Loong: The Power of the Dragon
Loong: The Power of the Dragon Overview
Loong: The Power of the Dragon is set in ancient China, but sets it self apart from other oriental themed MMORPGs with its unique art style and classless progression system. Chose from several weapon types, and learn skills from eight unique talent trees. Progression is heavily quest driven in Loong, and an auto-navigation feature makes traveling between objectives simple. Players unlock several skills during the first few levels, and also earn their first mount and pet early on. The game has fluid gameplay and controls that allow for keyboard and point & click movement.
Weapon Types - Sword, Sabre, Polearm, Bow, Totem, Glove, Zither
Talent Trees - Sword, Sabre, Polearm, Bow, Battle, Yang, Yin, Healing, Zither, Magic
Loong: The Power of the Dragon Screenshots
Loong: The Power of the Dragon Featured Video
Loong: The Power of the Dragon Review
By, Erhan Altay
Loong: The Power of the Dragon is an Asian developed MMORPG set in ancient China. The German publisher Gamigo is bringing the game to both the European and North American region. Despite the familiar setting, Loong is a high quality title with an original art style, innovative class system, and other interesting features.
Not a Loong Wait
Despite being released in China earlier this year, Loong is already ready for beta testing in the West. The game is a big budget project that is estimated to have cost over $10 million dollars to develop. Traditionally, MMORPGs took several years to move from Asia to the West, but the pace is definitely starting to pick up. Unlike most games out of China, Loong is a high quality MMORPG with great 3D graphics, cool attack animations, and high production value all around. At around 2.7 gb, the client size is pretty large, but the download shouldn’t take long. Loong isn’t Gamigo’s first Chinese MMORPG. Martial Empires is an earlier high quality title, but that game is only open to European gamers. Luckily, Loong more than makes up for what we’ve been missing.
Pick a Weapon, but not a Class
The login screen in Loong is highly stylized and sets a good mood for the rest of the game. The loading screens are a bit odd, they include animated backgrounds and real images of ladies in sexy outfits. The character creation process is very streamlined. There are five hair styles, six hair colors, five face styles, and three outfits per gender. Several ‘detail’ options are also available which represent things like tattoos and scars. There’s also an option to preview several high level armor designs on your character before creating it. Overall, appearance customization is rather slim, especially compared to some older MMORPGs like Martial Empires or Perfect World. Like Heroes of Three Kingdoms, players don’t select a class in Loong. Instead, they chose from seven weapons: Sword, Sabre, Polearm, Bow, Totem, Glove, or Zither. The initial weapon selection has no effect on character progression, players are free to switch between them freely. Eventually, players will have to select which weapons to specialize in by distributing talent points among specific skill trees.
New players start in Dragon Village where a number of NPCs offer simple talk quests and describe some of the game’s basics. Movement can be done with either W,A,S,D or point-and-click. While most Asian MMORPGs fail at pulling off fluid keyboard controls, Loong does it excellently. I found myself using keyboard controls throughout my whole experience. There’s a very simple auto-navigation system that helps players get to and from quest objectives. This means travel very simple, and also ensures players won’t have to read any of the quest flavor text. The rest of the interface is well organized, ‘b’ opens the inventory, ‘q’ opens the quest log, ‘k’ brings up the talent trees, and so on. It’s not until around level 6 that players start earning talent points, but they will receive 2 stat points every level starting at level 2. Those who follow the beginner quest lines will find themselves leveling rapidly, even without having to kill more than a few monsters. At level 5, newbies quality to leave Dragon Village and enter the zone of Dragon Castle. This zone serves as the capital city, but the surrounding areas are also the primary hunting grounds for the first few dozen levels.
