Besides your typical first-person shooters or strategy experiences, plenty of people love MMORPGs, or “massively multiplayer online role playing games”. Although the most popular of this type of pastime is World of Warcraft, there are still plenty of others available for you to play. In fact, there’s even an open source MMORPG that you can play on any platform (including Linux) named “The Mana World”.
About The Mana World
The Mana World is a serious effort to create an open source MMORPG using 2D graphics. The project behind the game is aiming to create fully-developed and stable client and server components so that anyone can play it as well as host their own server. As of right now, the client is functional but the server component is not yet ready for release to the general public.
The game revolves one of your characters (of which you can have several per account) as you complete quests, fighting off various creatures, and building communities with other online players. You start out in a desert town, but your quests will give you many adventures through all sorts of climates and locations. Like most other MMORPGs, you can use many different items during your battles and quests, so you can strategize appropriately.
Windows and Mac OS X users can easily download the game via the project’s download page. Users of various Linux distributions should check the download page as well as it can forward you to the package page in your distribution’s repositories. It’s difficult to install the game from that page, but it can confirm for you under what name the package is. For most distributions, you’ll be able to find the game via “the mana world” or “tmw”. If you’re a Windows user, you could even get the game as a portable app.
Once you’ve installed the game, you’ll need to head over to the project’s registration page so that you can create an account. This is important because it’ll keep track of all your characters and their progress. The registration must also be done in a browser because clicking on the Register button in-game will tell you to do just that.
Once you have an account, you can log into it within the game and create a character. After choosing some physical characteristics, you need to spread out 18 points among various abilities. Each of these have their own benefits, so you can spread them just about however you please. I would advice that you don’t give your character any points for intelligence, however, because intelligence appears to only apply once you’ve learned some magic — something you won’t do until you’ve progressed quite a bit in the game.
Starting the game is pretty simple. You’re first put through a tutorial which will give you some simple tips on how to move, how to fight creatures, how to talk to NPCs (non-playing characters — ones that are programmed to do preset tasks and aren’t controlled by a human), how to equip clothes and weapons, and how to upgrade your attributes.
Like I said before, you can complete various quests throughout the game to visit new environments, discover new mobs, and improve your character via abilities, weapons, clothes, and more. There is no “end game” in The Mana World, which I like to see as a good thing because that means you can always go on quests with your friends. The true purpose of the game isn’t to “beat” the game and advance your character, but rather it’s a game which offers some sort of progression while providing a great way to enjoy time with others.
You can move your character around by using the arrow keys, or you can simply click to where you want your character to go. There are various dialogs along the top right corner of your screen that can open different windows, such as the Quests, Kill stats, Smilies, Status, Equipment, Inventory, Skills, Social, Shortcuts, Spells, and Setup windows. All of these are either necessary or beneficial to complete certain tasks.
As you kill mobs and complete quests, you can gain points which you can use on your various abilities. While the maximums when you first create your character is 9, you can go far beyond that when increasing your abilities in-game. How these various abilities affect your character is explained in the tutorial.
The graphics are acceptable for this game, although they’re pretty good considering the project is limiting itself to 2D graphics. It can be configured to display various levels of detail, as well as whether it should use OpenGL for rendering. I’m not entirely sure about this, but I assume that leaving the OpenGL option unchecked results in a software renderer being used in the processor rather than using your graphics card. I don’t quite think that it matters what you choose since the game isn’t heavy on resources, but if you crank up the settings and use 1080p resolution, you might as well go ahead and use OpenGL anyways. There’s no reason to make it harder on your system than it needs to be.
The Mana World is a fun game to play, and it’s even more fun when you have friends playing with you and you are completing quests together. Best of all, it’s completely free and open source, so there’s no reason not to play it. Hopefully development on it will continue so that a full stable version including a server counterpart can be released.
What’s your favorite MMORPG game? What types of games would you like to see more of on Linux? Let us know in the comments!