Runes Of Magic
Who Actually Likes killing boars? The World of Warcraft phenomenon has passed me by entirely because I couldn't understand the appeal of spending hours hacking and slashing my way through hordes of low-level creatures in order to gain experience. Replace the boars with giant mushrooms, and you'll see that Runes of Magic makes efforts to follow the same baffling formula as WOW.
In the lead up to Runes' release, one of the main worries about the game was that it would attempt to follow the well-trodden path of WOW much too closely - a route many a failed MMO has dared to take. With the exception of a few new features this is exactly what Runes has done. The interface is unnervingly similar to Blizzard's game, and the rune system - which the developers proudly claim to is one of Runes' defining features - resembles the gems and socketable items found in other MMOs. Yet the Arcane Transmuter is an interesting mechanic that does help to distinguish Runes from its subscription-based rivals. This feature allows you to strip stats from armour and weapons and transfer them elsewhere. This may stand it head-and-shoulders above its free-to-play peers, but it isn't enough to compete with the genre's heavyweights.
This is a solid MMO that ticks most of the boxes that fans of the genre will be looking for, especially those who like statistical spreadsheeting. The dualclass feature and promised update schedule do distinguish it somewhat, but it's still completely overshadowed by its behemoth rivals in terms of gameplay, character development, refinement and detail.
Runes of Magic goes some way to disarming us of our distrust of free-to-play MMOs (is it only us expecting an invoice any day now?), but it's leagues behind the subscription-based MMOs of the world.
Download Runes Of Magic
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Frogster are pushing ahead with their epic free-to-play MMO, continuously streaming out the new material, tweaks and changes, showing a commitment that is rare among the seemingly endless multitude of similar development studios eager to get a piece of the free-to-play pie.
First there were just some magical runes, then a demon caused problems in the first installment, Chapter 1. After being defeated, there was a portent involving pointy eared folk (Chapter 2: The Elven Prophecy) and now we have some ancient nations getting ready to see some action for the first time in Chapter 3: The Elder Kingdoms. This third bumper pack of new stuff will be aimed mainly at experienced players, who'll see the level cap increased to 60. From here there's the usual array of new dungeons and regions to explore on a new continent, plus a new skill system (which deals with the addition of further skills rather than replacing the old one) and an addition to the game's guild wars element: siege weapons.
Get That Castle
This part of the expansion will allow players to man ballistae and catapults while laying waste to the defences of your enemy's castle in FVP.
There'll also be new buildings to add to castles and new a battlefield - the Tyrefen Mountains - where you can gain PvP rankings and rewards.
If you're not a fan of goii ig up against humans then you'll be satiated by the new PvE material on offer in Elder Kingdoms.
The main plot thread surrounds a child-king who wants to return the glory days to the kingdom of Daianis, which can only be achieved, naturally, by vandering bands of ragamuffin adventurers. Levels 50-55 will deal with learning more about the oncoming threat before you delve deeper into danger in order to get to 60.
As you read this, Frogster will have begun rolling out the first wave of material for Chapter3, beginning with Patch 3.0.0. This added more than 100 new quests, difficulty levels for certain instances, Guild Castle mini-games, a new collectible card system and the Thunderhoof Hills area.
Free-to-play MMOs are usually treated with a certain degree of scepticism, but Frogster have earned some considerable praise for keeping Runes of Magic close to the traditional genre framework. With well over three million users reportedly being signed up after the second expansion and a significant number having joined up since then, it seems their philosophy is popular with players, who want to MMO without the hassle of subscribing.
If you want to see what Runes of Magic is about, runesofmagic.com is where you'll be wanting to head off to.