Sting Part 2 - Gameplay

Sting gameplay can be summed up in one word: Headshot. This game seems to have the most headshots out of any of the FPS games I've played. My first few games seem to have been non-stop headshots and I would guess that in the first 5 matches I died about 70% of the time from headshots. Which is why there won't be an immediate video for this game. I'm trying to get up the gumption to go back in to it.

As with many games you gain some points as you play. You can use these points for guns, aesthetics, and skills. Skills are some abilities that you can have. One is healing, one is speed and one is respawn speed (I think, I didn't actually try that one). The abilities recharge over time. 3 levels total. The longer you let them charge the more benefit you get. Let the healing go to level 1, you get 10 health, level 2, 30 health and level 3 50 health. It takes time, so you better hope you're good at staying alive. I never got to use it for more than 50 and then 10 more before I got killed. The screenshot is a rare moment when I was not dead and near an enemy. The headshot hit box seems to start around mid ankle and run to about 5 feet above your head. The only time I didn't seem to die from a headshot was the rare time they killed me instantly with what appeared to be a heartshot. This is one of the roughest twitchiest shooters I've played. This is a shame because the graphics are nice, and the skill feature is very interesting. It adds a little strategy and depth.

The character classes are interesting, and as I said you can have 4. If you want to switch you actually have to exit the match and pick a different one. Each one progresses independently in terms of points, weapons, skills, etc. Each class is a different nationality. No Canadian, but there is an American. Gameplay modes are currently limited. The game is new and growing. Most of what I saw was team deathmatch. I don't know what else is currently there as I didn't really see anything else available. This game does have bots. Headshot loving bots. Some maps will let you play against a team of bots. You can even create private rooms with some bots if you want to play alone. Maybe just for practice. The bots are not pushovers. Everything is fairly intuitive, one thing to note is when your item expires, you can repurchase it for a discount. So don't go buy a new one. go to your inventory and buy it for a discount. I made this mistake and when I went to my inventory to equip stuff I found the old stuff still there but grayed out. Clicking it gave me an option to buy it again. Nice option and also unique.

In conclusion I personally won't be playing this one a lot. It has some nice features, but I find the headshot feature a total killer. I don't know if this is fully out of beta yet. I didn't really see any cash items so maybe not. In that case there is hope that they will shrink the headshot box down by about 90%. If you want to have a look at the new features it might be worth it for that reason. You might find the twitchiness okay. I'll tack the video on the end of this post perhaps tomorrow if I can get up the energy to go back in.

Sting Part 1 - Installation and Menus

I was going to do a different game today, but someone asked me about FPS games so I tried this out yesterday to see how it was. Sting is a FPS on an independent site. The game is made by YNK games who are responsible for a couple of mmorpgs and who also has a 2D flying game in pre-beta. From my searching on Naver this seems to be one of the newest FPS in Korea. So if you want to get in on the ground floor, you might want to try it out. It has several unique features will I discuss in gameplay. First off you'll need a Korean to sign up for you. It only takes 4 characters for name input.

Once you have an account, you'll have to click repeatedly on the gamestart link to install a couple of activex controls (at this point my computer is like a poster child for activex control addiction) and then launch the installer. This installer isn't a normal launcher so you won't see it again after you install it. Which means no screenshot, but it is relatively simple to navigate. You'll get the regular buttons letting you pick a folder to put the download in and then you can press go. It'll download and you can again hit go to launch the install. When the install finishes, the installer doesn't go away. You have to close it. After you close it you go back to the website and press game start again. Unlike other installers it doesn't auto-close or change in to a launch button.

Once you're in game you'll be prompted to pick a graphical settings level. Pick the right most to get the highest quality. I get decent performance on my machine at 1920x1200 on that setting. You need to manually adjust the resolution later. Next you'll be prompted to create a character. This is one of the ways this game differs from other games. You can't just change your class on the fly in this game. You can have up to 4 characters of different classes (or the same one..but why?) and if you want to change them you'll have to exit the current match. You build up their gear, points, ranking, etc independently. After you've created your first character you can jump in to the channel. The first screen is a general or clan select. Pick the top choice. It will auto-select a channel.

From the main screen you can do a lot of normal things. Inventory, manage your characters (and switch them), and get to the settings area. Exiting here will actually take you back to the channel select if you want to jump around the channels to find more games or different games. Items in the game are purchased on time again. You guy buy things for a set period of days. A note on hangul for this game. I mentioned in Pointblank how I had trouble using alt-shift to switch the input language. This game blocks it all. I have no idea why. The only way I could type in hangul in this game was to change my default input language to Korean and restart. You will still type in English letters by default, it just means the language bar will be sitting on Ko and not En when windows starts. You can use the right alt key to toggle between hangul and english letters. This solves the problems in all games. Tomorrow, gameplay!

