Looking for a fast action MMO with lots of PvP availability as well as being free to play? Webzen’s latest offering, Continent of the 9th Seal available in July may be just the ticket. Billed as an MORPG (note the missing M for Massively), C9 has some pretty sweet graphics and animation. Like other MORPGs, there is a town area with NPCs where you meet your friends, access your inventory, do your business, etc. then party up and head off to instanced dungeons.
As the story goes in C9, an evil force has descended upon the land of Blenheim with foul intent. Of course, the hero you are, you and your friends put your adventuring hats on and go out to eradicate it. You begin as a fighter, hunter, shaman or witchblade and as you adventure, you gain XP and at level 20 select more specific roles. Fighters choose between blademaster, guardian and warrior. Hunters can be assassins, rangers or scouts. The shaman gets to choose between elementalist, illusionist or Taoist. Witchblade, a dual blade-wielding DPS class is a newly announced class for the North American game, and the teaser site shows a 5th, yet unannounced class. In fact, there seem to be some differences in the game being localized for the North American market as opposed to the one currently running in Asia as each class there has its first transformation at level 10 to an elite and then a choice of four classes at level 20.
Imported free-to-play games often have gender-locked characters and C9 is no different. The fighter and hunter are male and the shaman and witchblade are female. Customization is limited in the free game as costumes for differentiation will be how Webzen makes their money. Visually, C9 looks pretty good, with each class having unique combat skills and animation in a full 3-D world.
Combat is directional instead of being target-based and active as opposed to auto-attack. One swing / spell cast will damage all targets within range, and some skills require filling up a rage meter and combinations creating massive damage are also possible. The timing required can be quite precise, but as proven by other online action RPGs such as DC Universe Online and TERA, most MMO players have the bandwidth these days to attain this.
Parties are limited to four players and dungeons have four difficulty levels for replayability – normal, hard, master and expert. PvP is mainly conducted in arenas with different modes such as one on one duels, death matches, relays and the such, but when entering a dungeon, players may turn on the “intrusion” mode which will allow other players to intrude for some PvP mayhem while dealing with monsters as well.
There is quite a bit of content in C9 as the full game has five continents, thousands of quests, guilds, guild based PvP, an auction house system and crafting as well. Crafting is NPC based and consists of socketing and enhancing weapons and equipment. Equipment also deteriorates and must be repaired. There is also “Legends” or title system. Titles can be earned by completion of quests, dominating a certain area in game or totally owning a dungeon, killing an insane number of creatures and etc. Some titles are merely bragging rights, but some actually provide an increase is stats for your character.
There’s currently only a teaser site available for the North American game c9.webzen.com – but interested gamers can register for access and create a pre-launch character when closed beta begins on June 20th. Open Beta begins July 1st with game launch planned for July 11th. As this is a port of a currently successful game in Korea, we can expect a pretty smooth launch and a steady influx of content updates as more and more of the game is localized for our region.