As you read this, we’re busy developing and testing Mortal Online. We aren’t promising you anything, we’re merely stating what we have in development, and what we want our game to become.
There are no guarantees that the features presented here will be in the game from start. In fact, we are aiming for releasing only the very core features of the game, expanding over time as new players join the game. After all, we are depending on your feedback and support, and we are an independent games company with limited resources.
That said, all features presented here are tried out and tested to work in our MMO environment. Several of them are already implemented, and it’s only a matter of time before we will introduce them in the game.
As we unfortunately can’t present these slides for you in person, please read the text below and keep it in mind during the rest of the presentation:
You are about to read about the key features in Mortal Online. However we will have limited space to talk about what features are not in the game - and how that in turn makes it differ from the vast majority of the other MMO’s out there.
We would like you to please forget your preconceptions of MMORPGs. Mortal Online deviates from most modern fantasy MMO’s, and although it contains a lot of elements from let’s say World of Warcraft™ or Age of Conan™, the playing experience is very, very different from those games.
For instance there are no levels, no experience points, no starting classes, no quests, no 3 rd person view, no NPCs with big exclamation marks over their heads, no global chat channels, no flashing numbers when you hit something, no respawning bosses, no instances, no pocketable mounts, no virtual restrictions for where you can go or not, no auto-loot, no predestined player path where it turns out you’re The Chosen One, no automated auction house, no auto-respawn, no NPCs you “can’t attack”, no bears that drop gold coins or dragons that drop swords, and no loot bags impossible for other players to open.
That being said, let’s look at what Mortal Online does have. Please turn the page!
Mortal Online is a fantasy MMORPG game targeting a mature, in-game socially active, hardcore audience – a niche that as of today is empty apart from one or two 10-year old games that still draw an impressive audience because of their sandbox game play design.
Although boasting state-of-the-art MMO graphics and features, Mortal Online draws heavily on that old heritage. The game is about freedom, player-to-player interaction and dynamic interaction with the world. A theme park game lasts only as long as its latest attractions, but in Mortal Online players shape the world. With its sandbox environment, player housing, dynamic crafting, taming and world exploration, each time you log on will be a new experience.
Nothing gets the adrenaline pumping as when you fight against another human player. PvP, Player versus Player, is the core of Mortal Online, and we mean real PvP based on player skill, not some arbitrary level you have gained after grinding a million boars. The technology and design behind our game allows for this to an extent never before seen in any fantasy MMO - hit boxes, collision, active blocking, mounted combat and true first-person view makes for a revolutionary MMO combat game play, both in PvP and PvE.
In Mortal Online there’s no targeting, you don’t just click on your enemy and wait for the outcome – you have to coordinate your movement and actively trigger and aim each strike.
Characters and important NPC’s have several hit boxes. This feature opens up for a unique MMO game play comparable to games like Unreal™ or Counter Strike™, where your actual skills as a player decide the outcome of a battle. This has never been seen before in a fantasy MMORPG, and it changes the whole playing experience.
Each hit box has its own equipment slots and features, adding even more to the tactic element of combat. For instance, if you hit your enemies sword arm, there’s a chance he will drop his weapon. Again, this is unique for Mortal Online.
Sequence showing the different hit boxes. Player skill based, full PvP
Active blocking is an integral part of the fighting and you won’t survive long without it. Not only do you block with the actual shield or sword itself , you also have to aim your block to take the least amount of damage!
The game’s collision detection makes players collide with, rather than pass through each other. This means you can block the path of your opponent, and when fighting in a group actually outmaneuver your enemies by flanking or surrounding them.
The manual aiming in Mortal Online makes it very important to consider friendly fire when fighting in groups. Archers or mages can’t just pour their projectiles or area of effect spells down among the melee fighters, as they then run the risk of hurting group members. This, together with collision detection makes field tactics and the use of your surroundings extremely advantageous.
In Mortal Online you see what your character sees – it is a true first-person game, unlike other fantasy MMO’s that may have this as an option but are designed around third-person view. Sneaking up on people, aiming your strikes and watching your back becomes a natural part of the game play. Unique first-person animations and on-screen effects add to the immersion.
Prototype and Beta outtakes showing some of MO’s first-person game play.
The heart of Mortal Online’s free PvP is an intricate flagging-system. It keeps track of illegal actions like stealing or killing, meaning that if you for instance kill innocent players you will be flagged as a murderer. Murderers will be attacked by NPCs in guarded zones like cities and they will receive penalties if they get killed themselves. The flagging system means you can always attack other players no matter where you are – but you have to face the consequences.
The world of Mortal Online is dangerous and unforgiving. If you are killed, you will loose all your gear and equipment for others to loot. Unless your friends are quick and manage to salvage it for you, that is.
