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Playing AFK

July 1, 2009

I have played a fair amount of Jade Dynasty lately, but at the same time not spent that much time active at the keyboard in the game. It is very much a game where you can do other things at the same time and every now and then have a peek at what is happening.

There are always people AFK and meditating in any city area, gaining XP

There are always people AFK and meditating in any city area, gaining XP

The auto-routing features makes your character go anywhere there is a specific target (NPC, mob type, place on map etc) – the only worry would be if he/she passed some high level nasty mobs that might kill the character. However, so far that has very seldom happened. Most mobs do not aggro unless attacked and most of the few that do you can still outrun.

Then there is the Invigorate features, which puts your character on auto-pilot and which may go and kill mobs in the surroundings. There is a fair amount of settings to play around with here. On top of this, I discovered that the quest God’s Gift which I mentioned in a previous post, is repeatable. That is you can get double XP and serious attack and defense buffs that last at least 2 hours multiple times. From reading the forums it seems that you can pick that quest once per day.  I did not know that, so I have played most of the time with “normal” XP. The drawback with the double XP is that one gets less loot/money for the XP gained, which potentially could lead into financial issues.

With double XP and serious buffing in place, it is easy to go auto-pilot on higher level mobs

With double XP and serious buffing in place, it is easy to go auto-pilot on higher level mobs

It feels a bit strange playing a game where you most of the time are perhaps not controlling your character directly. Instead it works a bit like a pet in some other MMOs – you set up its behaviour and off it goes and does its thing without you thinking too much about it.

Overall this has worked reasonably fine for me lately. I have not had a huge amount of dedicated online game time available, but a little bit time here and there. This has worked out ok I think. I have also used the dream feature of the game a bit to get a some progression while completely offline as well.

It becomes a quite different game and perhaps not so much a traditional MMO. But I would definitely have stopped playing the game if these auto features had not been there – there are so many kill 10/15/20/30 mobs type of quests, combined with a bit of fedex type. There are some neat story pieces here and there, but overall kill-more-mobs view dominates the PvE gameplay.

I have not tried PvP yet; it is only enabled from level 30 and as far as I understand it there is no or limited barriers for high level players to go and kill low levels ones; plus that you can lose items if you get killed. SInce both PvP and PvE is available I suspect though that most players will level up in PvE realms and once they get to high level jump over to the PvP realms.

I prefer more e-sport type of PvP, so I am not so sure I will spend much effort on that part.  But time will tell.

And yes, I have been playing and leveling while writing this post…

Bored of regular mob killing? Lure a big boss into populated areas and get everyone to attack him for 15 minutes until he dies...

Bored of regular mob killing? Lure a big boss into populated areas and get everyone to attack him for 15 minutes until he dies...

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Categories: Jade Dynasty
  1. July 2, 2009 at 12:08

    Interesting how our ways of playing — and what we consider to be acceptable play — are changing. In SWG, I loathed the afk-macroers because to me it seems a perversion of the whole point of these games, which is to *play* them — though I know that’s just one definition of playing. More and more, however, these games are starting to require the kind of time-commitment no sane, post-teen person can actually give, so maybe methods that allow one to play-while-not-really-playing aren’t that bad.

    That said, I’d rather see game design start to move away from the “let’s see how much tedious repetition we can throw at them in the name of immersive gameplay” model and towards the “let’s actually provide immersive gameplay” one. ;)

  2. July 2, 2009 at 13:34

    Had you asked me not too long ago I would have said that is no way of playing a game, especially an MMO.

    I still believe that in a way, at least when it comes to the extent that type of play is used. And I think I would rather see other types of channels for the game play. E.g. I could SMS my character to travel from city A in Zone B to City X in Zone Y until I get home, or put up a bid on the auction/consignment house, or go craft a bunch of potions in time for the dungeon trip tonight.

    I really hope that the PvE gameplay changes a bit in Jade Dynasty at higher levels, but I suspect that will not be the case. I think the Western version of the game is the first with separate PvP and PvE realms – the different Asian versions were all PvP as I have understood it. So I suspect the PvE side might not be all that exciting.

    I really like the Chinese setting for the game, and I still have some of the Zen/Jaden (the transaction currency you buy) I bought to play around with. So I will likely continue to play around with it until I have used up those coins in some way.

  3. Tesh
    July 7, 2009 at 22:11

    I wrote an article a bit ago about AFK gaming, as spurred by the Armor Blog wherein they asked if people like that style of play. Tower Defense games were cited as one prime example of “fire and forget” gaming.

    It’s about time that mentality comes to MMOs, and it’s all the better to underline some baseline assumptions about grind and what really constitutes “playing” an MMO.

    Oh, and I finally got you linked into my blogroll. I’ve been a bad, bad slacker on that count.

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