Dragon Oath is a 3D martial arts style MMORPG with a top-down camera set in Ancient China. The game features nine playable classes, based on ancient kung fu disciplines, an extensive pet system, numerous social systems, and more.
PvP: Duels / Arenas / Open World
Release Date: Nov 5, 2009 (NA/EU)
Shut Down Date: 2016
Pros: +Great pet system (250+ unique pets). +Varied trade skills. +Social features (marriage).
Cons: -Repetitive gameplay. -Poor translations. -Limited camera control. -US version neglected.
Dragon Oath Overview
Dragon Oath is a free-to-play 3D fantasy MMORPG originally released in 2007 in China, but now has localized versions for Malaysia, Vietnam, Turkey, Europe, and the United States. The game boasts hundreds of thousands of active users (mostly in China) and is one of the world's most profitable game franchises. Dragon Oath's story is based on the novel Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils, and combines martial arts with Buddhist cosmology. Despite the game's success in China, the US version of the game isn't up to date with its Chinese counterpart, but still offers some compelling, albeit generic, gameplay.
Players start their adventure in Dragon Oath as a classless recruit, but can choose their class upon reaching Level 10. Dragon Oath shut down in the West, but is still available as TLBB in China.
Dragon Oath Key Features:
- Great Class Variety – play as one of nine classes, each with unique playstyles and builds.
- Extensive Pet System – hundreds of in-game pets to tame and train. Pets provide their owners with buffs and can fight in battle.
- Social Features – built-in friend finding, marriage, and tutor systems.
- Varied PvP Options – participate in open world PKing, Duels, and Arenas.
Dragon Oath Screenshots
Dragon Oath Featured Video
Dragon Oath Classes
- Assassins are the only class with stealth options and causes heavy damage. This class is best at kiting, or “hit-and-run” tactics.
- Beggars Alliance use poisons to cause more damage over time. Using skill combos for large damage is essential.
- Lotus Order is the healing class, and is able to revive other players from death. They have few damaging skills compared to the others.
- Minstrels use traps and fight from a long range. They also have the ability to drain mana bars and cause major damage in PvP.
- Pyromancers have the strongest attack skills, at the cost of having the lowest defensive capability.
- Royalty are able to debuff opponents, and are especially suited to fight magic using enemies and classes. They have a strong resistance to magic and are able to deal damage that ignores defense.
- Shaolin play the tank role, having very high offense and defense through their Iron Body skill. They also have the most health and defense of all of the classes.
- Taoists have the most attack skills, which can be chained together for higher damage. They are easy to use, though they have the least health and very low defense.
- Voodoo is probably the most difficult class, as skills with differing effects have to work together to be a significant threat. They automatically poison any opponents they face, even without the use of skills.
Dragon Oath Review
By Dimitri Jordan
Dragon Oath, called Tian Long Ba Bu in China, is a 3D martial arts MMORPG developed and published by ChangYou and released in 2007 in China. While it has a sizeable fan base in China, ChangYou.com has been expanding its market abroad, even cultivating a medium fan base in the United States. It has decent graphics for its age, and is one of the more accessible MMORPGs, coming from developers outside the US. The US version launched into open beta on November 5, 2009 – a full 2 years after the game's original Chinese release.
Unfortunately, the US version of the game is not updated as often as its Chinese counterpart, meaning it may take some time for dramatic changes to be seen. For instance, Dragon Oath 2: Soul of the Sphinx was the last large update, which was released on September 27, 2012. However, it does host daily events, so there is always something to do in game. And because of the smaller community in the US, especially with only two servers, the community of Dragon Oath is very tight knit.
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Once the game is started, players are greeted with a screen detailing the day’s events, including what time the events are available and which NPC you need to go to in order to start the event. Players are also able to see events that are currently happening, as well as events that are happening the next day. For a game that runs several events a day, this small feature drastically improves the player’s ability to get the most out of their playing time.
