Cabal Online

Cabal Online

Introduction

Cabal Online is a game that really deserves the subtitle – Revolution of Action. Released in the now long gone 2005 (KR), Cabal to this day has one of the most vivid skill animations you can see in a game. I started playing it a few months after its European Release and I can assure you that it was something no-one has ever seen before. Compared to all of the other MMOPRPGs which had still skill casting and occasional restricted movement in Cabal your character could do crazy acrobatics mixed with insane visualization effects and most importantly, almost all skills were area of effect (AOE) ones which made the enormous amounts of EXP you need to get a little bit easier to acquire.

Impressions

Gameplay and Balance  

Cabal Online original classes

Full Party!

For starters there are 7 classes (originally 6) from which you can choose play and each feel very differently from the other.  You have 3 main stats – Strength (STR), Intelligence (INT), Dexterity (DEX) and more than 30 secondary stats like Critical Damage (CD), Critical Hit Rate etc. Another important detail is that there are 3 main armor set types you can wear depending on your class (for example, if you choose to be a lightweight wizard you will not be able to wear armor plated suits).

  • Of course you will be able to play as the generic melee buff guy with huge muscles that wields a Great Sword of massive proportions. The Warrior is a class that purely relies on the strength stat and is built like a massive damage dealer while still having the ability to wear plated armor suit which guarantees him a lot of toughness.
  • If you prefer the role of the tank the Force Shielder is the perfect choice for you. The toughest character in the game by far utilizes both a sword and shield as it binds them stronger with low levels of magic. A strong opponent indeed, the force shielder can withstand big amounts of burst damage and has agro skills to keep the boss on himself.
  • If you want to put distance between you and the enemy there is no better class than the Force Archer. Its incredible agility and poke potential has made him one of the most annoying characters to play against in Terra Glorious. On the other hand this is the only healer class so you will need one in almost every high level dungeon.
  • The last of the “Force” trio is the Force Blader. A hybrid between wizard and blader, the Force Blader is equipped with a Katana used for his sword skills and an Orb from which he draws his magical powers. For a long time the Force Blader was considered an underdog due to his lack of toughness and difficulty doing dungeons other classes could do even on lower levels than him. In the last few years the Force Blader has turned to one of the biggest threads in both PVP and PVE. What he lacks in durability the FB overcompensates in Utility. And while the warrior and blader can usually get more DPS the Force blader is equally strong if not stronger when he uses his wide arrangement of debuffs.
Chaos Arena run with GM in Cabal Online

Having fun at the Eternal Chaos Arena with a GM

  • The Blader is the king of stats. Balanced perfectly to do great amounts of damage as well as survive, the blader is a force to be reckoned with. With the right (or wrong, depending on how you look on it) stat distribution, Bladers could wear Armor sets in order to get a bit more defense and defense rate and were called “Heavy Bladers”. A change in strategy while doing PVP was needed when you had one of those against you.
  • As in every MMORPG you have a pure caster class that relies on heavy damage spells and utility such as freezing to get the upper hand in battle. Wizards are extremely potent due to their SP buff which restores this much needed resource. Wizards are also the only class that can finish dungeons faster than the others due to their second movement skill – blink. While other characters only have a dash/fade step*, the mages of cabal can use dash and blink to outpace their nemesis. *fade step has lower range than blink and as the name suggests the move is made to step away from danger which makes moving forward with it slow as you also have to see the character turn animation every 0.9 seconds.
  • The Gladiator class was introduced in Europe/North America with the Episode X which was implemented on April 9th 2014. The Gladiators are known for being great masters of emotion and especially anger. Their abilities are amplified by and require rage to be performed. Rage is accumulated when using certain skill unlike mana which comes from the spirit itself. As their training required exceptional control of their emotion and extreme strength that can be only be found deep within, being a Gladiator became well respected by the common people of Nevareth. They wear Heavy Armor Plating which provides more defense while their skills can be used on close and far distance. Gladiators use Chakrams for weapons. They are harder to handle than normal swords but also look way more badass and require strength and dexterity to be wielded and perform the complex Gladiator skills.

Dungeons

Cabal Online Illusion Castle Radiant Hall dungeon force blader run

Illusion Castle Radiant Hall Solo? No Problem!

The dungeons in Cabal are its core. There are a various low level dungeons which you will ride during the quest lines in the early levels but the grinding for items usually begins from Ruina Station. You will need at least a level 75 character and you will have to complete the dungeon in 30 minutes. Note that this is one of the easiest dungeons and there are not a lot of things to click while raiding. The level 100+ dungeons have complex quests inside that will make you run around and click on items while being hammered with damage from nearby enemies. It is advisable to get very well familiar with the layout first via YouTube videos and guides and later try to run the dungeons or simply ask your guild mates/friends online to help you.

