Well, ladies and gents, magbubukas na ang Runes of Magic on January 8 for its Open Beta and its time for us to really see what all the hoopla is all about. Runes of Magic is brought to us by the good people at IP E-games Philippines and they have brought their heavyweights out of hiding for this particular title. Let’s find out exactly what Runes is.
Runes of Magic is a fantasy MMORPG set in the land of Taborea. Taborea is a fairly peaceful land filled with small villages, big cities (ang hirap nga maglakad sa cities eh… napakalaki), caves, dungeons, and many more locales you might expect in a standard MMORPG. Nothing fancy there, pretty much what you’d expect in a fantasy setting.
You pick a job that tickles your play style. There’s a backstabbing, hide in the shadows rogue. There’s a meat-shield knight. There’s a berserking I-will-kick-your-balls-or-die-trying warrior. Also there’s an abracadabra-your-ass-is-on-fayah mage. A hit-and-run drive (or ride) by expert scout. And to top things off, a “Mr. Pa Buffpls” priest. Standard stuff.
You level up doing quests or killing monsters. You gain more stats and skills as you level and weapons and armor you pick up along your adventures strengthen your character. Potions heal, weapons and armor need repair, you need gold to do commerce. This doesn’t paint a pretty picture much does it? It’s all pretty standard! That is until you delve deeper into the ame.
Runes of Magic is an enchantress dressed as a beggar. Looking at it once, you may think its a World of Warcraft clone (which isn’t exactly a bad thing since WoW is one of the highest rated MMORPGs out there). Later the new features it offers piles up, and you find yourself in a game that is not only deep and very engaging, but unique and oh so special.
First, Runes of Magic offers a dual class system. Not unique to an MMO, but developer Runewaker has topped it off with icing (sarap ng icing may diabetes kami dito). Runes of Magic (ROM) allows you to combine any 2 jobs choosing from the ones listed above. One will be primary, the other secondary. To our surprise, you can switch between your primary and secondary and play a
significantly different way! Let’s say, you play a mage/Knight. It’s totally different when you go knight/mage. And if that’s not enough, you get “premium” skills too! These skills are unique to each class combination. So possibilities are enormous!
Second, Runes of Magic offers a unique loot distribution system. Sa ibang MMO, maghahatian sa item, or ibibigay sa guildmaster then guildmaster mag decide. Sa iba, may need over greed. Yung may kailangan, dun mapupunta item. In ROM, you can all benefit from one item by way of a feature called a Transmutor. A transmutor can take an item and break it down into its simplest magic components. Let’s say for example you get a +3 stamina +3 dex chainmail. Your scout needs the dex but your rogue needs the stamina. There’s only one item though and there are 2 people who need it! You just take your item, isaksak mo sa transmutor, and separate the +3 stamina from +3 dex and fuse them with 2 different items. Boss raids will now be beneficial for everybody in terms of loot, not just experience.
Third and speaking of boss hunts/raids. Bosses in ROM are smart. The standard “tank and spank” doesn’t work anymore (tank and spank -yung knight haharang, everybody fires on it, only the knight is healed). If the boss finds that he is getting hurt more by the scouts, rogues and mages, it switches targets and goes for them instead of the tank. If the boss finds out that the priest is a greater threat for healing everybody, it will go after the father. Plus, the environment plays a role in boss hunts/raids too. Falling rocks, electricity on the floor, fire, lava surrounding you are things you must avoid with your party, while fighting the boss.
Fourth, A housing system. World of Warcraft promised a housing system early in their development stage. Nakasulat pa nga sa box ng WoW na may housing eh. Until now we have yet to see this. In ROM, the housing system is in full swing and has a few added extras. A house is not only a place for your character to rest, it is also a place where you can store your loots and items. What’s more is that you can decorate your house to your liking by purchasing furniture. Yung mga may inner interior decorator diyan matutuwa dito. The furniture are not only for aesthetics, they offer XP boosts for you.
Fifth, the PVP system and Guild system. Siguro nakapanood na kayo ng masayang pelikula na may castle sieging. Panoorin niyo yung Kingdom of Heaven kung hindi pa. Guild vs. Guild combat in Runes will feature a real castle that you and your guild will make. A real guild castle you decorate and design yourself. You decide where to put defenses and where to put your sofa if you want a couch in your castle. Not only that, guildmaster can control everything within that guild too! They have a guild vault where they put in all their loot and cash and they can find out who has gotten how much in that vault, making guild management easier. Also there’s server to server battles. Yeap, you read it right, SERVER VS. SERVER. This is unprecedented in any MMO. One map in ROM can accomodate 5,000 players at one time making war, TRULY WAR.
Sixth, there is no grind. Again, incase di mo nabasa ng maayos… THERE IS NO GRIND. You do not go out and kill 1,000,000 monsters and reach the level cap. In runes, you quest. Questing provides better xp than performing genocide. I can remember in Ragnarok online we used to kill millions of alarms (RO monster) just to get from lvl 98 to 99. NO MORE in Runes. In ROM, the more you go out adventuring, (raid, boss hunt, daily quests, story quests) the more xp you get. So it encourages you to explore instead of kill and kill. That is why it is essential in ROM that you read the quests and follow the story (maganda rin mga kuento eh) This has got to be the best feature for me in ROM.
Last, after conversations with IP E-games head honchos, we’ve come to know that the GM (game master) tools in ROM are very powerful that they can track pretty much everything that’s going on in game with your character and can address almost any problem within it, may it be bugs, scams and even hacking. In fact, there have been discussions about them offering hack insurance. Once you buy it and you get hacked, everything on your character can be restored.
Runes of Magic is not a unique MMORPG. It has the same elements as any MMO out there. In fact it has many of the same elements as one particular MMO *ahem WOW ahem*. The setting and jobs aren’t unique. Graphics aren’t that awesome (we hope it gets better in future patches). However, it brings so many new stuff on the table that here in the Philippines, it has the potential to reshape the Game Publishing/Operating industry.
We here at Pinoy Gaming Network rarely feature an MMO much less recommend one. Well there’s a first time for everything. We highly recommend Runes of Magic for hardcore and casual gamers. So far, it is the best MMORPG readily available here in the Philippines. And its all FREE. That’s right, FREE TO PLAY PO!! Missing it is missing a lot.