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Lookin’ Back: The Myth Of Soma

The game that started me on the MMO trail.

I’ve been a fan and player of MMOs for many years now.  In fact, I’ve had an active and continuous World of Warcraft subscription for six years, as well as playing other games like Redmoon, Rift and APB.  The game that first hooked me into MMOs was a game that was pretty popular in Korea, but went relatively unknown in Europe, and that game was called The Myth Of Soma.

The game was originally released in Korea by Comnjoy in 2000.  It made it’s way to Europe a couple of years later, published by Digital Bros and Game Network, a TV channel that broadcast over Europe in English and Italian.  The channel even produced a weekly show about Myth of Soma and the other MMO it was publishing at the time, The Legend of Mir.

Soma was a particularly simple MMO to get into.  You started by creating your human hero, assigning a couple of stat points and then you were dropped in the middle of the Thousand Tree Town starting area.  You didn’t choose a class, and stat increases were determined by how you went about attacking enemies in game, with different weapon types affecting your stats in different ways, which gave you complete freedom in how you played.  Interestingly, your stat increases also depended on the monsters you defeated, and so there were areas that were deemed better for certain stats than others.

Soma had a guild system with a bank and up to 60 members in each guild.  There was also a ‘Guild Village’ which was fought over once a week in a huge battle.  Whoever controlled the village got access to vendors who offered discounted goods for members as well as their own crafting area.  Guild Village wars could be laggy affairs, due to dial up connections and the sheer number of people fighting at any one time.  It was just all out PvP war, and a hell of a lot of fun.

After a while, an expansion pack was released which was known as ‘Devil Soma’ or ‘DSoma’.  With this expansion, you could play as the new devil race, which had their own maps and enemies.  Unlike the human characters, devil characters were actually divided into classes, and the devils had no crafting system.  Instead, you collected items by defeating monsters and then traded those items in for new weapons and armour.  Personally, I found it to be an annoying system as I would often be seeking out specific enemies in order to get specific loot.

Levelling in Soma was primarily done by fighting and grinding.  There were quests in the game, but they were few and far between.  The level cap was set at 100, and it would could quite frankly take you years to reach it, as the levelling got very slow after around level 40.  The highest level character I ever had was somewhere in the 50s.

Private servers have exceeded the original level cap of 100

After the Devil Soma addition, there was a ‘War of the Worlds’ update released for the game soon after, which saw Human and Devil players battle over a castle once a month, with the winning side getting control of a new map known as the ‘Continental’ area, which contain monsters relevant to whichever side had control of the castle.  There were also ‘Points of Soul’ or POS introduced, which were awarded and deducted depending on who you kill and who killed you.  Having a positive POS number would allow you to purchase special items as well.  It was possible to go into negative figures as well, down to -2,000, and it’s a long trek to get any loot from that total.

Soma was pretty basic and easy to get into, although is pretty archaic by today’s standards.  The official servers closed their doors a couple of years ago, but had a very good run.  There are still a couple of private servers around if you fancy giving the game a go.  I played it recently and, while it was pretty good in it’s day, World of Warcraft has clearly spoiled me, as the idea of doing nothing but killing monsters quickly got tiresome.  But without Myth of Soma, I might not be as interested in MMOs as I am now.  It’s worth playing just to try it at least, but don’t be expecting a technical marvel.

About Mike Jones

Mike Jones
Mike is Brutal Gamer's Indie Editor. He has been playing video games since the early 90s and is fond of racing games, puzzlers and MMOs. Typing /played while in WoW makes him cry, but not enough to stop him playing some more.

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