By Bryan King (Bryan), OnRPG Journalist
'Sho Online' is an online game that is based on one of the four Chinese tales called the 'Fengshen Yanyi'. The Fengshen Yanyi is a story that is created based on the real historical events. It merges the conflicts between the Yin and Zhou era to the imaginary world of Taoism. The starting point of this game is 50 years after the original 'Fengshen Yanyi' incident took place. Even though the Zhou's revolution was successful, they were still confronted with the remaining forces of the Yin's.
Under the circumstances where conflicts between the Chun and Jeol factions of the upper world rising, each players are positioned within the nation that they choose to be in. Over 80 different regions created through the historical research, players are to expand their territories by going through the new challenges that they encounter throughout the game. Players will fight till the day that they are acknowledged as heroes.
It is based on the theme of war between the two nations (Yin and Zhou). 'Sho Online" brings fast game play as well as realistic war environments to each and every player of the game. Monsters with artificial intelligence, endless war between the two nations to expand their territories are the main points of this game.
At the beginning of the game, during character creation, you have the choice of 3 base classes. Warrior, Assassin, and Soolsa. Later in the game, at level 10, you are able to branch out of those classes and expand to one of two classes for your base class.
The Warrior - The Adamantor (Highest HP/Tank class) and The Demon Knight (Support Warrior that can serve as an off-tank, off-healing, or off-DPS).
Assassin - The Dagger Master (Assassin-type class, can set traps and hide.) and The Archer (Ranged DPS class)
The Soolsa - The Taoistic Priest (Support class, indispensible to allies) and Dark Soolsa (Wizard/Sorcerer, uses elemental skills)
While making your first character you choosea faction, Yin or Zhou. Both of these factions have respective and contested hunting territories, but those contested territories are not accessed until later in the game. These factions have different storylines and reasons for fighting in a long, expansive war. The first 1-10 quests are relatively self-explanatory and at level 10 you are able to choose your sub-class and get a promotion quest, which is a quest you get every ten levels to increase basic stat points and gain exclusive quests.
The overall PvE elements of SHO early-game seem pretty boring. You do the basic "kill X monsters and return to NPC X" in the beginning of the game, which might repel players from staying past level 10. Past that, the game gets pretty interesting. There is a level-tiered instanced monster arena in which players partake in defeating waves of monsters that increase in difficulty, but offer great rewards. This system is named the "Slaughterhouse". The most advanced and shining experience in SHO Online, personally speaking, would have to be the War System.
Although SHO Online has contested maps where you can buy high level armors, weapons, and accessories, as well as defeat strong monsters, it also contains a full-fledged war system. Every eight hours, a governor for each dynasty (Yin and Zhou) is spawned in Cheon-Un Gate, a neutral area that both dynasties can equally reach. Once either of the governors is assassinated, war is declared and players will be teleported back to their base and prepare for war. Players can then buy a teleport to the Battle Area and wait for the war to start, which is a window time of five minutes. Players can also use siege vehicles, which are vehicles that can be bought and used in war, each of which have catalysts that can be used to unleash powerful attacks against opponents.
Warriors can use: A Chariot or Crush Cart
Assassins can use: Ballista or Flamethrower
Soolsas can use: Battle Wagon or Catapult
Each dynasty needs to follow and complete certain objectives to advance forward and push the enemy back. These objectives may include protecting a friendly NPC Defensive Commander, attacking an enemy NPC Defensive Commander, etc. These wars last an hour, and the dynasty with the most captured territories by the end of the war wins, or the war can be declared a draw. Each player receives a personal Experience, Mun (in-game currency), and Fame (War Experience) reward based on contribution to war, heroic deaths, kills, etc. The over-all winning dynasty gets multipliers added to their personal rewards.
Fame increases your War Rank. There are a total of 10 War Ranks within the game, each of which is distinguished by a medal near your character's name and house (guild). With a higher War Rank, you can higher mercenaries to help you battle in war, and is a pre-requisite to buy certain legendary equipment.
The War System doesn't have any level boundaries, so if you're level 20 and get destroyed by a level 65... it's all fair in love and war. I personally was hoping for a split level battle field, but that might split up the war population too much. Going to war, in conclusion, is an extremely fun experience. Many games cannot recreate the experience you have while playing the RvR War System on SHO, which does give the game the upper hand on most F2P MMOs.
SHO Online's community is a major factor of the game, I noticed many friendships, houses (guilds), and much GM interaction within the game. GMs visit players on weekends and run an array of events that players can choose from (X2 EXP, X2 Gold Drop, Monster Spawn, Hide and Go Seek, and many more) . I noticed that players would run personal events to help new players out, and given the fact that many MMOs don't do that these days, that's impressive. However, I did notice claims of "GMs giving players items" on their forums, I doubt these are true, but it is not eye-catching for a reviewer to see. Overall, SHO Online's community further enhances the game itself.
In conclusion, SHO Online provides a decently presented package. The graphics are not that impressive, early gameplay is not too enjoyable. However, the war system and community and well developed and will attract players of different tastes to SHO Online.
- Extremely fun RvR
- Great Community
- Expansive Storyline.
-Boring Early Content
-Graphics Not Impressive.