet can be either a cat or a dog. Your pet can wear rings or necklaces to improve it's abilities. The pet gains in levels as you do by killing things. The pet also has a large inventory space and you can shift-click on items on the ground to have your pet pick it up. This is great for stashing loot you plan to sell to a vendor. When in town you can shift-click the vendor and you can then sell items from the pet inventory.

Another neat feature that is unique to Fate is fishing. You can buy a fishing pole and then find fishing holes to fish from. In town there is a spot you can fish, and you'll also find spots in the dungeon. The purpose of fishing is to find different kinds of fish. When you feed a fish to your pet, it can transform into a different type of creature. For example, you might feed it a certain fish and it turns your pet into a wolf for a while. Different kinds of creatures have different stats and abilities so this can affect how effective your pet is in combat.

The music for the game is very good, sound effects are decent. The graphics are actually quite good, much better than D2's - they are fully 3D. Screenshots are on the game's web site. The demo lets you go 3 levels deep into the dungeon. I recommend downloading it and giving it a go. You can find out more about Fate on the Fate web site. I'm highly considering buying the registered version of this, which is $20.

One thing you should be aware of is that the registered game keys in on your hardware configuration and you are only allowed to install the game 3 times before you get locked out of it. Supposedly you can email WildTangent and get more installs, if you can provide proof of purchase I guess. The EULA grants you the license to run the game on 2 computers, but not simultaneously. From what I can tell there is no multiplayer to the game.

I just briefly hit the games official site... I noticed there were several references to it being for "casual gamers". Any comment on this?

Also, I noticed it is associated or developed with WildTangent technology. I haven't really kept up with WildTangent, but I remember this to be a game engine or 3d tech that you could play through a browser or ActiveX control, etc. And it was for online gaming. And Fate appears to be a single-player only, regular-download-and-install game. Any info on this?

Casual gamers would probably be more likely to get into this RPG than most other RPG games, because of its simplicity and gentle learning curve. That doesn't mean the game has no depth, but it's just that it's easy to play even if you've never played an RPG before. The game has pop-up hints that come up when appropriate to tell you tips and tricks and how to do things in the game. There is also a PDF manual you can download off the game's web site - I didn't need this yet.

WildTangent is (in)famous because of their "web-driver" which collects information about your system's configuration and then sends it to the wild tangent home servers. Supposedly this is for making a better experience. I haven't played any other Wild Tangent games but Fate doesn't need to be online to play, I have verified this. You can disconnect your network connection and still play Fate without a problem. Or you can just block the WildTangent web-driver and the Fate program using Zone Alarm or some other personal firewall to prevent it from "phoning home". Personally, I see no big deal about sending my system info, if that is, indeed, all that they send. What is interesting is that Blizzard did the same thing with Diablo II but it was "opt-in" (the user could turn it off).

Spybot Search & Destroy considers the WildTangent web-driver to be spyware. But when they list the reasons they show the same info that is in the privacy policy at the wild tangent web site, basically, that the info collected is system information only, not personal info. Ad-Aware doesn't list the wild-tangent driver as spyware.
I'm currently enjoying a demo of Fate, only issue with it I have (that you haven't mentioned) is

Left click to attack monster, but also left click to move, so when fighting I'm moving, the target is also moving of course, and the cursor is moving as I move - duh I find it a bit confusing, and feel my pet is at risk!
That's how Diablo 2 worked though so I can see why they did it that way. You can hold down the left mouse button to continually attack anything nearby.
Welcome to blogging! I'm downloading this game now, a decent Diablo 2 clone sounds just about my speed these days :)

What kind of programming do you do?
Thrasher, what's up?! I program mostly in SQL and some PowerBuilder. More PB lately actually. I am an in-house programmer for a large oil & gas firm. A lot of my programming is maintenance of existing code but also adding in new functionality to our applications.
TAlkin bout FATE can u send me a crack 2 ta m8 i need 1 well bad lol
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