>MMO Adventures 2: The Shaggening

>Once Perfect World was running on my system, I set out to make a charac…wait, no. Before I jump into character creation, I should acknowledge two pernicious bugs that impair playing PW on a Mac running Crossover. The first is that the game client itself, upon launching, occasionally opens in a windowed mode. Perhaps there are humans who play MMOs in a tiny window (the window that appears is not resizeable, and is about 40% of the screen; I check my e-mail in larger windows), but I am not one. I need that full-screen action to fully click and stab all the monsters on screen. Once I log in, select a character, and play for a few moments, I can usually quit the game and when I open it back up it’ll play in full screen mode.

The second bug is something I actually do worry about. Whenever I open the game, it checks my version. It then, every time without fail, mentions that a new version is available and gives me patch options. Now, the first time I opened the game this worked fine. I said patch, hells yes and patching occurred and everything was fine. However, when I try to patch it now it automatically dies. This hasn’t prevented me from playing the game, but my fear is it very well could one day in the future. I’m assuming I can use the manual patch download option and transfer the patch into my bottle, but I’d prefer to be able to patch in the prescribed fashion instead.

Anyway, I managed to slither my way into the game proper. Perfect World has apparently unleashed a “Rising Tide” expansion; think Burning Crusade for WoW, only it costs nothing. It’s similar to BC, however, in that it provides a new environment which, Lorewise at least, was not accessible before. It also (and here’s the BC comparison) grants access to a sexy new race of entirely too pretty individuals, the Tideborn. Tideborn are basically elves (or Blood Elves, which are basically elves) with fins coming out of their skulls where ears should be. The classes available to Tideborn are Assassin and Psychic, and either gender can be a member of either class (this is distinct from some races, as you’ll see). When I sat down to make my first character, I want to stress that I remained strong. I did not roll a Psychic, despite that being a ranged, element-using, caster-based class; which is to say, right up my alley. I did not roll a pet class, despite always rolling a pet class. Instead, and after examining all of the race and class options available, I rolled a male Tideborn Assassin.

The character customization in PW is impressive, and equally impressive is how Aeria managed to work a certain amount of cash shop into it. I could alter the dimensions of my character’s head, eyes, lips, nose, arms, torso, legs, and so forth. I could alter his hair, its color, its texture (ever feel your human paladin needed some highlights?). I could reposition facial features. And, most important to me personally as a mulatto gamer, I could alter his skin color across an incredible range. I settled on a swarthy, milk-chocolate Tideborn fellow of svelte build and powerful thighs.

I want to stress that this customization is incredible; the only MMO I’ve played with a comprable level of flexibility is City of Heroes/Villains. While that game gets the nod in terms of clothing optimization and weird additions to your character at the start, since you’re designing a supe and their costume as opposed to playing a character who’ll constantly be up-gearing and gaining status on the basis of that equipment, I’m quite favorably impressed by PW’s character creation for Tideborn, Humans, and Winged Elves.

Why the list? Well, I’ll make an admission here: after playing the Tideborn up to level two, some control frustrations had me quitting out to Google for a solution. When I popped back in, my altaholism kicked in and I made a new character. One of the critical elements of PW is that each individual race has exclusive (and sole) access to two classes. The Tideborn provide Assassins (high-DPS melee) and Psychics (high-DPS ranged). Humans provide Blademasters (DPS/Tank melee classes) and Wizards (Wizards are wizards, eh?). Winged Elves can fly from level one, which surprised me as Aion made a huge deal out of eventually providing wings to characters, whereas PW does so at level one if you roll in this race; they can be either Archers (ranged high-DPS) or Priests (the healing class, with the buffs and restoration powers you’d expect).

Sexy? Sure. But there’s one more race, a race who has, unlike all the others, a limit to its classes based on the gender you select. A race I knew, going into this game, I was going to roll sooner or later. The race which my choosing Tideborn first was, not a snub, but an acknowledgment of the sexy of. I am no furry, even a slight tiny bit, but how’s a brother supposed to ignore the prospect of playing a big, angry tiger man? That’s what male Untamed represent, unless you’d rather be a Lion man (which is what I rolled), or a wolf or panda man. All male Untamed are Barbarians, which is the core tank class for the game. All female Untamed are sexy lady (honestly, all the PW ladies are scantily clad and 0 body fat) creatures, which can shew fox, bat, demon, and so forth in human form. The All Untamed have a WoW-Druid-esque shifting ability, which turns the males into white tigers and the females into foxes. These secondary forms provide passive benefits, and further learn skills that explore whatever the core class fails to obtain. The Barbarian, for instance, has increased defense and speed in his tiger form at the cost of reduced DPS. The Beastmaster (the foxy lady class) is the pet class, focused on debuffs and ranged combat while their tamed pets battle. Their fox form, however, is a melee-oriented class along the lines of your typical rogue or assassin.

So yes, by the time I’d logged into PW a second time I was already rolling a giant roaring beast man who remains my highest-level character to date. He stepped onto the scene with a big two-handed weapon, and he cut some plants to their roots because a strange lady told him to.

And it was good

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