E3 2009: Jade Dynasty at a glance

The third game in Perfect World's portfolio, Jade Dynasty, has been riding quietly in closed beta for a while. At this year's E3, however, the Jade Dynasty crew brought out their game and let us here at Massively take it for a test drive. They also hit us with an announcement as well -- Jade Dynasty will be jumping out of closed beta on June 15th, and a European server will be added in on that day as well.

Overall, Jade Dynasty pulls much from Perfect World's other games: Perfect World and Ether Saga Online. The click on map to automatically move feature, cosmetic cash shop, and large amount of in-game quests returns, but a few new features have been added in that make this game a very interesting experience.

Join us after the break as we break down Jade Dynasty's features, a few of which may be controversial for some gamers.

Jade Dynasty's class feature is unique in the fact that it's easily manipulated to your preferences. After the first levels, players must decide which faction they want to follow on their road to immortality. Each of the game's factions are the classes, but these classes can be manipulated so they can each stand on their own. While the Skysong faction is the healer class, their skills can be changed so they can be viable in physical combat with less emphasis on their healing.

The game's guild system is also unique in the fact that it works much like The Matrix Online's factions system worked. Players form first into clans, which can hold a total of 12 members. Clan leaders can then create alliances, which is more of a guild structure. Clans and alliances can receive quests to gain buffs and special abilities, such as the ability to share experience with all of your clan-mates who are online, regardless of where you are in the world.

One of the main things Jade Dynasty attempts to do is give the player the ability to gain experience as they please. In towns or "safe areas" the player has the option to begin meditating, which places their character in a bubble of serenity and begins to give them experience every 60 seconds.

The flip side of the coin to this feature is the ability for your character to dream. Dreaming is very similar to meditation, except it can only be done while you're offline and it pays out three times better than meditation. However, dreaming cannot be activated unless you have a special item to trigger it. Dreaming is not simply logging out and getting rest experience -- it's full experience. So, when you log back in, you may actually have increased a level simply by dreaming. Each item you have gives you one hour of dreaming, so you'll need quite a few to actually make it worthwhile.

One of the most controversial features of Jade Dynasty, however, is the fact that you can essentially let the game AFK itself. Once a character acquires their pet, an esper, the player can choose for the esper to control their movements. This ability is called invigorate, and it's only available when the esper has above 50% of it's energy. Once that's available, all you have to do is press the button around an area of monsters and just walk away. Effectively, this is a built in bot program that pretty much everybody can use.

Once the esper's energy depletes, however, you're back on your own. So if you're not at the PC when that happens, you're standing around like a guy who was AFKing. Esper energy automatically refills as you're playing the game, however, so just a little more playtime will get you a little more AFK time for that sandwich of yours.

In short, Jade Dynasty isn't your average free-to-play MMO. Is it for you? Well, decide for yourself when the game launches on June 15th.

Massively is on the ground in Los Angeles this week and covering all the latest E3 MMO news coming from the convention. Check out our breaking coverage (or all the Joystiq network E3 reporting) and keep your eye on Massively's front page for the latest developments.