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Phoenix Dynasty Online Review by Lord_Venus

Lord_FiqLord_Fiq Member UncommonPosts: 31

Here's my review of PDO for your reading pleasure:

Author: Lord_Venus

Phoenix Dynasty Online is yet another Asian MMORPG with a storyline embedded in ancient Chinese history. Set in feudal China, during the Warring States (475 BC - 221 BC), this game takes you thousands of years into the past when four kingdoms; Qin, Zhao, Chi and Chu square off for the right to rule over the vast empire of what is known today as China. But unlike other MMORPGs that embraces Chinese history, which are so common these days, the geography and historical settings of Phoenix Dynasty Online are pretty fascinating.

The game utilizes a 2.5D graphics engine and puts minimal requirement on the average computer system. The scenery is pretty and sometimes you can tell a lot of work has been put on the game's artwork. The attention to detail on Imperial palaces, civilians' homes, walking trails, rivers, and weather effects are noticeable and well hand-drawn for a 2.5D game. Different states have different environments, for instance, the Zhao state up north connecting China and Mongolia are snowy mountainous regions, the Qin state to the west are barren and desert wastelands, and Chu's capital city appearance are filled with flowing rivers of Spring. The game’s world map is huge and designed based on the Warring States period of China. In some places, walking does leave footprints on the ground. Skills and spell effects are what you’d come to expect from a 2.5D game, nothing too fancy. But some AoE effects are quite cool to look at. Music and SFX are disappointing though. Besides the apparent lack of music scores, the audio are a tad buggy and sometimes boom-out loud for no reason. Hope this will be fixed in the next version.

Graphics and sound aside, the game's main plot is linear but filled with interesting sub quests to invoke the adventurer in you. It follows the storyline behind the power struggle between the four feudal states and each city presents a different set of plots. Follow through its paces to unravel the mysterious kidnapping of the Prince and investigate the death of the Emperor Zhou. Explore the scenery across treacherous paths to find out how the politics between the four great states are intertwined. Rewards upon completion come about in the form of common potions, titles, weaponry, huge experience points and reputation. Character creation is straightforward with four basic classes to choose from: Paladin (armored melee warrior), Assassin (basically an archer), Wizard (powerful spellcaster) and lastly Priest (healing and support class). As you enter the game, your character is born in a newbie village called Phoenix Village. There you will chit chat with several NPCs and gain a bit of understanding on the game's mechanics. The game revolves around 5 nature elements namely: Metal, Fire, Earth, Wood and Water and each with its own strengths and weaknesses over the other. Understanding how each element works is vital in battle as you face hordes of monsters and evil human adversaries, each possessing elements that could make or break you! Even more critical is if you're intending to participate in PVP challenges with fellow players. Knowing your opponents’ elements before a fight and exploiting them in battle is key to achieving victory. Upon completion of the newbie quests, you will be rewarded with armors, weapons and even a mount to take with to the next stage of the journey. It is in this next stage your character will develop further to becoming either a Qin, Zhou, Chi or Chu citizen and armed with new elemental skills to help your chosen state.

Besides leveling and questing, the game has an interesting crafting system in place. What MMORPG would be complete without a crafting system right? You can choose to become a blacksmith, tailor, jewelcrafter or alchemist. Essentially, blacksmiths produce weapons, tailor produces armors and leather, jewelcrafters make rings and necklaces and alchemist creates useful concoctions. Each can make equipments for any class they wish. Players can also open booths to provide crafting service and charge a fee to fellow players who do not have the necessary expertise to make equipments. Obtaining raw materials for crafting varies for every profession. In my experience, materials for making weapons are the rarest to drop, even more so for the quality ones. But all crafting materials can be dropped from monsters and non-humanoid creatures. With knowledge of the elements, you can craft powerful equipments to suit your character, even better than those dropped by bosses or sold at NPCs! To add an edge to the crafters’ abilities, the game also comes with an equipment refining system. Using black iron stones, one can refine an equipment to boost its attributes permanently. But the downside to this, should you fail, the equipment is broken and lost forever. Fortunately, for those who fear to take risks, there is always the Peace Emblem you can purchase using real cash that saves the equipment from breaking.

No MMORPG today is complete without activities involving teamwork and cooperation to achieve specific objectives. Phoenix Dynasty Online is no exception. It features Team Quests (similar to raiding), where players team up based on their levels and attempt to wipe out hordes of monsters or defeating an elite boss in dungeons known as Refining Test Cave. Each team is allowed up to 2 hours in the Cave to try and complete the missions. Upon successful completion of the quests, players will be rewarded with raw materials to make special armors as well as reputation points which can be used to obtain rewards or buy equipments that require rep.

Another activity involving teamwork and cooperation is the Bayer Wars, also known as guild wars. Players interested in guild battles are highly recommended to participate. The requirement, of course, is to be in a guild. The territories to conquer consist of 5 towns, 3 districts and the capital Bayer. Guildies can challenge each other to capture the territories and reserve the rights to collect taxes and claim reputation points as well as free teleportation to the occupied territories. Guild leaders will obtain titles like “Lord of City” to show their worth. Guilds that occupies higher level cities will have access to special NPCs that can craft high level equips for them. There will also be special mounts that can only be bought in Bayer cities, to be released in upcoming expansions.

Now we come to the topic that gets most players either excited or frustrated. The player-vs-player mode or PVP. Some players loathe at the mention of PVP, especially when thrusted into it reluctantly by some bored player looking for virtual blood to spill while others look at it in a different aspect; fun, challenge, thrills, chance to make a name in the server, etc. Alas, not to fear, Phoenix Dynasty Online has an excellent PVP system in place that will satisfy the cravings of those who seek blood but at the same time, protects the rights of those who aren’t really interested in getting player-killed (PKed). The mode begins when players reach level 24 and players below 12 cannot be PKed. Players that kill too much receives wicked points and earns vile titles like ‘Wanted’, ‘Criminal’, etc and whenever they logon to the game, the system will announce their presence and location. Those looking for some good fun or seeking retribution can begin hunting them down. Criminals stand to lose huge amounts of experience, gold and item drops when killed. The notorious ones will revive in a Prison, where getting out isn’t easy. A good way to ensure evil-doers think thrice before PK. Thus making the phrase “What goes around, comes around” ever so meaningful in Phoenix Dynasty. PVP allows players to see what their characters are made of. All that hard work spending hours on end to level up or hunting raw materials to craft the coolest armor can only be felt when one goes head-to-head with another player. Also through PVP, warring guilds can test their mettle and train their skills for Bayer.

To sum it up, Phoenix Dynasty Online is a fun-filled MMORPG for anyone who doesn’t mind 2.5D graphics and Chinese historical backdrop. Grinding isn’t as bad as I expected, especially with players entitled to free turbo experience time which can be claimed each week. New expansions and patches are released quite regularly and you’ll feel that this game isn’t an abandoned one. Of course, some players are unhappy with a few of the changes but as with any MMORPG, even the paid ones, changes are inevitable. Some are positive changes while others are negative. It’s up to the players to adapt to the changes or feedback to the GMs their views. The community is friendly and helpful to newbies who ask via the world chat. So come on in and join in the fun with the rest of Phoenix Dynasty Online!

Overall rating: 8/10

Graphics: 8/10

Audio: 5/10

Community: 10/10

Grinding: 8/10

Quests: 9/10


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