Potshot on Runes of Magic

This is a 30 second impression.  After the all the hullabaloo and kerfuffle about the $10 Runes of Magic Horse, I thought I’d better actually hoof it on over to actually try out RoM to see if somehow my opinion would change.

I downloaded RoM (about 4 gigs, relatively painless if a bit slow), installed and jumped in game.  Painless.  Unlike some AAA titles, it just worked.  Character selection– one race, familiar basic archetypes:  warrior, mage, scout, rogue, priest, knight.   Slightly more that a WoW level of character customization, but not too much.

The graphic style is somewhere between WoW and Guildwars.  If I had to put it in a nutshell, I’d say it looked like Guildwars, played like WoW but felt more like EQ2.  Everything is quite pretty, bright and glowy and with bloom, soft focused.  The animations are quite smooth and the spell effects are very EQ2 reminiscent.  In my book, all of these are good things.  I had fun.

The tutorial lasts all of about 5 minutes which is just fine.  If you’ve played any other MMO before, you wont need it, except it gives you some free stuff.  Once free of the tutorial you are transported to the noob zone with your Horse for a Day.  A nice addition.  Of course, the first thing that came to mind was “god damn the pusher man”.  Just a taste, and the first one is free.  I like having a horse early on.

The noob zone quests were all fairly typical basic orientation quests– learn gathering skills, learn basic combat, etc.  Still they were not so excessive as to be offputting nor so trivial as to be completely bypassed.

I spent only a couple hours max trying out most of the classes getting to the highest level of 6 and into the second town before I called it a night.  All in all a positive experience.  Stable, pretty, smooth, familiar yet different and enough of a positive experience that I will likely return to see what the future holds.  Very familiar experience, but when I think about it being a F2P game, I feel like they delivered a very high quality product.  What was conspicuously absent was outright suck.

For a F2P game, the level of polish is pretty high.  A few things that could be improved, but overall no deal killers.  Way too early to call this game a keeper, but if more F2P games assiduously stick to the developers Hippocratic Oath of “do no harm to your player base” in the initial experience like RoM has done, then they have a legitimate shot as success.  I have no idea what playing beyond the noob zone holds, but suffice it to say they didn’t eff it up for what I saw.  I had fun, I remain curious, I’d consider giving them money.

This is a 30 second impression, so who knows what my opinion may be down the road.  I could get bored to tears or find religion and hail RoM as the second coming.  So far it seems like a solid F2P option that doesn’t put the MICROTRANSACTION based model in your face.  Kudos to them.  Throughout the noob experience, never once was I beat over the head with solicitations like “If you purchased this you’d be uber”.  The Item Mall was just another menu screen to discover.

After a very brief evening exploring this game, I can say that regardless of whether I expected to play more than a casual month in this game, I’d be willing to throw down for the FREAKING $10 HORSE.  Hell, I feel like sending those guys $10 just because they made a game that didn’t piss me off and make me feel like they stole precious time from my life never to be recovered (let alone the box price…).  Seriously, horse = Alexander Hamilton = Truth.