One, Two, Three
The early level quests do a great job giving players equipment and consumable items, but players must eventually decide which weapons to specialize in. There are a total of ten talent trees in Loong, and it is recommended to focus on one during the early levels. It is possible to reset talent point distribution quite easily, especially while under level 30. Each weapon has a primary and secondary stat, so be sure to distribute talent and stat points favorably. The six stats are: Physique, Strength, Qi, Spirit, Agility, and Skill. Simply hover the cursor over any of them to find out what they do. Before long, player will unlock several skills in their chosen talent tree and be off using them in combat. Even without skills, the monsters in Loong barely put up a fight. Difficulty seems to be something Chinese developers in particular seem to ignore. Simply spamming 2-3 skills is enough to fell any monster near your level range. You’ll barely receive any damage in return. This means there’s no need to rest between battles, and the fact that no mobs under level 20 seems to be aggressive add up to a low sense of challenge. Player will simply move from one hunting ground to the next, stopping long enough to kill a few defenseless critters before moving on.
Ride a Pony
Loong introduces players to the game’s pet system early on. Pets are called ‘spirit beasts’ and come in a variety of rarities and skills. Some can be ridden, others can pick up loot for their master. Players can transfer, or ‘pour’, some of their experience towards their pets to help them level up, and pets can even be equipped with special items. Several stats track the potency of a pet including ‘potential’ which measures the amount of skills the pet can eventually learn and its growth rate. A pet may look cute and small, but when mounted it grows into a full size steed. This is but one of many interesting animations. If a player clicks on the ground to move there, a splat of ink appears and vanishes. The game’s animations are realistic, but with an artistic touch. Jumping (space bar) also functions a bit differently. After jumping, players appear to glide down slowly. Like so many recent MMORPGs, Loong also has a title system where players can equip titles that they’ve unlocked by completing quests or performing other tasks. There are a ton of other small features which, added up, make Loong a much more in-depth game. Crafting skills are separate from the talent tree, and include both resource gathering skills (like mining) and production skills.
The experience in Loong is well paced, handing it quests gives a burst of experience and there are always plenty of quests available. The quest log even lists available quests which players can auto-navigate towards. Some quests are repeatable, but the sense of grind doesn’t kick in until mid level. The game encourages some player cooperation in the form of a mentor/apprentice system. Players have to be at least level 50 to be a mentor, but there’s no real reason to even talk to another person during the early game since the PvE offers so little challenge. Before long, players will find themselves having to throw away items since their inventory fills up so fast. New characters start with 20 inventory slots, but can increase this by using ‘auxiliary bags’ obtained in the item mall. There are plenty of convenience items like this for sale in the cash shop, but nothing that dramatically effects balance. Like Soul Order Online and Forsaken World, there’s an odd feature that rewards players with some freebie items every few minutes. It’s called ‘Dragon Blessing’ and the small interface menu for it is located near the middle of the screen. Users playing Loong on a small resolution will want to turn all these extra menus off since it can cramp the gameplay area. Another box appears on the left of the screen every time a player earns new attribute or talent points. Speaking of resolutions, the graphic options in Loong can be a little confusing. I couldn’t figure out how to play in windowed mode, but I did discover a new mode where the game is nearly full-screen but the taskbar is still visible and you can launch other programs with Loong remaining in the background.
Final Verdict: Good
Loong: The Power of the Dragon is a high quality MMORPG with a familiar oriental setting. The classless, talent tree driven progression helps set it apart from its competitors. There are also a lot of small features that, combined, give Loong a high production value. The only problem is that due to the lack of difficulty, much of the early level combat feels repetitive. Its definitely a game worth checking, just be ready for some grind.
Loong: The Power of the Dragon Videos
Loong: The Power of the Dragon Cinematic Trailer
Loong: The Power of the Dragon Gameplay Footage
Loong: The Power of the Dragon Gameplay Trailer
Loong: The Power of the Dragon Links
Loong: The Power of the Dragon System Requirements
OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7
CPU: 2.4 Ghz Intel P4 or equivalent
RAM: 512 MB
HDD: 4 GB Free
Graphics Card: GeForce 5200 / Radeon 9550
OS: Windows Vista / 7
CPU: Pentium Dual Core E2140 or better
RAM: 2 GB RAM or more
HDD: 5 GB Free
Graphics Card: NVidia 7600 GT / ATI X1600 XT