SilkRoad

Video game where you explore an immense world based on trading

7.5

1062 Votes

  • Category Role Playing
  • License Free
  • Version Online 1.240
  • Size 1.35 GB
  • Works under Windows XP / Windows 2000 / Windows ME / Windows 98 SE / Windows 98
  • Language English
  • Program by Joymax

Silkroad is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game with a Chinese aesthetic.

Silkroad (or Silkroad Online, as it is typically stylized) is a Korean MMORPG developed by a company called Joymax, which released a more recent MMO. In spite of this, Silkroad has more than its fair share of players, and remains active to this day.

In Silkroad, you play as a Chinese or European person adventuring around the titular Silk Road between China and Europe. This setting, which finds itself nestled in the 6th and 7th centuries, is original, and its real-world grounding is carefully enhanced by the presence of elemental crystals, mythological foes and other trappings that add to the setting, rather than spoiling it and turning it to stock fantasy.

In Silkroad, the player is expected to play one of three "roles", beyond their race and class which affects how combat plays (and which side of player-versus-player battles they are typically on). Hunters kill thieves, who steal from merchants; merchants, in turn, gather and supply hunters with gear.

This heavy inter-player dynamic puts a focus on the game's player-versus-player combat, which sees as much design work as its player-versus-enemy combat if not more. Not only that, but the game features other modes of play, such as fortress sieges, which make player-versus-player clashes more massive than anywhere else in the game. There's certainly some appeal to that!

Unfortunately, not all is well in the world of Silkroad. The game attaches advantages and disadvantages to the Chinese and European factions, as well as their classes. Some players view the differences as so sweeping that Chinese characters are better at playing alone ("solo") and European characters are better when in parties together. It could be very dismaying indeed to be a Chinese person yourself and play a Chinese character that does not suit you or your playstyle at all!

That immediate concern about gameplay aside, Silkroad can also be somewhat repetitive. Although much of the game's conflict is player-driven, there are not too many roles to play: the "triangle" that makes the game unique has the unfortunate side-effect of making each of the three meta roles a little bit shallow, as none have the same design care that you might see in the combat of an MMO without thieving or trading.

Other modern MMOs have succeeded in offering roles outside of the usual MMO box, as well as in offering different play-styles or in driving the game based on player actions, so it is sensible to attribute this problem to Silkroad's age and design choices. However, as the game lacks a subscription fee, and its introduction is quite well-made, there's little harm in at least trying the game to see if you'll like it. Every MMO has its players, after all!

Pros

  • Immersive, original setting
  • Very good graphical quality, but still playable on older computers

Cons

  • Lots of lag and World of Warcraft-style combat can make the game feel slow
  • Restrictive race and class choices
  • Cash shop provides sometimes unfair benefits
Alternatives to SilkRoad
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