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Mortal Online

Mortal Online's CEO has high hopes for the game's subscriptions

Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Mortal Online, Sandbox

I see this armor as being able to stop a dragon's breath without a problem.
A game company's CEO should always promote the company's games and be enthusiastic. There is such a thing as too much enthusiasm, however. Case in point: StarVault CEO Henrik Nystrom's comments during an IRC chat with fans. The chat was meant to cover the game's next major update, Awakening, but it included fan questions for future updates as well. It also included Nystrom telling a fan that he sees Mortal Online having roughly as many players as EVE Online in five years.

By way of elaboration, EVE Online currently has roughly 450,000 players. Mortal Online's subscription numbers have never been revealed, but estimates place it under 10,000 players.

An impossible goal? Definitely not, but certainly one that might be a bit overly ambitious. Fans of the game can still take a look at the chat for other interesting tidbits, however, including plans to add drugs and improve the new player experience in the future.

[Thanks to Sandboxer for the tip!]

The Daily Grind: Would you play an adult MMO?

Fantasy, Age of Conan, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Second Life, The Daily Grind, Mortal Online

Age of Conan - CasildaYesterday we told you about an adult MMO called Orgia Romanus that's causing a stir due to its focus on sexual content. While the game is certainly taking an over-the-top approach, it's by no means the first MMO to walk this path.

Indie titles like Sociolotron and portions of virtual worlds like Second Life are renowned for their focus on various taboo topics, while more traditional titles like Age of Conan and Mortal Online have dabbled in avatar nudity and adult-oriented quests.

But what if an MMO came along that managed to incorporate adult topics in a manner devoid of sensationalism? Sure, it's a tall order, but let's assume it's possible. Would you play it, or do you steer clear of anything with the "adult" label?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

Mortal Online hacked, Star Vault encourages users to verify accounts

Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, Mortal Online, Sandbox

Mortal Online - female half-orc concept art
If you've got an active Mortal Onlne account, you may want to think seriously about changing your password. A new post on the sandbox title's forum describes a security breach that led to the destruction of in-game assets and account status changes. The intrusion has since been contained, according to a Star Vault GM, and "additional security is in place."

The company says that customer payment information was not affected, but users are encouraged to verify their account status and passwords anyway.

As to the breach itself, details are understandably scarce, but Star Vault does say that a member of the GM staff had his account compromised and his details used to carry out the aforementioned mischief.

[Thanks to slapshot1188 for the tip!]

Star Vault memo reveals Mortal Online expansion date

Fantasy, Expansions, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Mortal Online, Sandbox

Mortal Online title image
Fansite Sandboxer.org reports that it has discovered the release date of Mortal Online's upcoming expansion The Awakening in a Star Vault report to investors. We had to do some digging to find the original Swedish document Sandboxer was referring to, but we were able to confirm that the memo does contain the expansion's release month and further as-yet unannounced information.

The Awakening is slated for an April 2012 release, with May and June dedicated to magic and balance updates. The company expects to break even on a monthly basis between July and August of this year and sign a deal with publishers in August. Star Vault's plan is to have the game published in China between July and September and then release an as-yet unannounced expansion in October, with another in April next year.

Some Assembly Required: A Mortal Online interview

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, PvP, PvE, Mortal Online, Some Assembly Required, Sandbox, Crafting

Some Assembly Required - blueprint header
I recently had the opportunity to fire off a few questions to Henrik Nystrom, and the Star Vault CEO was kind enough to provide some interesting insights into the firm's Mortal Online fantasy sandbox.

Though Mortal is thus far renowned for its full-loot PvP ruleset, it's also got a number of nifty features that you may be unaware of, with more on the way. Join me after the cut for a lengthy discussion of the new Awakening expansion as well as a glimpse into Nave's future.

