Eee! Singing sheep! Nexon's not-new-but-new-to-the-US MMORPG Mabinogi is moving to open beta as of this coming Wednesday. The Harvest Moon-meets-MMORPG has already been through a closed beta and pre-open beta test run, apparently to a good response. You can sign up at the Mabinogi website or over at FilePlanet. I'm a total sucker for stuff like this, so I'll be wandering over to check it out. Full release after the jump:
Nexon America Inc., the U.S. division of Asia's leading online entertainment company Nexon Group, delivers the open beta for Mabinogi, its free-to-play, massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), on March 5. Slated for release later this spring, users can create their own personal "Fantasy Life," by signing up for the open beta during an exclusive 24-hour play period at FilePlanet.com or afterward at http://mabinogi.nexon.net.
Open beta users will tap into a world that has already birthed a civilisation of more than seven million fans in Asia, and will retain these characters through the commercialisation of the game. With over 30,000 users signing up for the recent closed beta, the open beta should prove a similar success providing players an opportunity to discover a beautiful 3-D, cell-shaded art style, featuring anime-type characters and gruesome monsters.
The open beta delivers users numerous new areas to visit, including more dungeons to explore. It also offers North American players a first chance to burrow into new game skills such as cooking, enchanting, meditation and composing music.
These are just the first phases of Mabinogi's deep, online universe, where players experience all facets of fantasy life. Dazzling 3-D graphics boast an art style based in Celtic and Welsh mythology, which also gives Mabinogi its name and foundation. Mabinogi provides a new experience with its gameplay variety, unique combat system and orderly time element and age component, to provide additional depth to Nexon's latest free-to-play offering. In addition to traditional MMO features - challenging adventures, exciting group quests and a plethora of fearsome monsters - Mabinogi offers a much fuller "life" for its players. Players can increase experience by taking jobs, such as cooking, shearing sheep or other farming duties. The game's unique music program allows users to write and share music in MIDI formatted files.
Mabinogi's traditional mouse and keyboard functions unite with its distinctive combat, and anthology of game-play styles, that should excite the most hardcore gamers. Players will also quickly discover Mabinogi requires more finesse and strategy during combat than just pushing a few buttons and haphazardly attacking everything in sight. The unique fighting system, which emulates paper, rock, scissors, adds another degree of complexity. Characters develop skills in three categories— Combat, Life, and Magic—so users can not only gain experience by fighting a giant spider but also by cooking dinner and learning a new spell. Players acquire Ability Points as they gain experience in the game to help show progression. This gives players more freedom to play Mabinogi however they choose.
Additionally, Mabinogi's time is standardized, allowing for users who play longer to earn different "daily" bonuses as incentives. Plus, avatars age on a weekly basis and get taller as they get older (up to 17). Avatars gain ability points up to the age of 25 as well. Plus, players will see their avatars' diet affect appearance. Mabinogi also features a long-term storyline that is revealed over a series of generations and weaves its way throughout the game. Using these unique features, as well as the heavy socialization aspect present in all of Nexon's games, gives Mabinogi a unique placement in the world of MMOs. And like Nexon's previous offerings, the game is free to play.