A3 - Preview

Developers: Actoz and Ani-Park
Publisher: iGamesAsia
Release Date: 2005





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After two successful betas, Actoz and AniPark are ready to release A3--standing for Art, Alive, and Attract, the main themes of the game--into the wild and see how it fares in today's MMORPG market. More particularly, the companies will be seeing how A3 does with the "mature" crowd, because gamers must be 18 to play it. While the specific reasons for this restriction are not known, it has been revealed that the game is heavy on story and themes, being dubbed a "drama MMO." This is evident in the 17 chapters of prologue and 16 more chapters until it even reaches its climax.

The world is based on the detailed myth of the great tree "Silbard," which supports not only the six continents of the world, but the sun, moon, and stars as well. On the second continent, called "Hellamarsh," humankind lived in peace with several other species, but the tranquility didn't last forever. A new clan led by a woman calling herself "The All-Mother Rabellu" took over and created many new laws. One of those laws forbade the "mixing" of races, essentially outlawing inter-species marriage. Halfling children would be considered "demons," and anyone caught breaking the taboo would bring on severe consequences. Taking that law and various other rules imposed by the new clan as tyrannical, a group of legendary fighters formed the first "Knight's Circle" to combat them, sparking a continent-wide war. After long years of fighting, the knights lost. Humanity was exiled from the continent, and faeriekind was sealed away.
"...the game is heavy on story and themes, being dubbed a 'drama MMO.'"

200 years after the end of that war, strangers calling themselves "Normans" started washing up on the shores, looking to build their own kingdoms. These warriors have no idea how they ended up here. Players take the part of the Normans, following in the footsteps of the legendary Knight's Circle with the goal of creating and ruling their own countries.

There are currently four different classes players can choose from: Archers, Warriors, Mages, and Holy Knights. A single account can house five characters, per server, made from these classes. At this time, there is only one server available. Once players have a class, they must choose between one of two different kingdoms to hail from. Upon creation, all players get a pet bird, called a "Shu," which can perform many neat little tricks, and levels up as its owner does.

Moving around in A3 is comparable to the method used in the vast majority of other Korean MMOs of both 2D and 3D varieties; that is, the character takes the shortest route to the place where the player clicks. Actoz and AniPark have given the game AI that finds its way around obstacles, so it matters not whether a tree, hillside, or river is standing between the players and their destinations; the charcters will travel to the assigned spot.

A3 is both a Player vs Enemy and Player vs Player game. Combat with other players isn't used in one's early life, as players can only participate if all members involved in the fight are above level 11. There is no offer of acceptance; players can attack each other at will, provided they are not inside a town. Getting involved in battles with monsters is easy, as most creatures are aggressive towards players. From these descriptions, it seems as if A3 will be filled with action from the second players step outside of town.

Going alone in A3 is all well and good, but the main point is to get together with others to accomplish a common goal. Players can roll with some comrades to go take on critters they can't quite handle by themselves, or hook up with some high-level characters so the lowbies self can mooch EXP from their high-level fights. The maximum number of party members is four, and there is no such thing as a "party leader." So far, this doesn't sound too different from the common MMORPG, but like any memorable game, A3 goes about this in a unique way.

A3's twist on the above formula is the "Knight's Circle." A circle may have up to 13 players, with one Captain. Being part of a Circle lets you in on special quests, and Circle Vs Circle tournaments. Even the leaders of the two human kingdoms, called "Thors", are decided by tourney. The Thor's Circle and the next 8 strongest Circles gain rights to extract taxes. Also, the creators of the Circle get to design its coat of arms.

A3 is scheduled to go commercial later this month. MMORPGamers can check the official English website for frequent updates. At this time, the author thanks Adrienne Beck for her translation contributions to this preview.

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