The first-person, hit box-based combat system of the game means it’s player skill - as opposed to level or character skill - that decides the outcome of a fight. There are no “levels” in Mortal Online and therefore no tedious XP grinding by killing countless wolves or by picking hundreds of apples in quests. Instead you advance by practicing your own skills as well as those of your character by actually using them.
The difficulty lies in practicing, testing and finding the right skill setup for your playing style, and with over 100 action-type skills to choose from you’re in for a challenge.
The skills that deal directly with PvP have a limited cap and are therefore not really affected by playing time. This is because true PvP is about your own accumulated skills in the game and not some virtual points. Instead, there are almost 1000 sub-skills to specialize in and train in the long run, ranging from Falling-technique to Geometry .
No levels means no virtual level restrictions for items or weapons. You may use almost all items you encounter, although many will require you to practice a skill to be any good at them. No more “you cannot use this”.
Equipment of course plays a big role in the game, but no gear can possibly substitute weak player skills. The importance of equipment instead lies in experimenting with and finding the right type for your playing style and skill setup. This is a new approach to gear in MMO’s, and it’s made possible thanks to the unique player-skill dependent combat.
Player skill based, full PvP
Skills in Mortal Online are divided into Primary and Secondary Skills. Each Primary Skill acts as a key that will unlock certain Secondary Skills in the deep skill tree. For example by picking up a sword and practicing with it, your character will start to learn the Primary Skill Swordsmanship and its associated Secondary Skills. The Swordsmanship skill will let you use your sword with full capacity, and once trained the rest is up to your own skills as a player. The Secondary Skills associated with Swordsmanship takes a lot longer to train but won’t have a direct impact on PvP – they may for instance let you use a wider range of swords at full capacity, increase your ability to repair swords, or reveal more statistics about swords to you. You may only have a certain number of Primary Skills active at a given time. Whenever you like you are free to retrain your character by practicing a Primary Skill at the expense of one you choose to untrain. You will keep all progress in the Secondary Skills associated with the Primary Skill you choose to untrain, but they will be disabled. This means you have full freedom to experiment with different skill setups, only costing you the time it takes to retrain the Primary Skills.
The crafting system in Mortal Online is algorithmic, meaning an item is made out of several components in varying quality, and the outcome is dependent on the crafter’s skills during the various stages of the crafting process. This yields a great number of possible component combinations, and means that two weapons crafted out of the same materials may vary in quality.
Every item useable by players can be crafted in the game. Furthermore, recipes for crafting aren’t just given to you or bought from NPC’s. The crafting system allows you to research and backwards-engineer items you find during your adventures, and experiment with new ideas to create recipes yet unknown to the world.
Sandbox game play Alghorythm.. what? Let me show you how it’s done. First, lets craft a head for our weapon. I want to make a sword blade. There are around 50 different “heads” you can learn to craft. Of those, about 20 are sword-type blades, each with its own base attributes. I’ve always liked Jadeite for its sharpness, and I know how to work the material. When making a weapon head, you may choose from up to 40 materials such as Iron , Copper , Bone etc, each in a corresponding skill group, like Iron-based Metals . Ok, the blade turned out fine. Now for the handle. I would like for this blade to have some range. Why not make a glaive out of it? There are at least 30 different handle shapes to craft. They are mostly used in combination with weapon heads, although some may be used on their own as clubs or quarterstaffs. I will use a core out of Ironwood , and strengthen it with Molarium from mammooth tusks. A handle can be made out of two materials, one for the core and one for the grip or coat. As with the heads, there are 40 hard materials for the core. These 40 hard materials can also be used for the grip or coat, or you may choose from another 20 soft materials. A great piece of work, if I may say so myself. I will try it out in the next battle. So, my dear Khurite. Can you guess the total number of possible weapon combinations? Erm.. A Legion? Ten Legions? 142.662.744
We don’t think your character (and thereby you) should know the names of every flower or ore in the game from start. Without the appropriate studies, the red flower will simply be called Red Flower to you. Once you start to learn skills like Botany or Herbalism , its name will change to Steppe Rose . This approach means no more frustrating virtual restrictions like “you cannot pick that” – while at the same time it ensures that skills do matter.
Likewise, when examining a weapon the amount and quality of information presented to you will vary according to skill. If you don’t know anything about swords, its Damage attribute will display a “?”. When you know more about swords, Damage may be displayed as Average or Great . If you specialize in sword crafting, you will find even more details such as info on the different damage types. This makes a sword-smith very valuable apart from the fact that s/he can “make stuff” and encourages social interaction, business and trade.
The world of Mortal Online, Nave, might seem a bit empty and uninhibited from start – apart from the creatures roaming the world, of course. This will change in due time, as players start to build their own houses and villages. Player housing is very rare in modern MMO’s, but plays an important role in Mortal Online as your house will be a relatively safe resort. That is, for as long as you remember to lock your door and don’t loose your key!