Cabal Online Illusion Castle Radiant Hall party run

The More the Merrier!

You can also do the weakened versions of the dungeons when you are at a lower level. Doing dungeons solo will be slower but you can net all of the loot, while doing them in a party can be quicker but you will need to spend more on dungeon entry keys and you will get only part of the loot. In any case, the new dungeon entry system will provide you with bonus entries so the more dungeon runs you make the better. Some of the most notorious dungeons are Tower of Dead also called EOD (from the entry item for it – Epaulet of the Dead) B1F (Basement 1st Floor), Volcanic Citadel or SOD (from its entry key – Seal of Darkness) and Forgotten Temple. With new expansions and dungeons being released regularly, it is uncertain which the most difficult dungeon in the game is. However at the time of writing of this review it seems like EOD B3F and FT B3F are giving players the biggest amount of trouble.

Crafting

Cabal had and still has one of the best crafting systems I have seen in a game. Extremely hard to progress in, very hardcore in terms of success rates and yet incredibly fun and satisfying to level. The game has two different types of crafting – Basic and Item Crafting. You will need to get access to Port Lux which is a level 50 map before you can craft. Before the re-vamp there were 123 Formula Cards which you needed in order to level your Basic Crafting which consists of 9 levels.

Cabal Online basic crafting sword damage amplifiers

I am sure these will come in handy someday.

Even after the overhaul and removal of the formula cards, some of which were extremely rare, each level requires harder to find, higher level ingredients and quite a large amount of Alz (the in-game currency). The fact that you can craft Slot Extenders which cost Billions of Alz on the highest crafting level is a great excuse to start leveling basic crafting even though it is mainly a money sink that is put to deal with the extreme amounts of Alz currently in the game. The other useful side effect of leveling basic crafting is that you will end up with literally thousands of various potions and entry keys for different dungeons which will save you some grinding and Alz.

full inventory of FT B2F in Cabal Online

Full inventory of FT B2F keys – each worth 2.2M at the time.

Professional crafting is more useful, as you can choose to craft items which you can wear and end game items (especially accessories like amulets and rings) are very high in demand all of the time. While Item Crafting initially required an Item of proof in order to progress to the next Item tier, nowadays you only need to grind out the completion bar which still sounds a lot easier than it actually is.

Cabal Online Professional Crafting

Keep Calm and Craft on!

There are two or three tiers that will make you sink all of your money and pull out your hair once you hit a 10 in a row fail streak and waste 100M Alz worth of items. For the completely insane, there is even a harder Professional Crafting mode called Master Crafting which has even lower success rates but can make you a Billionaire overnight once you are on the high end item tiers.

 

Upgrading

While in other games you will have to use currency or special modules to upgrade your items, in Cabal you will have to use Upgrade Cores of different grades. Once an item has been upgraded it receives a +1 in the title and increased stats. Most items can be upgraded to +15 (initially to +7) but as you can image with each upgrade the probability of success is decreased. When you fail an upgrade your item can go down a level. Upgrading above +10 was quite hard and required a big amount of cores (200-500 depending on your luck) but with the introduction of Enhanced Cores (higher chance of success compared to normal Upgrade Cores), Enchant Safeguard (guards your item from downgrading when an upgrade fails) and Perfect Cores (100% chance of success of upgrading). The Upgrade System was also revamped to give upgrade points after each unsuccessful upgrade which will increase the chance of success for the next try.

Belt Upgrade fails in Cabal Online

300 Million Alz for Chaos Cores wasted in a matter of seconds.

Belts are only upgradable via Chaos Cores which are obtainable via the Chaos Arena and the sad thing is – if you fail in an upgrade the belt is destroyed. All other accessories like earrings, rings and amulets cannot be upgraded and have to be dropped or crafted.

Slotting

Item Option Granting process in Cabal Online

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.

Middle, High and Ultra High level items are preferred with 2 slots for ultimate stats for those items. Items can be slotted with more than 30 options secondary stats. You will also need Force Cores which as the Upgrade Cores come in different grades, Option Scrolls which can be fixed or random and Alz (50,000-15,000,000) depending on the other pieces mentioned above. Again you will have a certain % of success and random scrolls will provide a roulette that will end up on one of the options. Astral Bikes can also be slotted and require special option scrolls. You can obtain these option scrolls by breaking the corresponding items – armor for armor scrolls, weapon for weapon scrolls and bikes for bike scrolls (this will hit your wallet hard!)

