PC

My First Hours with Swordsman

Swordsman Online is an MMORPG published by Perfect World Entertainment. My first experience with Perfect World Entertainment was Perfect World International. It was my favorite MMORPG at the time considering I played it on the Malaysian servers before the official Western English translation (Perfect World International) was released. This MMORPG is also based on a popular Chinese novel, “Swordsman,” by Louis Cha.

I played this MMO for around an hour to get the feel of it and what it has to offer for the basics. I thought it was going to be your typical MMO, but there are a few aspects of it that made me pleasantly surprised that I tried this game out.

I was provided with a PR code for the Hero’s Pack that includes: Blazing Stallion Mount, Blade Apprentice Scroll, Ring of Valor, Nomad Body Fashion, East Sector Treasure x60, Nomad Head Fashion, and Mithril x10. These are great items for those starting out in the MMO, but they can also be beneficial if you want to establish yourself with the game before putting money into it. It is important to note that this is a free to play MMORPG, which means you can download and play it without paying a monthly subscription. In order to continue to run the game there are items that you can purchase with your real-life money that are definitely worth it. There are a few mounts to choose from that make travelling easier and you have the option to ride on the mount with another person. You can also buy other packs that can give you starting items to help you level up, but you can also purchase individual items to help with crafting and building up your character. These items are always beneficial to helping you achieve the better gear in the game which can, in turn, allow you to have a higher survivability rate within the game. You can also spend your money on buying fashion if you get tired of looking at the armor the game provides you with. The fashion is detailed and can help your character stand out and make it more unique to yourself.

Good free to play MMORPG’s can be difficult to come by, but Swordsman Online can be considered one of them. I have tried a plethora of free to play MMORPG’s and realized that I am extremely picky when it comes to finding the right one for me. Swordsman Online is currently in Open Beta so I went into it knowing that there are going to be missing elements that have not been implemented yet. When playing an MMORPG there are certain aspects of the game that I am looking for: Aesthetics, Character Customization, Combat, User Interface, and Story.

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Aesthetics – 7/10

Aesthetics are important to me when it comes to playing any game. If a game does not look good I may not enjoy it as much because I want to be fully immersed in the world. Any game that is not attractive will not capture my full attention, but I still try to give it a chance in case the story makes up for the graphics.

This MMORPG is not the most gorgeous I have played, but the graphics are still wonderful. There are many details to character clothes, buildings, and scenery. It is not a very graphic intense game and most PC’s should be able to handle it on high settings. The water in the game is gorgeous along with little things such as the light reflecting off of your character’s lips. It seems like nothing, but small details like that can really help an MMORPG pop when it comes to the graphics. It is flat in certain areas such as some of the scenery and enemy clothing when it comes to great detail, but it is nothing that will cause the game to be less enjoyable. I was running the graphics on high and nothing was an eyesore.

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Character Customization – 6/10

Any MMORPG that gives the player the opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind character is a winner in my book. A game can become a bit boring if you are constantly seeing the same-looking characters running around. Swordsman Online has decent character customization, but at the moment is nothing to be wowed by. Much like Perfect World International, Swordsman Online gives a player the opportunity to go into “Advanced Settings” to customize his/her character. You could change the eye size, the height, waist size, cheek bone height, etc… by going into the “Advanced Settings.” Because the game is still in Open Beta there aren’t too many character creation options. It would be great if the player could have the option to make a custom color for hair and eyes. As of right now the hair color options are blonde, shades of brown, and black. There is also only one eye color option: Brown. It is great that players can change little things about their characters, but there isn’t too much diversity right now.

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Combat – 8.5/10

Swordsman Online gives the player the opportunity to decide how he/she wants to play the game. There are three options: Classic, 3D, and Action. You choose this option at the beginning of the game, but you can change it at any time. Perfect World also gives suggestions to players based on other Perfect World games they may have played. For example, the Classic combat option is similar to Perfect World International.

The combat is still pretty basic, but I chose to use the Action option while playing because that is what I have been playing recently in another MMORPG. However, despite playing in the Action setting it is difficult, if not impossible, to actually dodge attacks. It makes sense that this would be the case because not everyone plays in the Action setting and it would be unfair to have one teammate have the ability to dodge while the others have to stand and take hits.

Overall the combat system is decent for an MMORPG. It does not feel like your typical “stand a spam skills” MMORPG, but it also does not put the player in complete control over dodging attacks from enemies. One aspect that is very interesting about Swordsman Online is when the player gets to choose which School he/she belongs to. It is similar to picking a class in an MMORPG, but each School has a unique fighting stance, weapon, and skills. It was hard for me to pick one class, but it is better to have a multitude of options rather than just a few.

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User Interface – 5/10

Swordsman Online does not have the best User Interface for an MMORPG. It has your standard player info at the bottom of the screen such as HP, Chi, your skills (which are on a small skill bar), etc… while the experience bar is at the top of the screen along with a few small icons for mail, hero information, teleporting, etc… There is no option to expand the skill bar either to easily hot-slot potions, mounts, pets, or anything else. To the right of the screen there are more small icons that the player must hover over to find out what they are, but when hovering over the icons the player can learn what the hot key is for each option. The screen is not cluttered with User Interface and you are given the option to make it bigger or smaller, but it is not the easiest to navigate currently.

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Story – 9/10

Because this MMORPG is based on a novel the story is very captivating. You progress through the story by talking to NPC’s, but there are cutscenes as well. A player can become very immersed in what is happening because the characters are still speaking Chinese with English subtitles. There is a nice combination of cut scenes and dialogue with other NPC’s while doing quests. For example at the beginning of the game you run to a village and help protect it. You proceed to talk to the village elder by just reading what he says, but afterwards a cut scene begins to push the plot of the entire game without making the player read it all in a small box of text.

Zephyr School

Other Things I Enjoyed

This MMO has a few gems that stood out to me while playing. Unlike some MMO’s a player can click on the name of an NPC or location in the quest log and start running to it. There is no navigating and running around trying to find out where to go because the game moves your character to the NPC/Location for you. What makes this even better is when the player has a mount. The Hero’s Pack, which you pay $59.99 for, gives you a plethora of items including a beautiful mount. Mounts in MMO’s help to make travelling much easier. Swordsman Online automatically mounts your character when you are travelling to a new location if mounting is possible in the area (i.e if you are in a building you obviously can’t ride a horse in it). It is very convenient if you just want to click and go to a location without summoning your mount. The Hero’s Pack also gives you a beautiful set of fashion. Wearing the typical armor that every other player is wearing makes you blend into the crowd, but with fashion you can stand out more. The fashion that is given to you via the Hero’s Pack can also be dyed to make it more personal and unique to your character. It gives you a few other items that you can sell to make in-game money, a ring that you can use at level 25 that has nice stats on it, and it even gives you a stack of items that you can trade at a higher level in an instance to get one piece of legendary gear by challenging an NPC. The Hero’s Pack is a great investment for anyone who is interested in playing this MMO for long-term. It is a pack that is very beneficial for new players, but if you want to level your character a bit to see if you like the MMO and want to get the Hero’s Pack later it is still beneficial. Overall Swordsman Online is an enjoyable MMORPG that I would put on my list of recommendations for anyone who is trying to find the right MMO for themselves.

There is much more to this MMORPG that I was unable to encounter seeing as I played it for only an hour, but I had fun in that first hour. I can usually tell if an MMORPG will be worth my time right from the beginning after I play it for a bit and Swordsman Online is definitely an MMORPG that I want to play further, and that is saying a lot considering I’m extremely picky when it comes to MMORPG’s.

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