Have You Played… Mortal Online?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

When I first played Mortal Online [official site] in the dim February of 2013, I described it as “a free-to-play MMO about living in a fantasy world and not being very good at anything”. I stick by that assessment, not because I have gone back to that online otherworld and found it just the same, but because I am afraid to.

This is an MMO that embraced the Elder Scrolls philosophy of leveling-up-while-doing. And when I say “embraced” I mean “became obsessive about it to the point of psychological distress”. You can lie down to sleep on the city streets and a prompt will tell you “Skill: Resting increased to 2”. It is also a brutal world in which player-on-player violence can occur almost anywhere outside the capital. Players can kill you, loot your stuff and saunter off, happy to have achieved another day’s homicide.

It is also a world of shonky MMO mechanics, buying and selling, obtuse crafting systems and funky AI enemies. But I have rarely visited a stranger online kingdom. It is a land where players stand on narrow fishing racks and autorun to increase their stats, where horses release huge torrents of piss as you talk to their human riders. A place you can tame rabbits, or write in books (but cannot delete what you’ve written). A land where all sorts of animals who do not belong in water slowly emerge from the sea and form long, dangerous columns of fauna across the land. I don’t know if any of these oddities still exist in Mortal Online. But I’m not the man to find out.


  1. Esin12 says:

    Oh yes… Many a long night in Mortal. Played for about a year off and on until I eventually realized that my time (and mental energies, to a certain extent) needed to be put elsewhere. A game that is almost really amazing but has way too many fundamental issues, and an often caustic community. Definitely one of a kind though.

  2. TheAngriestHobo says:

    where horses release huge torrents of piss as you talk to their human riders

    This is absolutely truth in television (or vidya games, as the case may be). I did some trail riding a few years back, and at some point during the day, the horses would have to go. And man, do they ever go. We’re talking fire hose pressure for a full minute-and-a-half. It’s hard to hold a straight face when you’re talking to your friend and her horse just won’t. Stop. Peeing.

    • poliovaccine says:

      Now you understand why “piss like a racehorse” became an expression… their stream is so powerful it digs a runnel in the dirt!

  3. vorador says:

    It sounds like a strange mix of Rust and the modern Elder Scrolls games. TES because of the skill level up, and Rust because everybody is out to murder you.

    Also that bear out of a heavy metal cover.

  4. Barberetti says:

    Yeah, I remember trying this out one night years ago. I looted too much stuff and couldn’t move because of the weight of it all.

    I think something ate me while I was trying to figure out how to drop things.

  5. geldonyetich says:

    I definitely paid attention to it, but I am leery of any game that boasts open world PVP like it is a great liberating feature meant to get us out from under the stagnation that the theme park approach introduced to MMORPG.

    Because it’s not. It’s just the developers neglecting to install a meaningful mechanism for regulating what happens when people play games to let off steam for all the sociopathy they’re not allowed to do in real life by doing it virtually instead. Such a formula is a playground for trolls and worse misantropes. Not my kind of playground.

    • Captain Narol says:

      That, definitely !

    • Sizeable Dirk says:

      Open PvP games always attracts a really peculiar type of people. Even the negative reviews on Steam are full with comments of the “Git gud WOW casul” variety.

      It’s a wild west frontier without any of the swift frontier law enforcement, or any kind of in-game law or consequence at all so “crime” and shitty dog-eat-dog behaviour is perfectly viable.

    • neofit says:

      I am not sure that “failure to install a meaningful mechanism” is exactly what happened. Some guildmates (from our multi-games metaguild) who spent a few months in there described it as a game that the devs made just so the’d be a platform where they themselves could rob other characters at will, under their own conditions :).