Runes of Magic
I myself have always been fan of paying MMOGs aka P2P. I would rather have been shot in the head than to be found touching a “free” MMOG, but still I’ve played Runes of Magic and am feeling still very much alive. It looks like miracles do exist!
What many readers will immediately notice is the Runes of Magic has quite a lot resembling a popular P2P MMORPG… World of Warcraft. This is of course not a bad thing as WoW is the most succesful MMO ever and then it’s hard not to “borrow” certain elements. The same quality as P2P MMOs, Runes of Magic will never achieve, but amongst F2P games it’s got a head start. The background story is that some god wasn’t really happy with how things in Taborea were going and he spread so-called runestones all over the world. Not only the different races that occupied this world wanted to get their hands on these rocks thanks to their magical properties, also opponents of the god wouldn’t mind having them. The perfect story to crush heads over some shiny stones!
In the game players only have the possibility to play with one race, the humans. Six occupations can be chosen like explorer, magician or knight. During the open beta the promise was made to add two more new ones but until now nothing can be seen of that. Let’s hope the near future will have them soon added in some content patch or so. Nice to know is that the player on level 10 can choose a second occupation. This makes a total of 30 combinations so that players in group are less dependant of one specific person. A move like this can only be applauded as nobody likes waiting around for one player with a specific job.
While talking about groups we can also say there’s plenty of content available. A normal group can have up to six characters while a raid can go up to 36 players. Add to that over 600 quests and those that like PvE know they’ll have plenty to do.
Not everyone likes PvE and also here the devs though of. Contrary to recent MMOs where you could choose either side A or B, it’s more everyone for him/herself here. As of level 15 you get the possibility to kill others on a PvP server, but this also has some (dis)advantages. The positive thing is that you can steal objects from your victim which will immediately motive certain people, but when killing other players you build up a negative reputation. Due to this access to certain locations is prohibitet and you can wait until your rep gets cleared again or find other players with a negative reputation and kill those. This results in a hunter and prey system where players are rewardd to hunt and punish so-called gankers or corpse campers. Depending on the reputation of the character also bonuses like more damage or hitpoints as well as new items become available with certain NPCs.
Those that like doing more than just slaying monsters day in, day out, six trade occupations are included like blacksmithing or alchemy. One can practise them all at once but before achieving the highest level you’ll need several weeks or months. Next to these six crafts also the possibility is given to use an “Arcane Transmutator”. This part of the game is especially necessary to improve your equipment. By finding better runes and combining them you can add lots of bonuses on your gear which is especially handy as it gives players a long term goal and keeps them motivated to keep playing.
Another social feature is housing. Simply said this means that players can own their own house. Even more handy is the fact that it also counts for all your characters so you can leave stuff with one and pick it up with another. This also goes for guilds and later on the possibility is given to show off with their victories.
Although the game is free for the players, it does cost a developer and publisher tons of money to make and maintain. To make some profit, micro-transactions are present which allow players to buy items with real money. Contrary to the competition you don’t get better weapons or gear, but more supportive things like additional storage space, potions that give a temporary buff, or purely cosmetic objects like a nice hat or trousers. To not discourage people for buying these items you can’t lose them when getting killed by another player.
Graphically it’s an Asian style combined with the cartoony looks from World of Warcraft. The Asian style mostly gets noticed on the characters while the envinronments remind of the biggest P2P MMO. Still the game will never manage to rise to the level of recent payable variants.
You keep noticing a difference in the details. The surroundings are less detailed when it comes down to stuff like vegetation, the characters are less imposing and the gear sometimes looks a bit flat. Soundwise we get a similar situation which means it’s not bad but you do hear that less time and money is spent on it compared to other (and payable) MMOs.
As conclusion I can only say that amongst F2P this game has done a giant leap forward, but still doesn’t get to the level of a payable MMO. Still it must be said that the different approach when it comes to micro-transactions and the list of features will lure more than enough interested people.