Silkroad Online - A silky road one can slip offBy: KradisZ posted at Aug 13, 2012 4:26 am
Back in the old days of the MMORPG genre there were only a few titles that were free to play; Maple Story, Ragnarok Online(eventually p2p but the open beta got everyone to play), Runescape to name a few.
Silkroad Online was no different in its business model; free to play.
Of course many tried it because it was free and throughout high school I even remember MMORPGs spreading in the halls between all the nerds and geeks like a plague even some of the cool kids played these, myself included(Not in the coolkids or geeks or nerds, I fit in as quiet kid probably). Being a high schooler cash is hard to come by when you're not even of age to get a job yet or maybe I just sucked and was lazy who knows but definitely not old enough to own a credit card to go play the pay-to-play games. (Way to go self-esteem killer...).
In the early years it was Ragnarok Open Beta, then eventually I heard Silkroad spreading through the halls. People joked about RO, then the abbreviation of SRO. S standing for Super.(For its time it kind of was, today not so much. Ragnarok excelled over this over time fast. Or I could be wrong :P).
So what's this thing got why should I care?
Silkroad Online runs on the fashion of many MMORPGs you see today. Make a character, name it, customize, select a gender if its not genderlocked, choose a race/type/hero. Playing the beta at around year 2000 or 2001(don't remember) was quite fun.
It was one of the first games I experienced that included height adjustments to my character, width adjustments. Very basic customization on the character but still a customization I didn't see anywhere else for the time being. (Call me blind but what have you I was just a teenager who didn't care much) Adding that to the refinement to seek those features in future games.
Also it was one of the first free MMORPG's I played that was 3D with characters similar to human proportions and fairly detailed for its time. Differentiating it from Maple Story and the like mentioned previously.
The game wasn't about classes either until the European race was released in Silkroad Online. It was about weapon proficiency. Your class was determined by your weapon. You're not an archer or an assassin or a sorcerer, mage or whatever. You're either a Glaiver, Blader, Sworder, Bow, Spear, Lightning, Fire, ice, Force.
It also had trading in the game, not player trading, but an actual trading route of delivering goods from one town to another to sell for more gold.
Sounds easy I love making tons of gold and feeling rich I'll just teleport back and forth and then sell it all and profit.
No hang on, you have to walk this stuff from town to town. If you walk it to further towns the selling of the goods go up crazily. If you make the trip...
What? No easy money ever huh?
Nope, there are so many obstacles along the way you'd better hire some mercenaries/players to go with you. Monsters, thieves, bosses, giants, champions, other player thieves, will get in your way just to either destroy your caravan and you, or steal your goods after killing you altogether.
Oh man! No way I love destroying other players AND I get to take their gold?!
Yes, if you play a thief you can do just that and go hunting for traders in the big maps, there are certain choke points which they must cross to get to another town and they will try to take the shortest path.
Fine... what's this game got then... it's so old why even bother?
Okay to write this in today's time is probably absurd or not, but being one of the games I took as a foundation towards free-to-play is why. (Man you have crap taste since it's part of your foundation).
My other choices at the time were Maple Story and Ragnarok Online, both of which I played while playing Silkroad Online. (I was a hyper kid, 6am in the morning get 2 hours in just before heading to school cook instant noodles eat while playing, hells yeah, rush home from school brutal 20 minute run/sprint with a heavy packback; got my exercise at least, then game for another 3 hours, get yelled at like crazy to get off and go eat dinner then do homework, sleep and repeat 5 days a week, c'mon don't tell me this isn't familiar to some of you? Weekends was extracurricular classes like piano and learn a different language)
Before any of those 3 was Runescape. Other than that I wasn't aware of any other free MMO's out there nor was I able to play any Pay-to-play games like Ultima Online or Nexus: Kingdom of the Winds.
