ZT Online: Chinese MMO that's part casino

ZT Online is a wildly popular Chinese massively multiplayer online RPG with really different game-mechanics, a combination of casino, revenge-fantasy and VIP lounge:

Lu Yang received an excellent professional education, her husband is a businessman, and she has substantial financial assets. To her, money has never been a problem, but she still calls some well-regarded players in the game "RMB gamers" in frustration. Though she has invested tens of thousands of yuan in the game, she has suffered defeat after defeat due to the fact that others are more willing to spend, and to spend much more money than she is.

Like ZT Online creator Shi Yuzhu says, this is a game well-suited to the rich. In this world, the authority to bully others and the legal right to harm them are both for sale…

Good equipment means money. Unlike other games, in this game there are no items dropped when killing monsters or completing missions. "We all want the best," said Lu Yang. "You have to go to the system's shops to buy materials, and then use the system smith to make them. Or, you could go gambling."

"Gambling" means "opening the treasure chest." Gamers can buy keys and chests from the system for cheap: one yuan per set. When the key is applied to the chest, the screen will display a glittering chest opening. All kinds of materials and equipment spin inside the chest like the drums on a slot machine as the wheel of light spins. Where it stops indicates what you've won. Chests will frequently contain the high-class equipment that gamers desire, but the spinning light wheel always passes over them.

Lu Yang recalls that during her craziest period she was like a gambler in a casino. She would shout at the screen the name of the item she wanted, like "ebony, ebony," or some high-class material, but ultimately she would obtain nothing but a pittance of experience. Ebony, or that powerful "ring of the nether world," remained in the chest, gleaming seductively.


(Thanks, Julian!)