Mabinogi (video game)

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Mabinogi
Mabinogi.svg
Developer(s) devCAT
Publisher(s) Nexon Korea
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Release date(s)
  • KR June 22, 2004
  • JP April 26, 2005
  • CN November 22, 2005
  • HK July 21, 2005
  • TW July 21, 2005
  • NA March 27, 2008
  • OC June 20, 2008
  • EU May 26, 2010
  • IL May 26, 2010
  • TR November 17, 2010
Genre(s) Fantasy MMORPG
Mode(s) MMORPG
Distribution Download

Mabinogi (Korean: 마비노기) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game released by South Korean Game Distributing Company Nexon, and developed by devCAT studio. Although the name of the game is taken from the Mabinogion, a Welsh anthology of legend, the settings for the game are loosely based on Irish mythology.

The game engine features hand-painted textures stylized with edge detection outlining. The game world is developed continuously, through the release of important updates (referred to as "Generations" and "Seasons") that introduce new areas, additional features such as pets and new skills, and advancement of the storyline. The user interface is simple and designed in the likeness of Microsoft Windows' task bar.

Mabinogi was built on a hybrid Value Added Services model (which varies slightly for each game localization) that allows free play and the subscription of paid packages, purchased through the game shop.[1] In South Korea, beginning with the Chapter 3 patch, Mabinogi changed to micro-transactions. It now allows 24-hour free play and the Item Shop only offers items and subscriptions for added options.

The game service is currently available in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mainland China, North America, Oceania, Israel, and most recently, Turkey & Russia.[2]

The North American closed beta test began on January 30, 2008, at 2pm PST.[3] The pre-open beta only available to Fileplanet users was released on March 5, 2008.[4] The full open beta was released on March 6, 2008, at 3PM PST. The North American localization of Mabinogi was officially released on March 27, 2008.[5]

During the 2007 Gstar game show in Seoul, South Korea, Nexon announced an Xbox 360 version of Mabinogi.[6][7][8] However, in September 2009, they had announced that, even though the development was finished, the release of the console version has been indefinitely suspended after evaluations of the game through their business decisions.[9]

Gameplay[edit]

The player is not limited by any class other than the character's race, and is free to level up any of the different skills available. The combination of skill choices, age, items, physical constitution, and other variables such as user titles, is what makes up the character. The gameplay is largely skill-based. To learn and improve skills, Ability Points (AP) are required.

There are also various social aspects, like sitting around a campfire, playing music, having a friendly chat, sharing food, as well as making use of different facial expressions to make user interaction more colorful.

There are currently three continents, Uladh, Belvast and Iria. If the player decides to start as a human, he or she will begin their game in the Uladh village of Tir Chonaill, or the Qilla Base Camp in Iria. If the player chooses to be an elf, the game begins in Iria at Filia, in the region Connous. Should the player decide to start as a Giant, they will begin their game at Vales, in the region Physis, which is located far north in the continent of Iria. As of the Generation 13 patch, a realm outside of Erinn, Avon (based on Stratford-upon-Avon), is able to be accessed by an item found in the first mainstream quest of that generation. As of Generation 15, Belvast Island was introduced (based upon the city Belfast). This island is accessible by taking a ship from the continent of Uladh.

Character creation and development[edit]

Characters are created by using Character Cards. One card (called a free card) is given free of charge when there are no characters in the account (such as when an account is newly created). There are two kinds of cards that can be bought: basic and premium. Basic cards costs less, but can not use premium features. Premium cards allow more customization options, such as lips, eyes, hair, and colors, but are not required.

Currently there are three races: human, elf and giant. When creating a character, one may choose an age between ten and seventeen. The character will age one year every (real) week. Different ages yield different initial stats and affect the amount of stats raised when leveling up. AP (Ability Points) are also granted when aging; the younger one is, the more AP they will get when they age.

Rebirth is an important feature in Mabinogi. Rebirth allows the player to change the character's age, gender, appearance, and reset the character's level back to 1, while keeping all previously learned skills. As of the North American release of "Pioneers of Iria" players may now rebirth for free upon reaching age 20. The free rebirth option allows the player to reset their level and age, but will not allow them to change their character's appearance. Basic and Premium cards are available to players who do not wish to wait for their character to age to 20, but have a one-week delay limit from the previous rebirth. Rebirthing by use of a character card will allow the player to change their character's appearance as well as reset age and level.

Each (real world) day of the week grants players specific bonuses, such as getting a higher experience rate for certain skills, higher item creation success rate, aging, gaining AP, etc.

