Runes of Magic
Explore and conquer a fantasy land with friends and strangers in Runes of Magic, a Taiwanese-developed massively multiplayer roleplaying game that's free to play.
- Choose from one of six classes, then expand your versatility with a secondary class
- Tons of weapons, armor, and mounts to improve your character's effectiveness
- A traditional combat system that supports hotkeying
- A huge wealth of content to dig through
- Entirely free to play
- Boasts a huge amount of quest content
- Retreads the mechanics of more popular MMOs religiously
- Quests are unimaginative and repetitive
- Setting and story are largely forgettable
When first booting up Runes of Magic, it can be hard to identify what separates it from any other MMORPGs on the market. For some, the fact that it's a free to play game might be seen as an immediate red flag. But Runes of Magic is more or less generous with its concessions to players who don't want to spend a dime. While it's unlikely to outpace the popularity of heavy hitters like World of Warcraft, it's a nice alternative for those who have gotten bored of that game's grind or are looking for a less costly alternative. Former WoW players will certainly feel comfortable in this new environment. While other games on the market are making strides to distinguish themselves from the gorilla in the room, Runes of Magic - for better or worse - is content to hew more or less slavishly to the systems perfected by Blizzard. The six classes available follow the familiar pattern of tank, DPS, and healer, with some variation split between them, and combat relies heavily on juggling cooldown times on your powers and positioning yourself effectively for attacks. New skills unlock as you level up, and players can settle into more distinctive roles by picking a secondary class once they hit level 10. Strategy isn't a critical element of the gameplay, and the progression loop is more about working together with friends or strangers and grinding your way through recurring content in pursuit of newer and shinier pieces of equipment. When you split up into parties, experience is shared between all members, so you don't have to worry about losing out on progress for the sake of your compatriots. Collaborative play is supported by a reliable and well-functioning chat system and a clearly designed mini-map that makes it easy to identify your objectives, allies, and enemies. While Runes of Magic's systems hew closely to the standards of World of Warcraft, they don't manage to capture the magic of the setting. In place of colorful designs and uniquely multicultural twists on the traditional fantasy milieu are replaced by a world that plays high fantasy tropes to the letter. You can expect to find the requisite combination of medieval cities, forests, and caverns. It won't be a revelation to anyone with any experience in the fantasy genre, but the game's lack of personality is partly ameliorated by the wealth of things to do. This is a content heavy game, and the environments are dense with quest-giving NPCs. That's not to say these quests are particularly original. Killing a certain number of enemies, collecting objects throughout the environment, and delving through dungeons in search of boss monsters are par for the course here. Runes of Magic is a free to play MMO, and while it offers in-game micro-transactions, it doesn't feel the need to harangue the player with gated content or constant notifications about real world purchases.