I've been playing Mabinogi faithfully for almost a decade and I can say with all certainty that this game has really let me down, particularly with this last update. I personally do not enjoy combat so I usually stick to life skills; primarily cooking. When I first began my journey in Erinn I was quite satisfied with just making strawberry milk and giving it to friends. I thought it was an adorable and charming way to live my "fantasy life" while everyone else went out to slay dragons and whatnot. I have always wanted to be the master of cooking because of what that skill means to me. Being able to provide sustenance, community, love, and comfort to those around me has always been something that I value, even in real life. Hence, I take to cooking and support in almost every game I play. I understand that this is a personal preference.
Many of the mechanical parts of the game turned me away from it for certain amounts of time as I slowly built a love-hate relationship with Mabinogi. First and foremost, the original crafting talents (excluding Hillwen and Shyllien) do not make gold. As a chef I often spent much more gold purchasing ingredients and repairing my tools than I ever made, even using a player shop. Food cannot be sold to NPC's for any amount of money and players will only sparingly purchase them if they are trying to fulfill the requirements for ranking the cooking skill themselves (or for feeding the monkeys...). This leads to another issue: food is near-useless. Whenever a character levels up or transforms (which is quite often) their hunger bar will refill, meaning that most players do not even worry about food! Imagine dedicating your fantasy life to creating items that no one uses! On top of this, many of my friends simply do not eat for fear of changing their character model and gaining weight in strange places. I do have some wonderful friends in-game who will humor me by having picnics and eating the things I have made with me but I could not help but feel like I was just wasting my time cooking.
Finally, after MUCH struggle, I was able to reach r5 cooking. It was years and years ago and I must have had help from soo many other players because I had no combat skills at that point; I was solely focused on living my fantasy life the way I wanted to. However, I have nothing to show for it: no actual proof that I have accomplished anything. I have the talent title of GM Chef, but many other non-lifeskill focused players can still out-cook me and get their names into the cooking journal regularly. The end-game for combat-oriented characters is always expanding (story quests, end-game dungeons, girgashiy etc.) but there is no end-game for me. All of the time and effort I put into cooking makes me just as good as anyone else who has decided to try it. In short, I don't feel like a GM Chef, I feel mediocre at best. When I offer other players food, they can already make the dishes they need with sufficient quality and my "skills" aren't needed. Anywhere. Ever. Or at least, that is how I am made to feel.
This brings me to our latest "lifeskill" update. I would be bold enough to say that it is NOT a lifeskill update, but a combat one. AGAIN. This is the update that I have been waiting for for almost a decade. To master cooking and proudly wear the title has been my dream ever since I started making strawberry milk in Dunbarton for my friends almost a decade ago. I was dumbfounded to discover that in order to unlock the books necessary to rank the skill, I would have to complete the kitchen dungeon, not just once but multiple times for each rank. Please explain to me, Mabinogi Team, how the kitchen dungeon tests my skill as a chef? How does combat (which I loathe) prove that I am ready to move to the next level of cooking when I have been ready for years? How do you expect an actual chef to obtain these books? A warrior can obtain these books. A chainslasher can obtain these books, an archer, a knight, a mage, an alchemist, a ninja can obtain these books... but I cannot. Weren't the books made for me? Aren't they exclusively for those who are ready for the next level? If so, why can't I get them? Again, I understand that I made the choice to pursue the life a chef, but even if I had not, I should have a viable clear way to rank the skill that I have dedicated so much to and am so passionate about. I do not want to fight, and in order to cook, I daresay that I should not have to. This update feels like a slap in the face. It feels like Nexon and the Mabinogi team do not care about my fantasy life. Not only is the cooking talent not a viable way to make money and live in Erinn, it is impossible to master without skill in combat and hours of grinding. This simply does not make sense to me.
I know that all of this may come off as just some privileged, bratty rant. And I will admit that that is what part of it is. But I cannot help but feel so hurt and betrayed by the way that this game chooses to treat me and those like me. I do not want to fight, and in the way the game has been advertised for years, I do not see why I cannot live a viable life without violence. I have only ever wanted to cook for myself and my friends. In the beginning it was extremely enjoyable and must have sparked something to keep me coming back, but I am finally frustrated passed the point of no-return. I see no reason to play a game the claims to support any play-style and then treats its players with such disrespectful content. I do not expect any replies but I would welcome other opinions on this topic. Thank you so much for reading to the end if you have, your patience means the world to me.
Chef Kelepii (Alexina)