Silkroad plays as a fighting game online... hmm... okay not a fighting game, an RPG game online. With most attacks and animations making your character swing their weapons around wildly(except Crossbows, Bows and Staves), Silkroad definitely had some cool skills happening back in its day, even last year I went back just to play around with some skills because I remembered they all looked so sickly(Blader combo skills level 49+, Glaive combo skills 51+ oh man.) and only 10-12 years later I see games emerging with similar movements. It was a high attraction for that alone and the discovery of the trading route system at level 20 which no other game had at the time.
Eventually the European classes came out in following years and introduced the class stereotyping system to Silkroad. With Chinese characters able to master a weapon and an elemental magic art. European characters worked more as classes and enforced partying. So in short, Chinese char = solo power, Euro char = group power. European classes were Warrior, Rogue, Wizard, Warlock, Priest. All of which had their own weapons to gain expertise in. Warriors had the choice of going Dual Axes, Two Handed Swords, Sword And Shield. Rogues going Crossbows or Daggers, Wizards going all elemental nuking magic. Warlocks being unique in dark magic and vampiric type nukes. Priests being your regular healer and sacrificial nuclear bomber.
What was interesting was in PvP both races matched fairly balanced amongst one another with them being entirely different(Considering you're both the same level with similar tier gear matched against one another). Chinese chars can drink options super fast for who knows why and European chars have like a 10 or 30 second cooldown on pots for some reason might be because of the Priests. But either way you might think "Ohh chinese chars can drink pots like mad that means Euro chars can't beat them". Heck no, Euro chars hit like a train and Chinese cars only hit like an average car. But in late levels they have their own levels of sustain and destroy. Even long battles can be fought out even if the Euro chars have a 10 or 30 second potion cooldown and the other has like 0.5 second.
Yeah yeah yeah so what?
Alright whatever who cares about ancient history.
Game play was extremely grindy.
This is no joke the game is entirely a MASSIVE GRIND.
Examples? Quests given to you had a kill count of 1000 before completing. A mob in general takes about 10 seconds to kill but that's long just to reach that amount. The rewards given were generally large amounts of exp. I remember some players kept their quests and handed them in at certain levels to just get exp boosted to the next level where more quests would be available otherwise they'd have to grind harder monsters with a weaker weapon before they reach that next tier. 1000!!! That was like nothing too!. Later on you have quests that are like 2500 kills.
Even worse are the ones where you need to find a quest item drop from monsters like find 50 scorpion claws or something. You may think that's little but its like a low drop chance it'll take you about 300-500 kills before you find all 50. You'd even question yourself "man... I killed like 450 scorpions that didn't have claws even though I see the menacing things on them wtf..". Apart from this kind of grinding.
Skill point grinding was detrimentally 10x as bad. The game had skill points where you get them as skill exp. There were never a limit to skill points so eventually you could learn everything. However that being said most players then were newbies and didn't know the amount of skill points we needed. The first 30 levels you're kinda like alright I got enough for the next one. By about 49 you're like omg... I need a 290 skill points just to up this one skill...
Put it this way, every 6 monsters or so you get 1 skill point depending on your weapon mastery difference vs. your level. You get more skill exp if your mastery is lower than your level up to a maximum difference of 9. So you're level 10, your skill mastery of a weapon/class is at 1. You'll get probably on average 1 skill point every 2 kills. Add an extra kill for almost every skill mastery up which can never exceed your current level.
Although it was an interesting system being that you can level faster if you keep the mastery the same as your level or level slower and gain more skill points per kill if your skill mastery was 9 levels lower than your character level but also seriously weaker.
Much to that effect if you get the point it turns out to still be EXTREMELY GRINDY. (But what other game wasn't at the time anyways? Ragnarok Online kill kill kill, Maple Story kill kill kill oh wait! Runescape wasn't huzzah!)
Skills themselves were cool and at the time not very many other games were available and drove most players to keep going and unlock the next spell effects or at least for me that's what it was.
Plus the market wasn't riddled with bots or gold spammers yet either(*Gasp* No way! those are ancient golden times).
