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Runes of Magic - Open Beta Review and Play Suggestions

Posted by mackdawg19 Wednesday December 24 2008 at 6:14PM
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Here is my Open Beta Review of Runes of Magic. This is a Free2Play MMORPG adopted from a korean game called RA. Below I list my opinion on my playtime in Beta along with a few suggestions for new people wanting to get the most out of playing. I played Closed Beta for quite sometime and played across multiple characters. The highest level achieved before the last wipe into Open Beta was a level 32 war. I dabbled in mostly PVE so there is no PVP impressions at all in this beta review. I hope you enjoy, so go grab you delicious treat, sit back, and let the reading continue!

First things First!

Character Customization

This is the first thing you come upon when entering into the game. Don't be surprised either, the customization is really simple. There are a lot of pre-made options so you won't get to confused. There isn't a lot of unique features here. Most of the features are what you would see in any "other" MMORPG. Different choices in hair style, color, different faces, different sizes or certain places on the body and skin color. Nothing to fancy. All in all, just a normal character customization. There are 6 classes:

Knight, Mage, Warrior, Priest, Scout, Rogue

and One Race which is Human. Others races are suppose to come in installments or expansions. This is your basic setup. You will also choose a name here and that's mostly it.

Interface - UI

When entering into the game, this will be the first thing you notice. If you have played an MMORPG before, nothing here will be different from the "norm". You can remap keys, the are extra action bars. The only things I find limited are bags which can be purchased via clicking on the upgrade button inside your inventory and spending diamonds. The UI comes with a standard mini-map which has all the basic options hanging and also is where the cash-shop button is located for those who may have missed it. Things like resources and quest npc's can be seen on the mini-map. Also, some quest pickups can be found on the mini-map. Example would be trying to find the Dirt pile, it will be an orange dot which will pop up once in the area. You can also move around pretty much everything on the UI and the UI can be modded heavily although I have seen no mods as of yet. The only downfall to the interface I found was the size of ceratin text and character portraits at default size.

Gameplay

Game play will be the third thing you will notice in the game. The movement in this game resembles a lot of most standard MMORPG's. You use action bars to place your skills on and click the skills to promote action in your character. All your skills are given to you. While leveling your character you will gain TP, which can be spent on upgrading your skills. Your skill tab can be accessed using the "K" key and skills can be upgraded by either clicking the upgrade button or double clicking the skill and moving the buttons on the pop-up screen. The spell effects and animations are decent for a Free2Play game. Some of the melee animations seem rather edgy and skippy in some areas. You can move around using the standard WSAD keys or remap your keys to whatever you like. All in all, a very decent UI. Very customizable and a lot better than what I've seen in most Free2Plays.

Questing

I separated this from gameplay because this deserves its own section. Questing is pretty much the same as most MMORPGS. You have the gather quests and the fedex type quests. You can also unlock certain quests for your secondary class by completing them on your primary class. This can lead to some pretty decent quest dialogue if its been translated or you understand korean. A plus for those who do read, =).

Dual Classes

Once you reach level 10, you will be able to dual class. This allows you to select another class from the 6 classes to be your secondary class. When you choose a secondary class and level it up, you will be able to use all of there secondary skills. The good things about this system are:

- You can be different from the rest. Scout /Priest anyone? =)

- Allows you to work with multiple characters allowing you to experiance more of the game

- Good for when your roaming the chat and looking for a group, you have 2 roles

The bad:

- Cannot gain XP on your secondary character while playing your primary. Will have to switch classes which can be done by going into your house and talking to the house fairy.

- The fact you have to go to your house to switch classes

- Some skills seem useless, some skills seem to be to much, really is no balance in the skills.

I love this system, but it does need some more ironing out. I would love to see an option for choosing what skills you can have from your secondary class instead of just getting their secondary skills. Maybe a mix of some of the primary and secondary with a limit put on how many you can obtain per level. I would also love for their to be a way to gain XP on your secondary while playing your main, or at least an easier way to switch to your secondary. Maybe create a quest line to obtain a spell that does it for you.

Crafting

I will not jump into this much, and for obvious reasons. Yes there is a crafting system and yes it works. It does have some problems with it. The main points are that you can do all the professions. The resource gathering is very simple as nodes are placed on your mini map plus they have a glow around them. Very hard to miss them. You can scan there forums to find out the issues as I don't want this review to turn into a bitchfess about why I don't like there way.

Housing

Yes, housing in a Free2Play MMO. This housing resembles EQ2's housing the most. Your house is an instance, and others can stop by to see it. You can purchase furniture and crafting stuff to craft in your house. You can also purchase paperdolls which can be bought using tokens gained through daily quests. Also another neat feature but I'm not sure if it works yet is the bonus XP while crafting/resting in your house. It was talked about in Closed Beta but I never really tested it out, and was bugged. All in all, a very nice feature to come to Free2Plays. Your house is also where you change classes, dont forget that.

