Zu Online

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UPDATE: This game has been shutdown and is no longer available

Overview

Zu Online Overview

Zu Online is a stylish MMORPG based on a historic Chinese novel and is therefor set in an oriental fantasy world than a typical western one. Zu Online has 5 different classes or ‘clans’, each with its own unique play style. Sadly, there is no gender selection so if you want to play a mage or rogue, you’ll have to play as a female. The 5 classes are:

Swordsman - Main tanking class. Swordsman use melee weapons and skill in combat.
Bead Fairy - Mages who posses offensive and supportive spells.
Sun Warrior - Large, brutish warriors who excel in close combat but suffers from a lack of speed.
Moon Maiden - Fast, agile rogue class.
Summoner - Specialize in dark magic and summoning demons to assist them in combat.

Additionally, players must join one of three warring factions during character creation but can chose to keep PvP mode deactivated.

Zu Online Screenshots

Zu Online Feature Video

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Full Review

Zu Online Full Review

By Erhan Altay

Zu Online is one of IGG’s more graphically advanced MMORPGs. The graphics are not as impressive as Voyage Century’s but leave games like Tales of Pirates, Angels Online, Wonderland Online, Myth War 2 Online, and Godswar Online in the dust. Zu Online tries to be a little original with an opening cinematic that explains the game’s plot. All I understood from it was that there was an evil Demon on the loose messing everything up. Check the video tab to see it for yourself.

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Moon Maiden or Sun Warrior?

Character creation in Zu Online is a bit different than in other MMORPGs, players start by selecting one of 12 mascots. These mascots are small animals that represent the 12 hours of the Chinese clock. You’ve probably heard of them before; Rat, Dragon, Bull and so on. The only effect these mascots seem to have is doubling your experience rate each day during the hour each represents. If you plan to play Zu Online for an extended amount of time, it may be worth picking a mascot that represents the hours of the day you’re most likely to be online. The next step is selecting your nationality and state of residence. This may seem strange but Zu Online lets players chat globally to members of their own country and state from anywhere in the game. The information you chose can be changed later by using a ‘nationality reversal’ purchased in game. Before choosing their class, players must decide which of the three warring factions they wish to join; Wu, Tai, or Xun. Each faction is at war with the other two so your decision here will determine who you’ll be fighting if you decide to participate in PvP later on. With all that out of the way, the final step is selecting your class. The five choices are; Swordsman, Bead Fairy, Moon Maiden, Sun Warrior, and Summoner. The Bead Fairy and Moon Maiden are female while the other three are male. There is no gender switch option, instead each class has 5-7 hair and face styles along with a sliding hair color selection tool. Overall, character creation in Zu Online is acceptable, all the unique things make up for the lack of gender selection.

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Quest, do not Grind

What ever else you do in Zu Online, just make sure you talk to all the NPCs with red exclamation marks over their head. Questing is by far the best way to level up in this game and by following the beginning quest line, you’ll be at least level 15 within an hour. There are two starting locations based on which of the classes you chose but both have a similar enough beginner areas. Zu Online offers both keyboard (W A S D) and mouse (point and click) movement which is a bonus. The game starts with an NPC dialogue box already open and by accepting it, you’ll be flown to another NPC.  Flying in this manner is the most effective mode of transportation. Each area has several NPCs which, in exchange for a small fee, let you fly to a near by location. Be sure to talk to all the nearby NPCs but don’t bother reading what they have to say. The text is usually long, boring, and poorly translated. Instead, just open your quest log (L) and click on the quest objective (highlighted in  green.) This will automatically move you to where you need to be whether its an NPC or a monster spawn. The experience rate in Zu Online from questing is so much higher than grinding. If a monster nets 50 experience, a kill quest requiring you to kill 10 of that same monster will yield 1500-2000 experience. Heck, you’ll level up just from talking to one NPC than another standing nearby.

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On With the Game

At first the high experience rate may keep you excited but eventually the rather dull gameplay beings to show. There is almost no challenge at all when fighting monsters, the rank 1 beginning skills are enough to defeat monsters several levels higher than you in 2-3 shots if not less. The auto movement to quest objectives and easy transport between locations via flying cloud keep the pacing but combat it self is a bore for the first 30 levels. Players cannot raise their stat points but do gain access to new skills as they level. In order to start using a skill you’ll first need to use the appropriate skill books which are usually handed out as quest rewards, another reason to keep doing the quests you run into. New players may of noticed a talent tree similar to World of Warcraft’s but this is not functional until level 30. From than on, every 3 levels players will receive a talent point to distribute. Another feature that will likely go unnoticed for the first few hours is the PvP mode button. The default setting is PvE mode but once clicked it will enable PvP mode which puts you at risk of being attacked by members of the two opposing factions. I’m usually a fan of open PvP but the fact that Zu Online has a very small player base means it will be difficult to find enough allies to venture out with to go PKing.

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Strong Foundation

Zu Online is generally a well designed game, the interface is organized and players can chat locally, through private messages (whispers), or send messages to their entire faction, country, state, or to the globe (with a fee.)  The main in game currency of ‘bones’ are easy to acquire but make up only one of four currencies, Silver, Shells and Gold being the other 3. Silver and Gold are cash shop related while Shells are acquired by doing odd jobs for the warehouse NPC. As mentioned earlier, Zu Online has a unique graphic style that gives it the feel of an oriental comic book. This style is sure to turn off some players but I found it pleasing.  My major complaint with the game is the sense of loneliness. When you enter a new area, you’re bound to see what seem like hundreds of identical monsters walking around, with no other players in sight. Another flaw is the sheer amount of system messages. A GM message constantly scrolls on the top while large blue text announces every time a player completes a major quest or defeats a boss.

Final Verdict: Good

A unique setting and rapid leveling make Zu Online an interesting MMORPG for the first few dozen levels but eventually the repetitive combat and small player base sink in. Faction based open PvP and a high max level (300) give Zu Online a long life span if you can find friends to play with.

Screenshots

Zu Online Screenshots

Videos

Zu Online Videos

Zu Online Gameplay Video

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Zu Online Gameplay Trailer

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Zu Online Gameplay Footage

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Zu Online Intro Cinematic

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Zu Online Cinematic Trailer

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Links

Zu Online Links

Zu Online Wikipedia Entry

System Requirements

Zu Online System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:
OS: WIN 98/ME/NT/2000/XP/Vista
CPU: P3-800 MHz
RAM: 256 MB
HDD: 5.0 GB
Graphics Card:  64 MB 3D Accelerated Graphic Card
DirectX: 9.0c

Recommended Specification:
OS: Windows 2000/XP/Vista
CPU: P4-2.4 GHz or above
RAM: 512MB or more e
HDD: 10.0 GB or more
Graphics Card: ATI 9200/Nvidia FX5200 or better
DirectX: 9.0c or better

 
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