Voyage Century Online

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Voyage Century Online
Voyage Century Online official logo.png
Developer(s) Snail Games
Publisher(s) IGG
Snail Games
Platform(s) Windows
Release date(s) December 22, 2006
Genre(s) Historical MMORPG
Mode(s) Multiplayer

Voyage Century Online (航海世纪/王者世紀) is a free nautical MMORPG developed by Snail Games and published by IGG.[1] It was the first game developed by Snail after its founding in 2000.[2] It is set in 16th-century Earth and features accurate historical representations of several coastal cities. Players are not required to choose a career path at the beginning of the game. This gives players a rather varied gameplay in which players can either specialize in one skill and trade for resources, or make use of all the skills.

History[edit]

Prior to its English launch, Voyage Century Online was available to players in China, South Korea, and Germany. An alpha test open to 1000 players began on the English version on December 8, 2006, and an open beta version was launched on December 22, 2006. The game's full version was released April 8, 2007.[3]

Plot[edit]

Screenshot of Zhigu city as it appears in game.

Voyage Century Online is a game set in 16th-century Europe with its roots in the Age of Sail.

From the 15th century, western European explorers push eastward in an effort to seek treasures, spices and other luxuries of that time. They opened a gate to riches and greed for those in power, who sponsored explorers' cause without abandonment. As the fleets stretched their paths, westerners expanded their influences to Africa. Later they cruised around Cape of Good Hope to reach Indian Ocean. In the other direction, they explored westward and found the New World. The late 15th century saw the start of the global expansion of Western capitalism and colonial exploitation of the rest of the world.

Voyage Century storyline begins at Mediterranean from the late 15th to early 16th century. The western powers start the bloody pursuit of riches that led Europe into an age of great turmoil. Every character in the game was from a mysterious birth. Some of them are descendants of the courageous cavalry in Yuan Empire, some carry the family line of caravan merchants faring the Silk Road, some are the witnesses of the not so well known affair between of Marco Polo and Chinese princess, and some are even the offspring of west Europe's pirates. But all players are to maintain a firm belief: the pursuit of peace and hope. Bearing the faith, they embarked on a passionate adventure on the High Seas.

Gameplay[edit]

Voyage Century Online is a third-person massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). Character, ship and camera movements are fully controlled by mouse, while skills can be controlled using keyboard, through skill shortcut bar. At the beginning of the game, players are asked to choose one of the five professions available, Royal Military Officer, Imperial Guardian, Caribbean Pirate, Treasure Hunter or Armed Businessman. Professions can be leveled, up to level 160, by gaining experience points from performing various tasks in game, e.g. crafting, fighting animals, completing quests. Leveling profession is beneficial as new profession skills are unlocked with every new level. Each profession has its own unique skill set and role it plays in game. Professions can be changed at any point which gives players a rather varied gameplay. In addition to professions, there are four different weapons available, axe, sword, falchion and gun. Players are not required to choose any weapon in specific, but certain professions will benefit from certain weapons, e.g. Treasure Hunter is specialized in using guns and will do more damage fighting with a gun.

Game features many different systems of which most noted ones are skill system, exploration system, trading system, rank system, refining system and upgrading system.

Skill system[edit]

Every character has 17 different skills available for leveling, ranging from fighting skills to collection and production skills. Skills are leveled by performing various tasks (e.g. fighting animals, sewing, mining) and gaining experience points from them. Skills are essential to players progress in game as they have many uses in game of which most noted ones are crafting equipment and collecting materials. Most importantly they are required for sailing various ships and using various equipment.

Exploration system[edit]

Exploration system is a unique system which keeps track of players exploration progress. Trough exploring different areas of the game, players are earning points which can be used to take various rewards from exploration system. Points are mostly gained by killing animals, sinking ships, authenticating plants and minerals, and finishing various quests throughout the world.

Trading system[edit]

Trading system gives players the ability to purchase goods (commodities) from one city and sell them in another city. Every city and colony has its own supply and demand. Having higher amity with countries, grants the ability to purchase goods at lower prices resulting in more profit. Goods can be traded freely between cities for a huge profit and experience. Having goods on the ship whilst sailing on the high seas attracts the attention of pirate NPC ships. Players are able to team up, creating huge trading fleets, allowing them to combat pirates more efficiently.

Rank system[edit]

There are 2 ranks available in game, noble rank and honored officer rank. Noble rank is acquired by gaining reputation. Reputation can be acquired in many ways, some of them being authenticating treasures, discovering animals, sinking ships and finishing quests. Honored Officer rank is acquired by gaining contribution points. Contribution points are gained by participating in Petro Fortress and Labrinton Coast battlegrounds, PvP events with capture the flag style gameplay. Ranks are required by various equipment, following the common rule: higher the equipment level, higher the rank that is required to equip them.

Refining system[edit]

Equipment found in game can be refined through refining system to add different bonuses on them. Items used to refine equipment, called refining items in game, can be found either in game in various instances or in item mall by purchasing them.

Upgrading system[edit]

Upgrading system is used to upgrade equipment to a higher level. Unlike crafting, upgrading equipment allows players to keep bonuses which they added through refining system.

PVE[edit]

Voyage Century features 22 different PvE instances, areas that will generate a new copy of the location for each team of players that enters the area. This ensures that different teams are able to interact with an area privately, without interference from other teams. Teams can contain up to 5 players. Instances are divided into two main categories, land- and sea-based. There are 6 sea and 16 land instances available in total. Instances contain special monsters and ships with valuable drops. Most of the items required for refining and upgrading equipment are found exclusively in these areas. Beside instances, almost all cities have suburban areas with various vicious animals ready to attack. In addition, game features historically famous pirates like Hayreddin Barbarossa, William Dampier, John Hawkins and others.

PVP[edit]

Voyage Century has a very restrictive PvP system. Players are able to PvP in certain areas like suburbs, offshores, islands and dungeons. Players are not allowed to PvP in city residential areas and ports. Attacking another player will result in gaining notoriety points. Notorious players are marked with red names and will be hunted by guards and patrol ships. Notoriety will also result in dropping items from the players inventory should the player die. Notoriety can be removed by going to jail or by using special items. In addition to regular PvP, there special events like guild wars, siege wars and battlegrounds. Killing players during these events will not result in gaining notoriety.

Guild wars are guild PvP battles in specifically designed enclosed area away from other players. They feature last man standing style gameplay. Players start fighting in a sea scene allowing them to launch massive sea attacks on their opponents. If attacking team manages to sink all players from the defending team, the fight will move on the land. Last guild with an active land player wins. Should the defenders sink all players from the attacking team, the land fighting part is skipped and defenders are automatically declared victorious. Winning guilds will gain a small amount of guild funds and points, as opposite of losing guilds which will lose a small amount guild funds and points. Unlike siege wars, in guild wars, guilds will be aided by guild defense towers, NPC ships and soldiers.

Siege wars are massive PvP events which happen once a week. Guilds are able to siege cities to claim ownership. Owning a city has many benefits, some of them being, ability to purchase special limited items or collecting taxes from NPC traders. Guilds are allowed to invite allied guilds to aid them. Siege wars contain two main components, city's barbette and mothership. Prior to the siege, attacking guild has to set up a mothership somewhere on the high sea. Mothership contains a flag and serves as a spawning point for the attacking team. Barbette contains a flag and serves as a spawning point for the defending team. In order to claim the ownership of the city, attacking guild needs to destroy the flag located on top of the barbette. Should the defending guild destroy the flag located on the mothership first, the siege will end resulting in a victory for the defending team.

Battlegrounds are small PvP-based events with capture the flag style gameplay. There are two battlegrounds available for the time being, Petro Fortress (land) and Labrinton Coast (sea). They feature 10 versus 10 player fights on a small field, divided into two teams, red and blue. There are 4 flags available in 4 corners of the map. Player can capture a flag by standing next to it for 60 seconds. After a successful capture, his team will gain 15 points every few seconds. In addition, a resource will spawn randomly in the middle of the map. A team that manages to bring it to one of their flags will gain additional 150 points. First team that reaches 2000 points will be victorious. The battle lasts 20 minutes. If none of the teams manage to reach 2000 points during that period, the team with the most points will be declared victorious.

Expansions[edit]

Since the first release, the game has received 9 major expansions.

Doom Treasure[edit]

Released on November 30, 2007, it was the first major expansion. It has introduced the first instance, Hurricane Island Instance, first refining items along with other small changes.[4]

Colony Age[edit]

Released on June 24, 2008, it was the second major expansion. It has introduced guild built cities, new level 11 ships, new equipment, afk system and new pirate bosses along with other small changes.[5]

New Era of Conquest[edit]

Released on February 24, 2009, it was the third major expansion. It has introduced professions, 6 new instances, new profession-based equipment, the American continent including 6 new cities, Seward, San Francisco, Cruz, Salinas, San Diego and Magellan Outpost.[6]

March to Glory[edit]

Released on August 4, 2009, it was the fourth major expansion. It has introduced 2 new instances, elite mayan and elite hurricane island, wedding system, new pet system with 4 new pets, along with other small updates.[7]

Atlantis[edit]

Released on March 1, 2010, it was the fifth major expansion. It has introduced 2 new Islands, Bimini and North island, 4 new land instances, new profession-based equipment and atlantis and north island exploration systems along with other small changes.[8]

Harbor Blockade[edit]

Released on June 27, 2011, it was the sixth major expansion. It has introduced a first sea-based instance, level 13 ships along with other small changes.[9]

The Gate to the Poseidon Temple[edit]

Released on December 14, 2011, it was the seventh major expansion. It has introduced a brand new redesigned guild system, 2 new land instances, binding system along with other small changes.[10]

The Pirate King's Treasures[edit]

Released on May 9, 2012, it was the eight major expansion. It has introduced 3 new sea instances, 1 new land instance, new portobello exploration system and new profession-based equipment along with other small changes.[11]

Hurricane Island Mystery[edit]

Released on February 12, 2014, it was the ninth major expansion. It has introduced 2 new cities, Jamestown and New Amsterdam, new portobello sea instance, new profession-based equipment, 3 new exploration systems, world ocean, storm voyage and hurricane mystery, level 14 ships along with other small changes.[12]

Criticism[edit]

Game is often criticized for its heavy reliance on item mall. There are a lot of items in game which can be obtained only through item mall. In addition, ability to purchase refines in item mall has created a huge gap between free to play and pay to play players.[13][14]

Another thing that is often being criticized is the afk system, which allows players to fight animals and gain experience points without actually playing the game. The game also has other auto systems, like autotrack system which allows players to travel from one city to another while being afk. Some people think there is no point in playing the game if automated systems are going to do all the work.[15][16]

Lately game was criticized for lack of player support. On May 30, 2013, live support was cancelled and replaced with ticket support system.[17] Players have reported that it takes weeks to get an acceptable answer through ticket support.[18]

Other distributions[edit]

The game is available in other languages. Snail games has licensed a number of companies for distribution of localized versions. Some of them being:

  • Chinese distribution of the game that goes under the name of 航海世纪 (Voyage Century), which is published by the original developer, Snail Games.
  • European (English, German and French servers) distribution of the game that goes under the name of Bounty Bay Online, which was originally published by Frogster and later taken by Snail USA.[19] Servers were officially stopped at September 20, 2012 after which all characters were saved and transferred to new servers run by Snail USA.[20]
  • Russian distribution that goes under the name of Онлайн игра Пираты (Pirates Online), which was originally published by Netville[21] and later taken by Snail RU. Servers were officially stopped at September 7, 2015 after which all characters were saved and transferred to new servers run by Snail RU.[22]
  • Spanish and Portuguese distribution of the game that go under the name of Magnifica Adventura (Magnificent Adventure) which was published by Vibrant Communications Limited.[23] This version was closed on November 17, 2013.[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Aihoshi, Richard (November 21, 2006). "Voyage Century Interview". IGN. 
  2. ^ Gaudiosi, John (November 5, 2012). "Snail Games Founder And CEO Shi Hai Details US Expansion And Hollywood Plans For Age Of Wushu". Forbes. 
  3. ^ "A timeline of IGG events". Internet Gaming Gate. IGG. Archived from the original on March 14, 2009. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "Doom Treasure Expansion Preview". Voyage Century. IGG. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  5. ^ "Colony Age". Voyage Century Online. IGG. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  6. ^ "New Era of Conquest". Voyage Century Online. IGG. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  7. ^ "March to Glory". Voyage Century Online. IGG. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  8. ^ "Atlantis". Voyage Century Online. IGG. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  9. ^ "Harbor Blockade". Voyage Century Online. IGG. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  10. ^ "The Gate to the Poseidon Temple". Voyage Century Online. IGG. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  11. ^ "The Pirate King's Treasure". Voyage Century Online. IGG. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  12. ^ "Hurricane Island Mystery". Voyage Century Online. IGG. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  13. ^ "Gamespot player reviews". Gamespot. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  14. ^ "MMORPG.com player reviews". MMORPG.com. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  15. ^ "MMOHut review". Youtube. MMOHut. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  16. ^ "Steam Community Forums". Steam Community Forums. Steam. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  17. ^ "Goodbye Live Support". Voyage Century Online. IGG. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  18. ^ "Slow support, player report". Voyage Century Online Official Forum. IGG. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  19. ^ "Bounty Bay Online Closing Announcement". Bounty Bay Online Forum. Frogster. Archived from the original on May 10, 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2015. 
  20. ^ "Bounty Bay Online Closing Date". Bounty Bay Online Forum. Frogster. Archived from the original on May 10, 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2015. 
  21. ^ "Онлайн игра Пираты". Онлайн игра Пираты. Netville. Archived from the original on March 27, 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2015. 
  22. ^ "Онлайн игра Пираты". Онлайн игра Пираты. Netville. Archived from the original on October 21, 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2015. 
  23. ^ "Magnifica Aventura". Magnifica Aventura. Vibrant Communications Limited. Archived from the original on October 27, 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  24. ^ "Magnifica Aventura Closing". Magnifica Aventura. Vibrant Communications Limited. Archived from the original on February 10, 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 

External links[edit]