- System of customising actions and spells themselves using "stanzas." For example, you can create a spell that combines Fire and Electricity offensive elemental "options" on the Atysian Double Missile template, and balance these options with credits (Sap/MP, HP, casting time, spell range, etc) until their cost is equalled or exceeded by the total value of the credits. The farther you exceed the cost, the larger bonus you get to the action's success rate.
- Crafting system where your choice of materials of different types, qualities, grades, and ecosystem origins directly affects the statistics of the item you're making, as well as its colour. Materials also affect each other, so a set of materials you'd expect to be great might not work so well. It's about experimentation and personal knowledge, not so much about character's skill level.
Furthermore, crafting is extremely important because there is no equipment looting except on a very few bosses, and missions only reward with faction/race/tribe fame gain (except on the newbie island, but all the rewards there are below the higher standards of what can be crafted).
- Harvesting is pretty much a minigame where you have to monitor the stability and health of the material source, using "care plan" actions to increase these statistics when they get low to avoid the source exploding or dying prematurely.
You have to "prospect" to make sources appear on the ground, but they aren't randomly located, they're arranged in nodes around certain areas, so this is another aspect of the game where knowledge and experimentation is important.
There are several types of stanzas you can use in your prospecting action to affect what you find and how you find it. There are also several types of stanzas for your digging action, affecting the volatility of the sources you use it on, how many materials you can get per source, and the quality of the materials you get.
Seasons and weather affect the locations and contents of some sources; on a rainy winter night you may find Supreme Enola Sap and on a fair autumn afternoon you may find Excellent Motega Wood.
- No monsters, just animals who are part of ecosystems. Carnivores attack herbivores, sometimes as a pack and sometimes alone, and after the kill may stand over the corpse with an eating animation, then after returning to their pack one of their fellows might come to the corpse to eat as well. Spawn locations change with the seasons and other factors, and sometimes you can see herds migrating. Herbivores notice players and sniff them and peer at them cautiously or boldly; the weakest animals, called Yubo, even beg for food and pee on your shoe. Carnivores have varying aggro ranges from about 25 to 40 metres depending on species. Some species of herbivore come to the aid of their attacked fellows, some do not, and some aid other species.
- The enemy NPC race, giant insects called Kitin (like "chitin," not "kitten") used to attack in massive invasion forces that players had to fight off. Sometimes these invasions took place in the wildernesses, sometimes they got into capital cities. The Kitin also have nests in some places, which can be attacked and cleared out with great effort to reach the valuable materials deep inside.
- Invasions weren't the only events. There were also frequent storyline events, mostly minor and some major, but all interestingly interconnected and never to be repeated. The storylines and political climates differ between servers.
- Ryzom's story takes place on an planet called Atys, essentially a giant spherical tree in space. Everything on its surface is organic - no rocks or metals. Harvested and looted materials are organic, and so are the items they are made into. Cities are made of wood, adobe, manipulated plants, etc. In the sky, the gigantic branches of the Canopy can be seen. Several of the explorable regions are part of the underground Prime Roots, vast dark caverns formed by pockets in the less dense upper layers of the planet. There, the ecosystem resembles that of deep ocean, with pale animals, luminescent plants, and floating microlife.
The only metal the player-characters ("homins," of which there are four races: Fyros, Matis, Tryker, Zoraï) see is the ships and devices of the Karavan, a group of technological humanoids who try to rule homins with the religion of the goddess Jena. The other main faction is the Kami, a group of magical creatures claiming to be nature preservers and the manifestations of the planet's godlike life energy, Ma-Duk. They also vie for control of the homins. Somewhere in the middle is Elias Tryton, a mysterious person who may be equal to the other higher powers, but who recently disappeared into the deep roots of Atys in search of something. The game nechanics allow player-characters to side with Kami, Karavan, or Neutral, without any racial restrictions. Thus, a wide range of factional beliefs and leanings exists, leading to complex politics and roleplay.
- The Ryzom Ring allows players to construct "scenarios" using existing assets, including creatures, flora, microlife, environmental effects, maps, objects, small buildings, and so on. Factional NPCs can be used, as well as NPCs of every race with body and face features as customisable as player-characters and selectable weapon specialty, armour, and skill level. With the Ring's WYSIWYG-like interface, which includes behaviour, routes, occurrences and etcetera setup, a player can design something as complex as a quest or dungeon, or as simple as a place to explore and socialise. I've seen it used to impressive effect as an RP platform. To be honest it's buggy and it doesn't allow scenarios to remain online unless the host remains inside their scenario, which led to the whole thing being seldom used, but there is nothing like it anywhere else in the MMORPG industry.