Starting with the 19th of March the MMORPG environment will be once again enriched by a new world of fantasy as Runes of Magic, the game developed by Runewaker and published by Frogster Interactive, will be officially launched. Currently its servers are open to public during the pre-launch open beta period and we took a quick look at what the game has to offer.
In the past few years and especially starting with World of Warcraft we got used to the idea that all MMOs are simply copies of copies of copies and their level of innovation is decided roughly around one or two features scrambled together with the rest of previously used ones. Runes of Magic makes no exception and it simply strikes us a mix of do and don’ts we are already high familiarized with, especially from WoW. But this kind of approach is not necessarily bad. After all we are talking about a game that is free to download and free to play so if the game-copy is perfect in the end it all comes down to: do you want to pay a monthly subscription to play the original and be a collector or are you more interested in what lays between the covers of the “book”?
In our opinion Runes of Magic makes almost no attempt in bringing anything new to the market and we appreciate the fact that at least hasn’t lost time in trying. The interface is wrapped around the general idea of using custom hot-bars for skill and items, it features the well known top right minimap and the quest tracker list we are so used to. The gathering and crafting system is something we have previously seen and experienced in Age of Conan, a system which basically does not limit the player to a specific mix of professions, but allows him to pick up and use all of them. When it comes to combat skills, they are upgraded with the use of training points obtained during battles and at the beginning of each level which one can use to enhance whatever ability one desires, but we haven’t reached the level where the amount of TPs limits the progress towards an ability path or another. The navigation system offers a two way approach as you can use both the mouse to point and click on your desired destination or target and the keyboard shortcuts for the same results.
As a general conclusion on basic features, this the game gives you a feeling of accessibility many other MMOs have failed to offer, but exactly this excessive “friendliness” towards the user might be a bit too overwhelming to an inexperienced player. That remains to be seen in a post-launch analysis.
To complete the features arsenal Runes of Magic proposes a dual class system which allows and encourages you to mix class specific abilities towards obtaining a more rewarding gameplay experience from each and every character you choose to develop. It remains to be seen if this will rise up to the promises and expectations of the developers. Finally, more like a welcomed gimmick, the adventurer is presented with the ability of owning and decorating his own private house. Here he can store items, put armors on display and basically tinker with almost everything that can make him feel more like at home. All this is wrapped in cute and friendly highly saturated graphics as you might expect to find in any respected JRPG.
Maybe a little rough around the edges for now and a bit crowed as probably the result of trying to bring too many things together fast, Runes of Magic does hold the potential to trapping a considerable amount of players in its web of adventures especially since it holds a great advantage over many of its competitors: it’s a free massive multiplayer online role playing game and unlike many other of its kind, it seems at least decent enough to take it for a spin.
Seth LexRunes of Magic - Preview,