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Mortal Online: The Awakening
realnaste 20/dez/2012 às 3:11
Another Mortal Online review
Mortal Online Review
by Realnaste, Seasoned Player

Mortal Online is a fantasy MMORPG released in 2010 by a small Swedish company named Star Vault. The game is placing itself in the niche of so called sandboxes. This means it favours systems allowing for maximum amount of freedom, as opposed to just few possible roads of advancement typical to most titles coming out these days.
It seems game mechanics like that are extremely hard to implement though, ending in a serious sacrifice of polish and quite a lot of often game breaking bugs. This proved true especially for this indie company with very limited resources.


Installation
Yes. This is a strange thing to mention in a review, but in the case of Mortal Online I feel It should get a fair mention. The problem is that the game seems to be very picky as to what software/hardware configuration it will work on. That combined with no easy way to find information on basic system requirements, such as the required disk space, can lead to a serious headache. If you try this game- do not be surprised if the patcher refuses to cooperate. Anything from ridiculously low download rates to errors concerning downloaded files can happen. Truthfully most are easy to resolve, but for that you will spend some time browsing the official forums.



Character Creation
If you manage to get it working- job well done. Time to start the fun! Here any MMO vet can already feel a breathe of fresh air. The creation of your avatar is approached in an interesting way, letting you influence it's characteristics by choosing his/hers ancestors, age and height all of which influence the statistics and how it performs one way or another. The problem here is it is all barely explained, and so your first go will be based on total guesswork. Example? Sure! If you think you can roll an archer just by getting your dexterity up think again. MO had to do it differently and the best bows are based on strength. I love the realism of that, but for any new player the lack of information will lead to a re-roll and some frustration.

What could also be a serious let down is the customization options. It seems that some players are pushed away because creating an attractive character in Mortal Online is borderline impossible. Thankfully the game is first person view (FPV) only, so you won't have to look at your self that much later on.Now after going through all that we just pick our name, the starting location and can jump into...



Controls
After having a quick look around using your mouse, let's go for a quick try of the basics. The controls in this game are typical of an FPS. The classic WASD to move, space for jump, next we have left click for attack, right for block. The RPG elements require few more buttons naturally. I for inventory, Z for mouse look/cursor mode, how do I attack? Oh! X made my fists pop up so I'm in a fighting stance now how to equip something...
After a moment of browsing through all the windows you might get a bit lost. Mortal Online is definitely not a newbie friendly game. It doesn't do a great job in explaining anything even with the newly introduced tutorial. The best advice I can give is to find someone that knows the ropes. Find a guild! Do it! Now!



Graphics
As I mentioned the game is exclusively in the FPV perspective. This means that you will see the world from the characters eyes. This is a major let down for many, but I personally feel this is a very much welcome feature.

It gives extra immersion that you cannot find in any other similar title. It also allows for true ambushes. Sneaking up without some silly mechanic that makes you magically invisible. The forced FPV also turns battle awareness into a true player skill by not allowing you to rely on an almost unnatural view of everything around you. Most Mortal Online players will agree that this is now the only way a game like this should be made.

The first thing you will notice after logging in will be the way the world looks. This is really hard to judge for me. On one hand, being seriously bored by all the cartoony and childish designs all over the market, I just loved the gritty feel of MO, with its blood, no over saturated colours, and an overall low-fantasy design (Yes! Finally no armour-lingerie/bikinis!). On the other hand, however, the quality of many parts, such as models, animations and textures leave a lot to be desired.
The mobs will look weird even standing in one place, strangely twisting their heads or not having any textures. Some parts of the world have their textures stretched looking really amateurish, and some buildings don't even touch the ground. It is a bit confusing, with some areas providing spectacular vistas and other completely flat, forgotten and devoid of anything.
Overall I would split the rating here into two subcategories- design, which gets an 8/10 from me, and the quality of finish which would sadly get only 4 out of 10.



Gameplay
After tackling the controls you should be able to equip your sword and try to fight something(finally!). Lets start with easy pray and go for PvE. You approach you swing and you miss!...again, and again and finally...a hit!
Some stuff appears in the chat, you gained some skills, something about a handle hit...
This is yet again an area that is in need of some work. For instance, some mobs lack attack animations, others can often be irritating to fight by running away few meters every time you try to approach them to land a blow. The fact that a new character is quite slow and runs out of breath like he's suffering from serious asthma issues does not help here.
The biggest problem is SV has again failed to explain anything to the new player. He cannot know that there is a system in place that allows for a thing called perfect blocking and counter attacks. After a time he might notice he isn't able regenerate fully, but naturally he cant know there is bacon just twenty meters from him waiting to be killed, cut, cooked and eaten to fix that.
The options are there, the mechanics are awesome, but somehow SV seems to be afraid of letting people in on this little secret. This combined with bugs such as places a player can get stuck or items vanishing from bags can lead many to a quick uninstall of this software.