Conclusion

I did not add in PVP, because I didn't experience it in Closed nor do I care too. I'm just not that big of a PVP fan to care. There is also some rumors about the latest incoming patch to change the rule-sets. I enjoy Runes of Magic though, its got its ups and downs, but for being FREE, is a good side game to play. The cash shop doesn't look like it will hamper the economy and the fact that servers are split up makes finding groups alot easier. No longer do you have to guess what the Korean or Euro is saying. The chat interface is clean and easy to use and offers many options and the game runs solid on a low end spece'd box. Below I would like to list some hints along with some suggestions about things you may not know about for you new players.

TIPS TO HELP NEWCOMMERS:

1. Gather the daily quest items and use them for your secondary class as XP. This will help ease the grinding when playing your secondary character.

2. There are actually 2 starter areas. The second area you will not know about until you hit level 10. Once you hit level 10 and choose your 2nd class, you can level it up in this area instead of grinding in the first starter area. The port skill is in your skill book located under the Logar Delivery skill. BE careful though when questing there, a very high level area is close by that contains level 40+ mobs that tend to have a huge agro range when you in you lower teens. 

3. Try to turn in quest on your primary for items you will use on your primary, and leave the quests that give other items for your secondary. Say you choose Warrior/Priest. If a quest gives you a sword as a reward, turn it in on your Warrior. If its a staff or something with +int, let your Priest turn it in. It will help with finding items so you don't have to waste money at the AH or vendor.

4. Save your charges for your magic box/transmuter. You can use them to add stats to gear, but while leveling up, your going to be replacing gear fast and you may end up wasting charges for nothing. Best bet is to use them to upgrade the runes and store the runes for a later date when your near max level.

5. Master skills, yep you get them. You will get these once at level 15, and every 5 levels after. You need to have both your primary and secondary up to level 15 to be able to get the first skill. Each skill requires materials which are mostly found through resource gathering, some in instances. These skills are different depending on your class picks and really help alot. You can find the first Master trainer in Varainas in the Class Hall. She will tell you the materials you will need for the certificate which gives you your skill and will also tell you where to find the next Master Skill Trainer. (This is by far the one thing I find everyone skipping over.)

6. Let your secondary do the crafting and resource gathering, it allows you to be a bit more organized. When your done questing on your primary, you can easily empty your bags at your house, switch to your secondary, grab your crafting and resource material and get to work without trying to squeeze the most out of your inventory. Remember you only get 2 free slots, the rest have to be purchased through the upgrade button.

And last but not least, and this is not a tip, but moreso some need to know info. When purchasing items through the cash shop you will be using diamonds which cost real money through their website. The neatest thing about this is, you can also sell items on the AH for diamonds. Meaning, you can purchase items off a cash shop without ever purchasing diamonds with real cash. Find a good item, sell it for diamonds instead. Neat, eh? =)

Well thats the end, hopefully something in this beta review will help you on your journeys and help you choose wether this game is for you. If you have any troubles in-game, You can messege MistMan on Osha PvE US Server. I am more than willing to help with anything and goodluck to those who find there home here. For those who like scores, I give this game a 7/10. And I do not play with sound, hence the no sound catagory also.

Evolution of Gaming

Posted by mackdawg19 Wednesday September 24 2008 at 8:04PM
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Evolution of Gaming

I've been playing MMORPG's for quite sometime. I've played games such as Dark Age of Camelot, World of Warcraft, Vanguard and Age of Conan. While playing these games, i've started to notice something seems missing. Where's the evolution? Almost every rpg on the online market to date has a world, but yet none of these worlds truly evolve. Sure they have expansion packs that add new area's or new set's of items and minor touches to graphics. But what about the stagnant world? What truly bores me to death is the replay value of these games. One you hit level cap, you usually get to a point of creating an alt. This is were you find out that your doing the same quests, wandering through the same camps, or entering the same cities and dungeons only to find out they are the same. So with that in mind I thought of a evolution system. Something I haven't yet experienced in gaming yet. Here's the low down:

The System Itself

This system is a system of its own. It basically repaints landscape with new material without using an expansion. It destroys buildings, it closes off dungeons, and it does so much more.

Example 1 - "Say your walking through a city to turn in a quest. When all of a sudden you hear a loud boom. You walk off in the direction of the sound. All of a sudden your standing infront of a blockade and the local mayor building has been destroyed. Npc workers are taking material and putting them in wheelbarrows and moving them out of the city. The very next day you log in to find the mayor building replaced by a brand new upgraded building. It has 2 new rooms and offers a new service."

Example 2 - "You log in one day in the middle of a forest. You decide, what the heck, lets go explore that dungeon you rolled through with a group the night before. You were in there so long the night before, you basically got the dungeon down in your sleep. You can remeber certain spots your able to go solo in. You head towards the dungeon to find out there was a cave in. You go in search of a new way into the dungeon. The entrance has been reshaped on the other side of a mountian due to a landslide. You enter through to find out a new set of mobs has ravaged the area and littered bodies of the previous tribe are scattered across the ground."

