I don’t think there is anyone out there who didn’t dream about being the “karate kid”, teaching the bad guys a lesson like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jean Claude Van Damme, Jet Li or Steven Seagal did. Or at least like Chuck Norris… probably. There is a thing we can be sure about us, males; that we always try to be superior to the other males, and we talk about fighting. Like it or not, we love to fight with each other. It gives us satisfaction and it frees us from the daily stress. For some, fighting is a way to make a living, beside sports, because the world is full of working places where keeping order is a problem. But, as my father said, out there you will always find a better fighter than you, and there is always one better than he is. And so on… life is cruel.
When I was studying, like any other profane, this kind of things, I was lucky to have a master who was very focused on teaching the spiritual aspect of martial arts. He knew very well the whole background behind this type of sport, and he was desperately trying to make us understand that martial arts are a way of life, not just a tool for breaking bones. It is a way of thinking, a tool that can help you attain your inner balance on every level, a way to understand and evaluate yourself better. Unfortunately, at that age (15-18), for us, the trainees, the destructive aspect of the arts was more important, because it gave satisfaction to our raw, young minds at that time. Everything else was just words with no sense at all, because we weren’t willing to open our minds towarrds this great philosophy. We weren’t very impressed by the stories about great masters letting themselves beaten just for learning the concept of humiliation.
Years have passed and it seems those teachings somehow found a way to get into my brain, because they helped me get out of some really creepy situations. This made me understand some very important things about the world around me, things that in other conditions would have still been hidden from me. The way of martial arts is one that few can follow to the end. Most of us get lost on the way, and the only thing we can hope is to learn something good, besides getting strong hands, solid fists and impressive agility.
The Way of Chi
There is a reason for which this article was started in this introspective note. Martial arts is one of the most effective way to discover yourself, which is very well sustained by this game. 9Dragons is the only MMORPG on the market that treat martial arts like a real ART. It is the only game that I know of that presents “karate” as it is for real. All other video games are much too oriented on the violent aspect. 9Dragons takes you by surprise and makes a master out of you, by gradually teaching you all the necessary aspects of the martial arts. I know that the typical gamer doesn’t read much before starting to play a game, but, if I were you, I would try to read some things about this subject before starting out. On the official site, for example, you will find some of that information. You will learn that this game is based on a true setting – China during the Ming dynasty, the 9 Dragons Era – with a story full of elements taken from China’s traditional legends, which makes it quite interesting, if you don’t have anything against learning from examples. Because the Chinese legends are a long list of moral teachings.
9Dragons is very well implemented, technically speaking, a thing that surprised me, considering the fact that is a free MMO. I was also surprised by its structural complexity, because at first I was expecting just another sloppy game. In fact, I discovered that 9Dragons is quite different from the other games of this type available on the market. Yes, some parts are similar, like gaining a level, obtaining experience by raiding dungeons and killing/looting monsters. The thing that makes the difference is the perspective of your actions. Many online games try to compensate the fact that they don’t have an ending by creating a dynamic universe, one that is (or isn’t) influenced by its players. The developers try to involve you in the storyline, to make you obsessed about equipment or they try to catch you with high PvP content. But, in the end, one of the main reasons we play is the voice in our heads commanding us to be uber, 1337s, imba etc.
9Dragoins is doing pretty much the same, but with a different approach. All your actions in this game are for greater plan. To become an Immortal, a God, through wisdom, not only through blood. You will see that you need to understand a little about the Chinese philosophy to be able to get to the end game. Of course, you can get there by mindlessly killing everything, but you will most likely feel frustrated when thinking back. In my opinion, if you don’t follow the game’s way, you will quit 9Dragons in 2 weeks tops. And that would be probably bad because of the so many things to learn and see that the game has to offer.