Enter an action packed world of myth, fantasy, and phenomenal color. This 3D Fantasy MMORPG is filled with epic battles and entertaining quests that will take you to a mysterious world of dragon taming and ancient Chinese Martial Arts. Leap across vast distances, run along walls, and move through the air with incredible superhuman power. Free to play MMO lovers, welcome to paradise!
The Birth of a Million Dollar Baby
Originally published as World of Kung Fu back in 2008, Loong: The Power of the Dragon was launched in China in 2010 and has finally been released to its American fans. Developed and published by Gamigo, this MMORPG boasts a staggering development cost of over ten-million dollars. Anyone who’s entered the world of Loong: The Power of the Dragon will tell you that it was money well spent. This game has an incredibly complex gaming system including more than one-thousand quests. Loong’s graphic are nothing short of amazing. Gamigo has really set the bar high with this one.
It’s All Under Control
The first thing that any experienced gamer will notice is the excellent development of controls and movement incorporated into this game. User interface navigation is a breeze and comes complete with a simplistic auto-navigation system that allows you to focus on your quests, not getting to them. You’re given the option of navigating with point-and-click controls as well as utilizing the keyboard with the W, A, S, and D keys. The keyboard movements are so incredibly fluid that you’ll most likely find yourself not even touching the mouse. That’s a pretty impressive statement to make when talking about a FTPMMO.
Even before you arrive at character creation, you will undoubtedly be blown away by the absolutely stunning graphics. The design and use of color in Loong is superb. One thing to note, however, is this game is full of women who are clothed—and I use that word lightly—in risqué apparel. If minimally dressed women offend you, then this game may not be for you.
Character creation is fairly nominal. When creating your avatar, you can choose between several hair colors and styles, and face styles. Clothing selection is limited with the option of only a few outfits for each gender. On a positive note, the option to add details such as scars and tattoos helps to offset the otherwise disappointing creation process.
Now, in Loong, you won’t be selecting a character class. What makes this game even more unique is the chance to select your weapon. With weapon choices like Sabre, Polearm, Tote, and Zither—just to name a few—how can you not have fun? Keep in mind when choosing your weapon that you aren’t stuck with the first one you pick. Also, your choice of weapon will have no bearing on gameplay progression. In fact, you are able to switch between weapons freely throughout gameplay. With that being said, in order to progress on the talent tree, you will have to choose which weapons you want to specialize in.
Upon signing into Loong, newbies will find themselves in Dragon Village. Gameplay moves at a fair pace effectively maintaining player interest. If you choose to pursue the beginner quests, progression is quite rapid. Players will begin earning stat points at level two. These introductory quests help your character to become established and properly equipped. While you’re given various consumables and equipment, soon you will have to decide what your specialization will be.
Once you’ve reached level five, you’re given the option to leave Dragon Village and progress into Dragon Castle. Dragon Castle is more or less the capital city which is essentially surrounded by hunting grounds. Those hunting grounds are fundamental in your progression through the next two dozen or so levels. Things really get rolling around level six. That’s when players begin earning talent points.
There are many talent trees; however, focusing your early efforts on one in particular will prove very beneficial. Stats include: Physique, Qi, and Spirit, just to name a few. Keep in mind, as you progress through gameplay, that each weapon has both a primary and secondary statistic. Therefore, be particular in the distribution of both your talents and stats to assure balance. Once you’ve unlocked several skills, you’ll be ready for combat.
It’s worth mentioning the crafting skills. These are separate from the talent tree and basically include the production and mining skills. Unfortunately, if difficulty is what you seek, then you’ll be sorely disappointed. You won’t find much challenge in combat and acquiring several skills can be done quite easily. The enemies in Loong have a lot of bark, but lack substantially in bite. The high expectations that I had for challenging combat, when I entered character customization, are now gone.
Nice Kitty Ki-Uh, I Mean Spirit Beast
As with most any FTPMMO, this one has a pet system. We’re not talking cats and dogs. Nope—no fairies either. In Loong, pets are lovingly referred to as “Spirit Beasts.” These pets may seem dainty and adorable at the onset, but don’t be fooled. Sprit Beasts become very apt, full-grown brutes once mounted. These pets come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are useful for acquiring loot as well as receiving experience from their master in order to level up. Spirit Beasts may also be outfitted with special items. Theses beasts also have their own stats that track their potential—or amount of skill the beast can acquire—and its growth rate.
High Profile Graphics
If you’ve gamed in the world of MMOs for long, you’ll know how varied the graphic quality can be. I mean every word when I say to you that Loong has outdone every other MMO on the market. The animations are first-rate and include even the smallest of artistic touches that will simply leave you in awe. Does this make up for the lack of challenge? Not quite, but in my book, it helps. It’s really a matter of opinion. For a graphics junkie such as myself, amazing animation goes a long way.
Shopping the Dragon Market
I’m pleased to report that the Loong cash shop is fair and balanced. When visiting this cash shop, most of what you’ll find are convenience items. For example, Auxiliary Bags may be purchased in the cash shop in order to expand upon your initial inventory slots. Wallet Warriors won’t find any items that will give them an unfair advantage—and we like that. On the topic of advantages, however, Loong has a system that gifts players with free items every so often. Those items are called Dragon Blessings. I like this formality and would consider it more of a morale booster.
The Final Word
Loong: The Power of the Dragon is a magnificent MMORPG that is well before its time. While the graphics are cutting edge, the Asian ambience offers the very familiar feel that we have come to expect from most FTPs. The gameplay progression based on a talent tree which is free of classes makes Loong truly exceptional. With numbers like one-thousand plus quests, PvP battles that include up to five-hundred players, and more than one-hundred pets how could this FTP be anything less an perfect entertainment?
Unfortunately, even the best of the best have their flaws. The lack of difficulty is on my list of cons. The unfortunate result of the lack of challenge is the subsequent repetition experienced through much of the early combats. The unique options that Loong presents do an awesome job of compensating for the lack of challenge by providing sincerely in-depth gameplay. Until next time, game on!