As of the Generation 16 patch, new players who are under level 100 can rebirth for free every day until level 100. Along with free rebirths, the player will be given a free horse that can be used for a week and a permanent free horse and free eagle as well. However, these two free pets lack the inventory space that a horse and eagle bought from the Web Shop would have.

Combat system[edit]

In combat, predicting the enemy's skills and making use of combat skills is important. Some monsters are aggressive and will attack and pursue on sight (also called "aggroing"), while others attack in a pack or completely ignore the player. Unlike other MMOs, Mabinogi's combat is arguably more tactical in nature - requiring careful analysis and timing of what skills to use and in what fashion. As opposed to the 'tank' roles portrayed in other online games, Mabinogi's combat focuses on the player not being hit at all - through careful use of skills and precise timing. The overall complexity of Mabinogi's combat system has made it much more difficult for training bots to be developed. Many are just designed to farm the significantly easier low-level monsters for in-game currency.

Mabinogi features a traditional melee combat approach (utilizing various swords, maces and shields), a ranged combat approach (using various weapons such as crossbows and long-bows) and a magic or alchemy approach - all of which have their own strengths and advantages at different points of the game. Mabinogi's freeform skill system allows players to hybridize between any four of the combat trees at any time - the only limitation lying with the player's overall proficiency at operating the game controls and mechanics.

Dying causes loss of experience points, and sometimes equipment (lost items can be retrieved at an NPC at a cost). Fallen players can be revived by other players, or by the in-game NPC, Nao, if the player has bought such service. If the character has zero experience points and suffers a death penalty, negative experience points will accumulate. If the player reaches negative 100% experience, they will no longer be able to revive by themselves and must wait for another player to revive them, or use "Soul stones" purchased from the "Cash Shop" (Requires Nexon cash points, currency that can be used to buy special items that cannot be bought in-game. Nexon cash points cost real money.).

Stats[edit]

Character statistics alter the combat system by the individual qualities of a character. Statistics are split into five categories: Strength, Intelligence, Dexterity, Will, and Luck. Strength, Intelligence, and Dexterity all determine the base attack power of melee, magic, and ranged, respectively. Dexterity also determines damage balance during melee combat. Will affects how your character absorbs strong blows and how much damage is done to enemies. A character's luck rating may improve the chance of high hits, gathering, and increases the chance of lucky drops.

These statistics may be raised by ranking most skills. For example, Magic Mastery, because its dealing with magic, raises a certain amount of Intelligence per rank. The raising of Life Skills is beneficial to warriors because of Strength increases in activities such as carpentry and fishing. The "Destiny System" released in Generation 13 adds an extra 10 points to Strength, Intelligence, and Dexterity to the Warrior, Mage, and Ranger destinies, respectively.

Fantasy Life[edit]

There is a wide range of Life skills which give the player the chance to experience a different side of the “fantasy life”. Players can perform tasks such as tending to the wheat and potato fields, making flour, gathering wool from sheep and eggs from hens, weaving and making garments, mining for minerals and crafting weapons, playing and composing music, cooking dishes, taming animals, etc.

Using a system called Music Markup Language (actually a variation of Music Macro Language, which is completely distinct from the notation format usually referred to as Music Markup Language), players may compose their own arrangements or use music scrolls created by other players. In the North American version, these are known as the "Compose" and "Play Music" skills. Different musical instruments, such as lutes, ukuleles, flutes, and others can be used to play.

NPC interaction is important. As the player talks to different non-player characters, more dialog keywords will become available. These will reveal plot points and NPC backgrounds, unlock quests or skills, etc. NPCs also offer a variety of services such as shops, item repair and upgrade, skill apprenticeships and more. Players can also request part-time jobs from some of the NPCs, which can be completed in a quest-like fashion.

Quests, Exploration Quests and Part-Time Jobs[edit]

There are many different quests that players can complete throughout the game. Different types of quests exist, some are party quests, others involve monster hunting, item collecting or other tasks, for instance, skill-based quests like cooking or tailoring.

Some of them are received by the player at specific points or after certain quests are completed, others are given by the NPCs, some can be purchased as quest scrolls and, finally, there are also exploration quests that the player can enroll in through the Quest Boards found throughout Erinn.

Quest rewards may consist of experience points, Ability Points, gold, items or a combination of these rewards. Quests help the player to discover the game's regions and to find out about the many available NPCs, as they involve traveling to different parts of the game world and talking to all the different non-player characters.

