Mortal Online - Where the Horses Don't Jump

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 | 16

I'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 Hero

Mortal 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 Tutors

In 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 Blocking

Find 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 Online

When 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 Aplenty

My 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 good

I 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 Progression

Unlike 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.

Final Score: Stop SOPA

Hell, this game did half decent if you can get past the horse jumping and genitalia! To all your Darkfall fanboys, I'll review that when DF2.0 comes out. I promise you don't want to hear what I have to say about 1.0.


  1. I actually played in alfa or beta and the game had amazing graphics, too bad it was unplayable back then (there were really big synchronization problems where everything took literaly minutes to show on the screen or to do an action). So I went to explore and it was still fun. After reading this article, I think I will give it a shot one more time.

  2. There are still technical problems, but if you're willing to pay for a beta that has a lot going for it, I'd say absolutely.

  3. Great article. As a UO enthusiast myself, I have the same complaints and compliments about this game.

    Unfortunately, up until now the priorities of the staff seem to be detrimental at best. Apparently the team has been fired and replaced and there is a new expansion coming out this April that will introduce real AI and a lot of other great things. If this expansion doesn't produce great things, then it is safe to say that it is over for this game.

    It is at least pleasing to see one game try to recreate the hardcore, unforgiving, sandbox of UO.

  4. Everyone who has tried to recreate the delicate balance required to provide an optimal sandbox experience has failed miserably. Mortal Online has some major design flaws that prevent the game from ever becoming main stream (such as lack of housing areas). You also can't jump on your horse...

    That being said, it's still leagues better than the recent string of shitty theme-park games like Rift, SWTOR, and I suspect GW2.

  5. I tried this game I don't think its for me, I guess I am too care bear or theme park for it I can't stand the first person view but then again I hated the character creation so I guess I should be grateful I don't have to stare at her ugly self. something about the game just seems off to me. I am so used to looking at my characters as they interact with things. I am used to being able to at least swing a basic weapon off the bat instead of seeing two bare fists. I hate playing with my keyboard and mouse so thought it was cool that I could use my Xbox controller but its still not enough just don't think I can give this game a fair shake and that's sad.

  6. Funny. I find controllers extremely stifling in first person perspective. I'd venture to say that I can beat anyone in any FPS if they're using a controller and I'm using a mouse...

    Go on... Challenge me.

  7. Nice article, the game has a lot of issues but unlike a lot of other mmos it can get better. I can't say the same for games like Rift or SWTard.

  8. Rift could get better! They could add more EPIX!

  9. Im actually playing this game right now and the river physics isnt broken....if you take into account that your character is actually paraplegic. but I think its nice all the potential the game has, i just wish the developers would work on the more glaring issues then cramming more genitalia into the game.

  10. True story. I'm still baffled at their priorities, but I'll end up playing Awakening.

  11. >____> you all know you can disable nudity in the launcher, right?

  12. So? It's on by default. They want people to look at penises by default, which I'm pretty sure makes them sociopaths.

  13. Why do you hate penises so much? :)

  14. You forgot all the bugs the game has..... Also the corruption of the gms, are you sure you played it?

  15. This was in 2012. I'm sure they've introduced plenty more bugs (features) since then.


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