Perfect World International First Impressions

By Danny "Ralsu" Gourley

I first tried and gave my first impressions of Perfect World in June 2008. I wasn't very impressed with the game. Except for its massively-deep character customization, it was a just another poorly-translated Asian grindfest hitting the North American audiences. Apparently developer Beijing Perfect World got that feedback from quite a few gamers because the company decided to invest in some serious localization efforts. Introduced the second time as Perfect World International, the Closed Beta for the new version of the game opened in August 2008. The game is now in Open Beta.

Download and Installation
The system requirements for Perfect World International have not changed. The official requirements start pretty low, but I recommend being at the suggested specifications or higher to get a smooth performance without having to sacrifice the graphics. Notice that the hard drive specifications go from 2.5GB required to 3GB recommended. This is likely because Beijing Perfect World knows gamers will need to convert hard drive space to virtual memory via a page file if they only have 512MB of RAM.

Required Suggested
CPU Pentium 3 800MHz + Pentium 4 1.5GHz +
RAM 256MB + 512GB +
Graphics Card 32MB 3D graphics card 256MB 3D graphics card
DirectX  DirectX 9.0c or better
HDD 2.5GB + 3GB

Deep character customization options ensure that players feel like their character is their own.

Gamers can download Perfect World International directly as an installer or as part of a torrent. It's also possible to download from a number of mirror sites. The company will even mail a DVD to gamers for shipping and handling costs only. This is a very cool way to get the client.

The direct file first downloads a downloader that grabs the rest fo the file. By the time all downloads were complete, I had a 2.2GB installer on my computer. Installation is as simple as it should be; just run the installer and confirm your choices. I had some difficulty patching. The patcher kept failing, so I had to give up for one day and return the next. The patching process took almost 30 minutes. In total, I spent about one hour installing the game after the download.

Character Creation
Changes: Perfect World International still has the three races (Human, Werebeast, and Winged Elf). The six classes are now called Mage and Warrior (Human), Barbarian and Venomancer (Werebeast), and Archer and Priest (Winged Elf). Also different in the localized version is that the Human and Winged Elf classes can be either gender.

Expect to be jealous the first time you see another player on a mount.

What stayed the same: The character customization options are still some of the deepest gamers can find anywhere. Players can customize ears, eyes, cheeks, torsos, arms, legs, and more. With enough tweaking, it's very possible to get hundreds of different looks. When I made a Barbarian, I could make my Werebeast a panda or tiger or even a wolf. When I made a Human Mage, I could customize everything myself or choose from set looks that would combine the features to give a particular style.

Interface and Controls
Changes: Perfect World International aims to please its market with Westernized controls. The first game tip players see on screen when logging into a new character for the first time is that movement can be handled via WASD keys or left mouse clicks. Instead of turning the character, the A and D keys strafe. The game tip tells players this and that it is possible to change them to make them turn. I was unable to find this option, but that could have been my problem. At least the developers show an understanding of the needs of its audience.

What stayed the same: The interface is laid out pretty much the same. Everything is in a familiar place for veterans, and newcomers can rely on solid game tips within the first couple of character levels to figure out anything that is not immediately understood.

There's more to Perfect World International. Continue to page 2.

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