Friday 17 June 2011

MMORPG Korean Anime Heroes in Celtic Shakespearean Fantasy!

If that title elicited a "wtf" response from you, then you probably have never played Mabinogi. Developed by DevCat (Korea), this games sees players as cute, simple anime-styled characters which is very different to the crips character rendering of a game like Rappelz or even World of Warcraft. However if this doesn't bother you, this little gem offers loads of content and a dazzling amount of things to do with ever expanding content. While the main story arcs dealt with a very loose transtlation of celtic mythology, recent adventures have found players reliving parts of Shakespearean plays! If that sounds too wierd for you, don't worry - there's lots of other things to do! :P

Perhaps my biggest gripe about Mabinogi is that servers are separated by world regions. So while there are servers for Korea, Japan, China (I think), North America (where I play) and most recently Europe - you are restricted on where you can play which means my guildmates in London and Switzerland cannot join me on Mabinogi NA nor can I join them on Mabinogi EU - at least not without the use and hassle of 3rd party products.

Like a number of other MMORPG's while majority of the content is free, there is a "cash shop" where you can spend real money on some exclusive items, additional character cards, and uberly cute pets. All the storylines and quests ARE freely available though so if you can get by without a mount, a house in a city (you can have a house on your private estate though), and little gems that can summon a well endowed magic girl to ressurect you (these become handy later on), you can play through all of the content for free.

If you decide to try it out (on Mabinogi NA at least) I strongly suggest making a human character as your base, as you can get one free elf and one free giant when you reach their cities later on. You will want to visit and research skills on Mabinogi Wiki too, as there are interesting quirks to ranking them up. Also the skills need to be practiced enough times before you are qualified to gain rank in them. Sword mastery for example may dictate you need to kill one hundred awful creatures and one boss monster before you can rank it up, and what determines what exactly are awful and boss monsters is your own level. In the example I just gave, a brand new player may only have to kill 100 wolves and 1 bear to complete that, whereas a level 1000 player would be looking at 100 demons and 1 dragon to achieve the same requirement.

"Level 1000!?" I hear you exclaim. Yup, and those are the mid-level players like me. The true vets are around level 4000 in my server cluster. I'm sure there are those in Korea who are OVER 9000! What then can pose you a threat when you have all those zeroes in your level count? Everything, and at the same time - nothing. That's because of the combat system present in game which I absolutely love. It's a rock paper scissors affair where using the wrong skill or mis-timing your strike often leads to a lot of ouchies heading your way.

As an example Your normal attack can be deflected with defense, but if you know that's what your foe is doing you can use a heavy hit and smash through instead. However if you used the heavy hit and your enemy goes for a standard attack, you will be the one taking damage as the standard hit swings faster. Throw in around fifty more battle related skills and you get the idea. Much more fun than the "use special 1", then "use special 2" while special 1 cools down employed in many other MMORPGs.

This means that having skilled characters just means they can dish out and take more damage, but a low level character in the hands of a skilled player with enough potions to keep his stamina (and/or mana) up can beat the same level of opponents, just at a slower pace. Ofcourse this means lag favours the monsters and you will have to read your foes and time your actions well. :P

There are almost as many non-combat skills available too, such as fishing, cooking, tailoring, blacksmithing, refining, alchemy, handicraft, carpentry, etc. Some have their own fun mini-games to complete and special events (on Mabi NA at least) seem to run every fortnight, making sure that people don't run out of things to do. Some  people even ignore all of this and just use it as a glorified chat server or just collect pets! 

If you want to give it a try, Mabinogi is free to play. Just google it up for your region. If you happen to join Mabinogi NA and pick the Ruairi server, you may run into Josephsky - thats me! ^_^

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