By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor) OnRPG Journalist
When I think back of high school, I think back to one thing, and that is the good times I have had in Conquer Online. Every day when I headed home I couldn’t wait to dive into the world of Conquer Online because it basically was my second life during the whole period of high school. This free-to-play 2.5D MMORPG will always have this special place in my heart as I spent more hours of game time in it than nearly any other title in my life.
Conquer Online isn’t just a game, for me it felt much like a second life because I was so addicted to the game. It felt like I was born many years ago in a Chinese world where people jumped around instead of just normally walking. Walking… who does that? In Conquer Online you can jump around, and not just like bunny hopping, you can actually fly quite far and because of that you will see everyone hopping around instead of just peacefully walking. Besides the jumping around, the responsibility that Conquer Online gives you has always induced me into liking any title that offers open world player versus player gameplay. As a player, you are just a mere piece of meat, and you have to face the choices as to what kind of player you want to become. Besides choosing a class that you can later on upgrade into more advanced classes, the open world PVP makes you face consequences not commonly seen in more modern MMOs. Do you want to go wild and be the feared warrior that preys on unsuspecting visitors to the many available instances to test if your skills are as effective in PvP as PvE? Or perhaps you choose the path of the white knight that seeks to earn the respect of new low level players and fear of player killers across the server? Of course there’s plenty of non-PvP routes you can go and thanks to the server population being just right, your choices will influence not only your character, but also your reputation in the game.
The classes also always have intrigued me and when I first tried out the game I was astonished by the diversity in the classes. The currently available classes are the Trojan, Oriental Assassin, Pirate, Ninja, Archer, Fire Taoist, Monk, Water Taoist and the Warrior. It’s a rather interesting mix of typical MMO stereotypes and unique classes you won’t find anywhere else. And despite the game already being 10 years old, they still continue adding new classes regularly to keep the game’s PvP constantly evolving. Each one of these classes has their own set of skills and equipment, and you will easily recognize the classes because of their distinct patterns and fighting animations. But what made these classes so special is their set of skills; I have played a lot of games and up until today I have not seen such an awesome skillset in any other game as in Conquer Online. What makes Conquer Online so special is that it actually focuses on the Area of Attack spells, even the melee classes are focused on dealing damage to multiple targets.
You can actually begin power leveling on higher level mobs as a mere level one if you have a higher leveled friend willing to assist you. As you get up in level as well, you’ll soon learn that mindless grinding is inefficient and risky well timed group kiting offers exciting PvE gameplay instead. The multiple AoE skills will also come in handy when a player killer inevitably jumps you trying to steal your mob train. Just remember, everyone is most likely jumping around in a fight and not standing still like they are trying to hit a piñata.
Because of its storyline that involves the ancient world of China, the world itself and the many objects and equipment are fitting for the time period, given the usual MMO styling and flashy unrealistic glows. The economy in this game is also something fairly unique and player stimulated. Every monster in the world can drop a Meteor; this item cannot be missed since when it drops a loud sound will hurt your ear drums. But boy you will be happy when one drops because this item is extremely rare and used for upgrading your equipment to new levels of power. Because this item can be used for many crafting recipes, it has become rather priceless versus the standard in-game currency that’s inflated quite a bit over the past 10 years. Besides the Meteor, there is the Dragon Ball; this is not one of the six legendary balls that summons a dragon, but it is actually a crafting material that is extremely hard to get and if you ever manage to get your hands on one, consider yourself a rich man.
Conquer Online is an old title and looks the part. In fact, you might be familiar with the many textures and the styles of graphics, because well, Chinese games are infamous for copying each others textures and this game was one of the forefathers of the genre. That said the game is easy on the eyes and you can play it for hours without too much eye strain. The landscape, buildings, and town layouts will make you feel like you’ve landed in a martial arts title with bad subtitles from the 70s and 80s. From big walls, to the massive imperial structures with amazing roof textures, you won’t be able to contain yourself before you start jumping on all of them. Yet there are still plenty of themed areas to keep the world from becoming too monotonous such as deserts and caves with new monster models popping up regularly enough. If it’s one thing I have to name, it’s the atmosphere that makes this game so nostalgic for me. And since the game is quite old already, it doesn’t take more than a potato to run this game on the highest graphics settings.
I’m not too sure why I am such a big fan of the game; it might be because I grew up with it, or it is because the game itself has always been something special. From the graphics to the gameplay, everything just works and makes for a unique experience that I have never seen before in any game up until today. Conquer Online is not just a game you play in your free time; it is a second life that you can experience with your friends from school, or all over the world. Meet up in your digital home, participate in the many events or fight with your guild to take control of an area. You’ll be hard pressed to find as much fleshed out content in an open world PvP centric title as you will in Conquer Online.