The closed phase of beta reportedly went well, and the open phase is apparently just as successful, as all systems are "go" to release Irth Online. This Fantasy MMORPG by Magic Hat Software places quite a bit of emphasis on role playing and story telling. Said story will stick players in a world that is just one of many that came from a Big Bang of sorts. This planet is different than the multitude of others that came forth in this universal creation. It wasn't unique just because of its great size, richness, or the fact that it contained life, though; there was more to this planet. Namely, the life it contained was intelligent, and it possessed a beauty unlike that of comparable worlds. This world--as you may have guessed--would be called Irth.
There isn't anything forcing anyone down the plot-driven path, as players can choose whether they want to follow the overlying tale or let it sit while they create their own. If one desires, one can shed nationality and become a nomad, affiliating only with "The Free City." Magic Hat Software has further described the story, saying, "The intelligent species that covered Irth were varied and many but humans had become the dominant race throughout the land. Other intelligent species remained disorganized and scattered. A great plague fell on the planet affecting all life forms. The non-human species fled into hiding as their susceptibility to the plague in open air was greater than that of humans. The highly intelligent non-humans currently remain in hiding waiting for a safe time to emerge again. Although the plague has long since passed and its aftermath but a faint recollection through distorted myths, fear keeps the highly intelligent non-human races in seclusion. This is not so for non-humans of lower intelligence."
"This Fantasy MMORPG by Magic Hat Software places quite a bit of emphasis on role playing and story telling."
Irth's main civilizations have a lot of history behind them, but this was probably expected of a game with so much emphasis on its story. Here's a look at them:
The Arcadians descended from the original ancient people who inhabited the central plains of Alcerion, where they lived off the land and followed the god Novar. Everything was going great...right up until "The Plague" decided to wipe out the bulk of the population. This took 2/3 of Irth with it, as well, so the Arcadians weren't the only ones who suffered. After a whole lot of internal conflict, members of the groups happened upon the two other nations, the Mezoteks and the Morbus. After witnessing the Morbus army get completely owned, the small group of Arcadians quickly returned to Fountainhead to inform King Tharias and the council of elders of what they had seen. Upon finding out a bunch of dead bodies were poisoning the water in a sacred fountain, the king got pretty torqued. He then ordered that any foreigner caught near the fountain should be killed instantly.
"The king of the Arcadians did not have the means to care for the sick. There were too many. Healers and caregivers to the ill were among the first to die. Soon, no one was left to attend to the stricken." Long story short, way back in the day, the king started casting people out of society if they had The Plague, as he believed it was holy judgement on them. This group started using dark voodoo magic. Their new leader Shantimar wields unmatched power and is rumored to be immortal. Some say he's made a deal with one of the gods, while others say he perfected a voodoo spell that is so great, he is the only one who can attempt it. "The Mezoteks, the Arcadians and Shantimar's own people fear him more than anything that exists." Since this mighty magician was heavy into cannibalism, his followers also got the idea that eating each other would make them more powerful, perhaps in the same sense that modern people think wearing Air Jordans will make them jump higher. Those that follow history know that having people consume each other is usually not a key to success. Nonetheless, at the present time, the Morbus are starting to make a comeback, with solid a solid economy and somehow-high morale. They're ready to put a stomping on anyone in their way.
Next is the Mezzo. No, not that Orange Cola from Germany, the people of Mezzo are yet another spin-off group. When the great prophet Vestus Ferrum was unsuccessful in attempts to make King Darus take different, more effective actions to avoid The Plague, he knew that it was up to him to lead as many people as possible to safety. He explained to humans and non-humans that everyone should accept each other as equals, or Deity would punish them. Taking an ironic turn from what he preached, his plan was for each race to group with its own kind and spread out. He assured everyone that this would be temporary and that the groups would reunite one day, but separation was needed for now. The humans of this group traveled far, far South and became known as the Mezoteks. The group is fascinated with history, and while fierce in battle, hold all things as potentially valuable to society.
But what would an MMORPG be without mindlessly aggressive monsters? Irth Online has its fair share of them, both in tame and wild varieties. Like any other MMO, they'll be waiting to jump adventurers brave enough to leave the safety of town. This notwithstanding, the headline form of combat in Irth Online is the PvP. The Arcadians in the snowy north, The Morbus in the southeastern swamps, and The Mezoteks in the tropical southwest are three civilizations that just plain don't like each other. The current truce between them is very uneasy and no one is investing much trust in it. In fact, aside from the PLayer vs. Player and Player vs. Environment battles, citizens of each of the three nations can take part in massive Civilization vs. Civilization battles. The actual control of the fighting isn't much that hasn't been seen before. Arrow keys are used for movement and the mouse is used for sorting through inventory and selecting battle targets.
The world of Irth is 38,000 square kilometers in size and will grant a free house to each account. The insides of these homes will have a degree of visual customization and be laid out like a real house--not just a big room. Owning a house also comes with owning a bit of land outside it, though exact details of what a house looks like and what the players' landscapes will be depends on what town they live in.
To develop a skill in Irth Online, one must first find a training manual. After right clicking and selecting "Study," characters are ready to learn. Each purchased manual will take a character to a certain point in the learning process. When one completes training a skill to the maximum strength that a specific manual allows, he/she will acquire two stat points, which can be allocated any way the player wishes. This works with weapons as well. For example, before starting use of an axe in combat, one should get a training manual and hit "Study" on it. Each manual will teach one skill, which the character should then use in battle to perfect. Completing combat training up to the point that a given manual permits earns two stat points and one extra space in carrying capacity. Magic manuals work in the same way weapons do. Other manuals are available as well, ranging from crafting, to alchemy, to fishing, and many more.
Irth Online will go commercial on August 13, but don't look for it in retail stores; this game will be distributed online only. Stop by the official website for all the announcements leading up to its release. No price has officially been announced as of yet.