Have you ever said to yourself “I hate my life? I want to do something new and different” Well Nexon is giving you the chance to have a new fantasy life in a free–to-play game that is being developed by devCat Studio. The North American release of the MMO, Mabinogi: A Fantasy Life began on Jan 30th with their one week Closed Beta testing period.
Now as most Beta testers have come to expect you will encounter bugs, glitches and lag. All of those were plentiful during this closed beta session. Looking past those aspects of the testing though is a wonderfully fun concept for an MMO. Mabinogi is inspired by Celtic mythology and offers its players a wide variety of skills to learn and places to explore. Your character’s skills are broken down into three categories, Life, Combat and Magic. You are empowered as you step into the world to decide what kind of life you will lead.
Let’s start with Character Creation. Characters are created using Character Cards. Each account starts off with one basic character card. If a player wants more they can be purchased through the cash shop that will be implemented later. You will later be able to choose either a Basic Character Card or a Premium Character Card (more hairstyles, face choices, etc.). The first thing you get to choose is your Gender and Race. Now initially the only race available will be Humans. Later on in the game you will be able to choose Elves and Giants. Next you get to choose your Age; you are able to choose between 10 – 17. One thing to keep in mind is that your character will age every real Saturday. Then you can start customizing your look by choosing your hairstyle, hair and eye color, face, and skin tone. When you are happy with your look you can join the world and start your adventure.
When you first enter the world you are transported to an empty room where you will be met by a mysterious woman. She will give you the information needed to start your life. Now this is basically the start of the tutorial that teaches you the basics of controlling your character. It’s pretty short so it’s really not a bad idea to go through it at least once. After completing the tutorial you are told that you can never come back and you will start your life in the town of Tir Chonaill. Once there you will meet with the town’s mayor and your life begins. Now one thing you may notice is how owls seem to flock to your character now and then. Well this is part of the quest system. Every time you level a white owl will bring you new available quests and when you complete them a brown owl brings you your rewards. Sometimes you may need to walk around the town for this to be activated as it is the town’s residents that are sending you these quests.
After the initial conversation with the mayor, you can now choose what kind of life to lead. You can continue working on the quests you are given to continue learning a variety of skills or you can go and get a part-time job and learn skills that way. Now keep in mind that there are 16 combat skills and 11 magic skills that you can learn. Most of these are learned through completing quests and training at the school, but you can choose what you want to learn. Do you want to be a great sword fighter or a master with spells? Well if you don’t want to do either of those than you have 15 different life skills you can choose from. You can choose weaving, fishing, farming, cooking, smithing, tailoring, refining, animal training, alchemy, herbalism, potion making, music composing, handicraft, and first aid.
Now during the one week closed beta I wasn’t able to experience all of these skills due to the time constraints and some of them not being implemented yet. But I was impressed with the ones I did get to try out. I found myself really getting into the music composition skill. Mabinogi uses a system called Music Markup Language for accomplishing this. Now you can learn how to use this in two different ways. The first one is just being yourself and using the creativity you have inside you to play around with notes and create music. The second way is to convert midis to the MML code and import a wide variety of music into the game.
Both ways are a lot of fun and accepted by the developers as means to compose music. I also didn’t get to try out the Rebirthing System. When your character reaches the age of 25 you can rebirth your character. This allows you to change your character’s gender, age, appearance and resets you back to level 1. Your character’s development will begin to slow and that’s where rebirthing is an advantage to your character.
As I mentioned earlier, one week was just not enough time to experience the game’s full potential. What I did find was a game unlike any other MMO I’ve ever played. For some they will be able to play this for hours and hours, but for others this may be something that you play for a few hours a day. You make your life and how you want to live it! There is still a lot of additional content on the way either in Open Beta or once the game goes Live. This additional content will be added through what Nexon calls Generations and Chapters. Some of these will add new skills, races, and areas to explore where others may just add new storyline content to the game.
A few other fun facts about the game that you may or may not experience while playing. You can gain weight by eating too much, but you can also lose the weight if that happens by dieting. Each day of the week offers special bonuses that are marked by the real life day and not the game day. The days of the week in game are named after different parts of Celtic mythology, so the bonuses are differ each day. There will be approximately 14 dungeons to explore and each time you explore one your experience will change. To enter a dungeon you have to place an item on the dungeon’s altar. The item you place will determine the experience you have. There will be the opportunity to have pets, guilds, adventure parties, and even in-game marriages.
I enjoyed my week in Mabinogi and can’t wait to go back. Nexon is offering a Pre-Open Beta weekend on Feb. 23rd & 24th. This will be open to all registered Nexon players to help test the server stability and for those who didn’t get a chance to try the game during closed beta to check it out. Characters will be wiped after this weekend event so the servers will be clean for Open Beta. Open Beta is rumored to start sometime in March, but no definite announcements have been made to verify this. If this game sounds like something you may be interested in, head on over to http://mabinogi.nexon.net/ to register.
I personally enjoyed this game and can’t wait to see more of it. I give this game 7 out of 10 for my experience during Closed Beta. Being a tester, I saw too many issues still in a game that need to be fixed before they can release this into OB or live. Let’s hope Nexon takes the time to fix all the reported issues before rushing this game out to the masses.