Writing the overview for this game turned out to be very easy. Happily at the time of writing the article Perfect World International (PWI) had its first birthday.
Downloading PWI is easy. It takes two hours to do so, and another 45 minutes or so to install. Game client downloads do seem to be getting quicker these days as the newer formats of browser based plug-ins for high end games are on the rise. Cloud gaming- they call it. Good examples of it can be found with Free Realms by Sony Online Entertainment and with the entire OnLive gaming phenomenon. Although Runscape was one of the first browser based MMOs back in 2001, the format of browser based gaming quickly turned into client/download based gaming that can pose a great challenge for older computers. Happily, PWI poses no real problems with functionality, and I am using average equipment on a three year old laptop. Like a wise man once said, I would rather spend the time and the patience for a long and solid download, than just a few minutes on a game that lags to the point of ruining that happy and anxious anticipation we always feel right before we enter a new virtual gaming world.
Registration and launch are typical and what we've come to know as online gamers. After signing into the game, you'll be taken to character creation and class selection. You can choose between: Archer, Blade Master, Barbarian, Wizard, Cleric, or Venomancer. As of September 1st PWI announced the up and coming "Rising Tide" expansion, which promises two new classes of the "Tideborn" race tentatively called, Assassins and Psychics. This will mark the third expansion this year for PWI. While playing, you should create multiple characters. I would highly recommend role playing more than one class so that you may understand how to handle all of your player opponents as well as empathize with your friends when they come across their own character shortcomings.
Game play is smooth and quite inspirational over all. And like many MMOs, you are required to socialize. Whether it's for help finding that last herb needed to manufacture some focus powder, or to complete missions, raids, and various instances. You will be forced to communicate with players. In order to cultivate your class to the next level of skill, be it magic or melee, you are required to participate in brawling instances called Fubens (which means dungeon or cave) at every ninth tier of your current cultivation level. Thus, at 19,29,39,49 etc. you will be instancing, and it becomes more and more difficult the higher you climb in skill. And don't think you'll be able to do this alone. Oh no my friend, you must perform these tasks as a team.
Love and in-game relationships are abound and plentiful in PWI. 45% of the game requires you to chit chat and build friendships. If you are shy, I promise you will overcome this by the time you reach level 30. There is even a marriage quest that yields a cute ceremony with plentiful rewards and gifts for the happy couple. The avatars can appear extremely attractive with a vast assortment of fashion and attire for all types. Like all games, the more fancy and shiny you look, the more attention you'll garner. When you infuse two or more G5 or greater stones/shards into your armor plates and/or weaponry, you will engender "the Glow", and everybody wants the glow at some point in their career.
PVP begins at level 30 and sadly, you may wish that it did not. Getting PK'ed for the first time in this game is like truly loosing your innocence. Most especially if you are caught up in a territory battle, or between warring guilds, and you've got a super fast level 80 player demolishing you with one hit because you "just" became a level 30.
The music in this Game is top quality. PWI showcases neutral and unobtrusive themes. After a few weeks of playing you will be singing the tunes to yourself just because they are that good. It is a mix of passionate major and minor pentatonic scale type melodies that dance atop deep and rich orchestral passages. No hard rock here gents, just good solid inspiration through skillfully arranged instrumentation.
As you progress into the game, you'll find that equipment, armor and weaponry will cost you a pretty penny. Gold is a true commodity here and can be difficult to come by at times. You have many sources for acquiring gold such as completing quests, grinding for drops, farming, auctioning, and consignment shops. You can even sell your monster raiding services to lower level players so they can complete their quests more quickly. Overall, the balance between free game play and the micro transactions through the item mall are skillfully placed, without one being dependent on the other. So, you can either slave over that new flying mount, and hope somebody will buy one and then sell in-game for coins (which is always the case), or you can invest $10 or more from your own purse- and convert it into Zen, then transfer it into your server boutique account for gold in order to enhance your playing experience. Either way, you have options.
By the time you reach 60, leveling your character must take on a different approach, or you will face a serious plateau. There are daily quest that guarantee you 10% exp of your current level every 24 hours to help keep you going if you don't have the long hours to spend. You could also team up with a Venomancer that has a high level Hercules pet and just grind your way through levels, as pets tend to be excellent grinding machines. Eventually, you'll become powerful enough to Zhen, which gives the Wizard , Archer, and Cleric the opportunity to create an impressive light show, displaying control over your hard eared skill might and magic, unleashing it on multiple enemies at a time.
After all of your hard work and huge reputation you've won over, you'll finally get the chance to become a Demon or Sage at level 82. At this stage, your magical cultivation takes on even greater levels that display power exponentially higher than average. What you must keep in mind when playing this game is that it's all about hard earned gold, reputation, might, magic, skill, friendships, hustle, and Power with a capital P... all wrapped up in a fantastic package that's free to play!
Perfect World Entertainment offers many promotions throughout each month for their loyal fan base consisting of millions of players. They add new features such as genie- gear, mounts, charms, fashion, weaponry, and contests (and coming up, a whole new race with two new classes). So coming from a sincere, positive, and mature gamer, this one is a keeper. Check it out if you haven't already.