Continent of the Ninth: customCustomize your character after selecting your class. Continent of the Ninth has quite a few options to choose from....
Continent of the Ninth: bigWhen fighting bosses, watch out for special attacks. These larger attacks are usually telegraphed and can be avoided. If you take ...
Continent of the Ninth: chatYou can chat with friends and guildmates while waiting for a loading screen....
Continent of the Ninth Seal (C9) is a new free online rpg, developed and published by Webzen. Thanks to Acharon the hero, Gleinheim was a peaceful world for a long time. Rahkdan the Lord of Destruction and Nefer, his greatest lieutenant, are almost ready to open the Nethergate. This door to another world is located on the Ninth Continent. It's currently the last standing barrier against evil minions. If the Nethergate is opened, Gleinheim might meet its doom. Players must do everything in their power to prevent this. Gamers will find classic rpg features in Continent of the Ninth. C9 features a class and skill system, character development, pvp and pve content. The C9 user interface is also rpg specific. In the upper left corner there is the character's portrait with HP and resource bars. In the opposite corner we have the mini map. The action bars and other menu buttons can be found on the lower side of the UI.
Fighters, Shamans, Hunters and Witchblades are the playable characters in C9 rpg. Upon reaching level 10 and completing a quest, each class can unlock elite skills, fury formation and a guild perk. After level 20, four specializations for each class become available. The Shamans can choose between: illusionist, taoist, elementalist and reaperess. The Fighter can become: guardian, warrior, blademaster or berserker. Hunters have the following development paths: ranger, assassin, scout or shadow. Witchblades can opt for: slayer, warden or bladedancer. Weapons, armor and other items will differ for each class type. There are 3 types of C9 skills. Action skills are spells and abilities and they must be equipped on the action bar to be used. Passive skills are permanent improvements that do not require any action. Command skills are a combo of mouse movements and key strokes. A command skill cannot be assigned to a hot key on the action bar. The class trainer NPC will teach characters new skills. Fury skills are the best skills in Continent of the Ninth.
The salt and pepper of any mmorpg is player interaction and Continent of the Ninth is no different. The C9 party builder tool helps players form groups. C9 has quite an advanced guild system. Guilds can acquire experience, level up and provide perks and other benefits for their members. Quests can be normal, epic or class related in C9 mmo. Players seeking something more challenging than quests can try dungeons. PvP content becomes available after level 10. There are several PvP modes, each supporting teams of maximum 8 players. For now, ranked matches are only available for 1 vs. 1 setup. Players can pick up professions and craft all sorts of items and gear or cook food. Continent of the Ninth has a mentoring system to encourage players help each other.
There is nothing demure about Continent of the Ninth Seal or C9, the action online rpg from Webzen. Everything looks flashy, shiny and visually high-impact. This can be a good or a bad thing depending on your preference. If you like your avatars a little more covered up and are offended by overtly voluptuous avatar models, then C9 may not be for you. In more than a couple of female avatars, for example, their lower butt cheeks were hanging out due to the sheer shortness of their skirts, with a swift wind capable of triggering a public peep show.
It would be a disservice though to dismiss Continent of the Ninth entirely for its sex kittenish female avatars. To its credit, its character proportions are fairly on point -- no grossly large boobs or too chunky arms or too short legs so rampant among MMOs. Rendering is smooth. Gear sets are highly imaginative and embellished, often combining various materials such as cloth, leather, horns, jewels and metals in a single outfit. Plain and boring are just not in the visual vocabulary of C9.
Environments are lush and colorful, but there is no over world map to explore; aside from the adequately-sized player cities, there are only instanced dungeons with long and spacious battle areas. It’s as if the environments are playing a supporting role to the real stars of the game – your characters that constantly perform a seductive succession of aerial acrobatics, evasive rolls and deadly weapon combos. Damage numbers and combo meters flash during combat, giving the game a thrilling arcade vibe. And yes, you can use a joypad to play the game.
Arguably the biggest eyesore in Continent of the Ninth is its user interface design and text fonts. Menu and chat bars float over everything even loading screens by default, which can be distracting since general chat is filled with players posting BUY and SELL ads. But with a little digging, I managed to disable the chat bars which led to a much more pleasurable viewing experience. The current trend these days is to give players a clean-cut, sans-serif-filled, almost minimalistic interface design. C9 veers towards the other direction, a design decision that some may consider dated and sloppy.
