Mabinogi is an anime-inspired 3D fantasy MMORPG with hand-drawn character art and a multitude of original game features. Live your own fantasy life in Mabinogi by building a homestead, raising animals, composing music, stitching clothes, and even getting married.
Release Date: March 27, 2008 (NA)
PvP: Duels / Arenas
Pros: +Unique art style. +Skill-based progression. +Many social and noncombat features. +Supportive community.
Cons: -Several restrictions placed on free players. -Steep learning curve. -Many quest, combat, and graphic bugs. -Pet and combat balance issues.
Mabinogi is a MMORPG unlike any other. Everything from the art style to the combat system is unique and offers the sort of depth rarely found in games today, free-to-play or otherwise. Combat requires proper timing to land attacks and to counter oncoming blows. This gameplay method taking some adjusting to, but is more rewarding that traditional MMO auto-attacking and skill spamming. More importantly, Mabinogi offers a host of social and recreational features that don't involve combat. It is in this area that Mabinogi truly shines. It offers a truly virtual world to explore and shape.
Mabinogi Key Features:
- Skill System — characters progress through a skill system where you advance individual skills by practicing them and applying ability points. Skills are divided into eight categories: Life, Combat, Magic, Alchemy, Fighter, Bard, Puppeteer, and Dual Gunner.
- Character Aging — pick a starting age and choose from three races: Human, Elf, or Giant. Characters age one year every real-world week. Aging effects stat distribution and grants ability points used for ranking up skills. Players can rebirth once a week and select a new starting age, gender, and appearance.
- Write and Play Music — players can write custom music tracks on scrolls and play music from scrolls using a variety of instruments such as flutes, lutes, and ukuleles.
- Weather and Time System — Mabinogi has an internal clock where every 36 minutes of real world time corresponds to one in-game day. A dynamic weather system generates varying cloud cover, rain, thunder, and other effects.
- Dungeons — an instanced dungeon system generates random maps. Newer updates have added fixed dungeon instances called Shadow and Theatre missions that can be repeated.
- Live a Fantasy Life — other features to increase immersion include achievements, titles, exploration quests, NPC granted part-time jobs, a marriage system, item crafting, resource gathering, player-run shops, a trading system between cities, and much more!
Mabinogi Featured Video
By Huy Luong and James Borbajo
Mabinogi is a free-to-play MMORPG released by Nexon and developed by devCAT studio. The name of the game originates from the Mabinogion, a Welsh anthology of legend. However, the settings for the game are loosely based on Irish mythology. The North American closed beta test began on January 30, 2008. The pre-open beta was only available to Fileplanet users and was released on March 5, 2008. The full open beta was released on March 6, 2008. Mabinogi was officially released on March 27, 2008. In 2007, there was mention of an XBOX 360 version in Seoul, South Korea. The project was completed in 2009, but it was never released due to business decisions. Currently, the game is available for download on Nexon’s website, with the game also being featured on Steam.
The main attractions of Mabinogi that still have people signing up today are its anime-styled art, character customization, and development coupled with a particular combat style that can be described as “strategic.” In addition to these components, Mabinogi also boasts a leveling system that was unique to MMORPGs at the time of its creation. All of these factors are thrown together for new adventurers to enjoy, making time spent in Mabinogi’s game world, Erinn, definitely worth the while.
Getting Started – Character Creation
The first step to beginning your fantasy life is creating a character which will fulfill your fetishes. Upon entering the character creation screen, you will be prompted to choose which server to join, sorted from most populated to least. You will then have the choice of either playing as a human, giant, or elf. A human is recommended when starting out in Mabinogi, as they are the most balanced, and you could always make an elf or a giant later on. From there, you pick which Talent you want for your character, and move on to aesthetics. You are free to make your character as a 10-year-old loli, up to a premature 17 year-old. Since there is no character sculpting, you will not have to spend hours creating your perfect dream character. A variety of preset hairstyles, faces, eyes, colors, and so forth are at your disposal to piece together your character. Once you have finally finished creating your dream character, you are ready to dive into your new fantasy life!