Portals foreigners can't sign up for

So in this post I'm going to give a big giant list of all the game portals I've found that don't allow foreigners to sign up for them. You'll have to ask one of your Korean friends to make an account for you. I recommend ordering some food and having them spend 20 minutes making you an account for all of them to get it out of the way if you can. I'll be covering various games from these sites, and you might see one you like. I'm not going to detail the sign-up because I assume your Korean friend with a Korean ID can read Korean.

MGame has the requisite number of about a dozen MMORPGs, and then some other games. They have a first person shooter in the way of Operation 7, a real time tactical game that has some relation to pearl harbor, an arena combat game called Crashbattle and a couple of casual and overly cute RPGs. They are apparently responsible for Knight Online. This is a Korean MMORPG that was a really blatant Everquest ripoff in terms of interface that made its way over to North America a few years ago. It wasn't that impressive then, probably not that impressive now.

Up next, Netmarble. Netmarble again has a dozen or so MMORPGs but they have more developed categories of action, sports/fps, and casual. Netmarble has the Korean version of Perfect World. If you're familiar with that and want to play on a server with a low ping I recommend it. Since Perfect world has a few english editions it might not be a big deal to find a walk-through if you want to play it. They also have Sudden Attack which is a wildly popular but long in the tooth first person shooter. Most of their action games are fighter beat-em ups. So if you're interested in those you might want to try some of them out. There is a Gundam one. Gundam games are hard to find in the west. They have Gunz which is a game that has enjoyed some popularity outside of Korea as well. They also have a mech fighting game called Metal Rage.

Hanbiton doesn't have an overly huge abundance of games but they do have a few interesting ones. They have the only place you can still play Hellgate: London online. They acquired the IP as it was going belly up. You can download the game (huge for a Korean game over 5 GB) and play it for free. It is an action RPG so there is a lot of text, but there are walkthroughs for the English version if you can't sort it. They have a FPS in beta called Warcry that looks very interesting, and a golf game that has strangely been ported to various other game systems including the play station and playstation portable called Pang-ya. To me this site is worth it just for Warcry, it looks like it will be very good.

I'm going to mention Nexon. Technically foreigners can sign up for Nexon but you have to go to their office (and possibly still speak Korean there) or fax them a DNA sample. So if you've got a friend making accounts for you, you might as well just have them do this one up too. Nexon has Counterstrike online (with a zombie mod), Warrock (a game that also showed up in North America with an atrocious beta) and combat arms another relatively popular FPS. They also have a new cute FPS called Bubblefighter which involves water guns and forming giant bubbles around people. They have a handful of sports games and a fighter or two.

That's it for game portals that I've found that need a Korean to help you do the sign-up. I'm always looking for more and if I find some new ones I'll post them. I still have another couple of game portals that foreigners can sign up for on their own. I've also found that independent games typically don't allow foreigner sign-up on the sites. So if you see some of those you like you'll have to order some more food and get your friend back over.

Pointblank Part 3 - Inventory, store and notes

I didn't post yesterday because I was busy playing Pointblank and sorting out some more stuff about it. It is truly a fun game. The first thing I want to mention is typing in hangul in the game. When I first loaded it up I was surprised to find that no matter what I did I couldn't type in hangul in the game. Apparently the game blocks the alt-shift keys from doing their job and switching the language bar. These are the default keys. Luckily windows lets you switch them to ctrl-shift. Doing so allowed me to switch the language bar and then use the right alt key to toggle English/Korean letters. I'm not sure what their thinking is in disabling these keys, but if you find yourself similarly stuck, I recommend trying that.

The store in Pointblank functions like some of the other stores. Things you buy are for x number of days. In this case, 1, 7, 30, or 90. With increasing discounts the longer you purchase it for. This rewards people playing a long time. However if you have to take a break you might lose your items and have to drop more points on getting them back. When you go to buy a weapon you can choose the time you want to have the weapon, check the various stats and then buy it. If you want you can also gift it by click on 선물 instead of 구입. Most of the stats are similar to AVA or konglish. There is a weapon that sounds like a pea-shooter that is apparently very deadly as I always get wasted by it. I particularly like the heavy machine gun and use it in the helicopter maps as it really does a number on them. In the inventory you can activate an extra weapon for each slot and in game you can toggle around them, so you aren't entirely limited by your inventory set-up prior to entering the game.

