Sphere 3 is four years old. It’s quite a lot for a MMORPG, a game that exists only so long as it is being played. This means the project has attracted a significant audience, certainly large enough to keep it afloat and then some. The makers of Sphere have no intentions of abandoning their project, regularly releasing new content and closely monitoring game balance. Let’s take a look at the most important changes that happened to the game during this time.
Tlaloс the Devastator, a boss from Sphere 3’s latest addon
Left, an in-game screenshot taken at release. Right, an in-game screenshot taken after the graphics update
Sphere 3 graphics was subject to much criticism at release. Some people went as far as to claim they were “obsolete long before the game went live", but those who could look past the simple textures would appreciate low system requirements made possible by not supporting 4К-resolution and other fancy features. Nevertheless, the developers promised to update the graphics in 2015 and eventually kept their word. The renderer was remade from scratch and the graphics engine was upgraded to handle both shadows and dynamic lighting. Sphere 3 may not look as impressive as the popular triple-A titles but is comparable to other games in the same price segment. The graphics options also became more flexible without negatively affecting the system requirements: you can still run it on a potato, but the game looks much better now.
New quests and areas
Two major content updates have been introduced over the last for years, Forgotten lands and Rage of the Devastator. The latter update was so significant the game itself (formerly known as Sphere 3: The Enchanted World) had been renamed to match.
A battle in the Forgotten Lands
After the first update maximum character level was increased to level 50. A new location, Forgotten Lands, was added featuring quest chains for both factions, a new castle and two previously unseen world bosses, Nerkor and Lirak.
The second update unveiled yet another major in-game location, Emerald Valley.
Emerald Valley. Sphere 3 gave a jungle ziggurat to its players long before it became mainstream.
This expansion marked a new direction for Sphere’s plot previously built around the never-ending faction conflict. The Valley features the outposts of both humans and demons, but the central hub of this location, the neutral city of Ketam Ai, happily welcomes both. Its rulers make sure to retain the favor of both factions, which becomes obvious after you start completing quests in and around town.
Of course, the new location's key features are the magnificent castle of Shiai Toc (see above), the "Throne of the Dead God" dungeon and two new world bosses — Atalan, the most recent addition, and Tlaloc the Devastator, who had the addon named after him.
The launch of a separate PvE server, over 600 hours’ worth of quests and a robust number of dungeons prove that Sphere 3 still has something to offer even to dyed-in-the-wool PvE enthusiasts. Not too shabby for a largely PvP-oriented game, eh?
Base character stats rebalancing. Rebalancing classes is a problem that every MMO has to face sooner or later. A stagnant system quickly makes players lose interest because some of the classes become incredibly popular and the others fall out of favor, and Sphere 3 was no exception. Releasing “Rage of the Devastator” allowed the developers change the balance in a major way. All base character stats have been changed to affect healing and damage in different ways. We’re not going to go into details as they were thoroughly explained in developer diaries, but the result made even the experienced champions of the Sphere see their characters in a completely new light.
Armor upgrade transfers. Another welcomed upgrade. You spent time, blood and money to upgrade a valuable piece of equipment only to have a better piece of loot drop quickly after? The upgrade can now be transferred to a new item.
Item quality improvement. Item quality was a Sphere feature since day one, but its effects were completely random and depended entirely on your luck when fighting monsters or crafting. Now the developers allow players to disassemble old items to create essences and use them to up the quality of the desired equipment.
Daily tasks – No, they are different from daily quests. The developers made paid items easier to get: they can now be acquired without investing real money if you’re willing to invest some effort. There is a separate in-game window that lists a number of daily chores: collect some items, kill some regular or elite monsters, etc. Completing them will give you some in-game currency and unlock a new set of more complex tasks that give an even better payout on completion. This currency can be taken to special vendors and exchanged for items previously available only in the in-game store.
Pretty and useful
Pet acquisition. In-game pets could only be used to collect loot and provide amusement are now a thing of the past. Even if you aren’t an archer, you can get yourself a pet with tangible benefits. There is a new generation of pets that gives its owners stat bonuses now. They can be leveled up, and their effects will level up as well. The wild fairy you see above improves one of the chosen stats by 1,6% right out of the box and will give much greater damage or defense buffs after you pump it up. Such pets can be acquired during the regular events of purchased with special currency earned at the PvP arena.
As you can see, the 4 years since the project’s release were put to a good use by Sphere 3’s developers. We listed only a small part of the changes here, so if you tried the game a long time ago and did not enjoy it you may want to give the updated Sphere 3 another go. If you haven’t yet tried it, then you’re fortunate indeed! This is your chance to enjoy the varied and interesting content after the kinks have been ironed out.
Let us hope these changes aren’t the last thing the developers have in mind. A project dies when the development stops, but Sphere 3 makers show no signs of stopping! Bully for them!