ECO – Starting Out and Features
There is a lot to do in ECO, so I’ll explain a bit about what happens at the beginning. In addition, I’ll talk briefly about the game system and mechanics, as well as some of the distinctive features, including the marionette and possession systems.
When you first log in, you’ll be moved to the character creation screen, where you can create your character with your selected name, race, hairstyle, hair color, eye shape and eye color (you can change hairstyle and hair color later). You can have a maximum of 3 characters per account. You can delete characters at anytime after entering your e-mail address when prompted.
The starting stats for the 3 races are:
- Emil: 8 STR, 3 DEX, 3 INT, 10 VIT, 4 AGI, 3 MAG
- Taitania: 6 STR, 3 DEX, 6 INT, 4 VIT, 2 AGI, 10 MAG
- Dominion: 10 STR, 5 DEX, 1 INT, 1 VIT, 5 AGI, 8 MAG
Afterwards, you’ll have to do a series of beginner quests, which I highly recommend since they teach you about the basics of the game, as well as give you some items to start out with. You’ll appear in Acropolis (I think they called it Agopruz here… -_-), the main city of Acronia. There are weak monsters for you to fight in the maps immediately adjacent to Acropolis. You can tell the difficulty level of monsters compared to you from the color of their name. Red is hard, blue is easy, green is just right.
Completing a quest will gain you access to Acropolis uptown, where the job change NPCs are located. After deciding on your job (and satisfying the job change requirements, if any), you can begin to explore the lands of Acronia. In Saga 3, the Northern Kingdom, United Ironsouth Republic and Republic of Fareast are opened.
Low levels should stick around Acronia first. The maps on the road to Fareast are good for Lv10-20 characters, as are those a few maps south of Acropolis. The easiest dungeon is a cave located southeast of Acropolis. Those explorers in the Lv20-30s might want to try it out, or the Ice Dungeon in the north. Note that it is best to fight monsters around your level. If the level difference between you and the monster is 25 or over, there will be EXP deductions.
The standard systems are available, such as parties and rings (guilds). Party members gain more EXP if they attack the same monster (within 12 cells). They party leader may edit drop settings too. The number of party members is capped at 8. There are also chatroom and billboard features and you can mail friends message while they’re offline.
With the friends list, you’ll be able to tell their Lv/JobLv, Job, current location and online status. Of course, if you wish to hide, you can also toggle to pretend you’re offline. You can also write comments/announcements from anywhere if you want to find a party, buy items, make friends or just ask a question. These show up in a list that is viewable by anyone. There are a lot of emotions and motions to reflect your mood.
Equips show up on your character sprite when you wear them. There sometimes are restrictions on race, gender, level and job. Equips also have durability. Once durability reaches 0, it cannot be used unless repaired. There is a maximum durability that will gradually decrease. Once this reaches 0, the item becomes useless.
All items have PAYL and CAPA values. If your max PAYL or CAPA are exceeded, you will not be able to move. There is also an item limit for each area that you cannot exceed, although some items are stackable.
Banks and storages are located in major cities, however they are not universal. In other words, if you put items in one storage, you cannot retrieve it for the storage in another city. To buy items via the bank, you will have to use a credit card.
There are various types of quests and they are an easy source for EXP and gold early on. They fall into 3 categories: delivery, collection and combat. Normally they involve some travelling and will have a time limit.
When you die, there is a death penalty based on your level/exp. It takes quite some time to move from place to place. If you do not use a resurrection potion or are not resurrected by a Vates class, you will have to return your save point. Save points are located in major cities. Make sure you remember to set your save point!
Skills are generally learned by assigning skill points that are obtained from job leveling. There are JobLv restrictions before you may learn certain skills. There are also other skills that can be learned from skill stones, events or available via marionettes. You can de-level and recover skill points one at a time at the Fountain of Forgetfulness at Northern Kingdom for a cost.
There are 6 elements in ECO: Fire, water, earth, wind, light, dark.
- Fire is very strong against Water
- Water is very strong against Earth
- Earth is very strong against Wind
- Wind is very strong against Fire
- Fire, Water, Earth, Wind are all strong against Light
- Light is very strong against Dark
- Dark is strong against Fire, Water, Earth, Wind
- Every element is weak against itself
Every item, monster and skill have elemental attributes. There are also elemental levels; the higher the level, the more significant the effect.
There are NPCs that can upgrade your equipment’s stats and make equipment or items via synthesis. Similar to RO, if it fails, you lose the item. Certain backpacker jobs can also smith, tailor, cook, among other life skills.
In addition to marionettes, players can have their own pets (some of which are job dependent), as well as shoulder devils who will fight along with you and help support you in battle. Some pets are limited to certain jobs (i.e. dogs are only for explorers).
Marionette (Puppet) System
Marionettes are dolls that you can transform into for 3 minutes (with a cooldown time of 5 minutes). During transformed state, you will get modified stats, in addition to a special skill depending on the marionette. Note that marionettes have durability, just like all items. You can get a free marionette in Acropolis uptown outside the Black Cathedral when you are level 8. This is limited to one per account. Afterwards, you will have to either find or make them. Note that these are not related to marionest (puppeteer) jobs’ skills.
Alternatively, you can command your marionette to help you gather items or vend items for you while you are offline. They are also known as golems during this time. This way, even players who are not merchant jobs can vend. Players can search through golem vends using golem catalogues.
Possession (Infuse) System
My favorite part of ECO is the possession system. With this system, you can possess either your own equipment or enter the equipment of another character. If you possess your own equipment, it will drop to the ground and anyone can borrow it until you decide to unpossess it. If you decide to possess the equipment of another character, the possessed item will be stronger.
There are 4 locations that can be possessed: right hand (weapon), left hand (usually shield), upper body (clothes) and chest accessory. Up to 3 items can be possessed at any given time. Possessed equipment are shown with a red background on the equipment view. You also can possess any character’s items, not only party members, but so long as you are within 30 levels of the target character.
What’s the advantage of this? Now you can have a group of up to 4 players and only one person needs to move. The people who are ‘inside’ can still use items and skills (but not on themselves). Imagine a swordsman with two wizards and a priest inside! Players inside regenerate HP/MP/SP at the same rate as in a town. They receive 1/10 of any experience the character who they are inside gets. This applies even if logged out.
So what’s the catch? Skills costs twice MP/SP to cast and there is a chance every hit that the person inside will take damage, depending on the location they possess. Shields take damage more often than accessories. Since they cannot use items and skills on themselves, it can be quite dangerous when fighting in harder maps. Players also cannot transform into marionettes if they have possessed items on them.
This is a really useful system and I highly recommend everyone try it out!