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Mortal Online announces a new expansion called Awakening

Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Mortal Online, Sandbox

All that brilliant architecture left no budget for paint.
Mortal Online has already launched one expansion, but the game's second expansion in its two years of operation will soon join the first. Awakening has just been announced and is set to bring a variety of improvements to the game. The centerpiece is the introduction of Tindrem, the eponymous Tindremic capital and the home of the Emperor. The sprawling city encompasses several districts, but there's more to the city than the orderly facade it presents to travelers.

The expansion will provide more than simply a new city, however. It offers improved artificial intelligence and a better user interface to players, along with new dungeons in which players can test their skills against improved enemy intelligence. There's also a new set of special Trade Brokers in the cities, dyes for clothing and armor, and several other improvements that should be cheered by every Mortal Online player.

[Thanks to James for the tip!]

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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Mortal Online introduces political map, Chronicles of Nave

Fantasy, PvP, News Items, Mortal Online, Sandbox

Screenshot -- Mortal Online
Mortal Online players are going to have to wait a little bit longer for the game's The Dawn expansion, but in the meantime, Star Vault is busily working on the game's newly added territory control system. The newest addition to the system is a political map and a feature the team calls Chronicles of Nave.

The political map allows players to track which territories are under whose control in real time, so they always know where the fights are raging. The Chronicles of Nave, on the other hand, is a ladder ranking system, which ranks players and guilds according to a variety of statistics. The current system displays players' stats and builds, though there is an option to turn this feature off in case a player would rather keep his build a secret. Both of these features are still in beta, so players can expect them to be updated with expanded functionality. For the full details, check out the forum post over at the Mortal Online official forums.

Mortal Online plagiarizes EVE Online's terms of service

Fantasy, EVE Online, MMO Industry, Humor, Mortal Online

Mortal Online
There's always that temptation in high school and college to simply copy someone else's work to get out of writing really boring papers. Still, no matter how great the temptation, it's good to abstain from such activities. While it's not only wrong, it can be extremely embarrassing if you're found out by the teacher and penalized for plagiarism.

We guess that someone over at Mortal Online really didn't want to work up an original terms of service (TOS) for the game, as a few sharp-eyed players noticed that the document not only was extremely similar to one in another MMO but failed to replace mentions of its source game. It appears as though Mortal Online took EVE Online's TOS and reworked it slightly -- and imperfectly -- for its own nefarious purposes, as you can see in the graphic above. The TOS has since been changed to eliminate the mention of EVE.

This recalls a similar misstep from last year, when Alganon was caught with its pants down after "borrowing" a press release from BioWare.

[Thanks to Jokkl for the tip!]

Star Vault reveals more Mortal Online territorial control details

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, PvE, Mortal Online, Sandbox

Mortal Online - Nave map
A couple weeks back we heard tell of Mortal Online's territorial control update. Today, Star Vault has elaborated on the new sandbox system via a news bulletin on the game's official website.

It seems that the feature is still fairly early in the development process, as the site says that internal testing is still in full swing. External testing, by way of a specially selected focus group, is planned for next week.

What's that, you want to hear more about mechanics? Very well. Keeps act as a "starting point" for guilds in the territorial control system. Each keep awards control points (CP) that can be spent on towers and "various things." Keeps also feature an overseer NPC who provides extra protection, sells goods and features, and more. Finally there's the prominence system, which involves earning prominence points (PP) through various methods including PvP and PvE. There's more, of course, but we don't want to deprive you of a chance to visit the Mortal Online website, so off you go.

Gamebreaker's This Week in MMO: John Madden edition

Video, Lord of the Rings Online, News Items, Opinion, Mortal Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Starlite, Miscellaneous, PlanetSide 2, WildStar

Video game enthusiasts, pay attention. Each week, Gary Gannon and the crew at Gamebreaker.TV bring you the latest MMO news with their weekly show called This Week In MMO. The show rotates through a panel of personalities to bring you the latest news and opinions from MMO gaming. Sometimes these panels include reporters from our very own website, like Editor-in-Chief Shawn Schuster and Community Manager Rubi Bayer; even EVE expert Brendan Drain and SWTOR columnist Larry Everett have made appearances on the show.