After a short while you'll burn through the first few missions. After you've used them all up you'll notice that you don't get a new mission. To get a new mission you need to spend points unlocking it. For some odd reason you can unlock the missions one at a time or unlock a whole group. I can often finish a whole mission in one match so I'm not sure why you'd want to bother unlocking a single mission at once and not a whole group. You only get the big prize for completing the big group anyway. If you're not getting any new missions, you can go to the mission area, and click the drop down menu. choose a mission you haven't done and buy it. A full mission seems to cost around 5000 points and you'll likely get almost that much back just in the time it takes to complete it. For completing one mission I got a weapon for a day, you also get point bonuses, and some other stuff. Again, just buy all the missions, I can't see the point in getting one at a time. It would just be a headache. You can change the active mission (if there is something you're having trouble doing and want to move on) just by going in and clicking a different uncompleted card. Most of the missions you'll do just through normal gameplay. Killing people, throwing grenades, etc. Sometimes you have to kill with a specific weapon or sometimes you have to kill them when they are looking at you. If you don't know what weapon to use, press "T" to bring up the weapon list in game and compare the names to the mission. You'll usually find a match.

Pointblank Part 2 - Gameplay

As I said in the last post, I was pleasantly surprised with Pointblank. I wasn't sure what to expect, but the game was quite fun. The gameplay centers around sexy police officers and criminals shooting each other up. The graphics are nice and the gameplay interesting. There still isn't any gun sights except for sniper rifles, but the play modes are various and there are destructible environments. There are 5 types of gameplay on the main screen but one of them I couldn't try. Every game I tried to join gave me an error. It was called "Challenge"(챌린지). Not sure what the point of it is. The first kind I'll mention is 폭파미션. This is a demolition style mission like counter strike. As you know I'm not a huge fan of these, so I just confirmed its play style and moved on. 1 death, plant an explosive device.

저격전 is Sniper Deathmatch. You can only be a sniper and you face off the enemy in opposing buildings. You can try to sneak across and wreak havoc with your knife if you so wish. 단쳬전 is team deathmatch. These and all other maps seem to always be played to 100 deaths. Gameplay is pretty fast, and people make ample use of smoke grenades. The game play is a lot less twitchy than Karma 2. It is still fast, but I found myself getting slaughtered far less than in Karma 2. Not everyone stepped around the corner with guns blazing. I decided to play some team deathmatch and it was a lot of fun. On the map I played you could hurl grenades to break up a wall and try and move through. On another map there was a library and you could get on the roof and shoot out panes of glass to drop down.

The last gameplay type was the most interesting. It is called "파괴미션" which means demolition, but I'm not sure why. I didn't see any demolition happening on the map. What I did see is circling helicopters that you had to try and take down. You could pick up rocket launchers and take them out, and at the beginning of the game, someone would spawn in it. They could either bail out, or jump on the minigun and start blazing. The video I've included has me jumping out and then killing some people, but I've also uploaded a video of me shooting the minigun which was pretty fun. It means you can't die until the end of the mission. The first team to blow up the other team's helicopter wins. You don't control the helicopter either. It is on a set pattern. At one point it will drop down and dock with the playing field if you want to get on it you can. I can't see the advantage of being on it and not being in control of the minigun. The helicopter moves far too much to be an effective sniping platform or anything like that.

This game is really quite fun. Up until now AVA has been my favorite FPS in Korea, but Pointblank is a serious contender. It is missing some of the finer controls, like weapon sights, but I didn't miss them that much.

Pointblank Part 1- Installation and Menus

As I was preparing to install this, I thought "Yay, another FPS. I certainly put a lot of those on the blog". Well with every site having several of them, they are an over-represented genre in Korea. Plaync has little outside of MMORPGs which makes it tough to put much else up from them. However, I must say I was pleasantly surprised with Pointblank. First thing we'll do is head over to the Pointblank page after having logged in at Plaync. Click the big giant game start button to kick off the install. Now, Plaync has a custom built installer that handles all their games. You can open this application, the Plaync launcher from your start menu after you install this first game. Should you want to try other games you can easily download them from there rather than opening the individual pages. The install process took long enough that I was logged out of the Plaync site, so if you get an error when you try to launch the game, go back, refresh the page and login again. Then click start again.

Now you want to click the button labeled 설치 and it will start to download. When it is finished the install will kick off as normal. That button will then turn in to an upgrade button, why it doesn't do that on a first install I don't know, and then finally it'll turn in to a play button when all is said and done. After the game launches you'll be asked to pick a nickname which can be the same as your ID if you want. The rules for ID/nickname creation on Korean websites seems haphazard and confusing. The display name can't be the same as your ID, but the nickname can. It is also going to throw up a few welcome screens after you choose the nick name, just close those down. One warning about the menu. There is apparently some kind of auto-join in play in this game. If you're just sitting in the channel it is going to offer you games. You can see this message on the left. It will look something like that, with a different number depending on what room it is offering you. Click 취소 to ignore it. You'll get one every little while. If I can figure out how to disable them I will be sure to post it.

