V is for Vindictus



The aim of my Blogging From A to Z Challenge is to find the origins of online games, some relatively modern and some with ancient roots. Gaming might well be a modern take on an art that is almost timeless – storytelling. A perfect excuse for a writer to delve a little deeper.

[Visit here for links to other A to Z participants.]

Game: Vindictus is an action-dungeon-crawling hack & slash MMORPG, and a prequel to the popular MMORPG Mabinogi, so the game is known as Mabinogi: Heroes in Asia.

Release Date: KOR: 2010-01-21; NA: 2010-10-13; EU: 2011-10-05; JP: 2011-11-30; TW: 2011-12-23; AU: 2012-11-15; THA: 2015-12-02.

Developer: devCAT; Publisher: Nexon

Genre/gameplay mechanics: FTP with shop/paywall; fast-paced combat, cloth physics, and the ability to weaponize objects in the environment; players choose one of twelve gender-locked characters, each of which has different combat skills and abilities; crafting; customizable & enchantable gear; dungeon quests.

Setting: Vindictus takes place in the same Celtic-themed setting used in Mabinogi, but is placed chronologically several hundred years prior to the first game during a period of war and strife. Semi-anime fantasy world with a few historical references.

Storytelling: Straightforward. “A malevolent force shrouds the land and monsters terrorize the last bastions of humanity. All seems lost and yet one hope remains: you.” Loosely based on Celtic Mythology, the goddess Morrighan has promised that all who aid in the killing of the Formor (the enemies of the land) will go to the promised land, Erinn, the land of Paradise. The story uses a mix of traditional dialogue accompanied by still images of character portraits, along with fully animated cutscenes during certain quests and missions. Some of the quests, characters and the chapters/updates are influenced by other genres, like steampunk.

NOTE: Formoroi appear in several video games, including my K game, King Arthur: The Role-Playing Wargame, where the Formorians appear as antagonists.

Formats: Microsoft Windows

Origins (Chronological):

  1. 2004 – Nexon released the fantasy-anime MMORPG Mabinogi. Although the name of the game is taken from the Mabinogion, a Welsh anthology of legend and some names are Welsh, the settings for the game are loosely based on Irish mythology.
  2. 12-13th centuries – The Mabinogion, compiled in Middle Welsh, covers a collection of eleven prose stories of widely different types. There is a classic hero quest, “Culhwch and Olwen“; the historic legend in “Lludd and Llefelys” glimpses a far-off age, and other tales portray a very different King Arthur from the later popular versions. The highly sophisticated complexity of the Four Branches of the Mabinogidefies categorisation.
  3. 11th century – Lebor Gabála Érenn(The Book of the Taking of Ireland) is a collection of poems and prose narratives that purports to be a history of Ireland and the Irish from the creation of the world to the Middle Ages. It tells of a series of invasions or “takings” of Ireland by a succession of peoples, the fifth of whom was the people known as the Tuatha Dé Danann (“Peoples of the Goddess Danu”), who were believed to have inhabited the island before the arrival of the Gaels, or Milesians. They faced opposition from their enemies, the Fomorians, led by Balor of the Evil Eye. Balor was eventually slain by Lug Lámfada (Lug of the Long Arm) at the second battle of Magh Tuireadh. With the arrival of the Gaels, the Tuatha Dé Danann retired underground to become the fairy people of later myth and legend.
  4. 11th century – The Fomorians are a supernatural race in Irish mythology. They are often portrayed as hostile and monstrous beings who come from the sea or underground. Later, they were portrayed as giants and sea raiders. However, their relationship with the Tuatha Dé Danann is complex and some of their members intermarry and have children. It has also been suggested that the Fomorians derive from an older group of gods who were displaced by a newer group. The Fomorians have thus been likened to the jötnar of Norse mythology.
  5. 7th – 8th centuries – The Morrígan‘s earliest narrative appearances, in which she is depicted as an individual, are in stories of the Ulster Cycle, where she has an ambiguous relationship with the hero Cú Chulainn. The Morrígan was a tripartite battle goddess of the Celts of Ancient Ireland. She was known as the Morrígan, but the different sections she was divided into were also referred to as NemainMacha, and Badb, with each representing different aspects of combat.


Recommendation: Vindictus was nominated for best MMO at E3 2010 that was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 14 to 17. IGN awarded Vindictus Best Free-to-Play MMO Game of 2010. Metacritic gave a score of 76 averaged from 6 critics. In their 2010 review, MMORPG.com gave it 8/10, while users gave it 7.8.

3.5 Stars: Vindictus is one of those games that failed to pull me in, although the combat with the ability to pick up and use ‘the environment’ was cool. However, the game felt repetitive and the storyline felt shallow compared with other games. The game controls were not intuitive, or clear, and the basic functional NPC interaction was dull. The game feels dated and, for me, lacks a reason to reach the end.

  1. Setting: 3.25*
  2. Storyline: 3.5*
  3. Gameplay: 3*
  4. Entertainment: 3*
  5. Genesis: 4.75*

Alternative ‘V’ thoughts:

V is also for Vikings as in the TV show and in the 1958 Richard Fleischer movie – and in other media. Yes, there is even a game, Viking: Battle for Asgard that I haven’t had the urge to play. Instead, I gave you a post on Hellblade that tangled with Norse Mythology, and another on LOTRO with its Northern European and Anglo-Saxon roots.


Enter this portal to reach other Worlds in my A2ZMMORPG

Hela da



K is for King Arthur



The aim of my Blogging From A to Z Challenge is to find the origins of online games, some relatively modern and some with ancient roots. Gaming might well be a modern take on an art that is almost timeless – storytelling. A perfect excuse for a writer to delve a little deeper.

[Visit here for links to other A to Z participants.]


Game: King Arthur: The Role-Playing Wargame is a strategy game with an Arthurian theme that builds on the mystery-shrouded tales of the Round Table – and yes, he gets his sword.

Release Date: November 24, 2009

Developer: NeoCore Games

Genre/gameplay mechanics: turn-based strategy; diplomacy; campaign map; real-time battles with victory locations; heroes; heroic quests; recruitment; single or multi-player; RPG elements.

Setting: Quasi-historical Britannia made up of numerous provinces in a post-Roman Britain. For an ex-pat, this could be England, even Wales.

Storytelling: Open-ended single-player campaign storyline has many scenarios, some built around Arthurian lore, but others delve into fantasy realms, even intermixing foreign elements. The player takes the role of King Arthur himself and commands his knights and armies to expand his kingdom. It is explained that Uther Pendragon, Arthur’s father, failed to draw the sword Excalibur from the stone. Arthur, years later, pulls the sword from the stone, unleashing ancient forces upon Britannia.

Releases + Expansions:

  1. Bug fixing patches versioned 1.02, 1.03 and 1.04 were released after publication.
  2. NeoCore released two downloadable content items: Knights and Vassals (adding further units and heroes), and Legendary Artifacts (adding additional weapons, relics and other items) on January 19, 2010.
  3. July 2010 expansion – King Arthur: The Saxons added an additional campaign set after the Arthurian period, during the Saxon era of Britain; sandbox game style.
  4. January 2011 expansion – King Arthur: The Druids, set in Wales, ‘sandbox’ type game format.
  5. September 2011 stand-alone expansion – King Arthur: Fallen Champions was released, with a story-based mission structure. Intended to act as a bridge between the stories of the original game and the sequel.

Sequels: September 2011 (EU) + April 2012 (Worldwide) –  King Arthur II: The Role-Playing Wargame. Single-player but no multi-player.

Formats: Microsoft Windows

Origins (Chronological) – the core sources for King Arthur:

  1. Most later Arthurian works are derivative of  Le Morte d’ArthurThomas Malory‘s retelling of the entire legend in a single work in English – first published in 1485 by William Caxton.
  2. c1170-1190 –  Chrétien de Troyes wrote five Arthurian romances that had the greatest influence with regard to the development of Arthur’s character and legend.
  3. The first narrative account of Arthur’s life is found in Geoffrey of Monmouth‘s Latin work Historia Regum Britanniae(History of the Kings of Britain), completed c. 1138. Over 200 manuscript copies of Geoffrey’s Latin work are known to have survived. It is one of the central pieces of the Matter of Britain.
  4. The 9th-century Latin compilation  Historia Brittonum describes the supposed settlement of Britain by Trojan expatriates and states that Britain took its name after Brutus, a descendant of Aeneas. The work was the “single most important source used by Geoffrey of Monmouth and was the first source to portray King Arthur, who is described as a dux bellorum (‘military leader’) or miles (‘warrior, soldier’) and not as a king.
  5. Based on a chronicle begun in the late 8th century in Wales,  Annales Cambriae (Welsh Annals) also sees Arthur as a genuine historical figure, a Romano-British leader who fought against the invading Anglo-Saxons in the late 5th to early 6th century.
  6. Excalibur was associated with the Arthurian legend very early. In Welsh, it is called Caledfwlch and appears in several early Welsh works, including the Culhwch and Olwen, a work associated with the Mabinogion and written perhaps around 1100.
  7. The earliest literary references to Arthur come from Welsh and Breton sources.  A 2007 academic survey, Concepts of Arthur by Dr Caitlin R. Greenidentifies three key strands to the portrayal of Arthur in this earliest material: the first is that he was a peerless warrior who functioned as the monster-hunting protector of Britain from all internal and external threats; the second is that Arthur was a figure of folklore and localised magical wonder-tales, the leader of a band of superhuman heroes who live in the wilds of the landscape. The third and final strand is that the early Welsh Arthur had a close connection with the Welsh Otherworld Annwn.

Adaptations set in the Arthurian universe – notable & seminal examples:

  1. BOOKS – Since H. White‘s The Once and Future King(1958), there have been some noteworthy adaptations, some listed in this excellent article by historical-fiction writer, Annie Whitehead. These include my favourite, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon.
  2. POETRY – the most notable poet, for me, is Alfred Tennyson, whose first Arthurian poem “The Lady of Shalott” was published in 1832.
  3. ART – William Morris and Pre-Raphaelite artists are among the many to produce works with an Arthurian theme.
  4. FILMS – personal preferences are John Boorman’s 1981 film Excalibur, Antoine Fuqua’s 2004 film King Arthur with Arthur as a Roman cavalry officer rather than a medieval knight, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), with its watery tarts and swallows.
  5. TELEVISION – favourite and historically the most interesting was the series Arthur of the Britons(1972–73)
  6. VIDEO GAMES – around twenty video games reference Arthur, from Tomb Raider to King Arthur: The Role-Playing Wargame.


Recommendation: On Metacritic, the game received an aggregate 54/100 and within the industry was well-received…including this Gamespot review, which mentions “watery tarts”, and says, “While the overall game is well worth playing because of the outstanding development of the Arthurian theme and some innovations on both the role playing and strategy sides of the fence, the flaws that mount up after a while will leave you hoping for a patch.”

3.8* Stars: I first bought the game anticipating a similar game to Medieval: Total War  (2002) and its expansion pack, Viking Invasion (2003) which I had enjoyed. King Arthur: The Role-Playing Wargame had echoes but with different elements, such as the RPG quests and heroes. Combat-wise, I got my armies wiped out at the beginning – too much trial and error as the Gamespot review said. But the game is addictive.

  1. Setting: 3.25*
  2. Storyline: 4*
  3. Gameplay: 3.25*
  4. Entertainment: 3.5*
  5. Genesis: 5*

Alternative ‘K’ thoughts:

K is also for King Kong. I enjoyed both Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack’s great 1933 movie and Peter Jackson’s excellent 2005 version. Plus, there are video games that I haven’t tried.

Enter this portal to reach other Worlds in my A2ZMMORPG

Hela da