MU Online: The Early Years of MMOs Live On
Remko Molenaar (Proxzor), OnRPG Journalist
MU Online has been a title that has been around for ages and has stood the test of time demonstrating to players what the early days of the MMORPG market were like. Undoubtedly many of the old school MMORPG fans have played it at some point since it launched late in December of 2001 by the Korean gaming company Webzen. It was one of the first games to set its mark on the genre and showed the possibility of open world PvP. And in this review I will be giving the game a second look after all these years to see how this old nostalgic title stands up in the modern MMO market.
Despite the rumors of an upcoming MU2 Online launch, MU Online is still successful and populated. When I was given the green light to write about it I excitedly hopped right in to enjoy some good ol’ graphics in the style of the famous Diablo. Even though the style is very similar the game is completely different and the environments were actually in my opinion glorious back in the day. After experiencing so much eye candy since 2001, the reality versus nostalgia glasses set in and I realized how dated the graphics are. You would think that after all these years they would’ve at least upgraded the resolution and textures?
When creating your character it is possible to choose between 3 different classes to set foot in the world. I decided to try out the Dark Wizard since I had already experience the Dark Knight back in the day. After following the first step and getting introduced into town you get the choice to do a tutorial. Since I haven’t played for years and forgot my way around I decided it wouldn’t hurt so I began relearning all the basics.
After visiting all the NPC’s that were in the starting village I was already being bothered by one trivial annoyance. I have no idea if someone is throwing bread crumbs on the ground to feed the birds or Webzen is run by the Penguin, but a million birds are constantly flying all over town. After doing several tutorial quests and receiving a lot of ZEN which is the in-game money currency it was me vs the world and I set out to help the poor.
When creating your first character there are only three classes available for you to play. These are the Dark Wizard, Dark Knight and Elf. Each of these classes has their own abilities and equipment types. My chosen class, the Dark Wizard, deals out explosive amounts of DPS so long as you manage your mana supply efficiently.
The Dark Knight is a class that functions primarily as the warrior like in any other MMORPG. They have plenty of health and defensive capabilities to be able to defend themselves and teammates with. They also come with an arsenal of offensive spells to kill off their foes as quickly as possible should they go on solo missions.
The Elf is more like the hybrid class in Mu online which functions as the supporting role. They can cast supportive magic like buffs and heals and are able to deal a fair amount of damage from a distance using their bow.
There are also 4 classes you can unlock as you progress further in the game. They are as follows:
Summoner: Summoners possess a natural gift in manipulating magical powers and communicating with the void. By using special scrolls, Summoners are able to summon various mysterious monsters. Through constant prayers and meditations Summoners can incapacitate enemies by blasting their weak points.
Rage Fighter: The Rage Fighter is specialized for close ranged attacks and uses debuff skills to decrease their foe’s fighting capacity. These monstrous looking brutes are capable of dealing heavy attacks when needed and are able to turn the tide in a second.
Magic Gladiator: Do you want a class that combines spell and sword? Then the Magic Gladiator might be what you are looking for. This class is not only the ultimate killing machine but an immovable force when on defense. Their arsenal includes abilities of both the Dark Knight and the Dark Wizard classes.
Dark Lord: This fearsome class that is able to summon a Dark Raven and Dark horse to do his bidding. He is one of most helpful classes to have in a party because of their mastery of AoE abilities and skill to summon party members from nearly anywhere in the world to your location.
This point and click game was one of the trendsetters back in the day and Webzen sure made a game to be proud of. There are a lot of events that you can participate in when you are bored of questing or participating in the evil but so satisfying pk. But beware not to get the Outlaw status because once a player has this status from too much PK they suffer disadvantages during game play depending on the Outlaw level. If a person simply wants to get rid of its outlaw status simply time is needed until your level decreases, or if you hate waiting you could also kill a large amount of monsters which is easier done on a server that does not permit open world PvP.
The Graphics of Mu Online aren’t top notch and doesn’t stand up to modern MMO standards. The graphics engine it runs on hasn’t been updated in quite some time but it still cares some cool visual effects for a game released in 2001. The environment remains lively with plenty of background movement, including the incessant bird fly-overs. Every area is unique looking with few repeating textures, and the monster selection is often thematically chosen to match the surroundings.
Since this game has been out for a decade I will not ramble about system requirements because I believe that everyone who has a computer capable of reading this review is easily able to play Mu Online without graphical lag.
Even though Mu Online is old it is still very much alive with a large and loyal community. What it lacks in graphical power it makes up for with gameplay features since Webzen has spent its time well in keeping constant updates flowing into the game. Are you a big fan of hack and slash type of games or do you simply want to play a rock solid game with a lot of support and events? Then I advise you to give this game a try because its far more satisfying than most F2P games on the market today.