What was the Silk Road and how do you make an entire massively multiplayer online game out of it? Thatis a fairly extensive history lesson which is a story for another day, but the important thing to understand is Silkroad Online is a recreation of the 7th century silk trade route that spanned from Asia to Europe. It's actually a lot more exciting than it sounds, we promise. When Ten Ton Hammer was offered the opportunity to check out their latest update called The Legend IV, expectations of oriental combat and a complex economic system were high. Would it live up to the legacy they've created for their fans?
Meeting up with Community Manager Rob Alvarez and Dennis Winter, I started out at the beginning of their new dungeon called the Tomb of the Qin-Shi Emperor. I can openly admit I'm not that experienced of a player in Silkroad Online, so when they mentioned this was the end of the end game content, there was a little concern on my part. Fortunately there wasn't much time to consider such trivial things because this wasn't any normal tour. The tour guides didn't cut a path through the menacing level 86+ creatures, we fought them. Dozens upon dozens of enormous creatures fell as the developers explained the background of Qin-Shi. Apparently an "ancient white viper" named BeakYung has been disturbed and you do not want to piss her off. My mistake.
So who has this content been built for? From what Rob and Dennis say, groups of seasoned players and those not faint of heart will get the most out of these areas. Of course while you might survive alone or be able to sneak around with rogue-like skills, the PvP nature of Silkroad Online will certainly catch up to you. There is more to this area than just senseless slaughter however, as more than 40 quests become available that should provide plenty to do. Some are as simple as killing X number of creatures but others involve activating a complex boss encounter, like the one I saw of a giant statue. Either way dozens of hours of content were promised as you'd need to make multiple visits to this dungeon.
When you consider the PvP nature of the game, this dungeon should provide a challenging battleground. If you aren't familiar with the game and the dungeon, it utilizes a triangular faction system. This means you always have twice as many potential enemies as friends, so not bringing backup is out of the question. The creatures we fought had a pretty quick respawn rate so this is, without question, one of the most dangerous areas in the game. After fighting our way through two levels, we moved to something I can't remember the last time I saw, a rest area. There it was in all its glory, a circular and inviting safe place to do things like go AFK or plan your next your move.
This however is where the dungeon will get tricky (until someone meticulously maps it) and shows the true nature of what you'll be up against. After stepping on a teleporter you are in a large room with other teleporters and if you are familiar with old school mazes, you know where this is going. That's right! Every time you step through the teleporter it's going to be the same room, although the creatures that beat you into a fine paste will vary. You will certainly notice combat getting progressively harder and it was quite entertaining to see an entire group of well buffed and equipped developers and myself actually overcome by enemies. It certainly reinforced the level of challenge the team wanted to provide the community.
I lost track of how many levels we ran through, but it was certainly more than 10, so this is not your typical milk run. At that point we stopped at another amazing rest area and made sure no one was left behind in the chaos. If you manage to make it through the maze, you will then enter the upper caves, which are starkly different from the well built tomb. It was here where the truly evil creatures thrived and our group actually found one of the tougher encounters and killed it. It might sound easy to read about, but this giant snake hit so hard it took 2 or 3 lives before we finally finished it off. The only disappointment I had was not being able to see BeakYung but I have to respect they didn't want to give away more than they should. They explained that access to her can only be granted at certain hours of the day and she would take at least 30 people to kill. It sounded like it was time to round up the guild.
If you are a fan of Silkroad Online or have played in the past and might be looking for a return to something with old school difficulty, the dungeon of Qin-Shi might be what you are looking for. With plenty of quests, dozens of increasingly difficult monsters, and the always looming danger of PvP this could very well be the new hotspot for the game. Legend IV: Tomb of the Qin-Shi Emperor is actually live now so head over to their official site to find out more and take your own shot at BeakYung.
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