The MOD Plays! #2: Equipment and Builds

30 04 2007

by Horonaim

One of the first questions that new players ask begins with “What build.” I will be speaking from the perspective of a magic-wielding character; i.e. a Yaojing.

There are three (3) types of armor in the game; Heavy, Light, Magic (terms may vary in official release). The Heavy armors have high defense and little of anything else, the requirements to wear them are high Strength and some Dexterity. Light armors have middling defense and high elemental defense, the requirements to wear them are middling Strength and Dexterity. Magic armors have a bonus to the magical attacks and very low defense values, the requirements to wear them are low Strength and middling Intelligence.

Now, as a Yaojing I have a choice of casting spells or transforming into fox form and using melee attacks. Then there’s my pet, currently a Plum Blossom Cat (I will post screenshots of my cute little pet later), who will most probably be attacking with me.

A full Strength, middling Dexterity, and low Intelligence build is possible, but then again most of the Yaojing skills require “wands” (in quotes because some wands are actually swords or martial arts weapons) or unarmed. Wands have a small Strength requirement and a high Intelligence requirement. Bearing that in mind, if I go for the heavy armors I will not be able to use my skills to its fullest. I will be stuck with little to no Intelligence so I will not be able to wield any high-level wands. I personally do not like this build.

Now, I can aim to wear the Light armors. With this build I can actually wear Light armors and wield the most powerful Wands available for my level. The drawback is that I will not have any Constitution at all. I will be stuck with Constitution 5 way beyond level 70. While this is a viable enough build I do not particularly like being stuck with no Constitution in a PK-enabled game not to mention the battering I get when I try to tame a new pet. The good news is that I have decent physical defense and high magic defense. This is something to think about.

The third option is to aim for Magic armors. With this build I can wear the magic armors appropriate for my level and use the most powerful wands available for my level. I have enough stat points left over to put into either Dexterity or Constitution. The weakness of this option is that I have very little in the way of defense. I may have a respectable amount of Hit Points, but I have paper-thin armor. The flip-side is that my magical attacks are incredibly strong. This is the route I took with my current Yaojing. I rely on my pet to keep monsters from attacking me physically, but note that players will probably ignore the pet and go straight to me.

Mind you, this is because I am playing a Yaojing. If I were playing a Yaoshou, which I have at level 3 at the moment, I would be looking at how much to put into my Constitution since I will be aiming for high strength (for the armors) and middling Dexterity (for the axe and hammer weapons).

So this is my suggestion to you dear reader:
When you enter the world at 1st level and level up, do not add to your stats immediately. Wait until you are in your race’s main city, go look for the Tailor and Ironsmith, and take a survey of what stats you will need for later in the game. Figure out what you want to be able to do and pattern your stat builds around that.





The MOD plays! #1: Installation, display settings, and dial-up

25 04 2007

by Horonaim

When installing the game you will be asked twice whether you want to verify the files. The first time is when you are about to install; the installer will prompt you if you want to verify the integrity of the installation files. The second time is after the installation is done, when the installer prompts you if you want to verify the installed files. If you, like me, prefer to verify file integrity then the only drawback is that installation can take around 45 minutes on a Pentium 4 2.4 GHz, 512 Mb RAM computer. If you’re ok just going ahead and installing without verification, it will take about 15 minutes tops.

After several days of waiting to be allowed external access to the internal test server I finally got to log in. My video card is a NVIDIA GeForce 6600 (256 Mb) and I set the display settings as follows:

For the inquiring minds out there, this level of detail already exceeds that of what I get when I log into RF Online.

Just like GM NocturnalSun has posted, the game works fine on dial-up. I am testing this with a Bl@st card and a Bayan-Tel line. I will be able to tell you more about performance once I encounter a denser population in-game. So far the performance is comparable to when I log into the RFO-Ph Omicron server even at peak times.





Tales From the Back End # 2 – Crafting and Customizing Equipment

20 04 2007

by: Masamuneko

The grunts are back with more info. =^^= As discussed earlier, we were going to elaborate on advancement techniques, so now we will discuss crafting and how it will affect Perfect World’s metagame.

