The Great Merchant Preview: Don't Think You Can't Own The World
By Vincent Haoson (Vincenthaoson), OnRPG Journalist
The Great Merchant is a 2D MMORPG that centers on commerce and battle as its primary game play. The game is set in an East Asian scenario where you get to travel to various countries such as Japan, Taiwan, China and Korea. The adventure system is similar to Atlantica online in this regard where the game maps are based on real geographical locations.
The game provides eight characters for you to choose from and each character is a job class on its own, making it gender locked. To further emphasize the game as a merchant and fighter's game, each character is part trader and part fighter both in character stature and character story. I noticed that the character's back stories remind me of those characters on dramas you watch on the television. Each character is a representation of one clichéd character that you often see on such things making a good roleplay centerpiece if you are into those kinds of things.
The Great Merchant's weapons library has a lot of added weapon classes that you would not find in most MMORPGs. In my experience playing different MMOs I never once found a game that uses beads, marbles, boomerangs and brushes as part of a general weapon tree.The unique weapons in The Great Merchant can in fact rival that of those in Oversoul, where the Chinese string instrument being used by the Necromancer class is the most prominent unique weapon class I have experienced.
Another unique game feature in Great Merchant is its battle system. Unlike in usual MMORPGs, battles in Great Merchant take place in separate instances called battle maps. These maps are basically one-staged areas where you can go around and eliminate your enemies.The other unique feature in the game's battle system is that you get to choose the type and the amount of enemies you face in the battle map. Plus, the enemies you face in the game come in droves, and there are moments when you will be overwhelmed by the amount of enemies you are up against.It's because of this battle system that the other unique feature of the game shines through which is the mercenary and pet system.
Mercenary and Pets
The mercenary and pet system is The Great Merchants way of helping you out. You can hire mercenaries and pets that fight with you against the scores of baddies you face in the battle map. With this game system in play you can be sure to have huge battles on one map, thus, making fights more interesting than usual.
If you get lost there area plenty tutorials
With those two game systems in play I think, it is fitting that the game took a 2D isometric perspective approach. If the game were to be in 3D or something that needs a higher spec pc there is a high chance that it would crash more than usual, and I have not included the traffic load your internet connection will take once you battle in enemy riddled maps.However, the problem with taking the 2d isometric path is that the game graphics looks very dated. For a game to come out in a market that has a lot of MMORPGS that look good, this does not bode well for The Great Merchant regardless of the uniqueness of the gameplay.
The toned down graphics of the game are even seen in the game's interface as you don't necessarily travel in towns you visit. What you get on-screen are just clickable images that open another window for you to browse.The game's interface is so streamlined that the only travel you get is through the battle maps and the world map. Though I think that's the whole point of the game, giving more emphasis on the battles and a faster and more convenient way of going through NPCs so that you can concentrate on the more important aspects of the game.
The problem with this is that the game makes you feel like that it was made on a very low budget and was done in a hurry. There are better ways to work around graphic issues however it seems that this was the best system they could come up with.
In fairness to The Great Merchant, the game has a very extensive global map. Plus, it has a lot of cities that you can visit and do business. For a game that centers on both commerce and battles this is a good thing because it means that you get to travel a lot and that provides more replayability because you are not just given a small number of cities to visit.Of course the other side of this is that it takes longer for you familiarize yourself with the inner workings between cities, plus, it is more laborious for you as a player to go from one point to another. You can't just wander around the game if you want to maximize your profit.
Speaking of profit, the game allows you to own certain structures which provide you with money. You can also invest in cities hereby providing you not only with income but also some bonuses as well.The fact that there are a lot of cities in the game can be a plus because you won't be competing on a very limited amount of cities to invest in. However, once the game population grows, then this is where things can really get dicey.
An overview of the different characters you can choose
Normally, it's not a big issue when a player starts a game months, or even years after it opens. However, with the economic and gameplay system in The Great Merchant, there is a possibility that new players will find a hard time doing business especially if there are big players already in the game.
Overall, The Great Merchant has a lot of unique game systems, however, the dated graphics and the language issues may be the biggest hurdles this game has. Typical to Asian MMOs, there is a problem in terms of the English language translation and it may cause confusion for players. So that is another thing that you have to consider if you want to try the game. For me though, the game has yet to prove its worth and with the things I've seen I cannot give my full recommendation. There are a ton of improvements that this game needs to make. For what it's worth, The Great Merchant has a good sense of how the game should run.