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Mabinogi: South Korea is now imperceptably richer

I thought I'd give some closure on yesterday's Mabinogi debacle: For all my complaining about how expensive it is, I decided to spend another $40 on it.

What did I spend it on and why do I think it's worth it? Read on.

What I bought

Given that I had already spent $10 on the game before, I overall had bought 50,000 NX for $50, and my transactions went thusly:
  • A 9500 NX premium character card, which I used to rebirth a character I didn't play for over a year
  • A 10900 NX Mabinogi Premium Service subscription, primarily to retrieve the items out of the locked side of the bank and move them to pet storage.
  • A 4400 NX Siamese Cat pet.  I've designated the role of this pet to hold my fomor scrolls, fishing equipment, and other general overflow such as cobwebs.
  • A 6200 NX Afgan Hound.  Among the cheapest inventory you can get, and a scrappy little fighter in itself, "Shaggatha" primarily holds my tailoring supplies.
  • A 8100 NX Antique Mimic.  The largest storage of my pets, "Egarim" is my general inventory pet, mostly holding spare resources and gems.
  • A 10900 NX Thoroughbred, "Blitzon," the fastest thing on land, because walking is a drag. Considering I'll likely have it out on the field, it holds my general adventuring equipment (potions, spare weaponry, and the like).
That sums up to exactly the 50,000 NX I bought.  Since I discovered that I can not store books in my summoned pet inventory, my bank account now resembles a library. I am hoping that these are the last purchases I need to make in the game for a long time, and posturing myself in such a way that when my Mabinogi Premium Service expires I won't be left in the lurch for some vital feature or another. Of course, I now have 4 pets aging... ah, I'll just let them wither.

Why I bought it

I think Boturkey here did a really good summary about what I see in this game.

Bottom line: do I think that Mabinogi deserves $50?  I sure do.  Given that the game has moongates and a host of creatures with thought put towards their ecological footprint, it's clear that Mabinogi took a lot of inspiration from Ultima Online, largely held as the premier virtual world.  However, devCat (the developers of Mabinogi) advanced the idea on many fundamental tangents.  For example, PvP isn't rampant, player housing is properly relegated to its own map, quests and item transfers are elegantly handled, the NPCs have a face, and combat is actually involving. 

Aside from being an all around well-realized product, perhaps the thing I like most about Mabinogi (aside from the overall variety of activities) is that each activity is hard:
  • Both combat and the crafting mini-games are not overly complicated, but they take an impressive amount of thought and attention to succeed in.
  • If you're careless in your transactions, you'll get gouged by merchants and banks. Purchasing a new a piece of equipment is a major investment that may take days of careful planning. There's also many paths to upgrade it them that require due consideration.
  • If you are defeated, there's a chance you'll lose an equipped item. Lost items need to be "recovered" for an oft rather high gold investment. You can "bless" items like in UO using holy water, preventing their loss, but the blessing will wear off after they've been used.
  • And so on.
It's not just that it's hard, it's that the things that make it hard add meaning and significance. Too many MMORPGs, perhaps out of fear of scaring off casuals, bore me to tears because the choices are meaningless and the consequences are inconsequential. Mabinogi has made the right choices to overcome this, perhaps not universally, but in enough places to stand apart.
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