Today I found out that players that had a Trial account could get on Ryzom. The servers still have not officially opened but if you were a subscriber to the end you can come back right now or if you left your account hanging around on Newbie Island.
I never even got to play Ryzom at all before; not sure why guess I was busy with EVE at the time. Anyway I decided to create a new Zorai character instead of my original character. Zorai really appealed too me for the strange, Africa vibe they have going. Matis people also strongly appealed too me and it was a tough decision. They both look excellent. Really all the races do not sure why they didn't appeal too me back when the game first launched and I saw the Art. Guess I've matured a lot since then.
I picked Magic specialization (which isn't a rigid Class btw, just a set of beginning skills to help you out), designed a character I was happy with and jumped in.
Immediately I was floored by the beauty of it all. See, EVE is the only MMO I've been playing for months besides a closed beta test here and there. Still I think Ryzom looks better then all those new ones and it runs a lot better. I would say the only closed test I've been apart of that compared was Age of Conan which seemed top notch but yeah.... Anyway..
I grabbed a mission from my Magic Trainer and ran off to grind on some little furry creatures. It felt soooooo good to grind on creatures myself. As you may or may not know, in EVE Online your skills train in realtime which has its perks and downsides. Anyway, it felt so good to be able to kill a creature and earn XP for my efforts.
Right off the bat I noticed the game features a Logical Loot system of a sorts reminding me so much of Monster Hunter (sandboxy game for Playstation 2). Also like Monster Hunter you can use the materials you gather from creatures to craft materials. I've fallen in love with that too I think.
What I also adore I was never forced into a Class. I can just train skills that interest me. So I started off learning Magic and skilling that up as I use my abilities. Then I started skilling up my Melee skills when creatures got in close range.
I figured though I will try to roleplay as a Zorai (mystic) and focus mostly on Magic but I will mix it up with Melee. I can already tell like EVE Online, your equipment contrains your abilities (thought not as rigid as EVE). For example, in EVE you might have skill points to fly a HAC and a Stealth Bomber. Obviously, the skills you have trained won't perfectly blend into both.
It appears in Ryzom your abilities will always have some benefit. However, it appears you get bonuses for using the proper equipment if you want to maximize your abilities. I partied with an experienced Fighter and when we decided to train our Magic we both put on our magic boosting gloves. You could have the freedom to TankMage a bit if you want, using both magic and swords but you will most likely not do as much damage as someone wearing all Fighter gear or someone wearing all magic gear.
Keep in mind though I'm a pure newbie these are just so observations I've made in first 2-3 hours of addictive play.
Interesting enough I've already done a little pvp but was killed so fast after I cast my first bolt... Yeah. What is surprising is I would have gained xp debt if my friend didn't rez me. Luckily he was nice and did rez me after our little duel.
Anyway I've already went to visit 3 trainers and started up missions for all of them.
So far I've had a great time. I've heard the "mainland" is a lot different from newbie Island whereas they no longer hold our hands and give us guidance. Once again this is reminding me of Monster Hunter whereas the central focus of the game was to become stronger and acquire powerful gear via killing monsters. I'm imagining really tough creatures and a really fun time.
So glad this MMO is coming back. For awhile I was starting to get a little gloomy because all I had to play was EVE. I'm a rolling stone and can't just stick with one game nonstop. I like to mix in different titles and see what they have to offer too. Can't wait to subscribe to this game when that becomes available. EVE and Ryzom, sadly, are some of the last few remaining sandboxes available. This sort of freedom to pursue any career you choose on a character is a rare freedom indeed that I desperately chase after :)