Thursday, September 3, 2009

Life After the Party Part 3/4

A long overview/review in four parts; part three.

Images in order from top to bottom. Top, a high-level female axe warrior in armor; second, the same character wearing a Jiangshi Outfit; third, mounts allow characters to travel more quickly and can be traded on the in-game market; fourth, encounter with an enemy mob; fifth, the first turn of combat; sixth, resting on the map and showing the UI.

In creating AO, nDOORS followed a different path. A player took control of a main character, and saw only that character while moving through the world maps. However, that main character could recruit mercenaries to assist him/her in combat situations. Progression through the game will eventually require one player to control a full team of nine characters: one main character plus eight mercenaries.

A notable addition to AO's complexity is its reliance on instance-reliant, turn-based strategic/tactical gameplay. Enemy groups are transported into an instance to battle; battle proceeds as per the classic rules of turn-based combat, where the enemy groups move in turn and alternate until one side is defeated.

Both enemy groups can use items or abilities to summon up to two more allied groups; this means that some battles are large-scale productions of 27 vs 27 (3 players and 24 mercenaries versus 27 enemy monsters in Player vs Environment, or another group of 3 players and 24 mercenaries in Player vs Player).

As with GE, many of the mercenaries in AO can be recruited as the storyline progresses, with their recruitment quests helping to advance the plot.

Both GE and AO have earned awards at home and abroad for their innovative take on online gaming and for their rich gameplay experiences. New titles employing the one-player-multiple-characters strategy have been announced to follow in their footsteps, including the recently-revealed Fantasy Zhu Xian from Perfect World Co. Ltd.

Now let's zoom in on what makes these sorts of MMORPGs click.

Part 2
Part 4

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