Chad's Impressions: Dynasty Warriors Online

Posted by: Chad at 2/1/2011 7:19 PM
In December, I was asked to write a review of Dynasty Warriors Online. Where would I start? It's an MMO that's designed to provide extended play time; thus, I was concerned about how long I would need to play it before providing an in-depth review.

I've come to the point where I can write my thoughts on the game but this is not a review. Rather, imagine you are my friend and have asked me some questions: "What is Dynasty Warriors Online? Is it fun? Is it worth my time and money?"

Keep reading to hear my responses.

Dynasty Warriors Online is a free-to-play action MMO. That means payment is not required to experience most in-game content even though it is supported by an item mall. It starts off like most MMOs - character creation. Only human characters are allowed, but you're provided with a wealth of hair, skin, face, and voice options. Players even have a choice of their birth region from approximately 50 areas; however, this does little more than add a letter and number to your name. (Example: Name.H2)

Players have only one character slot per account, which is indicative of a larger problem that we'll get to in a minute. To start, you play through a 10-minute tutorial that teaches the simple mechanics. There is a standard, charge, and special attack. A few different combos can be executed but they all look and function the same. Defeating waves of generic enemies causes them to drop upgrade flasks. Using the flasks improves your stats for the round or for a few minutes.

It's all passable and works. The problem is that the game becomes tedious almost immediately. Example: I was told that a series of learning missions would earn me "Honor Points" that would unlock greater challenges. The learning missions mainly consisted of "Capture Enemy Base X" with "X" being 4-6 different types of bases. They all play the same, though. You complete the mission objectives in 2 minutes but are forced to play the rest of the 8 MINUTES left in the mission. You can't even exit a mission by forfeiting; if I needed to quit the game quickly I just killed the program from my Task Manager.

What's more, the Honor Points awarded for each of these introductory missions are under 5 even though you are expected to earn 200 before advancing. Really? Talk about grinding. After an extended amount of wasted time I found out that I could accept actual quests; these were just as mundane as the learning missions, though.

Again, each match consists of destroying waves of enemies that all look the same and that present no challenge. You harvest flasks to upgrade your prowess but never feel like you've actually increased in power. It doesn't matter what the mission goal is because each one plays out the same. Character progression outside of the missions is slow and never explained well. There are slots for gear, weapons, and more but those are also not explained well. The city hub in which you accept quests and shop is unnecessarily large, void of color and creativity, and spread out across multiple zones.

I could go on for a number of pages, but I don't see a point. There is a deeper experience at higher levels but the grind to get to that point doesn't make it worth it to me.  Having only one character slot makes it feel like someone knew we wouldn't do it more than once. The game has some merit and potential. However, it does a poor job of creating a sense of character development and empowerment. As a result, I can’t recommend this game to anyone. There are a dozen other action MMOs that do it better and are still free.

Move along. This isn’t the MMO you are looking for.