Every once in a while, I try an mmo. Usually, this ends in disaster.

But a combination of utter Asian weirdness and a system that digs its claws straight into the hoarding epicenter of my brain seems to have made something addictive enough for me to brave the morons that populate the internet and try to run around in a virtual world, shooting stuff.

Let me first state that I *like* rpg’s. If a game has a good story, halfway intelligent npc’s, a decent fighting engine and the ability to level up, I’ll play it. But mmo’s just never got to me.

When several people around me started obsessing over Ryzom (yes Nysha, that means you too), I went ahead and tried it. I found it boring.

It had hoarding, yes, which is always a good way to get people hooked. Anyone that’s ever played the Facebook horror that is PackRat will know that collecting things is all there is to it. But I still spend ages clicking through its screens.

And Ryzom is pretty. Very pretty. And it has fighting. But as a game, it just didn’t work for me. The opening quests consisted almost entirely of ‘grinding’ acts: ‘Find 20 items of this’, ‘kill 10 creatures of that’. Dull, dull, dull.

The obsessive people around me, however, tell me it’s a unique game, with an amazing ecosystem, with inspired tribes and races. They also mention that the customizing you can do is well worth the work and that you get good quests once you’re off the starter island. So if you feel so inclined, go ahead and try it. You can play the whole thing for free at the moment.  

But when Daniel mentioned Shin Megami Tensei on his blog (careful, titles are definitely NSFW and you may also lose consciousness trying to decipher the way his mind works) I just had to give mmo’s another go. With interesting results.

Megaten is a free Korean mass multiplayer roleplaying game. It feels like running through an anime. All characters have manga-like faces, so the first thing I did was make a Japanese schoolgirl, obviously, and I dived in, hoping for her sake that the game is tentacle free.

So far, I’m finding it enjoyable. What drew me in was the massive weirdness and the fact that it’s very…. not politically correct, in a typical ‘weird asian’ kinda way. In Megaten, you enter a sort of post-apocalyptic Japan in which all the people live in a few giant skyscrapers (yes, exactly like in at least five animes) and the rest of the world is overrun with demons. Your character is a ‘demon buster’ who kills demons and catches them to do his or her bidding (like Pokemon, only minus the cuteness and irritating noises). The demons are, to be honest, the main attraction. You can combine them to make new ones, which means you end up trying to catch a great bunch of them, just to see what will happen if you melt them together. They range from scantily clad pixies (see pic) over mythological beasts to scantily clad, bondaged angels. Yes, I meant that last bit. Check the second pic.

 

A Megaten pixie

A Megaten pixie

 

A girl and her bondage angel.

A girl and her bondage angel.

 

And sometimes, they’re something else altogether, like the random hairball-with-giant-trunk I managed to make. I don’t even want to even begin to think what the deeper symbolic meaning behind that thing is.

 

A girl and her, um, giant hairball with oversized trunk.

A girl and her, um, giant hairball with oversized trunk.

I haven’t found much of a storyline, so far, apart from the ‘we are attacked by demons, halp!’ kinda stuff. But still, I’ve managed to spend massive amounts of time shooting the same respawning monsters, and endlessly trying to get them to befriend me (so I could horribly sacrifice them). The quests are sometimes of the variety ‘kill ten of these things’, but I’ve had more varied assignments as well. And somehow, it works. It’s addictive.

Furthermore, despite my fears, very few actual moronic people run around in Megaten. Possibly because it’s a lesser known game, and all the idiots are too busy making other people’s lives hell in WoW and Conan. Example: when your character dies, it loses experience points if you resurrect it. But if some random passer-by resurrects you, it costs you nothing. So I go around, resurrecting random dead newbies, hopefully educating them in the ways of mmo courtesy. And other people have done it for me, too. This, somehow, gives me hope for the future of humanity.

 So if you do give it a try, and you see me or Daniel lying dead in a ditch (we go by the names of Esmeralda and Charlotta, the gun-toting Japanese schoolgirls), do lend us a hand.

Thanks.

Charlotta and Esmeralda, the gun-toting Japanese schoolgirls.

Charlotta and Esmeralda, the gun-toting Japanese schoolgirls.

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