This week, Gary is joined by ZAM's Mike B aka Fony and Hillary "Pokket" Nicole to talk about PlanetSide 2, Star Wars: The Old Republic, subscription models, WildStar, Lord of the Rings Online, Mortal Online, Astronaut the MMO, and why women don't like voiceover. First up: PlanetSide 2 will be free-to-play, and SWTOR may be the last subscription MMO. Is anyone surprised? The panel weighs in on whether WildStar mechanics are more of the same or maybe this game has something new. Mike B and Pokket discuss how LotRO is making Isengard appear more epic. We also find out why Mortal Online territorial control is not for the faint of heart. Lastly, is anyone interested in being an astronaut anymore?

If you like intelligent, fun discussion about the latest in MMOs (in video format), you should check out the recorded version of This Week In MMO right after the cut, or live every Wednesday evening!

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Mortal Online looking for a few good testers

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Mortal Online, Sandbox

Mortal Online - cheering dude
File this one under better late than never. Mortal Online is looking for a few good testers, and even though the game officially released more than a year ago, Star Vault is opening its doors to 20 individuals willing to roll up their sleeves and get down and dirty with the fantasy sandbox MMO's collection of bugs.

"Because Star Vault is a small, independent developer, we do not have a very large QA department which often means that bugs will slip through the net resulting in many issues on the live server," writes GM Discord on the official forums.

Qualified testers will be 18 years old, be well-versed in Mortal Online, and have a game account that is in good standing. There will also be an NDA involved, and breaching it will not only result in the removal of your testing privileges but also a ban on your in-game characters. Full details are available on the official boards.

Mortal Online update expanding territory control features

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Mortal Online

Mortal Online - control point
Mortal Online's sandbox is about to get a bit sandier if a new territory control update video is any indication. The fantasy title from Star Vault has had a rough time in the court of public opinion since its June 2010 launch, but development continues apace.

The latest patch brings control structures to the table, and according to the video intertitles, said structures can be placed anywhere near territory that you already control. Occupied land then earns taxes and control points for its owners, and control points may be spent "to further increase the area of any of your control structures, increase their abilities, or build more of them."

City control is possible with the new update, as is the collection of guild points after completing "various deeds." Star Vault says that the guild points can be used for a number of actions including outlawing players in your territory or declaring martial law. Check out the video after the break and head to the official Mortal Online website for more details.

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One Shots: Any minute now...

Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, One Shots, Mortal Online, Sandbox

Mortal Online cave
Today's One Shots screenshot comes to us from Richard, a Mortal Online fan. He snapped the image while helping his friend gain a new companion:
Here is a picture of my guildmate Morder trying to find and tame the elusive White Bear above the Northern city of Fabernum. The bear is on a very long respawn timer and resides in a small cave with blood and skeletons all over the ground.
We're revisiting an old favorite theme this week on One Shots: environments. The game world is an area that most developers put a huge amount of effort into, and it shows. Do you have a favorite landscape, particularly eye-catching weather effect, or hidden jewel in an out-of-the-way location? Snap a screenshot of your favorite MMO area, tell us a bit about what and where it is, and send it to oneshots@massively.com. In fact, environment week has been such a big hit that we'll continue it through next week, so keep 'em coming!

Star Vault partners with OnLegends for Mortal Online distribution

Fantasy, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Mortal Online, Sandbox

Mortal Online elf girl
OnLegends, a Berlin-based "licensing and internationalization specialist" firm, has entered into a partnership with Star Vault, developers of Mortal Online. A new press release states that OnLegends beat out "many major publishers [...] to secure the global exclusive licensing rights" to the indie sandbox MMORPG, and is now in the process of preparing the title for worldwide distribution.

The release also states that Mortal has attracted over 170,000 players thus far despite the lack of any marketing presence, and OnLegends seems enthusiastic about Mortal's place in the expanding MMORPG pantheon. "We strongly believe that Mortal Online can play an important future role on both PC and console MMO markets and we expect Mortal to be one of the trendsetting next-gen titles," said OnLegends vice president Julian Migura.

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