The next screen is the login screen, where players have the option to either type in their login information via keyboard, or use a virtual keyboard by clicking the keys with their mouse.Upon reaching the character selection screen for the first time, Dragon Oath has players type in a four digit code to ensure that a human is playing, as opposed to an automated bot. This is also required every time a player signs in, and at regular intervals during gameplay. While it can be annoying to have to enter it at start up or during game play, it lets me know that ChangYou stresses security for player accounts, and after entering it during gameplay, players are rewarded with items. This helps to make it feel like less of a hassle, as it stops players from botting while rewarding players.
At the character creation page, players are able to choose gender, one of three hairstyles, faces, and attire. There are also a set of portraits used for the player’s status bar during gameplay. While it’s not the most expansive set of customization options, it should be enough to create a character the player will enjoy. In the game, players can further customize their character by creating a small biography. This includes age, blood type, gender, Chinese and Astrology zodiacs, city, occupation, and college. This information can be left blank, or set to be viewable by only friends or the player.
The First Few Levels
Upon logging into the game for the first time, players are given the option to play through the game's tutorial. Following the tutorial quest line will familiarize players with the controls, the first city, and important NPCs like the weapon and items merchants. The movement is only controlled by clicking the ground, with no option to use arrow keys or WASD. Further, skills are oddly assigned to F1-F8 by default. Perhaps this is different on other computers, especially in China, but these keys are bound to Windows functions, such as backlighting, sound volume, and others, so some will have to click the skill bar with their mouse instead or simply rebind the keys. For me, the controls were awkward so I reassigned the hotkey abilities to 1-0, and the gameplay was much smoother.
Also accessible for all players is the game manual, one of Dragon Oath’s best tools. Players are able to look up information like loot drops from bosses, what quests are appropriate according to the player’s level, what monsters to grind on, as well as the usual gameplay information. I cannot stress how useful this is, as most games require a third party website in order to find this information. Players also get their first pet, a white rabbit, during the tutorial quests. The tutorial will also help a player reach Level 10, at which point they are able to choose their class.
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Pets are a large part of Dragon Oath, with dozens of pets available. Their attributes can differ depending on whether a player catches a Wild Pet, Young Pet, or Rare Pet. Young Pets start at Level 1, become stronger as they level up, and their attributes are highly customizable. Wild Pets start at a higher level, but tend to be weaker than Young Pets of the same level and are less customizable in terms of attributes. Rare Pets are very strong, can appear in a variety of colors, and are also less customizable than Young Pets.
Pets are able to attack with the player, as well as cast buffs, remove negative status effects, restore the player’s mana, and more. They also have up to five skills, four being automatic and one being manual, meaning the player has to activate the ability. Additionally, players can purchase other pet skills from an NPC in Luo Yang.
Talking to any of the trainers in Da Li, the first city, will transfer the player to the trainer base. For example, as a Taoist, I was taken to Mt. Wu Tang. At these bases, players can learn class skills, undertake class quests, and at Level 40 and 60, receive class mounts. Each class has its own particular mount, which increases speed, though players are unable to fight while mounted.
Each class has weapons that it benefits from most, such as an attack element, the range of the weapon, or the type. Pyromancers, Assassins, Beggars Alliance, and Shaolin are close range, while Lotus Order, Royalty, Minstrel, Taoist, and Voodoo are long range. Pyromancer, Royalty, Assassin, Beggars Alliance, and Shaolin have physical attacks, while Lotus Order, Minstrel, Taoist, and Voodoo use spiritual attacks. The classes allow for a variety of play styles, from traditional tanks and healers, to more layered classes like the Voodoo, who stack abilities to cause damage over time.
As players level, they unlock discipline skillsets. For example, the Taoist starts with Fist of Tai Chi, Sword of Tai Chi, and Lunisolar Secret. Within these disciplines, players can then choose skills to learn. Within Fist of Tai Chi is Spirit Bonus, Abundant Surround, Uncanny Attacker, and Wings of Torus. Players have to unlock both skills and disciplines by leveling, and then buy them with Ivory, the game’s currency, and experience from leveling.
