[Moonlight Blade OL] [Review] A Quick Look at Moonlight Blade Online 天涯明月刀 OL, Day 1

Finally a chance to enter this up-and-coming Chinese mmo! As usual, TX games are always in CLOSED beta, and keys are very hard to get D: Fortunately, a friend (identity hidden to protect his PM box) is sharing his account with me now and im happy ^^ So after a day in the game, I had a quick look at how the basics of the game works and to try out a few of the classes. Here we go.

Classes and Combat

There are 6 classes now, TaiBai (太白), ShenWei (神威), TangMen (唐门), GaiBang (丐帮), ZhenWu (真武) and TianXiang (天香). TaiBai is a sword-wielder with melee combat, with fluid, flashy moves and good aoe. ShenWei uses a spear and a bow, capable of both melee and ranged attack (more melee) and has many knock down moves to permanently lock an opponent down. TangMen is a ranged class that uses flying weapons and puppets to kite his opponents down. I have not tried the other 3 classes, but GaiBang seems to be a melee fighter specializing in fist brawls, ZhenWu a flashy swordsman which uses shadow for enhanced damage and control while TianXiang is a support/dps hybrid class that can heal.

WARNING: The above opinions are given by a NUB (me) who have only played the game for a few hours ._. Pros (大神) please do not be too hard on me.

Combat in this game is really enjoyable! Movements are swift and cool, skills from each class is distinct in style and the sound effects make the combat feel so real and satisfying! Each class has their own unique mechanism, which makes the combat more interesting, and makes each class harder to master. For example, TaiBai has skills that charge up Qi (剑气), and other skills that spend them to deal extra damage; while TangMen needs to keep track of their mana (机巧) and ration their puppet skills spamming.

Sample Vids (1st day play, low skill level. Please do not mind..):

Graphics, Plot and Questing

Pretty awesome graphics. It’s the style that I like, and this should be the benchmark of mmos of this age. What surprised me more is the quality of some of the cutscenes, since they pack the same oomph as the combat in game.

The main storyline is based on an original martial arts novel by Gu Long (古龙) and thus, the plot of this game shows some promise. It’s also one of the rare times i bothered reading quest texts and following the storyline seriously. If you really cant stand all the texts or simply cant understand them, at least try enjoying the beautiful combat cutscenes 🙂

Action-packed combat cutscenes :P
Action-packed combat cutscenes 😛

The transition from regular play mode into a story instance is also extremely fluid. One moment you may be standing beside an NPC out in the open, but once you click past the text conversations with the NPC to accept the next part of the quest, you get transported into the mission instance, with no loading screen or lagtime :DDD And of course, these instances are entertaining as well. Not only do they have more mobs and bosses you have to take care of, they are also key points in the storyline, often filled with cutscenes or NPC dialogs that are fully voiced. IMO this is a very well-done part of the game. Most games that have quick and easily acceptable/completable quests do not frequently have quality cutscenes or voiced dialogues or even instances, while those with well-done quest and plot contents make you travel here and there riverdeepmountainhigh to reach those instance entrances D:

Questings in mmos have mostly been about kill x rat, deliver y to Mr. Boring, collect z by right-clicking the pile of sand on the ground, 10 times by finding 10 different sand piles. It’s not that we can really change this questing structure of mmos. If there could be better and more entertaining ways to gain our XP, something good would have surfaced by now after so many years of the mmo genre. But XP is crucial in any mmo and the amount of xp from main story quests will never be enough to cover you to max level. Hence, repeat quests (repeat in structure) will be littered here and there to fill in xp gaps and to keep players working for a longer period of time (subscription). Well, nowadays more mmos are using the F2P system, and they do not need to keep players in game for a whole day doing repetitive stuff, or wait extended hours for that mob to spawn just cos 20 other players are at the same location trying to last hit it whenever it spawns.

However, the instances and questing here still needs abit of polishing in the sense that some progress can only be triggered when you move onto a specific area, which might not be the path you took. It makes you go round and round searching for the specific spot until you finally find it to trigger the next part of the quest. Um.. they could make the area larger o.o

For this game, kill quests come once in a while, but the pain is lessened quite alot since the mobs spawn in groups that respawn really quickly (like… 5 seconds?). And there are many mob groups in the area. So you probably see 6-7 groups of 7-9 mobs in the area, but by the time you kill the 2nd group, the 1st group has respawned and you will somehow attract aggro from the 1st respawned group and kill them too. And quest is done 🙂 The other good improvement here is that mobs DO NOT aggro you once your quest is done. This saves players soooooo much trouble but game developers just dont get it till now ._.

Cosmetics and Character Customization

Mounts. People seem to like mounts in mmos. For me, i dont really care, as long as they are pretty if they do exist. In Moonlight Blade, mounts are essential since it’s a martial arts era based game. Mounting action is nice and the galloping… it’s fine. You get the free mount really early in the game and there are very expensive versions available at NPC shops, and have improved movement speeds. All these are fine i guess, im just waiting to be blown away by some fantastic horse designs and stuff. At least you can interact with NPCs while on mounts, unlike in FF14 when i have to dismount and mount whenever there is NPC interaction :/

Basic, white horse.
Basic, white horse.

Costumes are plentiful. I dont really understand how the sytem works yet, so i cant comment on it much, but they do look pretty. The back accessories cost like 1000 gold at some NPC vendors, which is great, because at least some parts of the customization (or some items) is not just readily accessible to all players.

You can try on costumes from a full list of available ones!!
You can try on costumes from a full list of available ones!!
Unique back accessories that give your character more character :|
Unique back accessories that give your character more character 😐

Character models are beautiful. Though the specific facial customizations are not available yet, the current customizations are already showing promise. Just like in Blade and Soul, one can expect those detailed tweaks to eyebrows, pupil designs, skin color and complexion and much more.

As for skill builds customization, im not too sure how much this game offers yet. Theres this “sphere grid” look alike thing (经脉) that allows powerups using various kinds of stones, but im not sure as to whether they do offer significant customization for players. Maybe ill read up on that before commenting.

QingGong 轻功

Last but not least, a staple in most Chinese mmos of today, qinggong. Here’s a vid displaying some low level qinggong skills available to me. It felt great being able to soar through the skies and the sound effect made it so much cooler 😀 Looking forward to more awesome qinggong skills once i reach the higher levels!

That’s about it for now 🙂 Hope you enjoyed this short writeup and im glad to be able to share my experience of day 1 with TianYaMingYueDao. Here’s a bonus vid, of the ultimate skill of TangMen, along with a short battle after that. Laterz!

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