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Newest Mabinogi 2 Arena video showcases sword and board

Fantasy, Video, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Mabinogi, Vindictus

Newest Mabinogi 2 Arena video showcases sword and board
While a previous combat trailer gave players a peek at a variety of fighting styles in the upcoming Mabinogi 2 Arena, the newest release focuses on just the use of the sword and shield combination. Throughout the clip, developer DevCat showcases stabs, cuts, kicks, and rolls against a room full of foes. The video also demonstrates a certain level of gore, as every slice and dice leaves a swath of blood on the floor. Want to get a better look at the action for yourself? Check out the demo after the break!

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Player guide explains Mabinogi 2 Arena gameplay

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Mabinogi, Vindictus

Guide explains Mabinogi 2 gameplay
After the recent release of various videos demonstrating the upcoming Mabinogi 2 Arena, players have voiced questions about how the gameplay works and which predecessor it will more closely resemble, Mabinogi or Vindictus. In answer, Steparu has put together an initial explanation of the combat mechanics and gameplay.

The guide maps out the keyboard controls for both attacks and counter moves; fighting is controlled by only seven keys (X, Z, C, and 1-4), with one more (Q) bound to consuming potions. It also highlights one of Mabinogi 2 Arena's unique features -- the fact that attack animations change depending on where an enemy is situated and what condition it is in (such as stunned). Once in battle, Mabinogi veterans will recognize that mobs glowing different colors signifies which skill or action the mobs are using.

New combat trailer demonstrates Mabinogi 2 Arena battles

Fantasy, Trailers, New Titles, News Items, Mabinogi, Vindictus

New combat demo trailer for Mabinogi II Arena
Mabinogi 2 Arena, Nexon's recently revealed companion to Mabinogi and Vindictus (AKA Mabinogi Heroes in the east), takes a good fight and makes it the centerpiece of the game. Slated to launch later this year, the action MMO allows players to fight in arena combat as well as spectate others' matches. While a previous video showed off some character models and environments for the upcoming game, Nexon's latest official trailer gives folks a taste of the actual combat moves players can expect.

The video shows off both 1v1 and one vs. many scenarios; various kicks, throws, slaps, and slices are exchanged between characters as well as inflicted upon nondescript practice dummies. Footage also demonstrates battle atop dinosaur-like and mechanical mounts, with the pet/mount dealing its own damage. Check out the action after the break.

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Nexon working on Mabinogi 2 Arena

Fantasy, Video, New Titles, Free-to-Play, Mabinogi, Vindictus

Nexon working on Mabinogi 2 Arena
If you're a big fan of the inventive sandbox Mabinogi and action RPG Mabinogi Heroes (known as Vindictus in the west), we have to ask you: Is there room in your heart for more Mabinogi? Nexon's betting on "yes" because the publisher is hard at work on Mabinogi 2 Arena.

Revealed at GStar 2012, Mabinogi 2 takes the franchise in a new direction in a genre that Nexon is calling "MMO Arena." The game's built on an in-house engine and rewards both spectators and players alike. In fact, being a spectator is a major part of Mabinogi 2 as it provides players another way to be entertained by the game. Spectators can aid participants and be given rewards from them in return.

Mabinogi 2 Arena has five classes, combat styles, and body types. It's decidedly an action MMO that involves a wide range of actions such as throwing counters, grabbing opponents, and even slapping. It's slated to launch later this year, and you can watch the shaky-cam trailer after the jump.

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Why I Play: Mabinogi

Fantasy, Screenshots, Culture, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Casual, Roleplaying, Mabinogi, Sandbox, Why I Play

Mabinogi login screenshot
How do you define a sandbox MMO? In my opinion, sandbox MMOs are often described in ways that are much more complicated than they deserve. To me, they are simply MMOs that allow players to play how they want by providing systems -- real, game-impacting systems -- that foster unique character growth. These systems can be represented in a lot of different ways, however. You might grow a unique city in an MMORTS or customize an avatar in a social sandbox like Second Life. The general rule is that there are no rules in a sandbox, within the limits of the particular game, of course. Even then, sandbox players can be some of the most stringent rule-makers and followers. Just ask a Darkfall or EVE Online player how to get the most DPS and she'll rattle off a series of rules, essentially providing a class cheat-sheet. In other words, sandboxes are much like their themepark cousins, only with many more choices for character development. The themepark rules might be left out of a sandbox, but the sandbox communities often fill the void with new guidelines.

Mabinogi provides so many systems to grow a unique character with that it's ridiculous. I can easily log in and spend an hour just decorating my avatar, crafting goods, exploring new areas, flying around in the hopes of stumbling across trouble, or growing my character by leveling any one of the possible hundreds of skills. However you describe a sandbox, Mabinogi should be one of the first on the list of examples. Let me show you three reasons why.

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MMObility: MMO streaming services have a long way to go

World of Warcraft, Betas, Previews, Wurm Online, Opinion, Vanguard, RuneScape, Mobile, Mabinogi, Battlestar Galactica Online, MMObility

Splashtop screenshot
I've been a huge fan of streaming technology for a while mainly because it gives players an opportunity to access more powerful and flexible devices from the convenient location of their hand-held tablets or phones. The tech has come a long way even since I started reporting on it, and it continues to impress me. What's the point, you might ask? Why not just sit down at a desktop to play MMOs like everyone else? Well, the truth is that moving around is sometimes more relaxing and can definitely be better for your health.

