RPG MO Usability Review

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RPG MO by Marxnet is a free browser-based multiplayer RPG reminiscent of early Runescape. Playing the role of a nondescript fightin' man, you can explore 25 different maps, fight a variety of creatures, and craft your own weapons, jewelry, and more.

RPG MO "Tutorial Island"
Big-picture, RPG MO is very similar to classic Runescape in aesthetic and player activities (fishing, mining, crafting, cooking), but differentiates itself partially with a gridded-map and a hybrid WASD/point-and-click movement scheme.

As an early access game, RPG MO has ample room for improvement in its accessibility, clarity, and accuracy.


Accessibility Issues

Players with poor eyesight may have difficulty playing RPG MO due to its widespread use of small font (definitely less than 10 pt. font, smallest probably 4 pt.). Even as someone with decent vision, it was uncomfortable to read even the largest font RPG MO offered.


  • Increase the font size to at least 12 pt., ideally 14 pt. 
  • Try not to use neon-colored fonts (like lime green and bright red -- they're uncomfortable to read on a dark background.



There were a few game elements that confused me. First, the difference between 'use' and 'equip.' In some cases, right-clicking and selecting 'use' equips an item, but in other cases 'use' consumes an item. This gets tricky for cooking: in order to cook a fish, for example, the player must equip (actual word used) the fish and then click on a campfire. But in multiple instances, when equipping an item (by left-clicking in the inventory), I ate the fish raw rather than equip it. This ended up being pretty quirky -- before I completed the tutorial successfully (still not exactly sure how I did that), my avatar probably ended up eating four fish and a frog raw. Yum.

Second, the mage tutorial didn't make a ton of sense. In order to cast a spell, you had to equip/use a Magic Bag, and then equip a spell. It wasn't clear where I could find my spellbook (if there is one?), if I could eventually equip more than one spell, or if I could dual-wield a spell and one-handed weapon. In the inventory, it appeared I had both a spell and a 1H dagger equipped, but I couldn't figure out how to use both in combat.

Third, it wasn't clear how to turn quests in. After killing a few giant rats, I automatically received a new quest to kill chickens (?) from an NPC (that I didn't remember talking to), and couldn't see any chickens.


  • Equipping a fish to cook was really weird. Why not use a format similar to the anvil-activation? Have a table where you place the item you'd like to cook, plus any other ingredients? 
  • Separate out 'use' and 'equip.' One way to do this is to have a separate character page that shows what items a character has equipped (as is done in Diablo III, WoW, and so many other classic games). When a player 'uses' a weapon/armor/trinket/whatever, it appears to be removed from their inventory, and is added to the character page. That way you know that you've used the item properly.
  • The magic tutorial needs to be clarified. Can I duel-wield? Can I equip more than one spell? The cooldown icon is also really small and in a strange place. Can you move that to next to the health bar or something?
  • You could use the typical '?' and '!' icons to signify which NPCs are giving/accepting quests. Other icons could also be used -- just having something to easily determine who you should be talking to is nice.



Movement in RPG MO was not as I expected, and often acted opposite to what I (thought) I had commanded. Unlike Runescape, where movement was governed alone by pointing & clicking on the map, this game combines the point & click movement with the WASD navigation scheme.

Now, imagine you're pressing 'D' to go right. Would you land on the circle or the square in the picture on the left?

You'd land on the square. (For those who haven't played many games, WASD typically moves an avatar in a '+' shape, but in RPG MO, it moves the player in an 'X' shape.)

Now, I'm sure I could get used to moving in X-shape with some practice (even though it feels like trying to hold a pencil and write with my left hand, being right-handed), but it's the combination of using both keys and a mouse to move that's killer.

When I would move to the wrong spot, I would use the mouse to compensate and relocate. But -- the mouse isn't used for relocation alone -- it is also used to interact with objects. So navigation in the mining tutorial section went something like this:

  1. Try to move using WASD, moving to the wrong spot
  2. Compensate movement with mouse
  3. Move to intended space, but have accidentally activated a mining node
  4. Use mouse again to move to a different space to spot mining (and sometimes accidentally activate another node)
I ended up with an inventory full of clay, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I ended up feeling very frustrated with the game. The thing is -- I believe this issue can be easily resolved.

  • I would love it if movement was +-shaped instead of X-shaped (or at least if there was a way in the options to alter how WASD functions)
  • Consider having an 'activation' key (such as E), rather than automatically initiating combat or using Mouse 1 to activate a mining node/campfire/whatever. 


Final Thoughts

  • I understand wanting to prevent players from moving on in the tutorial without learning certain skills (the gates work for that), but I don't understand preventing players from going backwards through the gates. The options were 'use' and 'inspect' for older gates, but I couldn't actually return to earlier areas. I found this out after receiving the chicken-killing quest -- I thought maybe I could return to the first penned-in area to talk to the first quest-giver -- but then was prevented from leaving. I thought this was very odd.
  • I really wish you would put a way to make a female character. I doubt it'll take much effort to make a female-shaped model (different body shape, no option to change facial hair). I'm always disappointed when there's no options when it should be *so* easy to implement. Just don't make a way to change breast size, or add skimpy clothing, and you'll be all set.
  • There are quite a few grammatical errors throughout the tutorial text. Broadly, numbers under 10 should be spelled out ("two items", not "2 items"). If you're talking about something that would be tangible (like items), spell it out. If you're talking about something intangible (like HP, or mana), use the numerical format. Other errors include missing words (usually 'the,' 'your,' and 'a') and missing kernings between words and parentheses.

All-in-all, it isn't bad for an early access game. While there's certainly a lot of room for improvement, it's very apparent that Marxnet is listening to its fan-base and is dedicated to adding to RPG MO over time. If you're wanting to go on a nostalgia-kick, and don't want to spend money, I'd recommend this game.

I'll see how this game grows over time.


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