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ngd Studios | Official Site
MMORPG | Genre:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 02/27/13)  | Pub:ngd Studios
PVP:Yes | Distribution:Retail | Retail Price:Free | Pay Type:Free | Monthly Fee:Free
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Champions of Regnum Review: A Huge But Empty World - Edit

Champions of Regnum is an MMO which promises dynamic Realm vs Realm on a scale never before seen in MMO’s. Champions of Regnum has been circulating the MMO market for a number of years, previously known as Regnum Online. With releasing on Steam, CoR promises thousands of players engaging in a player driven battlefield on a free-to-play business model. Although somewhat charming, what I found in my time spent in the game, was an MMO which boasts a huge world without the players to fill it.

 

 

 

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Aesthetics - 7

Champions of Regnum has stood the test of time. Released originally back in 2007, under the name, Regnum Online. NGD Studios has done a very impressive job of creating a massive world with impressive and eye catching vistas, while feeling like a true fantasy world. Although it doesn't look like TERA or other MMOs of the modern day, it does match up to the likes of World of Warcraft in the visual department, still looking impressive with an aging engine.

The UI in Regnum is pretty minimalistic, which I think is a good thing. It doesn’t take away or even overpower the game, and it’s very easy to navigate with not many windows at all. At times a lot of MMOs have really impressive UI structures, but end up taking away from the experience of the game because of clustered windows or just very poor navigation of the UI itself. Regnum takes a minimal approach to this, with the entire focus on being immersed in the game’s large world.

I’d also like to point out a small issue with the games terrible soundtrack. If you’re thinking about playing Champions of Regnum, I’ll advise you to mute the game and put on your own music. At times it’s almost cringeworthy to still hear a MIDI soundtrack in a game, with Regnum adopting this... well, you’ll thank me later.

Gameplay - 5

Unfortunately Regnum falls very short in the gameplay department, which is kind of crucial with these videogames. The promise of Realm vs Realm was something which had me drawn into Regnum, but alas RvR is only a feature reserved for the late game.

What entails throughout most of Regnum’s earlier content, is a case of straight theme-park leveling. Most of the time I found myself out leveling areas within the game and having to grind for a fairly lengthy period just to have quests appear later. There’s definitely some kind of balancing issue going on in game too: enemies which con as ‘Easy’ or ‘Normal’ to you, can at times be very tough to beat.

Combat is also a mixed bag feeling clunky, slow and just incredibly mundane. Often connection issues with the server plague combat time, with hits and activating skills connecting with your enemy long after you have instigated them. To cut it short, combat feels like an absolute chore, bringing no excitement to a game that is all about fighting.

At times I felt like logging into the game was work, and that’s never a good sign when reviewing a title. Regnum does have its ups, being that the world is designed very well. However, it’s also missing a lot of the checklist items that make an MMO worth latching onto for many. Crafting is absent from the game. I’ve spent a fair amount of time trawling through the relative mechanics and researching online to find out if a crafting system does exist, and to my knowledge it doesn’t. It seems very odd for a high fantasy MMO to not have a crafting system.

Character creation allows you to pick from three realms to join, whichever you choose will be the one you’re fighting for during RvR. From here you then pick one of three classes, Warrior, Archer and Mage. Within these classes are two disciplines, offensive and defensive. Of course the disciplines act as secondary classes with the Warrior being able to choose from Knight or Barbarian and the Mage having Warlock or Conjurer. It’s one of the most interesting parts of the game to me, with the Warrior having the basics of being able to deal or take more damage. Classes like the Archer, if taken down the Defensive route, can tame pets. Although the disciplines do offer differentiation, the mechanics still remain the same with the use of the trinity.

Character advancement is nothing but a simple pool of points. Upon leveling your character you gain a number of points. These points can be put into several skill trees. Skill trees are determined by weapon-type in Regnum. For example you’ll have a skill tree for slashing type weapons or one for blunt type. Here you have two pools of points. One set to advance through the tree and gain access to different skills, and another to level up the power of the skills themselves.

Innovation - 5

Champions of Regnum innovates in the way it markets itself. A player-driven dynamic battlefield: it sounds enticing and is likely the only thing that draws someone into the game. Realm vs Realm combat in itself is a relatively still novel feature for any MMO and it’s also known to be a great success for most games that try to adopt the system. CoR bills itself as an Realm vs Realm driven game. But with the mundane leveling, PVE-tuning issues and generally slow progression, the time to actually get to the RvR is incredibly long.

The issue also remains with the population of the game. During my time within Regnum I only saw one or two players on my travels. Regnum is an incredibly empty game. This contributes in a massive way towards the RvR endgame. Realm vs Realm gameplay needs a large amount of people to contribute to the war. For instance if there’s a large amount of players siding with one realm, then a small amount siding with the others, there’s going to be some balancing issues. With Regnum, the issue is that there just are not enough players to bring the Realm vs Realm combat onto a epic scale in which the developers advertise.

Polish - 7

Regnum is pretty well polished. Being out on the market for over five years, you would think the developers have had more than enough time to bring the game up to scratch. Graphically the game lives up to titles such as World of Warcraft, and you’ll run into very few graphical anomalies and the like.

The polishing problems though, lie within Regnum’s gameplay. A lot of systems need a complete overhaul to make the game seem less of a trial to play. In addition to this Regnum is in need of a complete re-balance in terms of player to mob combat.  Perhaps it’s not their intention to have player’s solo a lot of the content, but with such a sparse population it’s kind of necessary.  Regnum lacks the spit-shine of much bigger titles, and this only further hampers one’s enjoyment of the game.

Longevity - 5

How Champions of Regnum has managed to stay online for this amount of time, I do not know. I’ve heard rumours of Regnum being one of the most popular games in the Latin Americas, but within its current state on European and North American shores, I don’t see this title living much longer.  There’s just no one playing, and that means I can’t honestly suggest you get invested either.  Which leads us to the social life of CoR.

Social - 6

Regnum offers solid social features, with support to build a Guild or Clan. Although to start a clan the cost is high, the bulk of RvR is tied to this system.  You won’t have much fun trying to take on armies by yourself. Being in a Clan also allows you to put yourself on the war leaderboards. Although you won’t get any extra benefits from being in a Clan, the opportunity to bring yourself fame and fortune within the Realm wars is there... if you can find any other players.

Value - 8

Champions of Regnum is a fully fledged free-to-play title. It offers some great value for all the features advertised. Today the free-to-play business model is becoming the norm for MMOs, but the issue remains whether a title’s microtransactions are game breaking. In Regnum’s case, I can honestly say they are not. The cash shop offers an array of traditional items for you to sink your money into, with items such as experience boosters, repair hammers and other such boosters.  It’s nothing that’s going to give one player an unfair advantage over another.

Conclusion

Champions of Regnum boasts some big and enticing features. With Realm vs Realm being its main source of player retention, it aims to bring a huge dynamic player-driven battlefield to the MMO market. With these big goals set in place Regnum strives to achieve a large player base. Unfortunately it doesn’t. Its overall lacklustre gameplay, unbalanced systems and chore-like grind make for a mundane and slow-plodding experience. If you’re looking for a Realm vs Realm MMO to play there are plenty of others out there.  You’d be much better off playing the older and yet less archaic Dark Age of Camelot.

Final Score

6.1

Pros
 Enticing RvR mechanics.
 Huge and gorgeous world.
Cons
 Balancing issues
 Mundane gameplay

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