9dragons: Multiplayer Martial Arts Fantasy; Relics of the Golden Years

Angry grindy martial artists. Blood. Levels. Ginseng.

My favorite MMO, of all time.

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Like. Ever. I love other MMOs, like Vindictus and C9, but never will an MMO bear my title of favorite.

I had just gotten into gaming and graduated from learning the innards of Roblox, and Minecraft wasn’t out yet. I trawled through so many internet sites through late summer nights on the family computer (Read – my computer). It took a few false starts in a few places, but I stumbled across 9dragons on an obscure MMO listing that isn’t around anymore. From my first moments, I fell in love. It’s what made me a gamer…

Now, why would a game do that? Heavens knows. It had a certain magic about it.

Environment

9dragons, for a post Everquest style-graphics game, had a certain flair to the environment that most games simply can’t come close to matching – even the hyper realistic graphics of Skyrim, or Crysis 2 and 3 can’t compare with the old style martial ambience in an Everquest-esque art style.

On the second map available to white-side players, there’s a little hut tucked away in a corner of the map almost no one ever went to. It was well drawn and pretty awesome, and made a cute little hidey hole

There’s a little zombie village, and even hidden treasure chests. The placement of mobs is subtle, and towns are perfectly arranged for player’s convenience.

The music that plays, albeit a single song for each map, fits each one perfectly. What’s more, is that when playing, the environment lends to feeling like a martial artist traveling through the land to become the most powerful in the imperial court.

Social Aspects

The social aspects are divided into two main categories for 9dragons: Those that Hefei, and those that don’t. Hefei is the trade capital region for EVERYONE, which makes trading between black and white clans quite interesting. It’s the only neutral territory in the game. Everywhere else, trading between black and white players is banned, but in Hefei? Totally cool. In fact, the guard NPCs in Hefei leave everyone alone unless there’s violence.

Oh? Did I mention that? Players can attack other players on the Yin server! Woo! (And in designated zones on the other server.) On the Yin server, anyone can attack anyone at any time without penalty.

It’s pretty cool how that works… There’s nothing quite like being a grindy healer, and having one’s entire Hero League flock to your protection and grind together. That’s the kind of social beauty that 9dragons propagates – and the main reason I stuck with this game for three years.

Gameplay

Gameplay is fairly simple for the first few levels. And by few, I mean 200 or so hours, depending on whether or not you sink money into the game, or have cool people helping you out. It’s totally possible to achieve the Elemental Crown levels (100+) Within 30 hours, but that requires both help and cash money. And yes, real currency can buy a leveling speed advantage, but I’d like to point out that it does not provide an advantage over other players. Well…


Except the Ginseng. Korean Ginseng used to be a restorative available on the cash shop as something that would fully recover a character to full HP instantly with no cooldown. It was the primary method of winning duels – simply out KG one’s opponent. As of the GamersFirst update, this is no longer possible to my knowledge. (I stopped playing when Acclaim died, so I’m not totally sure.)

The combat itself has a skill bar, but unlike most games where skill bars are mashy and boring, I really liked 9dragons. Certain skills led into each other animation wise and could actually provide more DPS when done right, despite no official combo system. A lot of the more advanced Kung Fu moves were totally awesome, and two healers could grind indefinitely. A warrior/healer combo could do something similar, but would have to stop sometimes. Healers also have traps now, which make them just as viable as any other class in the field of PVP – for the first time in 9dragons history there is a balance in the power of classes in Bloody Plains!

Last but not least is the SvS system (Side v Side.) It was my second most favorite part of the game, and truly had a place in my heart as awesome large scale PVP. One whole side of a server (white v black) would attempt to take, or defend a fortress from the other side. Due to the nature of 9dragons PVP and the way rolls worked, it was possible for one person to defend against five people if they were good enough at what they were doing.

The last part I’ll mention was the grind. It’s significant. At level 180, without spending any money, or having special enchants or help, earning 1% to level took 10,000 mobs. At ten seconds each, that’s fairly significant. But that’s what made 9dragons players respect each other – they stuck with the killing and defended themselves from players and dug out their spot in a bloody swath of NPCs and players, and declared it proudly on the top of SvS and duel boards.

No other martial arts MMO can compete with the beauty of the feeling of winning that 9dragons could provide a dedicated player. 

 

 

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9dragons: Multiplayer Martial Arts Fantasy; Relics of the Golden Years
Angry grindy martial artists. Blood. Levels. Ginseng.

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