In Mabinogi, you are set in a realm called Erinn, an open world filled to the brim with all sorts of opportunities. There’s no set path that you’re forced to follow–anything and everything is within your reach. If you’re not into combat, you can invest your time in playing the market, building your own homestead, creating and performing music, socializing, doing part-time jobs, and improving various life skills. If you are more of an adventurous type, then the world is equally accommodating! In fact, it’s made for adventure! Dungeons, raids, field bosses, PvP, guild battles, and many more are available for you to conquer. If you’re more story-oriented, then Mabinogi has that covered, too. There are several main quest chains focused on the various stories that the world of Erinn has to offer, and while they vary in quality, they’re all rewarding in the end. The world of Erinn is a vast one, with many continents that all have unique areas just waiting for you to explore!
“Put ‘Em Up Boy!” – The Combat System
Do you like smashing your keyboard, hoping you do more damage the harder you smash? Or are you kind of player that likes to move around constantly, spamming your skills like some sort of action game? Or are you the player who likes to have his character stand in one spot, timing cooldowns and throwing out skill rotations? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions (except the first one), then this game has something for you! The combat system in Mabinogi is a blend of many combat styles that have been seen over the years in the MMORPG genre. It’s predominantly a point-and-click combat system, though the pace and style of it depends on how the player wants to play. The key selling point is the variety. There is an arsenal of skills you can use, from your classic close-combat and magic, to more exotic things such as puppetry and gunslinging. There are no limitations, allowing you to branch out from your beginning skills and become the ultimate hero.
Live Once as a 20-Year-Old, Live Again as a 10-Year-Old – The Rebirth System
Many MMORPGs today limit the player to a linear system of progression, where levels mean everything. If you’re a max leveled big boy, you’re the bee’s knees of the block. Mabinogi stomps that concept and teaches the industry how it should really be, revolutionizing the perception of a person’s progress. In Mabinogi, the current level of a character doesn’t matter – it all boils down to a player’s skill ranks and total level overall. It introduces a system known as the “Rebirth System,” where a player can reset his or her character back to the first level, and is able to retain all of the skill ranks and stats given from those previously ranked skills. The player is also able to change the character’s age, allowing a 20-year old-creeper to become a blossoming, beautiful 10-year-old youngster. However, changing the character’s appearance, such as hairstyle and skin color, will require cash shop points, which requires real money to be forked over.
Essentially, this means that a person who rebirthed several times and is at Level 1 would completely annihilate a player who has never rebirthed, but has reached Level 100. Previously, rebirths required real money to be used. However, rebirthing is now free and players are able to do it every week in real world time. Using rebirths reasonably is the key to getting your character to be as powerful as possible, as the higher your level, the harder it is to level up. Making the most of each week is the key to getting your character as powerful as possible, as the more you level, the harder it gets to reach the next one. Rebirthing can be done as many times as you want, which makes it so that Mabinogi has no real limit. You can be a five-star master chef during the day and be a magnificent martial artist at night! The world is yours for the taking!
Levels? You Mean SKILLS.
While it may seem that levels are unimportant in this game, and are only a temporary boost to a character’s overall power, the importance of levels rests within the benefits it gives the player. These benefits are centered around ability points, which are granted with every level. Ability points are required to rank up skills, with each rank requiring more and more ability points. Skills generally progress from F to A, then 9 to 1. The higher the skill rank, the more effective it is, with it either doing more damage or some other benefit. Some skills would even require 30 levels worth of points for one rank! Ability points can be gathered by other methods as well, such as aging, quests, events, and more.
Do You Have Talent?
Formerly known as the Destiny System, the Talent System in Mabinogi allows you to specialize your character in stats and skills. Skills related to the talent will be easier to train and rank up, and you will receive bonus stat points to the stat that most benefits that Talent, such as strength for melee, intelligence for magic, and dexterity for archery/ranged. The talent system is essentially Mabinogi’s own version of a class system, yet the difference lies in the fact that with Mabinogi’s talent system, a character’s skills aren’t restricted. Instead, a chosen set of skills will be easier to rank up, giving you an edge over others in that field. Talents aren’t permanent, as the player can change it every time he rebirths. One day you can specialize as a mage, the next day you can specialize in controlling puppets! However, there are certain exclusive talents called “Hero Talents” which require more to be spent to use. These talents usually have a broader range of skills that are benefitted, as well as more stat points given every time the character levels up. However, I find that these paid talents are usually not worth throwing money at, as all the other talents cover them in smaller pools.
