Mir2 is part of a trilogy of MMORPGs originating in Korea. It’s been very well received by South Korean and Chinese gamers, but only moderately successful outside of Asia. Players explore the world of Mir2 on an isometric movement plane with mouse action control schemes which play very similarly to Blizzard Entertainment’s popular Diablo franchise.
In Europe, Italian company Game Network is charged with the operation of the European version of Mir2. Weekly shows used to be broadcast on their television channel to promote the game, which vastly succeeded. Mir2’s popularity began to see a failing trend once their television channel was cut due to lack of funding. On top of that, Digital Bros, Game Network’s superior, announced that they not only planned to replace Mir2 but also another MMORPG service they provided, The Myth of Soma. This cut Mir2’s subscription rates heavily and in March 2009, the servers were closed off to all new players and making the game free-to-play for any existing accounts. We can only wonder if Gamepot’s free-to-play Global version will suffer the same fate as its European counterpart. In this review we will take an insightful look into the world of Mir2 and see for ourselves.
OS: Windows 98/2000/XP/Vista
Processor: Pentium4 1.0GHz
DirectX: DirectX 7.0
Mir2 doesn’t offer anything ingenious in terms of gameplay. All player movement is isometric and point-and-click. However, monsters only move one space at a time in cardinal directions. Hmm, doesn’t this mean that you can outrun anything in the game and escape unscathed? You bet it does. If something outclasses you, just walk away. You don’t even have to run. A little more effort in terms of AI programming would have been much appreciated, as monsters who all behave exactly the same aside from looking different don’t offer anything more than basic hack-and-slash and guerilla tactics with the occasional spellcasting creature. Monsters in the higher levels actually walk faster but that’s all.
Speaking of running, you drain health as you run, and once below 10 hit points, you are considered too injured and limited to walking. Of course, this isn’t a problem due to the clunky AI, but it serves to be annoying to a player who wants to stay mobile. A stamina bar like in Diablo II would have been appreciated as opposed to HP draining. I didn’t know that running was bad for your health. This problem subsides once the player has hundreds of health, but it stands out earlier on with level 1 characters boasting a mere 12 or so health points.
Mir2 makes the matters worse by implementing a night and day cycle that just proves frustrating. At night, everything around your character except for a 1 inch diameter vision range is covered in black mask, unless you invest in candles which only provide a slight temporary boost in sight range. It’s a chore to maintain candle light after you burn about 5 of those bad boys. Quests given to the player are the dreaded stereotypical fetch quests and, “Talk to Bob who is 50 miles from here” type. While that sounds manageable to some, Mir2’s GUI is so poorly done that starting, finishing, and accepting quest rewards is a task in itself.
I was abhorred by the overworld. Nothing but the same trees, grass, rocks, and creatures litter the map. No elevation changes, no interesting doodads, nothing. Oh, wait! I found a little hut in the middle of nowhere by the coast to the north-east surrounded my monsters. Within was a curious, old wizard that said nothing but, “I'm the GreatWizard. What brings you here?”. That made very little sense.
"I'm the GreatWizard. What brings you here?" Son, I am disappoint.
The real kicker that totally kills this game is that there were a lot of leaked exploits among the community in Mir2’s early stages. In fact, these were actually “cheat codes” that were implemented by Chinese developers for the purpose of debugging but for whatever reason were never removed at release. You know exactly what this means. However, in recent times, these have thankfully been patched out of the game.
Mir2 features a unique but poorly executed method of looting from monsters, instead of having them drop a pile of gold on the ground in order to achieve realism. Players must butcher an animal that is defeated in combat and harvest meat from the corpse. Most monsters can’t be butchered for some reason, even the ones that leave a corpse. The game does not explain this mechanic and it will leave most players confused. The meat butchered from an animal will receive a randomized numerical indicating its quality on a scale from 1 to 10. The meat must then be sold in town at the butcher, who will pay you gold depending on the quality of the meat.
Begin the long process of butchering, watching your character tediously chopping at a deer corpse for 10 seconds. Exhilarating!
