Coming out of a clear blue sky.
In an unexpected My.com partnership between The Allods Team and Obsidian Entertainment, known for both South Park: The Stick of Truth and Fallout: New Vegas, Skyforge is a free-to-play, hybrid sci-fi fantasy MMORPG that looks like a modern Final Fantasy title at first glance. Without any HUD elements, onlookers without any prior information about the game might believe that it's simply a console action title with plenty of flashy acrobatics, and that's exactly what the developers are looking for.
After the omnipotent god that has protected your world suddenly leaves without a trace, you become chosen as a immortal who must grow in power. Luckily, various factions under the command of other gods who wish to conquer your world to fill the void have begun their invasion, allowing you take your blade and magical ice spears into the hearts of numerous grunts. With enough experience murdering creeps and their leaders, you'll ascend to godhood yourself and earn the right to reach the PvP endgame against other player gods. Along the way, you'll earn followers who will believe in your hero who will grant him or her additional powers and a divine transformation.
One of most intriguing twists on the combat, fashioned after the usual MMORPG affair of hotkeyed abilities and respwaning enemies, is the ability of switching classes on the fly, in similar fashion to changing jobs in Final Fantasy Tactics. So long as you're not in the midst of battle and you've unlocked the chosen class in the first place, you can hop into the quick menu and swap from the close-quarters paladin to the frost magic-wielding cryomancer.
Both have combos between light and heavy attacks between the left- and right-mouse buttons. Tanks will want to stick with the paladin for swift DPS bladework and lightning strikes, while magic builds will appreciate the AoE effects and the keep-away sliding moves of the cryomancer, which was in fact my favorite class of the town if just for my fondness for Sub-Zero.
That said, the developers plan to have ten available classes in total, which should make you feel extremely powerful by the endgame, though the balancing between classes might need a lot of tweaking before the game enters beta. Since you won't be restricted to any particular class, the typical dynamic of players working together in the tank-healer-DPS trinity won't be present, but the sense of camaraderie will still be at play during non-solo instances for up to six players.
Most areas you'll explore will be bite-sized chunks that aren't woven into an open world. Instead, there will be around one hundred missions, each with their own environment; for instance, Virth Lair, a pale forest whose peace has been unnerved by necromantic monsters; and Plant 501, a base for a mechanical army controlled by a boss named Shadow Reaper. Depending on how well you perform in each level—time spent, enemies destroyed, mini-bosses killed—you'll receive a grade and proportional rewards. If you come with friends into the instance, of course, you'll have an easier time getting through the level and scoring a high grade. Now that's an incentive to group, isn't it?
The PC build of Skyforge I played was extremely early, as it had only two levels plus a library hub, and it may not be until late this year that the game will enter beta. However, you can sign up for the beta now on its official website.