I went on an adventure today. Before this adventure though, I was brought into a strange new world one beautiful morning and the first things my eyes had to gaze upon was a bear and a dong. Yeah, a penis. Not the bear’s mind you, but the bear was following what the dong was attached to. I cannot say I was expecting that, but at the same time I was not all that surprised since I was playing a Swedish developed massively multiplayer online game whose target market was a “hardcore” and adult gaming audience. My time in the world of Mortal Online began and ended today with dong.
As you may have guessed, the formerly mentioned bear-attracting phallus was attached to a player in MO. He decided that standing directly in the view of all new character spawns for an undetermined amount of time was a good use of his afternoon and that is exactly what he did. With MO merely being one of the many hangout spots for e-exhibitionists on the web, I was not too shocked to be scared away. I’ll admit, I was even a bit curious. He was towering above us newly spawned characters on a torch and I attempted to join him, but it seemed my character would have had difficulties playing leap frog with an actual frog. So I greeted him from below and gave him the kudos he deserved for so quickly derailing the experience of entering a new virtual world. We chatted for a moment and as I was acquainting myself with the unusual controls of Mortal Online I came to the realization that this nude animal loving internet troll was unlike any troll I had met before. He was helping me! He guided me through some of the intricacies of the interface and introduced me to the lovely and newbie-vital NPCs around the bend. Soon enough I was chopping at trees and flailing with my sword wildly at defenseless forest creatures. All thanks to the help of my nude friend. What kind of place have these Swedish game developers crafted?
My time with the game was interrupted and when I returned my friend was gone and the forest now seemed lacking. I wandered around and gathered some herbs and fresh water at a stream. Another traveler I bumped into directed me down the road to enter a nearby town for trading the goods I had stocked up on. The town was walled off and the entrances, for some reason, were designed like ninety percent of the “zone” transition points in the original EverQuest where instead of just walking straight into the area you have to take two opposite ninety degree turns to get through even though in MO you do not actually transition through zones. That detail was unnecessarily specific, but there are a lot of strange details like that in the game. I found my way around town and did my business while subtly avoiding the occasional nudist so as to not give them the impression that I was judging them for their personal preferences. In Mortal Online you progress skills by doing the actions instead of just “leveling up” like in most games. The most well known contemporary comparison to this system I can make would be to skill progression system in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I wanted to do some school readings, so I set up a macro to have my character run and jump in circles in a deep secluded underground prison to avoid being caught in case it is a punishable offense to train skills while AFK.
To move these events along, I later met another dude (only half naked) who gave me some direction for progressing my character’s skills to work as a “Fighter” type. There are no explicit classes in this game, but of course ideal character builds are discovered. To be an ideal fighter I had to start a new character. I actually opened up a .txt file to jot down some notes of what this person was explaining to me. On this new character I started chatting up a group of three other players and we got on the subject of traveling to a neighboring city because we all heard the pigs near that town were ideal for murdering. One of them gave me a nearly full suit of armor, but as I am not a blacksmith I could not actually see the stats of this armor. It looked nice so I wore it. One of the fellows, Nefariun, was our guide and so off we went with our auto run keys locked in on a course to the south west.
The day and night cycles in this world actually last a very long time. A few minutes into our journey the sky began to darken and we had not brought any torches with us. I did not know torches existed in the game, so of course our guide was to blame. There were whispers of wolves and bandits on the road and a single person on a horse appeared in the distance. We readied our weapons as he approached in this tense moment, but he simply greeted us with “What’s up guys”. Nefariun compared maps and directions with the traveler and he led us over to his home where we four were able to gather grapes from his nearby vineyard. We continued our journey and Nefariun let us know he was going to AFK with auto run on to get a drink. We followed our guide and an ocean came into view. He was still away from his computer and we were approaching a deadly cliff that lead down the the crashing waves below and those of us who were at our keyboards agreed this coming tragedy was unfortunate but amusing. Nefariun ran right off the cliff and, with his Num Lock still on, swam through the waves into the deep blue as we three adventurers /yelled our farewells. The second most knowledgeable of the group took over as guide and we happened upon another player owned town. The other two decided to try to break into an unsuspecting player’s house, and against my better judgement I gave in to the mob mentality of the situation. We each took turns trying to break down the front door to a home, but all three of our weapons broke and the door still stood in defiance. We moved on and finally saw the town of Menduli, our goal. We found Nefariun awaiting us at the city’s entrance and he explained to us how he managed to get to town much quicker than we did. He only had to die to do it. No big.
This story stopped being interesting about seven hundred words ago, but there you have it. I ended my journey by running into a glitched out wall alongside two dongs attached to bodies to train my athletics and combat maneuvers as I write this. Just as in life, many great things begin and end with the penis and the dude it is attached to. Dong is the alpha and the omega.
Lastly, I wrote an introduction forum post in the Mortal Online forums because I felt compelled to and this is the result of that:
I’m on my first day of the trial and I have actually had an amazing experience so far. I am a super jaded cranky 22 year old MMO veteran and while I’ve had tons of fun with games like WoW and EQ2, the magic spark that the original EQ had with me has been missing ever since I quit around the time of Gates of Discord.
I feel my perspective on MMO’s has become so warped with the deluge of World of Warcraft copycats and Free to Play titles designed around different ways of monetizing the game instead of looking for a dedicated audience to craft the best immersive game experience for. I wish I had played Ultima Online in its day to have a better perspective on Mortal, but at least I can say this game is mysterious to me in all the right ways so far. With my love-hate relationship I have developed for the genre, I was not expecting this.
In my five or six hours of gameplay I have experienced more real human interaction than I feel I got in months of time spent in World of Warcraft. Alright, it is not “real” human interaction, but it is as close to real as the internet gets without getting creepy. I have already been whisked away on an on-foot journey to strange lands by someone who may have been a higher level or at least had armor so I assumed he was a bad ass. For those who know the game already our fellowship of four ventured from the “safe” newbie zone to Meduli, the less safe but not too dangerous newbie zone. I looked the map up online and the distance really is not too far, but there were high and low moments to the trip. There was mystery, suspense, camaraderie, fright, an unexpected death, and an unlikely post-mortem reunion!
How the hell has Mortal Online given me these experiences in mere hours when other bigger games cannot rival that experience in months of actual play time?! This post is not about “WOW is teh sux” though. That game is what it is and that is fine, but I may have just discovered something immeasurably greater for my decrepit gamer heart.
Thanks for the good times Nefariun, Prixos, and Korvian! Time to kill some pigs.
In game name is Heathen by the way. If you see me be sure to give me a good old ganking (or lots of monies).