2Moons is an MMORPG that is free to download and free to play. As we have seen, Guild Wars is purchased and then is free from monthly fees, while World of Warcraft is purchased and there is a monthly fee to play. This article will compare 2Moons with Guild Wars. I’m by no means an expert on MMORPGs, but my extensive 3D and software experience may allow me to lend some insights into what is going on with 2Moons.
The first question that arrises as one considers 2Moons is the issue of profitability. How can a company make any money with a game that is free to download and free to play? If one reads the terms and conditions, one finds that advertisements are mentioned even though at this time, none appear in the game. At this time, there are materials for sale at an Acclaim store for real money, which enhance the game experience. These materials come in several general types:
- Pets. These are animal companions – side kicks which do not apparently effect game play- or animal mounts – horses and other beasts to ride. Pets are available for purchase, for a limited time only.
- Starter packages – packages of materials to help with game play for low level players. None are available for high level players.
- Costumes – These affect appearance only, hence the name costume, and are not armor or weapons.
- Storage upgrades – for your on-character storage – or for your Stash, which is like the Xunlai Chest, except that it is per character and not per account.
It seems quite clear that Acclaim is not allowing one to purchase a means to become more powerful or successful in the game, but only to allow one to look cooler in the game.
2Moons is not like Second Life. The 2Moons currency, DIL, does not exchange with real money. Acclaim coins are used to purchase 2Moons things on the Store and these are purchased with your credit card or from your bank account with real money. They are very sensitive to those trying to charge real money for game loot.
I first took a look at 2Moons about one year ago in November 2007. At that time, there seemed to be several problems with the game.
- Leveling up took forever. I worked for many hours and was not yet powerful enough to kill more than a few small insects.
- Based on the leveling problem it looked as if the game would take forever to play successfully, however, there seemed to be lots of folks running around with very fancy and high power weapons and armor. I presumed at the time that these enhancements were purchased for real money. I may be wrong. Certainly, it does not appear that this is possible now.
My recent experiences are very different. Perhaps there were real changes in the game, or perhaps my experience with Guild Wars allows me more skill in my playing of the game.
2Moons has several problems compared with Guild Wars. Here they are in order from more serious to trivial:
- There is no complete and comprehensive wiki as there is with Guild Wars, so it is not easy to find out what you should do next and how you should approach it.
- The map and travel system is complex and not easily used. If you walk a long way into a map and want to get back to the castle where you started, and where there are services, it’s a long walk back. There are something called return scrolls, but these apparently cost money. This seems to be pretty silly. Perhaps dying is the easiest way to get home. I’ll try that next time. Resurrection shrines do not appear to be local, although there are things that look like shrines in areas, but their operation is not clear.
- The help system is very incomplete. Ok to start playing, but not for an advanced player. The wiki is missing again.
- There does not appear to be a cohesive story line that keeps one’s interest. The goal of the game appears to be to kill things and look cool doing it. Looking cool is a big part of the game. The high end armor and weapons glow and the pets and mounts are huge and ostentatious. Guild Wars campaigns each have a boogy man – or more than one – and the story is all about saving the local or global civilization from the boogy man. I don’t see any such thing in 2Moons.
- The Ranger – Hunter- character has to purchase arrows. How lame is that? None of the other characters have to spend money to keep their weapons running.
- Some of the characters are very weak and their attacks are not obvious OOTB. Out of the Box, the elementalist – magician- is easily killed by the smallest spider that she attempts to attack. All characters should attack the same way and have about the same power OOTB. Clearly the magician lacks something. I need to learn to play her to kill a spider.
- The trading design stinks in the extreme. You must sit and be a vendor and at the time your account is frozen. You must stay logged on and can do nothing else or sit and spam the world about your warez. This is like GW, but nowhere in GW does one see dozens upon dozens of people camped out trying to sell things for 100s of K DIL. Thank goodness there are merchants, who do not give good prices, but let you unload your inventory and get some DIL [gold] for your loot.
- Chatting with someone else in-game is hard. The system is there, but it’s cumbersome. Much more so than GW. Since the game is 17 and up, it’s not clear why they don’t have a voice system. The problem with voice in GW, which is PG rated, is that there is no way to censor a voice system. The GW chat system is censored so that bad words like f___ and s___ are blanked out.
- 2Moons does not have a shared tactical map that you can draw on, like GW. This is essential for party play since any chat system will be too cumbersome during battle.
Other things are just different.
- The Stash is like the GW Xunlai Chest except that it is free and is per character rather than per account. But there is a mail system that allows moving items between characters, so a high level character picking up loot can pass it to another character in the account, or anyone else for that matter. Upgrades to the size of the stash cost you real money – Dollars not DIL.
- The skills are built into a tree like system and so which skills you will have is pre-ordained. You purchase them as you level up. This is much simpler than GW, but allows much less flexibility.
- The leveling system does not cap at level 20, but keeps going through level 60 or perhaps farther.