Now on to the main menu. The first thing you'll want to do is change the resolution. Joy of joys, the menu actually changes resolution too. This automatically gives the game bonus points. There are a number of standard features, shop, inventory, settings, clan, friends, and missions. Missions little quests or tasks you have to do in the course of your playing. As you do them you'll get experience and notifications about them. In the beginning you have to do something like kill someone, or get a headshot. It seems like you'll complete them just through normal play so I wouldn't worry too much on them. If you get stuck on one, try running it through google or phone a friend. One thing I did notice is that the background music was unreasonably loud in this game. Go into the sound settings and turn that down. The background music is controlled with the upper slider.

Up next, gameplay, videos and screens.

Plaync Registration

Plaync is another game portal in Korea that allows foreign registration. They are behind games such as Lineage and Aion. The layout is actually slightly different from most game portals and features just a small game box on the right and the rest of the main page is filled with advertisements and stories about games.

Start registration by clicking on the text link underneath the login box. On the next screen you'll see three choices. I chose the blue one, a cube like fellow wearing a blue suit and headphones. Accept the TOS on the next screen and then enter your name in capitals, last name first. The registration page is actually a little small compared to most of the other sites. Input an ID and nickname. One is for login, the other is what is displayed. Pick a password, and this time you'll have to complete a Korean captcha. You'll need to switch to Korean typing to do this. if you haven't learned to type in Korean, you might want to find a friend to help you out. There is no address field on this one. Email and phone number and that is it. After filling these out, click okay and you'll have your ID. I found this to be one of the easiest sites to sign up for.

Plaync is an RPG heavy site. Most of the games they have are RPGs and only have 1 other catch-all category "Casual games" which everything else goes in. They have an obligatory first person shooter which I'll do a write-up about and they have a couple of nice looking games in development. One is Steel Dogs, some kind of car combat game, and anther game called Metal Black which is a 3/4 isometric shooter.

This looks like it is going to be quite interesting. There are no promo videos or screens for Steel Dogs, but the site graphics indicate vehicular combat. There is an on-going alpha test, I'm going to see if its possible to get signed up for it.

The Elusive Korean RTS

If you've spent any amount of time in Korea or even hearing about Korea you will know that Koreans are obsessed with Starcraft. I was not surprised then when I went hunting for Korean RTS games that were not Starcraft, I came up mostly dry. By mostly I mean that I found no current Korean made RTS games. I haven't completely given up the search, and I did find some, just not playable at this time. I'll detail a couple of them here.

The first is TKOnline. The TK stands for Turbulent Kingdom. TK was an active RTS that apparently started to undergo a redesign last October. News on the site is scarce, and there haven't been any updates. There are users occasionally posting on the site asking about updates, but so far the devs have said nothing. If it makes a come back you can be sure I'll write about it. The art style is a little cartoonish and reminds me vaguely of Warcraft 3. It is an independent website and not part of a portal. The company behind it is Mobicle who seems to be mostly focused on a few mobile games. This is their only PC game that I can find.

The other game I've found is a game called 3rdplanet. This RTS game doesn't appear to have been released yet and I can't find an announced release date. The graphics do look nice and it appears to be a sci-fi RTS with some giant robots. There is also some kind of card game mechanic, but I'm not sure what that is. The company behind the game is UTPlus. They have one other game listed on their website called M Project, but there doesn't seem to be any other info on it. Also with a name like M Project, it is a little hard to search.

Personally I find 3rdplanet to be a little more interesting than TKOnline, but I plan to try them both, if and when they're released. None of the game portals I've joined have any RTS games on them and it appears very few companies want to try and compete with the juggernaut that is Starcraft. With Starcraft II coming out it will probably make the RTS market in Korea even tougher to break.

Update: TK online has finally been released. So for those interested, see my latest post on it here. The 3rdplanet site is returning a database error, so that doesn't look so good.

Karma 2 - Gameplay

Karma 2 has a handful of gameplay modes, but as I stated earlier, most of the gameplay is focused in team deathmatch maps. The vast majority of maps you will see in channels are team deathmatch and the other types of maps are almost always empty. Which made it hard to play those ones to try them out.

Survivor is a gameplay mode that is basically team deathmatch but 1 death per round. I don't know exactly why people enjoy these maps. They're pretty boring to me, but then again a lot of people like counter strike. I just hate getting shot up early and having to sit around for 2 minutes before I can die again in under 10 seconds. Maybe the problem is I'm not good at those kinds of maps^^ I played a few games of it, some interesting maps, and it seems like there is the ability to get low and shoot out from under some things like vehicles which makes it interesting. On the right you can see me about to snipe a guy during a survivor level. I'm pretty sure I missed and some flying debris took me out.

