Windward is certainly different as far as MMO’s go. In a land where 90% of the MMO’s are filled with orcs, goblins, humans, fireballs and trolls, it’s a refreshing change to play something that doesn’t have any of those things well, except humans, they’re in it.
I’ve mentioned Windward a few times before, and it wouldn’t make any sense at all to talk about it even more without actually playing it. So I downloaded it, and give it the good old college try.There’s not much in the way of pre-amble, no massively complicated character creation screens, or lists of roles to play. All you need to do is select your game type, and click ‘connect’. You get to choose the map you start on or you can randomly generate one if you prefer, and then you’re off in a world of high-seas adventure.
Rather than your standard quests of ‘Kill X number of Y’s’ or ‘Collect A number of B’s’ the quests in Windward or adventures are picked up from towns and are focused on delivering people or goods between the various ports, exploration or the eradication of murderous pirates.
Although that’s not the only thing to in those port towns, you can listen to gossip and rumours, trade much-needed goods for even more needed gold, upgrade your ship.
Controls are simple, although movement takes a little time to get used to, as the ship moves in the way a ship moves (i.e. slow turns, no strafing) plus the wind makes a difference to your overall speed as it would do for all sailing ships.
Combat is fairly straight forward, but rather than the combination of attacks making the biggest difference, it is your positioning that dictates whether you will sink the enemy or end up floating on a plank after your own vessel is blown to pieces. Your cannons, at least the ones you begin with can only fire to the side, so charging headlong to an enemy does very little. Make sure, your keep your enemy to the side and then blast away with cannons until they sink.
After the battle, repair your ship and carry on your adventures. Repairing costs wood, and wood can either be bought, or found floating in the sea in little barrels and crates (as well as other goods, and upgrades.)
Windward is a slow-paced game, even in the earlier stages of the game, the combat is sporadic but you will be attacked. I guess, that’s the difference in other games you’re starting zones are filled with enemies who won’t attack you. The pirates in Windward will, attack you on sight and they won’t even feel any guilt over it. The libidinous swine!
So, I guess I need to end this review with a conclusion. Is Windward worth playing?
Honestly, it’s a very tricky one to answer, because I have never played anything similar to compare it to. Usually, reviewing MMO’s is easy, you just need to compare it to World of Warcraft, or Eve, or Rift. Any of the existing ones really, but Windward, at least as far as I am aware, does not have anything similar out there (although Eve is probably the closest).
Windward is more slowly paced than you might be expecting from an MMO, but it still looks beautiful .There are no monthly fees so once you’ve paid your £12.99 on Steam, you can have as much high-seas gaming you want.
Windward is not a game that you’ll pick and play for hours and hours at a time, but maybe it’s worth having to pick up and play for an hour or so now and then. Sorry, peeps I’m going to have to leave this review as pretty damn ambiguous, because quite frankly I don’t know what to tell you.
Windward, a high-seas gaming enigma.