This system sounds like a great idea, but Mir2 doesn’t implement this conveniently. Corpses will vanish after a short period of time, unfortunately about the same amount of time it takes to butcher them. If you are engaged in a mob of enemies, you may not have enough time to butcher after combat. Not to mention that the process of butchering itself is dull in itself. To perform the butchering, you must hold Alt+Click and wait. And wait some more, idly watching your character perform the same chopping animation for about 5 to 10 seconds. There are no sound effects to this process so it becomes a chore and eventually uninteresting.
The four classes in Mir2, being the Warrior, Taoist, Wizard, and Assassin, offer a small handful of skills each that can be improved through continuous use. Nothing worth mentioning, as everything else Mir2 has to offer is already seen elsewhere. Character statistics develop automatically, defeating any kind of depth the classes have to offer by disallowing any kind of flexibility in character development. In the long run, a good PvP match in Mir2 probably boils down to who has the higher level.
Mir2’s PvP system is termed PKing. While out in the wilderness, you can be targeted by other players and killed. However, this marks the killer with a negative score and town guards will start to attack them if they come too close, not to mention players cannot be targeted in town. This negative status is only temporary and wears off over time. Of course, killing just one person doesn’t put you so much in the red so simple PvP matches are fine. This is a system to control those that can and will assault weaker players, but I didn’t get the luxury of personally experiencing it.
Another thing to note, in Mir2, your character starts off in their underwear, although you have initial equipment in your inventory. Could it really be so hard to suit those automatically for a new player instead of making them run around town naked until an NPC tells them how to equip stuff? It must be your rites of passage into the world of Mir2. At least they offer a Newbie Guild that players under level 30 can join, which provides an experience boost, but expires every 24 hours. This is mildly newbie friendly.
Any soul that is going to sit down and try to enjoy Mir2 in this day and age is very likely going to notice the primitive graphics as soon as the game starts up. Mir2’s 16-bit graphics are far from impressive in today’s MMORPG market, and even for old school gamers it’s nothing but a disappointment. The game’s environments have extremely dull color schemes. Impressive character art doesn’t deliver the same promise in terms of sprites. Customizing these characters is utterly unexciting.
A Raking Cat perishes by my sword.
Mir2 lack any kind of background music at all, and ambiance sound effects are so rare that they practically don’t exist either. For a game that wants to provide suspense, fighting blind in the dark of night surrounded by giant forest yetis and cats with rakes (I kid you not), it just doesn’t deliver. What you do hear a lot of are the Raking Cat’s hissing meows, but they only programmed a single sound effect for that which can drive the average Mir2 player insane within several minutes of playing. The game offers some decent spell effects, but that only helps the score so much.
The community is quite average at best. Nothing helped it stand out and activity was minimal but not optimal. GMs post in a blog where they make announcements approximately once a week or so. Many bug reports and technical issues posted on the forum are typically ignored or the community solves it for them. GMs only care about the fixes that they deem important but we haven’t seen any MMORPG community act any differently anyway, but the more companies I see that fail to deliver in this department, the more disappointed I feel.
While the staff is semi-active, the GMs lose points for acting unprofessional at times. A GM on Mir2 posted an announcement regarding someone who had impersonated him, and it felt like a mini-rant rather than a reminder of impersonation rules. In another thread, a GM answered someone who posted a list of bugs with sarcasm and personally attacked a user with “fail on you for that”. Game companies need to maintain staff that can keep a level head and avoid resorting to informalities. There was even a GM that had a link to another MMORPG service in their signature. Is that even allowed? These are just a couple notable examples of unprofessionalism that game companies should have been avoiding.
Communities in other versions of the game were stronger in the past, due to the game’s pay-to-play subscription premiums, but ever since it went free-to-play due to a diminishing player base, its community went six feet under with it.
Mir2 was a pay-to-play game in the past that has become free-to-play. It might still deliver some promise to a bored nomad gamer, but with vast disappointments, it’s better off played to waste time than a serious investment. With lack of quality audio and graphics coupled with repetitive gameplay and lack of character development or customization, Mir2 is a low-quality, basic MMORPG that will only warrant playing once or for a little while. It’s an old game series that has gone stale compared to what is available on today’s gaming market.
Overall Score: 32%