Item crafting and customization is a staple of most MMOGs nowadays, and is one way for players to customize their equipment. From RO’s blacksmith crafting and equipment slot card systems to RF Online’s Ability Reaver combining and Talic system, customization exists in all sorts of forms. Perfect World is no exception to this; but the concept is taken one step further.

As most players who have played a version of PW may already know, Production skills may be learned at Level 5. These primary production skills (Weapon, Armor, Accessory and Herbalist – as well as Wing Craft for Wings) form the foundation upon which players can really set their characters apart from the mold.

When you craft a piece of equipment, it is treated as a monster drop – equipment statistics are generated on the spot. This is not much different from equipment stat-driven games such as ROSE Online or Diablo, but the significant point of difference is the variety of possible stat bonuses that can result from a simple crafting attempt.

Let’s go into some detail:

  • A crafting attempt can result in random base statistics of three grades – minimum shop stats (one star), slight improvement (two stars) or elite (three stars). These terms are characterizations and not actual terms.
  • Each piece of equipment crafted may gain anywhere from zero to three additional abilities. These abilities include, but are not limited to:
    • Added HP or MP
    • Added Atk, Matk, Def or Elemental Def values
    • Added stats
    • Reduced equipment requirements
    • Increased stat maximums
    • Rare effects (our resident crafter Dawg managed to create a set of boots that boosts your overall movement speed)
  • In addition to special bonuses, crafted Weapons and Armor may gain anywhere from zero to four (at least, we have not seen any equipment with more than four) slots which players can insert gems into. Gems can be purchased from the Vendor NPCs and upgraded with the Synthesis NPCs (names not yet final) and can add basic bonuses to Weapons and Armor. (By “basic”, we mean general character values such as HP, MP, damage and defense)
  • After crafting your ultimate equipment, you can then upgrade it, using the same process as RO’s weapon/armor upgrade. The significant difference? Failure will never destroy your equipment.

So what does this mean, exactly?

It means that players can spend days, weeks or even months crafting stuff to aim for that perfect customized equipment set. Want a high-mobility dodge set? It’s possible. An equipment set that incorporates layers and layers of Physical Defense for your tanker? Sure, why not? A weapon that can hit anything, deal mega damage and make french fries? Knock yourself out!

Right, with the good out of the way, let’s get into the better.

  • Crafting is always successful. No worries about wasted material from failures.
  • Crafted equipment can be broken down into base components, which can then be used to create consumable charms that temporarily increase attack or magic attack power.
  • Three-star equipment can be broken down to obtain the rare stones that you need to upgrade material with.
  • Crafting equipment nets you a small amount of EXP and Insight for each attempt.

I believe we’ve covered the basics of equipment customization. For more details (such as how to get the materials), I hand you over to NocturnalSun. =^_^=

Current leveling stats: 54 hours played

Level reached :42

Class : Human Fa Shih.

Ghostly Ghosts in Ghost Land. Weird.





Tales From the Back End # 1 – Basic Gameplay Overview

19 04 2007

by: Masamuneko

Hallo, ladies and gentlefolk! Here’s an update from the back-end grunts who are working hard on creating your Perfect World.

Where to start?… This game is just so huge that we really don’t know what to speak of first. This one supposes that we might as well get down to the nitty-gritty of any MMOG – how to advance.

By the way, we won’t get into the relative strengths and weaknesses of the various classes – this sort of thing is subjective to the player, and is heavily influenced by her ideas of the perfect class (coupled with the perfect playing style) and thus cannot be expressed without the author’s biases coming into play. You’ll understand what we mean as we go along. =^_^=

Leveling – Quests

The folks from Perfect World Team were not kidding when they said that PW was quest-driven. Completing quests in Perfect World actually gives much, much more EXP than killing the monsters needed to complete the quest would give. You can actually go out into the world with a list of quests to do, gain a level by fulfilling the conditions, then gain one or more levels when you return to the NPCs to cash in the quests. (Oneesan, our current leader of the pack, advanced from level 17 to 19 without killing a single monster)

Wait, Neko-san! If it’s true that quests give a lot of EXP, won’t that mean that people will be competing for quest monsters and loots?

