Jung-Hun Kwag provides an update on the progress of Silk Road Online since its global launch in March
Silk Road Online was the other MMORPG KIPA (The Korean IT Industry Promotion Agency) chose as part of the Game&Game World Championships for 2006. Developed by Joymax, Silk Road Online has had over 2-million players register an account since it launched on March 14th of this year. Of those players, Joymax is uncertain how many actually play, but the global version of the game requires 11 servers, each with roughly three to four thousand active players at peek hours.
"It's a matter of convenience," explained Kwag. "Our system is about freedom of choice."
They insist that it is possible to anything any other player does in the game without ever investing a cent, it will just take a little bit longer. For this reason, they believe their game is fairly advertised as free.
The global servers, which are in English only, and the original Korean servers are administered directly by Joymax. Regional servers are also available in local languages Taiwan (China), Japan and Vietnam. When a local server goes up, access to the global servers is removed in that country. Unfortunately, players are unable to transfer characters when this happens. The Japanese and Chinese servers are roughly a year old, while the Vietnamese server is in beta.
Based on the ancient Chinese silk road, this MMOG offers players the chance to play not just a character class, but a role in society. Players can be simple traders who deliver goods from one place to another through caravans, guards who make sure those caravans make it safely or bandits who attack them. This pits players in a form of conflict, but always leaves them on a side that reflects their personality.
Combat is very fast paced and flashy and character development skill based. Watching the World Championship players go was an impressive sight, with their fingers in constant motion as they chose different forms of attack against monsters and other players. They were also given an extremely long time to build tournament characters before the match and most said that it wasn't enough, which demonstrates the complexity of the system.
Joymax is also committed to frequent free updates to the game, reminiscent of traditional expansion packs. These include new lands, levels and skills for players to explore and learn. On top of that, there are the regular small updates and bug fixes.
Currently, they're hard at work planning a new update that is due out in the next couple months, likely before the end of the year. Unfortunately, at this time, they are still not revealing any details of what it will include.