Nope. Not really a review. Much more of a story of my first 16 hours of ZX. Not a straight 16 hours though. A staggered play of ZX for four hours a day since the start of the closed-beta.
For a start, e-Games’ ZX Online is the fourth Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) of Beijing gaming company, Perfect World. Zhuxian was released last May 2007. Some of the other MMORPGs of the company is Perfect World and Perfect World II. The former was released only in China, while the later was published in the Philippines by Level Up.
Zhuxian was developed based on a popular internet novel of the same name. It was ranked the most read internet novel in 2005 and one of the top ten in 2006. Perfect World describe Zhuxian Online as “a martial arts focused adventure set in a fantasy world.” Gameplay would include the scenes, places, and plots of the internet novel and will be from the perspective of the character that they choose to play. Googling a copy of the internet novel would nowadays give you results related to the MMORPG. Although I managed to stumble upon two music videos of a supposedly Zhuxian series, dubbed Tru Tiên here. Zhuxian was developed using the same Angelica 3D game engine used for Perfect World and Perfect World II.
ZX PH is said to be the first english deployment of the game. Zhuxian was ranked as the most popular online game in China for 2007 by the Chinese Game Industry Annual Conference. It is also the first game from China published by e-Games. For the basic features of the game you can refer to this post from CM Mei Yan.
Since the start of the closed-beta, TatayK has also created a closed-beta character to test the gameplay and features of ZX PH. In-game you can find me as CBTatayK.
Here as some of my ramblings about ZX PH’s closed beta:
- In snuggle, the intimacy button is grayed out. Probably disabled temporarily until its commercial release or will there be no intimate snuggle? Haha.
- Much like in Level Up’s release of Perfect World, the text most of the time exceed the size of the boxes. Of course this is the result of the translation to english. Will the PH administrators be allowed to tweak the size of the boxes and wrap the phrases? On some instances, the font grows intermittently while changing the perspective of the camera.
- There is a GPS system in the map. Though you can set and see the waypoint dot, you can’t find any waypoint arrow in the hud. The NPCs too are represented by color coded dots. But same with the rest of the waypoints, there are no arrows in the hud. I’m also unable to find a magnifying system in the large map. Though the transparency setting is a good feature.
- Just like their previous installments, refining equipment still is a gamble. Haha. You have the chance to refine an equipment successfully or have it disappear when your refining fails brutally. However it is not clear if a successful refining can bring about additional stats other than an upgrade of your basic stats. Fusion of “soul stones” as you term it in PW for additional attributes such as defense, evasion, hit, etc, is now similar to refining. Yep, the element of luck also applies. When fusing an equipment with any Phylactery (for additional health points to mana, from attack to defense) a failed fusion will not just remove the existing fused attributes but may also destroy your equipment.There is however a slot for a “blessing” symbol in the refining or fusion options. These may be items similar to the dragon balls of PW. Items that guarantee the success of refining weapons and armor. A particular dragon ball level is used for a particular refining level too. In LU’s PW, these dragon balls can be brought easilly (though not cheap) via the item mall. They can also be dropped and taken from treasure chests on rare and difficult oppurtunities. Will it be the same too in e-Games’s ZX? Hehe.
- The object hovering around the player isn’t a fairy but a talisman. The talisman is an innovative (infact, very innovative) accessory. Maybe an understatement to describe it as an accessory. The talisman is more of a sidekick. The auto-attack feature is a great feature of ZX. Although much to the frustration of “bot” users, the talisman’s auto-attack can only be used for a definite span of time. It can be activated too after a certain period of heating up. Is the heat-up period for the talisman’s auto-attack accelerated when you are battling monsters? Or is it a time activated value, unchanged whatever the character’s situation is?
- Upon reaching level 15, you lose 6% of your experience upon dying. Will this rate be reduced as your level or school cultivation level grows higher? I also noticed that nowhere in the hud or menu is the experience of the character shown in exact amount. XP is only shown in percent.
- Though the monsters’ names are color coded (white if you are of the same level; shades of red for higher level monsters, and a shade of green to gray for those lower than you), their exact level in number isn’t displayed.You gain cultivation (experience) and money (smallest unit is copper, then silver, then gold ) in killing a monster. What exactly is dropped are items, from production items to refining and fusing Phylactery.
- For two or more quests requiring a certain amount of monsters to be killed, bad news for those in rush. You have to kill perpetually to fill up all those numbers. If a quest requires you kill 20 Ape Men, and another one requires you to kill another 20 Ape Men, even though you have both these quests in your list you still have to kill a total of 40 Ape Men. Hehe.
- You do not need to go to any crafting NPC to produce a weapon or armor. Simply acquire an armor or weapon recipe (from drops or from the Producing Tutor), right click on it to study, then press O to check on the crafting mats needed to produce the item. If all requirements are complete, simply press the produce button.
- You can see the damage created by other players. When you bring up their character info, you can also view the skills they have learned and the level of these skills.
- IP is not locked to the Philippines or are some players just pretending to be foreign? Wahahaha.
- Surprisingly the map is not “seamless” as it was said. When you reach the edge of your exisiting large map, there is a portal that will take you to another map location. Seamless maps such as those in PW are unlimitedly open for hundreds of in-game meters. You only bring up the map loading screen when you enter a dungeon or arena. Is ZX PH’s matrixed map only in CBT or will we be using the same in the open-beta and commercial release?The pathing system is very good though. You can actually bring up the map, click on any location and your character will find its way through.
- I can’t seem to find any durability stat on any of the equipment. This may be good news. It means that we can use these equipment forever without having to worry about repairs. Or is the equipment’s durability displayed separately?
- As clarified by CM Mei in an online chat, we won’t be expecting avatar customizations in ZX. Only a selection of the default faces. Sadly, TatayK will be stuck with one of the template faces found in the game. There however is a slot for fashion items. But I sure hope we were wrong with the avatar customizations. I’m still waiting for the chance to tweak TatayK’s face and make it identical to my PW character.
- On the other hand, customizing the faces will deviate from the very essence of being a game based on the Zhuxian novel. As the developers have said, we are playing the characters and traveling through through the plot of the novel. It wouldn’t be consistent with the story’s trajectory if the player’s customized avatar would look far from what the novel illustrates how the protagonists should look like.
After 16 hours of staggered play, CBTatayK has reached level 20. Still exploring ZX PH. Hope CM Mei will be able to answer my additional inquiries for they already have a head start into the game.