Being able to get up, walk around, check in on a game from different locations, and just be mobile isn't just a neat gimmick. Some MMOs also work much better with a touchscreen device, especially MMORTS titles and games that require only a button press to perform an action. There are options for those who need a fully functioning joystick or control scheme, but they are not yet available to everyone. Let's go over the options we do have. Be sure to try out one or two on your tablet... you just might find that playing on a smaller screen is really fun.

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Free for All: The best weather systems in free-to-play

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Ryzom, Wurm Online, Opinion, Roleplaying, Mabinogi, Free for All, Miscellaneous

Mabinogi screenshot
Perhaps someone can explain my obsession with in-game weather systems. I remember interviewing the lead designer for Vanguard: Saga of Heroes a few years ago. I had to stop him and ask for more details about the weather system the game used. He told me it was on a separate server, a pretty fancy program that ran independently of the rest of the game. It sounded as if he was telling me that there were real storms brewing in the game and the system knew when and where they were happening.

I was fascinated. How cool it is to imagine in-game clouds forming at one point of the world and slowly moving across the land until the sky begins to rain on your character's head? Sadly, in-game weather seems to be either a low priority or a hard system to tackle. I'm guessing it's a combination of both.

So I searched out those few MMOs that feature an impactful weather system. Not coincidentally, they also happen to be some of my favorite MMOs.

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Mabinogi's new bard class highlighted in video

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, Professions, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mabinogi

Mabinogi screenshot
If you thought the only thing missing from the world of Mabinogi was a battle-mandolin-wielding bard, Nexon's news will be music to your ears: The Battle Maestro joined the line-up of available classes in the free-to-play fantasy game. This new bard class supports others with the power of music, using seven new skills to enhance and buff teammates or debuff enemies.

The Battle Maestro is live and playable now. You can catch a glimpse of the bard in action in the video after the break.

[Source: Nexon America press release]

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Choose My Adventure: The indie edition

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Polls, Contests, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Browser, Casual, Humor, Mabinogi, Kids, Runes of Magic, Choose My Adventure, Allods Online, Family, Clone Wars Adventures, Miscellaneous

Goonies screenshot, down here
It might be your time up there, but it's my time -- my time -- down here! For this latest edition of Choose My Adventure, I get to hand out a selection of odd little games for you to vote on, and then for the next month and change, I will stumble my way through the title. At your direction and with your help, of course. The trouble is that I have already played darn near everything. I've downloaded and tried so many games that I simply can't remember them all. So, what to do?

Well, I decided to give a mix of games a chance at several weeks coverage here on Massively. I picked out an assortment of browser games, independent titles, and lesser-known client-based MMOs. Hopefully you will steer me the right way, and if I am lucky, I won't even have a horrible time. I chose games that I know have a robust community in the hopes that plenty of voters will turn out. The key is to get the word out there, so if you have a favorite, go tell your community!

But first, click past the cut and vote on the game you would like to see me tackle for the next several weeks. Just don't expect to see triple-A games on the list!

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Free for All: Making the perfectly flawed character

Fantasy, Screenshots, Culture, Opinion, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Browser, Casual, Roleplaying, Mabinogi, Free for All, Miscellaneous

Vanguard screenshot
Whenever I play a new MMO, the first thing I want to know is who I am supposed to be inside this particular game world. I would like to have as much control over the conception of my character as possible, but let's be honest: Great customization is not as common as many of us would like. This might explain my attraction to games that offer the ability to craft a true, unique character, even if only in looks. I love a good cash shop and the ability to make my character essentially me -- if I were the me inside that other world.

I don't play MMOs to be the hero, at least not most of the time. I don't want to kill the largest boss or get the best armor. I'll leave that to gamers who like that sort of thing. I play an MMO to sort of lose myself inside the world of a character of my own making. Over the years I've noticed a pattern in how I establish a great character, one that I want to continue playing. Originally, I wanted to refine this process into a list in case other players wanted to compare, but the list keeps evolving, so instead, I'll give some examples of how I have been creating unique and wonderfully flawed main characters in some of my favorite MMOs.

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Winner of Mabinogi's Merchant of Venice contest highlighted

Fantasy, Video, Contests, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Free-to-Play, Mabinogi, Giveaways

Mabinogi screenshot
If you are familiar with the Mabinogi-hosted contest from November called The Merchant of Venice, California, then you know that the popular free-to-play developer and publisher Nexon asked players to participate in order to win a free trip to the company's California studios to play, relax and discuss the new content. The event celebrated the release of the Merchant of Venice update. The addition gave players the ability to literally transport goods across the lands of Mabinogi. Players gain levels, earn in-game cash that can be used to buy special items and weapons, and gain access to better items to be traded. All expansions in the popular free-to-play title are free.