Another map type if occupation. Occupation is 2 teams on a small map, with a control point. The longer you hold the point the more points you get. Reach a certain limit and you win. I died a lot in these games but it was fun. sometimes the games are over quick. I think the limit has to be higher, maybe 2-3x as long would be better. I had a couple games end in around 1 minute. The problem is the team which takes the control point first gets a major tactical advantage.

There is another map type which I didn't translate before. It is konglish and means "One Flag" its similar to occupation but takes place in a trench scenario. Not sure why it isn't just part of the same rotation.

Team deathmatch is fairly standard. What really sets this game apart is the control. The mouse feels very laggy when turning and there is no way to adjust the sensitivity of it. When I tried to turn to shoot at someone in this game, I felt like it was just too slow compared to AVA or Wolf Team. I'm not sure why. I got used to it after a few games and it wasn't too much of a big deal, but still a little noticeable. Perhaps its some kind of realism thing. I'm not sure. Team death match is pretty fun. Like AVA you get money when you level up and after every match you get some experience points. All items are done on in-game time so if you want to buy some new grenades, helmets, etc keep an eye on the time. If it expires you won't have that item. They're cheap and keeping them in stock is no big deal. The guns are expensive but every level you should be able to buy one or two guns. Those stay forever. There is no zooming on the guns except for the sniper rifles. Its possible to get mortars which is interesting.

Its a reasonable game. There are 4 classes to play, soldier, sniper, rocket launcher guy, and heavy soldier. The maps are interesting and varied. You die a lot and quickly. It seems everyone steps around the corner firing so don't expect to get the drop on anyone.

Karma 2 - Install and Menus

Karma 2 is a newer first person shooter in Korea. It is developed by Dragonfly studios. Dragonfly studios has a game on Pmang, but Karma 2 isn't on a game portal site. It is hosted on its own site. It also doesn't allow foreign registration. So if you'd like to check it out you'll have to ask one of your Korean friends to set up an account for you. Account creation is pretty fast and since they've got to do it, they can understand it. On the off chance they just give you their KSSN and say you can make an account it is pretty straight forward and many of the options are similar to the pmang account creation and you can follow that guide on making the account. Karma 2 also got a little western press for their recent promotion in which they had some Koreans dress up in Nazi uniforms and run around some parts of Seoul to advertise.

The install is fairly straightforward. This is another one where you'll have to click the left text link under the game start icon to kick it off. It is around 830MB. Once it is all installed you can go ahead and start the game. I had to do a brief update even though I just downloaded it, and there was of course an activex control on the page that I had to install the first time I pressed game start.

Once you have it up and running, I believe you have to choose a nickname on first run of the game. It will immediately auto-select a channel for you and present you with a list of games. You can change your channel later if you want. This game continues the trend of "resolution only effects the game and not the menu". Which means your menu is stuck at 1024x768. Not a big deal, but it doesn't look that sharp on a 1920x1200 resolution. As to performance, I've played several maps at 1920x1200 with maximum settings for overall, models and 2x AA and still pulled from 50-100 Frames per second depending on where I am standing. Korean games seem to run fairly well on mid-range systems. Mine is starting to even flirt with the lower-end of mid-range systems and I can still play games that look great.

This menu is really easy and basic. We have the familiar settings button, exit, an inventory/store, a few stats in the lower left a list of games, channel, and players in the channel. The inventory/store consists of first an inventory screen where you choose your load-out and then a store screen where you can buy the items. Items here are mixed purchases. Some are permanent, like weapons and some are time restricted like gear. The time restriction on gear is in-game minutes. A previous game we played had calendar day purchases and time, this one has it based on in game time. Which means if you take a break for a week you won't lose your items, but if you play a lot you'll have to buy stuff more often. If you want to buy something choose "구매". This means purchase. You can choose how long you want to buy the item for, usually you're given 3 choices of time length. After you've bought the item go back to your inventory and equip it again. When the time limit of an item is getting close to expiring it will begin flashing so you can be alerted of it between games.

Games can be sorted by type, people in the game, room name, etc. Enter one by double clicking. In the game room you can see your inventory items, choose your class for the game, pick a team, etc If you need to there are quick links to the settings (most require the game be restarted), inventory, and item management. There is often no start button unless the game has already started. They just assume everyone is ready, it is a little strange but at the same time it does get games going a little faster as people don't have to sit around going "Hey guy, hit ready so we can start!". This game keeps track of your global ranking and how it changed with the experience you got in the last game.