When the level cap was only 40, people who were glaives or spears had practically rocket launchers at level 31. (What in gods name are you talking about).
Let me describe it to you and get you a picture later. The glaives and spears had a skill where you could throw your weapon at someone else. It's homing too. It looked hilarious at the time with its effects and watching your weapon strike down a target from afar. Not to mention a critical is like a death sentence. Combo skills of the blades swords glaives and spears were sick-looking for what it presented during its lifetime and release. The animations made most jealous or want to re-roll into that class. For me it did anyways I can't say for everyone though. I've never seen any of the players who use those weapons actually skip that skill path so it must've been an attraction. Around their levels in the same area they hunt in, most of them use it. Especially when fighting giants.
Giants were sort of like raid monsters. In Silkroad Giants were worth 10 regular mobs in terms of exp and skill exp. But they also splurged a great amount of gold and frequently good loot. They're also not hard to spot. Champions were worth 2 regular mobs but didn't have the effect of a Giant's reward. When spotted you'll want to kill it most of the time for that easy punching bag target for 10x a regular mob reward and not having to look for 10 mobs. But players around who also see it will come in and ks you, not kiss you(pfft yeah right)killsteal you.
Trading System was probably why the game is named Silkroad. At level 20 you can do trade runs. It was a great way to make money especially if the server is full of low levelled new players. Meaning the roads were extremely safe or everyone is about the same damage output.
The Goods(Not very many)
The skill animations - If you like to perform moves that look pretty cool here's an old game for you. Many of the melee weapons have attack animations where you're either stabbing a foe in a floor that is knocked down multiple times, or throwing energy waves out of your blade, or throwing a spear/glaive like a railgun/rocketlauncher or to performing uppercuts that sends an enemy flying into the floor temporarily disabling him/her, to the extreme of doing spinning somersaults with your blade flying around and slicing and dicing your enemy without looking crappy.
The trading route system - A game that has a trading route system where in later to present-day versions of the game has Server Wide Trades which a massive caravan is announced globally and follows a route on the map to make BIG BIG money. The Trading route system is a way to make money, if you purchase a certain amount you'll be safe from players attacking you and robbing your goods since you'd be underleveled and underpowered. If you go over that amount then you're open to be hit by anyone.
A free skill investment system - Meaning you can learn everything eventually but that'll take ... forever?
Berserk - I gotta go into this one. Berserk was a neat feature Silkroad had that no other game had DURING ITS TIME/NEAR RELEASE(Call me out if you know of another MMO during this time please!). The best way to describe it is Dante from Devil May Cry going into Devil Trigger. Berserk was a GREAT attraction to this game. Not only did it make your character destructive it also made all your hits sound like explosions, with a critical hit hissing with devastation. The effects of berserk basically multiplied all your attacks and speed by a factor of 2. Damage goes up by 2, movement speed up by 2. So that means criticals would be worth 4x it's normal rate when you're not in berserk. How do you attain it? You simply just kill stuff and on monster/player death you have chance to gain a Purple Orb absorbed into your character. Upon getting 5, you have your berserk available to unleash. It lasts exactly 1 minute. Later on in super high-end levels which I never made it to you can even drink a potion that just gives it you to directly but it's more of a mini-berserk compared to a full on Berserk.
Sounds - Although the sounds are repetitive it pretty much fits the game but it does make you feel the way you play it. that being a grind. But if you're playing for sound effects, the berserk fits in uniquely, bows and swords and magical hits sound pretty good. The music in the fields not so much, nor in town. Playing your own background music might suit it better.
Simple statistic system - Some may find this good or bad who knows. But Silkroad offers a very simplistic Statistic system, you either go Strength or Intelligence; Physical Damage or Magical Damage. You don't have dexterity or dodge or anything in the game you don't miss. An example the Parry stat in the game is like how much of a range your target will hit you instead. High parry means the incoming damage will generally hit its minimum more often than its maximum. Less parry = vice versa.
