Soul of the Ultimate Nation (often abbreviated as S.U.N.) is a fantasy-based massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) produced by Webzen, a Korean-based company. It is operated in Korea by WebZen and in mainland China by The9. The game was launched in Taiwan on April 19, and in China on May 24, 2007 as a paid online service.
In December 2005, WebZen sold an export contract for the game to The9 for $13 million USD in total, which at the time was the largest single export transaction in Korea’s online game history. In 2006, S.U.N. was selected as the most anticipated online game at the 2nd Annual ‘Best Online Game Selection’ in China.. In a survey by Gametrics, the largest Internet cafe survey website in Korea, S.U.N. was ranked among the top 10 games in Korean Internet cafes.. Also, S.U.N. received the Award at the Digital Contents Awards by Ministry of Information and Communication and SK Telecom in 2006.
Like some other MMORPGs, S.U.N. utilizes the "hack and slash" way. Players are part of a rebel group known as "The Guidance". Items can be strengthened and upgraded throughout the game play of SUN. For large-scale combat such as siege warfare, Soul of the Ultimate Nation utilizes a combat map with partitions that divides players into multiple fields each containing 20-40 characters; the outcome each battle having direct affects on the combat occurring on other fields. SUN also allows players to strategically set the stage for battles by choosing different types of maps, entry numbers, degrees of difficulty and types of monsters for a customized game play experience. SUN has three types of specified maps using a zone map system. Players start the game in a city and have to create zones to play the game. In terms of maps, the mission maps are the primary places where players can solve missions. The hunting maps are for tracking down monsters to level up characters, gather items and acquire in-game money. The quest maps are used to fulfill quests and to help users better understand the overall scenario of the game.
The game has already undergone four stages of beta from September 2005 to May 2006 in South Korea, and received high marks from gamers. S.U.N. Taiwan moved from closed beta to open beta on 20 December, 2006. The current open beta is allowing the game developers to improve the field maps, add a competitive hunting system and a mission ranking system.
SUN Korea adopted F2P mode and item mall model on November 14, 2006. NHN USA Corp., the publisher of SUN in North America which made a license agreement with Webzen on May 21st, 2009, and SUN Global (runned by Webzen), will also adopt the same model.
S.U.N. is available for distribution and operation in North America through the gaming corporation ijji.  Recently, Webzen announced that the company itself will be the second publisher of S.U.N. in the territories, where NHN USA doesn't have rights to distribute the game. A beta test of Webzen's version was held from October 14, 2009 until October 16, 2009. Webzen's S.U.N. version came out October 21, 2009.
Battle Zone System
Under the Battle Zone System, players can create "rooms" for battles, be it against monsters or other players. Players will have to talk with a specific non-player character (NPC) in each town to create such rooms. They can select different types of maps, set the entry numbers, degree of difficulty and types of monsters within the map. For a players vs. monsters map, players will form a party and usually have to proceed through the map to complete certain map objectives, such as killing the boss monster. At the end of the stage, experience and loot are shared among the participants.
More quests and missions will be added to S.U.N. to continue the ongoing story. Additionally, when a mission is near completion, tips will appear for readers to unlock hidden missions.
Like in Webzen's earlier MMORPG, MU Online, players have a selection of five different character classes: Dragon Knight, Berserker, Valkyrie, Elementalist and Shadow. The Shadow class is not yet available in some regional versions of the game[. For each class height, hairstyle, and face may be picked from several alternatives, but each class has a predefined gender. ]
Academy Award winning composer Howard Shore was hired to compose an original soundtrack for SUN. The soundtrack is also the first game soundtrack featuring renowned soloist Lydia Kavina on the theremin.
- ↑ WEBZEN Announces the Launch of 'Soul of the Ultimate Nation' in China. Webzen Inc (2007-05-23). Retrieved on 2007-05-31.
- ↑ Webzen Sells China Rights to Soul of the Ultimate Nation. Retrieved on 2007-05-31.
- ↑ S.U.N. Voted ‘Most Anticipated Online Game’ at China’s ‘Best Online Game Selection (English). Webzen Inc. (2006-04-25). Retrieved on 2007-03-15.
- ↑ S.U.N. ranked among top 10 games in Korea (English). Gametrics (2006-06-18). Retrieved on 2007-03-25.
- ↑ S.U.N. receives Award at Digital Contents Awards (English). Webzen Inc. (2006-07-11). Retrieved on 2007-03-15.
- ↑ S.U.N. to change from Closed Beta to Open Beta (English). Webzen Inc. (2006-12-18). Retrieved on 2007-03-15.
- ↑ Korean S.U.N. to go F2P (English). Webzen Inc. (2006-11-08). Retrieved on 2007-03-15.
- ↑ S.U.N. in North America via ijji (English). NHN (2009-05-21). Retrieved on 2009-05-21.
- Official sites