I originally heard of Mortal Online while doing research for my upcoming nude mod article because the game comes with full-frontal birthday suits as a toggleable option. However, that wasn’t the only reason I felt like giving it an actual try; I read that the game eschews character classes, instead using Skyrim-style leveling systems for your skills. As in, your abilities increase through actually using said ability, so you organically become the sort of character you want to play. The other selling point is a very unforgiving loot system; if you die or get murdered by another player, you lose everything you’re carrying and will have to start from scratch. Hopefully the nudes are attractive, because I suspect I’ll be playing without equipment a lot.
The character creation system was quite interesting. Rather than choose your race, you get to assign nationalities to your character’s grandparents, mother, and father, and the game generates your appearance and starting stats. You can edit the phenotype and stats via point-buy, so you’re not completely at the mercy of the random number stork, and ultimately I liked the concept, though it got rather aggravating because I restarted at least a dozen times trying to land a character that visually appealed to me. The flavor blurbs are pretty much your only clues as to what each race specializes in stat-wise.
Actual gameplay also started off very slow, but that soon became necessary because the mechanics of the menus are a bit confusing. The tutorial is designed to teach you how to use your equip menu, skills menu, inventory menu, and action menu together, and while I originally got pretty frustrated at the whole thing, it’s rather intuitive once you get the hang of it. The game also has a respectable breadth of focuses available. You can tame wild creatures, craft completely custom armors and weapons, and specialize in a number of professions such as mining, woodcutting, and thievery.
The game has pretty much everything on my checklist, including horse-riding, swimming, and a hunger meter that doesn’t drain needlessly fast. And yet, after playing it a few times, I just kinda got bored because there wasn’t much to do. The game doesn’t have traditional quests beyond the tutorial, so I’ve mostly entertained myself by marching out in random directions and seeing new sights. I avoid other players on principle, so I haven’t been killed yet, but ultimately I kinda just stopped logging in because nothing ever seemed to happen. I know that sounds weird when I played Planetside 2 like a walking simulator and somehow didn’t get bored for months, but at least the sprinting in Planetside 2 was actually fast. It got really annoying how slow the player character is in Mortal Online, even after leveling up two dozen times. This is truly one of the few times that the fundamental design of an MMORPG reeled me in but then the content let it down, usually it’s the other way around. But as a free MMO, it’s certainly worth a look, and as a developer I saw a lot of things I plan to incorporate into my own game design.