Cloud 9: My experiences with this MMORPG

This is an article I wrote for a site called EzineArticles back in May of 2011, were I talk about the features of an MMORPG I used to play called "Expedición Holic" (Cloud9 in English), and my experiences with said game.

I have edited it to make it a bit better. Enjoy!

Cloud Nine MMORPG - Different features of a colorful anime inspired world!

When I initially heard the concept of MMOs, I thought that was an incredibly awesome thing, and I craved getting into one of those MMO games.

I've only played four games of this kind at most, quitting three of them within one month of playing.

I must confess I have never played World Of Warcraft - the biggest MMORPG. Several factors stopped me from doing so; primarily, buying the game and paying the monthly fee.

Back in 2008-2009 I wondered if free-to-play MMOs even existed, and a friend of mine back then let me know that not only they were a reality and that there were plenty of them, but that a new title, a sequel of a game called 'Holic', had been translated and released for Latin America as 'Expedición Holic'.

The original name of this MMO is 'Holic 2', which was developed by the Korean online gaming company mgame.

Other two versions of the game existed:

'Lunatia', which is the Japanese version, and 'Cloud Nine', which is the name of the American version of Holic 2 that was released a year after Expedición Holic.

If you want to see how the game used to look like, check out this review:

Anyways, 'Expedición Holic'...

... let's just call it 'Holic' from this point onward...

... was the first MMO that I ever played, and although I got very hooked to the game, started to get addicted to it and spent too much time on it (which is not good...), it was a very fun and enjoyable experience that I don't regret having.

Holic, at its core, was not that strikingly different to all the other MMORPGs out there:

It's set on a fantasy world separated by X number of factions (in this game there are two), you have to complete quests, grind, get mounts and pets, team up with other players in order to beat bosses, level up, get 'glory' gear, etc.

Pretty standard stuff.

However, there are certain aspects that I think made this game stand out:

For instance, you had three different races available to choose from, which were the Seneka (Human), Matska (Human-tiger) and Koshare (some weird dog-like dwarfs).

Each one of these races had a male and female version.

Each race-genre combination had its own unique, special skill tree; that means that the skill tree of a male Seneka is different form the female Seneka tree, which makes genre choice a decision to really take into consideration.

There were 6 classes in the game, which were Warrior, Priest, Hunter, Rouge, Monk and Mage.

Unlike several other MMOs, where the class you can choose is restricted to your race, in Holic you can choose any kind of race-class combination (finally something that WoW doesn't have!).

Not only that, but after you hit a certain level you get to choose a sub-class that you can switch back and forth with your main class!

The advantage of this is that you could choose to have two classes that complement the others weaknesses, like being a Warrior when you need to tank, and then turn into a Rouge if you need to do fast damage.

The downside of this system was that both classes have to be leveled separately; very, very few people in the game actually leveled both of their classes, and just focus on one of their classes while the other remains mostly unused.

However, the very few people that did level up both gain great in-game flexibility.

Some extra features worth noting are the card collection system, the pet system, and the monster costume system.

Every time you destroyed a creature you could get a card with the image of the creature, which you can later 'paste' in a collection book.

Once you had completed a book, you could trade it for special items that allow you to catch certain creatures, and use them as pets once captured.

Also, you might get monster costumes, which allow you to transform into a creature or boss of the game, and attack other players; even players of your own faction!

There were plenty of other features that made Cloud Nine different from a lot of other MMOs back then, and that, in my opinion, made it stand as a very good title in the MMORPG genre.

Also, I don't know how it is on MMOs nowadays, but back then, a lot of women - real women - used to play Holic back then.

You could tell because of their photos in the 'users photos' section that was on the Holic website back then.

Thus, if you wanted to engage in a free-to-play fantasy themed MMORPG with anime-style characters, a colorful world, talk with real girls, and experience plenty of features not found even in games like World Of Warcraft...

... then Holic was definitely worth checking out, in my opinion.

The game was recently closed down, but it seems mgame wants to revive it here.

Thanks for reading! Now, onto the negative I experienced by playing this game:

My First MMORPG - Addiction and my experience with Expedicion Holic

The very first time that I was exposed to the idea of MMORPGs was when I watched the first episode of an anime series called ".hack // sign".

I was probably 15 years old back then, and I didn't even know that games like World Of Warcraft or Maplestory even existed.

The idea of a huge and open world for you to explore, full of players from around the world that you could interact and play with seemed...

