Perfect World is a Free to Play MMO. Of course there are upgrades in the form of costumes, mounts and so forth that cost real money, but you can play the game for free. It looks like PW has been out for a while, so it’s mature and in my several hours of gameplay, I did not encounter crashes or obvious bugs.
But I wouldn’t say it was Perfect by any means. Compared with Guild Wars and 2Moons [Dekaron], it has some minor drawbacks. I’m not going to do a full review here, you can find more complete reviews on the web. I’ll just do an overview of some of the features that I found most notable.
Here are some of my observations in the order that I encountered them:
- Installation is gigantic and apparently monolithic. By that I mean that apparently all the content is downloaded at the beginning. The download is done by the first installer and comprises two files totalling 2.5GB. Once the installation is complete and you start the game, it updates itself for another 20 minutes. Sigh… Guild Wars is much smarter. It downloads content incrementally as you visit new areas. 2Moons is a monolithic install, but it’s quite a bit smaller.
- The options for character customizations are way over the top. So far I have only seen the options for humans, but there are about a dozen tweaks to positions and sizes just for the face. The number reminds me of Poser, rather than a game. In my opinion, Guild Wars dozen different faces and a half dozen different hair styles and skin shades was plenty, but if you want to be an ugly portly knight or mage, this is your game. I do appreciate the ability to have the choice of gender for each character class. 2Moons allows no customzation at all for each class, not even gender.
- The graphics are indeed good, as many of the reviews point out, but I wouldn’t say that they are stunning. They are quite a notch below Guild Wars. The environments are more interesting than 2Moons, but the character animations of PW are quite a bit cruder than either Guild Wars or 2Moons.
- The battle animations are slow and simple in PW. Both Guild Wars and 2Moons have more responsive and much more interesting battle animations. While the performance of PW seemed just fine, the slow pace of battle can become tiresome after a while. As I progress in strength, and it only takes 3 rather than 15 seconds to make a kill, this is a lot less of a problem.
- The environments are huge and sparse in PW. Environments in 2Moons are simpler and less spacious, and the environments of Guild Wars and huge, but in GW one never feels that one is running along forever and ever without encountering interesting things. Monsters in PW are too far apart to make for efficient leveling. There is lots of running involved. Perhaps flight solves that. I remember seeing something about flight being a skill that you learn at level 10.
- Quests are more interesting in PW than in 2Moons. The quests in 2Moons are pretty much a joke with kill a bunch of monsters being the primary idea. Of course Guild Wars quests are the thing that drives the whole story line. I haven’t seen much of a story line in PW, perhaps I missed it, but the early quests are more interesting and lead you through a tutorial of the game.
- Some of the comments I found on the web indicate that PW is a grind to level up. The levels actually seem close together compared with GW or 2Moons, but it is harder to level up since the damage dealt with weapons is small compared with the strength of monsters at your level. So it take many seconds to kill a monster at your level even though that monster is doing no damage to you. This mismatch makes leveling take longer even though you don’t have to kill very many monsters compared with 2Moons.
- The game lacks a comprhensive wiki. GW has a very complete wiki and MMOSite has a fairly complete wiki for 2Moons. As far as I can find the PW wiki is woe-some and a simple task like obtaining your first pet at level 3 is insurmountable without help from the local population.
Perfect World is an interesting diversion, but I doubt if I spend much time there. Like EtherSaga, it has its points, but 2Moons continues to hold my interest. I look forward to Guild Wars 2, AION and Tera all of which should be opening up during the next year.
Update: Right before I reached level 6 I found some shiny new hammers. At level 6 I was able to boost my strength to take advantage of them and kills are down to 3 seconds from 15 seconds. I also found a new halberk and learned the tailoring skill so now I’m a blacksmith and a tailor. As a tailor I made a new helmet, although you can’t tell since helmets never show in PW.