Normally I like everything I write to have a story behind it, my love for gaming is more about the experiences, the game itself the silken threads for tales to be woven. However I have been seriously let down by Runes of Magic this week, the promising origins of Rusty Ringstinger slowly coming apart at the seams. You may remember at the end of last week Rusty became lost in a marshland with endless quests, but he was cautiously optimistic. Let us now join Rusty once again. A weak sun creeps over a bleak marshland, as if knowingly hesitant to spread it’s anaemic rays onto the sodden ground. Two long shadows are cast, one belongs to Rexic, a high-level Polish Rogue. The other shadow clings to a dishevelled man, unkempt and foul-smelling. Rexic correctly guessed this poor-man had been wallowing in the mire for many moons, if it weren’t for his shoddy equipment, Rexic would be convinced it was a third-rate NPC stood before him. “Hallo? Why are you not moving?” No reply was forthcoming, the stranger’s eyes staring into infinity. Feeling he’d done his part, the rogue mounted his steed and continued his journey, remembering the cursory tale of other lost souls trapped in the purgatory of The Marshlands.
An eye twitches, life slowly trickling into the hibernating brain behind them. Strange memories ran through Rusty’s mind, images from a past life maybe? He remembered a goat-man offering him something called XP if he ran to the next village to deliver some bread, a portly salesman rewarding boots for those with the nouse to rid the forest of eagles and a troubled mystic who needed herbs for potions. Ever keen to impress the needy NPCs he delivered that bread, picked those herbs and sufficiently thinned the eagle population. But were they happy? NO! Despite bending to their every whim, it turned out there was a slightly different looking eagle in a slightly different part of the woods that needed culling. A switch in Rusty’s brain flicked, if these menial tasks must be done to get onto the really good stuff, then so be it. It was with full force Rusty threw himself into the quests. Task after task flew by, being replaced by more jobs each more far-fetched than the last.
On his travels Rusty had seen more damned souls, each in their own personal grind-hell, like wispy ghosts, blind to anyone without an exclamation mark above their head. He remembered thinking he’d never become one of them, his soul too strong, his goal to become the saviour at the very forefront of his mind. He trudged onwards towards eternal glory, no assignment too degrading. But dear reader, the truth is it did start to chip away at his resolve, the rewards inconsequential just the fabled XP mattered, a way out of this tortuous bog. Soon Rusty no longer saw people, just floating punctuation marks, flora and fauna merely numbers in a quest-tracker. It occurred to Rusty he’d become no better than an NPC, mindlessly performing the task he was programmed to do. Fun no longer figured into the equation, just a seldom spoonful of stat-points and blue items to keep him hammering away. Tired with the whole relentlessness of it all, Rusty decided it would be best to go mad, letting his mind fray like pulling loose thread in a woollen jumper.
Ever the exhibitionist, Rusty decided to become insane in style. His first move was to hire a horse from the encampment. Galloping with gay abandon he rode to the edge of the map, hoping to either find a new area to quest or a suitably deranged companion. Soon the marshlands gave way to a spooky forest, evil limbs seemed to arch at him the shadows. Unfortunately the very real bears did arch at him from the shadows, and being a full 5 levels above him they made short work of his tatty breastplate and silly cloak. DEAD. Dusting himself off at the nearest spawning point, Rusty neglected to notice the resurrection penalty and set off due east, towards the main feature on the map, Obsidian. Rather than taking the road, Rusty’s outlandish decision was to ride as the crow flies. Hilly terrain fought against him every step of the way, the creators decision to add realism in a clearly insular land. With sub-conscious reflexes Rusty yanked on the reigns narrowly skidding to a halt before he and his fellow equine pal tumbled off a waterfall. With defiant nature of geography this tumultuous embankment stood, at least 500 feet high. Had Rusty been compus mentis he would’ve gasped at the beauty. Instead, for some reason the word Quadrophenia circulated his mind, and as if pulled by an invisible force he jumped into the precipice. Disappointed by his survival Rusty decided not to leave the lake, instead he imagined being a slice of lemon, the lake a large gin and tonic. By jumping in and out he imagined adding zest to this most gargantuan of beverages.
As the last memories of this idiocy ran through Rusty’s mind, he snapped back to normality. He knew that time was growing very short, he only had one week left to live. He swore to remain sane, and live his fleeting life to the fullest. But where was he? How did he get here? And why did he have a faint taste of goat nipple in his mouth?
Okay, I’d like to break character now, this week has been a royal pain in the arse. As I outlined at the start, I always like my writing to have a story. But truth be told there wasn’t a great deal of story this week, none in fact. I had quest after quest, slowly creeping across the map in a chain of NPCs. At no point did I feel I was progressing in any way, just spending time in this isolated world. This is the real reason that this piece is a little late, I had to spend extra time playing just to try and coax some excitement and variety, but none was forthcoming. Right, that’s me done for the week, do pop along next week. I hope to conclude the epic tale of Rusty and give Runes of Magic an overview, something akin to a traditional review.