Video Game Thoughts: Kal Online

Kal Online was a 2004 massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) by Inixsoft for the PC. One year on break from college, a friend was visiting. I told him about this whole world of online games I had just discovered. Most of the games were free with in-game stores. Players could pay real money to speed up progress, but it was possible to play for free if the player had the patience. Back then I had time but not money. The friend had also come across some of these games from other gamers he met where he was going to college. He recommended I try Kal Online.

My first impression of the game wasn’t that great. There was no tutorial on how to play. I just had to press buttons and see what they did. The quests had a lot of broken English in the text. Other players were foreigners. Most of them could only respond to my English questions in their own language that I didn’t know. However, I had more than enough time to test things and figure the game out. The game grew on me.

Unlike the other online games I had played, this one had an overarching quest line. In each major town, the quest continued. The story was hard to follow because of the bad translation, but I was mostly able to understand it. I don’t remember anything about the story, but I remember it was better than most MMORPGs. Most of them had no story whatsoever inside the game, only a few paragraphs of story on the game website.

I enjoyed the combat system in the game. It was like most MMORPGs with hotkeys, but the attacks were pretty unique compared to what I had seen in other games. I remember there being only three classes: a warrior, archer, and mage. The mage could do damage but also heal if a player wanted to support others. Each of them had their own set of skills.

In the combat system, I especially liked the execute feature. Once a monster had been killed, the player could use a special move as a finishing blow. This recovered some of the character’s health points, reducing the time needed to heal for the next battle. At this time all MMOs required resting in between fighting. There was a ton of time wasted time just sitting eating food or drinking recovery potions, but Kal Online sped things up.

My favorite feature in this game was the pet. Early on in the quest line, the player obtained a special egg. I think the player could choose one of three creatures. The egg eventually hatched but took forever. It had its own experience bar. When the player killed strong enough monsters, it gained a tiny amount of experience points. It gained a larger amount automatically over time every minute or so. This prompted many players to find a safe place and just idle even when they weren’t at the computer. I did this many times myself, leaving the computer on all night.

Even after hatching, the creature had transformation levels that made it stronger. It continued gaining experience points. Leveling the creature was so slow, I only ever got it hatched (first transformation), but it was a cool idea. This could be a lot of fun in another game if progress happened at a more reasonable speed.

In the end I only got to around level 40. I don’t remember what the maximum level was, but it was much higher then where I was at. I’m thinking it was around 120 or so. It was already taking me a week to gain one level. I also got to the point where the cost of food and repairs was higher than how much money I was collecting from the monsters. I would have needed higher level friends to help fund my progress. The language barrier prevented that from happening. Even though I quit, I still think this game had some good ideas that could be used in modern games with some tweaking.

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