¡Extremely awesome!

And since then, I wished I could have a broadband Internet connection in order to be able to play one of such games.

Back then I had a 56 kbp connection and a 'Windows 98' computer... so fat chance with that :P

I eventually got a better computer and my first broadband Internet connection.

It was exciting finally being able to browse the world wide web all I wanted to without worrying about the telephone bill.

I eventually learned about World Of Warcraft and the official name of the genre that I thrived to play:

MMORPGs - Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, for those unfamiliar.

However, as I learned about the game from the web, videos and even the news and newspapers, I also got to know about the heavy addiction that WoW and other MMOs can cause on certain individuals.

That information about people letting a game destroy their lives discouraged me from even looking for a MMO to start playing, as I feared that I would get addicted too...

... but I wanted to try.

I really wanted to get that feeling of exploring a huge world, leveling up and meeting my friends in the in-game world!

In 2008 or so I was talking with a friend of mine about MMO games, and he told me he was into a free-to-play MMORPG called 'Holic'.

Then he told me that the game got closed down, and that a new version of the game was released for the Latin American audience - it was called 'Expedición Holic'.

The game was later released a year later in the U.S. as Cloud Nine.

But anyways, back then my friend told me his little cousin already started playing that MMO game, and that he though about joining the game too.

It occurred to me that we could both start playing the game at the same time, in order to level up together, and he accepted.

A couple of weeks later I had upgraded my computer, installed the game, and was ready to immerse myself in an experience that since I was 15 years old I wanted to feel!

So, I chose Ganav Libero as my faction and a Seneka (human) male rouge as my character.

Then I was introduced to the game by a little cinematic, I met my friend in the town where I just spawned, I walked around town, and was introduced to a dynamic that I didn't know existed, but that is primordial to the MMORPG genre, which was questing.

After that, my friend typed to me something like:

"what a nice vice is this, isn't it?"

I told him he was exaggerating...

... but he wasn't.

It DID become a vice, an addiction, for the two of us.

On one side, playing Expedición Holic was an experience that gave me lots of pleasure:

I met a lot of players, from a lot of different countries, people that I shared with, chatted with, and even made me laugh uncontrollably at times.

We fought epic battles together, completed quests, explored, and goofed around.

The game also gave me a very high sense of accomplishment; everyday I played I felt progression, advancement... I felt I was growing.

Every level I 'dinged', every new piece of rare equipment I got, every new place I could now explore without the fear of being killed by creatures stronger by me...

... reinforced a feeling in me of achievement and continuous success, even if I had been killed several times, or had to quest for hours to no end...

Now, the other side of the coin...

... the sad, but real side...

... is that everything was just a game.

An illusion.

Back then, I spent my entire summer vacation playing Expedición Holic...

... a time I could've used to actually improve my social life by going out and meeting new people, interacting and sharing with them face-to-face...

... but instead, I spent literally every day (except maybe for one or two) of that vacation period in front of the computer, grinding, and sharing with my virtual friends...

... leaving real-life interactions and physical activity 'on the shelf'.

Not only that, but I kept playing even after I started my next semester at University.

I used all the time I could have used to study and strengthen my knowledge to kill monster after monster and hang out with my virtual pals.

Eventually my mother 'lost it', and screamed in my face (literally) that I was an addict.

The day after she yelled that to my face, I pondered about what happened, and about everything that I have just written regarding MMOs:

I pondered about what I read about MMO addiction, how the game 'emulated' real life feelings but were just an illusion, etc.

I was lucky that I was not as hooked to the game that I couldn't live without playing it.

I called my friend on the phone (who I constantly met with in-game), told him to meet me at my mother's house, and with him I uninstalled the game, and explained to him why I decided to do so.

I eventually deleted my character when I visited him, but he wasn't able to drop out from the game... he was too hooked.

After several months he was able to finally quit the game once he reached a certain level... but at the expense of wasting massive amounts of time.

Was Expedición Holic fun, and are MMO's fun?

You bet they are!

They give pleasure, and as I said before, they 'emulate' emotions that humans crave for, such as progress and human interaction.

But are they actually worth your time?

Can they be damaging in the end?

Well, that totally depends on you.

I believe that as long as one applies true discipline, a little bit of MMO fun during the week is not terribly destructive... just like what happens with alcohol and tobacco.

As with most things in life, moderation is the key.

Last updated: August 19 of 2016 | En español

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