MMOs You’ve Never Heard Of: Dark Domain, Habbo Hotel, Project Eternal, Stein.world, Zezenia, LaTale W

    
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Welcome back to another quick roundup of MMOs and MMO-adjacent titles you’ve never heard of (or have totally forgotten about!). We’ve got a few to run down here.

First, there’s Dark Domain, a new “dark fantasy mobile MMORPG” that hit Android this month. Developer Eyougame says the game boasts guilds, a marriage system, multiple classes, and epic real-time fighting that requires real skill, though reviews seem to blast it for autoplay mechanics. [via Droid Gamers]

Remember Habbo Hotel? Engadget has a deep-dive into the 18-year-old social MMORPG that focuses on how the game has survived specifically since a 2012 report exposed the game as a bit of a haven for graphic online sexual activity, a place where children were encouraged to pop over to a webcam to… yeah we’re just gonna stop right there. Engadget finds the game alive, but small now, and developers are currently working to port the game off Flash.

Japanese mobile studio Asobimo has another mobile MMO cooking: Project Eternal. As MMO Culture reports, the game is working toward closed beta in Japan with launch planned for fall, though it’s not clear whether it’ll ever make its way here.

I’d forgotten all about Stein.world until I saw it pop up on Reddit this past week: The game has apparently now landed on Steam as a free-to-play pixel-art sandbox MMO by a tiny indie team, which has since addressed pay-to-win complaints on the platform.

“We think that some of the wording and design of the shop might have been poorly chosen and therefore might have given the impression to newer players that you’ll need the subscription to fully experience the game. But in all honesty, that’s not what we want to achieve,” pg4-Studio writes. “And as we see it, those who actually gave our game a shot and weren’t put off immediately, seem to share our sentiment that this is not a Pay 2 Win game.”

We’ve got a check-in here with Zezenia, another top-down pixel-art MMO “inspired heavily” by Tibia: Its most recent update adds a new village, lottery, fishing overhaul, challenges, quests, spawn randomization, and achievements.

Finally, LaTale W, a mobile spin-off from the long-running LaTale franchise, has hit the Android market, billing itself as a “casual” MMO, with crafting, pets, and “dazzling” action.

With thanks to Panagiotis and Minimalistway! Drop us a note if you spot an MMORPG we should cover here!
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micedicetwice

How about Nostos, cross-platform VR MMORPG? The fact you can play both on PC with and without VR makes it interesting.
https://twitter.com/nostosgame/status/1127860124532396034 – video made by alpha-tester.

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PanagiotisLial1

You can actually give them a tip regarding their next collumn of of MMOs you never heard of, from the tips link top right of page

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Akagi

it would be funny if it was called “hobo hotel”

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Dilly Dolly

Marriage system? Totally Asian for me. O.o

Are they all on mobile?

Mewmew
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Mewmew

stein.world is being blasted heavily from the free to play crowd that downloaded it and found that it has a subscription upgrade. You just can’t win. They’d rather it was full of predatory lockboxes and such? Sigh…

Speaking of predatory lockboxes – Latale W is full of them, plus it’s autoplay. They don’t even let you have free rolls once and a while on the better of their lockbox draws like most of these games do (they usually give you one every 1-2 days), the free rolls are on a different lockbox that can’t have nearly as good of stuff in it. Pass.

Dark Domain plastered me with a screen full more of “buy this now” “discount” offers than actual gameplay too. Plus it played itself almost completely. It was a very fast uninstall for me.

This other mobile game launched recently, Echo of Phantom, that looks autoplay but really the autoplay is very limited. The auto attacks only do a single attack that it’s set on. To actually do well you have to manually play, at the very least pressing the buttons to change the attack types, for a healer you really switch to full manual usually. It’s a limited type of autoplay that isn’t that bad, but most people quit the game seeing it has some kind of autoplay before realizing that it’s really limited autoplay :P

In Echo of Phantom you also see all these lockbox things and think it’s a gacha game, but you can earn all the pets and fellows all over in other parts of the game. The free to play people have just as many of the “SSR” characters as the paid ones do. You have to be careful of those first impressions, this one is actually a bit better than it looks at first.

