Ah, where to begin? In our last episode of "Mark's Grand Adventure" (a.k.a. the Citadel: Forged with Fire preview) we found ourselves navigating the treacherous valleys and hills of surviving the troubled Citadel: Forged With Fire realm. To catch the new reader up--I will provide you with an excerpt from the preview's writings, as I would probably be jumbling up the same words here anyway for your tired eyes to read:

"Sitting down to spend the weekend in medieval magic land, I had some pretty high hopes for what looked to be a game that's right up my alley. Citadel: Forged With Fire combines two things I love and will instantly shoo me in the door: MMORPGs, and Skyrim. As they release the billionth version of Elder Scrolls, I must say that my eye is straying elsewhere, looking for something to fill that void that I previously dumped full with maxed-out talent trees, and eating dragon souls for breakfast."

Oh, look at that young hope there! I want to go back to this time of innocence! Citadel: Forged With Fire promises a lot of things--a sandbox MMORPG filled to the brim with crafting and magic! There was only one way to enter this epic battle, and that way's name is Mark--a resurrection of our champion!

As in the preview we went through two Marks (Mark Sr. and Mark Jr,) We'll simply be calling this new one Mark as a fresh beginning. Wipe the slate clean!

Character creation would be anyone's first step--we want to make this a decent Mark, right? Well, in my previous experience, poor Mark's striking physique complete with ample elbows would make no difference. Sure, he has nice, sharp teeth, but all that is to be covered eventually by sheets of poorly crumpled up tinfoil...so why not have some fun? Mark got himself a big set of arms! Think: coathanger, but dashingly handsome to the sight-impaired.

Dumped into the starting zone straight away, Mark scrambled for some hint of sanity. We took a look around at all the like-minded individuals that decided to join the realm that day--scarcely was a body floating around that resembled something of a Barbie or Ken. It was clear straight away that my fellow players took one of two streets in the character creation forking road: roll out a default, or max every slider on that screen. Concerning that there wouldn't be more time invested in someone that was going to lead my keyboard and I to glory, but hey-ho.

As I have the memory of a gnat, a quick refresher was in place for Mark and his driver. We fiddled with the controls, got used to punching things and went on our merry way!

Unfortunately for Mark, the first thing we ran into was a bear in the forest that wasn't too pleased on us sharing space. The bear grunted, to which Mark grunted back--the size wasn't terribly intimidating after all. Perhaps a little flex on our hairy "friend" would do the trick.

Mark lunged, which, as we just came fresh out of the forge, hit like a wet sandwich. The bear found this to be enough of an annoyance however, and decided to dedicate the rest of its life hunting down our interestingly-shaped adventurer.

After one swipe of the claw from Mr. Bear (or Mrs.--could be a lady!), we knew we were in for a bad time. Mark took it on the chin, but his life was dwindling in alarming numbers, even as the bear missed a punch and sneezed on us instead. Time to flee like the semi-intelligent cowards we are!

Mark booked it. We tried so hard to hotfoot it out, and managed to gain a bit of ground. The bear will eventually run out of steam, right?


The bear chased us up down, left and right across that map. After a while I was pretty sure the Benny Hill theme song started to take over the soundtrack in the background. There was no stopping Mr. Bear. Mark did some quick thinking: what if we get some cheap shots in? No shame in that--nobody around to watch Mark throw sand in the bear's eyes and call him playground names. With a bit of fancy footwork, Mark juked the bear out the best he could, and did some quick math in his head--surely the bear was down at LEAST 75% of his heath, right? Well, uh, so were we. Even with Mark's fantastic battle pirouettes, Mr. Bear managed to probably eat one of our arms and at least a bit of hair too. It just wasn't worth it, and Mr. Bear, no matter how far and fast we ran was never going to give up. Imagine fighting something with the aggro of a T-1000.

Time to relog to shake the unshakable.

Right. Odd, relentless aggro, but okay. "Let's try something else", Mark suggested. Sure. How about some building? Always fancied myself as a computer carpenter and Mark could certainly swing a hammer with the physical build of a unbreakable spaghetti noodle, so we were off! Some collecting here and there seemed like the sensible choice. We then sat down together with what resembled me trying to put together an Ikea coffee table without English instructions in my living room: no hint of where or when to build, what was important to build or anything like that. Mark does like guessing games however, and it felt like a bonus to have to worry about building some sort of vital shelter, whilst having to look over our shoulder panicking about a robust catalog of things willing to come along and knock it all down.

