This game is based on the iconic novel Swordsman (笑傲江湖) by Louis Cha (金庸). Its story takes place in ancient China (exact time not specified, though supposedly during Ming Dynasty), where many martial art schools plot and struggle against each other to seize dominance.
Powered by the company's most advanced Angelica III engine, this game features most typical MMORPG gameplay, with the addition of realistic and fluent action combat elements.
It is one of the most expected MMORPG by Chinese players in 2013.
- Genre: MMORPG
- Mode: F2P
- Theme: Ancient Chinese, Martial Art Heroes (武侠)
- Developer: Perfect World (Beijing)
- Mainland China - Perfect World (Beijing)
- North America - Perfect World Entertainment (TBD)
- Europe - Perfect World Europe (TBD)
- Release Date:
- Mainland China - June 2013
- North America - TBD
- Europe - June 2014
- Platform: PC
Races and Classes? Edit
Not a Fantasy but a alternate history game, Swordsman online doesn't have a classification of races. Due to its origin from Chinese martial art heroes culture, it neither has a selection of classes. Instead, it guides the players to join one of the martial art schools, voodoo cults, or other organizations and factions (termed Sects). Some of these organizations and factions are from the original novel, while some are made up. Different organizations and factions have different combat styles and specializations.
Most of the time, the player will follow the main quest line to progress in the game. The main quests are the most efficient way for players to level. There are also some side quests that supplements the story a little bit.
Additionally, there is a unique game process called "Path of a Swordsman", which consists of a series of levels. These levels are mainly PvE instances, with some focusing on combat, some focusing on action-adventure, some focusing on storytelling, and the rest on puzzle-solving. This feature adds to the ordinary open-world quest line flow.
In Swordsman, the players interact with each other in the form of guilds, parties, brotherhoods, friends, PvP, trade, etc. There is no need to elaborate on what all those features are. Play any MMORPG nowadays and they’ll be there. Only some of higher significance will be explained here.
Guilds in Swordsman are like those in any game. You join a guild so you have something to work for, and thus gain corresponding rewards. A guild has a hierarchic organization, a guild base where multiple structures provide various functions, some special gameplay such as exclusive story and instances, and other guild-only events such as territory wars. It is still one of the most engaging features for MMORPGs these days.
A Brotherhood is a looser organization than a guild and a closer organization than a party. A brotherhood has fewer members than a guild, and there is no hierarchy. People bond together merely for friendly sentiment. There is not much practical significance for brotherhood, but just a way to feel awesome and strongly socialized.
Like in many other games, Swordsman also features a Tutor/Apprentice system. A stronger player can take a weaker player as his apprentice. By helping the apprentice to develop via several means, both the tutor and the apprentice will be rewarded.
Innovative Features (Relative)Edit
Tagged with the word "relative", these features are only innovative comparing to Perfect World's previous games.
Swordsman is built with the newest version of the company's masterpiece game engine, Angelica III. It features a relatively advanced graphic technology. It fully supports PhysX, models with more polygons than before, and higher quality compressed normal map.
To easily demonstrate, Swordsman generally presents better graphics than Neverwinter, though they’re still inferior to most recent single player games.
The game world is open, but divided into regions. In this way, the story can be better told. When the player advances his character through the main quest, he or she will arrive in places with various styles and magnificent views.
In most open world scenes, players share mobs and gather points with each other. However when a story node is reached, a player's character will enter a "Scenario", where there is only the player him or herself. All that happens in the Scenario happens to the player only. It is also an improvement towards better storytelling.
Even in some parts of the shared open-world, minor tweaks were made to give the players a better immersion. For instance, in the past, all mobs would just stand in the wild, waiting to be killed. And after they are killed, they will just respawn in the exact location where they were, showing up from nowhere. In Swordsman, some of the mobs will jump out of the bushes, or drop down from rooftops, giving you a feeling that they are real enemies, not just system-generated 3D models controlled by a dumb AI.
Furthermore, due to advanced technology, the world looks quite a bit more beautiful than our older games. The water body effects in Swordsman are beautifully tailored, which the company has used as a promotional tool. There are also things like weather and day/night cycling mechanism, with no practical meaning but just another world detail.
Cutscenes and MoviesEdit
In Perfect World's first game ever published in the US, Perfect World International , we basically see no in-game cut scenes or CG movies. The entire story is presented in the form of NPC quest dialogues and other textual sources such as Lore and Encyclopedia pages. This way the players won't be able to feel an immersive storytelling environment, thus they cannot enjoy the story.
In Swordsman, we see a lot of cut scenes and CG movies. The movies look awesome, while the cut scenes are kind of lame. Just like the cut scenes in Neverwinter (another Perfect World Entertainment franchise, developed by Cryptic Studios), the characters speak without their lips moving. However, the existence of cut scenes and movies help storytelling a lot. It is not a waste of a great story.
Plus, the designers did a great job in presenting martial art moves and kung fu action in those cut scenes.
