PC Review: Runes of Magic

A free MMORPG on par with WoW? Almost…

Back in February, I previewed the beta version of Runes of Magic. I concluded that it’s going to be interesting to see how Runes of Magic progresses over the upcoming months and if it will indeed be a worthy contender into the MMO arena and it’s looking to be another good MMO that any fan should give a try. Two months have passed and the game has launched to the masses, so has it overcome its small problems or does it fail to live upto expectations?
Well, if I’m being honest…it doesn’t appear that a lot has changed over the past months. That’s not a bad thing by any stretch though, I’m sure little technical things have been fixed…although I didn’t really come across that many visual problems during my time with the game. Essentially, Runes of Magic delivers on its promise of providing a free MMORPG with a lot of depth. Perhaps it isn’t as fancy as the subscription MMO’s out there, but it’s still a great effort nonetheless and Frogster deserve a lot of credit for it.

While playing the game, it’s easy to see that there is plenty for you to do. You won’t run out of quests anytime soon, so chances of becoming bored are small. That being said, there’s nothing that memorable about the ones that I tried. Don’t get me wrong, I think they are good…just not groundbreaking. The same applies to combat; it’s all pretty standard stuff when compared to other MMO’s which is a shame. I would have liked the game to take a few risks, do something innovative and stand out from the crowd.

Unfortunately, Runes of Magic fails to deliver on that so far. It has a lot of replay value, but it does become a bit samey after a while. If the team had done something like made the combat unique, then perhaps it would have an edge that would be worth mentioning. Instead it’s an MMORPG stripped down to nuts and bolts, which isn’t the worst thing in the world…it just stops it from growing into something special.
In the preview, I provided 25 things that the game does and said my favourite was being able to create waypoints to your objectives, which definitely helps for those who get lost easily. Having played the game for a considerable amount of time now, I’d say that this and being able to customise your property being my favourite features of the game. You can also plough real money into digital items to help support the game, it’s not required…but it does give you a nice boost if you have the spare cash, although with the recession…it’s not that likely we’ll be spending that much there.

If there’s one thing that surprised me originally with the game, it was just how good it looks. It’s colourful and vibrant and actually looks a lot better than some subscription games. Maybe the game could have benefited from voice-acting quest-givers instead of the sub-standard text boxes that we’ve come to expect from the genre.

The Verdict

Runes of Magic is a pretty standard MMORPG. It doesn’t do anything wrong, it just lacks that spark which most MMO’s have. But if money is tight and you want a free MMORPG to play, then this is the best of the best.