Zu Online

Zu Online is another free to play MMORPG. As of the time of this writing is game is also in beta testing. You can download the client here: http://zu.igg.com/download/download.php

You start off selecting between three factions:

The faction choice is irrelevant, it just lets you know who you are supposed to kill on sight.

You also select a Clan, which other games would refer to as a class: Sun Warriors are a decent choice here, I selected it much at random, and I found that I had good tanking ability, decent DPS, and a decent area effect spell to work with.

Sun Warrior

Starting up the game, you are presented with suprisingly good game music (some of which is available for download on their site), and suprisingly cartoonish graphics.

Playing the game
Leveling up works through a series of quests, each often leading to the next quest giver.

If you run out of quest lines, you can use a very nice ingame "inquire" system that tells you where quest givers can be found that have quests that are appropriate for your level.

The quests will often have places where you can click to autorun to where your turn in NPC or your monsters can be found. There is also an ability to search for an NPC by name, also with an option to autorun to them. Just as well, as it can take a very long time to cross a map to get where you need to go.

The monsters that are around your level will drop a variety of interesting things, most of your gear upgrades come as either drops, or quest rewards.

You do get some XP killing monsters, but your main source of XP is through questing. I found the quests for the most part to be reasonable. When you start getting into the middle levels of the game it will start assigning quests with "boss monsters". Initially you can get through these without assistance, later you need to be a few levels higher than the boss and towards the middle of the game you get assigned some bosses that actually cannot be done even in groups at the level the quest is assigned.

Most monsters are tagged white, which means you have to provoke them. Red tagged monsters will agro you, but are generally no tougher than the white ones. Purple tagged monsters are quest boss monsters, and range from trivial at low levels, to duoable at middle levels, to very tough. Yellow tagged monsters are often found wandering in batches of white monsters, for no apparent reason, and will attack you. They have insane hit points and DPS, and can't really be effectively soloed until you are much higher level than they are.

The typical "kill a bunch of monsters" or "score a bunch of special drops" type quests are easy. In fact, they are so easy that they are boring. Drag your main combat ability down to your hot button bar, select "Q" to target nearest, then press your hot button (1 is a good choice). It boils down to Q, 1, loot, rinse and repeat. The area effect spell is also effective on groups of mobs. At higher levels you will have to also watch your health, and use Ginseng to heal as needed.

Your boss monster quests get harder and harder, forcing you to get groups to kill them. Lower level bosses can be duoed effectivey with alternate kiting, one player runs while the other player hits the boss, switch roles when agro switches.
As you progress, you get assigned quests that force you towards the most flawed part of this game, PVP. The PVP system allows people in your own faction to kill you, and watch out, they will. They get red tagged for it, so watch out for players with red tags. You never know when someone on your faction, or someone from another faction will come along and "gank" you. The worst element of the PVP system is that you lose actual gear. In theory, if you have no dishonor points, you only have a 3% chance to drop something of value. In practice, nearly every time I died in PVP, I lost an item. Hopefully this is a bug they are planning to fix.

The last straw came for me when I ran out of non-boss quests, and was forced to quest in an area shared by all the factions. A player from another faction came along and killed me, and I dropped my weapon that I had won from a difficult quest line. Naturally he scooped it up and enjoyed the fruits of my labor. You can't just buy replacements for gear, the only items that are for sale are much lower level than what you lose, so you can take a serious loss in power from these pvp kills.

The other problem is that after level 30, anyone on any faction can attack you. In a game soon to have 300 levels, that is a lot of risk.
The money system is odd, the money you get selling drops in the game, and as quest rewards, is called "bone", and is not tradable. There is also silver, and gold, both of which must be bought with real money. As far as I can tell, silver is worth the same amount as bone.

The game has an in-game item mall where you can buy stuff to power up your character. Unlike other games, the money you earn questing is almost useless here. You pretty much have to have silver to buy items from the item mall, except for some of the least powerful items.

There is also an in-game auction system that requires silver to buy items. The traffic there seemed to be very light. This might be due to the high quality of dropped items, or it might be due to the silver requirement.
You will see a wide variety of languages and nationalities represented in game. You will also see a rich and varied spelling of english words. The chat channels in this game are the worst I have run into so far, filled with misinformation, rude twits, Chuck Norris jokes, arguements, and raunchy chatter. There is no attempt to manage the chatter, except for a very badly written filter that prevents words like "china", "com", "net" from being used. The words that are not filtered are commonly discussed at great graphic length. Worse yet, there are a series of "emoticons" that are nearly as offensive as the chat itself.
Pets / Mounts
Every character gets a pet around level 30, and when you and it gets to level 40, it becomes a mount for you as well. The pet is lots of fun! The only down side is comes when your pet gets hungry, the "pet walk" process takes a long time. When this happens, you might look for "Pet Parties", grouping makes pet food come faster.

Louie says: i got a flying pig at lvl 0 not lvl 30.

This game in the end proved not worth the time to download and try. Unless they change the PVP system in some fundamental way, this boils down to a very frustrating experience.

If you have any additions, or corrections, please feel free to let me know.

What do you think?

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