Never been one for the forums all these years but I figure I should change that going forward.
Skip down to the bold and underlined highlighting if you do not like large walls of text.
So let me just start by saying I LOVE this game. It has been with me off and on throughout early teens and unto today. No matter how many times I have taken a break I always find myself coming back. Mabinogi as a game just can’t be replicated in any other MMO.
Take an online fantasy game based off of ancient Gaelic/Celtic lore and give it an anime moe aesthetic and somehow make it work? Yeah, only Mabi. From its heart-wrenching and tragic mainstream quest line to the classless rebirthing system that lets me do anything I want, no matter how much I look or hope, I cannot find any other game that does what Mabi does.
That being said, it has aged some for sure, but I do not believe that is the game’s main fault.
Despite its age I have brought many a friend IRL into the fold. Without exception they have all loved the setting and core system the game had to offer.
… Without exception they have all been driven away by the games predatory cash shop.
Whether it is someone I have brought in or talked to, I have seen so many players, some that have been playing with me since the game’s first year, leave because Nexon always seemed more interested in cashing in on dying whales rather than decade-oldade old bugs and rejuvenating content.
That is not to say that they have not been trying. This last year in particular it really does seem that the team has been listening to some of the major complaints and actually trying hard to bring us new content, fix old gripes, and reinvigorate interest in the game. It amazes me that they can do this while at the same time continue to kill the game…
Years of these predatory practices have finally caught up with the gaming community as a whole and we see actual world governments stepping in on the matter; something I would rather not see happen yet have no other solution for a community that has little interest in keeping itself in check.
Yet with all this happening it baffles me that companies are still trying to ride this train to its inevitable ruination. Morality be damned, if I were a CEO of a gaming company standing out in front of this, I would want off this ticking time bomb as soon as possible.
I would want to win the good graces of my audience and look for a way to bring in more players/customers with a more honest and less manipulative monetization system. If you ask me, the long-term profits of acting in good faith with your customers far outweigh the profits that can be seized by attaching yourself like a parasite to the few that are easily manipulated into this wretched form of gambling. Tell me which is more? 100 people spending $1000 or 10000 spending $100?
Listen, at the end of the day, I just do not want to see this game die. If and when new laws are enacted to crackdown on these loot-boxes and other predatory/manipulative systems, what then will happen to this game? Will it be abandoned by the publishers under the false pre-tense that it can no longer be maintained? Will we, all of us who truly do, at its heart, love this game, be abandoned by a company that was just too tone deaf to understand and too weak willed to try?
Now it is not like I am saying I want it all and not have to pay for it. I understand that any f2p title must have alternative forms of monetary transactions to stay afloat and profit. Furthermore, being a capitalist at heart I understand that one must absolutely profit. So, at the very least, I have the start of a solution.
The first thing is first. In order to reinvigorate interest in the game, get old players back and bring new ones into the fold, a couple of things HAVE to change.
Naturally balancing and bug fixes have to be addressed, along with the limitations of this dated engine, but for starters, let us keep it simple.
I am genuinely impressed with the textures and visual quality of much of the new content. Going back, updating and improving old textures and just adding more flair to the visuals via ENBs and lighting etc would go a long way. I have seen some of the content on the far eastern servers and I do not think I am mistaken to say that their product is visually superior to ours.
Obviously this should be among the last things to place focus on; Things like bugs, engine inefficiency, balancing and network issues should come first when we are talking about the core fundamentals of the game itself, but I have seen Korean and Japanese modders that have made this game look stunning in comparison, so at the very least it should be possible. It would certainly go a long way in attracting new eyes.
Now on to the main point, and the one I spent paragraphs complaining about above.
This abhorrent and evil cash shop that I am surprised does not keep the Nexon teams awake at night. Dear Lord it is terrible and the shame I would feel to be a part of it…. How does any company let a system come to this?
1. Eradicate gatchapons from the face of the earth. (or at least from the cash shop.)
2. Whittle down and destroy (and rebalance what cannot be eliminated) all pay to win features.
Now how do we do this and still make Nexon money? (Yes, despite my hatred and contempt for your cash shop I still want you to make money, Nexon.)
• Add a dying system with Pon into the dressing room. For a game that is all about freedom, stop restricting our freedom.
Separate the dyes into various tiers of cost and you can even leave the more sought-after ones locked behind VIP access as another way to incentivize players into buying vip. Heck, adding a system where players can buy more style tabs and switch between them on the fly would be nice.
• Bring back the Beauty shop.
You have unused assets here. Some perfect hidden potential. Have Coco and Ropa sell Beauty Coupons and Rare Style only outfits that change over a period of time for Pon. Get em’ while the deal is hot, yeah?
Remove the cash shop beauty gatchas and the like and instead give Coco and Ropa daily or some form of repeatable quest that vip players can run in order to get random cosmetic based gatchas from these two. Have the gatchas change in the same way that the gatchas in the cash shop change out after fixed intervals of time. This appeases even the poor gambling addicted players out there that actually LIKE gatchapons.
• Change the majority of all items sold in the cash shop to cosmetics WITHOUT the gambling aspects. Throw out an outfit rental or shopping bag here and there in a similar way you do for Vindictus (Mabinogi Heroes, stop changing names.)
We will pay good money for outfits and other cosmetic based cash items and even feel good about it when we know we are not being cheated with some terrible gambling based system.
• Add in more pose changes and make them available through the cash shop system in some way.
Specialized poses, the majority of which already exist in some facet, that can work universally without the need of a specific outfit/weapon? Just buy a card and equip(?) it or whatever? That seems legit, no?
• In the same way that certain titles change the effects of certain skills, create a system in which one can buy and equip effect changing (cards?) for various skills.
Maybe I want my Lightning Rod or shoot Red Lightning or something like that? Simple changes like that.
Or not so simple changes where I want my meteor to turn into a shooting star or Eweca,/Ladeca or something like that.
• In the same way we bring back the Beauty Shop, bring in something similar based around the homestead.
Buy Backdrops, Sky Box Changes, Seasonal Changes, Roads and pathways, temporary/limited decorations and paraphernalia based around currently active events or the time of year.
Full Pon based painting as an option on top of mixing your own paint for things in your homestead.
Even items that would let us set the mood with togglable Lighting or Weather changes. Do you really think that certain people would not jump at the ability to spend money for such things?
• Remove things like Combat Buffs, Training Buff Potions, Combat Consumables, Spirit Weapon Repair Potions, Fire Erg crystals and even Nao Soul Stones from the store front.
Instead, make these items more readily available and craftable in game.
An argument can be made for the one-time purchase booster packs, so long as everything within those packs is made available in-game as well.
Let players be capable of crafting training potions or just make them exclusive to events. I am not sure the best balance here, but it is something to consider.
Give more ways to get Nao Soul Stones and maybe… MAYBE, make it so Soul Stones have better effects when are a premium/vip player.
Surely my ideas here are not terrible. Surely, they are supported by some level of common sense. Make the monetization of Mabinogi (and your other games, really) based around non gatcha/loot box based Cosmetic items and a more refined Premium/VIP membership.
The hardest thing to balance in my opinion would be the pets. Make a few with actual inventory space available to free players and rebalance how they work in combat. (AKA remove the ability for players to endlessly spam things like dragons or clouds to clear rooms and fully heal within combat.)
Maybe add a timer for a cooldown after so many pets are summoned in a row during combat, or a short timer for every pet of the same type consecutively summoned etc.
But we can talk about the balancing later, as I believe this post is already becoming quite massive… I may need to add a TL:DR.