In Which We Chat About Mortal Online

By Jim Rossignol on February 4th, 2010 at 11:30 am.


We’ve been playing the unusual MMO Mortal Online for the past couple of weeks, and Phill and I took some time out to talk about it. Read our thoughts on this strange spiritual successor to Ultima Online below.

Jim: So we’ve both been playing Mortal Online, which has just hit beta, and it’s an interestingly esoteric experience. It’s a hardcore MMO in lots of ways – attempting to tap into the legacy of Ultima Online – but it’s oddly endearing too. There’s something quite positive and honest about its approach… a sort of “we are going to be different, take it or leave it.” Do you agree?

Phill: Yeah, there’s a way that it makes even completely menial and mundane tasks seem like massive accomplishments, if only just through the fact that they’re so hard to pull off. I know that makes it seem like it might be incredibly grindy, but for some reason it doesn’t quite feel like that. Maybe it’s just because that chopping wood animation is so satisfying.

Jim: Yeah, I think the fact that’s it’s first-person has something to do with that. They’ve thought “okay, if people really are going to mine rocks, then the hammer blow had better be visceral.” What’s odd about this kind of game is the recognition that people actually want to do that stuff, though. I was podcasting with John yesterday and he did the standard “crazy grinders!” routine, but the truth is people like building stuff from first principles. There are corporations in Eve who just mine rocks, there are people for whom the trade aspects of WoW are the most important. Can you identify with that?

Phill: I think it helps you feel more self-sufficient, at least in this case, because when you start you’re given almost no direction about what to do. You’re just wearing some rags and you’ve got an axe. So you apply it in the way that’s least likely to get you killed; on inanimate objects. And I think the fact that doing so actually helps you fight, in a very direct way, really helps. It was only after I’d cut down enough wood to make twenty bows that I realised it’d boosted my strength significantly. I like the way it seems you don’t do something in isolation; it works towards all the other ways you can interact with the world.

Jim: One of the things the devs need to work on is that skill tree presentation. It takes a while to figure out what is happening. I guess it’s similar to the Oblivion improve-through-use, but it’s not clear how it’s helping you at the start. This is a game where the numbers aren’t really on the surface, like they are in say WoW

Phill: Oh yeah, it’s got one of the most obtuse interfaces I’ve ever seen. The fact that it’s not even consistent makes it even more difficult to get to grips with. Instead of having a ‘tame’ icon you can put in your hotbar, you have to type it into chat. Hardly the most helpful way to get people to play your game. But I think that’s indicative of how the game itself works; really, really hard to figure out, but when you do, it works smoothly and rewarding enough.

Jim: Presumably these are all cracks to be smoothed over as the beta progresses, but I get the feeling this is a game that could be in beta for a very long time. What’s exciting about it though is the way it feels like the early days of Eve. There’s a lot of blank slate – you can see where they want user-generated stuff to fill the void…


Phill: Yeah, and that’s where I’ve been having the most fun. When I’ve interacted with other people, it’s just been interesting in a way I’ve not really experienced before. Like I caught a thief snooping in my pockets the other day, so naturally I tried to kill him, only he was a much, much stronger fighter than me. I run away, and come back when he’s sitting down having a rest. Victory me. The great thing is, I’ve got half a dozen stories like that, and I haven’t even made it out of the starting area yet.

Jim: Yeah, there’s some interesting stuff that can happen when the world is not “safe”. I was saved from a mugging by some guy in armour. I was all “thanks!” and he warned me to be careful in future. Heart-warming. I mean, you can rely on guards in the player centers, but when someone real intervenes in your misfortunes, it’s something else.

Phill: I met a monk in the woods who taught me how to fight in unarmed combat. Only I didn’t realise it was a lesson, and it was only when I went into ‘mercy mode’ and he let me live that I realised.

Jim: A player monk taught you?

Phill: In a way, yeah. Because in MO, you learn through doing. So he was blocking while I punched at him, and then waiting for me to block before he punched. It was only when I started getting cocky and landed blows that he wasn’t expecting that he decided to put me down.

Jim: Wow. That’s kind of beautiful. Old master players tutoring their proteges in a wooded glade. I guess the basic issue with this game is that StarVault are making a huge leap of faith: that players will want a challenge sufficiently sophisticated, and that they’ll create all the emergent processes that are required to make the world interesting and dynamic.

Phill: Players have been given this huge, huge blank slate to fill, and yeah, it’s a huge act of faith in them that they’re actually going to do it and not just get bored that they’ve only been given the tools, not the house. But what I’ve seen so far has been encouraging. People like to make stuff, and if the stuff in MO sticks around, that’s just more incentive. The thought of a player-made city is incredibly exciting to me, if it can be achieved.

Jim: I’m hoping that we’re going to come full circle with MMOs, and the Warcraft millions will eventually start looking for more complex stuff like this. I guess MO might not be “the one” in terms of a persistent world game, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Phill: I really like the way that Starvault have talked about what they’re trying to do. They claim that most other MMOs are Themeparks, with rides everyone gets to do, but are essentially the same. They’re providing a world instead, which is commendable. If it works, even better.

Jim: Yeah, that’s CCP’s philosophy with Eve. Perhaps we will see some interesting stuff happen in the MMO space after all!

Mortal Online is currently in free open beta.

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94 Comments »

  1. Alex Bakke says:

    Hmm, this has stayed off my radar for a while, might check it out.

  2. JB says:

    I’m still trying to download MO, getting blistering speeds of up to 0.15 KB/s… Another couple of days and I might get there.

  3. Nuyan says:

    This excites me. I’ll probably won’t play this game (or any other MMO) as I don’t have the time for it. But I’m happy to see sandbox MMOs, the sort of MMO philosophy that me and many others have been ‘preaching’ about for several years, are now finally seeing the light.