The one thing that bugs me about Echo of Phantom is that the quest text automatically moves forward with no way I’ve found to stop it, and lots of screens you’re trying to read what is going on and it moves forward on you, spoiling the story. For a game full of cute and sometimes interesting stories, it’s a bad thing to do.

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Sorenthaz

Wow you weren’t kidding about the steins.world thing. Top review on Steam is screaming scummy/pay to win because exp rates are lower and you might not be able to go as fast or do as much in one single go as someone subscribing.

It’s incredibly childish how quickly people throw labels like that. It’s like if someone started screaming that Runescape is a scam because you can’t access 90% of the game world/content if you don’t subscribe…

Mewmew
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Mewmew

Indeed, if Runescape was on Steam it would be horribly reviewed by people complaining about the subscription. stein.world has a very giving free to play game. None of the game is cut off from you, you make a bit less experience and can only learn one skill at a time (which they don’t take long enough to learn to matter – it takes a lot longer to gain the expertise to raise another skill up than the time it takes to learn one, so that works itself out), a bit smaller quest list again not a big deal, and a smaller friend list which is an annoyance but not enough to give a bad review over.

Free to play games notoriously get bad reviews on Steam. People who hate the free to play concept normally install the game a few minutes just to give their negative reviews.

They don’t seem to be able to win. Some games that would have been free to play have tried a buy model instead, and they barely sell any copies and are hardly known. Games that have arguably some poor monetization options with lockboxes get blasted for having them and people constantly ask for them just to do a sub instead. So here a game just does a sub instead, and they are lambasted for having a subscription option.

I played the game, it’s not that difficult to have to kill a few extra monsters to make up for the experience difference. While the max level in the future will be higher, you can hit the current one fairly quick without difficulty and there is a reality that the more monsters you kill the more money and better loot you end up with, the free players having to kill a little bit more end up with more stuff :D

It really is a minuscule difference. Yeah, the friends list is smaller and that’s an annoyance, but the rest of the stuff isn’t a big deal at all and is easily overcome if you feel like playing for free.

You can’t win on Steam with a free to play game unless the one and only thing your cash shop has is cosmetics, and even then some of them get blasted by people for having anything in the cash shop you can’t get elsewhere. Sadly not all games can survive just selling cosmetics, especially in a game like this one where the graphic detail is lower and cosmetics are hard to see. The subscription option was the best way for them to be fair and let everybody still play everything, but the review section is filled with reviews complaining that they have a sub. It’s so cheap too! These people really irk me :D

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Sorenthaz

Yeah I’ll never understand people who think that F2P should mean that they can play the game completely free and never hit a point where they need to maybe consider spending money to keep the game floating.

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Jaymes Buckman

I first heard about Habbo in 2005 because Gorillaz were hosting some kind of fan event in it where you had a chance to talk to their avatars or something.

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Bruno Brito

That Stein.World looks like a RPG Maker XP ripoff.

Eh, i’m sure there are way better RPGMaker games to play.

Ara Fell is one of them.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

stein.world isn’t close to an “RPG Maker XP ripoff”. Just because it uses pixel graphics?

For one it’s an MMORPG, a big shared world with many people. It’s not a single player RPG maker game. It’s real time combat, it’s nothing at all like an RPG Maker game other than that it has pixel graphics.

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

I think Bruno meant an Eclipse Origins (https://www.eclipseorigins.com/) game. There are so many sprite packs commonly available that are ripped from RPG maker that people can get confused as it is the most common graphics used in eclipse games. It works very similarly to RPG Maker but is for MMOs, has real time combat instead of turn-based, and is open source for anyone to download for free.

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Bruno Brito

It works very similarly to RPG Maker but is for MMOs, has real time combat instead of turn-based, and is open source for anyone to download for free.