Another thing that is not explained in any way and is a cause of much grief is the flagging system. Since the game does not restrict play styles in any major way, many will seek to abuse the lack of knowledge of the newcomers. Jumping in front of a charged swing or taming an animal and leaving it as a bait for an unsuspecting newbie are just some of the tricks used to get people flagged as criminals and slaughtered as a result. Be wary- you are entering a world that is dangerous from the very start and everything that you have with you might be easily lost at any moment. No reviewer should ever try to tell you if that is good or bad, instead I will leave finding the answer to you. Are you willing to pay the price of freedom?

Mortal Online is a full loot free-for-all PVP game, leading to a situation where you can be killed anywhere at any time and striped off all your possessions. That also means that it is largely policed by the community, making them the ones that decide what is acceptable and what is not. Naturally this creates a world that a D**** bag can thrive in, but it also allows for the truly interesting politics to take place. I personally love that fact that I am in constant danger, but can always retreat to relative safety of a territory governed by a friendly group. Why play a game that I know I will win because any loss is impossible? Not everyone expects a challenge from a game though, so before trying, think about what you really want from a game. There is a reason this game is considered niche.

So we somehow managed to mention PvP finally. Without a doubt it is something that drives many MO players forward. A highly competitive crowd finally got a game where you manually aim your swings, block choosing directions, manage stamina, etc.

This is the part where MO can shine. There are a lot issues here as well, though. Not many weapons, armours and races are viable. This restricts play styles. There is also the prediction issue that makes the clients a bit de-synchronised. It is still one of the best fighting systems that can be found in modern MMOs, and if you actually learn how to use it you will feel an adrenaline rush that no other title can provide. Combine that with a territory control system and you have serious months of fun on your hands.

What drives Mortal Online apart from other titles is the fact that fighting is not the only viable play style. Here is where it is revealed to be a diamond in the rough. Rather than using levels and classes, SV have gone with a skill-base system. This means you can mix and match skills however you like. Skills are raised by using them, or reading skill books. Skills like taming with creature control, herding, animal care and others. Alchemy with hundreds of ingredients ranging from plants to minerals and of course crafting of various equipment. Engineering for house and keep placement, and many, many more.
It is worth mentioning that these skills often do not work like they would in other games.
Let's take taming- usually one would think "Ok! I'll have a static pet that will tank and deal DPS for me. Like WOW did it." Well not quite. Most tamers in Mortal Online will earn their coin by going into the wild and taming something to sell to other players. The only way to get a mount is to find one that was tamed in the wild by a player. So as you see a tamer is not just another fighting class, but also plays an important role in the economy. And yes- the economy is almost entirely player driven. All good weapons are player crafted.
The crafting system in Mortal Online is amazing. No longer will you have a static recipe that tells you three wood with five steel and half of a rats eye makes an enchanted sword. The system lets you combine all the reasonable materials and shape them in many possible ways, the resulting outcome being the sum of the materials used. You want to use wood for a sword? Sure thing! Just don't expect it to pierce armour! Gold? Why not? Just good luck finding anyone that can swing that.

I mentioned the player driven economy. I would not have a clear conscience if I did not mention a dark shadow hanging over it. The dupe.
Sadly in the past there have been so many items acquired by cheating and exploiting and then injected into the system, it is very hard to go back to a proper balance now. The last issue worth mentioning is the game is quite demanding on the PC spec side. So if you have an older rig, consider an upgrade before even trying.


Recently there has been introduced a (still somewhat restricted) free to play option. What you get in that package is the ability to play with skills limited to 60% of their maximum level, and an item restriction based on their value. You will also lack access to the housing system and thievery.

Conclusion
Alright. I feel this review is getting far too long now. Time to quickly summaries my feelings about Mortal Online. The game is great, but only for people with a competitive mind set that look for challenges. I feel the casual crowd that lately seems to be the majority of the gaming population will find the learning curve and obvious lack of polish something repealing. This game is something new and you wont find anything quite like it. If you have that in mind and still think you have what it takes- See you on the battlefield.



A big "Thank you!" to ApocaRUFF for making this wall of text readable!
Última edição por realnaste; 20/dez/2012 às 10:24
Exibindo comentários 115 de 26
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Slapshot1188 20/dez/2012 às 4:05 
For the record, this "review" was first posted on the official MO forums so it could be critiqued by the most hardcore fans AND the Developers prior to posting here. If you think that makes for a good "review" knock yourself out. the rest of us will understand that is carefully crafted Propaganda with just enough "negatives" to make it slightly believable.
realnaste 20/dez/2012 às 4:11 
Read the critique in that thread. I posted for someone to help me with any language issues and have written it for fun more than to "spread the world of how awseome MO is". I did not remove any negativieties from it, even though the instalation problems disapeared somehow from the corrected version and even though one of the devs replied about them, I posted it back in. You are getting boring. If you think it makes for a bad review- point it out based on it's merit, not on the places it was posted. Not that an opinion of someone that can't let go of a game after 2 years of hating matters.
Última edição por realnaste; 20/dez/2012 às 4:13
Slapshot1188 20/dez/2012 às 4:15 
Like I said, you sprinkled in just enough "negatives" to make it slightly believeable.

