I've been steadily finding great content on the Runes of Magic forum, and the new level-cap increase is a hot subject right now. When chapter 3 rolled out, we knew we'd be seeing the maximum level raised to 60, but this new one wasn't expected, especially not so soon. This new level cap will take us into Limo Desert and to level 62. That means at least one new dungeon, new quests and most likely new armor. There's more than a few in the Runes of Magic community, including CM Swag, who have voiced their opinions both for and against another raise in levels so soon. Let's take a look at the situation that this presents, and I'll give my opinion on the new level cap.
To me, new content is an all-around win. Is there anyone who doesn't like having new content? Runewaker and Frogster have been pumping out large content patches fairly frequently since open beta, and it has grown the game considerably for the better. We won't know everything that may be included in this patch until it goes live. We have an overview of the Limo Desert, news of the level raise and some information that Kawak's Tomb will contain more strategy. Runewaker has a habit of including little extras as well. We don't know how big the zone will be, how many world quests Limo Desert will contain, how many daily quests will be provided, and how much experience all of those quests will give us. But the experience needed to get to the new level cap is part of the problem that has some players worried.
Where have all the quests gone?
The last time the level cap was raised, there weren't very many world quests. The game left players mainly schlepping their way to 60 via mind-numbing numbers of daily quests. While daily quests are still quests, they don't create much more than a feeling of grinding when you need to do the same quests over and over to fill an extremely thirsty experience bar. That can easily make one hope for more world quests this time around. But I think the fact that dailies are the major source for phirius tokens lends some weight to their need for leveling.
Phirius tokens allow us to purchase certain items from the cash shop, play minigames, buy arcane transmutor charges and pay for some things I haven't even discovered yet. The demand for charges alone warrants a need to easily replenish depleted supplies of tokens. From that point of view, gaining a larger amount of overall experience from dailiy quests is killing two spiders with one arrow. Players so intent on earning the tokens to do other activities are still gradually leveling as a bonus, while other players grinding to get to the next level are also gaining phirius tokens to use how they see fit.
Is adding more world quests, from the viewpoint of experience gain, needed? And by how much? Leveling is already pretty fast in RoM. Anyone who's ever played other free-to-play MMOs knows this. The rate at which we get to level cap isn't as much of a problem as how. I remember when a couple of players reached 60 in less than two days after the last level raise. If that's the bleeding edge, where does it -- or should it -- place the rest of us?
That's yesterday's armor
I'm starting to get a funny feeling about armor in RoM, and I don't think it's from the hot sauce I put on my stir-fry last night. I don't even have a clear reason for the feeling, but I think the game is going to have a bubblegum crisis pretty soon. If armor and stats just simply keep getting more powerful with each passing game patch, the bubble could burst. The ability to customize armor so greatly is awesome, but it's also getting rather unruly. Each level-cap raise also simultaneously has players cheering and looking at their current armor with a twinge of pain. These players know that their armor is no longer going to be as powerful -- armor that they may have chosen to spend money on. Players have barely finished upgrading some of their level 60 armor, and now they're looking at those items becoming obsolete already.
I'm not going to get into the min-max of it in this article, but any set of armor can have extended life due to being able to upgrade it as we progress. It's yet to be seen whether this new armor will come with a high-enough incentive or an outright requirement to upgrade to keep moving through future levels and dungeons.
As far as quests go, I'd like to see more of the world ones in RoM. There may be some semblance of balancing going on between the incentive to do dailies quests while providing world quests, but why? It would be a fantastic addition if we had enough world quests to reach the level cap. There's also a point I reach where there's not much difference between a world quest and a daily quest if there's no story. The fact that you are running around town doing different tasks means little difference to me than doing a wood-gathering daily 10 times a day, every day. With players already having a choice of how many dailies they want to do a day, there wouldn't be any unbalancing occurring. The big point of contention is the sale of daily quest tickets. MMOs grow and change. Frogster and Runewaker once charged a pretty penny for cosmetic pets that are now only one diamond each. Maybe it's time for another cash-shop change.
Armor upgrading is tricky to me. Ideally, I'd tell the entire playerbase that everyone should just slow down. It's possible to reach level cap and do dungeons without paying, but it will take you longer. Take the time. It's a game. Enjoy the ride and the destination. Back in the real world, that just won't happen. Players will spend money, and everyone knows it. Others will pay to keep up, or they'll pay just to experience the content to suit their faster pace of gameplay. For those players, it's a finer line of how often better armor should trickle into the game. If I compared this to World of Warcraft, I'd say this is a pretty great move. It boils down to simply more content, faster. Bring it back to RoM and the only complaint I see is with money. Looking at it from that angle makes me a bit less sympathetic to people who are already planning to spend lots of money and then complain about it. And we can't be sure about most of this until the patch rolls out tomorrow.
Each Monday, Jeremy Stratton delivers Lost Pages of Taborea, a column filled with guides, news, and opinions for Runes of Magic. Whether it's a community roundup for new players or an in-depth look at the Rogue/Priest combo, you'll find it all here. Send your questions to email@example.com.