Let me first state that Mortal Online is the type of game that I WOULD LIKE to succeed, so I might be a tad biased by that.
Mortal Online (from here on referred to as MO) has been in open beta for quite a while now, and is going to be for a while still.
I grabbed it some time ago, but was demotivated by lag and utter lack of tutorial from the getgo, and haven't really sat down with it until now.
MO looks great, graphically. probably amongst the prettier mmo's as of recent. this should be no surprise though seeing as they use the Unreal engine. Having said that, and having worked a bit with the same engine, they've done a pretty crap job with occlusion fields or whatever they are called. ( I'm not all that pro). You know the invisible walls you put up in various areas of the map, to prevent the client from trying calculate polygons outside of your actual field of view. ..it's killing your computer in certain areas.
Logging into MO for the first time, is like receiving a slowmotion neverending kick in the sack.
You can hardly move due to various forms of lag, and you haven't the faintest clue what you should be doing first.
There's hardly any interface, short of HP bars etc. no tutorial, no map, no mousecursor and the whole thing is first person.
So there you are, like a laggy camera in an all new world.
After trying various buttons I found that ESC gave me a menu, that contains amongst other things, some vague and undetailed explanations on how a minimal amount of functions work. I wont go into to much detail and make this a starting guide ( it would be the first on the Internet btw.) but suffice to say that Z brings up a cursor (and makes you unable to move) and that lowering "screen percentage" slightly in GFX settings will make the game playable.
That should save you an hour or so right there.
Let me list a few features.
MO has no quests, everyone can kill you anywhere, and when you die, everything you were wearing or had in your bags are free for all. :) In addition to this, every starting town is littered with thieves that can pickpocket your stuff as soon as you stand still.
Soon as you go near a bank or a crafting area, you'll have nude thieves humping your leg like theres no tomorrow. Yea they are nude cause they tend to get caught and killed and loose all THEIR stuff :) and when I say Nude I mean nude. This is probably the first MMO I've seen that features full frontal 3D modeled penises.. AND lets you swing them about in the game world as much as you like. ..liberating :) One of the few reasons I like Scandinavian game companies is they got the balls to go hardcore and M rated.
Since it took me about a day of playing before I actually had anything on me worth stealing, this wasn't so much a problem as it was involuntary homoeroticism.
Back to the rest of the game, your first thought as a somewhat well-versed gamer is you should probably make some money. Traditionally you do this by killing insignificant creatures right outside the gate, and so I headed out in the wilds sporting my rags and my all-purpose axe. (the only equipment you wont loose).
The newbie hunting grounds consists mainly of domesticated pigs, weasels, and plate armoured gankers. After having been killed by all of the above followed by an hour or so figuring out how to be brought back to life, I decided to try to make money some other way.
The answer was basic Mining and Woodcutting. Well, somewhat. I found out how to chop wood and took a decent amount back to town. This was ofcourse stolen, so on my next run I took it straight to the bank.
Turns out you cant actually sell the crappy wood and stones you are able to initially gather, probably because someone was macroing it an hour after beta went live. But the good thing is that chopping wood and mining rocks quickly ups your strength and constitution. Soon I had double the amount of health, ran much much faster, hit harder and could carry twice as much.
I went for the domesticated pigs again.
The biggest problem with the pigs now wasn't so much that they would kill me, but that they had warp speed. As soon as I got near one it took of like a bottle-rocket and there was no way I could catch up. In addition they didn't seem to be able to distinguish ground level from tree branches, and so they where just teleporting all over the place.
This is mostly due to various types of client/server sync issues, so that should get better, hopefully :)
I was able to kill a few, and even able to sell some skin on my 2nd run back (first batch was stolen). Ofcourse the coins I made from the skin was then stolen.. but all in all felt like I had made some progress.
After I started making some money I went looking for skillbooks so that I could learn more advanced techniques and crafts. After asking around town while sidestepping a pletora of naked men feeling me up.. i was told about another city that had a liberary with many books.
Hoping there'de be less thieves in said town, and some interesting books, I took off.
There is neither a world map nor a minimap, so I went on gut feeling and Google.
3 hours later, I had fallen to my death 2 times, drowned tree times, surprisingly not been ganked, but lost 45 mins worth of wood at the bottom of a lake, been chased by dire wolfs, undead and water lizzards in addition to slightly bigger pigs then the ones I had previously been able to handle. I ended up on a desolate jungle island with no sign of civilisation, and such a horrible trip back that I decided to delete my character and just start a new one in the liberary city.
It had just as many thieves.
There's my first impressions for you :)
It might seem all out negative, but I am actually enjoying it.
MO is a game in which conflicts, events, story, progression, "class" and everything is turned over to the player. The game don't tell you what to do and how to do it, and in return you can do pretty much anything. It has an incredibly complex crafting system with thousands of gear combinations based on combination of parts and material stats.. a bit like starwars galaxies and I never though I'd see that again. It also has NON-INSTANCED player housing.
The thieves are a pestilence but they can be avoided, and until I've seen more of how it plays out I'll just assume the idea is that they are a necessary common enemy for others to unite against.
The constant dangers brings people to team up and serve grouping functions you haven't seen before. Like a lookout for the miner, or a bodyguard fending of thieves while the crafter uses the workbench.
It is a game full of promises and good ideas, but its a risky concept and could go both ways depending on how the devs tweak it.
One of it's biggest positives, is that it's one of those games we havent seen for years, where the lack of global chat channels and questmarkers provides an unaviodable incentive to go up and talk to strangers.
It's one of those games where you can make a name for yourself. Partly due to the fact that I doubt the community will be huge due to the learning curve, but also because you're character wil gain a reputation.
Thieves are dispised, gankers are feared, crafters adored, and you'll always remember the friendly woodsman that guided you back to civilication when you where lost.
My biggest fear is that they release it now.
It was supposed to have already been released, but delayed because they needed to upgrade servers to get rid of lag and sync issues. truth be told though, it is nowhere near ready for realse in its current form. It lacks so many essential MMO features and functionalities that a release at this point would make it crash and burn.
So, heres hoping they'll take their time and polish what could become a great game.
(please give it a bump if you liked the entry)