Mortal Online was reviewed by our staff this summer so that we could bring you a more in-depth review on this game. The game itself is a full-loot sandbox game. It has a first-person view only that is aim-based and has several hit boxes on players (weapon slots you wear are important!). There is only one server, and there has no instances. There is player housing and keeps that are all fully destroyable. The map is large and varied, with different weather systems in place as well. It is loosely based on similar systems that were in Ultima Online, but has evolved past that concept. Those that played in the early days of UO should recognize many of the things here.
The Community is a mixed bunch as we can expect from a PvP centric game. It includes its usual groups of hardcore pvp'ers, roleplayers and sadly even a few griefers. There is even a few groups (the more mature ones) that seem to make it a point of helping out all newbies they find and to help integrate them into the game. The main out-of-game communication methods being IRC and the official forums. IRC itself see's the appearance of official staff from GM's,Community Liaison and even the Developers themselves. There is a lot of trolling between the different guilds going on, but also has channels for the market and a help channel, which does make the medium overall very useful. The forums are also similar to IRC, but with even more activity and less trolling.
The Health of the community itself seems stable. While there is a general apathy and dwindling playtime amongst the veteran players, there is a steady influx of new players to balance everything out. With the possibilities of free trials, combined with some centralization for the different groups to start at specific towns, you can receive such players well. The new player experience needs some more work, as currently it is very steep. The player base is semi-active, with very few players on at non-peak hours for the time zones worldwide. Being on only one server also greatly helps as this spreads peak hours across the clock almost.
The Appearance of the game is actually quite pleasant. The engine is Unreal 3.5, so many of you are already familiar with it. Its first-person view only, as well as having nudity in game. The music fits the setting and helps with the immersion into the game, but is otherwise not-so-spectacular. The graphics on the other hand are top notch. Every area of the game has its own distinct flavour. For example the Thursar city of Gaul'Kor (the only red "friendly" city) is surrounded by mountains (even some having snow on their peaks) and is nested at their feet. The city is in ruins, with smog filling the area. It has the feel of being a unfriendly and harsh area, reflecting its actual use in game. The first (and many times after) time you look down the valley towards the city it takes you breath away by its beauty if you like the more apocalyptic type settings.
The Gameplay itself is great. You can build your character how ever you want, mixing and matching abilities as you want. You can play anything from a Mounted Archer, the sneaky thief (aka city warrior), a Knight with shield and sword, a mage shooting thunder and heal spells, a miner extracting the ore from the rock and making it into viable metals, a plethora of crafters (blacksmith, bow Crafter, cook & many more), an engineer (for keeps, towers and houses.. and even need them for siege weapons!) and even being a tamer. I haven't even named all the possible jobs as there is literally hundreds of possibilities. There is some basic PvE mobs out there that you can hunt and butcher for money, an extremely well developed crafting system (one of the best I've ever seen) and keep sieges. There is lots of PvP going on in peak time (and not so peak time) around hotspots that keeps the players on their toes.
Sadly, with all the strength's of this game, Polish itself is its weak spot. There is a series of bugs still in game that the community has adapted too. Stuff from getting stuck often on rocks and terrain (luckily councillors/gms help with that very quickly! We are talking under a minute at times!), all the way to equipping dual weapons sometimes making one of them vanish, passing by horses (key travelling component) getting stuck on everything and being choppy. For example the horses cant go up a 1 foot ramp that wouldn't even give pause to a crawling toddler as its apparently "too steep for the horse". There is also node lines that are being highly abused (area's to load part of the map area) as most players freeze for a moment or so when entering them, so those inclined to the less savoury methods take advantage of those few seconds. The interface itself and the UI needs a severe overhaul so that it can actually be comfortable to use. One of its worse features that you luckily only encounter once is the original installation of the game. God help you if the game gets corrupted and you have to reinstall. Luckily, the developers are often quick to respond to community feedback on features and mechanics, and adjust them accordingly.
All things considered, this game is indeed a gem-in-the-rough, showing some great idea's and concept's. Myself, I am happy I got to try out this game and intend to keep a subscription and enjoy the game. The fact there is boundless professions means its extremely important to be part of the community and to interact with others as no one can do it all (short of buying multiple accounts), thus fostering that sense of community that most of us want in these games. All the bugs and lack of Polish would usually worry me, but it is countered by a very active gm/dev communication method and semi-active patches. You even have the CEO answering mails from players everyday, and lots of the dev team post multiple times in the day on threads across the forums and sometimes even on IRC. I definitely recommend this game to be tried by all the hardcore players out there, and even those that are more into crafting, this is definitely a two-thumbs up game!