MIR4, a mobile old-school MMORPG
The classic MMORPGs as we know them are dying. Games like Everquest and World of Warcraft once occupied every spare cycle of teenagers' brain juice but now are almost non-existent. I think this happened because the teens of yore are now busy adults with no time for insanely long quest lines, hardcore PVP, and night-long raids — essentially what would almost be a second job. Even so, a lot of these gamers crave some form of entertainment related to these motions, and that brings us to games like MIR4, a Korean mobile (and PC) MMO.
Since the begin, Eastern MMOs were a completely different beast from the classical Everquest-like games. With less focus on lore, full-loot PVP by default, and very streamlined gaming systems, they were made to be played on cigarette smoke-filled "pc bangs" overnight, with your clan (guild) mates a shout away.
These MMOs were the original free-to-play games. With the economic scenario in China and Korea being very different from that of the US (where the $15 sub was mandatory), games like MU Online and Ragnarok Online were the petri dish of second currencies and item malls.
Many gamers out there won't admit it, but PCs are not the most important gaming platform anymore. With the advent of mobile devices, the way that profit is made has changed too. Why spend tons of money creating complex PC games when you can make money with a simpler (and crappier) mobile game with ads? Yes, let's face it: most mobile games are terrible, cheap single-interaction games that are only there for your money.
Thankfully, that's not the case for all games. A number of gems from the past have been adapted to the mobile generation, including first-person shooters, strategy games, and even the classic MMORPGs. But to make sure they worked well in this medium, concessions had to be made, and with that, a plethora of new genres were born, including what I call RPG Management Sims.
These games are something that never existed before. It's hard to even explain: they look like full-blown MMORPGs, but the core parts — questing, combat, looting — are all automated. The player takes a more managerial role, using the resources collected automatically to properly grow the character. With that, your gaming session never ends; you can usually leave the game open, and your character will be questing nonstop until you are back. You then have more resources to upgrade things. This is the game loop.
There are a number of games like this in the app stores. The most famous are NCSoft's Lineage 2 Revolution and Pearl Abyss's Black Desert Mobile. I played the hell out of both, so when a friend invited me to try MIR4, I wasn't really motivated to do it. The xianxia theme and all the web3 crap made me want to stay away but having bone 'n meat friends playing it made me install it, and I'm so glad I did!
MIR4 is a very chill and streamlined experience, and at the same time, it gives me amazing PVP thrills. For someone who experienced the insane number of different systems in games like Black Desert Mobile, having something as simple as MIR4 is pretty good. A newbie may feel confused about MIR4's systems, but for me, it's a walk in the park.
Most missions and quests can be found on a quest list, and you can easily fast travel to the related locations. Even so, all MMORPG features are there: dungeons, raids, and even open-world PVP. Clans also play a big part in the game, with "clan wars" happening periodically and defining the ownership of important trade routes.
If you don't mind the xianxia theme, some kind of pay-to-win mall, and a sprinkle of web3 crap, I think you would find MIR4 to be a very nice game. I have been running it on an iPad Mini below my iMac Pro monitor constantly, while interacting with it just a couple of times a day. Seeing the character running around killing mobs is flow-inducing and even a bit hypnotic. Since I don't really have time for triple A games anymore, this works pretty nicely instead.