I’ve played a number of free first person shooters. Wolf Team deviates from most shooters: it lets players morph into wolves and claw enemies. A cool concept, really, but the execution is flawed.
First of all, Wolf Team is part of the Aeria Games collection which means it requires players to register and login before they can play the game. Logging in is not intrinsically a bad idea but Aeria’s login interface is crummy. There’s no way to save your password or even your username, so you have to re-enter both every time you play. Like a lot of systems, Aeria has stupid password constraints. Pro tip: a password that has two digits is easier to brute-force.
Besides the login interface, there’s the weird channel interface. Players select a channel devoted to their skill level and locale. Within a channel, players can visit the shop to buy better weapons (more on that later), though the shop should be available outside of the channel selection list. (I went with Channel 1 – Boot Camp for newbies. If I can cream them, you can too.) Players then choose a game to play. This is where Wolf Team really un-shines.
While players wait in the lobby, they click the Ready button to signal the game master that they are ready to play. The Ready button does not change, so some players will reflexively click it several times. Only when their status above declares “READY” are they truly ready to join the game.
At this point the game master clicks Start Game. I’ve been the master for a few games. Nearly ever time I click Start Game an error message informs me that the game has not yet begun. THAT’S WHY I CLICKED IT, MORON!
Eventually, the game begins. Players default to human class and shoot each other with a variety of ranged weapons. By pressing 3 they can switch to wolf form, optimized for melee combat. I found that many games are unbalanced. When one team is forced to be human and the other forced to be wolf, the ratio of humans to wolves determines the outcome.
If the humans vastly outnumber the wolves, the humans will win. Wolves do start out stronger, and they attack more forcefully, but as a wolf I most often was shot down before I could approach close enough to swipe claw. If the wolves outnumber the humans, they storm the spawn point and don’t let any humans escape. For this reason, the game can get incredibly boring.
When players can switch between wolf and human at will, the game is much more balanced and much more fun. I like sneaking up on people and clawing them. I like getting bonuses for different kinds of kills: Sneak Attack! Sniper Kill! Double Kill! The voice for these shout-outs is pretty good, but his script is lame. During base-capturing mode, he announces over and over, “Both teams have the same number of bases.” Better would have been, “The teams are tied.” When a player kills, he gets wolf points: “Baby Wolf!” I laugh my ass off every time.
When you play as a human, you can use a primary weapon (typically an assault rifle), a secondary weapon (pistol), and some grenades. Don’t use the default Stout sniper rifle. The damage is very small and the reload time is long. The scope provides no more magnification than a Ziploc bag.
When you play as a wolf, you can run on walls, but only sideways. For some reason you move faster on walls than you do on the ground. It’s still not fast enough to avoid getting shot, so I rarely play as a wolf. Also, wolves operate in third person view for some reason.
One thing that bugs me is that leaving a game triggers a confirmation dialog: “Do you really want to blah blah blah?”
The dialog warns players that they will lose 100 Gold and have a match loss on their record if they leave. This is such a small penalty that I never care. But sometimes that penalty adds up, in the case that I’m playing some games that never end. Wolf Team’s rounds are typically 30 minutes, a bit long in my opinion. Some games immediately begin a new round when the old one is over, so you can’t ever leave without taking a penalty.
I hate it. Whereas Modern Warfare 2 rewards players in a fashion which encourages them to keep playing, Wolf Team hardly incentivizes players at all. I earned some Gold Points and Aeria Points by playing a couple of games. I have a reasonable amount of each of them so I visited the various stores to buy upgrades. There is no unified Wolf Team store. Instead, there is a NEW store, a Wolf Coin store, and a separate web browser-based store. They’re completely disorganized.
Though I have enough money to buy upgrades, there’s no point. I used the handy Compare button to look at a dozen weapon statistics. None of them are better than the statistics of weapons I already own. The worst part is that once I accrue enough Aeria Points to buy something, Wolf Team takes it back after a few days; “purchase” really means “rent for exactly one day”. Some of the items for sale are just stupid. Of the few permanent items, I can buy a tattoo for my character. Willikers! I can also buy a box of random crap.
In conclusion, Wolf Team is a neat concept but the design flaws are too much for me. I’d rather play other free FPSs.