A new developer journal from the guys bringing 9Dragons to the West
While you read this, I want you to use your imagination and create a picture in your mind. A vision of a distant land, many, many years ago. See in your mind's eye ancient China, some time during the Ming Dynasty. See yourself, a poor young peasant, struggling down the dusty street of a small village. You do not have even a single coin to call your own. Still, you may not have money, but you do have great dreams. You have dreams of glory and wealth. You have dreams of standing up for yourself against the village bullies who terrorise you. But how? An old friend told you that by learning the skills of Kung Fu you could grasp these dreams. But who will teach you? How will you learn?
This is the starting point of your journey in the game 9Dragons. You do not need to use your imagination any longer because your story will unfold in front of you. The skills of Kung Fu are there to be learned. You can change the course of your destiny in ancient China with the decisions you make.
However, unlike other MMO's, you don't just grab the biggest weapon available and start hacking away at the monsters. Oh no! In 9Dragons you must earn your moves. Firstly you need to train your inner "Chi" through in-game mini-games. Then you need to find a trainer who will teach you the basic moves of Kung Fu. After that your mission is to find a clan and join. Only there will you learn the specific skills of your clan and be trained by your Sifu (or teacher).
Not only will he teach you Kung Fu moves but he will also teach you about the history of the clan and the war that raged across China ten years previously. The skills he teaches you depend on the choices you make in developing your character. However, that is not the only way to learn! Sometimes the clan leader will see you and will teach you some of his exclusive abilities. Treasure these because they are rare and deadly. Sometimes you will embark on quests and these may help you to unlock new moves for yourself. Perhaps, if you have the right abilities, you may be lucky and find a tome on those you defeat detailing secrets of Kung Fu. Who knows?
Ah, yes, so you have your skills, you say. Is that it? Do not be confused into thinking that possessing a skill is the same thing as mastering it! To master any ability you must use it, train it and develop it. Each clan has extensive training grounds where you can hone your talents before you leave to follow your quests. Your training takes place under the guidance of a mentor and he will ensure that you understand how to employ your newfound gifts.
So, let me conclude. There is a lot to learn in 9Dragons. Skills do not always come easily. They need to be earned and then practiced. That, however, is the enjoyment of the game. Everyone will pick a different path and your skills will be very different from anyone else's. You will become a unique martial artist.
A far cry from the poor peasant that you once were.
-By Ken Johnston