Rather than charging the typical $15 a month to play a massively-multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), Korean-based Nexon Group has a different strategy: give the core game away for free but offer small \"micro transactions\" to players -- a dollar here, two bucks there -- that provide additional weapons, items, skills, and locations. The latest in the company's string of popular games is MABINOGI, an ambitious fantasy MMORPG with an attractive 3-D \"cel-shaded\" anime art style (including pre-rendered cinematics), multiple roles players can partake in (from heroic warriors to humble farmers), and a rich community in which to play together as a small party or specialized guild.
Already a huge success in Asia with more than 7 million players, Mabinogi (http://mabinogi.nexon.net/landing/) utilizes a real-time, mouse-driven combat system, not unlike Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo. After creating a custom character (by selecting a name, face, hair, clothes, and so on) you'll begin exploring a countryside town and trying out your fighting moves on creatures such as foxes and raccoons, but will soon take on missions that pits you against bigger and deadlier beasts. Whether fighting alone or in groups, there is no blood or gore during combat, but the violence can be a bit graphic, such as a \"smash skill\" move that has your character stab an enemy with a long sword and then use their boot to kick it off the blade. Special items, such as potions, can be mapped to the F keys for easy access.