Rubies Of Eventide
It's pretty much taken for granted now that any new online RPG will be released in beta state with the developers promising better things to come. You can expect broken skills, broken quests, interface problems, lack of content, countless bugs, and many features that are suspiciously missing but - of course - will arrive in a future patch. In short, you get all the things you would expect from any game still a long way from going gold.
Who's at fault for this shameful practice? There's the developers of course, but while we're busy apportioning blame, let's ask ourselves who exactly is paying for this rubbish. That's right, people. If you keep paying for it, they'll keep doing it - each title arriving in worse condition than the last. With all this in mind, let me introduce you to the latest 'beta' doing the rounds, charging monthly subscriptions to fund its ongoing development.
Welcome To Our World
First impressions are unfortunately lasting ones. In the case of Rubies Of Eventide, the first thing you notice is that the camera angles appear to be designed to make indoor movement as difficult as possible. The 'static' third-person view requires constant adjustment unless you're happy running in a straight line for the entirety of the game. Conversely, the 'locked' third-person view pans the camera as you move, but for some reason favours zooming in on your back so nothing around you is visible. Move a little bit and it zooms out. Turn a corner and it zooms right back in again. Not a problem outdoors, but in cities and buildings, simple movement becomes a constant struggle. There's also a first-person view, but since mouse-look is disabled, you can't easily pan the view around.
While you're discovering the delights of constantly changing perspectives, you'll also notice that the graphic design is a little strange. Every character in the game appears to have been designed with a younger audience in mind. Cutesy graphics and bright colours are the order of the day, and for no apparent reason every character from every race has abnormally big feet. It's fair to say that ROE didn't get off to the best of starts.
A Class Apart
It's a common MMORPG complaint that character development is too limited, and that creating a truly personalised character is next to impossible. In this area. Rubies Of Eventide shines. All the race and class types you would expect from a fantasy RPG are available. You can choose from humans, elves, ogres - all the usual suspects -then create a class such as druid, warrior, summoner, necromancer and a whole host of others. This in itself is no great achievement, but once you have made a base class, you can train yourself in any school of magic or combat that you like by spending development points accrued by killing things in combat. With this method, you can customise your character to the point where you get the skills you want, and so, make the fantasy character you've always dreamed of.
In fact, the only other game of this type which gives you such flexibility with character development is Shadowbane, and even there you're largely prohibited from certain skills once you follow a certain path. ROE pretty much lets you loose on most of the skills in the game. To our minds, this is the one aspect that will really shine if the game ever takes off.
After You Sir
Combat in ROE is a little odd to say the least. You can set the speed of the combat, slowing it down to practically turn-based in nature, or leaving it at full speed in which case you get something approaching realtime. None of the fights came across were so challenging that the need to slow things down would have been of help, and by and large the battles are fairly unspectacular. There are a couple of things worth pointing out though. If you play a character that can both cast spells and use melee, you'll have to switch between the two modes mid-fight. There's no easy way of managing both aspects, and since boosting spells can't even be used prior to a battle starting, the whole procedure is a chore. Nor can you cycle through potential victims via hotkeys, instead having to click on each target manually before attacking them. Combat mechanics are being 'looked at' in a future patch, but for now fighting is less than intuitive.
In summary, Rubies Of Eventide is a fairly average online RPG with below average graphics and many of the expected features "still to be implemented" (as I write, crafting skills have yet to make an appearance, for example). This may go some way to explaining why the one and only server that's live at the moment has a maximum of between 60 and 80 players at peak-time. So, the choice is yours. You could download the game for free, play it for a trial period and then decide for yourself if there's any potential here. Or take my advice and check it out towards the end of the year - at which point it may have gone from glorified 'beta' to something closer to what's expected from a retail product. Or better still you could just forget all about it and wait for EverQuest 2.
Download Rubies Of Eventide
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP