Categorized | Games, Reviews

Review: Heroes of Three Kingdoms (PC beta)

Time and time again I’ve mentioned my hatred for MMORPG’s, and how I prefer console over PC. So, it might seem rather strange that here I am, reviewing one. Actually, it’s not so strange. Why? Because Heroes of Three Kingdoms takes place during one of my favorite periods of Chinese history.

I first got into the story of Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei by playing the classic Nintendo RPG, Destiny of an Emperor. Ever since then, I’ve watched movies about it, read books about it, and more. As soon as I discovered that Heroes of Three Kingdoms would allow me to really immerse myself into that world, there was no way I was going to let it pass through my fingers.

Created by Perfect World Entertainment, HoTK is a free fantasy MMO. Based on the classic Chinese historical novel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, HoTK really gets down into the story and allows players to decide which side they will be standing on.

When creating my character, I went with a female that I named Shuyin. I originally intended for it to be Shu Yin, but having a space in names isn’t allowed. Sure, it was a bit of a bummer, but it wasn’t a big deal. After that, I chose her origin. Wanting to go with a place Liu Bei was from, I searched through the multiple cities on the map I could choose from. I went with Zhuojun, which is a city in Bingzhou. Located in the modern day Hebei Province, Zhuojun was the hometown of Liu Bei and Zhang Fei.

Then I moved on to picking out her body type (average), her hairstyle (option number 7), and her face (option number 8). Then, I was ready to decide on her weapon. Currently, there are 12 weapons to choose from, with 6 coming soon. Wanting a character that could melee and perform magic, I opted for the Scepter. A detail I really liked is how each weapon has a different “spirit.” The Glaive, for example, has the spirit of Aristocracy. For my weapon, the Scepter, the spirit is Energy. I seriously considered going for the Charmer weapon which are a set of fans, a la Kitana of Mortal Kombat, but based on the description, I didn’t want to be pegged as the “healing class.”

The loading time throughout the entire game is fast, and rather than it being something that’s annoying or boring, I was treated to some gorgeous artwork. When starting off near the Jieyi Shrine in Taoyuan, I was blown away by all of the colors. Blossoms from the trees were swirling in the wind, the reflections in the lake were captivating, and immediately I was taken to a far away land. The music was gorgeous, and had this exquisite Oriental flare. It was so soothing that, a couple of times, I almost fell asleep in my chair. Seriously, it was that relaxing.

Obviously my experience with MMO’s are limited, so in the beginning I was like a baby lamb just learning how to walk in a meadow. Starting everything up took a little bit for me, but that was mainly due to the fact that I had to get used to the keyboard/mouse combo and not a controller. For other gamers out there who have little knowledge of PC gaming or MMO’s, but want to get into it, I highly recommend starting off with Heroes of Three Kingdoms. Not only is it significantly better looking than other MMO’s out there, but the tutorial in the beginning was fantastic. Players of all skill levels can jump into this game and get into the swing of things without getting frustrated. It was easy for me to assign hot-keys (something I had never done before), and I was able to figure the rest out by just moving my mouse cursor along and reading the very informative boxes that would pop-up explaining it all.

After I got into how moving worked, how to battle, pick up items, and more, I was ready to explore the world. In just the section that is Hebei, there are well over 15 different places on your map to go and explore. Quests are plentiful as well if one wants to earn some quick and easy experience. Also, in Hebei there are multiple exits that lead to other places like Xuchang, Guanzhong, and the Shang Wasteland. Of course there are other places to travel to like the distant Liufang Valley, but that is much later on in the game. One thing that I found to be a lot of fun was joining  my first ever party. I had no idea what to do, but thanks to the easy layout, I quickly was able to figure out how to communicate with the rest of the crew and dole out some ownage on Yellow Turban bandits.

So far, I’m really enjoying this game, and I don’t want to stop playing it. I’m sure that’s exactly what the team behind Heroes of Three Kingdoms wanted, and they’ve most certainly achieved it. Because of this game, my perceptions regarding MMO’s has forever changed, and I’ve even signed up to participate in the beta for their next big thing, Forsaken World. I highly suggest you all get this game, because not only do I guarantee that you’ll enjoy it, but having people I know to play with would be awesome.

For more information regarding Heroes of Three Kingdoms, check out the official website, follow them on Twitter, and check out the official Facebook fan page. Also, check out the official website for Perfect World Entertainment to get upcoming news about Heroes of Three Kingdoms, their other projects, and more!

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This post was written by:

Lindsey - who has written 416 posts on Marooners' Rock.

Lindsey is a co-founder and PR manager for Marooners' Rock.

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  • Dave

    I was searching the internet last night for a new MMO to play and this caught my attention. With many weapon classes I hope there is something for everyone. I personally play healing classes typically, however I am quite interested in the Claw class. Hopefully this game isn’t a letdown!

  • lindsey

    Hey Dave,

    Glad to see that Heroes of Three Kingdoms interests you. The main reason I choose Scepter is because I wanted the abilities of a mage, and yet still have decent melee strength. In most RPG’s that I’ve played, going all mage/healer means that you need to rely on warriors or rogues to do the actual fighting. I like to be in the thick of it all :)

    The game is free, so give it a go and try it out. Keep in mind that like all RPG’s, the beginning is a little slow to provide you with some story, but come back and let us know how you like it!

  • Dave

    Hey Lindsey, so far I’ve gotten to level 11 after playing it for a few days. Balancing experience between skillpoints and leveling is interesting (and I can see it becoming grindy) but overall the game itself seems so-so.

    Here’s my major issue. The game has reached open beta and is in a state of yuck. It is highly unpolished. There are no clicky sounds for almost anything, the UI feels like it was slopped together and text looks generally flat and boring. If they can get their game polished, I may stick around a while.

    Right now I’m level 11, and just got a mount. Like any F2P MMO I’m not expecting anything massively awesome for a free mount, but honestly, from 4.5 yards/sec to 5.0 yards/sec is not anything impressive (~10% speed increase.) I’d love to see a few more options for mounts and I’d also like to see crafting enhancements as well. The crafting system seems reasonable, with a chance to receive a high quality item. I may toy around with that more.

    The monsters and quests however are rather redundant. No challenge to any of them. I’m a healer class and can just 4,5,6 repeatedly through any monster and have plenty of health left to move on to the next monster without giving it a second thought. The fields of monsters you can literally run through and none of them aggro you, which is kind of silly. I haven’t found any REASON to be compelled to play this game. The storyline is alright, but the quests are so. friggin. bland. I’ve done the same thing ten times, and most of the time the quest giver just has you run to another NPC to talk to them and, tada, you’re done. There isn’t really a major storyline arc from what I can tell, there seems to be a singular per-level storyline going on but man, that is really dull.

    The only people I have really been able to talk to are people shouting in World about their guild. They are the only people who have given me any help whatsoever after I whisper them a few questions. Nobody in the game seems interested in talking to other people and the chat system seems really difficult to use for some reason. Once again, it comes down to the UI and polishing it. The UI is awful. It needs more USER INTERACTION. Right click and left click seem to be identical, as right clicking or left clicking anything sells it or picks it up, etc. I wish they’d have a side-by-side comparison of items currently equipped vs. items you are hovering over say, in your bag. The UI needs a total rework, in my opinion.


    The Good

    Level/Specialty system
    Game graphics are decent
    Nice equipment features
    Crafting system is interesting
    Auto-move system is very usable
    Quests deliver tons of experience

    The Bad

    User Interface
    Seems grindy (req. experience seems to increase exponentially each level)
    Not much in-game help
    Other players seem closed-minded or unwilling to help
    Quests are repetitive/boring
    Monsters seem to have no life or vibrancy whatsoever
    Mining system isn’t well-explained
    Lack of tutorials leaves me frustrated, even at level 10
    Game text is unpolished
    Interactions with UI need to have noises to confirm clicking
    I fear unavailable weapon classes will need to be purchased
    Marketing seems difficult
    Money system ambiguous

    Okay, that’s it for now. I play on realm 1 as Siigari, so send me a message or anything if you want to hang out or if you can offer any kind of help.


  • lindsey

    Hey Dave,

    Thanks for coming back and giving your initial impressions. I do agree with some of your points, especially with the money system. I typically play on Realm 10, but I have no objections to popping into Realm 1 and helping you out :) My characters name is Shuyin.

  • Jona

    Story kind of reminds me of Dynasty Warriors

  • Lindsey

    The Three Kingdoms story is what Dynasty Warriors is based on. Nice catch :)

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