Soul of the Ultimate Nation First Impression

Webzen shows off its upcoming action-heavy online role-playing game, which is set in a fantasy realm sundered by rebellion.


Soul of the Ultimate Nation

Soul of the Ultimate Nation is certainly an unusual name for an online role-playing game, but we've recently discovered that this upcoming title from South Korea's Webzen is a fairly unusual game. Webzen is one of the major online role-playing game developers to emerge from South Korea's burgeoning gaming industry, and SUN will be the company's first major game in North America. We recently got a chance to learn more about this combat-oriented online role-playing game.

In SUN, you'll create a character that sets out to reunite a fantasy nation shattered by rebellion. You'll do so by trying to become the most heroic warrior in the land--in essence, the soul of the ultimate nation. Of course, the online role-playing market is cluttered with all sorts of fantasy-themed games, but Webzen hopes the game will stand out, thanks to some unique design decisions.

Apparently, the soul of the ultimate nation is you.
Apparently, the soul of the ultimate nation is you.

For instance, you'll create a character based on one of four class types. These aren't generic class types, though, so you won't be starting the game with a blank slate like you would with most of the other online role-playing games. Each of the choices represents a unique character with his or her own history, which means that you'll be able to explore that separate backstory throughout your adventures. You can choose between a dragon knight, which is the combination of a fighter and a magic-user; a berserker, which is the frontline "tank" unit and is good for melee combat; an elementalist, which serves as a support class, mage, and healer; or a valkyrie, which is a sort of ranger/thief class that goes into battle with dual crossbows or a bazooka-like crossbow that auto-fires bolts.

SUN gets even more unconventional when you get into the game. You'll start in your traditional online role-playing city, a place where you can buy and sell stuff, as well as socialize with other players. You'll want to look for partnerships and teams to join while you're here, because when you leave the city, you'll head directly for a series of missions in the world. There will be 10 missions in the game at launch for you to undertake, and while that doesn't sound like a big number, we're told that they are going to be a formidable task. Since each mission ramps up in difficulty and size from the one before it, you'll need to be part of a powerful, balanced team of adventurers to succeed.

If you manage to successfully complete a mission, you'll not only unlock the next mission, but you can also replay the completed mission in a number of ways. If you go to the battle-zone creator in town, you can create unique battles in completed levels. For example, you can create a hunting battle, which pits you and other players against hordes of monsters; a player-versus-player battle where you can beat up on other players; or a combination of the two. The interesting thing is that these battles are dynamic, which means that if you want, you can keep them open so that players can join and leave battles that are already in progress. You'll want to participate in these battles to gain experience to level up, as well as to collect some of the thousands of unique items in the game, which you can use to customize your character, upgrade your weapons, and more. There's a 100-level cap in the game, and we're told that even if you played the game nonstop for the express purpose of gaining levels, you'd need to do that for approximately six months before you hit the maximum level.

Webzen plans to launch the game sometime after this summer.
Webzen plans to launch the game sometime after this summer.

Webzen also plans to continually support the game with the release of new content and missions over time, which is as expected for an online role-playing game. SUN uses Webzen's proprietary graphics engine, which will also power a host of the company's upcoming online games. More importantly, Webzen says that it has rock-solid network code, a result of the company's history in working with online role-playing games in South Korea. SUN certainly looks and plays differently from most online role-playing games and plans are for the game to launch in South Korea first, with the North American launch a few months later. As such, expect SUN to launch here sometime after this summer.

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