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Mortal Online

Mortal Online is a sandbox MMO with no levels, but skills that can be trained. Sow your own path in an expansive, and dangerous, world by fighting, crafting, and building.

Publisher: Mortal Online Factory
Playerbase: Low
Type: MMORPG
Release Date: June 9, 2010
Pros: +Sandbox world. +No classes. +Open World PvP
Cons: -Skill cap without subscription. -Numerous bugs. -EU-based server.

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Overview

Mortal Online Overview

Mortal Online is a sandbox MMORPG set in a medieval fantasy world that is as unforgiving as it is expansive. Choose your race and embark on an adventure of your own choosing. There is no handholding in Mortal Online. It’s up to you to carve your own path, as a sword-wielding fighter or perhaps a traveling merchant selling wares to the highest bidder. Without a leveling system players are free to customize their character by leveling skills; the more you perform an action the higher your skill-level. Cooperating is the only way to survive for long.Forge your path by forming a guild with other players, constructing a mighty fort to wage war against your neighbors.  Open world PvP means your life is always at stake, even in town. Your destiny is your own in Mortal Online. What path will you choose?

Mortal Online Key Features:

  • Sandbox World - choose how you want spend your time in-game, from fishing and crafting to PvP, or fighting treacherous creatures.
  • Guilds - join a guild and build your own fort, waging war against neighbors for domination of the lands.
  • Expansive World - explore multitudinous environments in a vast world, from sunburned deserts to ancient ruins.
  • In-Depth Crafting - to become an artisan you’ll have to devote your character to their craft.
  • PvP - players can kill each other in the wild, or loot and steal from each other in town.

Mortal Online Screenshots

Mortal Online Featured Video

Full Review

Mortal Online Review

By, Sean Sullivan 

Mortal Online is a hardcore sandbox MMO that seems entrenched in fond nostalgia for Ultima Online. Only because Mortal Online landed on Steam five years after its release did I install the game and give it a whirl. In practice it plays like Wurm Online, with the freedom to explore an enormous world and carve out a fortune however you choose. No invisible hand will guide you to a specific task. Instead, you create your own adventure, whether it be as a sword-wielding vigilante, or profitable entrepreneur. While Mortal Online will likely have a dedicated fanbase until the day the server lights stops blipping, it is not a game built for general audiences.

Shaping A Hero

There are four races to choose from: Oghmir, Alvarin, Thursar, and Human. Each one has a description that suggests one is more suitable for tasks than the other, i.e. Humans are famous mages, while Oghmir are formidable melee warriors. As a speciesist I chose Human. Customizing your character is unorthodox and rarely seen in today’s games. You choose your grandparents races and the four selections combine to create your appearance. With each choice a clay statue moults until it becomes you. And your choices determine your stats such as Strength, Psyche, and Movement Speed, among numerous others. Even what age you select alters your stats. I mixed and matched between Sarducaaan and Sidoian, because they sound like Sardaukar and Sidonia respectively.

Actual character creation does take place, where you select your gender and choose from numerous presets such as facial structure, and whether or not you have a beard typically reserved for the streets of Brooklyn. The models are crude but enough features exist to distinguish your appearance. Finished with my intrepid warrior I chose Morin Khur as my starting city and embarked on an adventure as Montaigne Williams.   

Baby Steps On Spikes

The tutorial is mind-numbing and anyone judging the game in the first few minutes should drug themselves to purge their memory. It does try to introduce you to the game’s core concepts, but creates a poor first impression, like a wet-noodle handshake. A cacophony of sweltering pigs made my ears bleed. I was desperate to Alt + F4, or at the very least mimic Van Gogh. Being sensible I turned my sound down, and tried my luck at butchering the hog.  After drudging across the starter zone from one NPC to the next I finally found freedom. After picking a pre-defined skillset (giving you a boost to some skills but not limiting what skills you can train) the gates to the world open. I decided to test my luck in the wild combatting whatever enemies stood in my path.

"The Horror"

Ranged combat is embarrassing. Savage Lands’ bow animation looks like an archery simulator compared to the underwhelming pull-back in Mortal Online. Arrows are white wisps traveling across the screen, and have no sense of presence as they fire. I did learn that I was being unfair to the bow and arrow. Ranged requires overwhelming strength to pull the bowstring back with maximum ferocity. Without a high enough skill it's a gimp moveset that’s better forgotten. So I was relegated to my starting sword.

Melee combat is akin to the single-player Elder Scrolls games. Left-click launches a basic attack, or it can be held to charge with some gusto. While right-click blocks. I’ve never seen first-person combat pulled off successfully beyond Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. Following the paradigm, Mortal Online’s combat feels stale and leaves me wishing I could auto-attack the enemy to satiate my eyes by browsing on my second monitor. Bashing a skeleton with my sword normally rewarded me with a loud thud, with occasional screen-slashes to indicate a successful hit. It’s boring, and doesn’t suit my particular desires in combat. It’s Ultima Online, had it been a 3D world, where you grind enemies for hours to increase skills by smaller and smaller increments.  

Artisan Patience

There are no traditional classes in Mortal Online but your skills are somewhat restricted, albeit not directly. After completing the tutorial you’re prompted to pick from one of six skillsets, giving you a boost to basic proficiencies. But you level skills by using them. Chop at a tree all day and you’re woodcutting will spike.

