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Runes of Magic - First Impressions

Posted Thu, Nov 12, 2009 by ZeroMerc

RoM Crowd

-The Download-

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 MMO’s 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 I’ve 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.  It’s 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.

-Character Creation-

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 it’s 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 I’ll 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 it’s 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 “load”into. 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.

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