    I wonder if MO manages to really nail it down, or if we still have to wait for a big company ala Blizzard to make it really popular.

  4. Raphael says:

    I have no problems here, with 300kb/s, no download managers. Strange.

    • JB says:

      @ Raphael – I’m getting it through the MO Launcher downloading it, is there a better way? There can’t be a worse way…8-10 hours of downloading and I’m 13% done.

    • D says:

      Seems MO launcher uses a torrent. Not too clever, when seeding stops because people are playing their game. I’d go looking for a separately hosted torrent, but then I’d have to figure out where to put stuff etc.

    • D says:

      Actually the torrent file is located in the game directory (/patches), and the only file it downloads is the mopatch0to05.exe (/mortalonline). You can use an external torrent app to get it instead, which might boost the speed a bit (due to using more trackers and DHT).

    • JB says:

      Yep, the MO launcher is using a torrent. I’m now getting (wildly fluctuating) speeds between 1 and 25 KB/s, so things are looking up. I’m still jealous of Raphael though.

    • scott Ossington says:

      I downloaded the intial start up file twice and both times it said it was corrupted and gave up.

    • Luke says:

      I was also getting an abysmal speed until, so I opened the torrent in uTorrent, checked out the properties and looked at the trackers. There are actually 2 direct links in the tracker list, so I ended up downloaded the 2 big patches (~2 gig each) manually.
      Got much better speed this way and it downloaded in just a few hours. :)

      I’m at work right now otherwise I’d link you up :(

  5. Scoteh says:

    My open beta hasnt been working from the moment i got it. And from a friend that managed to log in for 10 mins before his crashed and stopped working, hes saying it has the feel or an early alpha. Which dismays me a bit. Im concerned that this will go the way of darkfall, massive promise squandered by a rushed release and a small developer.

    But hey, i shall persist.

    • damien says:

      i am unsure that starvault is rushing this.

      it’s been in beta since july 2009.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      @Scoteh

      I dunno, it sounds not nearly as ridiculously stupid as Darkfall.

      I’m going to give it a shake.

    • Scoteh says:

      I hope thats wrong phantoon i really do. Because the state of the game at the moment is abyssmal. Hordes of people cant even get the game passed the launcher, the launcher works 15% of the time and then when you get in nothing works.

      Thats not the state you release an open beta in. If this is after 7 months of closed beta, then god help us if this game will make it out in the next 2 years =/

      Fair play im just raging that ive spent hours trying in vain to get this working and its not happening. Maybe itll all turn out fine.

  6. Cynic says:

    “you have to type [commands] into chat.”
    Oh Phill, typing it into the chat bar harks all the way back to the MUD roots of MMOs, I thought stuff like that was still commonplace what with all the WoW players that use /emotes.
    I still remember so many of Everquest’s from back before the UI revamp.

    /camp

    • Howl says:

      Nostalgia aside, I think it’s a fatal barrier to adoption. I often felt that EQ and DAOC fell by the wayside because of their UI’s reliance on /slash commands for even basic functionality.

      Want to drink a potion in DAOC? Macro the /use command to a hotkey, then right click a potion in your inventory and press your /use macro hotkey. Easy huh?

      I’m pretty sure that level of inaccessibility will have lost about 90% of trial accounts before they even finished the newbie missions. Instead of trying to fix it, Mythic (or the zombies that were left running DAOC) just kept on patching in new crap and luring customers in that likely lasted 10 minutes.

    • TenjouUtena says:

      Still… /pizza was awesome.

  7. Miles of the Machination says:

    I’ve always liked the idea of a reliance on emergent, player created and operated content in an MMO. It gives it so much more scope for potential, yet it lacks the structure that many players would feel the need for. An odd, yet intriguing balance.

  8. damien says:

    i am so very glad this game is beginning to get some of the attention it deserves.

    • damien says:

      also, i think phill hit my fascination with this game with the following:

      “I like the way it seems you don’t do something in isolation; it works towards all the other ways you can interact with the world.”

      the intricate web of interactions this game is attempting to make available in its systems has been sucking me in for months. on many levels, it flirts with this very immersive combination of cause and effect statements that often make you sit down and think: “if this were real, and i were here, how would i go about doing X?” something i’m not used to in games.

  9. Simon Jones says:

    This sounds fascinating. Sounds like the first properly innovative thing to happen in MMOG space for years. MMOGs will only properly interest me when they trust their players to produce social content, rather than just being single player games in disguise.

  10. lhzr says:

    so this is something in the vein of wurm online? that one seemed pretty interesting, but the gfx were a bit off-putting. is MO better?

    • Torgen says:

      Speaking of crappy Wurm graphics, they’ve landed a second volunteer modeler, who is redoing all the weapons, and rumor is that the player models are *finally* going to get some attention soon (like holding hatchets at a 90^ angle, and animations.)

    • Sonic Goo says:

      @lhzr

      Yes, that’s something I’m hoping for as well. Imagine games like Dwarf Fortress or Wurm with the (graphical) polish and shine of a company like Blizzard… MO seems to be a bit too much PVP-centric to become actually big-time big, though. PVP just doesn’t sell.

  11. Xeaon says:

    Really hope this isn’t just shite like darkfall. Would love a fantasy EvE.

    • Stromko says:

      I actually had some fun with Darkfall, though mostly because I went into it knowing that it was going to be mostly shit, and also that I was very very bored. I believed the review that gave it 3/10, but I saw youtube videos that showed people sailing on ships and firing cannons at cities. This was before Face of Mankind came back, a game that offered better FPS-based PvP and faction warfare without the excessive cheating and exploits that destroyed DF’s community.

      If someone could try that same sort of game model without the strange business model*, a solid code base and a healthy community, it just might be lovely. MO might be that game, but I’m just too busy to try. I’m going to be watching this space though.