Exploration quests typically involve finding certain hidden objects using a pair of L-shaped rods or by finding landmarks or animals and making a sketch of these. Different exploration quests are available according to the player's exploration level. There is also a player rank for the completion of each quest. When a character completes exploration quests or simply comes across these hidden landmarks, the character's exploration level will increase, and as they level up, the character will gain Ability Points, and access to new exploration quests.

Another type of special quests are part-time jobs, which are given by the NPCs. Part-time jobs are only available at a specific time of the day for each NPC and have a time limit to be completed. The player must complete the requested tasks (i.e.: delivering an item to another NPC, crafting a certain number of items, collecting objects, doing farming chores, etc.) and report back to the NPC to choose their reward. As the player successfully completes more jobs, NPCs will give more rewarding quests.

Repeating these jobs helps to raise the intimacy level between the player and the NPC (giving certain items to the NPC may also help). When a "friendship" has been established between them, certain merchant NPCs will reveal a secret store to the player with special items to purchase.

Mainstream plots[edit]

Mabinogi also has several mainstream story campaigns. These campaigns have connected story lines (when grouped together, are called Chapters) that reveal the background story of Erinn and several important characters. There are campaigns, such as Generations 1 through 3 (Chapter 1), 7 and 8 (Chapter 2), 9 through 12 (Chapter 3), and 13 through 16 (Chapter 4) that must be completed in sequential order, each implemented at their corresponding Generation updates.

Skills[edit]

Each character can develop a large number of skills, although some can only be learned if the character is of a certain race (Human, Elf, Giant). Skills are divided into eight categories: Life, Combat, Magic, Alchemy, Fighter, Bard, Puppeteer, and Dual Gunner. Life refers to crafting and performing skills, such as fishing, cooking, composing, tailoring, blacksmithing or potion making. Some of the Life skills available are also mini-games. Combat skills refer to melee and ranged attack skills, as well as defensive moves. Magic comprises three kinds of elemental magic (ice, fire and lightning) and non-elemental magic, such as healing and recovery skills. In Generation 9, Alchemy was introduced to the game world. Alchemy is used with a cylinder and a crystal, and can be used to create temporary walls, summon golems and a number of spells resembling magic (water/ice, fire/fire, wind/lightning and clay/neutral) according to the crystal used. In Generation 16, Fighter was released, introducing martial art techniques. In The Saga: Iria, Dual Gunner was introduced, and its skills regard the use of mana bullets.

Skills can be improved by advancing them to higher ranks. This is done by meeting certain requirements, usually involving the use of the skill. For most skills, it is also required to spend a number of Ability Points, which are acquired by gaining levels or aging.

Time and weather[edit]

The game has its own internal clock, with thirty-six minutes of real time corresponding to one in-game day. The sun and moon move visibly across the sky with the hours, with objects casting shadows that move accordingly, and the moon undergoes phases. A second moon, always rising and setting opposite the sun, is described as the source of magic energy, and players recharge mana faster while it is in the sky.
In Erinn, the Sun is called Palala, it is said to provide energy on the world. The Red Moon is called Eweca, which generates Mana. The Blue Moon is called Ladeca.

Each real time day of the week offers players the opportunity to take advantage of specific gameplay bonuses, such as increased skill success or lowered NPC store prices and also go to the other world. Weekday names used in-game reflect the Celtic mythology that the game evokes. In Mabinogi, actual days of the week represent seasons and are named for the traditional Welsh and Irish quarter days and cross-quarter days.

A dynamic weather system is also in place, with effects such as heavier or lighter cloud cover, rain, and thunder. The weather affects the outcomes of certain player skills and work done by NPCs.

Dungeons[edit]

Mabinogi uses an instanced dungeon system, with random map generation, that allows dungeon exploration by multiple players at the same time. When a player enters a dungeon, he will find a lobby with a statue of the goddess, and a platform before it. A separate dungeon instance is created for every unique type of item thrown on the platform (for dungeon passes, a unique instance is created for each instance of pass dropped). Depending on what the player drops, he might end up in a dungeon instance with players already in it.

Dungeons maps consist of connecting rooms and corridors. As the player explores the map, the player will encounter chests or other devices which will, if opened or activated, summon monsters that must be defeated in order to progress in the dungeon path. At the end of each dungeon, there is a large room, which will usually have the boss enemy of the dungeon (sometimes escorted by a number of other enemies). Once the boss and its minions are defeated, a treasure room is opened, with the rewards for clearing the dungeon. The number of treasure chests inside the treasure room will be equal to the number of characters in the dungeon (at the time of dungeon creation). Players can thus explore the dungeons in teams. Some dungeons have special items called passes which allow harder (and sometimes easier) versions to be done. Some passes require a specific number of players to form the team.

