In development for nearly 3 years now by a team of only two people, Tale of Toast is an upcoming open world MMORPG with hardcore PvP mechanics that goes back to the first steps of the genre, when dying actually meant something. I’ve had the chance to try it out this weekend, and here is what I thought of it.
Everything starts with the creation of your first character (players being able to have up to three per account at the moment). The character creation system, while rather simple, was quite entertaining for me to toy with. Players are given a chibi character and are able to customize multiple characteristics, including hairstyle, hair color, the shape and color of eyes, and even the gender and color of the wisp that will accompany them throughout their epic.
One thing that I enjoyed is the fact that colors are not predetermined. Instead of having a set of colors to choose from, you can drag a color bar from right to left until you find one you like, adjusting the brightness as you see fit. The character creation is, however, limited to the choice of a gender, physical characteristics and a name. There is currently only one playable race (chibi humans), and Tale of Toast does not have classes per se.
Which brings us to the gameplay of this title. As soon as your character is created and logged into the world, you are free to roam the world and pick among the various available activities to occupy your time. While combat will be an obvious choice, there are also gathering Trade Skills like mining, botany or fishing, as well as crafting Trade Skills like carpentry, tailoring, blacksmithing, cooking, alchemy, among others, to choose from. There is no tutorial in the game at the moment, so you will be left to your own accords when it comes to figuring out gathering and crafting, although the community is quite eager to help new players and you can simply ask for information in the world chat.
From then on, the progression of your character will be determined by the activities you practice, and what you decide to use your stat and skill points on. Yes, hardcore fans of the genre can rejoice, Tale of Toast allows you to completely customize your stats build (both with points earned as you level up and through gear), and skills. The latter, however, still needs some work since all the skills currently available require players to put points in the “magic” stat. This is most likely for convenience at the moment since the game is still in Alpha, and the developers will most likely separate the skills available and assign them to the correct stat, so for now we’ll just have to make do. As you can see in the screenshot above, while my character looks like a mixed built, it is actually melee. I had to put 15 points into magic to gain access to melee focused skills.
And as mentioned above, Tale of Toast does not feature classes. The stat build choosen and armor worn are what will determine your role. "Tanks" will want stats in Defense and Health, "Archers" will want any combination of stats that include Ranged, while "Mages" and "Healers" will want their Magic stat as high as possible.
Trade skills, on the other hand, are already well implemented (although some improvements such as drop rate buffs would be welcome). Each trade skill has a specific tool assigned (with the exception of Botany that uses two, a shovel and a hatchet), and can only be used if you have the right tool equipped. Moreover, crafting will require to have the tool equiped, AND to be near the designated workstation. That means that you will want to carry a bunch of tools on your at all times, if you do not want to accumulate trips to the banker (although it may be safer to do so). Recipes also need to be bought for nearly everything other than the base crafts, which adds more depth to the Trade Skills (selling your crafts to earn gold and unlock more recipes). Moreover, players that decide to focus on trade skills will also receive experience points, allowing them to level up their characters, albeit at a somewhat slower rate. That way, even full-time miners and blacksmiths will have no issue defending themselves from attacks by other players.
Which brings us to the last point, and one of the main focus of the game, the PvP. The first town in the game, Brightwyn, is the only truly safe town of the game (although each town also has a cemetary where players respawn after dying). No one can attack you there, and you can’t attack anyone. Beyond that point however, and once you reach level 5, always consider the risk of being attacked. While the other towns and cities do have NPC guards that patrol to defend players from attacks, they tend to move about quite a lot and won't always be there to protect you. Regardless, its a deterrent, since attacking players in a town means taking the risk of losing everything you in your inventory. Players that are crafting should be especially careful as that leaves them vulnerable to attacks. I personally went back to Brightwyn whenever I crafted rare metals like mithril. The main incentive for players to PvP is that upon death, your character drops most (if you are attacked) or all (if you initiated the attack) of your inventory and equipped items.
Despite a few bugs that are to be expected with an Alpha build and various things that still need to be included/adjusted, Tale of Toast was a really entertaining experience, and I even found myself playing for more than 24hrs over this weekend. Definitely a game to keep an eye on.
Thanks to Stray for corrections