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.