After Generation 9, similar dungeons called Shadow Missions and Theatre Missions were implemented. They feature the same basic mechanics, but are selectable by the player and usually take place on a large, isolated, fixed map or area instead of using a generated map.

Titles[edit]

Achieving certain conditions (collecting items, performing tasks, etc.) will reward the character with a title. These conditions can range from participating in the closed beta to completing quests. Titles, when applied to a character, can positively or negatively change the character's stats. Titles can also be applied to pets, though they have no effect on their stats.

Some titles are unique in the server, with each server having only one character who holds that specific title.

Achievements[edit]

Players can also acquire achievements, which are recorded by an achievement journal, by doing numerous events like acquiring a title or completing a dungeon.

Destiny System[edit]

In Generation 13, a feature called "Destiny System" was implemented. Similar to a class system, but without any penalty or skill limitations, this system allows the player to optionally choose their specialized job and become either a Warrior, Ranger, Mage, Alchemist. Players have the chance to change or choose Destinies during every rebirth.

When players specialize in a Destiny, they gain a specific stat increases to that own Destiny (e.g., Warriors gain more strength than average). In addition, they gain twice the training experience they would normally gain for the said skill (e.g., being a Warrior allows you to train Smash twice as fast), and they will not be penalized in other Destiny skills (e.g., Warriors can train and use all magic skills without limitations).

Commerce System[edit]

A trade system based on William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. Commercing, which happens to be inspired by the Fomorians, allows players to trade items throughout various towns within Erinn for Ducats, the "currency" of the Fomors. EXP and Gold are also rewarded from Commercing as well.

When Commercing, one must take consideration of the number of items being transported, the amount of items the transportation method can carry, and the selling fluctuating price every few minutes in order to receive the maximum profit.

Ducats rewarded from Commercing allows access to various rare items sold by the Mercantile Imp,[clarification needed] including Fomorian-variant weapons which are stronger than normal weapons, however they cannot be specially upgraded, but are very powerful to begin with. When one makes enough, he/she may acquire Legendary Weapons; special weapons that host a strong potential (i.e. the Tyrfing greatly increases the wielder's damage after rendered unconscious).

The currency may also be used to purchase transportation methods; starting from a Backpack to a Handcart to a Wagon or a Pack Elephant. The transportation modes increase the user's movement speed and weight and/or item slots, allowing them to carry more items.

Transportation of items also increases the player's Merchant Rating for that town. A higher rating offers discounts for various items, as well as allowing one purchase more valuable goods.

Other game features[edit]

Players can set up stores to sell their items. Items cannot be looted since any item dropped from a monster cannot, as a rule, be picked up by another player for an amount of time proportional to an item's value. Items can be safely traded through the trading panels. As another safeguard to item loss, items dropped by a player as a result of the player's death are automatically recovered by an NPC nearby, where they can be retrieved.

Mabinogi has a variety of in-game books. Mabinogi fetches the contents of books you read over the Web using HTTP from mabibook.nexon.net. Using a program like WireShark (with a filter like 'http contains GET') or tcpdump can capture the HTTP requests sent when you read a book in the game.

Generation 3, in later updates, added housing areas between Tir Chonaill and Dunbarton in an area splitting off of Dugald Aisle, and also between Bangor and Emain Macha in an area splitting off of Sen Mag Plateau. Through this housing system, players can bid for a house and pay rent for it afterwards, in order to keep it. Houses may be used as stores, and players are able to purchase items to decorate their homes.

Player characters can also get married in-game, by requesting this to a marriage NPC. A pet system is also available. Players may purchase Pet Cards from the game store and summon them in-game. Pets can help in combat or, in some cases, even be used as transportation, allowing the player to travel at a greater speed than on foot. Each pet has a fully customizable AI system, allowing the owner to give it preset actions he or she desires. Pets can even be played by players themselves. Like the player characters, pets also grow as they age. However, unlike player characters, pets automatically learn skills based on their level.

