Published on January 3rd, 2010 | by prime2
Runes of Magic: The Elven Prophecy – Review
Summary: It just gets better and better
If you thought all quality fantasy MMO games came with a monthly subscription then you were wrong. Runes of Magic has set a high new standard for free-to-play games with features that were formerly only found in top subscription games.
The Elven Prophecy was the first Runes of Magic (RoM) expansion. It introduced a new graphic engine, two new classes – Warden and Druid – and the playable Elven race. While the graphics are what would be considered average for a subscription-based game, they are very nice for what we usually get from a typical free-to-play title. The new classes offer a bit of diversity to the traditional Mage, Warrior, Rogue, Priest lineup, especially when considering combinations for the dual class feature.
A foundation of lore
Every role-playing game is built upon a foundation of lore – the story of who people are and why they do the things they do. In Runes of Magic the lore is a bit ungainly, but that may be due more to clumsy translation than flawed writing. The basic storyline is as intriguing as it is awkward, and will leave you wanting more information to fill in the gaps.
The early quest zone is pleasantly compact, making quick work of the initial levels 1-10. Upon hitting level 10, you are finally able to choose your second class. The dual class feature is a great idea, but the reality leaves a lot to be desired. Each class must be leveled separately. As a result, it feels as if you are forced to level your character twice. This would be a deal breaker for us but for the other exceptional features the game has to offer.
With an in-depth crafting system, it is very satisfying to spend a few quiet hours gathering and crafting. Each item crafted has a chance to ‘proc’ into higher quality green or blue items, resulting in eager anticipation of each finished ‘make’. You may also craft in the privacy of your own home or even your guild’s castle. Housing not only gives you storage for your materials and loot, but also serves as a place where friends can visit. Housing is free for all players and offers bank access and class changes through the services of a housemaid NPC.
Upon hitting level 10, you are finally able to choose your second class
RoM offers a choice between Player vs. Player (PvE) servers. PvE servers offer consensual PvP through a dueling system and voluntary flagging. When you do flag, your opponent must also be flagged before combat can begin. It is a simple combat system with no risks or rewards.
PvP servers, on the other hand, offer free for all worldwide PvP combat, but only after you have reached level 15. While that is enough to make avid PvP’ers grin in anticipation, what makes the PvP servers truly exciting is a murder/reputation system similar to Ultima Online, but with some wicked twists.
Reputation is a number line, with new players beginning at zero. Players in the negative are ‘Evil, while players on the positive side are ‘Good’. Colored names and titles indicate progression into good or evil, which is all very standard. The twist is that it doesn’t stop with pretty colors and spiffy titles. There is a devious risk and reward system in place.
Evil players receive increased damage, talent points, special items and titles but they suffer from decreased defenses, an increasing chance to drop loot on death and the possibility of being sent to Hell (prison). Good players receive increased hit points, a reduced chance to drop loot on death, special items and of course their own set of titles. Reputation gains and losses are decided by the results of the fight rather than who initiated the attack. If an Evil player defeats a Good player, the evil player looses reputation as does the good player. Also, as you’d expect, if the Good player manages o defeat the Evil one, the Good player gains reputation.
If you have played WoW or any game using the ‘standard MMO interface’ you will be familiar with the game’s controls. Another upside to Runes of Magic is that players can create add-ons for the game. In fact RoM feels very much like vanilla WoW and many other MMORPGs on the market. Unless you’ve been playing something like Darkfall, the interface, graphics questing and PvP will be very comfortable for you.
You can’t help but compare Runes of Magic to other subscription-based fantasy MMOs; it’s just that good. The fact is that it’s not a subscription game, it’s free-to-play, and when compared to other F2P games on the market it’s simply outstanding. If the developers can eliminate the pervasive gold spam and fix the dual class leveling system, RoM will be competitive enough to lure gamers from better-known subscription games. RoM has earned a lot of respect for the F2P game market.