I was probably in the car on my way somewhere when I received the email, which means I didn’t give it much thought. Places to go, people to see, I don’t pay much attention to email notifications from gaming companies. My subscription to Mortal Online has expired.
I haven’t logged on in months. This is partially due to my internet connection. This is partially due to not knowing what I was supposed to be doing when I did log in.
I was in a really great guild, good group of people. They were very helpful and gave me equipment and every opportunity to succeed. They held training events, gathering events and were just downright friendly and fun.
But there was no way I could repay them. I was never going to be good at anything in that game. It’s a cool game. I am really rooting for it to be successful. I like the idea of a skill-based system. I like the idea of having to train and being able to retrain. I really enjoyed the time spent helping crafters test various recipes for weapons and armor. It was exciting to just venture out of town to gather a higher quality of wood.
I don’t enjoy using up my limited bandwidth with a voice chat. I certainly didn’t enjoy freezing up and dying and losing all my stuff. I certainly didn’t relish having my best greatsword stolen off my back and watching the thief log out. Too many times the game was as aggravating as a rush- hour commute on a road full of type-As in BMWs.
Mortal Online does a lot of things right. It does a lot of things I would love to see more MMOs do, but it still drops the ball.
A point-and-click combat-system rocks but MO’s has little relevance to how weapons actually work. The attacks, blocks and stances are just a twitchy modification to the same old thing. They’re just harder to execute: hold shift and the right-mouse button while strafing left… And the silly idea of bandaging or healing in the middle of melee is no different than any other MMO.
There’s no ingame map. I can’t just hit the ‘M’ key and see where I am. This is really cool. But there’s this huge compass that dominates my User Interface. Huh, my character doesn’t have any map-making or terrain-association skills but she’s got this ornate compass strapped to her head.
Mortal Online uses a skill-based, not the archaic and strangling level-based system. This makes a whole bunch more sense. But it's skill-tree and expensive skill-book system is just as restrictive. There is a huge pile of basic, parent and advanced skills that need to be learned just to become effective at anything.
There are no quest givers. There are merchants that pay well for certain items, some of which are very easily found and gathered. And there are merchants that sell those vital skill-books that my character can be reading even while running or fighting.
I understand the hardcore opposition to the hand-holding in theme-parked MMOs. I want immersion and choices in my RPGs. I want to play a character. Mortal Online was great for this, as long as I enjoyed playing a paranoid wood-gatherer dressed in rags.
So, Mortal online did away with the annoying mechanics of leveling and endgame treadmills. But it didn’t do away with the leets and newbs. In some ways it made that division even stronger.