Despite my earlier grand plans for a shared Runes of Magic gaming experience I had pretty much decided not to even bother asking my wife to play. A few hours messing with the game left me with a sinking realisation that it is too rough around the edges, too combat focused and not cutesy enough to hold her attention.
Then, last night she came over and asked me to show her the game. This isn't really the strange thing by the way. She did it because she knew I want to play games with her. She did it because she knew I had spent a few hours over the last few days setting up the game on two computers and testing things out. She did it because she loves me. This isn't really the strange thing but it was still very nice though.
She chose to play a Mage, partly because she fancies the idea of controlling elemental magic and partly because it is the only female starting character who covers her knickers. The 60 seconds (seriously) tutorial was enough to teach her the basics of movement and so her modestly clad novice Mage entered the game world proper near the village of Pioneer Camp.
What happened next is a bit hazy. I guess must have glanced away for a minute because before I knew it she had somehow bypassed the beginner quest arc, you know the one that gives you your first weapon and armour and sends you out to kill ten fooozles to earn a level or two. Instead she was chatting to a Herbalist trainer. The idea of collecting wild flowers and herbs appealed and so my beloved duly wandered off unarmed and unarmoured into the wilderness to find some.
I could sense an impending disaster so I quickly booted up the game on another machine and created my own level 1 knight character with a intention of trying to watch her back. It was while I was forcing this new character quickly into the the game that something strange happened.
"How do I lasso one of these fungii" she asked. I turned to see where she had ended up and found that she had stumbled into a surreally cute instanced garden full of pretty graphics and cuddly creatures.
She had discovered Telly-tubby land inside Runes of Magic.
I joined her in this bizarre location for a pleasant half hour of lassoing toadstools. There were a couple of deaths due to accidentally attacking level four mushrooms while trying to tame them but I enjoyed it and I think my wife did too. I didn't feel the need to tell her that this cutesy zone is an anomaly designed to tempt you into forking out real money for your very own mushroom pet while most of the rest of the game is populated with spiders, goblins and other horrible monsters who only want to kill you.