'My Little Pony' gets a video game make over with 'Legend of Equestria'
It's not often I get to play a game that is still so early in its development stage. Last weekend, during the game's open-server session, I had the opportunity to play "Legends of Equestria," a new pony-based MMORPG that is currently in pre-alpha stage of development. For those unfamiliar with the term, this effectively means that the game is still in its infancy, and very highly under development. However, from what I had the chance to play, I've got some really positive feelings about what we're going to see in the coming months.
As I said earlier, the game is pony-based. They're not real ponies, of course - they're of the smaller variety. Yes, "Legends of Equestria" is the world's first "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" based MMORPG. There's a catch however. It is an independent project, unaffiliated with Hasbro and the "My Little Pony" brand. What this means is that to avoid copyright infringement, the game does not actually reference the show itself in any way. Any and all characters from the show have been removed and replaced with new original characters, and all locations have had their names slightly altered. For example, Ponyville is now called Ponydale.
Enough about the legal details though - let's talk about the game! As with most MMOs, everything starts with your character. I actually found the character customization system in LoE to be quite fulfilling. Everything from hairstyle, height, cutie mark and eye color was totally customizable. The major choice is choosing which of the game's three races to play as - Pegasus, earth pony or unicorn. I went with Pegasus, as the ability to fly seems more interesting than magic or playing as a regular earth pony. In addition to serving as the game's choice of race, it also serves as choice of class. Your combat abilities depend entirely on which race you're playing as. For example, the Pegasus has the ability to create tiny hurricanes and send them at their enemies.
From there, you're plopped down into one of the game's three starting areas: Cloudtropolis, Ponydale or Cantermore, depending on your pony's race. At that point, you're given complete freedom to explore the areas to your heart's desires. The areas, despite maintaining their separation from the show, actually replicate pretty well. In Ponydale, for example, I was able to visit a replica of Twilight Sparkle's house, as well as Applejack's Apple Orchards.
Unfortunately, this is where the game really starts to show how in-development it is. To put it bluntly, there's not really anything to do, past exploring your favorite places from the show. There's no tutorial or indication of what you're supposed to do. It took me a long time just to find my first quest, which ended up being the only one I ever ended up finding, despite my long search.
Sadly, I was not able to experience any combat during the open-weekend, so I cannot really comment on it personally. I did notice some other players regarding that it felt buggy and difficult, so take that as you will. But remember, this isn't even an alpha-stage game yet. The fact that a group of independent developers, working only on a volunteer-basis have gotten this far is astounding to me. I can't wait to see what "Legends of Equestria" becomes in the coming months.
Currently, the game's servers are offline while development continues, though it is likely there will be another open-server weekend in the coming months.
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