Runes of Magic
Runes of Magic Overview
Runes of Magic is a MMORPG that provides a thorough experience, touching on nearly all elements commonly seen in modern MMOs, ranging from PvP sieges to player housing, with all the customization that you expect in-between. It’s a title that stands out not only for its scale, but for its dual-class system that lets players mix & match their skills, while simultaneously acquiring special skills restricted to their specific combination. And with constant releases of new content, the experience is constantly expanded. There are currently 3 races and 10 classes, with some of them being race specific:
Warrior – Masters of armed combat. Warriors can use any close combat weapon and any type of armor besides plate. They deliver special strikes and blows which have various effects on their targets.
Scout - Adapt at long-ranged combat, Scouts use their bows or crossbows to deal heavy damage. They are vulnerable at close range and rely on a series of evasive and delaying skills to keep enemies from closing in.
Rogue - Specialized at inflicting deadly blows at a fast rate, rogues use daggers which can cause heavy bleeding or be coated in poison. They are very capable at dodging blows, but their speed comes at the expense of armor and health. Rogues can also lay traps, scout, and increase a group’s income generation.
Mage - Commanding the elements of fire and lightning, Mages deal heavy damage from afar. They possess direct damage, and area of effect spells. Mages can also cast barrier spells and strength buffs, adding to their utility.
Priest (Human Only) - While priests can cast water based spells to deal damage, they primarily play a supportive role. Priests can cast healing spells, boost their allies’ stats, and even bring fallen comrades back from the dead. They can equip shields which aid their defense, but are still frail.
Knight (Human Only) - Heavily armored fighters, Knights are the only class that can wear plate armor. Knights go into battle head-first equipped with shields and light-based attacks. They are the tanks of RoM and have the ability to draw their foes attacks towards themselves.
Druid (Elf Only) - Attuned to nature, Druids are a versatile class capable of healing allies, casting damage over time spells, and even mind controlling opponents. Druids possess a special ability that allows them to gather Nature’s Power and unleash it at any time to cast powerful spells.
Warden (Elf Only) - Close combat specialists. Wardens can use a diverse set of weapons and can wear chain armor. Wardens can summon powerful pets to fight alongside them, and have access to magical spells which strengthen themselves and weaken their opponents.
Champion (Dwarf Only) - Rune-wielding tanks, Champions mix close combat proficiency with a variety of buffs and spells, while retaining a capacity for mobility. Their abilities range from close-combat magic, to ancient blacksmithing that enables them to enchant weapons and armors.
Warlock (Dwarf Only) - Long range damage and support, the cloth wearing Warlocks benefit from spells capable of not only damaging the opponent, but also weakening them with a variety of curses and hexes. If needs be, they are also able to switch to a team support role.
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Runes of Magic Review
By G. Barbeau-Roberge
Runes of Magic has been a juggernaut of the free-to-play industry for quite a while now, with millions of players, a huge world, and now a fifth major update that brings Runes of Magic an additional race, and two entirely new classes. It is hard to review without a short disclaimer; this game looks, feels and plays a lot like World of Warcraft. It’s not only a polite imitation; it’s an almost awkward copy in parts. However this doesn’t mean that it’s not able to stand on its own merits, and Runes of Magic makes a point of expanding in directions that World of Warcraft has not even touched. Thus, Runes of Magic is a title of its own, and will be reviewed without bias. Though if you don’t enjoy the classical WoW style gameplay, it’s very fair to say that this game might not be for you. So with that said, how does Runes of Magic fare post-chapter 5?
Runes of Magic starts off strong straight from the character creator, staying true to its promotional efforts that banked on above average customization elements. It’s definitely the case here, with three races to pick from (human, elves, dwarves), a truckload of faces, hair styles, and sliders to change the size of the variety of features you have access to. You also have to choose a server type, allowing you to play on an open PvP server if you so desire. The classes are definitely one of the highlights of Runes of Magic, and where it exceeds most; they’re not only interesting, but you can also mix them by using the dual class system. This allows you to use the skills and mechanics of both classes, in addition to awarding you some special elite skills specific to your chosen combination. As an example, you could have Warlock, to benefit from curses, and Mage for some direct damage capabilities. Wonder what a Priest/Rogue would look like? Here’s your chance! Once you’ve figured out what you want to do, you log in, do the little tutorial for a reward, and you’re off.
The gameplay’s strength lies in diversity; there is more to do here than in most MMOs, with a complete crafting system, PvP options, dungeons and, of course, five chapters worth of PvE content. As far as the PvE goes, don’t expect anything out of the ordinary — you grab quests in town, which involve a variety of “go-there-kill-this” quests, do them, then return for rewards, until you move on to the next hunting area. Runes of Magic spices this up by adding things like public quests, which have you cooperate with many other players to defeat a foe in a small area (think, RIFT or Warhammer Online), or world PvP, which like other MMOs with the feature, will have you watching your back at all times. Crafting is another fun goodie and works essentially like World of Warcraft, where you pick gathering skills to harvest resources from nodes, and crafting in order to make stuff out of them. Dungeons also provide some very interesting encounters, and allow players to raise the difficulty for increased rewards.
With that said, the graphics and animations, though strong at release, are now starting to show some age, mostly in comparison to some of the more recent releases. The animations are a bit stiff, and the interface feels very rough. Environments are somewhat better, but still nothing amazing. The interface, while tolerable a few years back, is starting to feel antiquated, mostly when it comes to the quest system. This is a game whose weakness is essentially age, and its comparison to modern heavyweight competitors. While Runes of Magic does it all, there isn’t much that can’t be found in other recent releases, done better, with some notable exceptions (housing comes to mind). Even the dual-classing system begins to pale in comparison to more polished systems like Aion’s class trees. This is a game that has aged badly, and finds relief mostly in the fact that it manages to gather so many features under one release, while adding more as time goes.
A special mention has to be made for the in-game store. The sheer amount of stuff you can purchase in it is simply astounding, going from costumes to mounts, to in-game housing furniture. This goes right on top of the game’s already strong focus on detailed customization, allowing you to go one step further by getting that special mount you’ve been aching for, or that neat class costume (and there are quite a few). Unfortunately, Runes of Magic has a long history of going past vanity items, to give purchasers a variety of in-game advantages through enchantment items. Though this is a small downside compared to the neat stuff you can find in there, it’s still likely to deter a few players from taking the competitive approach, since it requires you to dish out your hard-earned money (rather than time and effort) for much desired diamonds (in-game currency).
Whether you’re new or returning, Runes of Magic has something to offer for everyone. With several major updates to keep the content fresh, it ensures that there is always something interesting to return to. It’s a title that stands out by its capacity to bring together an enormous amount of content, making it, in a way, more than the sum of its parts. If you enjoy classical MMORPGs and give it some time, I can assure you that the pros far outweigh the cons. Thus, if you haven’t tried this classic yet, you’d shoot yourself in the foot by not giving it a shot.
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Runes of Magic System Requirements
OS: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7
CPU: Dual Core 2.0GHz or equivalent
Graphics Card: Direct X 9.0c compatible with 128MB RAM, Pixel Shader 2.0+