He quickly made a quaint hut in the middle of nowhere. It certainly resembled a shelter, and Mark stepped back, proud. Unfortunately, we weren't alone in the woods--another player came trotting along, ready to knock over our house of cards. Instead of going for the shelter, the other player bashed in our head in the front garden, stomped on all the flowers and even insulted Mark's lovely mum. It was a sad day and the end of our first Mark.

Not one to quit, and with Mark's lineage resembling one of those immortal jellyfishes, we came up with Mark 2! Mark 2 looked like his dad in a surprisingly easy to recreate extreme slider body. Happy with toes that were at least fourteen feet away from our head, we set off with the intention of making it back to the shelter--keeping a close eye out for danger on the way.

Arriving without incident, there was our hut. The 'Home Sweet Home' sign was knocked down, but other than that it had looked like our previous attacker showed some mercy by not touching Mark's handiwork.

Wonderful! Without missing a beat, Mark 2 got to work, starting where his dad left off. No sooner than a swing of the hammer swooped down a higher level character on a dragon! A dragon! Mark 2 wouldn't even have been mad at this point if the hut got squashed--it was a DRAGON!

Excitement coursed through Mark 2's veins as we fumbled around to make contact with the other player. Holding out his hand for a shake, he was met with a strike of a sword. Opening his eyes from the wincing reaction, both Mark 2 and I saw something vaguely comforting, but more so suspicious: his health hadn't gone down. In fact, Mark 2 appeared to be invincible against this clearly capable warrior. Could the developers have built in pity to lower level characters? It looked to be so!

Unsure if the higher level warrior caught on to this, Mark 2 started to celebrate by jumping in circles playing a little game of cat and mouse. They chased Mark 2 around, probably muttering some choice words behind the monitor until we both ended up inside Mark 2's humble mansion in the woods.

Mark 2 stuck his tongue out and quickly shut the door behind him as he ran outside of the hut. Standing in the front garden, waiting for the other player to come out, we realised something: as the higher level player couldn't interact physically with Mark 2, so could they not interact with Mark 2's stuff. This meant that the higher level player was stuck inside Mark 2's hut, unable to even interact with the door to open it. Trapped! Glitch or intentional, the mercy that was shown to the lower leveled Mark family tree had turned into a serious issue for anyone in the realm.

You could practically see the rage quit as the higher leveled player logged out inside Mark 2's hut. Interesting to witness and slightly hilarious, but also terrible shame.

Confused as to where to go and what to do next, Mark 2 began to mosey around, picking weeds and stuffing rocks in his inventory. Every so often we would run into an animal or person that didn't like us, and after a while the inevitable occurred: Mark 2 perished in cold blood.

So was born Mark 3, 4, 5, and 6. The earlier Marks went back to the crime scenes and collected what was lost, but after a while it wasn't even worth it. The Marks wholly lived and died as peasants.

Desperately searching for fun, we hung out in the starting zone, hoping to interact with a few players. In the starting zone itself is a safety bubble--like a force field protecting the new players. This is great, but the moment you stepped out--it was curtains for you. Mid to high, and even some braver low level players camped out at the edge of the bubble, waiting for some daft adventurer to cross its threshold.

It became very clear that ambushing unsuspecting new players was the fun to be had in Citadel: Forged with Fire. You could make it past one of these malicious players, but once in the wild, you face enemies that never lose aggro, unclear or no instruction as to what to do or build and strange bugs that begged to be squashed.

I know I said in the preview that Citadel: Forged with Fire had promise, but other than a laugh and run around to waste actual real life time, I'm not sure what the point is. There's not enough building options to make it exciting like Minecraft, there's not enough quest-shaped things to make it interesting like World of Warcraft and the PvP element would be like playing Unreal Tournament--but where your opponents have all the weapons, fifty times the health, take 1% of the damage you do and can move ten times faster, you have a moldy shoelace as a weapon, to complement your tattered cloth underwear armour pack.

There is imagination implemented, and generally it's a pretty game, but if you don't have a personal tie to the title itself, I'm not so sure this one is going to be for you. The poor Marks will forever live on in our hearts, and if dramatic improvements happen, we'll be back for another spin with a new Mark...but until then, I'm going to un-install and cleanse my computer with the fire from which I came.