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I know Kung Fu...and Chi Kung too!

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  • I know Kung Fu...and Chi Kung too!

    Poking around on the internet (okay, I was playing some flash games at ArmorGames.com at work) I found a very interesting MMORPG.

    9 Dragons is created by Acclaim and is currently in Open Beta phase 13 (patch went out 5/1/07).

    It is a FREE MMORPG that is pretty much soaked in Chinese mythos and legend. Ever played Jade Empire and wished there was more to it? This may be the game for you!

    Okay, to be honest I just finished reading some of the back lore and I'm in the process of downloading it now (2 AM, long day at work). I'll probably throw out something later after I've given it a shot, but I thought I'd give people a heads up over the find.

    On the site the few screenshots (granted they were on the forums and crappy resolution) make it seem like the graphics will be on par with Vanguard (blocky characters FTW), but the combat animations (flash bar on the right of the main page) look VERY interesting and did much to sell me over the distinctive combat styles of the clans you can join.

    Worse case senario I'll play until I get to a point where I can join a large group in a huge battle and play "Everyone was Kung Fu fighting" in the background for laughs and memories. This is probably the first game I've seen that lets you join the league of beggers and their distinctive 'dog beating stick' style of kung fu. Gotta love a clan that teaches you staff/rod work based around beating a small dog.
    My sanity is not in question...
    It was a confirmed casualty some time ago.


    Light, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to hide the bodies of the people I had to kill because they ticked me off.




  • #2
    Re: I know Kung Fu...and Chi Kung too!

    I was part of closed beta. Didn't care for it. Namely because for me it's too much like other MMORPG's like WoW. You walk up to enemies, and it makes your character hit them. I was hoping for a more controlled form of combat, more fighting game like.

    It's okay, I guess, but it felt like every other MMORPG I've played before wrapped in another theme. Nothing really impressed me.

    Not for the Glory. Not for the Honor. For the Team.

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    • #3
      Re: I know Kung Fu...and Chi Kung too!

      This game was terrible man. Really terrible. You can barely make out any of the sentences, very bad broken english. It's the same as the other asain mmo's out there and terrible graphics IMO.


      - -

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      • #4
        Re: I know Kung Fu...and Chi Kung too!

        Sat down and played it for a few hours to get some first impressions. I have to say that for a free MMORPG its quiet impressive. Not something I'd give up WoW for, but still impressive.

        You have the option of doing a single player tutorial bit that will jump you ahead 12 levels to the first achievement rank. During the tutorial it was somewhat obvious that they did the voice acting in english after some other asian language due to the pauses before and after pronoucing chinese words. There was also a small issue with syncing during those tutorial clips, but it served to teach you the basics of the UI rather well.

        The UI itself it is somewhat confusing. After playing so many MMOs with the ASDW mapped for movement it took a little work to get used to using a point and click move interface. Pathing was also very basic which ment taking small steps around obstacles or your character would walk into a rock and keep walking.

        Play style is VERY similar to LOTRO with skills that you learn and progess as you use them. Its also very much a grindfest like LOTRO because you have to kill so much in order to get anywhere. Like Vanguard there are several minigames that you have to play with in order to unlock certain parts of the game. Learn a new Kung Fu style from a trainer? You play a minigame to enable its use. Learn a new Chi Kung style? Another minigame. Reached the last level of your achievement rank? Again...another minigame.

        Graphicswise the environment is somewhat a cross between WoW and LOTRO (some flat plants and repeating textures to cheat with large sections of terrain). Character animation is far superior to Vanguard and close to LOTRO and WoW in smooth movement and range of motion. Definately more realistic looking than WoW, LOTRO, and Vanguard as well. Of course there is the problem that basically everyone wears the same face and clothing which makes it seem like everyone are clones of each other due to a limited selection in of features in character creation.

        Quick assesment of enemies and other characters are kinda difficult. The game uses chinese characters to decribe type (beast, training, deviant, townsperson) so you have to mouse over and wait for the english popup unless you can read chinese. There's also a bar with a sliding marker that shows how strong the mob is in comparison to you. This is missing on other characters, but then its beta and I'm not sure they've worked out PvP yet. You can't tell if you can grab its attention by walking past or if they'll only notice you after you punch them in the face. You also can't tell if the mobs will assist each other or not and at times assistance seems to just randomly popup.

        At times its very hard to feel like you're progressing, but then again that could be attributed to the fact that my starting character was trying to enter the strongest white clan which also has the highest 'level to join' mark. You can learn some basic Kung-Fu right away and progression is through pure practice. More advanced kung-fu takes more practice to advance than the basic stuff. Each school of Kung-Fu starts at level 1 and can rach level 10 through combat practice and level 12 through reading books. At levels 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11 , 12 the series of moves you do with each attack gets more complex (basic fists 1-2 is just two punchs, 3-4 is a punch and a jumping kick, 5-6 is a punch/jumping kick/spining leg sweep, etc etc etc) however getting to those acrobatic moves is enough to make you want to lobotomize yourself. As I was playing each basic fist attack gave me 0.20% progression to the next level on a hit and 0.10% progression on a miss. That's 500 autoattacks before you get the next level of the skill. The basic clan fist attack was even worse at 0.13% progession per attack at a lower level and higher cost than the clanless attack (did do more damage though). So I run around and punch things to death. Regardless how fluid those jumps and acrobatic moves are it was putting me to sleep walking from mob to mob doing nothing but autoattacks.

        That's another small issue I was dealing with. In most other MMORPGs you get a slew of attacks that go with your autoattacks in order to do damage. Perhaps I didn't progress far enough along, but all I had was autoattack and weapon autoattack (which involved switching stances and weapons with the odd interface before using) and no extra attacks to keep me involved. Basically I just sat there and watched my character do the same three leaps, kicks, and punches while wishing the progression bar would move faster so I can hope I do something more impressive after watching the same routine 300 times.

        The economy is robust with plenty of gold from drops and vendorable items avalible, but staggers a bit on the player side. First off there are no crafting/gathering professions which means you get what you want by grinding mobs for it. There is also no centralized auction house to sell goods so if you find something you want to sell you have a very limited way of reaching people. On the flip side you can sell things very easily by going into 'stand mode' and turning your character into a rooted personal store. People can then look at your stand inventory and puchase items automatically from you while you're off making a sandwich or something. You can even put a blerb over your head in a clearly marked white box that can advertise what you're selling. Of course, there's a down side as well. Walking into a major city you'll have your view obscured and might find it hard to see because of the sheer number of people who have set up personal stands blocking things with those blerbs. Some people even set up empty stands just to act like a living billboard.


        There is, however, a lot of promise in the later levels of the game that I'm trying to decide if its worth playing more. Watching some of the advanced players duel was rather impressive since they would switch between the different styles they mastered and different ranks of mastery in order to pull of slick combinations of moves with different animations, vital point costs, bonuses, attack speeds, and after affects. Sitting there with autoattack at rank 12 may not be as effective as switching between rank 10 expert style, rank 10 basic style, rank 12 mediocre style, and maybe rank 8 smashing to mix things up. The combat is very fluid and beautiful once you have a few different styles mastered and ranks achieved. Again, a pretty goal at the end of a long and possibly painful grindfest.
        My sanity is not in question...
        It was a confirmed casualty some time ago.


        Light, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to hide the bodies of the people I had to kill because they ticked me off.



        Comment


        • #5
          Re: I know Kung Fu...and Chi Kung too!

          There are several of these free online MMOs.

          Nice to fool around with between the bigger titles, but nothing to realy keep you coming back for any long period of time.

          Still, that was a nice write up Tarenth.

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