Westerners - specifically, young Westerners - love their video games. But in South Korea, where gaming cafes line the streets and competitive Starcraft is a televised sport, the populace at large appreciates video games. More specifically, PC gaming is a national pastime for South Koreans; a crowd of 60,000 filled a stadium to witness Blizzard unveil the sequel to Starcraft. In a country 217c that's also noteworthy for ubiquitous high-speed broadband, it follows that the game-crazy public are fans of online gaming. MMORPGs, in particular, are intensely popular – an estimated 3 million South Koreans regularly log in to one. Where Westerners flock to World of Warcraft in droves, South Koreans have the Lineage series from NCSoft. While Lineage, first released in 1998, is the Korean MMORPG of choice, there are always ambitious competitors. One of those competitors is With Your Destiny, developed by JoyImpact and published by HanbitSoft. Released in Asia in 2003, With Your Destiny is now available to a worldwide audience.
The online hub for With Your Destiny is located at this site; signing up for an account is free, and there's no monthly fee to play. Since developing and sustaining an MMO isn't a purely altruistic exercise, HanbitSoft's derives income from is built on selling WCoin: an in-game currency which can be used to purchase Premium items. WCoin can be purchased from the WYD Web site, using either a credit card or PayPal funds (note that WCoin is not the same as gold, collected through in-game combat). As of this writing, the current exchange rate is $1 U.S. Dollar per 1,000 WCoin. To put this ratio in perspective, Premium Zone items are priced between 30 and 30,000 WCoin.
To live up to the RPG in MMORPG, WYD needs a story and objectives - gradual, progressive challenges and tests of skill which define a video game. Without these elements, the result is Second Life, an online chat room with avatars. Officially, WYD is subtitled Episode 1: Chaos of World. If that doesn't make much sense, don't worry, as the rest of the game is just as obtuse. What little back story there is can only be found on the game's Web site, and the translation to English leaves much to be desired. My own language skills are not above reproach; as a product of the U.S. public school system, it's no small feat that I'm able to locate Korea on a globe. But speak Korean? Please - I'm fortunate that I can string together a few sentences in English. However, when developing a game for a worldwide audience, one shouldn't leave the translating duties up to Babelfish. From the WYD introduction:
What I'm able to take from this is that WYD is situated on the continent of Kersuph, there are quests involved, and there's a struggle against a dark power thrown in for good measure. Oh, and I'm supposed to help beginners. Even Poirot would have difficulty untangling this plot. To make matters worse, there is very little in-game help and absolutely no in-game initiation. How about a standard "welcome to our game" quest, with an introduction to the game's features and control scheme? Not here. Without spending a few hours on the game's Web site, nothing in WYD makes any sense. And even after reading the tutorial and browsing the Web-based documentation, getting up to speed in WYD is far from intuitive.
Games: With Your Destiny
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News: WYD Global Auto-Combat System Launched Jul 25, 2007
News: New WYD Global Events Announced Jul 16, 2007
20a3 News: With Your Destiny Global Begins Open Beta Jun 15, 2007
News: WYG Global Launches June 15th Jun 01, 2007
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