Continent of the Ninth Seal is a brand new 3D MMORPG title published by Webzen–also called C9–was developed using their own custom engine. They graciously gave us a chance to visit their amazing game in order to speak its wonders to the ogre population.

After playing during the VIP beta, I’ve compiled my thoughts on how the game plays and what sort of experience it will give players once they get access to the game in full. At its core, C9 is a wuxia-genre East Asian-styled game with mighty warriors and powerful mages.

Even from the brief look at that I received, I can say that C9 will have a lot to offer to everyone who jumps into their world to play.

Gameplay: Open-targeting combat, action-oriented wuxia-styled with a lot of character

Continent of the Ninth Seal delivers a wuxia-styled gameplay model through an open-targeting action-oriented combat system. None of your attacks lock onto enemies, instead they strike at an arc or a region when you trigger them. We’ve seen other games that do this, such as Dragon Nest, and this provides a very active type of play.

Combine the open-targeting with a system that lets me trigger and pick attacks from around my movement keys (in some cases combined with movement keys) really let me pay attention to beating up the bad guys and escape from having to use the mouse to pick from the action bar. I found this particularly nice because it meant that the fight I was literally hands-on the entire time, dodging, weaving, and laying smackdown all with the same set of controls.

The game extends basically from large hub cities where all the players gather and then branched out into dungeon instances. This is very similar to how Vindictus plays and it works well because it enabled instances to become elaborate scripted events with a cinematic quality. There are at least a dozen instances currently available filled with enemies of advancing difficulty and a lot of care.

I found myself fighting through fodder as well as going up against bosses here and there. Alongside the keyboard-and-combo system, which includes the ability to dodge oncoming attacks, boss battles were electrifying as well as exciting. Each of the different classes provides a different sort of experience: the Hunter spends a lot of time at range, firing salvos in; the shaman does a lot of middle range fighting, now and then unleashing point-blank AoE; and the warrior I found myself rushing in to skewer enemies and scythe through them with my blades at hand.

Within the UI, I discovered that there’s also the ability to light up red-blinking paths to the next quest objective. I’ve gotten used to them showing up just on the map; but knowing how many maps are made can make it confusing to find something that you cannot directly see, so having a visual representation in the game world really helped.

As I said above there are three classes currently available:

The Shaman, gender locked and the only girl, who uses a stave and powerful magic to subdue her opponents. I discovered that she fights mostly at medium-range, has a lot of powerful area-effect attacks that include a certain amount of weather control—lightning, cyclones, and of course some fire.

The Hunter who uses a bow and arrows to pierce enemies. He rains down arrows on his opponents, and pummels them with piercing shafts. He fights mostly at long range, but seems to have a few strikes that enable him to deal with people in the short range; however, I think you’d spend a lot of time dodging back to get the bow shots off.

The Fighter, he seems to work best in melee range with a vast array of weapons. Most of his abilities involve scything, point-blank AoE attacks, leaps and throws, and a lot of dodging that keeps in within striking distance. He also has grabs and grapples for putting enemies where he wants them in order to pulverize them with his battle prowess.

There is an expected fourth class called the Witchblade who we may see coming out later—I do not know anything about this class to reveal.

Graphics and Sound: Beautiful East Asian characteristic landscapes and good rendering

The graphics and sound really caught my attention as the worlds are extremely well rendered. I found myself amidst lush forests, with the lap of water at my side. The first hub city had fluttering banners, glittering portals, and even a boat (another expansion to an instance I believe) alongside numerous NPCs to give me quests and deliver me things to do.

Character generation boasts a magnificent array of creative options that allow you to control many aesthetic attributes of your character—sometimes above and beyond the usual expectations for these sorts of games. Character creation is extremely robust, allowing you to set your height, girth, facial structure, hair, eyes, etc. There’s even an option to add bunny ears. The number of colors provided for skin, hair, etc. is a bit more than usual (i.e. brightly colored red, blue, green, and their ilk are quite available.)

I’ve seen people make characters with coal-black skin and bright red bunny ears.

Everything you do has a sound from running hard to striking to hitting an enemy.

Conclusion: When C9 launches, players are in for a treat!

Our time in game for the VIP event was brief; however it did give me enough time to say that this game applies many of the best practices from a multitude of other MMOs. The combat is really interesting, the armor sets give a great deal of aesthetic value to outfitting a character, and with so many options for character look we’ll see some interesting people playing soon.

Include the attention to active and action-oriented wuxia-styled combat it will probably give hours of interesting party-combat against horrible evil.

I look forward to a lot more news about Continent of the Ninth Seal as Webzen moves forward.