UPDATE: This game has been shutdown and is no longer available
Zentia has a distinctly different visual style than previous ChangYou MMORPGs. Zentia mixes a fairytale atmosphere and story telling with humorous dialogue to create a unique world. New players chose one of 22 pre-made characters, each of which represents a different immortal hero sent to banish the world of demons. The game boasts a powerful pet system where nearly half of all creatures encountered can be tamed as pets or mounts. Individual mounts can carry anywhere from one to ten players. Also included is a rich crafting system, and plenty of PvP options.
Classes – Vajra Guardian, Raksha Warrior, Master Summoner, Blade Warden, Fire Mage, Stormlord, Divine Enchanter, and Dark Revenant
Zentia Featured Video
By, Erhan Altay
Zentia is ChangYou’s third free MMORPG release in North America. Like Dragon Oath and Blade Wars, Zentia has a fantasy theme, but beyond that it is very different from its predecessors. The game has an animated graphic style and uses bright colors. More importantly, it has a wide range of playable characters, and an original game world.
The 22 Chosen
The Zentia client clocks in at 1.3 GB which means player will have plenty of time to create their ChangYou account before playing. Those who have signed up for one of their previous titles can skip this step and head right into the game. There are two factions or ‘camps’ in Zentia, Ba Gua and Tai Chi. Both have access to the same set of 20 characters and eight classes. The characters serve mainly a cosmetic purpose since Zentia has no appearance customization during character creation. The characters come in many shapes and sizes with some of the odder ones being a monkey and a baby. The rest have a distinctly Asian look, expect for one random Dutch looking guy with orange hair. All characters can play as any of the eight available classes. The classes have flavorful names like ‘Vajra Guardian’ (tank), Blade Warden (rogue), Divine Enchanter (healer), and so on.
A Chinese Fairytale
After character creation, players are treated to a charming cinematic video where a group of good guys riding on a giant tick chase down a bunch of thieves. The thieves are then supported by a giant, but another hero riding a giant frog hops by to even the odds. The video doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it does set the tone for the game. Zentia is light hearted and, according to the developers, was influenced by fairy-tales. The prevalence of spirit and demon themed monsters, along with NPC and architecture designs reveal the game is based in ancient China. The NPCs even spew a few lines of Chinese when spoken to which adds to the feeling of being in a different world. There’s no formal tutorial, instead players start on a tiny island near several NPCs who offer simple quests that involve killing small woodland creatures. Before long, players will be riding a stork the beginner village of Muberry. In Zentia, experience is mainly gained through questing. Actually killing monsters rewards very little exp.
Feel for the Land
Upon landing in Mulberry Village, players will notice several yellow question marks on their mini map. Both the minimap and the rest of the interface of Zentia should be familiar to MMORPG veterans. The game is easy to understand and offers multiple control schemes. Players more conformable with the traditional Asian point-and-click movement method can use it, but the W,A,S,D controls are very fluid. In fact, I did not even realize point and click was supported until an on-screen prompt informed me! Players can chose whether they want full camera control or not. If activated, players can zoom in and out with the mouse wheel, and pan the camera by holding the right mouse button. Early level quests ask players to seek other specific NPCs, gather items from nearby bushes or plants, or hunt nearby monsters. The number of enemies players are asked to hunt is usually low, ranging from 1-10 during the early levels. This helps keep things from getting repetitive, but does lead to plenty of running back-and-forth between town where they NPCs are clustered and the wilderness.
Like Heroes of Three Kingdoms and most other Asian MMORPGs, Zentia supports an auto-walk feature that allows players to easily make their way between NPCs and quest objectives. Zentia adds a new twist to the system by breaking it into two parts. By simply clicking a quest objective in the quest log (opened by hitting ‘L’), players activate a series of yellow arrows pointing the way. Players still have to manually walk along the revealed path, unless they have a pet active that can lead the way. Luckily Zentia introduces pets early on, at around level 3. Before long players will also be introduced to mounts with their first being a donkey. Indeed both pets and mounts play an important role in Zentia. Nearly half the monsters players encounter can be tamed and used as a pet. As pets level up, they provide their master stat boosts or other buffs. Mounts come in many shapes and sizes, including multi-player mounts that can be ridden by up to ten players. Like Tales of Fantasy and Battle of the Immortals, Zentia also supports mounted combat.
Zentia does a very good job with pacing. It doesn’t take long to level up during the early stages, and there always seem to be more quests to do. Quests aren’t given a dozen at a time either since that tends to overwhelm players. Newbies start with a giftbox which contains equipment, healing items, and other goodies. This giftbox can be opened at levels 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, and 13 before finally disappearing. Besides experience rewards, quests grant players new equipment and costumes. Costumes go over equipment and can be disabled or enabled at request. But there is one overall fault with Zentia and that is the lack of challenge. Most monsters are not aggressive, and enemies barely hit over a character’s natural regeneration rate. This is common in Chinese MMORPGs since they prefer a more casual PvE style, but can be frustrating to Western players who expect to be challenged in both PvP and PvE. The difficulty can perhaps be artificially inflated in future updates, but Zentia was originally designed for the Chinese audience and isn’t likely to be completely re-done just for our sake.
Late Stage Fun
Pixel Soft, the developers behind Zentia have done a great job with some of the small touches in the game. Attack animations are diverse and players can get in special ‘lucky shots’ that knock opponents down. Monsters and pets spout random, and often silly, lines of dialogue as they fight, and can even transform during battle. The generic monsters may not provide much challenge, but Zentia does have a full feature player vs player (PvP) system that can be explored after hitting level 20. There are also instances available to high level players who want to experience PvE content as a group. Several crafting professions are also included, but players won’t be able to master them all which means they’ll have to work together to create all the items they want. Zentia is probably the most original MMORPG in ChangYou’s portfolio and is worth checking out, especially for those attracted to the art style.
Final Verdict: Good
Zentia offers many traditional MMORPG gameplay elements, but presents them in a unique package. The brightly colored animated world, quest based progression, and in-depth pet features help it stand out from the crowd. Instances, PvP, and other events are fun, but the overall lack of difficulty in Zentia means that the grind feeling eventually kicks in.
Zentia Intro Trailer
Zentia Cinematic Trailer
Zentia Slideshow Trailer
Zentia Official Gameplay Trailer
Zentia System Requirements
OS: Windows 98 / Win 2000 / Win XP
CPU: Intel Celeron 1.7 GHz
RAM: 256 mb
HDD: 2 GB Free
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce4 MX 440
OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7
CPU: Intel P4 2.4G / AMD 3000+
RAM: 512 mb or more
HDD: 3 GB Free
Graphics Card: nVidia 6600 / ATi 9550