Currently, one of the most expensive item in the game is the Slot Extender Highest which can be used to “drill” an additional slot in any of the highest grade items in the game (Mythril and Archridium). Slot Extenders allow the richest and luckiest players to use Items with 3 slots which can give them an edge compared to the same item with only 2 slots.

Tierra Gloriosa (TG)

Terra Gloriosa is the Grand PVP battleground type mode that was one of the major selling points of cabal back in the days. Although the term TG is often used, the mode is actually called Mission War/Nation War and Tierra Gloriosa is the name of the map on which the battle is fought. A 100 vs 100 battle was possible way back when 10 vs 10 was considered a big fight. The War is fought between the two great nations of Nevareth – Capella and Procyon. While the War was initially restricted for players until they reach level 95 but now you can pledge your allegiance on level 52 and start competing in the lowest bracket.

Capella Victory in National War in Cabal Online

Well.. that was a nice warm up, now show me a real enemy!

The idea is to capture and control key locations on the map which are guarded by very strong monsters called Legacy Guardians. A lot of strategy is involved as you will need to have a good commander, balanced teams spread in different locations of the map, map awareness and resurrection points. Initially you will only be able to resurrect at the Main Base of your nation. However, there are a building options for the empty panels spread across the map and one of those is the Resurrection Tower. Other towers can have buffing or debuffing properties but the resurrection tower is the most important as it can supply fresh allies straight to the fronts of the battle. Often times the team with better placed resurrection towers will win the game simply due to the constant reinforcements that it will get.

TG provided players with the much needed honor points and now also has currency and item rewards. However, you will need to do at least 30 points before you can be qualified for a reward.

The Story

As in most MMORPGs, you will need to pay close attention when doing the main quest line in order to find more about the story. In a summary, long time ago Nevareth was almost destroyed by an evil force but 7 great Sages managed to stop it. Nowadays, strange things are happening around Nevareth as creatures and plants are getting corrupted and mutate, zombified villagers roam the north and desert monsters are getting extremely large in size. A long forgotten evil is trying to swoop Nevareth and the conspiracy around it seems larger and more consuming than ever. Will you find out what is the reason for the flora and fauna acting weird? What happened to the Great Sage Sirius who was the most wise and strong of the seven? Who is Patren and why is he so important? Once you can answer this question, you will probably know the full story of Cabal.

AI

The AI is on a satisfactory level, with occasional respawn or stick bugs but nothing serious or game experience altering.

Graphics

Eternal chaos arena run in Cabal Online

When there are simply too many big enemies to see your own character and teammates

The visuals are old school. There is a great variety of colors in the game although themed by the map you are on. On its release it was one of those games which you did not have to buy a new computer for and a lot of people still love it for its simplicity. While the visual effects of the skills can be quite heavy on the eyes at some point, you can remove them from the game options. The lack of too bright and too dark spots of the maps is a nice change from the trending super contrast locations in other games.

Audio

Cabal has a very memorable OST, which is actually pleasant to hear even after thousands of hours of playtime. The theme of Blood Ice is enchanting, but for those who which to listen to their own music, the developers have implemented an in-game player on which you can add playlists of songs (this was before the time of YouTube and SoundCloud). However, monsters and effect sounds are not of the best quality, and most of the dialog is only available as subtitles and not actual audio.

Atmosphere

Force Blader Battle Mode 2 in Illusion Castle Underworld

This game is all is all about you being the badass hero.

For any veteran Cabal player, the game is something that will bring nostalgia every time they return to it, whether it is a few months or years apart. New players however feel excitement as the interesting mechanics, new territories to explore, enemies to fight, items to equip and story to unfold will keep them playing for hours on end. The majority of players are well mannered and very helpful so the atmosphere is very friendly and compelling.

Server Stability and Bug fixing

There have been times when the servers were ravaged by ping and disconnects but those times are gone. The game is stable and maintenance occurs every 2-3 weeks probably only to clear all caches and keep server ram and HDDs healthy. The patching system is seamless and much improved since the old days when every time a new patch was rolled out, players would need a few hours or even days in order to get the game to work and even that involved modifying core game files and obscure mirror downloads. Bugs are rare and those that haven’t been fixed are so deeply incorporated into the engine that it would probably require to write the whole platform from the ground up just to remove them.

Performance

GM Item Drop Event in Cabal Online

When the GM decides to give out items for hundreds of millions, people swarmed the channel.

As mentioned above, the game performs extremely well due to its low system requirements and older game engine. Having 200+ fps in-game is not a rare sight but if you enter channel 1 (trade) during pic hours you can drop to 20 due to the sheer amount of polygons that need to be rendered from each player’s armor.