C9 serves a compilation of Japanese rpg-inspired background music. You will hear soothing orchestra tunes while traipsing around town, which then picks up in tempo to an almost tribal war song once you dive into dungeons and engage boss fights. Battle combat effects sound crisp, with each hit delivering a lively thump or clang.
Many will be disappointed though with the opening sequence of C9, that mood-setting beginning where you eagerly soak in the narration. The opening cinematic background music was simply too loud which drowned out the narrator – definitely a missed opportunity for the developers to hook players into the story. A shame really since from what little I could hear, the narrator had a pleasant voice quality.
C9 takes place in Glenheim, a world threatened by Rahkdan the Lord of Destruction, who plans to take over by opening the Nethergate on the Ninth Continent, hence the name of the game. Player heroes seek to reach the Ninth Continent will need to pass through monster-infested regions to stop the doomsday event. There is some attempt to elaborate on this storyline, but not on the level that role-playing fans will find satisfying. This is understandable in a way since C9 leans heavily towards combat for combat’s sake, and you’ll soon be conditioned to clear dungeons for their leveling and gear upgrades instead of unlocking a new mission plot point.
There are four playable classes in Continent of the Ninth, which are the Fighter, Hunter, Shaman and Witchblade. Once you hit level 20, these veer off into four sub-classes, each of which has their own fighting style and preferred weapon. This gives some variety and replayability to the game in the sense that you can re-roll another class, or the same class but with a different sub-class pick. There are no “builds” per sub-class since players have access to all skills as opposed to the growing MMO practice of making you choose a limited number from a big skill pool.
Combat controls in C9 are intuitive and responsive, even when using the keyboard. Players might have a slight issue with juggling a dozen or more skills, but that is easily mitigated by customizing hotkey buttons. Characters can jump and even attack while jumping to extend the ground combos into the air, which really give the game some combat flair. You can even perform evasive maneuvers or strike a mob when is down on the ground.
The simplest combos can be performed by holding either the left or the right mouse button. This unleashes a series of attacks that can be repeated ad nauseam. These click-hold combos are the game’s equivalent of an auto-attack, and are quite convenient since you do not have to tire yourself clicking.
Instanced dungeons define PvE play in C9. A typical session involves you preparing in town, gathering quests related to the instance dungeon, heading out to the dungeon and completing the run that ends with a high-HP boss, collecting experience and loot rewards based on your performance (skill, technic and style are all judged accordingly) before returning to town to rinse and repeat. Completed dungeons unlock hard modes that raise the difficulty a notch.
Occasionally when you rise in levels you can learn a new skill to chain to your combos, which by the highest levels will add up to a dozen or so. These skills use up , which you earn passively and by killing mobs. This prevents you from spamming them entirely, although bosses often require you to just unload every skill possible to push out the best damage in the quickest possible time. Rarely is nuanced gameplay required, especially in the lower levels where offensive prowess is more highly valued than an ability to perfectly time your dodge.
C9 offers PvP modes, the most thrilling of which are the team brawls that can accommodate up to 8 players each. Because of the proliferation of mass area attacks for each class, these often devolve to a massive, focus fire spamfest. 1-on-1 matches tend to be more about skill because of this, where you will have more opportunity and incentive to use defensive maneuvers to beat your opponent.
At the highest levels of the game, such as the new expansion which introduces the 4th continent Okapia, the hell mode content is noticeably meatier and more challenging.
I logged into the pre-made test character, a level 57 ‘Reaperess’ – the new Shaman sub-class -- that came with full equipment and 1 million Gold. All of the Reaperess’ skills have been maxed out as well. Still, the golem boss at the end of God’s calling dungeon. There is also a new survival mode that should bump up the challenge for hardcore fans who think that the dungeons are faceroll easy.
Unique Fun Factor
C9 is unmistakably and singularly a 3D dungeon hack-and-slash game. Trying to squeeze out more from this title will be a frustrating exercise for many, so players should simply embrace it for what it is – a fun, fast-paced whack-a-thon in the time-honored tradition of action arcade games. It’s one of those games where thinking more can actually be a bad thing. Instead, C9 encourages you to loosen up and dive into the thick of combat, to smash skills whenever they come off cooldown, and to rediscover the thrill of taking on a dozen mobs with little fear of dying.
Combat is fast, furious and engrossingly combo-oriented
Very friendly to soloers and short-session players
A wealth of unique fighting styles due to a diverse set of classes and skills
No overworld map exploration since all dungeon content is instanced
Some user interface elements look sloppy and dated
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