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iPad Online Games: Castle Craft Review

iPad Online Games: Castle Craft ReviewI recently got an iPad and found out there are some games for it involving online play, i named a few here. I’ve already reviewed Aurora Feint 3 here, have to finish the business with those other games. CastleCraft is an fantasy PVP MMORTS by Freeverse, Inc. and (supposedly) compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. I liked the graphics and the fantasy idea as a whole, but i was put on guard by several reviews blaming this game for non-existent customer support and myriads of annoying bugs. I can totally confirm both these points. And it’s really a shame, because if Freeverse ever fixes the critical bugs and starts listening to player base’s problems, then Castle Craft would become a fine game indeed.

Castle Craft is based in a fantasy universe and has a nice graphics.Castle Craft is based in a fantasy universe, in a kingdom, where people have long forgotten about war and stuff like that. Then *suddenly* comes the Dark Force and kicks everyone’s butts, cities being destroyed, people fleeing to forests, society reduced to ashes, etc. You are the ruler of a destroyed city and have to start rebuilding it right away. The bright side of Castle Craft is the beautiful graphics. The screenshots doesn’t shows the full beauty of this game, because animations really add to it – wisps of mist, clouds running, birds flying in flocks, trees moving, etc. As far as i can see, the visuals are all hand-drawn. Okay, you’ve got my idea by now – i liked the look of it :) If only everything else was the same good as the graphical part…

The gameplay. As this is an MMORTS, you do all the same basic stuff you do in any of these games – build your kingdom, produce resources (there are 3 types of them: food, wood, and gold, plus Dragon Crystals sold for cash), create an army and expand. Also, you can do quests usually based on what you need to build, produce, or research. Dragon Crystals i have mentioned used as a required resource for some buildings and units, and also to shorten building/researching/whatever times.

iPad Online Games: Castle Craft ReviewUnlike from other games, you can have a tremendous amount of cities built in this game -  some players have over a hundred of them! Being an interesting part of gameplay, it also leads to a lot of grief for many players. I’ve seen a lot of complaints from players who had invested  their money and months of time to play this game – and then one day wake up to find ALL of their cities destroyed down to the last building by some of the server’s top players. And this kind of  harassment happened not to just one or just five players, it rather seems to be a tendency – some of the top players got bored and went on harassing other players. And there is no place you can complain to.

Next – bugs and customer support. A flea-ridden wild dog has less flies than this game has bugs! One of the good examples of a critical bug happening in this games, is that after version 1.3 Castle Craft suffers of compatibility issues with its own servers (!), so everyone who upgraded couldn’t access it anymore. There are a lot of other errors – buildings not working, resources and stuff vanishing after you log out of the game, critical balance issues (like, it’s almost impossible to get certain types of resources when you’re clearly supposed to be able to do that)… No one seem to be fixing them at all. Also, a chance of you getting help from customer support of Castle Craft is pretty much close to zero.
iPad Online Games: Castle Craft ReviewLet me tell you about my own experience here. I’ve been playing Castle Craft for some time until i decided i want to buy a package of Dragon Diamonds (they are really cheap – on the other hand, you may have several hundreds of cities to upgrade). So, to try it out i bought the smallest pack for $0,99 – 50 Crystals for that price. The payment went on, but then i have noticed that i get 50 more Crystals added to my account every minute or so. I had issues with other games that charged my MasterCard even when i explicitly declined payment offer, so, instead of dancing in joy i totally freaked out. What if Castle Craft silently charged me $1 every minute or so? Every time i logged into Castle Craft it resumed to bring more Crystals to me.
iPad Online Games: Castle Craft ReviewUsually i get transaction reports pretty soon via sms, but that day either my bank or my cell provider had some lag issues so i wasn’t receiving instant notifications of my card being charged and wasn’t sure how will it turn out. So i logged out, removed the application and even logged out of Apple Store too, and went on to write a question on Castle Craft Support forum. I wrote about the problem and that I’d like to know if i’m being charged (because, by that time i could be charged for $10 or so) and what i am to do in that case. Posts on the Support forum all pre-moderated. Guess what? I am not only not being contacted by anyone, my post wasn’t even published at all! Like it just never happened – i guess, they did not want to scare off whatever potential customers are left there for the game.
iPad Online Games: Castle Craft ReviewTo be honest, i’m still not sure if Castle Craft charged my card due to being full of bugs – i received my debit card transaction reports only a day after, and by then it was used several times by me and by my husband, who couldn’t remember how many of those transactions he did in the last 36 hours. But i did not logged back into Castle Craft again, just in case. Even if it did not took the money i wasn’t planning to give, i still did not want to be exploiting bugs

So, my verdict is – stay away from this game for as long as you can, until it’s getting a real customer support hired and critical bugs are fixed up. If that time ever comes. If it does and they’ll find a way to handle the grief-causing issues with the top players abusive behavior, it will be a nice game to play. But i really doubt they will do anything like that.

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