Wednesday, February 15, 2012 | 16I've never had so much trouble narrowing down a solid title for a review. Due to the abundance of material, you may find that this review is comprised almost exclusively of one liners.
Mortal Online - The Answer to the Question, "Penis?"This game is full of them. When deciding how to allocate finite resources, the development staff decided that it was extremely important to turn off all western puritans for absolutely no reason. I prejudged this game as a Darkfall-Alternative for latent fancy-boys, but after being told I was incorrect I saddled up my review-horse and set out into the land of Mortal Online.
Here is a quick Starters Guide to Mortal Online:
Step 1: Making Your HeroMortal Online has an interesting character creation system. Your stat caps are determined by your parent's racial combination, but this is a double-edged sword. For power-gamers, there really aren't too many viable options for specific play-styles. That means you'll be remaking your character if you didn't look up a guide to begin with.
Every possible race, however, is absurdly hideous. It is best to embrace the ugliness because Mortal Online is exclusively first person and you'll never have to look at yourself again. Height is actually an attribute that removes from your stat-pool which I assume is because reach is important in this type of first-person game.
Step 2: Talk to TutorsIn Mortal, your character is far too stupid to understand how to hit a tree with an axe, so in order to chop wood you must first locate the newbie tutor and to make the logical connection for you. This concept is generally representative of a game that has what can only be described as "serial un-newbiefriendliness".
Step 3: Read a book on reading...I'm not being facetious, much of the passive skill-gain in Mortal is built around book reading for skill. To read books (and gain skill) faster, read a reading book about reading. Once you've done that, you can start reading books that make you physically able to jump higher and run faster.
I'm not going to touch that with a 10 inch pole, even though the Mortal Online developers provided me with one to use for such an occasion. Which brings us to...
Step 4: Pig BlockingFind a pig, block, walk away until you have maxed out all of your physical attributes. You may need to monitor yourself for the early stages of pig blocking, but eventually they will stop doing damage altogether and you can capitalize off of multiple pigponents at once. After that, you should be set to go kill stuff that can hurt you back.
There is actually quite a bit to like about Mortal OnlineWhen I first started playing Mortal, I was immediately overcome with a sense of dread. Your character moves at tortoise speed, your vertical leap is about 3 inches, and most of the critters are very difficult to hit with a short sword (due to "realism). StarVault seems to actually hate the people who pay them money because they went pretty far out of their way to make playing Mortal infuriating.
Once you use my handy dandy guide and get going, sandbox fans typically begin to realize what they're trying to do. Crafting is deep, combat is unforgiving, and exploration is possible if not mandatory. They even provide you with a compass to instill a false sense of security that you actually have some concept of your location!
Technical Problems AplentyMy first impression of the game was a repeatedly crashing patch-client that didn't inform me that it was about to consume around 20 gigs of space on my already full hard drive. Each patch seems to ignore glaring bugs in lieu of providing cosmetic changes that increase "immersion".
Instead of fixing the house-tax that increases fair-play in the world or horse jumping, they added horse pissing. This is not a joke. Horses can and will piss constantly. If they spent half of that time fixing the water-physics so any gentle stream isn't a murderous juggernaut of pain, they might have a sustainable population. Oh well.
Craft you up something goodI wrote an article a while back about crafting. Mortal definitely takes strides towards making crafting interesting again. To all of you carebears that avoid sandbox MMORPGs like the plague, give this game a try. You can make nearly anything from homes to hammers and everything is surprisingly and pleasantly complex. Crafting itself isn't difficult, but they don't spell anything out for you so you'll find yourself experimenting with materials.
My only criticism with the crafting system is that they seem to have ignored a lot of practical things that should be craftable in order to provide new players with self-sufficiency (such as arrows). This puts up a clear wall saying that you shouldn't be an archer if you're not already making money. That seems broken, but I understand the sentiment of needing a money sink to balance the economy.
Not for the faint of heart (or mind).I would certainly say that anyone who can't handle losing large portions of your wealth when you die probably isn't going to be able to suffer Mortal Online too long. Banking is local to towns presumably to provide interesting moments for caravans and trade routes. If you need to buy a house plot from one town, but your money is in another, prepare to make a paranoid 10 minute run. To me, that is exciting, but for some of those theme-park nancyboys, that is scary and to be avoided at all costs.
What the aforementioned fancyboys fail to realize is that you often find yourself on both sides of this nightmare equation. Unless you're horrible at first person shooters, you'll win some fights against all odds and come away with something you can only get from a sandbox MMORPG... Stories.
Character ProgressionUnlike another sandbox MMORPG that we will just call... Parkfall Online, you can actually become viable in a week or so. This is a must for those of us who are adults and have marital obligations. The progression is skill based, and there are hard caps which force you to rely on your friends to fulfill various roles.
On the other hand, some of the skills are redundant, and having to read a book to even use skills that all human beings would able to logically deduct with any level of practice seems unnecessary. Assuming the guys at StarVault read by blog (which they don't) I am fairly sure that this issue in particular could be fixed without hurting any aspect of the game. Do it! DO IT!
- (-5) Excessive Penises
- (7) Stressful
- (-5) Darkfall + UO
- (10) No!
- (10) Open World Goodness
- (10) Risky Business
- (-1,000) Horses either can't jump, or they refuse to.