Underwater Rocks (CONS)

  • Pay to win in its core as most Korean MMORPGs and ravaged to pieces by bad events that flooded the game with too many good items (e.g turtle event flooding markets with SIGMetal item pieces). Pouring a lot of real money can get you billions of Alz – from re-selling gold vouchers to level boosters and Alz bombs, the game has a lot of ways to push you into a purchase of eCoins and the hunger for better items is the biggest one. Grinding 200 levels which are equal to trillions of XP. To summarize – if you pay enough you can get every piece of equipment and achieve maximum level hundreds if not thousands of times faster than a normal player. You can move around the maps faster, sell items without having to go back to a town or the Auction House and never die due to automated potions that immediately heal you to full life when your HP hits 0. Ever wondered how a game with diminishing amount of players managed to stay so long on the market? The answer is donors, and there is not much that can be done about that now. But the silver lining is that those same donors that dominate the PVP and PVE fields also keep the game going and you can play without fearing servers shutting down (while other games don’t last more than a few years or even months before they are discontinued).
Using the eCoin shop in Cabal Online

Anything can be bought and sold with the right oil…

  • They are annoying, spamming bots that target new players and usually only want to break into the account of a player and steal his items and information. Yes, Alz sellers are still as active as the first days of Cabal Online.
  • While in other games scammers are either immediately banned or endorsed as a way of showing the player how harsh the world can be, it seems that in cabal no one really cares about them. Yes, nowadays scammers are almost gone and meeting one is a rare occasion but in the past they were everywhere. Scammers in the trade channel trying to sell you a low level item while first showing you a high level item when the difference is so miniscule that you have to really look into it. Scammers that wanted you to send them the cash before they can send you the item or vice versa. Scammers that wanted to just try out your cool new bike for a minute but end up blocking you and later selling it for a few hundred millions if you are gullible enough to fall into the trap. Scammers were so sneaky and have become such a big part of the game that you weren’t safe even in your own country or town’s guild. Even real life friends could scam you and later never talk to you again, that is how bad the situation was. But as more and more awareness was spread, the players themselves started to heal the game and now you can hear about someone being a scammer once a month or so. It was obvious that the Game Masters were either not allowed to interfere and return items and ban players, they simply did not care or the scammer was a donor that was paying their salary (this is an issue in many games, especially ported in Europe and North America, Korean MMORPGs).

Tips and Tricks

  • More space for items – if you find yourself overburdened with items you know you will need in the future but have no space to store them, you can use your other character slots and create characters in each of them. Now you can store a lot more items by sending them to your “Mules”.
  • Always having extra HP and Mana potions – there is nothing more frustrating than traveling for 2 minutes between teleportation gates and maps only to see that you forgot to bring potions for a dungeon run. You can also run out if the dungeon is very resource consuming. Just send yourself potions but don’t take them from the email and when you need them, you can always open the mail menu and add them to your inventory.
  • Using 2slot item drop set to farm – farming with a set specifically crafted to increase 2 slot item drops will also increase the drops of all items. The creator of this grinding method – RatzaTM became known throughout the cabal community and also made a lot of Alz in the process. This is especially good when you want to farm dungeon entry keys or crafting materials. You can get away with a titanium and osmium gear as it is quite cheap nowadays and farm locations 20-30 levels+ under your level. If you want to find the best farming spots, simply ask in-game or ask here in the comments and I will be more than happy to provide you with more detailed information.

Experience and stats

Archridum Headgear for Forceblader

A little bit of progress on the new gear.

Getting to character to level 160 was a hard thing doing it the old fashioned way, considering there are so many people buying already level characters or using a lot of boosters to shorten the needed time. Having the basic craft at level 7 is fine but to progress more I would need a lot of funds.Since my return I was able grind around 3.5 Billions Alz and upgrade most of my set items from Mythril to Archridium increasing my Defense and Defense rate significantly. The next step is to find a good RW3 bike with 2 slots and maybe even upgrade it to a 3 slot one but that will cost a few more Billions.

Verdict

Despite all of its flows, this is a game you absolutely have to try. Give it a chance and play a few hours till you get to the more interesting stuff (which start at around level 50). If you are turned off by the fact that the game has been out for a long time and most of the players are already on the end-game, I have a good news for you – Cabal is available on Steam via the Greenlight feature and you will be able to start on a completely new server (Atlas) which at the moment of writing this is moderately populated (channels are at 50-60% full). Due to the sheer size of this review I had to leave a few things from the game like pets, vehicles, Chaos Arena and dx dungeons but part of the fun is experiencing completely new mechanics and levels on your own.

Good fortune on your adventures Heroes!

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