Well, in the spirit of never doing what I said I was going to do, this week's post has absolutely nothing to do with Secret of the Solstice. Instead, I took a look at another free to play MMO called Dream Of Mirror Online, or DOMO for short.
After trying out so many different MMOs lately, DOMO is a nice change of pace. Sure, you grind your mobs, loot them, sell things, get better equipment, level up, etc... but DOMO has got more than a few things you don't see every day, and a whole lot of quirk to go along with them.
First: instead of restricting you to one class or job, DOMO lets you change jobs and level said jobs' skills in order to mix and match abilities for your character. Of course, it's not as easy as it sounds, but these things never are, are they? Since in essence this job system requires you to re-level your character, DOMO bucks another recent MMO trend and lowers the level cap to 50 (at least for now). That might sound low, but you don't level quite as fast as you might in recent MMOs boasting a level cap of 200 or so.
Item gathering and crafting, two elements virtually non-existent in the free-to-play MMO world, play a part in DOMO as well. There's a wide range of "everyday skills", as they're called, from fishing to logging to alchemy. Sure, most of them involve moving to a specific location (fishing area, logging area), opening a window, then sitting back as your character slowly gathers whatever it is your gathering, but it's still always nice to have more to do than run around killing mobs.
The thing is, there are people only want to do just that, run around killing mobs. And it's this that powers the economy of DOMO. If they don't want to spend hours gathering wood, they can run to a player shop (or stall, as DOMO calls them) and buy it instead. As players become aware of this as a money making tactic, I suspect it's effectiveness will drop, but luckily you can still make enough money in DOMO using the old MMO standby of selling everything you loot.
One last element of DOMO that seems so out of place in a free to play MMO is the plot, ie. it has one beyond a couple of paragraphs on the website. Quite frequently you'll actually encounter cutscenes while playing, and even embark on story-related quests. Sure the cutscenes themselves are basically a three dimensional version of the type of thing you might see in an SNES RPG, and the story missions aren't that different from your basic quests, but it still takes away from the monotony of your typical MMO.
As with Secret of the Solstice, if you're going to be turned off by DOMO, there's a large chance that it'll be due to the anime-inspired, extremely "cute" look of the game. You start off killing things that would make a toddler squeak in delight, and honestly the only not-so-cute enemies I've seen so far are some very nonthreatening zombies. If you can get past the look though, there's more depth to the gameplay side of DOMO than most of its free-to-play brethren.