Can you smell it? It's the fresh, clean scent of new content and it can be very addictive. It can cause corner gas stations everywhere to run out of energy drinks and governments to enact laws as players around the world drop everything and make a mad dash for their PCs. The real-life dash is quickly followed by an in-game running of the bulls to explore new features and gain new levels with the ferocity of a starving Dragonfang Wolf. The whole incident usually ends with players waking up, looking out the window to see whether it's night or day, checking to see which day of the week it is and smelling anything but fresh and clean.
Rejoice, because the time has come for Runes of Magic. The main release of Chapter 3 is out giving players even more to do and giving me more to write about. I've gotten my digital hands dirty to come up with a list of interesting points you should know about this latest chapter. While you can look over a list of some of the main features on RoM's website, I wanted to make my own slightly different lists. I think you'll agree that there's plenty to love about this new release.
An increase in level cap
Yes, the level cap is being raised to 60, but not in one patch. Like with Chapter 2, we're seeing small incremental jumps as Chapter 3 is released over a short period of time. So far, we've had two small jumps bringing us to 58. The last part of Chapter 3 is yet to be released which will give us the final step to 60. Even more interesting to me is that the level jumps are accompanied by a fun plan that Frogster has instituted. Their Expedition 60 has been giving double experience gain from mobs and quests along with free potions to make leveling even faster. It's refreshing to see this because when other MMOs dump new levels on players it can sometimes be viewed negatively as an excuse to just keep players busy. RoM's encouragement and help to level says, "Here, let us help you raise those levels so you can see all the new content we have."
The new house flew in under the radar, but being a crafter I thought it was too big a deal to keep quiet. Not to be confused with the 2-Story Wooden House, the new 2-Story Wooden Family House offers the same design in a bigger package. Besides plenty of open space on the first floor, there's an awesome little room down a few steps that's perfect for a budding dungeon taskmaster and 2 spacious rooms with hallway and landing on the second floor. I've already hired the movers and only need to decide how to arrange everything. If only I had more help.
Oh yeah, there is new help in the form of NPC housekeepers. Hire more help to serve your guests fancy dinners or keep the place clean. You'll get the help that provides tasty food buffs and potions in exchange for a gold fee.
The part of any MMO that spurs players onward toward PvP glory is a ranking system. What I like about RoM's is the cross-over appeal into non-combat achievement land. Not only can honor points be checked, but also rankings for quests completed, titles earned and who has the highest attributes. It seems the one area that didn't go over too well with players is wealth. Players really didn't like having the amount of gold and diamonds they acquired displayed for all to see. Aside from that, the ranking system is a welcomed must-have feature adding robust replay ability to both PvE and PvP areas of RoM.
Press pause to save
Not too long ago on another site, I commented about the idea of having some sort of save feature for instances. Runewaker and Frogster either have a giant mind-reading device or I have latent telepathic powers that are starting to manifest because you can now save your progress in different dungeons. It's a simple concept based around all the boss encounters. Whether going rogue or in a party, all players will have their boss victories saved and can return at a later time to defeat any remaining bosses without redoing the entire instance. It's an excellent idea, especially for players who don't have the time to go through a whole instance in one sitting.
Not easy enough for ya?
I've mentioned the difficulty setting before, but I wanted to add more about the potential this feature has. In the same way we have different mobs to help anyone of any strength to level, adding different difficulty levels makes it easier for more players to experience dungeons and get into raiding. Having different difficulties and the token system implemented together for all the instances could also tear down a lot of barriers to entry regardless of a player's level.
With RoM being a free-to-play game and a small operation at that, I was always worried Runewaker would skimp on story. That's why I was ecstatic to see the backstory that came with Chapter 3. Compared to bigger MMOs it can seem a bit weak, but Runewaker has been developing lore that moves with the game. Already we are seeing new story that fills in holes from the past chapters and continues to grow with the new content. As a side note, I found out RoM actually has a novel out. Although it is currently only in German, it was written by Michael T. Bhatty who has authored other prominent books based on video games.
Many more great features are coming soon, when the last part of Chapter 3 is released. We'll see monster cards giving attribute bonuses and a marriage system that's sure to spark a little controversy, among other new features and content. I'll be here each week to regale you with my journeys through it all. In the interim, please leave your comments on what have been your favorite parts of Chapter 3 so far. Have any of you sufficiently explored Southern Janost Forest and reached the current level 58 cap?
I have one extra special question to ask this week. How interested in a lore-centric post would you be? If you think a post about RoM's lore is in order, what would you be most interested in reading about? You can either include this in the comments or email it to me at Jeremy [AT] massively [DOT] com.