UPDATE: This game has been shutdown and is no longer available
Rise of Dragonian Era (RODE) offers players the ability to ride on the backs of dragons in both player-version-enemy and player-versus-player combat. Each of the four classes in game has two specializations to choose from, offering a variety of options. Additionally, the game offers a detailed mount and pet system, as well as achievements, to give players many things to enjoy while playing.
RODE Featured Video
Rise of Dragonian Era, otherwise known as RODE, is the latest offering from Netgame. Similar to MMORPGs like Runes of Magic and Gates of Andaron (4Story), RODE promises a complex class system and fast-paced player-versus-player combat. Oh, and you also get to fly around on a dragon and battle in the skies.
Trying to launch RODE is an exercise in frustration. First, you log into the RODE website and download a file that downloads the game client. Then, depending on what web browser you use, there is a separate plug-in that needs to be installed to actually launch the game. While the game is not browser-based, its browser-launch system ends up being more complicated than most desktop installed games.
The Start of a Legend
After an opening cinematic, you choose between two factions: Firean and Azurian. Each faction has three races to choose from. Firean has Halfkin, Asrai and Shedi; Azurians boast Kaebi, Orial and Sinkong. The Halfkin and Kaebi are the short races; Halfkin are decidedly elfish looking, while the Kaebi are more devilish. Asrai are definitely elvish, and the Orial’s are human. Finally, Shedi and Sinkong are bestial races – Wolf and Monkey respectively – that can only be male.
Your next choice is between one of four classes: Fighter, Ranger, Wizard and Darkmage. Classes are locked by race: Orial and Asrai cannot choose Darkmage, Halfkin and Kaebi cannot be Wizards, and Shedi and Sinkong are restricted to Fighter and Ranger.
Once you’ve chosen your class, you get the option of a few face types, face shapes (makeup or facial hair), hair styles, and costume colors. You’ll also choose skin and hair color as well. RODE differs from many free-to-play games, however, by offering two additional creation screens after these basic selections are made. These screens contain various sliders that control body shape, face shape, and more, allowing you to create a one-of-a-kind character.
Learning the Ropes
After creating a character, you will be treated to another cinematic, which details your character’s backstory. The backstory is mostly the same for both factions, with very minor differences. When you’re given control of your character, you’ll find there are no tutorials to be had, except for instructions on moving your character. No direction is given on how to interact with NPCs, how to interact with objects, how to attack, or other basic game controls.
Right click is utilized for most actions in RODE, including interacting with NPCs, gathering from crafting nodes, looting chests dropped from monsters, and using skills on your action bars. You’re given three starting quests in the first area, which, while designed to teach you these controls, fail in their intended role.
Them’s Fightin’ Words
Combat in RODE follows a classical MMORPG format. You auto-attack with your equipped weapons, and can use a variety of class skills. Skills are activated using the number keys, or by right clicking on the icon on the action bar. Most basic enemies are defeated easily; however, expect to take a lot of damage. RODE is designed with grouping in mind, and tougher monsters are nearly impossible to solo. Fortunately, anyone who attacks the tougher monsters will get quest credit, although only the first person to attack it will get loot. Targeting can also be a major problem; using Tab to find the nearest target can and will target things behind you, not just in your field of vision.
All enemies drop chests upon death, which are then looted for money, and occasionally, items. Money is very tight early on, and training becomes more costly as you rank up your skills. At higher levels, chests gain the ability to sometimes be a mimic, which attack you when you try to open them. Defeating a mimic rewards you more money and better loot.
I Don’t See Nothing Wrong …
Leveling up in RODE is slow. Each level earns your character a new skill. At level 10, you can choose one of two specializations for your character, each with a different playstyle. Every level after 10, you also earn a talent point that you can use to enhance your specialization’s abilities.
There are many quests to do in RODE to help you level, though they seem to taper off at higher levels. An achievement system offers a plethora of achievements to obtain, as each area you discover, each monster you defeat, and each node you gather from are tallied. This always means there’s some task you can perform while playing. There is also battleground and open-world PvP for players to engage in.
RODE also features crafting in the form of gathering and crafting skills. Gathering from resource nodes levels up the specific gathering skill (mining, fishing, and extracting), and you can select a crafting skill from Alchemy, Metalworking, Jewelcrafting and Tailoring. You can only learn one crafting skill, but you automatically learn all three gathering skills.
Butterfly in the Sky
RODE’s primary focus is its dragon system. Before you reach level 10, you’ll obtain a dragon egg that requires your help to hatch. The egg is a minipet that follows you around. When you use your pet in combat, its loyalty will rise. To hatch your dragon egg, you must raise its loyalty to 100%, and obtain an item rarely dropped by difficult monsters. Eventually, this dragon is supposed to become your companion in the skies, although the system has not yet been implemented.
You’ll also receive a mount from a quest fairly early on, which also functions off the loyalty system. Mounts can be used to fight with, which is a nice departure from many games where they are merely transport. Using mounts to attack builds their fatigue, which can only be reduced by purchasing items from a vendor. The mount and pet system is woefully unexplained in the game, leaving you to figure them out on your own.
Final Verdict: Fair
RODE does some things well: NPCs have at least one voice-acted line when you interact with them, the game’s graphics are high quality, and the ability to fly on a dragon is quite appealing. The game is, however, bogged down by a variety of issues. Death carries a stiff experience loss to it, taking away huge chunks of progress and time. Crafting items requires an additional fee, on top of the fee to learn the recipe, and the cost of the materials you must purchase from a vendor. Finally, various graphical issues, such as objects not being solid, allow for many situations where players can get stuck and must wait for a GM to free them. If the idea of challenging, party-based play sounds appealing, though, you might get some mileage out of RODE.
RODE System Requirements
OS: Windows (R) Vista/ XP/2000 (95/98/ME/NT/Server are not supported)
CPU: PENTIUM DUAL CORE 2.1X
Graphics Card: GEFORCE 4600GT 256MB
OS: Windows (R) Vista/ XP/2000 (95/98/ME/NT/Server are not supported)
CPU: PENTIUM DUAL CORE 3.0
Graphics Card: GEFORCE 9800GT 512MB
DirectX: 9.0c or better