Oz World Overview
Want to live another life? That’s the premise behind Oz World, a Korean social MMO that’s been around for many years now. The game is still alive and kicking despite rapid advances in the MMO industry. There’s no orcs to slay in the world of OZ. Instead, players can spend their time fishing while chatting with friends. Customize your avatar and even your very own home! Oz World supports both keyboard and mouse movement, but much of the interface feels clumsy. Its not an easy game for new players to get into, many newer games like 5street contain the same social elements plus a lot more. Even browser based social games like Gaia Online boast many more features.
Maps - Sage Town, Pine Town, Rosemary Town, Fennel Town, Quince Town
Features - Fishing, Player Housing, Marriage, Ranks
Oz World Screenshots
Oz World Featured Video
Oz World Review
By, Erhan Altay
Think all MMOs are alike? Well then you probably haven’t heard of Oz World. The game is published by OnGamePort, the same studio behind Deicide Online and Thang Online. But unlike those MMORPGs, there are no monsters to slay in Oz World, nor any risk of getting PK’d. Instead, Oz World offers a virtual chat room where the primary activity is fishing.
The Ancient World
While I haven’t been able to find an exact release date, its obvious at first glance that Oz World is an ancient game. The silver lining to this fact is that the low system requirements mean anyone can give the game a shot. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the game is easily accessible. The official website is riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes which haven’t been fixed in years. The initial client download is only a few megabytes, but slow servers mean even that will take a long time. The patching process is even more arduous so expect it to last at least 15 minutes. There’s no character creation process, instead players start off as a male or female depending on what gender they selected during account creation.
City of Trees
After logging in, players are presented with a list of five ‘zones’ which represent servers. Only one, titled ‘Vigor’, is available. The others are grayed out. This zone is further broken into five towns, each named after a plant. Sage Town, Pine Town, and Quince Town are all assessable while Fennel Town is grayed out. The easiest method of movement between these towns is simply to log out and select a different one after relogging. Each of the available maps has several bus stops scattered across it, players must chose one and click ‘move’ to finally enter the game.
The initial presentation in Oz World is likely to leave most players confused. There’s no tutorial or direction provided. Instead, players start out with a basic set of clothes and must wander around town using either the mouse or arrow keys. Movement in general feels sluggish, and the interface is equally archaic. There aren’t many display options to play with, but thankfully players can mute the audio which is just an annoying 15 second sound bite that loops indefinitely. The primary Oz World screen is windowed, and additional interface menus like inventory, map, friend list, etc can actually be dragged outside that window into the player’s desktop. This means players can keep all these menus open while still enjoying a clean display screen. The small resolution size and free-float interface give Oz World almost a browser-like quality. That means the game can be played with concentrating on other activities. This comes in handy, considering the game’s primary gameplay feature.
All MMOs and MMORPGs are to a certain extent social experiences. Playing in the same world as other people means there’s always likely to be some interaction. But while most games foster interaction by means of combat, Oz World takes a different approach — fishing. New players start with a training rod and some bait. Each city map has watery areas, and these are where players generally congregate. The rest of the game world consists of various buildings that can be entered like clothing shops, flower ships, stylists, and clubs. While many activities will yield experience, the most effective is fishing. Fishing is done by clicking on a rod and hitting ‘cast.’ Seeing players standing around and fishing all day reminded me of Gaia Online, another social MMO where fishing is a primary activity. Players do gain colorful titles as they level up such as Marquis so that may serve as some incentive to keep on fishing. The fish and other junk acquired by fishing can be sold for gold, the game’s primary currency. Players will be required to spend a significant amount of time fishing since clothes eventually expire and must be repurchased. I found myself standing naked a week after creating my character. Awkward.
Night and Day
Despite the low quality graphics, Oz World has an in-game night and day system which helps break up the monotony. There’s also a marriage system in place that allows couples to tie the knot. The game even supports voice chat through a cell phone menu. Players can call one another for one-on-one talks this way. Most of the interaction though will take place in the traditional chat menu. The font is pretty small when typing, but after entering a message it appears above the avatar of the player who said it. This gives the chat a more personal feel, but requires players to view a special screen to go through chat history. The most interesting bonus feature in Oz World is player housing. Players can buy houses and allow anyone to enter or set a password for more selective membership. Oz World does try to fluff things up with other minor features like flowers, popularity ratings, and profile pages accessible from within the game, but none of it amounts to much of an actual game.
There’s a reason Oz World has survived all these years despite a lack of deep gameplay features. That reason is its community. While on the decline, its clear to see that those who are still left are dedicated to the game and community. New players will always find someone willing to help them. Undoubtedly, many friendships have been forged in Oz World. There’s nothing stopping people from finding friends in other MMORPGs, but perhaps as a purely social game, Oz World attracts people specifically looking for virtual friends. Another advantage is that female players outnumber males, which makes it a bit easier for lonely guys to chat it up with the ladies. But if its a social experience you’re after, there are many newer games that serve that same purpose and have similar demographics.
Final Verdict: Poor
Oz World’s dated graphics and interface coupled with the lack of gameplay features mark it as a game that belongs in the past. Veterans may still enjoy the community, but for beginners there much better free social worlds available. Making friends and fishing are the primary hooks, but that just isn’t enough to earn a recommendation.
Oz World Links
Oz World System Requirements
OS: Windows 98
CPU: Pentium 166 Mhz
RAM: 32 MB
HDD: 50 MB Free
Graphics Card: DirectX compatible
OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7
CPU: Pentium 3 or better
RAM: 256 MB or more
HDD: 250 MB or more
Graphics Card: 16 mb video memory or more