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Thread: Perfect World International review

  1. #1

    Perfect World International review

    So, after years of not having a computer that could play it, I finally got one and decided to take the plunge (heh) and try out Perfect World International.

    Perfect World International is a game made by a Chinese company, with an extensive in-game history (your character gets an illustrated history book of the various wars and back and forth and advancement in magic and technology and conflicts between gods and stuff during the tutorial, and I lost count after about 30-some pages). A prevailing problem seems to be the existence of wraiths that can possess people and reanimate the dead, as well as various spirits and Great Beasts being unleashed and needing to be corralled to their proper plane of existence.

    The game has interesting side systems of fashion that exists outside your armor and weapons and romance connections made between player characters, along with a bunch of player-run stores you can use to sell various items. It could be fun to play the game with someone you care about, I suppose, but I am single, so I can't really comment on that. Also, I feel the need to mention that given Chinese feelings on homosexuality and gender identity the game is very heteronormative and gender binary and there are a number of classes that are restricted to particular genders, so you can't be a female barbarian or edgerunner or a male venomancer or technician, and I understand you can't have romance with a character of the same gender (that might have changed in recent years, though, so don't quote me on that). The fashion is definitely more on the incredibly pretty side of things but nice details and lots of options for variation and customization.

    At this point one also starts with a genie (resembling a tiny fairy or pixie or sprite) who can help you out. You can get better quality genies or improve them with experience and Spirit points, but I am hazy at best on this. Genies can help heal you and assist in combat, and have at least one special ability that you can choose to activate in a fight that drains almost all of their energy, but which is helpful in a last ditch effort, like healing you when you're badly injured in combat. My genie appears as the starting one, a golden creature with a mermaid or genie like tail instead of legs and leafy wings.

    There are a lot of other aspects of the game, since it has been around for over a decade, and it can be a bit intimidating.

    I will say that my computer seems glitchy in how the game gets pulled up, with things crunched together and difficult to see, titles appearing over the boxes to type in passwords and usernames, but that those also seem unnecessary since one can log in with facebook. The game is free to play but with better options if you pay or buy them with real money, so a "pay to win" style of gaming. One starts out in an idyllic setting that is apparently part of the spirit world, and has initial quest plots involving getting 7 great beasts (a phoenix, a kitsune, a big cat, a mermaid, etc) back to their own place in the spirit world rather than corrupting this tiny part of the spirit world. Yeah, not sure that makes sense to me, either. Of note is that overland settings don't have monsters attacking you. I was able to run through a mess of zombies and wild animals and they ignore me, and this doesn't seem limited to the tutorial section. If you go inside dungeons, however, then monsters will attack if you get too close. Also, it is noteworthy that the game does have servers for Eastern North America, Western North America, and Europe, which is more than I was expecting for a free game so old, though if one lives in, say, Chicago or somewhere else in the middle of the continent, I guess you have a decision to make. Also, movement, which includes swimming and running and flying, is determined by a point and click method, which really isn't as fun as directional buttons. You can click on people's names or coordinates in the quest drop down list, and the character will try to run or fly or swim to them, but if there is a mountain or wall in the wall, they'll stop, and the cursor doesn't always recognize the names as something you can click on, so your clicks take you to the scenery under the drop down menu. I found that very frustrating.

    Now, to the fun stuff: The game has 7 races, each of which has at least two class options that generally fall into a physical combat option and a magic option. The races are Human (Blademaster, Wizard, and new female-only Technician who wield large firearms), Untamed (humanoid animal people, mainly feline and panda-like features, with the males more like hulking humanoid animals and the females more like humans with tails and cute catgirl ears. I was disappointed to see that despite some of the art, there wasn't any obviously bat-like features available for either. Classes are Barbarians, somehow male-only, and the tricky "bad-touch" curses and poisons and pets Venomancer, somehow only female allowed), Winged Elves (who are the only race to start with feathered wings... all others can get them at I think 10th level or so. Classes include Archer, Cleric, and the male only Edgerunner, a melee sword-wielder type), the Earthguard (people with crystals in their foreheads, classes are the melee/ranged Seeker who seems to have some paladin-esque traits, and the summoning Mystic), the Nightshade (horned people with a dark past, who can be combative Duskblades and mobile spellcasting Stormbringers), and the reason I am writing this on this forum, the Tideborn. Tideborn have fins for ears and more sprouting from their shoulders and legs, and skin and hair colors that range from human to those of tropical fish. I went with a peach-pink-red hair and a dusky blue-lavender skin tone and made a male psychic and named him Cetoscarus after the genus of the bicolor parrotfish. Tideborn all unlock an ability called Tidal form around level 9, which allows them to swim faster and is essentially a merfolk form. It differs for men and women, but is identical to everyone of the same gender, with european human skin tones, blond hair in an odd hairstyle, and gold scales and fins on the tails for women and teal ones for men. This power only works when you're in the water, and I have to say, it does look cool and the movement is well done.

    However, I was level 23 before I figured out how to use it, or most of my skills. This might be because I missed something that was cut off by my computer's screen when the game plays, but I'm inclined to think it was poor game design. Next to the various skills one can unlock, there are little up arrows next to skills you can train in, which I totally missed when I was playing and had to be guided to by random players after repeatedly asking "Can someone please tell me how to use tidal form? I've already tried jumping in the water and nothing happened." Once I figured that out, I was able to boost the tidal form skill three times, but having it and various other powers due to being a psychic beyond the two I started with would have made a lot of the tutorial a lot more fun and easy.

    I am going to play until I am able to visit the City of Raging Tides (Tideborn home city) this week, maybe reach level 30, but after that I am probably going to be confident that I played the tideborn and got to swim in tidal form that I can move on to other games. I will probably try to take screenshots and share them on here in a bit. I don't feel like the game, for all of its extra systems, entices me as a western MMO player to try more than that and put up with the quirky gameplay. Hope this is helpful for others.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Euro Pod Echidna's Avatar
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    I played PWI a few years ago. Had a winged elf cleric and a tideborn venomancer, both were around level 50 in the end I think.

    The world is incredibly pretty, the music is wonderful, the quests and all have that typical asian vibe and I enjoyed it very much, there are very nice cosmetic option (instead of armor) too.
    However, for some reason, I never really got into it. Maybe because I played it alone.
    I didn't find the gameplay gripping, it probably only gets worthwhile once you pay for it, which I would have considered if
    1), the gameplay would have been a bit more structured and self-explanatory, as it was, I had the same problems the OP had just finding and using some skills, and
    2), I would have had a chinese language option. The client is a translation from chinese, obviously, and many quests were bothersome because some things (especially words of play on characters) just cannot be translated. I even wrote to the company, asking why there is no language option, they just said sorry, you live in Europe, you gotta play in English- even if the original game is fully in chinese. okay?
    and lastly, the fact that the tideborn "mermaid form" was the exact same for everyone was quite a letdown for me.
    I like customization and creativity, and not giving players even some recolours as options seemed super lazy.

    So I went back to SL. It might not have "gameplay" per se, but it's perfect for anyone who likes their character to look like them.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mermaid Jaffa's Avatar
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    I too, once played PWI. I had a Tideborn character named, Maerb. I also played solo and didn't get into dungeons. I might try it out again now that I've got a better computer.
    Formerly known as ireneho

  4. #4
    I haven’t played this game in eons


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