Shaiya is a Free to Download and Free to Play Online 3D MMORPG where the humans and elves alliance must battle their dark enemies. In Shaiya, you’ve got the age-old battle of Light vs. Dark thing going on, after the world’s goddess was killed by one of the races she created (how’s that for gratitude?) and two new goddesses took her place. Each of the new goddesses has her own race of folk on her side – the Elves and the Vail – and along with some Humans and “Deatheaters” on each side, respectively, they busily go about slaying monsters and beating each other up for control over the land.

As you might’ve deduced from that brief intro to our Shaiya Review, this is a game chock full o’ the fantasy elements – dragons and elves, assassins and oracles, magical beasts for slaying purposes, magical items to collect, etc. – and in this way, it’s quite a lot like any of the other standard fantasy MMO games out there, free to play or otherwise. Everyone’s looking to make the next World of Warcraft or Everquest, which automatically means we get to see a lot of games that might as well be World of Warcraft or Everquest…y’know, except they’re not. And from what I’ve seen so far, Shaiya is also a game that’s set up to encourage grinding, which doesn’t do much to help it stand out from the crowd, either. I’m not going to knock Aeria over any of that, though, both because it’s understandable and because, though the game’s basic premise isn’t exactly what you’d call unique, they did do a good job in creating it and they managed to add something that is different and pretty neat in the process (but more on that part later, so stay tuned, chappies).  Without further a due – let’s delve deeper into our Shaiya Review.

 Pro’s and Cons of Shaiya

As mentioned, Shaiya is free to play, which is an automatic checkmark in the “pro” column for me, mostly because I’m a cheap bastard. It’s easy to download and install, and will eat up about a gig to a gig and a half of your hard drive. When you fire it up, it loads quickly every time, which is also a pro checkmark for me, because I’m down to my least bells-and-whistles-y laptop while my other machines wait to be repaired. So, if you want to get your guild on, but only have a system powered by a hamster running in a wheel, Shaiya may be the MMO for you.

Shaiya Character Customization

The first thing you’ll notice on your first foray into Shaiya is that character customization is woefully lacking. The characters do look good, because Shaiya’s got some pretty decent graphics, all things considered, but it also means that as soon as you enter actual gameplay, you see about 75 clones of yourself running around, like some Dragonlance-y version of the multitudinous Garys in Vault 108.

Once you’ve chosen your look, you’ll choose your difficulty level, and that’s where the neat thing I mentioned before pops up. There’s an Easy level that’s great for those very new to MMOs, though it limits how far you can level up, but at the opposite end of the difficulty spectrum, you’ve got Ultimate mode. And if you choose Ultimate, then you get to know the joy that is permanent death – as in, if your Ultimate character dies, then he or she is dead for good, and you have to start over. Obviously, Ultimate mode is not only for those well-versed in MMOs in general, but also those that are well-versed in Shaiya itself. Otherwise, it’s just going to be an exercise in frustration. I myself went with Normal, and that suited me just fine.

Shaiya Gameplay

Gameplay itself is fairly standard, using standard mouse and keyboard controls. You’ll complete quests, slay monsters, and level up by grinding on, my wayward son. Shaiya isn’t as populated with players as WoW is, but there are enough folks that you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a party to play with. Graphics are well done and solid, and the game is accompanied by a surprisingly good score.

Shaiya Review – The Final Word

All in all, I liked it enough to keep playing it repeatedly over the course of this last week. In general, I’d specifically recommend Shaiya to the following types of gamers:

1.) Gamers new to MMOs, looking for a game similar to WoW to cut their teeth on without having to worry about dealing with too many players or, y’know, paying for it, and

2.) Experienced players that are looking for a challenge, because Ultimate mode’s permanent death feature is definitely a challenge. Since you’re playing for keeps here, it will make you think a lot more about what you’re doing and be more vigilant. After all, if you’ve spent ages leveling your character up into the stratosphere, all of that hard work will be lost in an instant if your character gets killed, and it will fix your little red wagon but good when you then have to start over.

Of course, if you fall somewhere in between those two, you can still play Shaiya and enjoy it – I did, after all. Just don’t expect too much from it, and you’ll have a blast.  I hope you enjoyed our Shaiya Review, and please let us know in the comments what you think of the game!  Don’t forget to rate it as well, while we already have our own Shaiya Review we want to see yours as well.

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