Spotlight On - Zentia, Blade Wars, and Dragon Oath

We sit down with staff members of ChangYou.com to receive verbal briefings on the company's three free-to-play online games that have been, or are being, adapted for the Western market.

You can find a lot of things at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, like exciting video games, and people sitting down. We found the latter at the booth for ChangYou.com (a China-based studio that specializes in bringing free-to-play games to the West), where no actual games were on display for whatever reason, but plenty of friendly ChangYou.com staffers were sitting around the floor on large beanbag-like chairs, ready to verbally describe their games to us.

Zentia


Projected release date: Q4 2010
Platform: PC

Zentia is a free-to-play game developed by Pixel Soft, a China-based developer that is creating the game specifically to appeal to Western markets. In fact, ChangYou staffers claim that the game has so many quests that you'll not only be able to gain all your experience levels through questing without any "grinding" or repeatedly killing monsters, but you'll also likely have trouble completing every single one because there are just so darn many of them. While the game's story is based on traditional Chinese folklore, its visual design is quirky and whimsical, though the character development system will be open-ended enough to include 22 playable characters, with eight different professions (any character can play as any class). Like pretty much all other free online games, Zentia will have a cash-op where you can buy in-game items with real-world money, and in this case, your hard-earned cash will generally purchase consumable items, such as healing potions and potions that temporarily increase the rate at which your characters gain experience points, as well as apparel items that will make your character look unique. Zentia will be going into closed beta on July 8 and into open beta in August.

Blade Wars


Projected release date: Q4 2010
Platform: PC

Blade Wars is a free-to-play game based on kung-fu fighting in ancient China. The game will let you play as one of five different character classes and fight monsters and gain experience levels while perfecting your mastery of the martial arts. As a matter of fact, once you hit level 30, you'll be able to bring a lower-level character under your tutelage as an apprentice (both you and your apprentice will earn bonus experience from the association). While the game will require real-time input from you to attack (left-clicking your mouse to perform a weak attack and right-clicking to perform a strong attack), you'll be able to "macro" up to four different combinations of attacks to assign to hotkeys. Some combinations will work better against monsters; others will work better in competitive battles against other players. As a matter of fact, the game will let you flag yourself for "peace" (non-competition) or for "war" (to openly compete with other characters). While flagged for war, you can attack and kill characters flagged as "peace," but you will suffer a severe "morality" penalty that will accumulate with each successive peaceful player killed, and should you die with a sufficiently low morality, your character will be trapped in the dreaded Forbidden Village until you can buy your way out. Blade Wars will also have a cash-op where you can buy in-game items with money out-of-pocket, to also purchase minor consumable items and apparel, rather than any unbalancing weapons or armor. Blade Wars was originally released in China some time ago and is being localized for a Western release later this year.

Dragon Oath


Projected release date: Q4 2010
Platform: PC

Dragon Oath is also a free-to-play online game that is set in ancient China, but it sets itself apart by offering not only the same kind of hack-and-slash gameplay you expect from this type of game, but also tons of in-game events that happen monthly, weekly, daily, and even hourly on a fixed, automated schedule. These events may include anything from a sudden attack by monsters to a player-versus-player (PVP) battle to control a magical cauldron that will grant the winning team a powerful "buff" enhancement effect. The game will offer nine different playable classes and will focus a bit more on player-versus-environment (PVE) gameplay, though it will also have support for player guilds, including the ability for guilds to build their own cities and for other guilds to lay siege to those cities with catapults. Like the other games, Dragon Oath will have a cash-op primarily for consumable items and apparel (and maybe the odd weapon or armor piece here and there), though we're told that many of the effects of the consumable items can be found in-game for free--for instance, while you can purchase a potion that doubles the rate at which you gain experience, the game is already designed to give you five hours of double-experience gain every week. Dragon Oath was released in China in 2007. It is being localized to appeal to Western audiences and will launch later this year.

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Discussion

5 comments
davonas
davonas

Real crap awesome crap damn no good games here not cool not cool at all

Yasviele
Yasviele

Better Blade & Soul :0 why is not here?

me4656
me4656

Soooo....More martial arts games out of which none are actually any good?