One of the problems I tend to run into when reviewing MMOs is the advent of clones. There are clones everywhere. If there is a great game, there’s a clone of it and usually the clone is terrible, only existing for the purpose of making the publisher a little bit of money before they shut it down entirely and move on to the next project.
It’s hard to say such a thing with Knight Online because honestly, the game has been around almost as long as World of Warcraft has. It might be a clone (albeit a bad one), but it is perhaps the most successful clone in the history of clones. I remember logging into this game back when it first began and let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty. That’s actually the one thing that has really improved over the years; the aesthetics are much better now, though I’m not going to say it looks anywhere near as nice as Tera.
Knight Online Review
There are a few things that you need to know about this game, the most important being that it originally had a 2004 release date and the original game is currently hosted by MGame in South Korea. If you are not a Korean citizen, you will not be able to play the original version of Knight Online as it requires all potential players to enter their Korean Resident Registration numbers in order to register. Yes, you heard that right, somehow the Korean government got involved with an MMO. Lord only knows what happens on that server.
If you want to play the game outside of Korea, you will need to play one of the three other official versions which consist of:
Knight Online Xross (Japan)
Knight Online World (United States)
Knight Online Europe (Europe)
Though these are all localized versions of the game, you can register from anywhere in the world. As should be expected however, if you register for the Japanese server while living in America, you can anticipate a bit of lag. There could well be some differences between the different servers but we are only going to cover the American server and the features that it provides in our Knight Online review.
Now, as with any game operating under the free to play banner, you can expect to log in and play the base game free of charge but there are some features you will need to pay for. One great example would be the premium servers, which place a higher priority on player connection. I didn’t pay for premium, but I’m assuming that if I had, I would have ended up on a server where every other player wasn’t a damned gold farmer. I’ll get to that in a moment.
Playing with Class
As with any MMORPG, the game has classes as well as races. Two races, to be exact. You have your humans, and you have your orcs, which is not that dissimilar to another game that we all have a love/hate relationship with. In this game, however, the races are named slightly differently:
El Morad (humans)
When you create a character you will be tasked with assigning yourself a class, and there are four to choose from:
This seems a bit limited, and we thought so too, but there is a silver lining. As you reach certain level milestones within the game, you begin to learn different skill sets, and you are permitted a job change which can be obtained by speaking to a specific NPC within your home city.
Okay, this game has a lot of problems but the biggest, technical issues aside, is the number of people that have set up player-run stores in the capital city. I love a game that allows player-run stores but the main city is literally overrun with people standing around selling crap, and I’m not even convinced that all of them are actual players. In fact, I’m certain that some of them are actually just bots exploiting the system. Actually, on the server I played on, I saw no evidence that anyone was actually playing the game aside from a few gold farmers here and there. This put a put a bit of a damper on the game, but it didn’t make it any less enjoyable than it already was.
Unlike most Korean MMOs, Knight Online was not a grind fest. In fact, there are a fair number of quests in the game, though I wish you luck in trying to locate the quest givers while you are navigating the crowd of player run stores and trying to figure out which NPC that question mark is floating above. In most cases, this would be easy but honestly, the interface in Knight Online is clunky enough that you can mistakenly click on a player-run store and end up with all the wrong dialogues. There is one saving grace, however, and it is that the quests have an auto-track feature. Hear me out. Normally I would be against this, but the control system is so annoying that I’m sort of glad the game takes the wheel for any length of time.
Quest dialogue boxes are misspelled and presented in the most broken English you could possibly imagine. In addition to that, the game gives you a ‘companion’ who you never see, other than in dialogue boxes. He is essentially a little boy who calls you ‘Master’ and the irony is that when the little idiot pops up over your hot bar and tells you to be careful while you’re losing HP in battle, and he literally blocks you from being able to access your potions. Sometimes he gives helpful hints, but for the most part, it’s a collection of instructions or advice that you could have discerned yourself if you’ve ever played an MMO in your life.
Controlling your Character
This game uses the same system of control that you would find in Silkroad Online, which is to say it is mostly click driven, though you can try to drive your character with WSAD. You will find that when you try to control the game in any sane manner that the A and D keys rotate your character rather than strafing, so in short, you’re probably going nowhere fast. This gets really annoying in PVP.
The interface is pretty great, actually. In fact, it may be the only part of the game that actually uses anything resembling proper English, which is beyond amusing considering it is a game that is supposed to be marketed to American gamers. Everything runs very smoothly, though the one thing I could complain about is the fact that none of the key bindings are similar to traditional MMOs at all. A quick way around this is to just click the buttons on the interface but combat is already so tedious and the buttons are so small, it really needs a quicker way to get things done.
There are a lot of in-game events but the one I decided to try out was the Chaos event which each player can enter once per day to compete for various rewards. This is a PVP event that has to be the epitome of laziness, if I ever saw it. Instead of separating everyone by level, the game simply shoots everyone up to max level, gives them 1,000 HP, a massive sword, and turns them into some kind of bumbling deity. Now I mentioned earlier that the game has issues with character control, and in the Chaos event it really shows. I still firmly believe that half the players are bots, which obviously have no trouble with the controls, so I was constantly being smashed. It didn’t help that I was given a set of unfamiliar abilities that had nothing to do with my chosen class and a healing ability that really didn’t do any good in the PVP arena. Honestly, I just wanted to get out of there.
Long Term Playability
So I might have had trouble mastering the control system but I’ve had trouble with games before and judged them to be acceptable. After all, I can’t be good at everything and that doesn’t mean it’s a bad game. This game, however, has had more than ten years to sort itself out and become more appealing; it simply hasn’t. It, like many other Eastern MMOs, tends to exploit the desire for MMORPGs that do not require a monthly subscription and forces players into a ‘pay to win’ model which never actually gets any better. Even though this game does have premium options to make it marginally better, you could spend your time playing other, better games. While this game was great back when I didn’t have money and when there weren’t many other free MMOs on the market to choose from, today I wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot electrified pole if I had a terminal illness and the game were offering the cure on its premium store.
+Good leveling system
+Uninstaller works smoothly
-Horrible control system
-Broken English quest dialogues
-Full of bots