Houses can be expanded with outbuildings or outhouses. There are several to choose from including workshops, storages and barns. Travelling from village to village selling your services is a good way to start making money, but if you want to expand your business you can turn your house into a shop and hire a vendor.
Your house is also the place to start your guild. Any house may be outfitted with a Guild Stone , which in turn can be upgraded with abilities for your guild. If your house has the right location, the guild will be able to expand it even further into a keep.
Mortal Online features both different races and different societies. When you start the game you will have to choose one of them.
However, unlike in other games the races of Nave are not static. True, they are divided into different species by history and evolution, but all races within the same species may produce offspring. In true sandbox style, this means you have the full freedom of actually mixing your character’s race using all races within your species! Maybe your mother was a Khurite, and your father was the offspring of a Tindremene and a Kallard?
Your ancestry will be reflected in both your appearance and attributes, making the unique blood mix system the first important step in the character customization process.
Most MMO’s have mounts with very limited functionality, if they have mounts at all. Technically, when they are “activated” they just replace your mesh, gives you slightly better speed while at the same time severely limit your possible actions. And they magically fit into your pocket when not used. This is not the case in Mortal Online.
Mounts in Mortal Online are living, breathing creatures with a will of their own coupled with individual attributes and stats. Mounts can be tamed, trained, killed, outfitted with equipment, used for transportation of goods - and if you don’t watch them they might get stolen or wander off by themselves.
Sandbox game play
Mounts and taming
Mortal Online features true mounted combat never before seen in a fantasy MMO. You have full control over your character when mounted and may use any abilities logically possible, including melee fighting, archery and spell casting. Needless to say, mounts play a very important role in battle where they can be used in charges, as reconnaissance units, as cover, or for pursuit of fleeing enemies. Just remember that your mount is vulnerable, and that getting knocked from the saddle is always a risk.
Mounts can be purchased from NPC stables, however they will also be found wandering around freely in the wild, where you’ll have to go to find the really rare ones. Taming wild creatures and mounts can be a difficult but rewarding process, and is yet another way to make a living in the game.
Mortal Online features seamless, instance-free continents where you have the freedom to go anywhere without encountering loading times or invisible walls. The first continent, Myrland, is 64km 2 not counting caves, mines or dungeons.
No instances means you can follow (or be followed by) any player or group everywhere. Did your group just raid that Coldbrood village? You’d better leave someone from your group to guard the loot while you figure out the best way to transport it back home.
Navigating the world is a skill on its own. There are no “radar” or maps that automagically show your location. Mapmaking is a trade, and exploration can be really dangerous. Can you imagine that? Actually getting lost in a modern MMO?
NPC’s and creatures in the world have many different behaviors. If you are used to today’s MMO’s, you might be surprised that all won’t mindlessly run up to you and attack. Shy creatures often choose to flee, and so may outnumbered enemies that otherwise would have been aggressive. NPC’s will also travel in groups, where different individuals have their own designated roles.
Mortal Online’s unique combat system opens up for a new type of NPC fights. Even more common creatures will have combat tactics you’ll need to learn: a lion will try to knock you over to bite you, and rare creatures like big trolls will try to pick you up!
A free, interactive world Prototype and Beta footage showing different NPC actions. (Crosshair and nametags are not in the final game.)
Many of today’s MMO’s feature bosses you “raid”, a very artificial thing you do over and over and over again in late-game to get all that nifty gear. In Mortal Online, you don’t kill the boss 100 times and die once or twice – the boss kills you 100 times and die once. And then stays dead.
No, the “epic” encounters in Mortal Online doesn’t respawn or come back to life after you kill them (although you can’t really be sure about that Undead Lord ). Also, killing them might not always be the best thing to do. Legendary creatures are often interconnected to the world and may affect it in a number of ways. This means some factions will want to protect them, some will want to destroy them, and some will want to use them for their own personal gain. Furthermore, it intertwines PvE and PvP like never before.
A free, interactive world
Unique encounters, one-time events
All important NPC’s in Mortal Online, including non-playable races and legendary creatures, can be overtaken and role-played by developers or GM’s. This means that epic encounters and events can be tailor-made to be truly unique and personal, something virtually impossible for any AI.
Nave, the game world, has a deep history and lore. Exploring the old chronicles and ruins in the world may lead to important discoveries and clues to the present and future. As the world is dynamic, the future of Nave really is in the hands of you as a player, whether you choose to be a warrior or scholar.
Scattered around the world are also points of interest, where player collaboration can impact the game environment. Examples range from strategic points where bridges can be built (or destroyed), ruins that can be restored (or destroyed), to NPC strongholds that can be eradicated.
We as independent developers, and gamers, believe strongly in our game. Mortal Online targets a niche market - a mature, hardcore audience - but at the same time we really believe in the potential growth of this niche. You, our rapidly growing member-base, have shown us time and time again that you are ready for a completely new take on this genre.
Thank you for watching this presentation. Hope to see you in the game!