Taking The Loong View

By John Walker on March 18th, 2010 at 9:54 am.

Loong loong loong loong loong loong.

Below is a video showing exactly what an MMO isn’t like. Chinese MMO Loong: The Power Of The Dragon is soon to reach Western shores via Gamigo, and to mark this occasion comes a video filled with clips of swooping dragons and epic battles. every now and then there’s a split-second glimpse of what the game actually looks like. But you know, what else are they going to do? I’m really only mentioning this because I like the name. “Loong”. Just saying it, or even pondering how to say it, is an enormous amount of fun. Get up from whatever you’re doing and go say “Loong” to someone near by.

The free-to-play game has an extraordinary 40 million players in China, picked up since January this year, and apparently cost $10 million to make. It seems it boasts PvP battles with up to 500 players at once. It’s to go into a Western beta this Summer. Do we need more Chinese free MMOs? You know what? If they’re good, then sure we do.

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42 Comments »

  1. Pew says:

    I wonder if they will have any cats in this game. Cats that are Looong!

    /me hides in a corner in shame

  2. Ybfelix says:

    In actual Chinese tongue Loong is not as funny sounding [lʊŋ], but yeah, the spelling is somewhat amusing.

    40 million players? Seriously? WoW China has 4-6 million accounts. Maybe Farmville(the original Chinese version) is near that figure. I can’t even think of what Loong’s Chinese name is.

    • Sonic Goo says:

      WoW only counts active accounts that are being paid for at that time. Not all companies do, when it comes to bragging. Then again, this is China. China is big.

  3. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    Should’ve been “Loon: The Power of the Dragoon”.

  4. Dan says:

    Wikipedia just redirected me from Loong to ‘Chinese Dragon’. Making the title ‘Dragon: The Power of the Dragon.’

    Ace.

  5. neolith says:

    I am highly sceptical. Usually ‘Free to play’ means ‘Pay to win/have fun’ which I don’t like. I’m also not the biggest fan of the art direction in asian games, I must say.

  6. Magic H8 Ball says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    Wikipedia just redirected me from Loong to ‘Chinese Dragon’. Making the title ‘Dragon: The Power of the Dragon.’

    Ace.

    You mean Chinese Dragon: The Power of the Dragon. CHINA STRONG

    I wonder if there are any actual dragons in the game.

  7. Nilesu says:

    The way I see it: Free to play an (intentionally) broken game, pay to recieve basic / essential things.

    • Dominic White says:

      That’s almost never the case with the better games, now. Usually you pay for convenience features (insta-travel between towns, more storage space, etc) and pretty dress-up items.

      Anyway, this one looks boring. You want an MMO to look forward to? Check out Continent Of The Ninth, currently in the late beta phases in Korea.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-gkFL7G8ow – just watch this.

      And yes, that trailer is all gameplay. Looks fun, don’t it? It’s the kinda stuff I’ve wanted to do in MMOs since the genre started to move into 3D.

    • Dominic White says:

      On that note, I’d love for a reputable gaming journo-blog to actually do a decent article on the rising tide of action-MMOs coming out of Korea. A lot of them are genuinely neat action games that require real skill, rather than stats and grinding – Valkyrie Sky is one of the better recent ones to hit the global market.

    • manveruppd says:

      Wow, that genuinely looks like an action game rather than an MMO! ME WANTS!!!

    • Kirian says:

      For example, keep an eye on Vindictus/Mabinogi Heroes. It’s instanced like Guild Wars but it’s still looking rather special. I believe it’s already out in S. Korea.

    • speedwaystar says:

      The Continent of the Ninth combat footage looks very Dragon Age-esque to me (I’m currently playing DA:Awakening), in a good kind of way.

      The pacing and kinetik feel of the combat recall DA:O, as do specific abilities showcased in the clip. For instance, there’s an AOE shout ability which knocks your enemies back (like the DA:O Champion’s War Cry+Superiority), and a Cone of Cold which freezes opponents (like the DA:O Primal Frost ability).

      Thoughts?

    • speedwaystar says:

      Here’s some more Continent of the Ninth gameplay, with tutorial popups explaining the combo system. Groo!

  8. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Weird. All videos from gametrailer started to appear disabled on my browser firefox 6.3, despite having flash player 10 and it be running normally for any other videos.

  9. Magic H8 Ball says:

    That would require playing most of them which I believe is physically impossible.