The social features of Dragon Oath are a twist on the usual MMORPG systems. While there are marriages, friendships, kinships and more, there is actual work involved on the part of the two parties. Once friends, players must fight together to increase their friendship points, and once the friendship reaches a certain level, players can then marry or become kin. It keeps the community close, and guarantees every person on a player’s friend list is an actual friend. Other social relationships include guilds, as well as Master and Apprentice.
In order to fulfill all of these relationships, Dragon Oath has a Classifieds feature where players can input what relationship status they’re looking to be in. For example, a Taoist looking for an all-Taoist guild, or a Voodoo looking for an apprentice. It’s a handy feature, especially with the importance Dragon Oath puts on friendships.
Another useful feature of Dragon Oath is the auto path feature. By clicking the auto path button, players are able to enter coordinates or pick an NPC from a list, and have their character automatically walk to that location. Additionally, players can open the map and click a location to have their player walk there, or click the NPC or coordinates in the quest tracker menu. This is a useful feature to someone uninterested in learning the coordinates system, and for players who like to multitask, as they’re able to walk around automatically. The only shortcoming of this feature is that it is limited to charting paths within the map the player is in. The auto pathing makes getting around in Dragon Oath super convenient.
Players are able to fight one-on-one or in groups, in a tournament, or in the Class Arena. Dragon Oath also features open world PvP, where players can attack non-hostile opponents, earning Crime Points in the process. Players start with 0 crime points as Common, and can decrease crime points by killing those considered criminals. Players can also gain crime points by killing innocent people. Crime status ranges from Demon, having 4 or more crime points, to Hero, having -3 crime points by fighting criminals. This kind of open PvP is only available on the game's PvP server. Those who don't want to worry about getting jumped while grinding can always play on the PvE server.
The Class Arena is an event that occurs on Thursdays and Sundays. Players are divided by class to fight those of other classes to find the strongest class on the server. With each kill, the player earns class points, and the class with the most class points at the end of the event gets rare crafting materials, as well as their name displayed in the system chat.
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Final Verdict – Good
Dragon Oath doesn't exactly bring anything new to the table, but those looking to try a new MMORPG may find something to like. The gameplay is pretty generic and the translations aren't great. ChangYou hasn't been keeping the US version of the game up to date, either. However, Dragon Oath is still a surprisingly fun game. With unique social systems, a huge game world, and a varied pet system, Dragon Oath is worth checking out.
Dragon Oath Videos
Dragon Oath Links
Dragon Oath System Requirements
Operating System: Windows 98 / ME / 2000 / XP
CPU: Pentium 3 800 MHz
Video Card: GeForce 2 MX 400 32 MB Video Ram
RAM: 256 MB
Hard Disk Space: 2 GB
Operating System: Windows 98 / ME / 2000 / XP
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 2 GHz
Video Card: GeForce 2 MX 400 64 MB Video Ram
RAM: 512 MB
Hard Disk Space: 2 GB
Dragon Oath Music & Soundtrack
Dragon Oath Additional Information
Closed Beta Date: July 9, 2009
Open Beta Date: November 5, 2009
China: May 9, 2007 (ChangYou)
Development History / Background:
Dragon Oath was developed by the Chinese game developer ChangYou, which is partially owned by Sohu. The game is called Tian Long Ba Bu, or TLBB, in its home country of China and is ChangYou's most successful MMORPG. ChangYou has developed over 27 expansions for Dragon Oath since its original launch in 2007. The game has won numerous awards, including "Best Self Developed Online Game" in 2011 and "Most Liked Online Games by Players" in 2011 and 2013 by ChinaJoy. Dragon Oath has been a smash hit in China, but the game never really took off in the West.