As I stated in a previous post, a friend and I have started playing Runes of Magic regularly and for the most part, we are enjoying it. And though the world needs another review of RoM about as much as it needs another gaming blog (wait a second...), I figured I would share my impressions of the game with you.
Character Creation: Character creation is pretty simple -- choose your class, choose your gender, choose a name and you are set. There are a few customization options, but nothing inspiring. You can choose a face and a hairstyle & (literally any) hair color. There are a bunch of sliders for your character's various body parts that control the size. So, you can make your arms bigger, or give your character a thinner waist. I generally don't fool with these too much, except to create female characters with reasonably sized chests (I will leave the definition of reasonable to the reader).
One thing I like about RoM in comparison to WoW is that the character models aren't caricatures. I always had a hard time playing a male human character in WoW because of their silly-looking Popeye forearms and general ugliness. One of my friends (who would probably like WoW) dismisses it out of hand because it is "too cartoony". RoM's character models are much, much nicer to look at.
Classes: There are six classes in RoM which fit the typical MMO mold. I will give a really rough rundown here.
Warrior -- The warrior is a sustained DPS class with some off-tanking abilities.
Knight -- The knight is a main tank with high hit points, plate mail and lots of aggro-management.
Rogue -- The rogue is your high-DPS melee character with the typical positional attacks and stealth.
Scout -- The scout is a ranged DPS class who uses bows instead of spells.
Mage -- A typical glass cannon with high damage, no hit points and lots of CC as well.
Priest -- A healer who has some nice buffs, some direct damage and DOTs.
Only six classes that pretty much retread the earliest cprgs? Sounds pretty bland, I know. However, I have played all but the scout to a moderate (but lowish) level and they all have a few interesting powers which make them fun to play.
More importantly, RoM has a feature that makes this class system much, much more interesting than it first looks. Once you hit level 10, you head to the main town and pick a second class as your secondary -- every character is dual-classed. You have to level up this second class separately and your secondary level is capped at whatever your primary level is. So, you might be a Warrior 10/Mage 8, or a Priest 6/Rogue 4, but never a Knight 3/Scout 20.
Your secondary class gives you different stat boosts, a subset of its abilities to add to that of your main class, and the chance to unlock combination-specific "elite" skills at levels 15/15, 20/20, 25/25, 30/30 and 35/35.
The dual-class system gives RoM a lot of interesting character options. Instead of six possible character types, you get 60 (since a Mage/Warrior and Warrior/Mage aren't the same) and much like in City of Heroes, each combination plays significantly differently than other similar combos.
For instance, my Priest 14/Rogue 14 plays solos a lot differently than other priest combinations. Whereas other priests might solo like a typical caster, using a mix of DOTs, direct damage and their damage absorption shield, my P/R fires the priest DOT, then I wait for the enemy to get into melee range. Once they do, I smack them with a blinding strike from the rogue's powerset, then melee using the rogue's main melee attack. This attack chain is effective on solo trash and is pretty easy on my mana total. As I level up and get elite spells, the differenced between my P/R and other priests will become even greater.
Otherwise, powers and progression work similarly what we have come to expect. As you level, you gain stats based on your class choices. You gain new powers every couple levels, as well as talent points to spend increasing the effectiveness of your abilities. There are no talent trees in RoM, but you have to spend TP on each individual power to increase it. This is a simple system, but leads to some hard choices, as there are usually not enough points to level every power you would like.
As I notice that my lunch break is over, I should wrap this up. I really like the dual-classing system in RoM. It gives the character system a lot more "classes" than most other games and leads to choices about which combinations provide the most synergy. Good stuff.