I've decided to give Jade Dynasty a shot while I wait on my new laptop to arrive, at which point I will be creating an Eve Online account. Until then I am joining my RL friends in playing this Free2Play MMORPG, made by the same studio that made Perfect World.
My exploration into character creation was rather short, as I was given very limited options. The character "class" isn't chosen until I reach level 15, which leaves me with the customization of my gender, facial appearance(I must choose from preset faces), hairstyle, and name. I went with a female character, named "MaleIRL". I thought it was humorous. After choosing that I logged into my character and began to play around with movements and maneuvering.
The movement in the game is smooth, but unpolished. Jumping, for instance, is rather unrealistic if you release the forward key which causes your momentum to vanish. Some of the movement animations also need work. I noticed the distinct lack of left-right turning with keys, which are usually bound to the "E" and "Q" keys by default. The preferred method of turning is by holding the right click.
Something interesting about this game is that much of the gameplay can be set to auto. The player can click on the ground somewhere in view to move there, which is common for Asian MMORPGs, but in Jade Dynasty, you can click on a spot on the map and your character will run there automatically, using an intelligent, probably pre-designed path. Under the quest pane, if you click on the name of the npc which you have to turn the quest into or the name of the item you are to acquire, the character will automatically run there also.
The combat was routine. There is a hotbar, and most abilities require a "casting" time. For the first 30 levels, which seemed to be the "introductory" levels, the player is given a "heavy blow" attack which one shots most monsters anywhere near your level every second, though it's effects are reduced as you level up and the monsters become harder to kill.
Botting is also a mechanic in this game in the form of "Espers". It's a identical to most "botting" programs which are banned in other MMORPGs. It plays the character for you, fighting, picking up loot, and self healing. It even has quest monster recognition and skill priority management. Honestly, I don't see this particular mechanic doing much good for the longevity of the game.
The environment of the agme is completely Chinese; the clothing, characters, monsters, landscape, are all distinctly inspired by ancient Chinese times. So far, I haven't noticed any horrendous translation in quest text and dialogue as is the case with so many other Asian Free2Play games. The world of Jade Dynasty consists of 10 zones, each of which are medium to large. Early on, all characters, no matter which class they later choose, are able to able to tame pets and use them in combat. The pets provide some minor damage, but do require upkeep in the form of food.
So far, I've managed to reach level 18, and my overall feeling about the game is good, considering that it's a Free2Play game. I don't think I would play this game for long, even if I hadn't already decided to play Eve Online. There doesn't seem to be enough challenge, and the combat, which is the real meat of the gameplay, is rather repetitive, and if I choose to put the character on autopilot to kill monsters, it doesn't make it anymore fun as I just end up staring at the game play itself. I will continue to play this game for at least a few more days and I'll see where it leads.