Mabinogi is the closest and best fantasy life simulator. There is an endless amount of things to do, all while meeting new people and socializing. Dungeon crawling, fighting field bosses, composing and playing music – there are so many aspects that are enjoyable. You’ll definitely form close bonds, and rising to fame and fortune with guilds is always a possibility. You also have the option of finding your true love and getting married. There are some disadvantages to new players starting out, compared to veteran players who have accumulated a lot of total levels. However, Nexon has compensated for this with multiple skill and AP events, along with the Talent system to help level the playing field.
The Not So Good
Though there are many positives to Mabinogi, there are also quite a few negative aspects as well. Firstly, the PvP is rather imbalanced in the game. Ranged skills and crowd control abilities dominate the field, effectively eliminating melee combat as a real threat. Melee users are given a few skills to help deal with it, but on an equal playing field, any sort of ranged user (whether it be a gunner, an alchemist, a mage, or an archer) usually comes out victorious. Mabinogi is widely regarded as pay-to-win. Generally, cash shop items only provide shortcuts and not huge advantages, as selling these earn you a lot of money. Gold in Mabinogi can be easily obtained through the investment of real world cash, such as selling NX cards, spamming Gachapons, or even buying gold outright. Gear can make or break you in Mabinogi, and having a lot of money allows you to easily access the best gear, without having to spend the time gathering resources or funds for it. Another major drawback is its use of Hackshield, as Hackshield is pretty notorious for failing. Due to this failure on security, there is plenty of bots running around the game, farming gold to sell to other players. Lastly, there is the game engine. It’s a rather dated engine and its age shows itself when you play the game. Actions often can feel clunky, and your character will sometimes get stuck randomly when moving. This makes it a lot harder for new players to get into the game.
Final Verdict – Great
There’s never a lack of things to do in Mabinogi. The fantasy life Mabinogi offers is great, and truly offers a unique experience like no other. Hard work definitely pays off, but the cash shop provides too many shortcuts. If you are able to look past this and the game's older engine, there's a lot to like in Mabinogi. Despite the game's age, it's constantly being updated with fresh content and regular events, which is one of the reasons the game managed to survive and thrive all these years. As always, it’s always more fun with friends.
Mabinogi System Requirements
Operating System: 7 / 8
CPU: Intel Dual Core 2.5 GHz or AMD equivalent
Video Card: GeForce 7600 GS / Radeon X1300
RAM: 4 GB
Hard Disk Space: 8 GB
Operating System: 7 / 8
CPU: Intel i5 2400 or better
Video Card: GeForce 560 TI or better
RAM: 4 GB or more
Hard Disk Space: 10 GB
Mabinogi Music & Soundtrack
Mabinogi Additional Information
Closed Beta Date: January 29, 2008 - February 5, 2008
Open Beta Date: March 5, 2008 - March 26 2008
Korea: June 22, 2004
Japan: April 26, 2005
China: November 22, 2005
Hong Kong: July 21, 2005
Taiwan: July 21, 2005
North America: March 27, 2008
Oceania: June 20, 2008
Europe: May 26, 2010 (EU service was closed on July 18, 2012)
Generation 1: Advent of the Goddess
Generation 2: Paladin
Generation 3: Dark Knight
Generation 4: Pioneers of Iria
Generation 5: Elves of the Desert
Generation 6: Giants of the Snowfield
Generation 7: Ancient Secrets of Irinid
Generation 8: Dragon
Generation 9: Alchemist
Generation 10: Goddess of Light
Generation 11: Sword of the Gods
Generation 12: Return of the Hero
Generation 13: Hamlet
Generation 14: Romeo and Juliet
Generation 15: Merchant of Venice
Generation 16: Macbeth
Generation 17: Shamala and Nightmare
Generation 18: The Saga: Iria
Generation 19: The Divine Knights
Development History / Background:
Fantasy Life Mabinogi draws its name from Welsh legend, but most of the game's settings are loosely based on Irish mythology. The game was originally released with time restrictions imposed on free players, but this was lifted with the release of Chapter 3.
An Xbox 360 version of Mabinogi was announced in 2007 at the Gstar conference, but in September 2009 this version was scrapped despite the fact that development had been completed.
A prequel titled Mabinogi Heroes (known as Vindictus in the West) was released in January 21, 2010. Set several hundred years prior to the events in the first game, Mabinogi Heroes offers a vastly different gameplay and art style. A sequel to Mabinogi Heroes titled Mabinogi II: Arena was previewed at G-Star 2012, but development was canceled in January 2014.