I’m going to assume that this means you can import resources from RPG Maker to these engines? That does sound cool.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

Interesting. If someone made a good fleshed out MMORPG with that, I would still play it :D I see a number of half done not really that great pixel MMORPGs here and there.

stein.world played pretty decently and smoothly though with interesting combat. It certainly doesn’t have the feel of a lone player thinking making an MMORPG would be cool and tooling around with a creation engine. What is there is very professional and well done, and there is so much more on the way.

I’d be open to looking at Eclipse Origins stuff though really too. I’m just normally not happy with the “player built” pixel MMORPGs that I find around that I’m guessing may be using that kind of engine. stein.world doesn’t have that feel at all.

I don’t think Bruno meant Eclipse Origins though, especially since he mentioned a single player RPG maker game as an example of what he felt was better.

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Bruno Brito

Yeah, true. I didn’t. I mean RPG Maker actually. I mentioned Ara Fell because it’s a paid game, extremely well made, andas a MMO, i’m not entirely sold on a game, when we have pretty bad MMOs in the market right now.

But if i were to mention a MMO, i would just mention tried and true classics, like RO servers, or Tibia, or OSRS

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Bruno Brito

Just a heads-up: RPG Maker MMOs existed. They were just too complicated to keep up without a server, but they were possible after XP.

Several RPG Maker games have real time combat. Turn based is the common combat style but not the only one. Good Makers will either adapt the normal battlesystem with a lot of custom systems, or create one from ground up. Ara Fell is a game that adapted the normal system, Alter Alia completely changed it.

It’s not just the pixel graphics. The entire graphical set is like RPG Maker. It’s front-down. The characters look like the character generator for RPG Maker.

That being said, like said below, by Pepper, it’s a open source. It doesn’t mean i’m interested, really, tho.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

I played stein.world and it doesn’t remind me of any RPG Maker games though :D It doesn’t actually really look like them either to me. It has a unique graphic style of its own. I feel the graphics this game uses are not quite the same as the RPG maker type.

It plays like any other overhead real-time MMORPG would, and to me doesn’t remind me of any RPG maker game I’ve tried at all. Pixel graphics aren’t a style created by RPG maker after all :P

It’s a major big MMORPG when you go on it and try it out. You can’t really compare it to a single player RPG maker game.

Though looking at my reply I came off a little hostile and I apologize for that, I guess I was frustrated that someone would look at it and make a statement that I felt didn’t really fit the game that much because of a quick look impression.

I still wuv your beautiful kitty pic and all :D

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Bruno Brito

I played stein.world and it doesn’t remind me of any RPG Maker games though :D It doesn’t actually really look like them either to me. It has a unique graphic style of its own. I feel the graphics this game uses are not quite the same as the RPG maker type.

It plays like any other overhead real-time MMORPG would, and to me doesn’t remind me of any RPG maker game I’ve tried at all. Pixel graphics aren’t a style created by RPG maker after all :P

Oh, for sure. I’m just a huge RPG Maker fan, and it was mostly RPG Maker games that i saw having those character sprites. Of course i’m aware most of the tilesets in RPG Maker are ripped from games.

It’s a major big MMORPG when you go on it and try it out. You can’t really compare it to a single player RPG maker game.

Though looking at my reply I came off a little hostile and I apologize for that, I guess I was frustrated that someone would look at it and make a statement that I felt didn’t really fit the game that much because of a quick look impression.

I still wuv your beautiful kitty pic and all :D

Relax with that. We can agree to disagree and still be nice to each other.

That’s Mimi, she’s a good kitty. She’s all grown up now tho.

To be fair, i’m highly sure a RPG Maker XP/VX MMO would be complicated too, since it’s mostly held up by third party programs and the script system. But there were some, and they really weren’t bad.

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Sorenthaz

Habbo Hotel, aka Pool Closer Simulator 2000.

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Bryan Correll

That pretty much sums up what I know about it.

Warning: Video contains internet geeks being deliberately offensive.

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Dankey Kang

oh man, that takes me back.

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Minimalistway

Ok, LaTale and Zezenia, i want to check them out … but not the mobile version, thank you Bree :-)