Sunday, March 15, 2009

Runes of Magic update

I have spent about four hours in the game over the weekend advancing my novice mage to the heady heights of level 8. First impressions:

The good stuff: This is a very "big game" for a free to play. It has everything you would expect from a A-list MMO and then some. In my first few hours I have already encountered a short tutorial, levelling, skill training, crafting, fast travelling, mounts, player housing, background lore, looting, upgradeable weapons and equipment, an auction house, bank vaults, a postal system, a day/night cycle, daily quests. I have heard about but not yet tried grouping, instanced dungeons, guilds, multi-classing. You name it this game seems to have it. The good news is that there seems to be little or no restrictions on what you can do for free. Of course the game developers need your cash to live on so there is a range of convenience and vanity items that will cost you real cash. The housing system and the travel system are the most obvious real money sinks I have come across so far.

The not so good stuff: The game's graphics don't really appeal to me. The character and scenery models are not particularly pretty. This is not a question of polygon count, more a matter of artistry or lack of it. Lots and lots of "kill ten rats" quests (or in this case mushrooms). Documentation on the game (which is still in beta) is poor so you end up figuring most stuff out as you go along. Thankfully it uses industry standard controls for the most part so it isn't too hard.

The bad news is that I haven't managed to convince my wife to play at all yet. This is partly because there is bug that causes random error messages on her computer and partly because the graphics just aren't cutesy enough to grab her attention. Mainly though I think this game is, in our case, a victim of its own success. There is too much in it. Too many things to do and too many things to learn. Coupled to the lack of documentaion that makes for a game that would quickly intimidate and scare off a newcomer.

I haven't entirely given up hope but if my wife isn't interested in playing RoM then I doubt I will be playing either. Life is too short and mmos in particular are too big a time sink to spend time playing one that doesn't grab your attention in a special way. Runes, from what I have seen so far, just doesn't do that for me.

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