Okay, so a couple of weeks into Swordsman Online, and I’ve gotten a better feel for the game.
This entry is going to sound more than a bit negative, so let me preface this by stating that I am still enamored of the in-game graphics and the music, and the interactive emotes still fascinate me. I do still love the source material, so it’s always fun to see a character from the novel show up in-game. I hit level 40 last week and learned a couple of new martial skill sets, and have tried to come up with a workable combo set to replace the original, limited and boring skill set. At this point several things became obvious:
- The grindfest starts just before level 40, and the transition from the quick leveling at low levels is very, very abrupt. I wouldn’t mind it so much if the grind was at least interesting, but it involved a lot of “riding to X spot, kill Y number of Z monsters, return to quest-giver, when he will send you out on the next one”. I spent 3 days stuck at level 40, grinding away and I am still at 60% towards level 41. This is the same type of dull, repetitive grinding in the Storm Legion areas of Rift; the difference is there was 10 levels of grinding in Rift, whereas on Swordsman it’s… what, 40+ levels?
- As a rule, I dislike PvP; the only thing I dislike more than PvP… is OPEN PvP. Now I realize that Swordsman Online thrives on this, after an incident when my friends and I were battling some NPC mobs when a high-level cretin snuck up and PKed us from behind. While I am sure the player got a juvenile chuckle out of it, this is precisely the sort of thing that turns me off.
- After the above happened, I started checking reviews of the game, and came to the realization that Bots practically filled the servers. Being a complete n00b to MMORPGs, I didn’t recognize the army of bots when I saw them (I did wonder about the streams of horses riding back and forth behind me), Now that I know, it makes me wonder why I am spending time doing the grindfest when everyone else is just botting… and really, what’s the point of even playing?
- Many of the reviews explain that at higher levels, the meat of the game is actually around joining Guilds. This is where the “fun stuff” happens, away from the grindfest and bots. And what exactly is this “fun stuff”, you ask? Evidently, that would be PvP. Beating other Guilds. Taking over territory. Organized PvP battles, more or less.
I’ll say this though: seeing the old Wutang swordsmaster and the scowly-faced giant assassin holding hands and skipping along together, still makes me smile.