    @Valkyrie Sky: Is that… is that a shmup MMO?

    • Dominic White says:

      Yep, one-hit-deaths, bullet hell bosses and all the trimmings. Very gentle learning curve early on, so I’d actually reccomend it as a starting point for those scared off by the genre normally.

    • dan. says:

      Can I play this with a joypad?

      I Kinda liked Pop’n TwinBee back in the day, even though I sucked.

    • Dominic White says:

      Yep, native gamepad support. I use a USB-cabled Sega Saturn controller, because it has the best D-pad known to man or beast.

    • Wulf says:

      I have to agree about the Saturn controller, I recently played Street Fighter IV on one and it was the most natural of all the control methods I’d tried.

  10. Magic H8 Ball says:

    I am stunned. Bullet hell shmup is the last genre I’d imagine as a MMO.

    How brutal is the lag?

    • Dominic White says:

      All the bullet/collision detection is done client-side, so effectively lag free. Picking up items feels a little slow, but it’s just a visual delay – once you fly over something to grab, it’s yours immediately.

      The only thing that irks me is that the smartbomb attacks seem to be server-ping dependent, so you can’t bomb out of a tricky situation without planning forward about half a second.

  11. malkav11 says:

    “More” Chinese free MMOs? What would the other ones be? My impression is that free MMOs have mostly been emerging from Korea, with a tiny sideline of Japanese ones.

  12. Oneironaut says:

    I like a good free MMO. I played Rappelz for a few weeks before getting bored, which was great considering I didn’t spend a penny. I’ll probably look into this once it gets closer to coming out.

  13. freaparn says:

    I think this clip shows a somewhat more realistic portrayal of the game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lt8ogcylueg&NR=1

    About 40 seconds in the player joins what looks to be an instanced dungeon. Five people frantically button mashing and then having a competitive kneeling contest to see who can yoink the most loot. Pretty damn good for free-to-play, but if there’s any strategy or skill there, it’s pretty hard for the casual observer to spot.

  14. geldonyetich says:

    an extraordinary 40 million players in China

    Does 40 million players count as extraordinary in China? It seems to me that every online game they put out there boasts double-digit millions.

  15. bob_d says:

    “Do we need more Chinese free MMOs? You know what? If they’re good, then sure we do.”
    So, ‘no,’ in other words? Unfortunately, the Korean and Chinese free MMOs tend to be extremely formulaic; their designs are highly predictable.
    Given the usual shenanigans that free-to-play MMOs perform with their numbers, I’m guessing 40 million is the number of accounts (with multiple accounts per player). (I can remember some “player” numbers given by other Asian MMOs that exceeded the total number of people with internet access in all of Asia… not very meaningful.)

    • Dominic White says:

      “Unfortunately, the Korean and Chinese free MMOs tend to be extremely formulaic; their designs are highly predictable.”

      Well, that’s a massive sweeping statement.

      I’ve played turn-based tactical MMOs. I’ve played spaceflight action MMOs. I’ve played 2d arcade shooter MMOs. I’ve played action brawler MMOs, I’ve played ones where you control an entire party in realtime. I’ve played WW2 naval combat MMOs, tank shooter ones, too. Platformer MMOs, dancing MMOs, etc etc.

      All those MMOs come from Korea. But of course, it’s easy to write things off with a single snarky comment, isn’t it. Saves you having to look and think for yourself.

  16. Baf says:

    I suppose “loong” more clearly indicates the actual pronunciation than the transliteration I’ve usually seen in the past, “lung”. Which is funny in a different way.

  17. omni says:

    A chinese dude here, just wanna clear something up.

    Dragon in chinese is pronounced ‘lone’ and the pinyin ( the official way to express how a word sounds using symbols ) for the word is ‘long’. of course ‘long’ in pinyin is pronounced differently than ‘long’ in english.

    The point here is that loong is a stupid attempt at translating the original name of the game, which is just ‘dragon’ in chinese and written as ‘long’ in pinyin, into something english speaking players will accept.

    This is the second most retarded translation ever, right after the movie ‘Avatar’, which is translated into Ah-Fan-Da, a meaningless set of words.

  18. Premium User Badge Carra says:

    The trailer didn’t manage to convince me. Still, I can only hope that one game will suprass WoW one day…

    As a sidenote, western companies aren’t allowed to release their mmorpgs in China (e.g. The Lich King) but they can release their games in Europe? Shoo!

