By Vincent Haoson (Vincenthaoson), Onrpg Journalist
zOMG is a browser-based MMO from the people behind the anime-themed forum Gaia Online. zOMG centers around the attack of the “animated”, they are monsters that have sprang life and have been attacking Gaians left and life. They are impervious to any kinds of physical attacks all except attacks that originated from the mysterious power rings you would eventually get to use later in the game.
Characters in zOMG are made through the avatar creation of Gaia Online. You are given the choice to determine the gender, faces expression, eye color, hair color and skin color of your avatar. GAIA Online gives you some free clothes at the beginning of your Gaia adventure. However, the clothes do not have actual use in zOMG because it’s the rings that matter in your adventures in the game.
The rings have special attributes and their use varies depending on what kind of ring you get. There are rings that enhance your speed, luck or attack power. Some rings even create swrods that fight for you, project force fields and enhance the armor of your allies.
Besides the usual ring powers you get on games set with an MMO-ish feel, zOMG wouldn’t be zOMG without the crazy skills of rings like, wrapping an opponent in duct tape or throwing an angry hornet’s nest like a grenade.
Unlike in most MMOs where the attributes are gained by leveling your character, in zOMG you get your attributes from the rings you have, the level of your rings determines the attributes your character has. In zOMG, your rings determine how strong you are.
You get to increase the strength of your rings by using them. Your rings earn “G’hi” or the zOMG version of life force and when your ring reaches a certain “G’hi” amount requirement it would level up. Another thing about the rings is that the rings go hand in hand, to maximize the strength of the rings the rings would have to have the similar power rating.
Another feature of zOMG is that your avatar in Gaia would then be used as your character in the game. How your avatar looks in the forums is exactly copied into zOMG. Your character moves like a cut-out version in the game with its legs running anime-ish like.
The World of Gaia
The world of zOMG is lifted from the world GAIA Online has created therefore everything is familiar for someone who has spent time interacting in GAIA Online. You start of in Barton Town, the center of all trade in Gaia. Everything you see in zOMG is the manifestation of the shops, NPCs and characters you get to meet in the Gaia Online.
zOMG’s problems root out from once inanimate objects suddenly having life, therefore monsters you get to face in zOMG are inanimate objects like the pink flamingo and the garden gnome, you even get to face a monster that was once a rubber boot. Though one thing is certain in zOMG is that the cuteness of the monsters is the constant factor for all of them. Don’t let the cuteness fool you though. These monsters already downed a lof of your fellow Gaians so what makes you different.
As you continue your exploration of the zOMG world, you would eventually get materials that seem to be useless trash. The thing is, there are certain loots that you get in zOMG that you an exchange or create wearable items, as long as you meet the amount needed to make one.
zOMG is one of those rare MMOs that to fully enjoy everything the game has to offer you must immerse yourself first to the community rather than the game itself. Almost half of the game would be meaningless lifeless sprites because the game, outside of the community is so generic.
You have the shops, the NPCs, the quests and all and that they are also found in other games as well. The thing is, zOMG’s strength is not in the game play or in the graphics engine but rather in the social interaction, the use of your personalized avatars and the story that unfolds in the game.
It may be nice to see your avatars, as personalized as they are roaming the worlds of zOMG, but in terms of usability they fail. Still, the whole point of letting your avatars be used as your character is more of the personalized feel rather than being usable. Adding this element into the gameplay system makes players feel that they are part of the whole tale, which is zOMG is practically all about.
zOMG is an MMO that is not centering itself as a game that’s running head-to-head with other big MMOs in the market. zOMG centers around the people, the users and makes them feel that they’re not just observers but also part of the whole action as well.
That’s what exactly zOMG is about, it’s more of a fanservice game for users of Gaia Online that seeks to bring those who are subscribers to the forums into a more universal coherent world that seems to be lacking the game specially for those first time users.
The game is fun, quirky and is an exact duplicate of the source of zOMG’s material, Gaia. There is no other game out there that gives you this much freedom in making your character even in P2P games, you can practically make a character at the back of your head and you could immediately see it spring to life in zOMG.
You can’t separate the fact that zOMG relies heavily on your Gaian account. To be able to truly enjoy the game and be part of the whole zOMG experience would mean that it would take more time and effort than your usual MMO.
With the game still in beta it would seem that there are still a lot of things in store for people when zOMG 1.0 comes live, there are lots of things you can look forward to when that happens.