Other features include the guild, party, and Player vs Player systems. Guild creation requires the purchase of an extended play package from the game store. Guilds can expand/level up by meeting an increasing quota of points (called Guild Points, or GP), which are earned by the guild's members by playing in-game. Similar to other games, the party system allows sharing of experience points between players. PvP combat is possible in special arenas, as well as between Paladins and Dark Knights at any location, as well as "duels", where characters arrange combat for each other, or their pets. As of the Pioneers of Iria release, elves and giants can also engage in full PvP combat at any location, as well as those humans aligned with elves or giants.

European release[edit]

On the 27th of January 2010, Nexon launched the Open Beta of Mabinogi Europe with two game servers: Morrighan and Macha. Along with the Open Beta release came the generation 2 expansion. It was expected that generation 3 would be released when the game enters the official phase, which will be accompanied by the opening of the cash shop.

Nexon Europe eventually launched Mabinogi on May 26, 2010.[10] A few months later, Nexon Europe released Generation 12 at the same time as North America on October 2010, a large update featuring new mainstream quests and skills. Shortly after this, Nexon Europe removed 2 of the 5 available game channels in Macha, due to a lack of players in that server.

In April 2012, Nexon Europe announced its plans to shut down the European service on the 25th, (due to insufficient player-base growth and profit) and allowed its former users to play on North American servers with a new account and no character transfers if they wished to do so.[11] Nexon America has since lifted the European IP blocks for Mabinogi.[12]

On July 13, 2012, Nexon Europe announced that it is going close the game service and customer support of Mabinogi on July 18, 2012.[13]

Franchise[edit]

Mabinogi Heroes, which has a storyline setting that is a prequel to Mabinogi, is currently released in Korea, North America, and Europe through Nexon.[14][dated info]

Mabinogi II:Arena, the sequel to Mabinogi Heroes, is also currently in development but subsequently cancelled. It is noted to feature more realistic 3D models, animation and settings, according to development diaries and press releases made by the game developer devCat.[15] The game was previewed at G-Star 2012. The preview content depicted characters, enemies, and dungeon crawling that are similar to the original Mabinogi, but focused more on instant action-based combat similar to the style of Vindictus with an emphasis of the more down-to-earth skill animations similar to that of Mabinogi.[16] It was announced in January 2014 that Mabinogi II:Arena development was stopped.[17]

Controversy[edit]

On January 28, 2008, it was reported that a 16-year-old boy from Japan hacked the website of Nexon Japan and acquired 36 million yen (325,000 USD) worth of game points used in Mabinogi. It sparked discussions among the public about the security of an online game's billing system.[18][19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Nexon Company page description of Mabinogi". 
  2. ^ Mabinogi Europe Staff (2009-11-29). "Turkish and Russian users can play Mabinogi fro...". Retrieved 2010-12-16. 
  3. ^ Leigh Alexander (2008-01-16). "Nexon Announces Mabinogi". Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  4. ^ Earnest Cavalli (2008-02-29). "Mabinogi Open Beta Lands March 5". Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  5. ^ Keith Cross (2008-02-24). "Commercial Launch Announced". Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  6. ^ Brandon Sheffield, Seoul (2007-08-11). "G*: Nexon Reveals Xbox 360 MMO Mabinogi, Talks Maple Story DS". Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  7. ^ "First Screenshots of xbox360 Mabinogi Revealed". 2007-11-06. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  8. ^ "KR: 14 August 2008 - Thisisgame Interview". 2008-08-14. Retrieved 2009-04-14. [dead link]
  9. ^ http://www.thisisgame.com/board/view.php?id=284319&category=102
  10. ^ "Mabinogi Europe Launches". 
  11. ^ http://mabinogi.nexoneu.com/article.aspx?idx=Tm90aWNlfDQwNw==
  12. ^ http://mabinogi.nexoneu.com/NXEU.aspx?PART=/News/Notice&BoardIDX=416
  13. ^ http://forum.nexoneu.com/showthread.php?818748-Notice-Mabinogi-Customer-Support-Closure
  14. ^ "Mabinogi: Heroes Comes to NA in 2010". 
  15. ^ "(Korean) 영상 마비노기2를 위한 애니메이션 시스템". 
  16. ^ http://i.massively.joystiq.com/2012/11/05/new-combat-trailer-demonstrates-mabinogi-2-arena-battles/
  17. ^ http://massively.joystiq.com/2014/01/02/mabinogi-ii-arena-stops-development/
  18. ^ meteo (2008-01-28). "Mabinogi Was Hacked by A 16-year-old Boy". 
  19. ^ "Boy hacker scams 36 mil yen for virtual dress". 2008-01-24. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 

External links[edit]