by Ariel Carmona Jr.
originally posted at http://www.thepolypost.com
A warrior tank heavily armed for battle with customizable gear, hundreds of in-game quests and side quests and a sprawling fantasy world to explore. Mounts for characters to get around in, spell casters, long-range attacks from ranged weapons, multiple abilities to choose from like cutting wood and mining.
The familiar world of Blizzard’s Azeroth? The frantic action of Dungeons and Dragons Online Stormreach? Turbine’s Mines of Moria? Not exactly.
Though the competitive market of PC games in the fantasy role playing genre has been dominated by Blizzard’s mammoth World of Warcraft since about 2004, a recent addition to the familiar format has at least one distinguishing feature that may appeal to the gaming masses: It is completely free to play.
Runewalker and Frogster Entertainments’s Runes of Magic may be described by some as a “poor man’s World of Warcraft.”
Indeed, there are many similarities to the immensely popular, massively multi-player online role-playing game in which one can easily reach the conclusion or brand this game a Wow clone. However, there are also enough distinguishing characteristics to keep the Blizzard copyright attorneys at bay.
While heavily borrowing from games like WoW and Guild Wars, ROM makes available to players a number of features that make it a fun and entertaining gaming experience.
At first, the camera controls may seem clumsy, but the interface should be easy to pick up for anybody who has played WoW, or similar MMORPGs, with its “whack a mole” style of combat and multiple bosses to defeat.
Another alluring quality the game possesses is the ability for players to level a dual class beginning with level 10. This means a player can have both a warrior and another class dueling on the game server with various skills sets, so it is conceivable to have a warrior with spell casting abilities.
This aspect of ROM is not new, other games have made this feature available to gamers in the past, as is the option to have one’s own in game residence, but that seems to be one of the strengths of ROM, its ability to merge some of the best qualities of previous games to provide a thoroughly engrossing online gaming experience.
ROM may be guilty of copying other games, with in-game events like this Halloween’s pumpkin festival, but they are all the rage these days and bring in a massive amount of players, so, why wouldn’t they?
The one knock on ROM by long time players of other games is the poor graphics in comparison to WoW, though Frogster Interacive has been busy upgrading game servers and the look of the game, something they might have achieved with the latest game expansion this September.
One of the most appealing features of World of Warcraft, to most players is the community, is the ability to play with multiple players online and the relative ease in which players can form a guild or teams of players to adventure with.
ROM may not be at that level yet, considering WoW hosts more than 11 million subscribers worldwide, but at least on some German game servers, ROM has a great number of players no matter what time of day or night prospective players log on.
Since ROM is free to play, players don’t feel the guilt associated with playing a monthly subscription rate and then not making the time for playing the game.
As an alternative to “pay to play” games like Wow or Age of Conan, ROM is a worthy diversion