What you and your friends at StarVault fail to grasp is that the game has not failed for the last 2.5 years becuase of reviews(yes it released 2.5 years ago... this is NOT a new game). Tens of thousands of people bought the game and more probably tried it. Only a tiny fraction of those remain. That has zero to do with bad reviews and EVERYTHING to do with the game, the company and the community.
Última edição por Slapshot1188; 20/dez/2012 às 5:30
realnaste 20/dez/2012 às 4:16 
You are entitled to your opinion, you stated it, now you can go away. thank you for your valuable input. I am sure anyone considering trying this game will apreciate it.
Revir 20/dez/2012 às 5:29 
Something that I forgot to write in my review was about the skill system heh should I do a better review..
Última edição por Revir; 20/dez/2012 às 6:13
MrFlagNog 20/dez/2012 às 13:19 
@realnaste, You forgot to add the disclaimer here that you did over on the site! No worries I'll add it for you below :P

"Disclaimer:

Before you start reading- Yes I have been playing and enjoying the game a lot. I guess some would call me one of the games "fanboys". I can't promise the following will be objective, but then again can it ever be?"

www.mortalonline.com/forums/threads/i-always-wanted-to-review-mo-p.81960/
Goron 20/dez/2012 às 14:23 
haters everywhere. get a life
Svarrog 20/dez/2012 às 14:42 
Escrito originalmente por Goron:
haters everywhere. get a life
People have to ask themselves a very simple question: why. It is not like someone wakes up one morning and says "hey, im gonna hate on this game for no reason". If someone is this dedicated there are reason for that, because of the company.
realnaste 20/dez/2012 às 15:07 
Escrito originalmente por kevy21:
@realnaste, You forgot to add the disclaimer here that you did over on the site! No worries I'll add it for you below :P

"Disclaimer:

Before you start reading- Yes I have been playing and enjoying the game a lot. I guess some would call me one of the games "fanboys". I can't promise the following will be objective, but then again can it ever be?"

www.mortalonline.com/forums/threads/i-always-wanted-to-review-mo-p.81960/


Thank you for bringing the disclaimer back. Next time bring the whole thing though. In case you were wondering- It was deleted along with few other parts, due to the text being far too long. It still is in my opinion, even though I managed to cut down on over 300 words.
Thankfully I knew people like you will without a doubt bring things up.
Meh. Changes absolutely nothing. It's not like I tried to hide this in any way.
Última edição por realnaste; 20/dez/2012 às 15:14
Goron 20/dez/2012 às 15:59 
Escrito originalmente por Svarrog:
Escrito originalmente por Goron:
haters everywhere. get a life
People have to ask themselves a very simple question: why. It is not like someone wakes up one morning and says "hey, im gonna hate on this game for no reason". If someone is this dedicated there are reason for that, because of the company.

if "someone hates something" there is a subject and an object, the problem is not necessarely the object, maybe the subject is (or both). your question have many possible answers, most of them don't justify your behaviour. logic rules
Última edição por Goron; 20/dez/2012 às 16:02
Morningstar 20/dez/2012 às 17:46 
Escrito originalmente por Slapshot1188:
For the record, this "review" was first posted on the official MO forums so it could be critiqued by the most hardcore fans AND the Developers prior to posting here. If you think that makes for a good "review" knock yourself out. the rest of us will understand that is carefully crafted Propaganda with just enough "negatives" to make it slightly believable.

Wow man, I remember seeing you hating on the game years ago when it first came out. Gotta give you some 'grats for the dedication, it must have ♥♥♥♥ed you off an absurdly high amount to keep you going for over 2 years.
Svarrog 20/dez/2012 às 18:22 
Escrito originalmente por Goron:
Escrito originalmente por Svarrog:
Escrito originalmente por Goron:
haters everywhere. get a life
People have to ask themselves a very simple question: why. It is not like someone wakes up one morning and says "hey, im gonna hate on this game for no reason". If someone is this dedicated there are reason for that, because of the company.

if "someone hates something" there is a subject and an object, the problem is not necessarely the object, maybe the subject is (or both). your question have many possible answers, most of them don't justify your behaviour. logic rules

The logic would be that there is a reason for why people seems to dislike the game this much.
Goron 23/dez/2012 às 15:24 
Escrito originalmente por Svarrog:
Escrito originalmente por Goron:
Escrito originalmente por Svarrog:
Escrito originalmente por Goron:
haters everywhere. get a life
People have to ask themselves a very simple question: why. It is not like someone wakes up one morning and says "hey, im gonna hate on this game for no reason". If someone is this dedicated there are reason for that, because of the company.

if "someone hates something" there is a subject and an object, the problem is not necessarely the object, maybe the subject is (or both). your question have many possible answers, most of them don't justify your behaviour. logic rules

The logic would be that there is a reason for why people seems to dislike the game this much.

exactly. maybe is the game, maybe not. it's simple.
Cyrigal 28/dez/2012 às 10:17 
Good review, Informative.
realnaste 28/dez/2012 às 11:54 
Thank you. :)
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