Example 3 - "Your walking down a dark path. In the distance you spot a forest and it seems to being raining. A huge thunderstorm cloud looms above. So you decide to venture in. Once inside the forest you find that it is a nice "grind area" for hanging out and gathering some xp. You sit in this forest for around 2 hours and in the meantime its continuing to rain. All of a sudden you notice the ground is no longer soaking up the rain and its starting to cover your feet. Then you hear a loud boom and water comes rusing at you from a local creek that just flooded. You run off outta the forest and claim safe keeping along a hillside. The flood persists for more then 3 days. Once it drys out you come back to find that there are less mobs and it seems off in the distance some new mobs are making there way towards some once non- vacant land."

If you don't have an idea of what i'm getting at, then think about this. I want to see a system developed that persists overtime. It not only contains a game at launch but a game for the future. It's land changes over time. Its people evolve over time. Anything could be added to a system like this. You could have it setup to destroy and regenerate new buildings based on a certain time, such as every 6 days. You could have NPC's and mobs migrate every few months. They could simply pack up right infront of you and move somewhere else. You could have whole cities destroyed by a revolt only to be reclaimed by new owners.

The Real Low-Down

Now there is no doubt a system such as this would be taxing to not only servers but hardware. This isn't an idea that can just be implemented on the fly. I would just like to see developers develop towards areas like this. Quit with the stagnant worlds that one can only replay so many times. Give us a world, not a box. Give us weather systems that feel real, give us enviroments that breath life, give us cities and dungeons that change overtime. Give us a place that could really feel like you could live in. Over time things change, people evolve and areas get replaced. Make this happen in your MMO. Make consumer's want to be in your world. Don't give us just a world, give us a living breathing world. I've seen many developers say there world is this, but have yet to see this. Sure you have a couple butterflies roaming around or a thunderstorm where the rain seems to evaporate into thin air. I love the cities that seem to look the same even after the game being out 4 years. I guess they never evolve do they? I guess those Orcs just love there stagnant life.

I wrote this blog on a whim. I didn't write it to be the voice of a community or company. I wrote this because i had a thought and wanted to share it. I love gaming and enjoy playing mmo's if only for the community aspect. I just thought maybe an idea like this could help maybe that one small developer out there. Maybe that one person who doesn't know it, may in time become a CEO of a gaming company. This is for you. Run with it, and thanks mmorpg.com community for your time.

 

*I also want to note I am not a English Professor!

The "Open" Beta .. my impressions

Posted by mackdawg19 Friday May 2 2008 at 11:51PM
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I thought I would give my impressions of the "File-Planet" beta. So here we go!

Install

Install was pretty simple. The client was by far impressive for it's size. While downloading, I kept thinking this better not be Vanguard 2.0 all over again. I only have a 150 gig hard drive so it was taking up precious pr0n space! :)

Logging In

Logging in was rather easy. There was a small patch at which I was getting it at 600k/sec. I found it odd I had to login though before the client would patch and then upon getting to the login screen. It took about 8 minutes timed to get to the in-game login screen, were i then proceeded to login for the second time! I got to the character selection screen rather quickly, and quickly made the class I was most looking forward to playing. (Herald of Xotti)

Playing

Know this is were I was totally amazed. The way they set-up the newbie experience is quite fun. I really felt engaged in the story. The voice overs are done really well and the graphics, for being on a mix of medium and low are very attractive. My frame rate was around 33-40 fps in towns, and single player wise around 50. The lag was rather tremendous though. At times I would get huge 10000ms spikes, but they were usually only when I was in the multi player mode or PvP'ing. The game play was really fun and I enjoyed myself. It took me about 4 hrs to hit the level 13 cap while going in and out of afk eating dinner and whatnot.

Final Impression and the look forward

Although I had a positive experience, I can't say all my friend's did. One in particular couldn't even login to the game due to some huge error's. He's a huge torrent downloader though, so he could of very well had some virus issue's. Both me and my best friend will be pre-ordering. We both see huge succes in what this game will become. But as for this client we got released. The majority census thinks its garbage. And it is! I've had the luxury of seeing and playing a little bit of what is "General Beta" and it is a very different atmosphere all together. It plays more solid like a game that should be released. But this client we received for the beta was the total opposite. I'm rather surprised Funcom would release a client to a large amount of people with this many flaws. Business wise it didn't make alot of sense. Hopefully the knew people would speculate off this client alone. And hopefully this will not be the released version. And this should serve warning to other mmo's out there, if your going to release a beta in as large of a scale as AoC did, release a solid client. Forget the cap and all that mumbo jumbo, if you support your product 100%, then you shouldn't be afraid to show all your cards. If it's a great game, people will come!

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