      *I can understand server expenses, LOVE was worth every penny for those 3 vouchers I used, but 60$ just to TRY an obscure game that most people would hate? FFS Darkfall.

  12. Bobsy says:

    So yeah. Could we get a little more detail on what you actually *do* in-game? Is there building? Territorial ownership? Crafting? Physics?

    Essentially, can I make a tower with a sheep-launching trebuchet on top?

  13. BigJonno says:

    I’ve been wanting to try this out for a while. I’m worried that it’ll be a bit too PvP-oriented for my tastes, but I’m willing to give it a shot.

  14. Wulf says:

    I just wish it wasn’t PvP focused, that’s the only thing now really that’s keeping me away from wanting to look at this, because a comfortable cooperative atmosphere is not promoted by player-killing, as was proved by Ultima Online’s PvP shard, and probably EvE too (though it’s probably easier to hide in EvE).

    Another problem with an open PvP system (like Mortal Online) seems to have is that it attracts the ickle kiddywinkles, as UO’s PvP shard did, and that really impacts the quality of the playerbase in a negative way, because PvP kids just can’t be socialised, and having them around in a roleplaying environment is an absolute nightmare. Which is why I can’t understand why a game that claims to want to be like Ultima Online has PvP at all, aside from the tiny, vocal minority of Felucca, the vast majority of UO hated PvP.

    Oh well, at least there’s still stuff like A Tale in the Desert, but really, games like this would benefit from ignoring PvP or putting PVP somewhere else so the kids can do it optionally where the PvE players don’t have to see it (like Guild Wars). Those usually create for the best communities, because in games like Ultima Online (Trammel), A Tale in the Desert, Dungeons & Dragons Online, and Guild Wars, you can have actual conversations with people, in games like World of Warcraft, Darkfall, Age of Conan, and very likely Mortal Online, you can’t. It seems to me like a PvP focus or even a noteworthy PvP addition basically causes a game to shoot itself in the foot, at least as far as communities are concerned.

    Plus there are the goons, and really, who wants those guys around (except for sadists and lolololocrats, maybe?).

    • Wulf says:

      The point I made with the last sentence is that the Something Awful goonsquad only seems to attain griefing-capable numbers in games where PvP can be used to grief people, such as the duelling situation in Champions Online, or the corporation stealing of EvE, or the player picking-on of Age of Conan. In a game where PvP and PvE don’t meet they’re never anywhere to be found, and this is a good thing.

      All they serve to do is pollute a game with rot and drag it down with them, Mortal Online will likely not be an exception.

    • damien says:

      i’m curious about this idea of PvP players being unable to be socialized.

      one of the things i find breeds the sort of immature player you’re describing is PvP without consequence. age of conan is an excellent example of this, in that PvP has absolutely no consequence (positive or negative) to the actual mechanics or gameflow of the game.

      i question how many of the immature players you seem to be describing would be willing to work hard enough in a game like Mortal Online to be able to be effective in a PvP scenario, or (similar to EVE) to be able to handle the economic losses that come with PvP failures.

      i guess my main question, wulf, is where the concept came about of a proper MMO being free of player conflict? the idea of a world without player strife just seems rather depressing to me.

      i can see your point with regards to roleplayer communities if i look at a game like LOTRO, and yet the player communities and RP groups found in EVE have always felt much more engaging and vibrant than those i found in LOTRO.

      in LOTRO, everyone is nice because they have no real in-game alternative, in EVE, people are nice because its in their best interests to have connections and friendships. being nice in EVE can greatly increase your potential for profit and survival. i find the latter much more interesting to explore and RP within.

      i just dont know if i’ve seen enough evidence to agree with your “if there is PvP, the player base suffers and there is awful RP / community” statement.

    • Stromko says:

      I was never successful at PvP in Ultima Online, I was ganked every time I was more than a screen away from a safe area, but it certainly did make things more interesting and dynamic. I tried UO again after they effectively removed the PvP, I was finally able to advance my character in peace, but there didn’t seem to be much point, no drama, and no sense of there being a wilderness anymore. It was all just a big sprawl with stores selling Grand Master gear everywhere.

      Without the stress and drama of a PvP environment, a game relies entirely on its PvE content and, therefore, the developers. Right now, WoW’s the juggernaut in providing developer content, the ‘theme park’ experience of safe, constant character progress.

      A lot of these games, from EVE to Mortal Online to Aion, wouldn’t have gotten off the ground if they didn’t have some variation of world PvP. EVE is a phenomenon, but its PvE content alone couldn’t hold up the game even as a niche title.

      I don’t think we truly need other players, until we’re actually fighting other players. We can’t truly appreciate player vs player conflict, until that conflict isn’t a given. When the only way one COULD interact with another player is by fighting them, there’s no real tension or drama there. All these aspects are on a very difficult balance that many games, and even most situations in the games that get it, simply can’t get right. But there is a sweet spot that’s really incredible and worthwhile.

    • Psychopomp says:

      Oh, come on, the stuff the Goons pull in MMO’s is fantastic, and you know it.

    • Cvnk says:

      Hah hah. Yeah, goons sure ruined EVE. Nothing like a massive, years-long, galaxy-spanning war to take the fun out of PVP space MMO.

      And in Wurm we built some of the coolest stuff around.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Classic case of pvp phobia ?

      Way to talk nonsense if you ask me, to most mature communities I ever encountered were always the heavy hardcore pvp focused, because when you’re playing a game with actual consequences to death and actions as a whole, you gotta be smart or you gotta be dead (and therefore in a problematic situation). Walking on thin ice has a tendency of making you think before acting.