Ah, here’s the beauty of the system. When a member of a party kills a quest monster or collects quest loot, all members of the party with the same quest are credited. (Regular loot drops and resource items are not covered by this system, of course) Even better, kills are credited to all the quests that require the same monster. So if you take Quest 1, which requires you to hunt Monster A, Quest 2 which requires you to find item B (which so happens to drop from Monster A) and then take Quest 3 that requires common drops that happen to drop from Monster A as well, you can theoretically complete all three quests by killing roughly thirty monsters of one type.

One last thing about the quests – the writers did a good job on the stories. Most of the Human quests have plot lines from those soap operas that show in the afternoon. If we can manage to keep the flavor of the original scripts after their translation from Chinese, the players will be in for an interesting time.

Well, that’s it for now. =^^= We’ll be back in a few days with more info as we double and triple check everything we’ve done today to make sure we did it right.

Current leveling stats: 48 hours played

Level reached : 38

Class : Human Fa Shih.

My flying sword is the 1337!





Dial up connection and Perfect World

16 04 2007

Over the weekend I tried accessing Perfect World over a dial up connection and test how it performs with limited throughput. It was difficult at first because my client wasn’t connecting to the game. Turns out outside IP was blocked, so I had to have it opened with our IT for this test.

I used a blast internet dial up card for this test and measured throughput using the speak easy bandwidth meter (http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/)

Perfect World Bandwidth status

It normally takes two to three seconds after logging-in to connect to the game but with a dial up it would take around 9-12 seconds.

Once inside the game, everything was the same. I didn’t have any lag problems especially with all the monsters around. Tried jump, swim and areas where there are a lot of monsters to stress my connection. The impact of a dial up connection wasn’t felt.

As a caveat though, I am playing a client with no other players in the area. I’m sure there will be lag especially if you are spawning to and from a town which is usually loaded with a lot of characters.

What this test illustrates is that loading time for the game is faster than a battle net, that maybe dial up would still be doable if you are outside town or areas where there are less character congestion.

I’ll be doing another round of tests using dial up once there are more players in the area.





Secure Log In

15 04 2007

Logging into games in a public area – be it a net café you don’t normally play in or if you’re using a shared computer – normally requires a fair amount of caution. Players would have to veer away from prowling eyes and malicious key loggers or the more discreet eye loggers. Perfect World took this into consideration by incorporating an on-screen keyboard (OSK) as added option when logging into the game.

OSK Login

This OSK provides additional security when you login since keystrokes are not logged by key loggers and any malicious neighbor would have to look really close to see what you clicked.

The OSK window becomes available once your mouse pointer moves to the password box. The OSK appears at the bottom of the screen and looks just like a standard keyboard. It is smaller than the standard OSK available in Windows (Run –> osk)

Windows On Screen Keyboard

windows on screen keyboard 

This OSK feature, in addition to the usual manner you secure your account, makes stealing accounts from Perfect World just a level more difficult.





Graphic Detail Levels

14 04 2007

Perfect World has five basic levels of graphic detail; each having a preset level that can be adjusted to further customize the graphic rendering. The detail goes from 1 (low wood detail, ground refinement etc. ) to 5 (high atmosphere details)

I switched from one graphic setting to another to illustrate how Perfect World will look like under these presets. The following are actual screen shots of the different levels. Pay special attention to the water and waterfalls.

Level 1

Level 1 Graphic Setting

Level 2

2nd Level Graphic Preset

Level 3

3rd level graphic preset

Level 4

4th graphics level

Level 5

HI Level Graphic Preset

See the difference?

Note that this is Perfect World running on a 64MB Video Card, which means that you can get more detail with a higher setup than mine.