Perfect World International is a free-to-play MMORPG that looks to be a suitable alternative to World of Warcraft for people that do not want to pay a monthly subscription. These are my first impressions of what is good and bad about the game.
Perfect World is very newbie friendly. They provide helpful tips to guide you through the first few levels and teach you the basic functions of the game. They also give you an item called a Supply Stash that gives you a useful item every 5 levels. At level 5 the Supply Stash gave me a token I could trade for a nice weapon that was much better than what I was using at the time.
Another good thing is that money is easy to come by, even at low levels. Many people don't even bother to pick up the loot that monsters drop and just leave it lying there. After a short time anyone can pick up loot from the ground. Just going around picking up this unwanted loot and selling it to the merchant NPCs can net you a good amount of coins.
Two helpful features included in the game are the Find Quest button and the Coordinates Assistant. On your Quest window you can click the Find Quest button to show you the available quests that you have not accepted yet, as well as the NPC who gives the quest. The Coordinates Assistant is a button on the bottom of your mini-map that has the coordinates for all of the NPCs in the area, and you can double-click the name of a NPC to automatically run toward it.
There seems to be a large variety of cool looking pets and mounts in the game. My Venomancer has gone through 4 different pets already by level 15, because I keep finding new ones I want. I started out using a wolf, then moved onto a Petite Sawfly (flying wasp), then changed to a Dark Wanderer (looks like a Nazgul from the Lord of the Rings), and now currently use a Crystalline Magmite (a big crystal golem). Every day I play a see someone run, ride, or fly by with a cool new pet or mount I haven't seen yet.
One of the most fun things I have found about the game is that you can double jump really high and you do not take falling damage. I've had quite a bit of fun already jumping off big cliffs and jumping up onto buildings, trees, and other structures. There have even been two quests that require you to make multiple jumps to get to the top of a building to get to a chest.
There are a few bad things about the game, some that can be dealt with and one that can't. Your inventory is painfully small; you only have 32 slots to carry all of your stuff. If you planned on gathering the materials needed to craft as you do quests, you will run out of room very quickly. This was by design, because you can buy inventory stones from the cash shop that will increase the size of your inventory, up to a maximum of 64 slots.
A weird thing about the default control settings is that the mouse scroll zoom is inverted (scrolling up with the mouse scroll button will zoom out instead of zoom in). Thankfully this is easily fixed by clicking on System->System Settings->Game->Basic and then click on the Zoom check-box in the Attacks category. Make sure to click Apply and then Confirm to save the setting.
A puzzling omission from the game is an auto-run button. This is a pretty standard MMORPG staple that was not programmed into the game. You are able to click a point far away in the distance to run for a long time, or you can open the Map screen and alt-click any point to auto-move to, but I still think they should have included an auto-run button. Note: you can still move normally with the standard WASD setup, it is not a point and click to move control scheme only.
The Bottom Line
All in all, I think Perfect World is a fun and free alternative to World of Warcraft. It may not appeal to everyone, but I would say it is at least worth a download to check out.