The Mana World Review: Open-Source MMO



The Mana World Review: Open-Source MMO
By Bryan King

Many ages ago, the world was entangled by war. From the smallest tribe to the grandest of kingdoms, virtually every discernible group of mankind was somehow involved. Through the darkness of war however, a light of truth somehow shone through. Amidst the previously unstoppable fighting, it was revealed that four manipulative gods were behind the chaos and confusion; that all of the misunderstandings leading to the generations of bloodshed, had been initiated by them.

People immediately stopped fighting one another, redirecting their aggression toward the Gods. Though they had destroyed much of their own civilization, ancient people were still quite powerful and in the end of the conflict, overpowered the Gods, banishing them in an explosion of magical energy. The resulting wave of destruction resonated across the globe, fragmenting the once solitary continent and killing millions.

Generations have passed since that great disaster and people are slowly but surely, picking up the pieces of society. Though the world-wide hostilities seem to have stopped, such peace is often fleeting..

..for an old and forgotten threat is looming in the background, plotting to make history repeat itself.

The Mana World is a serious effort to create an innovative free and open source MMORPG. TMW uses 2D graphics and aims to create a large and diverse interactive world. Mostly written in C++, the game allows users to contribute to the ongoing project that Mana World represents.

The Mana World

Character Creation

One of my first positive interactions with the game is the fact that there are no classes; you're free to come up with whatever you want to be. However, most players follow archetypes of stats that allows them to be similar to the norm of the typical "Warrior, Archer, Rogue, Mage" that is so often seen in MMOs. However, you can come up of some rare combinations like a Crafting character, by putting emphasis on the Intelligence stat. There are thousands of possibilities of how to make your character, which makes the character creation process so interesting.

There is a limited amount of customization, unfortunately, at the beginning of the game. However, plenty of equipment s available to be found all over the lands of The Mana World. I saw a player who resembled Santa Claus walk past me, a couple minutes later, another player with a full nature set (complete with leaves on head, green rope, and gloves). Maybe I'll finally be able to make complete my dream of making an Indiana Jones-esque Archer!

Gameplay

It's up to you! Literally, The Mana World is an open-source game, meaning if you have any experience with C++, you can join the project team and work with the team to produce new content that you suggest or the community does, thus giving a game a great gameplay boost that could thrust it over other 2D games in the industry.

The beginner content in Mana World is rather frustrating, for a game which so much potential, I was personally saddened for it to have the same beginner content as more lackluster games out there. Basically, there are a very limited amount of starter quests, you grind on the same two mobs for a couple levels, and since you do not have any sit abilities due to a skill system resembling Ragnarok Online's (which is understandable, as it runs on a Ragnarok server Emulation project, eAthena). Later content, however, brings a slew of new quests, weapons, and awesome and unique systems, like being able to use a Javelin while fighting.

There isn't much to say about The Mana World, gameplay wise. It seems very repetitive, but it could be considered part of a young development stage that the creators and the community can come together and make better in time. Until then, it is nothing new and could be considered boring by gamers that have been playing lots of MMOs.

Graphics

In the graphics department, TMW offers quirky, simple, top-down graphics that may only entertain people of a younger age. There's nothing about the graphics that personally "wow"ed me, but they are pretty nice considering what the game is, an indie, newly developed MMO. In conclusion, there really isn't much to say about The Mana World. How so, you may ask? It's up to you. It provides a way for gamers to make all the changes they please!

Pros:
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Open-source
- Great character customization

Cons:
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Graphics are nothing special
- Lackluster gameplay

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