Ryzom is a sci-fi/fantasy MMORPG that has been through a number of strange ups and downs. Enjoy dynamic weather, seasons, deep crafting and skill-based progression in Ryzom, one of the more unique MMO experiences available!
Publisher: Winch Gate
Graphics: Medium Quality
EXP Rate: Medium
PvP: Factions / Duels
Filesize: 7 GB
Pros: +Original and In-depth skill based progression system. +Players can create their own skills / abilities. +Great resource gathering and crafting system. +Incredibly detailed game world (Ecosystems, Seasons, Weather, etc). +
Cons: -A bit dated (graphically). -Steep learning curve.
Free Trial Restrictions: No time limit. Capped at level 125, halfed experience gain, limited storage.
There is no traditional class system in Ryzom. Instead, players level up various four seperate skill groups by using abilities under those groups: fighting, magic, foraging, and crafting. Potentially, a player could max out every single ability in every single group, under every single branching tree, but this would take an incredible amount of time. Depending on your choices within a skill group, your abilities will become more and more specialized as you progress, breaking up into a tree.
Fight – Attack enemies with weapons, whether ranged or melee, to level up this skill. Unlocks various abilities related to simply dealing direct physical damage.
Magic – Attack enemies with magic, or heal and buff your allies, or yourself, in combat to level up this skill. Includes everything from buffs, debuffs, heals, and direct damage.
Foraging – Resource gathering levels this skill group. It can be specialized in a number of different directions, increasing the speed and efficiency of your ability to gather resources, and enhancing your ability to gather specific resources, as well as locate them.
Crafting – Craft items to level up this skill group. Eventually, you may choose to specialize as a crafter, becoming better at crafting specific kinds of items and gear.
Ryzom Featured Video
By, B. Olivia
Formerly known as The Saga of Ryzom, Ryzom was rebranded for marketing purposes recently, as contemporary businesspeople know that the average consumer is far more attracted to simple, easy-to-read words rather than full, flowery sentences. Originally released way back in the days of 2004, Ryzom floundered and failed because of competition with World of Warcraft and the many, many other MMOs that were trying to grab a piece of the pie. Unlike many MMOs that failed during that troubled time, however, Ryzom remained in stasis. The game changed hands, and was supported by a very loyal and ravenous fanbase that kept it on life support until it could be gloriously resurrected in 2010. If a game can last this long and come around for a second attempt, it must have some redeeming qualities, yes? Let’s take a look.
Up to the Armpits
Bring your hip-waders, because this game is deep. This isn’t your kid brother’s MMO, this is a whole new experience. Ryzom does not have a class system, and is instead powered by a skill system. As noted in the overview, the skills are divided into groups, and these groups branch out into trees at various points of development, further increasing specialization. Eventually, the number of groups becomes very large. In the beginning, you simply leveled “magic” perhaps by casting magic spells. Eventually you may branch into healing or damaging magic, only gaining exp for each when you do either action. Then debuffs. Then specific elements. Then buffs. It goes on and on for every imaginable thing, each enormous tree covering various abilities and unlockables.
Sounds intense, right? We haven’t even scratched the surface. Now let’s go into how abilities in Ryzom actually work. Get ready to have your mind blown.
In Ryzom, you make your own abilities. That’s right, you don’t get to level whatsit and unlock strike of awesome rank whatever. You unlock various “stanzas” that are both credits and restrictions to the ability. You alter everything from mana cost, to range, to speed, to power, to element, to accuracy, to AoE, balancing it all out with ranks of these stanzas to ensure the ability isn’t overpowered. You design and name everything you do, from how you swing your sword, to how you heal (is it fast, but high mana cost and low efficiency, or slow, with higher efficiency? Make an ability for each!), to how you forage for resources or craft. There’s too much here for me to explain in two of these reviews while doing the game justice, so I’ll just leave at this: Ryzom is mind-blowingly, obscenely involved. Customization fiends and powergamers will have an absolute blast.
The Struggle of Hominkind
Ryzom has a really unique and very interesting setting, taking place on an alien world called Atys. You choose from four races, each extremely distinct, and each allied with two mysterious factions. The Matis and Trykers are allied with the technologically apt Karavan, and they are appropriately indifferent to nature’s harmony, but also fairly honest and to the point. The Karavan seek to exploit Atys for its bounty. The Zorai and Firos are allied with the Kami, creepy little beings that are the self-proclaimed “protectors of Atys”, and are opposed to the Karavans attempts at exploiting the planet. It may seem like a cut and dry battle of good vs. evil, but it’s a little more complex than that. The Kami, for example, are deceptive and alien. Their true motivations are very hard to discern. My personal favorite race was the Matis. In addition to being the prettiest race (in my opinion) they are also snobby, Karavan-allied geneticists who have spliced themselves with plant DNA. They are the coolest, meanest bio-botanists I’ve ever seen.
