Important: This post was originally written for the Something Awful forums. I’m posting it here in an effort to expand the English-sepaking playerbase of MSGO. Some of the information here is a little out of date, and the most current knowledge is located in the original thread on the SA forums. A wiki has been set up for English speakers, but it’s brand new and is still being filled with the basic information, so bear with it. This post should be enough to get you acclimated with the game and get you in touch with those of us who understand it quite well. It is very important to join us in Mumble (voice chat) to ask questions and get involved. The in-game messaging is terrible.
–Mumble has been made publicly available at mumble.msgo-english.info with the default port and no password.
–Wiki (very new and heavily under construction)
What is Mobile Suit Gundam Online?
MSGO is a large scale multiplayer third-person shooter set in the universe of Mobile Suit Gundam Specifically, it’s set during the One Year War, but I think there will be expansion of the mobile suit lineup so we have a better selection of mechs to pilot. At the moment, gameplay is a 50v50 battle of Earth Federation Special Forces vs. the Principality of Zeon with match outcome being determined by combination of capture-and-hold objectives combined with base destruction. It’s in the same vein as Mechwarrior online and Hawken, but with a different setting and an interesting commander role similar to the alien commander in Natural Selection.
The good - What’s this game have going for it?
If you’ve been on the internet or watched any 90s Toonami, you’ll know the Gundam series well, and MSGO provides a great way to live out some kickass giant robot fights inside a familiar universe with the added bonus of wacky Japanese shit thrown in every once and a while. Standard class types of assault/healer/sniper/heavy/tank are in-game, and you’ll even find pilotable battleships with 5 crew slots and damn strong armaments as well as mounted gun emplacements to control.
The real selling point (for me at least) is the Commander mode, allowing a 51st player on each team to take on the role of a famous commander from the series and shape the flow of battle by issuing orders to the players as they see fit. Aside from command issuing (the system is automated nicely and provides great incentives to ensure that players follow your orders), the commander can utilize several powerful abilities to help forces on the ground, such as releasing Minovsky particles to cloud enemy sensors, air strikes to clear the way for mobile suits, and even summoning powerful ace pilots such as Amuro Ray and Char Aznable.
MSGO also has a built-in ranking system that will track player performance in several key areas of gameplay. Rankings are finalized every week(ish) and the top 1000 players (and guilds!) will receive prizes for their efforts. Rise up in the ranks and claim your title as the best eight-year-old girl pilot that you can be!
The bad - What isn’t there yet.
Unfortunately we’re still in beta (beta launched December 19, 2012) so there is a good deal of work to be done in the game. The most glaring thing you’ll notice is the graphics quality - it’s not too good. If you have played Dust 514, I think that’s a pretty good comparison in terms of making you go “wow, this looks shitty for how good it could be”. Gundam models look good when viewed in the hangar, but when the battle begins it feels like the resolution reverts to 1024x768 so I would like to think that we’re just waiting for a patch. Or there’s a solution and I just can’t read the Japanese.
Other than the graphics, the map rotation is currently fixed and changes every day (I think at 11:00gmt, but ). This isn’t too bad because each map has 2-3 variants of points, but there are only 4(?) maps in the game right now. Texas colonies is coming on Jan 29!
One more thing, if it isn’t clear yet, the game is only in Japanese. In fact, the beta is restriced to Japan so there is a small bit of work to play the game and you’ll be using a VPN to play it, but keep reading and you’ll see why MSGO is more than worth the small hassle. The primary motivation behind this OP is to stir up a bit of a :goonrush: and see if we can’t start up a small English speaking group to do some robot asskicking.
Give this game a chance, it is really good! It can be frustrating not always being on top of everything that’s going on and having to figure a few parts of the UI out, but the gameplay is very rewarding if you can get past the more obvious issues that will hopefully be ironed out.
Can I pilot my special snowflake RX-78-7 blahblahblah? (What gundams are in game currently?)
This section needs to be expanded still. There are currently 17 models on each side, with EFSF having tons of variants on the RGM-79 with a smattering of other units including a few guntanks and an RX-78 EZ-8. Zeon forces get as many Zakus as you can shake a stick at, as well as a few variants on the Dom and Gouf lines.
Remember, this is all in Japanese. Just use Chrome or run it through Google Translate. Don’t miss out on the fun because it’s one more step!
Creating an account
First, you’ll need to create a Bandai-Namco ID, which you’ll use to log in to the game. Follow the steps, check your email, and confirm the account. VERY IMPORTANT - select Japan as your country of residence.
Next, you’ll need to enable your account for beta access by logging in with your new Bandai-Namco ID.
Downloading and installing the launcher and game
Now you can download the game’s launcher and get it installed. Even in japanese, installers have a familiar look and feel, so you’ll be fine without translation. After it’s installed, you’ll want to click the large orange button in order to start the download. It’ll take a few hours to finish.
After the game has installed, you’ll need to patch to the latest version, so click the orange button again and click OK at the prompt. It’ll take another while, just let it run.
Now you’re ready to play, but hold on just one moment. Create a shortcut on the desktop and then right-click the shortcut and add “./data” after the GundamOnline.exe in the path (the first line). Now if you try and launch the game, you won’t be able to log in. The game is region-locked, so you’ll have to connect through a VPN.
Getting and configuring the VPN
Yes, this part is annoying. We don’t want to game through a VPN, but we’ll put up with it in the meantime. The game works well even with the slightly higher latency (you’ll be connecting to Japanese servers either way, so expect high ping). The best solution I’ve found so far is WTFast, which has a free 30day trial, which should be more than enough time to decide if you like the gameplay. It’s $5 a month after that, which wouldn’t be too bad for an otherwise F2P game. After installing WTFast, you’ll want to configure it as shown below and then start the game profile with the Tokyo server selected.
Launching the game, login, server selection
Starting the ‘Gundam’ profile we created will start the launcher. Once the launcher is opened, ignore is and open the shortcut we created earlier and you should be at the login screen.
Log in with your Bandai-Namco ID and you should be presented with a server login screen. Currently there are two servers, Francessca and Shangri-La. we are playing on Francessca.
Now you’ll be at the character selection screen, where you can make an EFSF or Zeon pilot (we are Zeon).
Following the menu, select your kawaii hairstyles and name your character, then watch a fun little cutscene. At the end you’ll be presented with a two-button dialogue, which is asking if you want to do a movement tutorial. Which brings us to our first Japan Protip: YES and NO buttons. You’ll be prompted yes/no often, and just remember that the button with one symbol that looks like 69ing Ls is yes and the one with two sets of 69ing Ls is cancel.
No matter what you choose, when done with it you’ll have a brief series of button clicks to work your way through a tutorial covering the basics of the UI. Just click the glowing buttons and it’ll stop soon enough. Now you’re ready to fight!