There is one game type I haven't quite been able to sort out. I don't know what the name means. It is konglish of some kind but not obvious. The game seems to be a kind of deathmatch in the trenches with objectives, but most people seem to ignore the objectives. It is the unlabeled game type in the first annotated menu. By far the most popular game type in this game is Team Deathmatch. I'll chat more about the game types and gameplay in the next post.

Real images from Raycity

I mentioned briefly in my post on Raycity that the streets and buildings are based on real locations in Seoul. I was out in 압구정 this morning and snapped a couple photos to show some of the similarities. I often pass this corner, so it was quite familiar to me when I drove by it in the game. It isn't perfect mind you, but its close. The subway exit goes in a different direction for example, but 2 years ago when the game was made, I'm not sure it could have faced that way. These are just cell-phone pictures, but I think they do the job.

The building under the bridge is the Hyundai department store. It is the rich people's department store, where a sale is something still priced at $200. The other buildings are some random apartments. The attention to detail here is pretty good. They've matched the road sign perfectly. Even the air conditioners on the sides of the apartments are there. I'm not sure if they fashioned these based on some low resolution photos or what.

Taan Part 2 - Gameplay

Taan's gameplay is fairly similar to that of an old PC game called "Scorched". It is based around several players competing on a 2D field and throwing highly destructive and explosive things at each other. The ground itself can be destroyed which means the layout of the playing field can change drastically in the course of a game. If you're not careful you can get dug in to a hole that you can't get out of. The enemy will be able to peg you as you can't change your position and you will be quickly defeated. Taan has two main types of gameplay.

The first type of gameplay is mission mode. Upon entering the main menu screen you'll see a flashing icon telling you to click the mission mode. This mode is a single player mode where you do battle against the AI. You must defeat 3 waves of scarecrow birds (new evidence suggests they're scarecrows, but they look like birds to me). On the easy level this is seemingly trivial. You have 40 shots to kill a number of birds. In the 4th round you must defeat the boss in 10 shots. I haven't had a situation arise where I haven't managed to beat this. You will acquire various power-ups during the gameplay you can use, but other than the boss they're not really needed. Even against the boss I haven't found them overly necessary unless I want to kill him in the first 3 or 4 shots. After the game concludes you will receive some experience and get to pick a card. The card gives you some random chance of getting gold, 10, 20, 50 or 100. If you're playing in a PC방 apparently you get a 50% bonus. I think many of these games give bonuses if you play it in a PC방. Perhaps the idea is that if you are playing it there other people will play it and it may earn them more money.

The second type of gameplay is player versus player. You can compete in rooms of up to 8 players on the same screen. Each person takes a turn making a shot and it cycles. Prior to play you can push a button to change weapons. The weapons are similar but have different effective ranges and patterns as far as I can tell. Press "무기선택" in the game room itself to change your weapon. It literally means "Weapon Selection". At some point during the gameplay you'll end up dying. If you die, instead of the game being over you have a new role to play. As a ghost you can fly around and pick up various power-ups. If you want you can then add them to a team member's shot. Making it possible to add 6 power-ups to a single shot. Just be sure to push the button for it before your team member shoots. After each shot you can fly a short distance towards a power-up. Just click on the one you want to head towards. If the enemy also has dead players, they will also be trying to get them. The game will end when one side has been defeated and you will again get some experience (much more than the single player game) and some more gold.

As a casual game this is pretty fun. You can jump in to the game pretty quick and play a match or two if you have a few minutes to kill. You can easily play it with friends if you have some you want to play with as there is the ability to create password protected rooms as well. Below is part of a round I played.

Taan Part 1 - Install and Menus

I'd like to think I could be perfect and update every day, but occasionally days are going to get missed. Up next is a more casual style game. It is called Taan and it is a Scorched clone. This game is a turn based game where people lob explosives at each other, individually or in teams. Head over to Hangame and look in the "캐주얼게임" section. You want to find the game called "슈팅대전 탄" This is a fairly straight forward install, similar to the other hangame games. Look for the download link in text on the left underneath the big giant green bomb. I didn't experience any surprises during the installation. Most of the installations will be fairly typical and unless there is something unusual about it, or a new unexpected screen or something of that nature I won't comment in too much further detail on them other than to point out links to get things kicked off. After the installation you'll get the typical hangame updater after you click start.

First thing you'll have to do is create a character. "새로 만들기" will let us do that. 새 is often used to mean new, and 만들 is often used to mean creation.Go through the basics of choosing a gender, hair style, shirt color, etc. This will be your in-game avatar for the battles. While it is a scorched clone, it seems to be based on cute kids hurling dynamite and nuclear ordinance at each other. This is the premise for many Korean games. On the next menu you can choose a server (level based or free play, not really sure of the big difference yet) and a channel. The next screen is nice because there is a high amount of english on most of the buttons which explain the basic premise of what things should do. You can refer to a more annotated version on the left.

