|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Runewaker||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Frogster Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Mar. 19, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: MMO||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
There are six main classes and sub-classes to choose from for a total of thirty different class combinations. The classes include mage, knight, warrior, priest, scout, and rogue. Once you level your main class to 10, you will proceed to the revered city of Varanas where you will select your sub-class. The gathering skills will allow you to collect wood, herbs, and minerals for production.
Utilizing the six production skills of carpentry, cooking, alchemy, blacksmithing, tailoring, and armor-crafting, you can create a plethora of items including potions, clothes, weapons, and protective armor. It will take a long time to collect and produce things if you dont plan on making some actual cash purchases, but as I mentioned, theres a lot of appealing quests in the game to keep you interested.
Refined customization of items can be enhanced and hastened by the use of the Arcane Transmutor. This feature allows you to acquire attributes from weapons and armor and blend it with other items. You can purchase gold or diamonds with real money to access the Transmutor, or you can complete the 10 daily quests to acquire the juice for the use of the Transmuter. You are not forced to level-up at any time, so you wont necessarily feel pressured to part with your hard-earned cash. Just know your place and dont try to take on any characters with too high a level. The same goes for player-vs.-player servers where you might feel the need to level-up quickly to get in on the action. You will receive items for successful kills, so take your time and savor the slaughter before you reach for your wallet.
Runes of Magic is a deep game, but its very user-friendly for beginners large arrows will literally point you in the right direction if you need them. In addition, a more subtle radar system will help you locate loot, villages, and NPCs. I never really felt lost in the game, as much as I felt as though I was exploring new territory. The control system offers both point-and-click with the mouse or various key commands. Its a natural-feeling system that you adapt to using the shortcuts for popular moves. There are some excellent panoramic views of valleys, mountains, desert wastelands, forests, and sprawling cites. The map is huge and very nicely detailed, but there are some work-in-progress issues such as seemingly unfinished regions, inappropriate sound cue activations, and some poor translations.
By all indications, Runes of Magic is only going to get bigger and better. Although its available for free, if you love the game, you should feel obligated to support the developers by visiting the Item Shop. If youre a purist, keep in mind that you can purchase items that are purely cosmetic. Consider that your price of admission to a wonderfully enchanted world.
CCC Senior Writer