The Saga Of Ryzom
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Every Initiate to a persistent online world has to go through quarantine, a place to spend your formative hours in relative safety where you can get to grips with the universe you've subscribed to. Ftyzom is no different in that respect, only the world into which you're thrown is so very different to the usual fantasy fare that you can quickly grow to despise it, or, in my case, become enamoured with its often uncompromising ways.
Compared to how it was at launch, Ftyzom is improved beyond recognition. Lag remains, but it's nowhere near as debilitating. NPC missions, trade and crafting now work as intended, although the interface remains cluttered and confusing and the storyline, after a stuttering start, has gotten into its stride. More importantly, Nevrax has a strong support system that should be the envy of the MMOG world. Ask a question and you get an answer in minutes, not days.
Really Wild Show
World Of Warcraft may be derivative and its charms may fade over the months, but Blizzard knows more than anyone in the PC game industry how to make a game accessible. In contrast, Ryzom has a skill system that promotes flexibility, yet the gameplay requires specialisation. By way of example, you can hang around your starting area building a character adept in all four disciplines: combat, foraging, crafting and magic. However, unless you focus on one or two, the jack-of-all-trades approach limits your ability to progress once you enter the main world.
Contradictory and confusing it may be, but Ftyzom is still easy to fall in love with. This is partly thanks to an altruistic community, partly because the world into which you're thrown is just such an interesting one. You have a planet rich with alien wildlife that seems happy to exist on its own terms whether you interact or not. The learning curve is steep, but there's a lot to experience at all levels and many diverse places to go. The otherwise impressive creature Al group dynamics fall apart in combat, which is fiddly and lacks immediacy, but for world realisation and uniqueness, you immediately feel a part of Ftyzom.
Whether the game will remain alive in a year's time remains to be seen. At launch, coming as it did alongside EQII, WOW, City Of Heroes and expansions for the likes of EVE, Anarchy Online, DAOC and EQ Live, things looked bleak indeed. To have improved the game to such a degree is an impressive feat, but perhaps greater challenges lie ahead: US and European English servers were recently merged, redundancies appear likely and as much as Ryzom's unique sci-fi premise is sure to be an attraction, it will also be a barrier to the mass of online gamers who like what they know. Regardless, after six months of polishing Ryzom is now worth investigating.
Download The Saga Of Ryzom
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP