Mu Online is an old MMOARPG. That means it’s a Massive Multiplayer Online Action Role Playing Game. I played Mu all my high school years.
The gameplay is very similar to Diablo or Baldur’s Gate. You control your character with your mouse and your journey is to protect the Continent of Mu from Kundun invaders.
The official server, owned by Webzen, is very balanced and well thought out. The private servers added so many modifications that they evolved into a different game genre.
One of the most important changes is adding a level reset feature when characters reach 400. You get stats for each level. Having infinite levels means you have infinite stats. Everyone is casting 100 spells per second and mobs die instantly. Imagine how that looks.
Considering the amount of time I spent playing this game, I thought I should make my own server. And that’s what I did.
The plan was to make it accessible, but not easy. I created farming spots where mobs respawn pretty quickly and set the experience rate to 50x. This means everyone gets 50 times more as they would get on the official server.
To fit in with the domain theme, I named the server Legion. All the branding and design went along with that idea.
I had a newer version of the game, but I liked the old content. What to do in this situation? Make the best of both worlds. Season 9 User Interface with classic gameplay. I removed the new maps and improved the old ones. It turned out pretty good.
Of course, my strong points are my web development skills, so I filled the website with awesome features:
- Player Accounts – the website is synced with the game’s database. Users can register, login or recover their passwords automatically from the website.
- Server Economy – I added credits to each account. This way I can create easy scripts that reward players for website activities.
- Referrals – there’s a customized register url for each account. If new members use that link, the player that shared will be rewarded with credits.
- Reset Character – players can reset their characters by going to the account page.
- Rankings – leaderboards are the most important thing in this type of games. I gave them placements based on everything I could think of: class, resets, pvp score, gens score and so on
- Clan Domination – in Mu there are 2 clans or as they call it “Gens”. You will have to choose Gens Vanert or Gens Duprian. In the website header you can see a globe that represents which clan is dominant. It is animated and will fill or empty based on the percentage.
- Player Marketplace – anyone can sell game items for jewels or credits. This system creates an economy without my intervention.
- Donation System – I also coded PayPal payments for credits. If people want to skip the grind, they can support the server.
- Voting System – players get server currency if they recommend us on popular topsites. This can be done once every 24 hours.
- News – me and the other administrators can easily add/edit/remove articles from an admin panel.
- Event Timers – there are countdown timers for game events in the sidebar.
Programming and Configuration
I found some semi-stable Season 9 server files, bought a VPS and installed every requirement. Mu Online is coded in such a way that it only works on Windows servers with MS SQL.
It took me around 1 month to set everything up. I had to edit the monster spawn locations, boss drops, event rewards, NPC shop items, teleport locations and item stats.
The website was on another VPS which I already owned. I wanted to give the game server as many resources as possible and that’s why I didn’t add anything extra on the Windows VPS.
I found a Mu Online CMS (content management system) that helped me with a few website features. Everything is coded with PHP and it connects remotely to the game’s MS SQL database. Andreea helped with the frontend UI, branding and design.
Mu Online gamer mentality on private servers
At the time I’m writing this, the server is closed. It was a fun experiment and the most valuable lesson is this:
The market decides what lives and what dies. You can’t force an idea on people. Even if you perceive it as an improvement, the users need to want it.
Basically, I didn’t understand why people play the game. I thought if I was creative and if I add features similar to other games, I will revolutionize the Mu community.
All they wanted is to compete with their friends and do as little effort as possible.
It did not matter if it is pay to win or not. It did not matter if it lagged or not. The only thing that mattered was the characters staying online, in game, hitting monsters without human input. Practically players wanted an AFK farming machine.
They just want the game to play without them. When players come back from work, they want to see how many levels they got and feel good about themselves … even if they didn’t do anything.
This mentality only applies to the private server sector. Like I mentioned, it evolved from the original Webzen idea. It’s a thing of it’s own.
It made a little money, but not enough to be worth it. Players left when there was no competition. That’s what they do. They migrate from one private server to another. The idea is to be at the top of the rankings whenever a server database resets.
A full wipe out is normal in this environment. Others do it every 4-6 months. I didn’t want to do that.
All things considered, I’m glad I did it. I learned a lot of thins, especially administrating a Windows VPS, creating manual SSL, configuring a game server and editing game clients.
If you have any questions about the project, I’m open to discussion. Leave a comment below this post.
Thanks for checking out my project.