      It was the same back in UO (like it or not, but there are plenty of subscribers that loathed entering Trammel/Felucca era and quitted at that time – good, mature players who were each worth a dozen of braindead achievement addict dudes -), in AC – Darktide, EvE, etc…

      As for the Goons, most people would be happy being half as smart and funny as the big names I’ve seen leading the Goonswarm in EvE. They in themselves achieved leadership, strategic and diplomatic wonders there, so calling the name is in no way an anathema on the subject of PvP as a whole.
      Btw, as said above, they also really tend to pull some crazy fun stuff to prove their point on the Internet. Understanding it requires a particular sense of humor, though.

      In the end, anyway you may put this and as many posts you make to voice your opinion on PvP focused games, the only true statement is that “if you don’t like it, just don’t play it”. Trying to make PvPers as a whole look like stupid antisocial bullies to prove your point is just not gonna cut it, and honestly supporting this kind of biased theory would be delusional.

    • Nalano says:

      I have to agree with all the naysayers, Wulf: It’s not PvP that creates assholes. It’s PvP without consequence that creates assholes. It’s not like WoW is full of kittens and sunshine just because you can avoid a fight – quite the opposite: People find ways to peevishly harass you for the specific reason that they can’t attack you directly. Ganking and corpse-camping become the name of the game in a limited-PvP situation, as because the only way they can impede you is to force you into a corpse run, that’s all they’re going to do. And because all you can do in return is the same, they can bother you all damn day. Loot ninjaing becomes the name of the game, because that’s the only way to deprive someone else of gear. And there’s no recourse, because the game forces you to play nice. Sorry!

      Just as the OP pointed out, eliminating the ability to wrong someone else also eliminates the ability to help someone else. You’re never a whole person; you’re deprived the pride of adversely affecting your surroundings positively, and denied the satisfaction of righting a wrong done you. You want a viable online community – without the griefing, the backbiting, the passive aggression – you give them all the abilities of a real community, instead of this little supervised playpen where the GMs don’t trust you not to do anything untoward and turn around and handcuff you when someone does something to you.

      I preordered MO a number of months ago. I’m patiently waiting for it to come out.

    • nickylee says:

      I actually agree with Wulf somewhat. I do think that PvP can be useful in creating a dynamic world in which one is more invested. Absolutely. But at the same time none of you can deny that the fact is unless the computer were to somehow actually kill the players upon character death there is a sizeable amount of people who will want to act out some kind of pseudo-sociopathic fantasy. These sort will kill you and find it amusing to do so. I myself avoid PvP for this reason and I’ve had several friends who used to love PvP in MMOs who gave it up because there will always be a goodly amount of people who want to kill you because they can and it amuses them.

      This can be a bit of a game breaker for those who are more interested in the social world building like I am. I want there to be danger and risk, but I also want to know that I can be safe if I need be, and I remember the early days of UO because I was playing it back in ’97 and there was a large period where I felt safe nowhere.

  15. mandrill says:

    This game may be in Open Beta but IMO its nowhere near ready for it.

    My first character spawned half in and out of the ground, stuck. using the approved methods for extraction from such a situation did not work. That and its incredibly laggy, has a convoluted and unrelieable installatiion and strangely an “offline mode” where apparently you cannot interact with anyone else inhabiting the world but they can interact with you (ie picking your pockets and hitting you with their axe till you’re dead.)

    I’m all for hardcore games where the sandbox is unforgiving, and am intrigued by attempts to build an economy from first principles, but as yet I don’t feel that MO is quite ready for a large population as yet. They chould close the beta back up and do some more polishing.

  16. Drifter says:

    Sorry – this is ridiculous.

    Everything you said about Moral Online applies the same to Dark Fall. EXCEPT – Dark Fall is about 100 times more polished and complete than Mortal Online. If you like the concept of Mortal Online, then go play Dark Fall – it’s all done and working there – from interfaces to skills to content. Mortal Online is where Dark Fall was 2 years ago.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Right. Except we’re talking about Mortal Online.

    • Psychopomp says:

      Maybe Darkfall is more complete because, I dunno, it’s complete.

    • Stromko says:

      Unless they solved some very key problems (like client-side handling of player position), I can’t see Darkfall Online being a game that could be recommended. It was rife with not just exploits (80% of players using ‘blood walls’ to train), but out and out cheats and hacks. No one would bring out some of the interesting features like ships or siege engines because somebody using hacks would steal it out from under them and there wouldn’t be any way to stop it

      Without the horrific exploits and cheats, and perhaps if all those players that used exploits and cheats to achieve max skill weren’t dominating the game, and of course if the devs could scale back the UNGODLY grind once people are no longer able to use exploits to speed it up… Then it just might be worthwhile. But do they also still have the deal on where you have to pay 60$ just to try it?

      MO could entirely be a worse game, I simply do not know, but there’s a lot better games to be played, for free, than Darkfall. The same could hold true for Mortal Online, I simply don’t know. DFO might be better than Wurm, I did have more fun with it, I’d give it that, but no one should have to pay full price for a subscription-based MMO anymore.

    • damien says:

      avoiding the more obvious baiting aspects to this darkfall comparison, i’ll say this:

      darkfall’s design scope was sandbox as long as you wanted to fight. the game’s systems and rules dont really offer much beyond that. its a decent game if your concept of sandbox gameplay is found only with a sword or bow in hand.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Having three UIs because the creators weren’t creative enough to come up with a progress bar while you do something while loot? Please. Darkfall deserves to be bashed.

      I’m still bitter I paid more than 60 dollars for less than ten minutes of game. Next time, I’ll just trust the absurdly low review score.

      Had Darkfall been free to try, or been easier to get onto (no physical copies and certainly no download servers) then I might still not be mad at how they basically cheated me when they said there was a game there. And of course, they refused to give a refund.

      So even if you think this isn’t going to be as “good” as Darkfall, keep in mind you’re not having a cups game played in front of you on your computer screen with real money. Because you can try it. Which is what every game that wants more money out of you in the future should have.

