[GAME MASTER]Silk RoadHave you dreamed of being a trader in the Orient? What would it have been like to be one of the first to cross the deserts of Central Asia to bring the spices of the East to the West?
Silk Road is a Massive Multi-player Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) that takes place sometime at the end of the 7th century on the “Silk Road” as you travel between India, China and Eastern Europe, trading the different local items and battling the wild animals and people you meet along the way.
This story element gives a little more originality to game playing, especially since most role playing games these days are “Lord of the Rings”-style fantasy games about saving the Earth or battling evil.
In Silk Road, there is no ultimate evil. The only evil is human beings, for war has broken out here and there over power and both Eastern and Western civilizations are on the verge of transition. In these changing times, it is always best for those who know how to do business, although it comes with huge risks.
In game playing terms, Silk Road is very similar to other MMORPGs, with slight differences that are too trivial to mention. The graphics, however, teeter dangerously from good to bad depending on which area you are traveling in.
For instance, canal and city sequences are exquisitely beautiful, but some mountain and desert graphics are just too crude to tolerate for long. Unfortunately, there is quite a lot of traveling in desert areas, so this tends to get annoying after some time.
Also, while the human characters are beautifully rendered, the animal characters are far too complicated and therefore lack any sense of a three-dimensional effect.
The monotonous “woosh woosh” sound of hacking at the monsters and enemies can also become tiresome after a while. Apparently, the developers paid more attention to the background music, which is quite nice, than the sound effects.
Despite these graphic flaws, the game has endless quests, which can be played single-player or multi-player in groups. Of course, since it’s an online game, quests are continuously updated.
One thing that may be worth mentioning, however, is that Silk Road’s character development system is a bit different from other games in that you don’t have to confine yourself.
Usually, in most role-playing games, one has to decide one’s occupation at the beginning of the game or at a certain point in the game.
Occupations, interestingly enough, are always the same in role-playing games ― warrior, archer, magician, mage, and the like.
In Silk Road, however, you don’t have to decide whether you want to be a warrior or magician or whatever. It all depends on what skills you learn.
If you learn fighting skills, you would naturally be a better fighter; learn more magic skills, and you will perform better magic. (In most games, it won’t do any good for a warrior to study magic because he doesn’t need the brains, just the muscle.)
This characteristic strengthens Silk Road’s position as a “realistic” game ― if games can be realistic at all, that is.
The verdict: Don’t start unless you’re thinking of playing for the long run. Like all role playing games, this one is going to take up a lot of your time, especially galloping across miles and miles of desert.
by Wohn Dong-hee
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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