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Indy21, an independent video game developer in Korea, originally created the video game 9Dragons, then they made agreements with both Persistent Worlds and Acclaim, to allow them to market and sell 9Dragons to the European and North American markets, respectively.
The original In-game story for the Korean version was written by wuxia novelist Jwa Baek and then Steven-Elliot Altman was hired by Acclaim to rewrite the game in its entirety so that it would become accessible to Western audiences.
Both companies released the game in “Open Beta” to the public in January 2007.
It was announced on August 24, 2010 that GamersFirst had acquired publishing rights to 9Dragons for distribution in North America. On August 26, 2010 it was announced that Acclaim Games had ended their online massively multiplayer services, which included the immediate shutdown of its official forums and its gaming servers. This statement is now accessible by visiting the former webpage of Acclaim 9Dragons. On September 2, 2010 it was announced that GamesCampus has acquired publishing rights to 9Dragons for distribution in Europe. GameCampus released the game (for Germany) in German language in early December 2010.
The Acclaim shut down appears to have happened in haste, since apparently Acclaim failed to ensure an orderly transition of in-game characters and user accounts to the new publisher.The game was released by GamersFirst on September 16 on new servers without any user accounts that existed on the Acclaim servers. The transition is still pending as of July 2011.
An announcement was made the week of August 5, 2011, that GamersFirst will release the 9Dragon MMORPG back to Indy21. The 9Dragons MMORPG ended its short tenure with GamersFirst on September 15, one day short of a year with the hosting service.
On September 20, Games Campus began the transfer of the accounts of 9Dragons subscriber’s from the GamersFirst servers, for those that have opted for this action. The 16th of September was the first day of completing the transfer requests from GamersFirst. GamesCampus also had Tao, a non transfer server, available for public use before the two main servers were brought online. September 20, 2011 the two remaining servers, Yin, a PvP (Player vs Player) server, the same as Yin under Gamers First and Yang, a PvE (Player vs Environment) server, the same as Nirvana and Phoenix as provided by the last hosting company, have been updated with the second half of the Tibet map, a new level cap and several other fixes and patches in an effort to remedy known issues that have hindered the game since Acclaim first offered this MMORPG to the public.
9Dragons features player-versus-player and player-versus-environment gameplay depending on which map and server the player is located. If a player kills someone in a PvP area they receive Karma. The amount and type of Karma gained depends on the clans of the two combatatants. When a player collects enough Karma they receive a “Karma Epithet”.
After reaching level 25, the player can then choose a role in the clan. At level 102(Elemental Crown Cheng 6), the player can undergo a Role upgrade (known as 2nd role), giving them access to new skills. The roles all go by different names but they fall into 4 distinct classes:
- Warrior: Warriors are the masters of their clan’s main weapon. They are the first to rush into combat, and all of their skills are centered around dealing direct damage to the opponent. They emphasize Constitution, Dexterity, and Strength, while Essence is harder for them to develop.
- Strategist: The healer of a clan uses their clan’s secondary weapon, but their abilities focus more on buffing and healing other members. As the Hybrid has the same basic abilities they do, the Healer is able to heal external and internal injuries, while the Hybrid cannot. They emphasize Essence and Wisdom, while Constitution is harder for them to develop.(Traps are also used by this role)
- Chi Kung Artist: The nuker is a specialist in the Chi Kung arts handed down in their clan. They focus on dealing long-range damage to their target, and the majority of their skills can do quite a bit of damage. They emphasize Essence and Wisdom, while Strength is hard for them to develop. They are ill-suited to melee combat.(PvP Dominant)
- Holist: The Hybrid is an army unto themselves; they learn a bit of every art passed down in their clan, from secondary clan weapon usage to Chi Kung attacks and buffing and healing. They emphasize Constitution and Essence, while Wisdom is harder for them to develop.(Recently Chi-Kung Defense Nuke has been fixed)
The Clans a player may join are based upon various schools of Kung Fu and are separated into two major factions, The White Clans (loyal to the Imperial Emperor) and The Black Clans (who have no allegiance to him). The White Clans include: Shaolin (male disciples only), Wu-Tang, and The League of Beggars. The Black Clans include: Sacred Flower (female disciples only), The Brotherhood of Thieves, and Heavenly Demon Clan. Each Clan has its own requirements for admission.
The game uses a leveling system in which each level has 12 Chengs as a sub-level system. Each time a character receives a title change a mini-game is required to level, and extra stat and skill points awarded.(4 stat points and 1 mastery each lvl, on the 12th level achievement, 6 stat points and 3 masteries)
Blood Essence is a material obtained as rare drops from killing monsters or maximizing the player’s Blood Count. Blood Essence can be used to refine or strengthen weapons.
Within the game are small communities known as Hero Bands. A player is required to reach Raising Light Cheng 1 (level 49) and complete a quest to create a band. The band can have up to 1 band master, 10 band leaders and a total of 40 members. The band master selects band leaders. Hero Leagues are alliances formed with multiple bands. Up to 5 bands in a league and they can be different (but allied) clans.