    • Sonic Goo says:

      I believe several games have already. It’s usually things that aim at a completely different audience or play very differently, though, like Club Penguin or those Facebook games. Games that actually try to go up against WoW on its own terms, like Warhammer, Conan and the like, usually fail.

  19. 'stache says:

    It looks like the real-time action is going to be the big shift in MMOs for the upcoming year or two. Vindictus (Mabinogi Heroes), Dragon Nest, Blade & Soul…

    • Dominic White says:

      Mabinogi Heroes is getting a western release? Great! I saw some gameplay footage of that a while back, and it looks great. Almost Monster Hunter-ish in terms of the meatiness of the brawling.

      Unfortunately, it’s published by Nexon, which means that if it’s due for release in the US in 2010-2011, we can estimate a european launch sometime around 2016, and fierce IP blocks on any non-Americans who want to play.

      I wish I was exaggerating, but that’s how bad Nexon are. Thankfully I have an American VPN, but it’s terrible that I have to use it in the first place.

    • Kirian says:

      Yeah, it was announced at GDC as Vindictus. They’re pitching it as the game which will break them in to the Western market, ’cause free-to-play isn’t big over here.

      Where do you go to find out about all these games?

  20. 'stache says:

    It was nestled in a slew of GDC coverage from various sites.

    I spend too much time on the Internet.

  21. Dominic White says:

    For finding out about asian MMOs in general, poking around MMORPG.com will give you a decent overview.

    steparu.com has news (in english) straight from Korea, and gives a general overview of every MMO beta out there. They’re getting a lot of stuff out there that’s downright original/experimental, and that no western MMO developer worth a damn would even touch.

  22. Wulf says:

    I… don’t know what just happened there.

    At first, I was giggling, I couldn’t help it. It was something about the stereotypical sunset, but their sort of had an egg-yolk in it, that melted into the water in a particularly unsettling yet delightful way, and then there was that music. It was the music that got me, and I’m one of those people who tends to be ruled by music, so I found myself getting into it despite it looking extremely boring and staid. So I’m drawn in with the epic music, and then there are Dragons…

    I was expecting the Dragons since the good Mr. Walker told me to expect Dragons. However, they seem to be typical of Asia’s take on Dragons, which is surprising! Because usually Asia doesn’t stand by Asia’s take on Dragons, they’re usually evil and such, but these seem to be the real deal.

    I am intrigued, I’m not sold, but I am intrigued. I admit, I’m probably intrigued because the music triggers memories of Guild Wars, because if Guild Wars had anything it had beautiful, wonderful music.

    Still, flirt and try to toy with my heart as much as you like China, because I’ve only got eyes for Guild Wars 2, but if your game is worthy, then I might have a bit of a fling with it, a one night stand before returning to my task of staring longingly at Guild Wars 2 trailers.

  23. Magic H8 Ball says:

    Dominic White said:
    I’ve played turn-based tactical MMOs. I’ve played spaceflight action MMOs. I’ve played 2d arcade shooter MMOs. I’ve played action brawler MMOs, I’ve played ones where you control an entire party in realtime. I’ve played WW2 naval combat MMOs, tank shooter ones, too. Platformer MMOs, dancing MMOs, etc etc.

    Well, for every one of these there’s fifteen generic fantasy WoW/L2-clones. So it’s not he was completely off the mark.
    Then there’s the issue of persistency – are all these “quirky” games really MMOs or just multiplayer RPGs? For example, the Valkyrie Sky – it looks like out of towns it’s 100% instanced.

    • Dominic White says:

      “Well, for every one of these there’s fifteen generic fantasy WoW/L2-clones. So it’s not he was completely off the mark.”

      And for every fifteen western fantasy WoW clones, there’s… another fifteen. Outside of small indie experimental MMOs, there’s nobody trying to be different in the western market right now. It seems that in a bizarrely ironic twist, compeltely oversaturating the korean market with generic fantasy grindathons has forced studios to actually try new stuff if they want to stand out from the crowd. Bizarre situation.

      As for persistency, aside from Ultima Online, is there any? Ever? Sure, you might be sharing a great big overworld with the other players, but the moment you’re out of range of that boss you just killed, he pops right back up again, ready to play his part for the next player to come along. Or you again, if it’s a repeatable quest.