Everything you use and see in the game is made from organic material, like wood. The only individuals you’ll ever see using metal-based technology is the Karavan, so get used to running around with Diddy-Kong style jungle-pistols. It isn’t always silly looking, though. Some of the higher level organic blades and weapons are actually extremely cool to look at. Between this and the gigantic roots of the world tree spanning through the sky in nearly every area of the world, Atys is a place that is unlike any other I’ve seen in the MMOverse, and one that honestly inspires a sense of wonder.
A Living World
One of the most wonderful aspects of Ryzom is the ecology of the planet itself. Atys, the game’s world, has seasons and weather patterns, varying from region to region. Animals travel in herds, or sometimes alone. They roam and graze, seeking out new areas as the seasons change. Predators prey on herbivores. Different areas may yield different resources for harvesting depending on the weather and the season. These funky alien animals are usually benign and friendly, often coming up to the player to examine them before losing interest and walking away (this is occasionally creepy and/or adorable). Other animals are aggressive, and attack on sight. The developers of the game took great pains to ensure Ryzom felt like it was taking place in a very real, active world, and for the most part, they succeeded. Few other MMOs bother fleshing out their worlds so completely.
Playing the Game
The actual act of playing Ryzom is a fairly standard experience. It plays much like any other MMO you would expect to play. Combat can be fairly mobile or stationary, depending on your weapon layout and abilities. Your playstyle will depend completely upon your skill choices and selections. The game is fairly bug-free, and a smooth experience. There are a few snags, however, that I personally found pretty irksome.
The first thing you might notice when playing Ryzom, like Regnum Online, is that there is no way to jump. This is because Ryzom doesn’t have any sense of actual gravity – players are glued to the ground for eternity. This can lead to some extremely obnoxious situations involving cliffs and a desire to take a shortcut. In most other MMOs of the day, we can just slide down the cliff and take fall damage. In Ryzom, an entirely new route has to be charted and followed. This, as you might imagine, gets really, really tiresome. Traveling in general takes quite a long time in Ryzom, but this is partly due to the fact that the world itself is massive, and organized to be realistic, rather than sectioned off into level-appropriate blocs. Trying to travel from one major capitol to the next can be dangerous and nigh impossible if your skill levels are too low.[SinglePic not found]
Playing the initial phase of the game is fascinating, but the game’s ability effects are fairly unexciting. It’s essentially what you’d expect from a standard MMO, so it can’t be knocked too much in this regard. Later on avatars start to look cooler and use flashier abilities, so it just takes some investment like any other game! Visually, Ryzom isn’t too bland, being just about on par with WoW at release. Unlike WoW, however, Ryzom hasn’t received any graphical facelifts, so the game retains a fairly basic three-dimensional appearance. The character customization isn’t the worst, by far, but a few more hair options would have been great. The number of facial tattoos available is mind-boggling, on the other hand. Seriously, there’s so many!
PvP wise – Ryzom offers a handful of options ranging from standard 1v1 duels to team arenas. The game world has special areas dedicated to Guild vs Guilty battles as well as a faction vs faction system. The faction wars system is available to players with 30 or more karma with the Kami or or the Karavan and uses a flag based system. Players must “flag” themselves to before they can begin fighting. Once flagged, they can attack or be attacked by other “flagged” players. PvP isn’t exactly the main focus of Ryzom though, but it’s there for people who want to enjoy it.
Final Verdict: Great
Despite being dated, Ryzom comes through in the end with a the best score I can possibly give simply because it’s so damned unique. The game has some serious depth, and a very mature playerbase that’s quite solid, and reasonably sized. The free trial lasts longer than most, and gives unlimited access to the game, so it’s definitely worth a shot. You just mind find it’s worth paying for once you get sucked into the compelling world of Atys!
Ryzon System Requirements
OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 2000
CPU: Pentium 3 1 GHz
RAM: 512 MB
HDD: 7 GB Free
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce 2 or Equivalent card with 64MB
OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 2000
CPU: Pentium 4 2 GHz or Equivalent
RAM: 1024 MB (1GB)
HDD: 7 GB Free
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce 4 Ti or Equivalent card with 128MB