PK System(Player Kill System) - Don't like a person killstealing your mobs or giants? Problem solved, get yourself into the Wanted status and just kill that bastard right off then and there. Becoming a Wanted/Murderer will let anyone in the game attack you. Not to mention if you sit in town with this status you will constantly lose hp and die until you run out of Murderer points which then returns you to a regular player. Or if skilled enough you can instigate a fight with the jerk who just killstole you and get the Wanted status, but don't kill him yet just let him retaliate or keep harassing him with skills like ice. Then once he retaliates IT'S ON. FIGHT THEM UNTIL THEY DIE AND PRAY NO ONE ELSE COMES ALONG TO FINISH YOU OFF. If he retaliates he'll also have the Wanted status. Killing a person who doesn't fight back will grant you the Murderer status which isn't so cool since it's hard to get rid of and you can possibly lose equipment from dying. Not to mention losing tons of exp and making your grind that much longer.
The Negatives(Not very many either)
MASSIVE MASSIVE Grind as mentioned multiple times earlier. The game is purely a grind from one end to the other. With the Silkroad Rebirth version they lessened the gap by quite a bit but nonetheless still a great grind. If you love killing monsters repeatedly and levelling up a character just to place grounded down skill points from monster killing this game is definitely for you. Apart from the autonomous exercise there is very little else to do but PvP or PK.
Skill point escalation - The first few 40 levels or so Skill points are manageable, by the time you start hitting the 50s and higher the amount you need becomes ridiculously high if you still want to be able to kill mobs in about 2-3 skill attacks, regular attacks would take forever. With skills requiring about 500-2700 later on for just 1 level up that might take like a week just to grant it one up. But if you prefer this scheme then by all means play.
Bots and Gold spammers - Not just a handful here, the whole server is riddled with it, with newbs running out of town just to normal attack monsters. It's hard to imagine if there's any live player out there, considering the whole server might be automated by bot programs just running instead, it feels almost like playing a single player game........ just with an annoyance.
Power Levelling - If the game had less of a grind gap this wouldn't be required, most people get power levelled for a month amassing skill points. SKILL POINTS NOT EXPERIENCE. It is because of the tremendous amount of skill points one needs by the time they're level 70. (like 20000 skill points and more) The amount required goes exponentially higher past that.
Mass language barrier in game - There are so many different countries playing this game the barrier and racism occurring can almost be like a cyber warring of nations. Lol. The world chat is flooded with people using microphones/globalmessagesend(cash shop item) on calling out one another and barely ever trade. Good money grab Joymax. Microphones big money <--
Overall breakdown: Generally if the score is below 5 there will be more negatives presented than positives if anything ever fits a solid 5 that's going to be a rough one to differentiate both negatives and positives.
Gameplay - Massive grind once again, cannot emphasize that enough.
Quests are there to help level you up faster, but that makes skill points obtaining that much harder as monsters get harder and you get weaker unless you hunt like a weakling for a long while gathering skill points quickly, or fight strong early and level up fast and get less skill points. Which will it be?
The game is a simple game, it's very fun if the levelling and gathering of skill points wasn't so retardedly long. With people's attention span today being very short and most game-time loyalty being about a month or less for any given game(meaning how long you'll try a game out before you call quits), the gap here is far too long and hard and the commitment a player has to make is far too sacrificial with many more options in the market.
If the game had less of a grind gap(I mean by about 3 weeks in on a regular game schedule about maybe 2-3 hours a day you should be like level 70 already with enough skill points to venture towards 100 but even this example of lessening it is borderline maybe for a player to stay playing or continue to go on, with the regular answer being No I quit.), I'd probably give it a 5.5 or 6/10. But due to it and being that the Gameplay only evolves with new skills to play to keep you going to that next tier being highly near impossible to reach as a legit player within a month generates this score to be a low 2/10 for me as a rating. And for those who may be wondering, yes I've played this game for many hours. Not just 10hours, not just 20hours, but until level 68 grinding solo. (Who knows how long I have no idea)
Originality - The game has its original points.
