Runes of Magic has everything you might expect from an old-style MMORPG.
It is captivating, extremely varied and rather vast; offering a fun and challenging experience to new and veteran RPG players alike.
The game's strengths undeniably rest with its variety, as there are hundreds (if not thousands) of objects to find, collect and / or create.
Whilst the graphics may appear dated by modern standards, Runes of Magic is a perfectly good title for anyone who wants a decent MMORPG without having to spend a fortune.
Developed by Runewaker Entertainment, Runes of Magic is a classical, free-to-play MMORPG which could be accused of being a World of Warcraft clone. There are, however, a number of very interesting features which make it a viable alternative to Blizzard's masterpiece whilst maintaining some originality.
Naturally, within the RPG genre, the first steps of a player's journey is to create a character and assign a race and class. Runes of Magic contains three races (Human, Dwarf and Elf) and has eight classes, each of which are suited to varying styles of game play.
There are some basic customization options yet they are not one of the game's selling points, however they do the job just fine and are more than acceptable.
The game then invites players to take part in an optional tutorial so that they can familiarize themselves with the controls of the game. In this instance the controls are pretty standard for an online RPG, with movement controlled by left-clicking on a location on screen or by using W, A, S and D. Whilst walking using the keyboard, players can turn their character by holding the right mouse button and using the mouse to rotate, or the Q and E keys can be used.
It may take a while to get used to this method of getting from A to B in the world and it can be extremely frustrating when you left click on a location, only for your character to get stuck against a shin-high log and not "know" how to get over or around it! The rest of the on screen navigation is primarily down to the mouse and there are plenty of menus to get used to if you are to succeed in your quests.
It can be extremely frustrating when you left click on a location, only for your character to get stuck against a shin-high log and not "know" how to get over or around it!
In order to gain XP and acquire new skills you must complete quests, which are given to players by NPC's who are marked on the mini-map by a yellow exclamation mark. Quests are fairly standard fare and usually involve travelling to a location, collecting or killing a certain number of objects / hostile NPC's before returning to your quest-giver to receive your reward (usually XP and an object if you're lucky!) Whilst this is good to get players earning experience, it soon becomes tiring and there are occasions where you just want something unexpected to happen to break the monotony.
There are plenty of quests to get you started and the rewards are generous enough to get you leveling-up fairly quickly, which is essential if you want to use more advanced objects! A minor gripe is that once you have been given a quest it is sometimes hard to figure out just where you need to go. One example is when the player is told to travel to the South West Shore to kill 5 hostile NPC's... there is no waypoint given on the map and you are left to wander the world in the hope of finding these elusive creatures!!
There are plenty of quests to get you started and the rewards are generous enough to get you leveling-up fairly quickly.
It won't be long before you accept a quest in Runes of Magic, and find yourself up against a myriad of different foes, and there are many in the game! Learning how to fight is essential to your survival in a world which seems to throw everything at you to stop you in your tracks.
The mechanics of combat in Runes of Magic are fairly simple; you click on a hostile NPC, select a weapon with which to engage said NPC and then proceed to watch your character (hopefully) slay the unfortunate beast... which is easier said than done.
Once players venture away from the safe confines of the beginning area they may realise just how easy it is to become outnumbered by seemingly "simple" enemies. The lesson to learn here is not to become over-confident and to approach each combat situation with caution with suitable preparations in place, otherwise you may become very familiar with the re-spawn screen!
Runes of Magic is beautifully presented both visually and musically which perfectly sets the scene for some epic adventures. The locations in the world are imaginative and vividly colourful, although quite cliche in areas.
Some staple RPG elements can be found (such as giant mushrooms, tree-top dwelling elves and spooky caves) but these only add to the charm of the game and do not detract from the wonderful representation of a world full of magic and exploration.
Give Runes of Magic a try! For a free-to-play RPG it is certainly up there with the best of the genre and the amount of game-play on offer is astounding. While there are the odd one or two negative issues which could be improved upon, Runes of Magic is sure to please fantasy fans both young and old.Ready to enter the world of Runes of Magic? Click here to play now!
What We Liked..
Graphically beautiful presentation
Imaginative and vibrant locations
Huge variety of items to find and skills to learn
.. and what we didn't
NPC's seem "wooden" and lack personality
Combat can be frustrating
What we liked..
.. and what we didn't