So, the point of the game is to carve out your own sphere of play, whether that be as a combatant, merchant, or politician. But due to the grind for skills—performing repetitive tasks to increase stats—you’ll be forced to concentrate on a specific sphere of mastery. Following my survival gaming instincts I set out to rid Mortal Online’s world of the pest called trees. Traveling to the library I picked up a book on woodcutting, but upon flipping through the pages I realized I didn't understand any of the symbols. My gathering skill wasn't high enough. And that’s how Mortal Online works. You learn skills to learn the skills you want. It’s like Eve Online—beyond books being the harbinger of knowledge—in that there’s a huge skillset but everything takes time to learn. You have to be invested to succeed in Mortal Online.  

It's A Wonderful World

Mortal Online is an aged game, but it’s world isn’t offensive to gaze at. It looks like Morrowind, a gritty atmosphere sits on the surface that beckons to be explored. Mortal Online is dark, medieval fantasy, a world where mysteries are commonplace. It’s rough around the edges but also charming enough to pick-up phone numbers at the end of a Friday night. And the music compliments the atmosphere perfectly—a sense of harmony typically used to soothe acupuncture patients. But traveling the world is an arduous experience. By default your character moves painfully slow, and sprinting is only a slight increase that quickly drains stamina. I would rather forego realism to move at the same speed as the Doom Marine. It’s a minor complaint and I don’t hold it against the game, as slow movement forces you to soak in the fantastical environments.    

Death Outside The Gates

Considering the influx of players thanks to Mortal Online’s release through Steam, all-chat is an echo-chamber of disgruntled newbies. Veteran players enjoy slicing the ragged bodies of newly minted avatars with their highly skilled swords. Because the game sets few limits on PvP interactions, you're apt to be killed almost anywhere. Even in-town guards offer little protection against the onslaught of skilled players.

The open-ended PvP is perhaps my favorite aspect of the game, and I can see why other players tout its merits. But, the nature of PvP will not appeal to the vast majority of players. And it can make starting off a rough experience; one that persuades players to right-click, and delete “local content.”  Unless you make friends there is no guarantee for your safety once you leave town.

For the brave there are some fascinating aspects to cooperative PvP. Guilds are intricately woven into Mortal Online, with most bands building their own castles to assert dominance over the land. Clashing with other guilds, raiding unsuspecting players, and fortifying bases are the everday activities of dedicated guilds.  Even NPC villages are at their mercy, and can be conquered by aggressive players.

"Subscription, please."

It should be noted that Mortal Online is not a fully free-to-play game, but requires a subscription to experience all of its features. The free-to-play aspects of the game function as an unlimited free trial, with the developers hope being the mechanics are so irresistible players are willing to pay for a subscription. It’s a trend in line with what most developers are beginning to adopt, such as Guild Wars 2 and Wildstar. One month is $14, while paying for 6 months in advance results in the game being $12 per month. It’s not offensive, and cheaper than other subscription games.

Without a subscription players are skill-capped at level 60. And subscribing players who choose to terminate their monthly payments will have their skills reset to 60, only to be restored if they resubscribe. Also, every player starts with one character slot, but can purchase additional slots up to a maximum of four. But if you’re investing time into capping skills there’s little incentive to start another character, unless you dual box.

In every aspect of the game free-to-play players have no chance to match subscription paying players. And considering the game’s age, new players are already at a severe disadvantage. You’ll have to pay to be competitive. But if you’re invested enough in Mortal Online that your skills are maxed at 60 I can’t see what complaint there would be for paying. There’s no pay-to-win advantage, but a content wall designed to congregate players dedicated to the experience. 

Final Verdict - Good

Mortal Online is a polarizing experience, you’ll either love it or hate it. What it sets out to do is bestow players with unlimited freedom, constrained only by the game’s mechanics, and it does accomplish its goal. Mortal Online will appeal to the player eager to dedicate themselves, who’s outgoing enough to form or become part of a community. The fun is from learning to master the game; the joy of the hero’s journey is scaling the field of mountains. If you’re hardcore, you love to grind, and grow giddy at the thought of zero constraints then go play Mortal Online.

Screenshots

Mortal Online Screenshots

Videos

Mortal Online Videos

System Requirements

Mortal Online System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: Windows 7 x64
CPU: Dual Core 2.4GHz
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT or equivalent
RAM: 4 GB
Hard Disk Space: 16 GB

Recommended Requirements:

Operating System: Windows 10 x64
CPU: Quad Core 3.4GHz
Video Card: GeForce 7600 GT 256MB or Radeon X800 GT
RAM: 8 GB
Hard Disk Space: 20 GB

Music

Mortal Online Music & Soundtrack

Additional Info

Mortal Online Additional Information

Developer: Star Vault AB
Publisher: Star Vault AB

Engine: Unreal Engine 3, Grome (Terrain)

Composer: Patrik Jarlestam

Release Date: June 09, 2010
Free-To-Play Date: Novemeber, 2012

Steam Greenlight Posting: December 11, 2012
Steam Release Date: August 31, 2015

Expansions:

  1. Dawn - 2011
  2. The Awakening - August, 2012
  3. Sarducca - May, 2015

Development History / Background:

Mortal Online is developed by independent video game studio Star Vault. Mortal Online released on June 09, 2010, and was inspired by a return to the sandbox-stylized gameplay of Ultima Online. Four months after the game’s initial release the engine was rebuilt to include features that were otherwise impossible. The following year, 2011, the first expansion titled Dawn was released. Mortal Online was posted to Steam Grenlight on Deccember 11, 2012. The second expansion was released in August, 2012, titled The Awakening. A few months later, Star Vault offered a Free-to-play version of the game, starting November, 2012. In May 2015 the fifth expansion Sarduccas was released, introducing a new continent, and doubling the size of the game world. Mortal Online released through Steam on August 31, 2015, and continues to receive updates.