Mortal Online is a sandbox-style skill-based MMO developed by Swedish developers Star Vault. With the client available for download from their website at the moment, I thought I’d take a bit of a peek. I’ve not really been following it, so it’ll be a voyage of adventure.
As ever, this is still open beta, and things are subject to change. Originally due to launch last year, Mortal Online has been delayed several times with its last promised release date March 2010. No new release date will be announced until a desync issue is cleared up, giving time for any problems to be dealt with. I can only look at what is in front of me though, but I’ll try to be fair.
So let us begin.
First you pick your species. We have good old humans; the Alvarin, this land’s version of the elves; the Oghmir, who seem to be hairy beastmen; and the Halfbreeds, who are ostensibly half-orcs, but look rather reptilian to me. I’m going to be boring and go with a human.
Next you pick your race and age. As a human I can choose up to 4 bloodlines in my ancestry, each of which will affect my cap in various stats. The first race you pick also determines what appearances you can choose from. Your age also affects the stat caps. Generally speaking, the older your character, the higher his intelligence and psyche can go, but you start losing physical attributes.
With that sorted, we move on to deciding his appearance.
Oh. Oh my.
I’m not a prude. Really I’m not. I just wasn’t expecting to suddenly be confronted by fully modelled male genitalia. It’s polite to give some warning. In the interests of keeping this blog vaguely safe for work I won’t embed the screenshot, but you can see it here. Female characters are equally unclothed. It’s not awful or anything. Just seems a bit unnecessary, and I could see it putting some folks off.
Anyhows, there’s the usual collection of sliders (though thankfully not for *that*), and hair choices, though having only ten hairstyle options seems a bit limited these days. Finding it quite difficult to create an educated looking fellow with what’s available. You can only change your face, rather than your body, so I won’t be able to be mildly overweight as I like to do when given the option. Nevermind. This slightly wild-looking beardy chap will have to do. Hopefully they’ll let me put some pants on soon.
I notice that when I move the camera, or spin him, it takes his hair a little while to catch up with the rest of him, like an ill-mannered wig. Hopefully that doesn’t happen in the game proper. I had a bit of a problem at this point, as when I finished designing my character, the next button in the top right refused to acknowledge being clicked. Starting over from scratch and trying again had the same problem. Eventually I got it to work on the 4th try, though I’m not sure what, if anything, I did differently.
We next pick a starting profession. Mortal Online is skill-based, rather than class based, so this just decides what skills and equipment we start with. My acolyte, starting with some basic magical ability, can later learn anything the blacksmith apprentice or scout can.
Lastly, you choose your first name and surname, and your starting city. I was expecting at this point to also select my Deva name, which is a sort of shared soul between all your characters, but it appears that fascinating idea may have been dropped.
So far, I have mixed feelings. It is glitchier and has more placeholder information than I would expect at this stage. Still, there does seem to be a decent base, and character creation, while vital to get right, is less important than what you experience in the game itself.
I still have no pants, but I appear to have mugged a caveman and stolen his Flintstonesque mandress. Tune in next time, as I hit the “Play” button.