June 16th, 2010, 20:02 Posted By: skynes
Developer: Runewaker Entertainment
Publisher: Frogster Interactive
Runes of Magic is a free to play MMORPG developed by Runewaker Entertainment, a Taiwanese company but is localised for Europe by Frogster Interactive.
Despite being only a little over a year old the game is already on its third major patch, called chapters, which add to the game and the story.
The game at first glance is a World of Warcraft clone, but to leave it at that misses the point. Yes the UI and gameplay are very similar to WoW, but Runes of Magic doesn't just leave it at that, instead it takes this foundation and builds upon it, adding features and mechanics that WoW would benefit from.
Since it is similar to WoW, anyone who has played Warcraft will find Runes of Magic very familiar. The UI and control scheme will be a natural fit to you. Map in the top right? Check. Customisable action bars? Check. Symbols hovering over quest givers? Check. Crafting system? Double check.
The execution of the game however is where the differences come in and where Runes of Magic shines.
When creating your character you get to pick from 8 classes. Most of these will be familiar to you, Warrior, Druid, Rogue etc. With a few unusual ones such as Scout and Warden.
The first big difference comes when you reach level 10. At level 10 your character can choose a second class to enhance your first. So if your first class is Knight and your second class Warrior you will be a Knight (level 10)/Warrior (level 1).
If you are a Knight, you will have two sets of skills: Knight Skills and Knight Class-specific skills.
Holy Strike is a Knight skill. All Knights have it and all classes who choose Knight as a secondary class have it.
Holy Seal is a Knight class-specific skill. Only those with Knight as their primary class may use it.
You can swap between your primary and secondary classes, this is actually required as you need to level both classes to max to access both sets of skills. So if the Knight/Warrior swaps his classes, he will become a Warrior/Knight gaining access to the Warrior class-specific skills but losing access to his Knight class-specific
Improving skills can be done also by using talent points, these points you spend on a per-skill basis to increase the level of your chosen skill. These talent points cannot be revoked or undone so you need to choose carefully what you improve.
The crafting system is also very different from most MMO's. While in most MMO's you may only learn a few professions, Runes of Magic lets you learn all of them, but you're limited in how many you can specialise in. At level 1 you can be an apprentice Woodcutter, Miner, and Herbalist as well as a Tailor, Alchemist and Blacksmith. This is both good and bad. It's great because it means you can explore the various professions without locking yourself into a few. It's also good to get some starting cash as you can sell the lower level herbs and ore to other players. However to a new player this can be overwhelming as there's too much choice at too low a level.
Runes of Magic's User Interface has a few improvements over other MMO's. When logging into the game, when you click in the password input box an on-screen keyboard will appear in a random location on your monitor. This is here to combat account stealing, as it is much more difficult for a keylogger to trace your password when it is clicked in on a random location on your screen.
Inside the game there is also an automatic movement option. By enabling this your character will automatically move to where you want them to go. Every quest has this option to let you auto-run to the quest giver or quest receiver. This drastically cuts down on the running around to find one guy that plagues a lot of MMO's.
As a free MMO they need to make money somehow, as with most Free MMO's Rune of Magic uses a Real Money Transaction (RMT) system. This allows you to purchase, with real life cash, items to enhance your characters, as well as mounts and pets for vanity purposes. Thankfully these items are mostly for player convenience not player power. This means they offer items like luck potions which increase the chance of better drops, or items which reduce or negate the experience penalty from dying. There are a few player power items in jewels which increase the power of an existing item, but it seems like you can get these outside the store albeit they are less reliable.
Despite that these items are player convenience not power it seems like a lot of the game is intentionally inconvenient to encourage you to purchase. Skill potions that increase your talent point gain, skill reset tokens to reset all your talent points, this being the only method to reset your talents are a couple of them. The ones that seem to be mostly required are those which reduce or prevent death penalty or that repair your gear when used.
Graphics – Similar to World of Warcrafts, a fantasy slightly cartoonish look that is pleasant to look at. It all fits together nicely.
Sound – Excellent. The composition on the orchestral score is fantastic. The songs will get in your head and you'll find yourself humming them for hours.
Gameplay – Very natural UI and controls, the game's learning curve is a bit too steep for a new player, even an experienced MMO player will find themselves confused at the options.
This is a good Free to play MMO. Definitely one of the better quality ones out there. If you want to just play, level classes and have fun, this will provide in spades. If you want to seriously play and see all the content, this has that too, but expect to put down some cold hard cash.
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