Swordsman claims that it heavily focuses on action-based gameplay. I guess that means the same thing with Neverwinter, in which the player's actual gaming ability, not just his character's stats, matters more in actual combat performance. Well, Swordsman managed that to a certain degree, but still not enough.
First off, besides the traditional Perfect World MMORPG's "left-click to target" and "press 1-9 to use attack moves" scheme, Swordsman lets the players to choose from two more control schemes: WOW's "move mouse to aim crosshair", "left-click to interact" and "right-click to attack" scheme, and Neverwinter's "move mouse to aim crosshair" and "left-click, right-click, Q, W, E and other shortcuts for different attack moves" scheme.
Besides, QTE and various movement actions are added in the game. QTE...well, is just QTE. You press the correct key when prompted. You do not directly control your character in QTE mode. Instead all character movements are preset. It basically looks really cool and serves to advance the plot. Moreover, both in and out of combat, the players can conduct various manual movement actions such as triple jumps, dodging, dashing, gliding, and blocking, etc. Kinda feels like I’m playing Devil May Cry!
As action becomes a more and more popular concept (players are returning to the embrace of gameplay), we wave goodbye to the old ways and take a small yet great step towards the future.
(There is no need to go too into detail about the awesome and dazzling visual combat effects – a gameplay demo or a game video would be able to demonstrate that much better than words could.)
As discussed above, the game made many tweaks to apply better storytelling.
- More cutscenes and CG movies are of great help to storytelling.
- Game world features moving and talking NPCs (i.e., NPCs that will walk away or otherwise move somewhere else after you’ve spoken with them) and live-action events that present pieces of the plot.
- NPCs speak freely – snatches of dialogue show up as your character moves near them. Story is no longer just told via NPC dialogue panels.
- Instance story node "Scenarios" engage the player in a game flow that consists of combat, QTE, animations, and dialogue aimed solely to tell the story.
Generally, the game focuses more on storytelling, instead of just madly leveling!
The game also features other typical F2P MMORPG features, such as:
- Character Customization
- In-game Microtransaction Shop
Besides the play's character, the other main characters include:
|令狐冲 (Linghu)||#Add description for this character here.#|
|任盈盈 (Ren Yingying)||#Add description for this character here.#|
|东方不败 (Swordsman)||#Add description for this character here.#|
For a full list of story characters (including NPC and characters from the novel), please read List of Characters.
The story of Swordsman takes place in ancient China during an unspecified dynasty (supposedly Ming dynasty). The setting is another famous Chinese concept, 江湖 (literally Rivers and Lakes), the world apart from ordinary peoples’ lives: a world of conflict, conspiracies, hatred, revenge, retribution, gratitude and romance. It is also the world where these Martial Art Heroes make their names and interact with each other. In this world, many schools of Martial Arts have lasted for centuries; they teach talented youngsters the techniques of martial arts, as well as to uphold the justice and balance of the world. Additionally, there are other forces such as voodoo cults from remote regions, ambitious factions, and individual conspirators who are constantly waiting for a chance to gain more power.
Based on the original story, yet adapted and used in a MMORPG game, the story of Swordsman Online is intriguing and magnificent.
The player's character is a martial art trainee who lived in a small maritime village. After his home village was destroyed and his family slaughtered by an ambitious faction, he set out on a journey to seek the true conspiracy behind the crime, and a chance for revenge. With the help of various characters from the original novel, the player solved many mysteries, overcame many difficulties, and finally upheld the justice.
Yeah, it sounds like just another story of revenge, but belive me, it is one of the most prominent literature work in contemporary China.
Developement and PublishingEdit
The development of this game can be dated back to late 2008, when Perfect World agreed with a Taiwanese game company, InterServ, on the cooperation over their old title Swordsman Online (released in 2001). After acquiring the license for this IP, Perfect World immediately put a new Swordsman Online in the most significant place in its future strategy.
The exact time when the development of this game fully started is unknown.
In 2010, the development of this game has reached a milestone. Many details about this game are released officially, including core designs, screenshots, CG teasers, and other materials.
However, as web games and mobile games are taking more and more ground, client-based games have started to show a declining trend. In late 2011, Perfect World also underwent a significant deceleration in its revenue growth, which forced the company to make a decision and it shut down many of its development projects. However, Swordsman and some other projects (e.g. Saint Seiya Online) survived this change.
After the restructuring, realizing that only client-based games of top-notch quality will be able to compete for and win the attention of today’s gamers, the company further confirmed that Swordsman Online will be its most important operation in the following few years. Many of the most talented designers and developers in the company were assembled and together they gave it their best. It is deem that this is arguably the strongest MMORPG developing team in China today.
In mid-2011, a first beta test of this game has been carried out, and it received quite positive feedback.
In 2012, the new engine Angelica III is announced, and more game details are revealed by the company. Swordsman has entered the players most-expected list.
During the first half of 2013, several beta tests have been conducted. Players (so