  17. Sharpblue says:

    Ive been desperately trying to download and install the beta client. takes ages to download the small file from the website, presumably the patcher, then every single time its done i try to install and i get an error saying its corrupt =( tried a torrent version and still no dice. anyone else had the same problems?

  18. JB says:

    Anyone got the patch (relatively) quickly and easily from a third-party torrent app that they would like to recommend?

    • D says:

      Check PM, I can try uploading to you. Also get utorrent.

    • JB says:

      Cheers D, getting good speeds on utorrent now.

      Thanks buddy!

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Why not just use the direct downloader they have? I waited five minutes, my download will take another five.

    • JB says:

      Phantoon, using the MO downloader I was getting speeds of less than 1KB/s for about 8 hours, then it shot up to a massive 20-25KB/s. With uTorrent I had all 3 patches (almost 3.5gig) in a very short time indeed. And I’m seeding them now too =)

  19. malkav11 says:

    I suspect I’m not really that interested in that added complexity in the long run. But I’m certainly not going to swap out a game where I can largely ignore PvP like WoW (or better yet, one with no PvP on most servers, like EQII) for a game with unrestricted, consequential PvP. I can’t think of a more offputting gameplay decision.

  20. Mike says:

    Is there any way to get this off anything other than a torrent? My connection blocks anything torrent-like. :(

  21. We Fly Spitfires says:

    I’m looking forward to Mortal Online because I’m aching for a decent sandbox MMO. EVE is great but a fantasy one would be nice. Yeah, I know there’s Darkfall but all of the negativity around it has put me off. I take it MO is a lot better than DF?

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Even if it is not, it is still free.

      Which means it’s automatically better even if half the players log in and are suddenly shoved into a tiny white room where there’s a single table with a human femur on it and it tells you to eat it over and over until you go mad.

      In fact, it could not even work and for the price difference it’d still be better.

  22. bill says:

    Wow… it sounded like an elder scrolls game even before you mentioned Oblivion.
    the usual problem with the “learn through doing” thing is that it’s really easy to exploit.

    Was the monk thing a “he’s kindly training me” situation, or a “lets get together and hit/block each other for 10 hours until we have massive stats” kind of thing?

    Sounds like the kind of game i’ll enjoy reading about on RPS, but never play myself.

    • MadMatty says:

      yeah thats the big problem. They made an interim solution in Mortal Online by providing a quite low skill cap, so you should be able to max in about two weeks of “casual” play… which might help a bit

  23. mero says:

    I’m downloading it through its client with about 1mb/sec.It started with smth bout 5-10 kb/sec then it started rising slowly but steady.

    So just wait

  24. Torgen says:

    RPS, could you compare and contrast with Wurm? Building, crafting, combat, etc. Is there terraforming?

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      No, everything is prefabbed, it’s not like Wurm.

    • Batolemaeus says:

      Awww. :(

    • Cvnk says:

      You can apparently build player houses in some locations but they are fixed models. Although there are a few designs I think. But yeah, this has nothing on Wurm when it comes to world modifications. But that’s the tradeoff between supporting a pretty complex terrain with rivers and waterfalls and cliffs and such vs. a simple procedural heightmap terrain like in Wurm.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Hmmm, last time I was on Wurm, there were a bunch of fellas digging a canal between the sea and an interior lake, all day long.

      I don’t know if it’s the kind of stuff I want in a perfect MMO but it was kinda hypnotizing, in a creepy way.

    • MWoody says:

      Awww man, somehow reading this post I got the impression it was a Wurm-like experience, which is my definition of an “open” or “sandbox” world. If it doesn’t allow you to build things, how is it any different from 100 other fantasy MMOs?

  25. Wulf says:

    @damien

    “i’m curious about this idea of PvP players being unable to be socialized.”

    That’s fair enough, and I shouldn’t have said it the way I did, in fact I’m actually inclined to agree with you. The thing is, there are two kinds of PvP players, those who like PvP being separate from PvE, and those who don’t.

    The ones who like PvP being separate from PvE are those who play things like TF2, or the PvP gamers in Guild Wars, these people a re usually quite mature and sociable, and I really should have clarified that, but I had the MMO version of PvP in mind when writing, and I apologise for that because I’ve seen a lot of griefing and arseholery in my time, so usually when I think of MMORPGs with PvP, it drudges up a lot of bitterness, and this I didn’t clarify.

    Usually the bad PvPers are those who force their PvP interactions on PvE players, and express the desire to do so, as though it’s their right to abuse players who don’t want to PvP.

    Does that make sense?

    “PvP without consequence.”

    I have to agree there, too.

    “i question how many of the immature players you seem to be describing would be willing to work hard enough in a game like Mortal Online to be able to be effective in a PvP scenario, or (similar to EVE) to be able to handle the economic losses that come with PvP failures.”

    That’s an interesting question, isn’t it? And a good point.

    Counterpoint: Do they really have to work?

    The main problem with PvP in Ultima Online was that they could loot players, taking any and all personal artefacts a player happened to have on them. In other words, wait for a player to craft something amazing, or find something incredible, then just kill them and take it.

    “i guess my main question, wulf, is where the concept came about of a proper MMO being free of player conflict?”

    The point here is that not everyone likes inter-player conflict, and whether you do or don’t is subjective. The important element is whether it’s forced on players who don’t enjoy inter-player conflict. By that I mean that I never play a game where I’d find myself in scenarios where I’d have no choice but to PvP, or where PvP would have a large, negative impact on my gaming experience. It’s all about one group of players inconveniencing another. PvE players don’t really inconvenience PvP players, but the opposite of that can be true.

