I started playing Jade Dynasty on a bit of a whim. See I'd been playing every single MMO beta I could get my hands on, but I was finding myself bored out of my mind. Yeah I know it's a bit geeky but I want to have fun playing games. All the technical stuff bores the living daylights out of me. I had just stopped playing WoW again in February and before then I had played a year long stint in FFXI, so I was looking for something solid for the long term. I had played a little Perfect World International and I'd played the Beta of Ether Saga but they didn't really click with me. After playing something close to 30 betas I figured I'd see if Jade felt right for me.
Jade Dynasty is the third offering from Perfect World Entertainment. Set in a world of five factions vying in the eternal saga of good versus evil, Jade Dynasty has five ruling classes. The Vim is a tank class, the Jadeon a Range class, the Skysong a Healing class, the Lupin the Melee DD class, and the Modo an all-around class. Players start Jade as an Initiate for the first 15 levels where they are taught the basics of game play, control, storyline, and various other basic elements of Jade Dynasty. Once at 15 you are given the short quest line to change your class. Be sure to go to Tanis Ka and get all three quests from him at the start of each game day. One will give you a two hour experience boost, another will give you a choice of class gear for level 45 or 60, and the last will give you an eight hour attack and defense boost.
I've been having this thing about classes lately. I don't know about you but it's become a little irritating to see the nth DD Melee class try to gank me in PvP. Look I'm as willing to say when I got my bollocks handed to me as the next guy, but I usually play a tank class and we all know how worthless tanks usually are in PvP. So I get to the official website and I see Vim, the tank class, and I say to myself, I don't think so. Then I see next the Skysong, it's a little better cause it's seems cooler than your usual healer class but frankly I'm usually anti-social. There's no point in trying to get a class where I wouldn't use most of the major abilities. I see the Jadeon, but if RPGs are like First Person Shooters I'm the kind of guy who goes for the shotgun first; so pass on that as well. Then I see the Lupin class, it's a melee DD and I just got finished playing a Samurai in FFXI and the DK class in World of Warcraft and I think to myself that maybe I should get a little more original. So I go to the Modo, but I can't seem to find out what a Modo actually does. Finally after searching the forums, I see that the Modo is part melee AoE, part Demon tank, part range DoT. And I fell in love.
Her name is Ettarre. She is my fearsome fighting Modo. I finally got to level 15 after a couple of hours and leaving her to Meditate over night. While I'm on the subject, I guess I'd better tell you, Jade Dynasty has a system of exp called Mediate. Rather than give you rested XP a la WoW or EQ2, Jade lets you afk in a town or city and gather exp. In your first ten levels that might mean a level every two hours but by twenty or so that might mean four or five hours. As you can see the temptation will be to leave your character there for a while and be high level without playing a thing; DON'T DO IT. Here's the thing, money in Jade can be rather sparse if you don't know what you're doing, and pretty much the easiest way to get money is to kill everything in sight. This isn't to say there aren't ways to make oodles and oodles of money, there are, but they can be time consuming.
One way to get around that is Invigorate. Basically it allows you to just leave your character in a low level spot and grind items and loot. Of course if you look away for a bit you might get ganked by someone in PVP or forget to heal yourself so use it at your own discretion. Each area has about a 15 level range. Invigorate works the best when questing in the later stages of that level range, i.e. 12-15 in Sunstream, the beginner area.
As much as Jade Dynasty is about quests, there is some grinding in the game. It can be immensely satisfying to knock out 5 or 6 quests and then run back to town and get some more. But beware, grinding outside of quests is a colossal waste of time, so make sure to pick up a set of five trial quests each time you're in town.
Jade Dynasty is a free-2-play MMO and as such has a cash shop that sells everything from mounts, to clothes that stylizes each character, to items that help recover health and spirit. In many ways Jade's cash shop works like Perfect World or even Runes of Magic. While the cash shop can make your leveling easier it is by no means necessary for advancement. So while the cash shop can speed or make easier whatever path you choose it's not the game killer that it can be in other games.
Anyways back to Ettarre, sure she doesn't have Master Roshi tapping her on the head with his cane, but she gets by. Modos have the ability to transform from their human form and I got my first one. At level 25 I got this tank like beast through a skill called Demonic Posture. She does this cool transform sequence then she rises a couple of feet in the air and starts wrecking house; The Hulk's got nothing on her.
I got to level 30 later in the week which meant I could start riding mounts, if I could just find a mount that's not from the cash shop; grumble, grumble. That's right, I think Ettarre is going to be cash shop free. At least for now, I feel like I need to see how well this plays without a cash shop first.
I know I've been talking and explaining things a bit more than telling you all the cool things I did, but with 150 levels total I'm sure next time I'll have a story or two to tell.