One being the Berserk system. Simple, destructive, attractive. It transforms your character into looking like a demon and destroying everything utterly around it. If you had to balance the scales of justice when fighting another player. You could turn on berserk and be on an equal level to fight someone twice your power. Or overpower whichever.
Second being the trade route system. With the game calling itself Silkroad Online this feature defines the game itself. You go on a trade run through the silkroad and make money. In history that's what the Silk road was for. Trade, Commerce & Cash. The weapons weren't exactly original but the skills as far as I'm concerned were for its time and possibly still are for this day in time.
The job system of thief trader and hunter; eventually just between traders and thieves, removing hunter being an obsolete job/mercenary job, was another feature that had a feud going between players. It drove competition and the present day servers have a rating showing how many thieves or traders there are on the server. There can only be a certain amount which then would become unavailable if everyone sided more to one job than the other.
With 2 races being recognizable; Europeans Chinese, their structures are completely different where one race is about weapon mastery, and the other is about class mastery and a particular weapon/element in that class yet the game is still balanced in a sense. When you war these two races against one another in game.
For its Originality I have to give it at least an 8.5/10 for all these things. There's still a few more but it's already a big chunk. The minuses are basically the massive grind and killing monsters and accepting useless quests to do the same thing.
Visuals - The game was 3D, it was epic graphics for its time today it's simply outdated.
They've buffed it up now with more bloom effects and auras and skill effects and more armor glows and special emissions for crazy high enhanced weapons.
The environments were dull but at least during a trade run travel you'd see much of different landscapes. From a forest-like biome to a desert to a paradise mirage-like tropical area.
Animation movements were a big one, I personally thought they were sick and wicked. With most swings I could feel the smash going into my enemy and the critical hits even more so. Berserk was a glowing red of danger if any player was ever chasing after you with it. Most people laughed and was like haha you had zerk to kill me, well... in their defense they're not dead but you are.
Monsters mostly looked different even if they are crappy looking today, there were a plethora of baddies to kill many of which didn't look recycled except those stupid tigers in the level 16-20 area of the Chinese place.
Every armor piece was shown on your character, not some 1 armor changes 90% of how your character looks kind of thing. Every single piece will change upon removal/equipping. With some games today they still don't even do this. The only things that aren't shown in your in-game character/avatar is the accesories.
With all this mentioned I'm going to give it a solid 7.5/10. The weapons were gnarly looking too, and the armor texture was really detailed on just a 1000 polygon character.
Sound - Being a simple game there isn't much to say about its sound. The skill sounds were there, the background music sucked, the weapon interaction hits and skill hits were good, the unique berserk hit was good. The character yelling could get annoying to some or funny to others. I'm giving a 6.5/10 being that environment music was crap. The sounds at least made me play, it'd be like less than 5 if it annoyed the crap out of me to play. Less then 2 if it hurts my ears literally.
Story - There isn't one. It's simple you play on silkroad you make gold; through trade runs or equipment selling or giant farming, you use gold to buy more power/equip, you go pwn the crap out of other people when fully there. That's your story. 1/10. Well each character had their own story but what I've mentioned is the gist of their purpose in game.
Gameplay - 2/10
Originality - 8.5/10
Visuals - 7.5/10
Sound - 6.5/10
Story - 1/10 or 0.
Challenge - Tediously hard.
Lasting Effect - Wanna play something to pass the time? Here it is. Something else is out/back up you'll be gone. Early on the lasting effect occurs many times with new skills being available and the curiosity to see what it does.
Score: 25.5/50 -> 51/100
End Comments: Fun simple game, if you like the autonomous grind here it is, eventually it'll get better from what I heard in the late game but how long it takes to get there is super long and isn't worth the trouble. As I said If the grind gap was shorter between each level and higher level the game would definitely be more exciting.
As usual comments are welcome, please keep it civil thanks!
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