This game has a couple of play modes that are significant. One is mission play where you play against some predefined mission and hurl dynamite at birds. The other one is where you hurl dynamite at other children. The mission button will take you to the bird slaughter. From this menu you can do all kinds of things including buy some things with the money you earn from matches, work on your level with missions, and apparently play bingo. I haven't gotten in to the bingo yet, but apparently designers here have a thing for bingo. A note on the resolution, the best you're going to do is 1024x768. Unfortunate but the graphics still look good enough for this style of game. The menu for this is reasonably straight forward. There are again cash items and regular items for purchase. A lot of aesthetic items. I'm not sure if any of them have any effect on gameplay or not. I haven't gotten that far in to it. I'll post some gameplay info tomorrow so you can get further in to it.

Wolf Team Part 2 - Gameplay

Now that you're settled in to Wolf Team let's go over some of the basic controls and gameplay. There are not a lot of the finer controls you'd find in some other shooters here. For example the only gun I've found that zooms in is the sniper rifle. The mousewheel does not scroll your weapons. E is not the catch-all button for doing stuff.

I didn't get a chance to try all the various game types, because the game selector is a bit of a bring-down. It isn't possible to sort the games by game type so it makes it hard to find a game available of a particular type if you want. I jumped in to a couple open games and gave it a go. The first I tried was death match. This is team deathmatch in which you have an option to turn in to a werewolf at will. You'll probably want to try this out as soon as you can as it is one of the unique features of this game. If you find yourself in team deathmatch or other game mode where switch is allowed, you can do so by pressing 3 which selects your third weapon. 4 generally brings up your grenades. If you have more than one grenade you can hit 4 again to swap them. Each time you spawn you'll have to pick a load-out of weapons. The default load out gives you +50 weapon points. Other load-outs cost you weapon points. You also get weapon points for winning rounds and making kills. You can customize these weapon load-outs in the main menu screen. Guns, grenades, etc each have an associated cost.

One thing that I noticed is that any guns, etc you buy come with an associated time limit. You can buy a weapon for 24 hours if you want. You can also buy it for 7 days, 30 days and 90 days for reduced per day costs. This is using in-game money not real money. If you play the game a lot you can make some big in-game money and load yourself out with big guns and things for long periods of time. It is an interesting model and rewards someone for playing a lot. The games can be quick paced, with small, sometimes complicated maps. Which mean a long life is fairly rare. As a werewolf you'll have increased spead, jumping ability and a pretty sweet claw attack. A couple of swipes usually puts someone down. It takes time to switch to wolf or reload so if you're in tight with a wolf and need to do one of those you might as well go have a sandwich because you're dead.

The other game type I tried was a wolf vs human elimination style. One team is werewolves the other team is humans and you can't switch. It is one death per round play until one team wins 9 rounds. The humans have an objective but the games I played revolved around the teams ignoring that and just killing each other. The video below is from this style of game. This was a traditional temple style map. The humans appeared to be invading to set a device. Not sure if it was a bomb or what. I tried to set it once and an invisible werewolf ate me. Apparently were wolves can disappear. I am not sure how that is done because each of these games I played I never ended up as a werewolf. In the deathmatch games the werewolves cannot disappear. You'll also notice the giant turret gun one of the guys has as a main weapon. I didn't get to use it, but it seems pretty nice. In some other rounds he dropped some wolves pretty quickly with it. Over all I thought this was a pretty decent game with some unique features. The menus certainly leave something to be desired, but I'd recommend it for anyone wanting to try a shooter that is a little bit different.