- The costs in game currency are quite manageable through at least level 15. The loot easily pays for good armor and there is no collection of crafting materials required. The biggest issue is getting the XP to level up and not purchasing the armor and weapons when you do. I find I often had collected the weapons at or shortly after reaching a level anyway. Not sure if this will continue after level 15.
- The 2Moons Attribute point system is simpler, but strangely constrained. All character classes have the same four attributes: Strength, Dexterity, Health and Spirit. Each time you level up you get 5 points, apparently. If you make the wrong choices in how you allocate the points to your Strength, Dexterity, Healing and Spirit, you are stuck. Do not do a Skill Reset since this simply wipes out all the skills out of your skill panel that you have purchased. I can see no point to this at all. You can choose which skills you equip on your tool bar, so having skills that you don’t use does not seem to be a burden. Not sure what they intend with Skill Reset. The inability to adjust your point assignment to Strength, Dexterity, Healing and Spirit attributes is strangely restrictive. You need to look carefully at the weapons that will be available at the next level and adjust your attributes upward to match those requirements. For example, if you want to use a new sword and a mace at the high level you need to examine them both. The sword may use Str:9, Dex:13 and the mace may require Str:11, Dex: 10. So you need to have Str:11, Dex13 to use them both. If you guess wrong, you have to live with it until you accumulate enough additional points to adjust the attributes. This could mean that that new level 15 weapon that you just got can’t be used until you go to level 16 or 17 and accumulate enough points to adjust the attributes to match the weapon. GW allows you to use a mismatched weapon, you just don’t get all the rated power of the weapon if you aren’t matched perfectly. And in GW, a big part of the game is adjusting the attribute levels to match the upcoming requirements of the mission or quest. You match the attributes, skill set and weapons together and may save this as a “build” that you can easily equip for future missions. No such thing in 2Moons.
- Foes do not necessarily, or normally attack. You must attack first. This is fortunate since you are often surrounded by too many high level and low level foes and if they all attacked when you came near, you would not last long. There are a few foe types that do attack first, and their names usually start with Death, so they are easy to spot.
- Parties are possible, but not necessary to level up at least through level 15. I have not yet seen a quest requiring a party. Again, the wiki would help here. Except for a few obvious quests, the right ones to do next are hidden. Lots of characters have quest markers, but after a couple of dialog panels, you often get “You must be a level 36 to take on this quest.” or something annoying like that. Seems that the quest hats might be hidden if you aren’t the right level to take on a quest. That’s what GW does, of course.
- The foes are pretty stupid. AI is certainly not the word here. As I said, the foes, for the most part, do not attack you unless you attack them first, and this is a good thing given the number of foes. But they show no AI behavior either. They do not swarm, or move in groups or cooperate when attacked.
- There is no such thing in the game as healing, or cooperative fighting. No Monks or Ritualists like Guild Wars has. In GW, we should remember, just like people work in parties, with heroes and henchmen, foes travel in mobs and have different roles in the mobs. Many mobs have monks and other specialized members and since the monks are healing the others, you had better take out the monks first. No such think in 2Moons. The only way to be mobbedin 2Moons is to use a range weapon on a couple of foes so that you end up attacking more than one. This is more of an accident than a feature of the game.
- There are no heroes or henchmen. Heroes are AI NPCs that your character owns and controls. Henchmen are AI’s that you pickup at the nearest outpost and then take into battle in your party. In GW they are essential, since after level 20 you don’t really get any stronger, only smarter about how you fight. In 2Moons, you can’t have one or more AI NPCs fighting on your side. Of course, there is basically no AI that I have seen in the game, so heroes and henchmen are not really possible.
Here are some screen shots:
Leveling up is most easily done by finding a series of these at the correct level and killing it. It drops lots of loot and allows lots of XP and they are easy to kill. Just keep looking, they are not hard to find.
Here are 4 of the 6 character classes. Of course they provide Christmas hats for a nominal fee. Not sure if they will stop working after the holidays or not.
No way to customize your face, hair color or style or anything else. Everybody is a clone of the six character class prototypes. Cover it up with armor to customize yourself. GW has a number of ways to customize your hairstyle, skin color, face look and body height.
2Moons is 17 and up for blood and presumably for partial nudity, or at least very suggestive costumes. Clearly more skin showing than with GW.
Someone in the forums has compared all the character classes with WOW. Probably only the original version of Wow since I’m sure they have many more classes now.
Lots of folk camping out selling their loot. There is no crafting by characters, so all this is found loot being sold for exorbitant prices. It is possible to avoid all this.
It is all about how you look doing it. All areas are persistent, so you will run across other players killing there. Although the clip distance is very short, so you may not see them for long as they come in and out of view. You may find their loot they don’t pick up. The loot is reserved for the person killing a foe for the first few seconds, but after that it’s up for grabs. Presumably, the loot disappears after a while if no one picks it up.
2Moons is a toy MMORPG, not a serious experience. But it can be an interesting way to get started with the genre as long as you don’t get stuck there before you move on to something more serious like GW or Wow- presumably. The price is certainly right. I suggest going into it with a friend so that you can investigate cooperative game play. Use Skype or Teamspeak or another voice system beside 2Moons and enjoy the persistent world together.