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Dynasty Warriors Online Hands-On Preview

by: William Usher ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

Hands-on info for the free-to-play MMORPG from Aeria Games and Tecmo Koei, Dynasty Warriors Online.

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    Thousand-Player Army

    A little victory dance   Aeria Games and Tecmo Koei are bringing North American gamers the highly anticipated hack-and-slash MMO, Dynasty Warriors Online, to an online game portal near you. The game itself is literally just an online incarnation of the popular console series, containing mainly endless hacking and slashing with a few typical MMO features, including crafting, item enhancement and character customization.

    The game recently underwent closed beta testing (as of the writing of this preview) and the combat, item management and PvP were all available to experience. This Dynasty Warriors Online preview will give you first-hand impressions of what to expect when the game heads into open-beta.

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    Character Creation And Locations

    Players can customize their house with furniture   Surprisingly enough, the character creation process in Koei’s online rendition of Dynasty Warriors is adequately diverse. Heading into the game most gamers would automatically assume that the create a character is probably a standard pick-a-head and pick-a-body-type thing, however there’s slightly more depth included in the overall package of Dynasty Warriors Online than what most gamers might think.

    There are options to change the face type, the hair, the body type, skin color, eye color and hair color for created characters, allowing players to create fairly unique characters, enough to properly keep the clone-factors down to a minimum. Even with overcrowded servers and hundreds of players around, there were hardly any two players who looked identical, as opposed to some titles such as ROHAN Online or Lunia Online.

    In addition to this, player groups are broken down into three different factions, allowing each player to choose whether they want to fight for Wei, Wu or Shu, which also determines equipment and clothing styles.

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    Crafting And Customization

    Fighting off enemy forces   One of the things that really took me by surprise is how much content the game has outside of hacking, slashing and conquering territories. There’s a nice series of other activities outside of combat that includes crafting mechanics that help raise the affinity of certain items with specific attributes, such as raising an armor’s ability to upgrade defensive properties during battle faster than usual.

    In addition to this, various clothing apparel is available for both male and female players, with different items carrying attributes that can help drastically change the tide of battle. Unlike most games where item variance is determined by level, here most items are simply varied based on price.

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    Weapons And Combat

    Fighting in the water   The real highlight of Dynasty Warriors Online is easily the breakneck-speed combat and optional selection of army-busting weapons. The only thing most gamers may not be aware of is that unlike the console games where players choose a character who comes with a pre-assigned weapon, all the weapons in DWO must be unlocked or uncovered by finding them after defeating bosses, a little like the weapon system on BattleSwarm: Field of Honor. As players progress through the game more weapons and items become available either to use or to sell for extra gold.

    Oh, that looks like it's going to hurt  

    The combat in the game is almost identical to the playstyle found in the console iterations for the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 2 version of Dynasty Warriors. The only thing I did notice – and I’m not sure if this is in result to the server overload or just latency issues – but there were some slight delays in the control mechanics. It’s ever-so-slight yet still equally noticeable. In this regard, the game was definitely designed for use with a controller, as anything else feels a little disjointed and stiff.

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    PvP Takes Center Stage

    Vying to control a territory   Majority of the early parts of the game consists of training, training and more training. In effect, I think this was a very wise decision on the part of the developers, as it helps acquaint players with the game’s mechanics, weapon play-style and getting associated with some of the changes made to the online version of the game in order to play effectively.

    Hence, the PvP for the game isn’t introduced until maybe six to 10 hours into the game. This means that majority of the time players will be learning how to take down hundreds of baddies per round, advancing weapon proficiency and getting good at taking over bases quickly. After advancing in rank the instructor will then open up the option to battle opposing forces from the other two rival factions, creating a constant state of back-and-forth battling as all three nations vie for control of the nation.

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    Biggest Differences Between Console And Online Version

    Lots of people crowding around in town   Many gamers out there might be wondering what the biggest differences are between the console version(s) of Dynasty Warriors and the online version? Well, the biggest difference is that all the fan-favorite heroes are no longer playable. Instead, their weapons, known attire and special abilities have been stripped and used as individual parts to either earn or buy from the market on the game. In essence, the concept seems to work quite well for now, giving players a nice set of goals to work toward while at the same time establishing individuality for the created character.

    Despite having some issues with lag (and what MMO doesn’t?) Dynasty Warriors Online is shaping up to be one of the best free-to-play action-oriented MMORPGs out there. So long as the servers stay stable and periodic content is added to keep the masses satisfied, then I think Aeria Games has a real winner on their hands.

    For more previews of upcoming MMORPGs or reviews of the latest online RPGs, be sure to check them out right here at Bright Hub. For further information on Dynasty Warriors Online, feel free to visit the Official Website.