An MMORPG is currently successful on Steam, but it is not aimed at MMORPG players at all

Summoners War world

Since March 6, players from Europe, America and Japan can play the MMORPG Summoners War: Chronicles on Steam. It’s good there. Over 35,000 players have been online at the same time so far – and counting – and overall it got 73% positive reviews. But the content of the game is aimed more at fans of monster and hero collectors than at die-hard MMORPGers, believes MeinMMO editor Alexander Leitsch.

What kind of game is this? Summoners War: Chronicles is all about collecting monsters that you can then summon. You get these monsters by unlocking them via summons. You can earn these up to a certain degree, but you can primarily buy them. The monster won is then random – just a typical gacha system like in Genshin Impact.

The players of Genshin and especially the other parts of Summoners War are also much more the target group than typical MMORPG players. Because the game relies on brightly colored anime graphics, many upgrades and a lot of coincidence. There is also a lot of autoplay, especially for the story and questing. No wonder, because it is primarily a mobile game.

Who is speaking here? Alex is the MMORPG expert on MeinMMO. Usually, his favorite games are Guild Wars 2, New World, and ESO. For this brief insight, he played Summoners War: Chronicles for around 6 hours.

Summoners War: Chronicles starts off with everything that die-hard MMORPG fans hate

Summoners War: Chronicles impresses with its numbers. It recently recorded over a million active players per day in Asia+Europe (via Summoners War). Of course it was a must for me to take a look at the MMORPG.

When creating a character, I have three characters to choose from:

  • Cleave is a tank and fights in close combat
  • Oriba is a ranged DD
  • Kina takes on the role of healer

In the editor I can then adjust a few options on the appearance so that it doesn’t look like every other cleave on the server. The cutscene at the beginning (English soundtrack) and the graphics immediately make a positive impression. But that changed quickly.

Even in the tutorial, I’m taken by the hand as if I’d never opened a game before. Each click is marked with markers, and each individual step is explained. Freedom and the urge to explore are nipped in the bud – also because you only follow a main quest for the first few hours.

I also dislike the cluttered interface, constant pop-ups for the shop, and way too many rewards. So I start directly with 22 messages in the mailbox, all of which contain loot that I can’t do anything with yet.

The controls also take some getting used to at first. I rotate the camera with the left mouse button and attack with the right. Intuitively, it should be the other way around for me. Luckily I can at least set the camera to rotate with the right mouse button from now on.

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The fights are also a bit loveless at first. I quickly get two monsters to summon, but they don’t do much damage. I have three attacks and one auto attack. However, these do not appear particularly bulky. I have the feeling that an action-packed combat system is only being presented to me. Maybe a turn-based combat system like Summoners War: Sky Arena would have been better at this point.

But what irritates me most is that I can’t jump or sprint. Both feel imperative, especially with the uninspired run and kill quests. I especially miss jumping. By default, an evasive roll is on the spacebar.

What’s really annoying is that I often end a quest, then have to click on “Continue Quest” on the right side of the interface, and then talk directly to the NPC I gave the quest to before. This feels like an unnecessary intermediate step.

I quickly find out why the quests weren’t designed to be particularly varied. From level 5 there are auto-questing and auto-fights. So I no longer play myself, but let them play. This is where the mobile game finally comes to the fore.

Summoners War: Chronicles cinematic trailer

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Collect monsters and the cool element system

In the course of time, in which the MMORPG plays itself, more and more systems are then explained. Essentially, a lot revolves around collecting the right monsters, creating a solid team of 3 from them and then constantly upgrading them and equipping them with runes.

Added to this is the personal equipment, which can also be upgraded. Here is the first ray of hope. My character carries a weapon, but it can represent different elements. Each element slightly alters my abilities and is crucial for dealing different amounts of damage to enemies. Water beats fire, fire beats nature and so on.

However, I can cycle through all the different weapon types during combat. This gives me access to multiple skills from my weapon plus the two skills per monster on my team. That brings a bit of variety.

In addition, I occasionally have to play myself, for example in the solo dungeons and group raids. You experience the first raid at level 14 and it is admittedly very simple. In the endgame, however, it should be much more complex. Then the right team of monsters and players as well as the right element in the weapon play a decisive role.

Gacha and expensive prices in the shop, but there are still good reviews

Despite the existing group content, there was little MMORPG feeling in my first 6 hours of play. In many places I felt reminded of Genshin Impact, which is probably due to the element system, the graphics and the photo mode in addition to the gacha.

Of course there are dozens of Easter Eggs and content that you already know from Summoners War: Sky Arena. This is an online game from the same developer Com2us, which uses a very similar gameplay, but uses turn-based combat.

However, I find the vehemence with which rewards and pop-ups are presented to me much more exhausting here. There are automatic rewards for:

  • The daily and the monthly login
  • Daily Playtime (5, 15, 30, 60, and every 60 minutes from there)
  • Various seasonal events
  • Various achievements
  • A second achievement system (for whatever reason)
  • Level ups of my character
  • Level ups from my account
  • Daily and weekly challenges
  • A Battle Pass with free and paid path
  • A second free and paid Battle Pass

Basically, I’m constantly pushing away rewards, half of which I don’t even know what I actually need the loot for. You get even more with the voucher codes that you can redeem.

The pop-ups also contain information about the shop. There I get extra rewards for every day I spend money. New items and offers are also highlighted in bright red. Some packages are only available for a few hours and then change.

The shop isn’t cheap either. There are several packages for $26.99, $47.99, four packages for $99.99 (which you can all buy 3 times a month, by the way) and the two Battle Passes for $9.99 each.

Summoners War Shop 2

Despite this, Summoners War: Chronicles is currently enjoying many players, both on smartphones and on Steam. If you look at the reviews, four things quickly become clear:

  • The shop is viewed as problematic even by the positive reviews. However, you should be able to achieve everything at some point as a Free2Play player. For example, ScarletHeart writes, “Pay2Win if you like a sprint, Free2Play if you like a marathon.”
  • The constant upgrading of monsters and one’s own character is very satisfying. There is a constant feeling of progress.
  • The boss fights should be quite demanding in the endgame.
  • The game is mainly played by fans of the Summoners War series.

Although Summoners War: Chronicles relies heavily on multiplayer elements, I don’t think it’s aimed at classic MMORPG fans, but at people who like gacha and hero collectors. It does a lot right with its over 100 monsters, all of which can be leveled, strengthened and developed.

There, the 73% positive reviews seem to be justifiable. Still, it’s not at the level I want from mobile MMORPGs:

Mobile MMORPGs are the future of the genre and that’s great

What do you think of Summoners War: Chronicles? Have you already played it yourself? Will you give the game a try or is it just not for you? Feel free to write it in the comments.