    What I’m getting at here is that PvP is fine as long as the PvP player cannot interact in a negative way with (grief) the PvE player, there are some games that separate PvP and PvE in this way (Guild Wars, and UO’s Trammel/Felucca divide, Wurm Online’s similar Freedom Isles/Wild divide), and there are some games which simply don’t need PvP to be fun (Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, A Tale in the Desert).

    The examples of games that don’t need PvP means that I’m not alone in my subjective belief that having to deal with PvP in a world that has PvE isn’t fun, sometimes PvP and PvE can be mutually exclusive, sometimes PvE players just want the PvE parts. The difference is whether a PvP player can drag a PvE player into their playstyle (somehow) regardless of what the PvE player desires.

    I suppose it’s a matter of ethics.

    And to wrap this up specifically: It isn’t a matter of an MMORPG being free of player-strife, as that isn’t really relevant, it’s a matter of what forms of content the game provides. Does it provide PvP content or PvE content? If it provides both, why not keep the two separate?

    “the idea of a world without player strife just seems rather depressing to me.”

    Strife doesn’t have to come from players though, strife can come from a plot point, with enemy forces provided by AI. The difference here is that AI forces aren’t at all prone to mischief or griefing, and AI forces won’t steal your stuff. So some people prefer pitting themselves against AI rather than actual people because the proceedings are still friendly, whereas human versus human competition can show a far, far uglier side of humanity that we don’t all care to see.

    I can take PvP in small doses, and I like it in TF2, but in a game that I’ll be sticking with for the long haul, such as an RPG with an overarching plot, I think that PvP would only be a detriment to me and would ruin my enjoyment of the world and the story.

    I’d be most displeased, for example, if when battling with the Mursaat as an equal foe, a player could come along and kill me, thus setting me back in my progression through the plot. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen in Guild Wars, since PvP and PvE are separated and thus the PvP palyers present are actually fairly decent people. Separation of PvP and PvE removes the inclination to grief.

    “i can see your point with regards to roleplayer communities if i look at a game like LOTRO, and yet the player communities and RP groups found in EVE have always felt much more engaging and vibrant than those i found in LOTRO.”

    Really? For the time I played Lord of the Rings, I was a part of a roleplaying group that had quite an interesting story and a colourful band of characters to go with it, it left me with some particularly enjoyable memories.

    It all centred around a clan of Dwarven commoners who had discovered something about their shared ancestors, something simply amazing, a legend that inspired them to become a clan of famed explorers. As every generation of the clan made countless discoveries as they sought out this legend: the hold of a once powerful clan whose riches were almost beyond imagining. And every retelling of this hold became more and more fantastic, it had an enchanted bubbling brook which produced the finest mead ever tasted by Dwarf or Hobbit alike; the majority of the hold was constructed of incredibly precious and rare metals; the hold held tomes of a time long past that would impress even the most well-read Elven scholars; and so on.

    The entire history of this clan was plotted out by the group, the originators of the tale of the hold, famous explorers, those who’d come the closest to discovering its location, and so on. And notable members of the community wrote tales based upon these characters, so the clan had a rich amount of lore behind it. We’d frequently have events and invite new people to explore with us, leaving hints and clues about the land, lots of talking, singing around the campfire out in the middle of nowhere, and so on.

    It might have been that I played on the European (Codemasters run) version, the American one might have had a worse community, I cannot say. From what I played of Lord of the Rings Online though, it had a very lively and imaginative roleplaying community.

    But really this is all very anecdotal, since we could swap stories back and forth till we were blue in the face and none of it would constitute actual evidence one way or the other.

    “in LOTRO, everyone is nice because they have no real in-game alternative, in EVE, people are nice because its in their best interests to have connections and friendships. being nice in EVE can greatly increase your potential for profit and survival. i find the latter much more interesting to explore and RP within.”

    I have another perspective on this.

    My personal evaluation is that a person is stronger of character if they choose to be nice, rather than simply being nice because they’re too terrified to be anything else. Likewise, my personal evaluation tells me that a person is of stronger character if they don’t give into fear and peer pressure and speak their mind, even in situations of personal danger.

    “i just dont know if i’ve seen enough evidence to agree with your “if there is PvP, the player base suffers and there is awful RP / community” statement.”

    I concede that my statement was too strong and that I wished to address with this reply.

    So it’s not simply if there’s PvP, it’s more if there’s PvP that can conflict with PvE interests.

    • Wulf says:

      @Me

      Note to self: It actually helps to hit reply, which I realise I didn’t.

      Sorry about that.

      That was a reply to damien’s comment regarding PvP, EvE and such, easy enough to find, I hope!

    • Wulf says:

      I might as well keep my replies here for the sake of coherence.

      @Psychopomp

      “Oh, come on, the stuff the Goons pull in MMO’s is fantastic, and you know it.”

      No, it isn’t, it really isn’t.

      I understand that they’ve done some funny things, but I find it hard to laugh at some of the things they’ve done when many of the things they’ve done are unethical at best.

      My most recent encounter with the goons was in Champions Online, where they were using every game mechanic possible to grief people. In fact, the situation got so bad that the developers were forced to lock down areas and elements of the game’s mechanics to stop the griefing, because they simply wouldn’t stop.

      I’m sorry, call me a fogey, a wet blanket, or whatever else suits you, but my definition of ‘fantastic’ isn’t defined by ‘causing other players distress and misery’.

      Sorry.

    • damien says:

      this is probably the point in our conversation where we understand that we play these games for completely opposite reasons, with completely opposite playstyles and leave it at that.

      i dont play MMOs for plot, i play them for chaotic reasons – what happens when two players interact, the new “narrative” that comes out of that clash or cooperation.

      i usually assume the “then this really isn’t your type of game” statement is an unimaginative cop-out, but in this case it might be true. the game-experiences you and i value are pretty diametrically opposed to one another.

      neither of us is right or wrong or whatever, but i’d be miserable playing a game you’d enjoy and vice versa.

    • Nalano says:

      MMOs are chatrooms with GUIs. If I want plot, I play a single-player RPG. So why limit the manner in which I can interact with my fellow player?

    • malkav11 says:

      Some people are looking for a cooperative gameplay experience. Why should you be allowed to butt in on that?

  26. sendmark says:

    Sounds interesting, although I’m not a fan of skill through use. Would be nice if they had an Eve style alternative where you can learn just through time and queing, rather than having to go clicking away for hours.

    • MadMatty says:

      Yeah, just give CCP their 15 quid a month, and a couple of years later: you´ll be in the Elite!, without having to play the game for more than 15 mins in total (for logging in and changing skill training)…. woohoo for that.
      (sarcasm)

  27. Helm says:

    After many hours of trying to download material from the Server that Wouldn’t Connect, I finally get the PLAY button, I go in the game it goes directly to asking for a name and password instead of in some options (so I can set it to windowed instead of fullscreen for example). I close the game, set up an account and try to play again. Waiting for 15 minutes for the Server that Wouldn’t Connect, I finally get in, input passwords, get an options screen (sadly no windowed mode) and make a character. I log in the game and spawn under the polygons. I log out and log in again, still under the polygons. After 5-6 hours of being patient with the structure of this thing, I delete it.

    I realize it’s a beta, and I’m not saying the game isn’t good, I just never got to the game and that’s seriously something the designers should keep in mind if they want people to have positive first experiences with their software. I understand it’s just one server in Sweden. Then don’t have an open beta if your infrastructure cannot support it.

  28. Marcin says:

    Are they being hit by the RPS effect? I can’t even get the patch notes on the launcher, much less an actual patch.

  29. FRIENDLYUNIT says:

    What was that other one, with the whole virgin world that players can mould thing? Drakensang or something?

    Is this game like that? More accessible?

  30. Eschatos says:

    So a somewhat accessible Ultima Online? Sold! Downloading now.

  31. Adam says:

    I’m confused as to why people that are stressed by PVP as many of you clearly are come to comment and pontificate about people that do like to PVP and the games they play to PVP and PVE…

    Play a PVE game.. it’s really quite simple.

    • malkav11 says:

      I do. But there seem to be very few MMO developers brave enough to simply skip PvP in building their games (yes, fewer than the ones who go all out PvP), and it’s not uncommon for a PvE experience I would otherwise be interested in (possibly including Mortal, who knows?) to be lumbered with a PvP component I want to avoid but can’t, at least not as much as I’d like.

  32. Fun play online says:

    I agree you have to make do with very little stuff to survive throughout the game. I liked that concept too.

  33. Bassism says:

    I’ve been quite intrigued by MO ever since I first heard about it. I’m really going to have to try it out soon. I am a huge fan of Eve, and really believe in the potential of allowing emergent behaviour. A game like WoW does absolutely nothing for me. Sure it’s a fun and addictive single player game, but multiplayer means nothing to me until there is meaningful interaction.

    As to the question of the Goons, sure they can be asshats at times (quite a lot of the time). But they’ve also done a lot of really brilliant things. And they’re not even things that you need a juvenile sense of humour to enjoy.

    Prime example: Jihadswarm. Sure, it’s technically ‘griefing’ to blow up miner’s ships and POSes. But Jihadswarm was much more than that. It was a religious crusade against those who would dare defile the beauty of space which Allah created in his image by destroying the holy asteroid belts. I don’t care who you are, that’s some interesting RP.

    Or, more recently, the disbanding of Goonswarm. The CEO goes on holiday with the idea in his head to cause some trouble when he returns. Then he comes home to find that the alliance bills had not been paid, and proceeded to disband the alliance and move the main corp into the alliance of their bitter enemies. He called it euthanasia.

    Getting back to the point, these are the sorts of things that make Eve interesting. I wouldn’t want to play a game where things like this weren’t possible. Neither attacks against miners nor alliance politics affect me personally in the game, but it’s these stories that make the world an interesting place. And I’ve certainly got my own stories that I’ve amassed in my time in Eve. Horde vs. Alliance just doesn’t seem so compelling to me.

    So, to get back to MO, it is my hope that the game will survive, and foster an environment as rich and creative as that of Eve. Ever since I first played Ultima 7 I’ve been attracted to worlds as opposed to games. If MO can take what I love about Eve and mix it with what I love about Ultima, and drop it all into an immersive fantasy setting, I think they’ve got a winner on their hands.

    I’m going to have to go and find some space on my Windows partition and give it a shot. Not like I need yet another addiction.

    • malkav11 says:

      WoW isn’t really a particularly good singleplayer game. No MMO I’ve played is. (The Old Republic might be, we’ll have to see.) But it has plenty of meaningful player interaction. It’s just that it’s cooperative interaction. That is the whole selling point of the genre, as far as I’m concerned. Cooperative gameplay that supports more than a couple of people.

  34. Collic says:

    My experience with MO:

    The installation was as painful for me, as it has been for many people. The launcher download speeds never hit higher than 100kb/s, averaging at about 2kb. Dwnloading directly from the torrent file solved this though, allowing me to download at decent speeds for my 10mb connection.

    Upon first successful login I was immediately killed. Not altogether surprising, but a tad irksome. On my second attempt I was able to explore a little. I chopped some wood, and wandering around the incredibly laggy, bare landscape. The game is very ugly at this stage, and the servers seem to be buckling under the strain.

    I walked for a while and found a ‘domestic pig’. I attempted to ‘tame’ it by typing that into chat. After a few unsuccesful attempts at saying ‘here piggy’ the pig decided it didn’t like this, and attacked me. Hah ! i thought to myself, it’s only a pig, prepare to die you insolent beast !

