Qelric's First Impressions
These, along with humans, are the three playable races, each with three of four classes to choose from: Knight, Mage, Sage and Rogue. Although each race has different advantages over the others, they are balanced to ensure that no one race will dominate any other. The humans posses great defensive properties while the vampires posses speed and werewolves are granted huge strength when they turn.
The game is unique in that your character's weapon levels up with you, growing in power as you kill mobs and complete quests. If you decide to change your weapon for another, you can transfer your previous weapon’s power - or soul - into your new one! I love how this allows us, as players, to hold on to a specific piece of gear or weapon for as long as we choose without falling behind in progression.
Graphics for Moonlight Online are a far cry from the likes of, say, World of Warcraft or Rift, but the gameplay is rather addictive with flashy spell effects, mounts and interesting features like enhancing weapons and relics, stimulating enough intrigue for any RPG lover to sink time into this game.
The UI is typical of any MMORPG, with action bars in the bottom-center of the screen, a minimap at the top-right, player frames at the top-left and other windows - such as character pane and inventory - being accessed via shortcuts.
Combat is also typical of the genre: a mixture of flashy action-moves and finishers that use a combo point system, with a satisfying edge of 'mash buttons until things are dead.' One skill I quickly grew attached to when playing a Vampire Knight, was an AoE ability that not only seemed to nuke everything in within a 20-yard radius for a ridiculously long time, but moved with my character. Oh, and did I mention it also turned my Vampire into a Gargoyle?
As players progress in Moonlight Online and level up, they can unlock various things to do in the game, such as at the ability to join a guild at level 10, create a clan at level 20, and unlock special daily events at 25.
Levelling currently stops at 60, at which point 'Elite' dungeons become available, with regular dungeons unlocking at level 40. There are trade skills and gathering professions to learn, such as Alchemy and Herbology, and players even get to marry at level 30.
But perhaps one of Moonlight Online's more interesting features is the mentor system. At level 15 a player can become a disciple to a higher level player. That player is your 'mentor', granting you additional experience. The mentor can have four disciples at once, and at level 46 you 'graduate.' Intriguing, no?
Now for the not-so-great bits. Even though there is a tutorial system that tries to help so often it becomes an annoyance (it can be turned off), much of the needed guidance for early game play is either non-existent or insufficient. Quests in the starting area gradually become more difficult to complete due to lack of direction given in quest text and no help whatsoever gained by looking at the map.
Instead we are encouraged to simply click on the quest objective in the quest log or on the right hand side of the screen where quests are tracked, and the game auto-runs us to the NPC we are supposed to report to, or the item we are to collect, or the mob we are to destroy.
At first I found it amusing that I could put my character on auto pilot, and was even thankful as character movement is slow despite running, but then I realised I wasn't actually playing the game by doing that. This is a feature Age of Wushu appears to have taken on board, and is an unfortunate design that, while no doubt an attempt to help players through the world, served only to break immersion and discourage active engagement.
I was able to complete quests without knowing what the objectives were and to find relevant NPCs without knowing why I'd been tasked to seek them out. If indeed this 'auto-pilot' is supposed to function as a helpful tool, I have to ask why better directions could not have been communicated to me through some much-needed improved quest text, or through markers on the main map.
There's a distinct lack of guidance on Moonlight Online's official website, too, with most of my research having to be done by reading the few guides written by other players, buried deep within Google.
With that said, the game is free, interesting enough to ignite any seasoned gamers' curiosity, and definitely worth a look. If it's PvP you like, Moonlight Online has that too in the form of open world PvP and tournaments. Alas, I didn't get to experience that side of the game. but I encourage you to discover Moonlight Online for yourselves. Don't forget to come back and let me know what you think!
Penny for your thoughts.