Developer Journal: The Weapons of 9 Dragons
9Dragons is the first authentic martial arts massively multiplayer online game. Think of the world of Hero, House of the Flying Daggers, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or even Jackie Chan’s classic Drunken Master (if you are old enough or into martial arts enough!)
In a previous article I told you about the monsters and also some of the specific monster clans that are in the game. Now I want to talk to you about some of the weapons you can use to defeat these monsters.
The weapons designs in the game are based on historical research, reflecting the martial arts armaments of the period. In 9Dragons we have gone for as much authenticity as his possible. Therefore each clan uses the weapons that the historical clans would have been skilled in. So, for example, the Wu-Tang were famous as sword masters. Therefore, if you play as the Wu-Tang then you get a bonus from using swords. Of course you can use any weapon you choose, but why join the sword masters if you really want to use staffs? The game is designed to reward you for thinking about your style of fighting before you decide which clan to join.
The seven categories of weapons are as follows; Gloves and claws, staffs and staves, polearms, swords, sabres, axes and spears, and finally daggers and wheels. Items such as shuruken and nunchucks were actually of Japanese origin (from the peasants of Okinawa) and had not yet arrived in China. Of course, some rare examples of these items may find their way into the game later for players who travel far!
Since the basis of Chinese martial arts (or Kung Fu) is unarmed combat, all of the clans use gloves in basic training. At the lowest level, gloves are just for protection and have very little additional attacking power (Have you ever hit someone with bare knuckles? You are as likely to break your fist as injure your opponent!) However, higher-level gloves have claws or blades built into them. Some of them can be pretty nasty too!
Staffs and staves are the main weapon of The League of Beggars. Their staff skills are renowned for fast variations and continuous attacks. (Incidentally, the best known staff skill style is ‘Hit the dog’ which is very useful for a beggars lifestyle because they often have to deal with watchdogs – don’t try that one at home!).
The Shaolin monks were famed for their use of polearms, spades, maces, and cudgels. Polearms are often called “the father of all weapons” since they are generally easier to handle for a beginner than other weapons. Their big advantage is that they can be used from further away than other arms so they give a tactical advantage. Although easy to use for beginners, it takes more training to master polearms than any other weapon, with the exception of certain high-level swords.
Speaking of swords, the Tai Chi initiates of Wu-Tang Clan are obsessed with swordplay, it permeates all of their philosophy. Their motto is, “Sound Sword and Sharp mind.” Indeed, Swords are the most difficult weapons to master and the journey to sword master in the Wu-Tang is one of the longest in the game, but the greatest swordsmen have always come from their Clan. Don’t forget the heroes of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon trained at Wu Tang Mountain.
In opposition to Wu-Tang’s swords are the Sabres of Heavenly Demon Clan, a clan with a much darker agenda. A sabre is actually quite different in its fighting style to a sword. While a sword has two sharp edges, a saber has only one. This means that there is less variation in the attacks you can use but because it is heavier it generates a more powerful attack.
Disciples of The Brotherhood of Thieves tend to use axes and spears because they are well suited to their more aggressive style of fighting. Spears can be used for longer range fighting but are light enough to be dazzling when they are set in motion with capable hands. A skilled spearman boasts amazing technical prowess in both speed and dexterity.
Finally, we come to daggers and flying wheels. These are the lesser known weapons from the period but in the hands of an assassin they are among the most deadly. Because they are small and lightweight they are ideal for women. This made them the weapons of choice for the disciples of Sacred Flower. They are not only good for seeking an enemy’s weak spot with their razor sharp edges, but can also be thrown to attack an opponent from a distance. Seeing a Sacred Flower disciple weaving her dance of death with a pair of flying wheels is an awesome sight. And often the last one her opponent will ever see!
If after reading this article you want more information, take a look at the North American site www.9Dragonsgame.com or for the European site go to www.9Dragonsonline.com. Acclaim and Persistent Worlds are launching the game simultaneously across both America and Europe later this year.
I hope that you have enjoyed this article. I have had great fun writing it. My own personal preference is for the sword, and you can find me in-game aligned with Wu-Tang as I continue my journey to become a sword master!
The Sayings of Confucius.
- Ken Johnston, CEO Real Time Worlds
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