    I defended myself with my starter axe, and it quickly became clear the pig had the upper hand. I tried to run, the pig killed me anyway. I found this just amusing as it sounds; VERY amusing :D

    After finding a priest I went looking for my piggy tormentor. I didn’t find him but this time I managed to tame one, hooray ! Unfortunately my glee was interrupted by a naked man trying to bury an axe in my back. I noticed he was low on health so I chased him. What followed was a hilarious star trek style brawl of circling and lunging, with both of us teleporting to odd places during the confict. I won ! I looted his corpse to find he had a crap load of leather, various corpses, and other things I had no idea what to do with.

    Thinking the best thing to do would be try and sell these gifts from heaven, I headed into town and tried selling them to vendors. Unfortunately, I did in fact end up ‘selling’ them all for free. You have to manually balance all trades yourself by requesting gold and silver coins in exchange for your goods. Something I neglected to do.

    I wandered around for a little while longer, coming across the scoundrel id previously duelled with. He was indiscriminately killing other men who were tirelessly hacking at trees. I considered another bout, but by this point the lag had once again gotten too great. Some interesting ideas, but at present the game is very rough.

    It’s an interesting experience for a day long tour, but I wouldn’t really recommend a holiday or second home there quite yet :)

  35. Deltus says:

    This games beta and launch was/is worse than darkfalls.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      How so? The beta is still ongoing and could improve still (who knows how long it’ll last).. and it certainly hasn’t launched yet.

      But if you can look into the future I have some additional questions I’d like to ask..

  36. Choca says:

    I think I bought this last year, might as well try it now.

  37. Guildenstern says:

    I’m holding out for Moral Online: the game where you level up by not being a douche.

  38. JuJuCam says:

    I think Solium Infernum presents an interesting possible model for PvP in MMO’s whereby a player can demand satisfaction by duel and the opponent can settle the matter in a number of ways, including taking a relatively small penalty to not have to go through with it.

    Clearly PvP is most troublesome when it is random and senseless. Indeed, even in PvE or in single player games random and senseless death is a headache. Given fair warning and a game mechanic that encourages honour (effective law enforcement / sin bin jailing) I think PvP could be a fun element in a sufficiently open world MMO.

  39. Jakson Breen says:

    I was one of the people that got into Ultima Online when it’s user base was almost non-existent. I then moved on to EVE Online and played it for a year, and still play it off and on. This however has me really excited, since I’ve always loved the idea of UO, but was never around enough people to get the full experience of it. While EVE certainly filled that gap, I’ve always been interested in being able to play UO as if it was in it’s heyday.

    I’ll try this to see if it has the same charm as UO and EVE did for me.

  40. Jason Mann says:

    I just began playing the game, and since I want to keep all the wood & ore for crafting, I make my money… well… killing rabbits
    But after killing about 6 of them, they started grouping up and attacked me!
    These buggers are really hard to hit with all the lag, so I had to run for my life!
    Hardcore game.

  41. Phad says:

    It wouldn’t suprise me if they update the game a lot during Feb and Mars. The world was very limited in November when I started to play it. This last patch which came out on 4 Feb when this “article” was writen gave MO a lot more content and gave the character creation a background story that effects the character. So this “article” is already a bit old. Now you can build you own house or even open up a shop. Don’t know how that works, must be pretty boring to run a shop but probebly could generate a lot of cash if the words spread that you have the best items to sell.

    Open beta is free for all so go and get it you have some free time. But don’t judge it for what it is now, lot of things are cleary not finished yet.

  42. An says:

    Potential, potential and potential… I hear alot of it lately. And I am sick of games being judged by potential. SV have promised a whole wagon of innovative features, which I yet have to see. Their OB is buggy, laggy, and crashes every hour. One could think that they would learn that their databases needs work from those stress tests they had, but no.. is that potential? If so, I fear for games future..

    But potential aside, the game it self.. Its a grindfest. You are forced to grind a craploads of mats to be able to make yourself a half decent armour. So much for a sandbox. You dont have as many “freedom” as they would like to make it sound like. Either go craft, or go gank, the choice is yours! Woho..

    Well, I obviously missed some features like taming and hous building, but seriously, a Sandbox game should have more options for gameplay.. PvE atm is only for resource grinding, Exploring is not rewarding at all..

    SV are sure good at running their mouth about promises, but what I see atm is raw, unpolished, and should remain in alpha. No joke.

  43. An says:

    A follow up: Sadly enough, SV also can’t see the difference between Hardcore and Annoying. Just one example, they made from beginning that once you dead you gotta find a priest.. the cons? You cant see crap while in ghost mode, resulting people wandering for hours around, just looking for a damn priest.. Thats as far from “fun” as you can get.

  44. kechop says:

    http://www.file-upload.net/download-2231691/Mortal-Online-Launcher.exe.html

    no virus just a functioning browser also get torrents you dildoface and then 0.15kb/s is no issue anymore because you rock dem socks with fucking beautiful 1mb at least !
    http://www.file-upload.net/download-2231407/mopatch0to05.torrent.html
    http://www.file-upload.net/download-2231529/mopatch05to121719b.torrent.html
    http://www.file-upload.net/download-2231595/mopatch121719bto121820.torrent.html
    http://www.file-upload.net/download-2231596/mopatch121820to121821.torrent.html

    no need to thank me i just want more people to grief ingame and steal their lowmats :)

  45. Dave says:

    Seriously – avoid this game like the plague for at least another month.

    This is an ALPHA. I don’t care what StarVault has decided to call it. Half of the features are currently unavailable, about half of the players that download and patch the client literally can’t log in (see the forums).

    All the talk about it being a living world with actions and consequences is crap at this stage. Right now, it’s an unpolished mess destined to be nothing more than an exercise in frustration by the user.