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Runes Of Magic Diary: Week Two

July 8th, 2010 by

Hola y bienvenidos de nuevo a mi pieza épica mes en Runas de Magia. La semana pasada … Wait, what do you mean you don’t speak Spanish? Oh very well…

Hello and welcome back to my month long piece on Runes of Magic. Last week saw Rusty Ringstinger grind his way through the backwaters of Pioneer’s Colony to learn his warrior craft. As Rusty bid farewell to his demanding yokel quest-masters, his sights were set to the North, Varanas ho!

Varanas greeted me a full five minutes before I arrived, it’s tall spires stretching to the sky in clearly the biggest settlement I’ve seen yet. As the looming fortifications grew ever taller with proximity, I noticed a subtle change in the environment around me. Up until now any creature I’ve maimed has been passive i.e. they will not attack unless I hit them first. Awaiting me was a sea of red creature labels, advertising their aggressive nature. Has Runes of Magic got serious? Is it turning into a tactical MMO rather than a string of grind and gather quests? We shall see…

Taxi!

Up close, Varanas didn’t disappoint, the towering spires giving way to huge arches of stone, cobbled avenues and a real sense of verticality. My first Varanian friend was one of the many teleporters of the city, the scale of the city warranting a fast travel system. Via the trusted medium of floating exclamation mark I was directed to the West side of the city where I would find a blacksmith with a quest. It seemed the moustachioed metallurgist had a package that needed to be delivered to the East side, being the helpful warrior that I am, I didn’t delay in trotting East. Imagine my surprise when I was asked to deliver another package, this time to the South. I shall not divulge the next four quests but suffice to say I was guided around Varanas like a toddler on reigns. Complaining aside I can see the point in being led around such a huge space. If it weren’t for the hugely detailed annotated map, a lot of people would get lost, but that’s the thing, I can read a map. (It’s asking for directions I can’t do!)

Sight-seeing over I was directed to see the Adventurer Guild, oooh, sounds promising. Walking into the circular room I was greeted by a multitude of class trainers, one for each character class in the game. For reaching level 10 I was given access to a second class, giving me a synergy of abilities. Basically in most other MMOs you choose a character class at the beginning of the game: warrior, priest, scout, knight, rogue etc. Each class has access to different abilities and equipment, radically changing the way you play the game. Runes of Magic has attempted to shake things up by giving each player two complete classes. For example, if a knight chooses priest as his secondary class, he would gain access to all the healing spells of a priest whilst still retaining the stonewall defence of a knight. This gives players a multitude of different character types to experiment with to tailor their character to the way they’d like to play. Unfortunately Rusty doesn’t know a lot about the classes, he’s only level 10 after all. After being given a one paragraph general synopsis of each class he was left clueless in what was to be a game-changing decision. Fortunately Rusty doesn’t know the meaning of the word pressure either, so with gay abandon he skipped up to the knight and no doubt entered into a secondary life of chivalrous acts and jousting.

Scalok or Murloc?

For the second time, Rusty had a knight inside him (a warrior has to make his money somehow). The problem was that knight was a level 1 living in a level 10 world. The Adventurers guild had anticipated this and gave Rusty the chance to teleport to a brand new area where appropriate quests awaited. Considering he hadn’t been given anywhere to else to go, Rusty thought what the hell, let’s go, engage! In a flash he was transported to Reifort Camp, inhabited by friendly goat-people. Despite the obvious physiological differences, one thing remained the same, the trusty exclamation point, sigh. If Richard Attenborough wondered across this caprine race, I’m sure one of his first queries would be how a species could survive if they’ve somehow lost the ability to move off the fecking spot to deliver their own damn package! He’d continue to muse upon the symbiotic nature of an NPC’s immobility and the queue of adventurers that meet their every whim. But the real question would be who came first, the NPC or the egg, I mean adventurer. Contemplating these higher thoughts and the meaning of life itself, Rusty took every quest available barely reading the text, things would become clear. The ever helpful map guided Rusty to the exact quest points where various marsh weeds could be found, enemies dispatched or packages delivered. Yet the quests kept coming, each new delivery quest gave a new NPC laden with minor quibbles that only a skilled warrior-knight could solve.

The next few hours were a blur of marsh-lands, gathering unlikely flora and creatures that look a lot like a Murloc, but not quite. As the levels dinged by Rusty gained the staple skills of knighthood, and suitably impressed with the different style of gameplay. With the warrior skillset, one skill would unlock another in a chain, normally ending with a large powerful attack. Defence isn’t really an option as your main focus is killing your foes before they kill you. The knight is the tank, his heavy chain armour soaking up attacks that would down a warrior. The knight is happier with a long drawn-out battle that allows him to stack several of his skills on an enemy before “cashing” them in with one massive attack that will replenish his mana and take up to 50% of a foes health.

Sorry, you must get this all the time but, are you horny?

But all Rusty’s progress came to a screeching halt when his knight hit level 11. As he was a warrior at heart, his secondary class could not progress past his primary. Back in the Reifort camp Rusty approached the house-maid and switched back to his primary class. His warrior side seemed the same, he still couldn’t wear chain armour and his stats seemed no stronger than before. What was the point of spending 8 hours levelling up his inner knight? But wait, what’s this? Rusty noted that he could still perform most of his knight skills while in warrior mode, success! By inflicting his foes with the stackable weakening curses of a knight, his DPS warrior side could more effectively melt away the bad guys health like a packet of Skips in the rain. While he was stacking his rage meter was ever filling meaning by switching between skills he could manage his mana and rage independently increasing his fighting longevity indefinitely. Oh how the Adventurer’s guild would be proud of him. He couldn’t wait to get back and show them his shiny new 2H sword. But… He couldn’t. It occurred to Rusty that he’d no idea of how to get back to civilisation. The ever helpful map drew a blank because although it’s incredibly detailed for the map you’re on, it neglects to tell you how all the maps are connected, or where the hell you are in the game-world. Rusty suddenly felt very small and lost, he wondered if Pioneer’s Colony would have him back, he didn’t even mind being an NPC, just as long as he knew where he was.

Will Rusty escape his purgatory and get back to civilisation? Would Pioneer’s Colony take him back? And will he finally get a helmet to call his own? You’ll have to wait until next week to find out…

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