As you may already know, when I got time, I play Vindictus, the latest online game from Nexon. I used to play the korean version, but it was frustrating as I had no clues about what the story were about. This game is really addictive, and to be able to buy underwears is a nice addition to the game :)
This game is an instance base action RPG, and play a little bit like Demon's Souls (best PS3 RPG), and Monster Hunter. Player skill plays an important part in the character progression, as the combat system is real time. The player has to learn how to dodge, block and launch powerful combos. The skill training is very similar to Mabinogi (an open world MMORPG), player has to pick a skill to train, and spend AP to level up this skill. Player cannot train several skill at the same time, so he has to choose very carefully what skill is the best to learn at a given time.
AP can be obtain when clearing dungeons. Dungeons (or Battles) are the core of the game. In these Battles, player can do quest and harvest materials (killing monsters, or using mine bomb on special rocks). Material are used to craft armor, weapons, potions. Crafting is vital. Most of the items must be crafted, and can not be purchased from NPCs.
This leads to the Marketplace, the feature you'll probably use the most. The Marketplace allows you to sell your items, or buy them. The interesting part is that if you don't want to farm over and over again a Battle to obtain a rare quest item, you can buy it there. Quest (Story) system is interesting too. Doing quest is really important too, they are mostly quite hard to achieve, but they are very rewarding. Stories give you Gold and Xp, of course, but they give you also : "Titles". Titles are small text that can be displayed in your char name to show off. But in Vindictus, Titles give you permanent statistic bonuses.
At the moment only 2 characters are available (Korean version will soon have 4) : Lann a warrior who can uses 2 weapon at the same time (damage dealer), and Fiona, a warrior who uses a shield and a sword (tank), and who has the ability to block attacks.
Graphic-wise, Vindictus is gorgeous. Art direction is one of the best at the moment. It may not be the most technically advanced game, but it doesn't need a very big comp and the Source Engine delivers. The characters are beautiful (specially the faces), shaders are used very thoughtfully. The UI is smartly done and not too invasive. Sounds are great and add a great violent feel to the fights.
They are so many things to talk about this game. I can only recommend you to try it.
If you want to play with me just add me to your friendlist ingame (Silencio, west server).
I was planning to make a real (drawn by hands) Vindictus fan art, but I din't have the time.
But I found a very interesting tool : 3D Ripper DX, which works like FRAPS but in 3D. This tool can grab DirectX informations, as meshes, textures, shaders, when a DX9 app is running. So basically, with it, you can, import almost any game models into some 3D packages like 3DS MAX. That's what I did with Vindictus.
So I had fun exploring how the models where made, and building a 3ds Max scenes with ripped Vindictus assets. I played a little bit with Mental Ray, and tried to make a sexy rendering of Lann one of the playable character. Hair have been added in Photoshop, I couldn't find the hair meshes and textures that haven't been imported properly into 3DS. And I slightly corrected the neck and the underwear of the character. Everything else come from the game.
As soon I got time, I will definitely make a real 2D illustration.