Three Kingdoms: The Battle Begins ReviewBy: Zanpakutou posted at Mar 16, 2009 8:11 pm
This is my first MMO review in a while and school has been keeping me busy as well. Three Kingdoms is an MMORPG based around the 3 kingdoms era made infamous by Koei, Omega Force, and the Dynasty Warriors series. The game is quite simple but hard to find your way around at first so it can take some getting use to. It has a pretty good idea, but it is characteristic of a certain other game with 3 different groups of people who hate each other so not really an original idea at this point. Some of the other games built off of this idea are Final Fantasy XI, Dynasty Warriors Online, Romance of the Three Kingdoms Online, and RF Online.
Wu, Wei, and Shu are at war and everyone wants to conquer China. If you want a complete story go read the Romance of the Three Kingdoms novels because this game will tell you nothing and the website won't help you either.
The graphics of Three Kingdoms is fairly dated. The disappointment is that the game looks like it was something made back in 2003 or 2004 when it is a 2009 game. The game is an even greater disappointment if you compare it to Romance of the Three Kingdoms Online which is basically a better version of Three Kingdoms. All in all, the effects look like it was copied over from Hero Online and replaced the clothing textures.
Before anything can be done, you must link your account to one of the 3 factions. These are Wu, Wei, and Shu. There is no difference between the 3 other than your starting location. There are some tiny differences in the color of the armor shown at the character creation but that's pretty much about it. In all the other cases, they're the same.
There are 4 types of characters. Melee, range, magic, and craftsman. Melee specializes in all melee weapons and you can learn any melee weapon you want from the trainer NPCs. Some of their weapons include great sword, spear, and 1 handed sword. Each weapon comes with a different set of skills as well. Rangers only get the options of bow and cross bow. Magic gets the choice between 2 handed staff and 1 handed wand and the craftsman type is the odd ball of the bunch with no real specializing weapon skills. No matter what, all classes are eventually forced to specialize into 1 category so it helps to know before hand which you want. Otherwise you will spend more money to learn all the other skills. Every character only has to focus on at least 2 primary stats and 1 secondary stat. For example, the primary warrior stat is strength and stamina which increase damage, defense, and HP. But at some point you will need more MP. This applies to every class.
The game itself plays like a traditional point and click MMORPG. There are no unique features that split it out from the rest of the bunch. Quests appear as giant exclamation marks on top of NPCs. There is no guide other than a map to direct you to your destination. It would help if there was more to direct players but you only have your eyes and map to help you. NPCs also don't close their menu when the conversation is done. You have to manually close or open a new conversation to finish talking to the NPC. Unfinished quests also don't appear in the conversation list.
Each of the classes play a bit differently. Each melee weapon has different benefits. Spears and great swords for example have high damage while swords have lower damage but higher defense and allows the use of a shield. They lack area effects on most of their skills. They mainly use standard attacks and don't rely much on skills. Range users have ranged attacks and have lower hp than the melee classes. They have some decent area, accuracy and critical skills. Magic types rely heavily on skills and possess both attack and defensive magic. All of the classes force you to branch and specialize at level 20. Its basically a decision of either defense or offense in the end. In my opinion, magic type classes are at a disadvantage because the casting and cooldown share the same bar. Until the bar disappears, you cannot cast another spell. It adds up to lots of down time when training and fighting which can get a bit annoying at times.
The central part of the game is the PvP or better known as Castle Siege battles. Castle sieges can be done by a guild in charge of the capital city of their faction. The goal is to basically kill everyone on the opposing side. Successfully doing so will grant the attacking faction control over the defeated city. Based on how well the player does during battles, they will be rewarded a certain number of military scrips. The more you have, the better item you can receive from the NPC. It takes a large number of them to get the good stuff.
Quests are very straight forward. Most are just go here and kill a certain number of that then return. Quests provide a nice boost in exp and sometimes rewards the player with items. Without quests leveling is fairly slow. The only annoying part is some of the quests are nearly impossible to do. The first one is at level 8 or 9 where the player is asked to kill Deng Mao a boss near by. The problem is that you have to deal with a huge mob of enemies AND fight the boss which has insane damage. This can easily be fixed by finding 5 or 6 players who are fully equipped with level 10 equipment. The upside to this quest is that it rewards the player with a mount.
The most annoying is that mobs instant spawn. That means the moment you kill it, it will respawn in the same area. This is very annoying for aggro and powerful quest mobs. You literally have no time to recover. All you can do is either spam potions (no cooldown time) or run. Mobs stop chasing you after a while, but this is very annoying for ranged classes. Its either shoot the mobs one at a time from a distance or enter the mobs and keep fighting until you can't fight any more.
Guilds require level 30 and 300,000 gold to start. This isn't bad and basically anyone who wants to start one can. The problem lies in the upgrade of guilds. A new guild can hold 15 or so players (or maybe it was 20 I forget). The first upgrade to the guild increases this limit to 25 players. The problem is that this costs 1,000,000. There are 5 upgrades. The final upgrade costs 1,000,000,000 and only allows a total of 70 players. The total required is 1,651,000,000 to upgrade a guild to max. Its expensive and a pain to get that much. If you consider the limited number of towns available for conquest, it just isn't worth the effort for most players to get into it.
Three Kingdoms is another attempt at one of those “faction war” focused games. The problem is that it doesn't have much to separate itself from the others and in the end, it just feels like a dumbed down version of Romance of the Three Kingdoms Online. Starting up in the game is quite difficult too and simple mistakes such as weapon choice can cause major trouble for players later on. Quests help the players level up, but at some point they will run out and the player will be forced to deal with a pretty bad grind. The competition for towns tries to make it stand out, but fails in the end if you compare it to other games out there with the same features.
NOTE: Item mall rant may come later depending on how this game's item mall turns out.
4/10 – Better versions of the same idea have been released in the last 2 years and this game feels very plain and difficult for new players. It takes a long time to get anywhere and annoying quests only make it worse.
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