Richard Garriott’s 3D Portalarium Plugin Appears in A Mystical Land

By Carolyn Koh Comment

A Mystical Land is a 3-D massively-multiplayer online role-playing game playable on Facebook as well as through the game’s website. It’s one of the first Facebook games to utilize the Portalarium Player, a web browser plug-in developed by video game entrepreneur and developer Richard Garriott at his new company of the same name. A Mystical Land is developed by Mad Otter Games and published worldwide by Neonga AG.

According to our traffic tracking service, AppData, A Mystical Land currently has 25,000 monthly active users and 1,000 daily active users.

The game is a full-fledged MMO that features combat, crafting professions and quests, feats, achievements, badges and collections. The gameplay is targeted toward a casual player, as if often the case with browser-based MMOs due to the limitations of the platform. A Mystical Land, however, is one of very few full 3D games on Facebook and it has more in common with classic MMOs than it does with the modern casual browser-based MMOs.

Players start the game by creating and customizing a character. The classes are traditional fantasy MMO fare: warrior, wizard, hunter and priest. The interface is very simple and players have a choice of using the keyboard, mouse or a combination there of to navigate the world. In this world, players can fight monsters to earn experience points. A Mystical Land also offers alternative gameplay activities like harvesting, fishing, mining, raising farm animals and something called insect lore, where your character crouches over what looks like a giant ant hill with a magnifying glass. Player are not required to participate in combat if they prefer the crafting and lore activities.

The feel of the game is reminiscent of an earlier time in MMOs, mainly due to the simple but pretty graphics, non-player character dialogue and combat. Like those older MMOs, players spend most of the game in a single area where monsters respawn so that players can kill them over and over again for XP. If a particular creature is required for a bounty or completion of a quest, players wait their turn to kill it, which is a contrast to modern MMOs that create instances for each player so there isn’t competition for the monster.

Other classic-style MMOs on Facebook have struggled in the past to connect with players on a massive scale. Most of these have been isometric top-down games similar to Garriott’s 1997 MMO, Ultima Online, where 2D avatars move about in a 3D landscape for what we think of as a “2.5D” experience. Sacred Seasons 2 and City of Eternals are examples of this kind of Facebook MMO. MilMo, on the other hand, is a cross between traditional social game and traditional MMO with full 3D artwork; however, it also suffers from limited appeal as its targeted at children.

A Mystical Land also uses Facebook Connect viral features from its browser version, allowing players to find their Facebook friends in the game, although a Facebook account is not required to play the browser version of the game. Recall that any player using Facebook Connect off the platform to access the game is counted toward that game’s MAU and DAU figures. The game is monetized by purchase of its premium currency, crowns, which is used to buy consumable items like potions and spells and for avatar customization items. Currently, crowns can only be purchased through Neonga, but the developer tells us it is working on implementing Facebook Credits.

Interested readers can follow the progress of this game in our traffic tracking service, AppData.