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Casual Thoughts from a Semi-Retired Philosopher

I play MMOs as an alternative to TV. Sometimes it even turns into quality time with the wife and daughter. Most of the time it's a distraction from doing something productive or meaningful.

Author: Hluill

First Week in Mortal Online

Posted by Hluill Tuesday May 17 2011 at 11:03AM
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I am actually loving this game. It isn't the the PvP twitch-fest that I'd thought it'd be. Sure, been ganked a few times, but the ganker didn't even loot my stuff. Really, they were some righteous kills and I wasn't paying attention, chasing deer or rabbits or whatever.

My real frustration with the game is my ISP being unreliable and not allowing me to paly more.

Now, I come from the Themepark scene (what else is there?), so I admit that I miss having my hand held. But, there needs to be something for the newbie to do besides gather for cuprum.

It seems the "way" to spend one's newbie time is to gather for stats and curprum, so one can buy books so one can gather and skill up. It's real hard to skill up by just training, though it is possible. But, really, it's more productive to read about archery than to actually practice it? In some cases the only way to get the skill at all is to read the book...

Now, there's the mushroom guy. Why can't the fighter tutor have some exchange for one as well? Do such and such and get money or gear or what not. I know, I know, that's quest.

But how is that different from gathering mushrooms for cuprum? Or doing the deer or wood or rock runs? I would like to have an activity for those of us that want to be warriors, something other than watching my axe swing against a tree ad nausea...


MMO Community and PvP

Posted by Hluill Sunday May 15 2011 at 8:51AM
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I am currently reading Ian Mortimer's A Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England.  I am a bit of an amateur historian and I am really enjoying his take on the Fourteenth Century. One thing that he continues to stress is the community.  He writes about everyone "belonging" some where, a town or a village where they are looked after and protected.

I live in a rural area so I understand a bit of it.  I have also watched "The Waltons" a few times. 

Community.  They grew up together.  They farmed together, raised barns together, intermarried.  Heck, West Virginia jokes aside, they're practically family.  Our modern neighborhoods don't even come close. 

Just like we have little concept of the skills and training of a Medieval Knight, we simply have no sense of that warrior's home town.  Community crosses class boundries. Knights had a deep relationship with their peasents, though not always compassionate.

Now compare this with all the articles that have been written about the anomynity of the internets.  Spend any time here and you will see your share of trolls, blathering insane ignorance just to get attention.  Spend any time in an open-pvp MMO and expect to get ganked, robbed and violated in all kinds of obnoxious ways. 

Yep, I am specifically thinking about Mortal Online, but I have vivid memories of open PvP in several other games.  It's interesting to juxtapose medieval MMOs with the real medieval world.  It's a frustrating waste of time, as well.

I am debating to how deep to go here.

I could talk about the ganking, murder and how it works in the real and medieval worlds...

~shakes his head~

Suffice to say that PvP will never be "realistic" in an MMO because a game cannot simulate what it is to be a contributing member of a community.

Enough philosophy and reflection, time to log in.

Trying out Mortal Online

Posted by Hluill Friday May 13 2011 at 3:11PM
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And it has been a struggle.  I really want to love this game, but I the process easily reminds of the time I wanted to date the cute cheerleader.  Sweet girl, but I just couldn't stomach the perky shallowness, real or feigned.

So my relationship with Mortal started with cruising their forums years ago.  The idea of an open-world, skill-based MMO really intrigues me.  I like having the the ability to make my character the way I want and not be hemmed in by classes and levels.

Last December, I was bored with LotRO and EQ2 and Vanguard, so ordered the game disk.  Weeks later I receive an email saying my subscription has run out.  Huh, I haven't even received the disk yet.  This isn't a good sign.

When I receive the disk, I install it, but it won't run.  Yeah, did the un-install-re-install thing.  I emailed tech support back and forth.  And then did the download.  Three days of uninterruptable downloading later, it still won't run.  Dissappointed, I give up on Mortal and get back into Vanguard and working with the girlfriend's guild in EQ2.

Then my computer meets an untimely demise.  May it rest in peace, or, um, pieces.

So I start the process of breaking in a new computer: installing, copying and downloading.  I am using the girlfriend's high-speed so, intrigued by the fourteen-day free-trial and the upcoming expansion, I try downloading Mortal again.  Remember me mentioning three days of UNINTERRUPTABLE downloading?  Yeah, well with the patches it's now almost four days of like three, three-thousand mega-byte downloads and some little ones.  My girlfriend dutifully monitered the process.

And, surprise, surprise, surprise!  It ran!

Trying to log on, I learn that I don't get a fourteen-day free-trial and must subscribe for one to six months.  Oh well, it's not too expensive.

So, now I am logging in a rolling up the Nave version of Hluill.

Character creation is pretty barebones.  None of the models are attractive, at all.  But that's okay, because the game is all in first-person and one only sees his character in the profile's paperdoll.  Consequently, a lot of folks are running around naked, oblivous to their own flacid penises...

So there is that. 

Then there is the whole open world thing.  Yeah, no mater what your character's age, he starts off knowing nothing about anything.  Dialogue a couple NPCs to learn some skills, which are so low they are almost worthless.

Activities for starting characters?  chop wood, gather rocks and mushrooms.  This increases skills and attributes.  Sell the stuff you've gathered to make money to buy books to learn the skills you'll need to be able to do anything.

The problem is, the books are really expensive.  Like plan on spending hours of looking at your axe hitting a tree or rock, which will also get your strength up...

Yeah, Hluill starts in his home village of Vadda, thirty-five years-old, knowing nothing, not even how to jump.  A few places mention character backgrounds, but I never saw them during creation.  Maybe the expansion will help some of this.

So far, Hluill is still in rags, hunting deer, training his sprinting and jumping and a myriad of combat skills.  And he still can't afford a book.