Wolf Team Part 1 - Install and Menus

If you find yourself in Korea with a less than top of the line computer you might want to try Wolf Team. I'm not saying it is a bad game, just that it is less graphically demanding than say AVA with its unreal 3 engine. I don't know what engine Wolf Team uses but it does appear to be last generation. Frame rate is capped at 60. That doesn't mean it isn't fun. It has a very unique premise. You can turn in to a wolf during death match and some maps feature humans against wolves. Let's start with the install. Head over to Hangame and login. Click on the link under the FPS section for "울프팀". This is one of the places you'll notice that sometimes the transliteration of English to Korean doesn't make a lot of sense. Personally I would write "월프팀" as the name they use doesn't even include a "w" sound. Now once on the Wolf Team page look underneath the big Game Start button. This one is a little tricky. Click the right text link "수동다운로드". This is the client download, it is around 450MB. Save it somewhere you can find it. When it is finished kick it off and you'll be presented with a set of familiar install screens. Click through and when it is finished go back to the website. I ran in to a small problem here. It didn't seem to register that I had installed the game, so when I clicked Game Start, I just got a blank page. I refreshed and it seemed fine. Push start and you'll get the Hangame updater. It will probably also update nprotect. Push game start again to launch the game. Now on the first screen you'll see channel select. There are only a couple of main channels usually full, so pick one. You'll notice the resolution is off, but there is nothing you can do about the menu resolution. It is stuck at 800x600. If you click the settings button you'll be able to change the game resolution. As well as the over-all quality level. Underneath the resolution you'll see 3 check boxes. "그래픽 품질" means quality level. Starting highest to lowest from the left. As far as I can tell they apply right away and there is no need to restart. On the main menu you'll see a few buttons. They call clans "prides" in this game. You can go to the store and buy some new weapons after you get some money and change your load-out. The age of the game shows in some of the options. On the game select screen you can't sort by users in a game, which means it can be hard to find a game if the first few pages are full. In a full channel it might take you a couple moments of clicking. Alternatively you can hit quick play. Unlike AVA which has some more detailed and complicated menus, the menus for this are fairly straight forward and simple to use. The store and inventory screens are rather basic and obvious. There are some cash items here, these items are bought with "Hancoins" and again they're generally aesthetic in nature. Next I'm going to show you some screen shots, talk about game play and a video.

Hangame Registration

Let's move on to another portal, frankly one of the best portals. Hangame is separated from the rest of the portals by its high number of mobile cell phone games. If you own a cellphone in Korea, and I know you do, you may at some point have wanted to try a game on it but were probably slightly mystified as to how to go about it. Hangame allows you to browse their full catalog of cell phone games, which is rather extensive. They feature games for 3 providers, SK, KTF and LG. It also seems to be the main repository for cell phone games. If you browse for games on your cell phone you'll be taken to the same catalog. You won't have to pay data fees to browse the games list here though.

Unfortunately I don't have a second cell phone to create a dummy account on this website, so I'll walk you through the early registration. After registering for Pmang this should be slightly familiar. This site will take your foreign registration card and there is no delay in using the account. On the main page we'll start by clicking "회원가입". First you will have to choose your age. You can choose adult here. There is a simple/basic ID choice on the right. I don't know exactly what it entails, but I think it doesn't require a citizen number. The text does say something about it not being a full feature account, so I'm not sure what is not available. First you can enter your name and ID number. Up next you'll presented with the standard TOS check boxes, go through and check all those and move on. On the next screen you'll be presented with a choice about how you want to verify your registration. The top choice is to use your cell phone. Select it and hit okay. You'll get a pop-up where you can put in your cell phone number and send out a text message for verification. After this you should be presented with the standard information screen. I seem to recall there being a headache on the address section. When you get to the address section it is going to let you search for your postal code. You need to type in (in hangul) the name of your city or 동. I live in 화양동 so I typed that. Then it will present me with the postal codes from that area. I found mine and chose it. It autofilled my city, 구, etc based on that postal code. After that I could type the rest of my address. Apparently this has to do with the potential for you to win some prizes through the website. If you don't know your postal code, ask someone, or just choose anything in the general geographic area of where you live. They're not going to send guys to your place to check it out. Well they might, but no one has visited me. Now that you've finished you should be able to log in right away. As part of the installation I'll quickly point out the mobile games area. The mobile games are is the bottom left most game area. Above it is the flash game area, they have some fun ones, and then a shareware area where you can download popular shareware titles with time limits. Click on mobile games and it will take you to the mobile game site. You'll see a spot at the top where you can click your cell phone provider. Doing so takes you to the game specific to them. They'll give you the top 10 games, sort them by genre, etc. RPGs are again very difficult to play unless you know Korean well. I personally recommend Family Mart Tycoon. It is the first cell phone game I got and it is very fun. Your goal is to build yourself up from a subway vendor to the boss of a very busy Family Mart. If you want to get a game click on "다운" it will ask you how you want to pay for. Click on "휴대폰결제". Then you can type in your phone number. It will send you a text message and say "Do you want to get this game?" If you're on KTF it will send a confirmation code you punch in the website. If you're on SK you'll get a text message where you can push a button to grab the game. I don't know what it does for LG. Generally these games cost around 3,000W + data fee for download. Sometimes you can get older games around 2,000W or 1,500W.


This is apparently a coming soon title. Even though its an MMORPG it looks extremely hack and slash and may be rather accessible. A google translated korean blog I've found indicates that it will be using the source engine. I don't see a specific day for release, but I am seeing 2009 mentioned in the same breath as a lot of stories about this game, so I think we can expect it this year. This game is hosted on Nexon which is a game portal. I'll be chatting about it soon. Below is another trailer with some different views.

Update:Apparently closed beta ran past december, so chances are this is not that far off from being released. It could be available as early as a couple of months from now.