Runes of Magic - First Impressions
Downloading Runes of Magic is as
straight forward as it can be. There is a large button on the
Runes of Magic web site that by simply clicking on it takes you to a
page that gives you the size of the download, minimum system
requirements, and a large button to start the download. The file
size is 5.3 GB and should not take an extreme amount of time with a
decent internet connection.
After you get the main download complete there are a few patches that need to be completed before you can get into the game. This has become a staple for free to play MMOs that are all over the market today. The version that is available for download on the official site is often several patches behind what is needed to play the game.
-Before You Play-
Once the game comes up you are prompted to agree to the terms and conditions. This happens every single time you open the game. This has become a minor annoyance of mine as I have never had this happen before with any other game Ive played; free to play or otherwise. Once you get past that you log in and are encouraged but not required to use a mini keyboard that comes up for increased security. Not sure how that increases security as its not required and even if it was I am going to assume that its available on all machines so I just bypass it and change my passcode about once every 3 months just like I do with everything else.
At this point Runes of Magic has an interesting secondary passcode feature that is required every time you start on a new sever that is used for things like deleting a character. Its a nice feature and so far does not come into play very frequently which may become a problem if you lose it as I have not found a way to recover it if that happens.
Oh how does RoM shine at the character creation screen. A lot of players focus on what their character can do and a lot focus on how the character looks. This is a game that gives you a full complement of options for really making the character yours. With approximately twenty choices in hair and face each the combinations are almost limitless. Other options are hair color, chest, hand and feet size, waist, height, arm and leg size, and more. You can easily spend 30-60 minutes on this screen simply creating your character to look just like you want them to.
If there was a down side to the overall character creation options it is the complete lack of a random name generator. While this does not really make or break the overall experience it has become such a standard in the MMO world the lack of one is almost surprising.
-In the Land of Taborea-
I cannot say how well RoM does for a free to play game. It has a great look to it and its well crafted. The game at first does not seem to have any big misses. Quite a few free to play games will do okay in most of the areas and then have a gaping hole in one or two areas that at first you over look and then as time goes by you find it harder and harder to log into the game and continue to play. This hands on impressions focuses mostly on the starting areas and a just beyond, but Ill also be taking a closer look at the mid-level and end game experience in the coming weeks There are so many quests available in just the first areas, however, that its a wonder if they can keep it up to end game.
The current level cap seems to be 55 from what I have been able to gather. In this land you can start out as either a human or an elf and while tensions are stressed between the two races they will work together at end game to compete for the common good of Taborea.
Right from the beginning you get 3 gathering professions and now is a good time to gather and level up as the resources are plentiful and easy to gather. As you progress you will take on a profession that allows you to craft gear either for yourself or to sell on the Auction House.
The world seems seamless at first but even in the starting area I ran into two areas that I had to loadinto. This was a bit odd but the loading time did not take very long and once in the area everything was fine.
-User Interface and Battle Mechanics-
RoM has a very standard user interface (UI) from what I have seen in a lot of other MMO's. You have a hot bar for your main spells (there are a total of four of these that can be moved around), a mini map, micro menu, chat box, character info pane, and Target pane.
The battle mechanics of the game are again very similar to what you have come to expect from a standard street MMO. You can either click on items on your hot bar, press the corresponding keys to activate the spell when you have a friendly or enemy targeted, or you can have your spell book open and cast from there (not recommended)
One thing that I liked about RoM is there did not seem to be a lot of spell bloat. You got a few spells and can use TP or Talent Points to upgrade as you level. It is worth mentioning here that at the beginning before you get your second class you have more than enough TP to go around. Then I understand at later levels you "farm" TP as you kill mobs and max out just about everything. Not sure how this may affect end game but I can see a potential lack of customization here.
What makes RoM different from other MMOs? For me its the key features that seem to work well together without causing a disjointed feel. I have not had a chance to try out or enjoy the benefits from all of these features yet but they include:
- Housing In the land of Taborea you get your own house. Right now I could find about 150 different ways to customize your home. You gain the items through quests, the item shop and on the Auction House.
- Guild Castles These wonderful buildings give your guild a place to hang out other than the local pub with all the other players streaming around. As your guild levels up and expands you will be able to add workshops, academies and bolster your defenses. There is also a PvP aspect to Guild Castles in that you can attack or be attacked by other players.
- Dungeons I have yet to venture into one of these areas but there seems to be quite a bit of talk about how the dungeons are randomly generated. I am very excited about this mostly because after you have run something 20 times and its still the same then it gets very very old. Now, it appears that not all Dungeons are random and in fact some of them are the staple Instances that have become so common in todays MMOs that the fact you have a choice is exciting.
- Diamonds This is the micro transaction piece of RoM. Almost, if not all, free to play MMOs have some type of micro transaction component. Some of the available items greatly alter the game and make it difficult for those who do not use them to get very far. In RoM so far the few times I have ran into diamond use it has been only a slight enhancement that allows me to complete a task quicker while still being able to complete it without the use of a diamonds.
- Costumes I have not personally had any of these but have seen them on other players in game. The costumes allow you to customize your look without losing your stats. Through the use of a tool called the Aggregator you can transfer the stats off a piece of equipment you own onto a costume piece so you can venture in style. It appears this can only be used with the help of diamonds.
Runes of Magic seems to be a very well put together free to play MMO that has well balanced classes that are not so balanced that every class can do everything but balanced to the point where every class has a role that can be filled better than another. The crafting and selling portion of the game seem to fit well with the community.
Normally I am not a huge fan of free to play MMOs. They just seem to fall down in one area that is so glaring that over time its impossible to over look. Up through level 20 I have not found that to be an issue. I would recommend RoM to anybody who either A) does not have the funds to afford the upfront cost of a game or the ongoing monthly sub B) just does not want to pay to play every month or C) is breaking into the world of MMOs for the first time and is looking for a chance to try them out and not shell out a bunch of dough for something they may not like.
I could go on about the merits of RoM and why you should try it and some of the other features that are in the game but with the info I have given you here I hope its enough for you to give it a try.
I doubt you will regret it if you choose to venture into the land of Taborea.