Sayre, a player from the Mari server, was invited to meet the developers, tour the office and even give some advice about how to make the game better. He received a free Alienware computer, 500 USD in cash and three nights in a hotel right on Venice Beach! In order to qualify for the contest drawing, players were required to have reached merchant level 9 in each of the game's towns.

Click past the cut to watch an exclusive preview of the tour!

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The Perfect Ten: Best MMO theme songs (part one)

Age of Conan, Darkfall, Final Fantasy XI, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Wurm Online, RuneScape, Humor, Mabinogi, Wizard101, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Blade & Soul, Perfect Ten

Perfect Ten
As I've well established both here on Massively and elsewhere, I'm somewhat of a nut for video game music. Whereas others might collect vintage hair metal tracks or the latest Justin Bieber opus, I'm always digging through obscure (and not-so-obscure) official soundtracks to games like Wipeout and Kirby. Video game scores can be right up there with the best that the film industry puts out, and the fact that they tie into personal experiences that we've played through can lend them sentimental weight.

So for the next two Perfect Tens, I scoured all the MMO theme songs that I could get ahold of in an attempt to formulate a list of the very best. It was originally slated to be just one list, but after an hour or so of listening to tracks and having friends and fellow staffers weigh in on the subject, I knew it was impossible to keep it there.

Two important things to note for this list. First, I wanted to keep to just the title/login screen tracks so that I wouldn't be working on this for the next 2.5 years. Second, unlike most past Perfect Tens where there's no significance to the order of the list, in this case we're going to have a genuine countdown to the best MMO theme song of all time. And I expect to take no flak about it, do you hear me? Good. Let's begin.

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Some Assembly Required: A virtual world roundup

Fantasy, Super-hero, Aion, Anarchy Online, City of Heroes, Darkfall, Dofus, EVE Online, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Fallen Earth, Final Fantasy XI, Flyff, Lord of the Rings Online, PlanetSide, Ryzom, Wurm Online, Opinion, Second Life, Star Trek Online, Ultima Online, Vanguard, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Virtual Worlds, Mabinogi, Mortal Online, Wizard101, Runes of Magic, DC Universe Online, RIFT, Xsyon, Family, Post-Apocalyptic, Some Assembly Required, Sandbox, Origins of Malu

Some Assembly Required header
If you are perusing this column, chances are you are a fan of virtual worlds and the sandbox genre. Join the club! (Dues will be due on the third Tuesday.) The aspect that compels many aficionados to delve into a game is the ability to make an impact on the world in some small respect instead of making them into Hive Member 1593072 running a static, predetermined gauntlet. How that impact is accomplished, however, varies; there are multiple features that can facilitate it, and which ones are considered most important depends on the player.

With the loss of one of the best sandbox games just last month, some players may be feeling a void. Others still are looking/hoping for the "ultimate" sandbox that contains nearly every virtual world feature. Certainly, there are some upcoming games that make some drool-worthy promises, but what about playing something now? There are actually games out on the market that have at least one aspect of the genre, if not more.

To start off the new year, Some Assembly Required looks at some of the top features of virtual worlds and lists games that incorporate these features. While this list isn't exhaustive (considering the sheer number of games when you include all of the smaller free-to-play titles, I'd run out of column space!), it is a comprehensive enough overview to point you toward some games worth playing that perhaps you hadn't considered before.

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Nexon bringing Mabinogi back online, compensating affected players

Fantasy, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mabinogi, Sandbox

Mabinogi - character selection screen
Nexon has brought Mabinogi back online, and the company tells Massively that "the issues that led us to temporarily disable service have been addressed."

The free-to-play sandbox was offline for nearly 40 hours last weekend, and Nexon will be compensating players with 5,000 NX (the company's cash shop currency), a two-day extension of VIP/Premium/Inventory Plus service, and a forthcoming double XP event. Nexon also tells us that players who were directly affected by the recent malicious activity will receive an additional 5,000 NX (10,000 total) and will have their lost items restored.

If you think you've been affected by the recent attacks, contact Nexon Support directly, and be sure to provide the following info when submitting your ticket:
  • account name
  • character name
  • character server
  • date of malicious activity
  • items missing/removed
  • name of malicious character (if available)
Finally, affected players should include the keyword MUGWORTS in their support ticket summary field to assist in filtering and processing.

[Source: Nexon press release]

Nexon takes Mabinogi offline indefinitely due to 'malicious activity'

Fantasy, Business Models, MMO Industry, New Titles, Free-to-Play, Mabinogi, Sandbox

Mabinogi - down for the count
If you were looking to play a little Mabinogi to kick off the new year, you might want to make alternate arrangements. Nexon has taken the free-to-play sandbox offline in order to deal with the recent spate of "malicious activity" going on in-game.

Mabinogi went dark yesterday, and Nexon says that it does "not have a specific time for the service to re-open." This is the second time in the past three months that Nexon has disabled the game, as the company dealt with a rash of unauthorized RMT issues and botting as recently as October of 2011. As per usual when MMO security issues crop up, the company has not released any details, saying only that "we feel that we have no choice but to take the game down in order to prevent any further malicious action."

[Thanks to David for the tip!]

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