To begin with, once you've entered your login information, you're taken on a ride through ... someone's ... bloodstream. Right off the bat: visceral horror. Nice! Remember: To view the hi-res versions of these images, just click on them and you'll be taken to their corresponding Gallery counterparts
I decided to roll a female Kruxena, the "Barbarian" class of R:B. You'll find a pretty limited set of character customization options; presumably the creativity went to the horrific creatures you'll encounter instead.
What you see here is the password protection system, or "passcode". You create your own 4-number code and enter it every time you want to play. Note that the preponderance of the color red does ease up once you start actually playing, but then it turns into a surfeit of the color brown.
Continuing the grue, the loading screen displays a sewn-up wound that unzips as you get closer to 100%, with Se7en
-like imagery flickering in the background. Turns out it's kinda hard to play when you don't want to touch the keyboard.
But I persevere, and find myself standing before this Final Fantasy-like structure. What does it do? I never found out. Instead, I spent a good deal of time looking around the area and playing with the camera. Left-click-and-hold moves the camera around; right-click-and-hold moves the avatar as well; scroll wheel zooms the view in and out. A welcome feature is clicking the middle mouse button, which toggles continuous run. This way, you can just use the right mouse button to maneuver around, leaving your left hand free.
And here's Our Heroine, Molly the Bartuk. She accessorizes well. The user interface does everything you've come to expect in an MMO, with no surprises.
Here's the first quest, heralded by our friend the Golden Bang. This serves to introduce you to the opening city and its denizens.
As an aside, R:B has a microtransaction item store, but I'm afraid of those things, so I didn't explore them in depth. You get a screenshot of the interface, complete with section for "Gravity Points", but that's it.
Here I am, entering Guard Village, where everything is in a lovely state of disrepair. I'm not being facetious here (for a change); I actually do think what Gravity's done here is quite nice. There's a commitment to the aesthetic that sustains itself throughout the game, combining future tech with industrial motifs to create a feel of once-functional, yet tantalizingly unusable machinery abounding.
For example, this structure here serves no purpose other than to be massive, imposing, and yet discarded. My only gripe about the look of the world is its overwhelmingly brown palette.
Here are some shabby lean-tos, only a few of which have actual vendors within.
Speaking of vendors, this is the lovely Andrea, owner of the only Tavern in town. For the most part, the NPCs lack distinct voices of their own, opting instead for a purely expositional tone with light friendliness overlaid. Nothing wrong with this, and in fact many players probably don't take the time to read what NPCs actually say anyway.
Who runs Bartertown
? It's worth noting that your avatar can jump from a very great height and not take damage. Whether this is true of all 3 races or just the Bartuk remains to be tested, but it's still fun to take shortcuts this way.
I couldn't help myself -- as soon as I saw this building, I thought of the Mako Reactor from Final Fantasy 7
. In fact, there are a ton of references scattered throughout the game that are either unintentional or spot-on, depending on your personal philosophy.
Once I finally made it to the wilderness, I found some interesting little touches like these large pipes that end abruptly, and those gaping caves that don't actually go anywhere. Some nice mutated plantlife, a la Gamma World
, and of course, the crazy critters, which we're by and by coming to.
A word on combat: a right-click begins combat, and it's the standard button-press for special abilities. Health and mana bar are in place, and combat goes until either combatant is dead. I've found that humanoid enemies will sometimes attack first, but you can freely wander among non-humanoid creatures without worry.
The quests do a fairly good job of introducing you to the local vendors and what each of them do. There's a little too much forced travel between Guard Village and the Northern Watchtower, but there is a Hearthstone-like ability that's accessible later on that should help ameliorate this to an extent.
See! Tell me that's not an homage! Regardless, it's a good one, so we'll allow it!
It should be noted that many of these screenshots were taken while I had been disconnected from the server, but could still run around the area, so there are no people in a lot of these shots. Otherwise, what you'd be seeing here would be NPCs that offer a way to get between cities in a hurry, much like World of Warcraft
has. For the first couple of hours, I experienced intermittent droppage of connection, but only once did I lose what progress I'd made up to that point. I do still get sporadic framerate slowing from time to time, though whether that's a problem with R:B
or my own Internet connection I can't tell.
More dilapidated ancient tech. Just a few examples of this sort of thing goes a long way toward selling an atmosphere.
Molly goes for a swim and gets pretty far off-shore before being halted by an invisible barrier.
And finally, what you've all been waiting for: a horrible abomination! Seriously, almost all of the creatures encountered were pretty nasty, many of which following the "skinned/disproportionate limbs" aesthetic. Look at this thing, with its two feet sticking out of its back. It really makes you want to kill it and put it out of your misery.
One thing I noticed between the beta and now is that the dying animation these creatures go through has been toned down quite a bit. During the beta, once the killing blow was struck, a creature would lose limbs, and go into spastic convulsions on the ground while it finally gave up the ghost. It was horrible to watch, but it's been taken back a few notches. There is still a twitching animation, but it's much more subdued, and that's something I'm thankful for.
Incidentally, that little blue flying thing is called a "Gentle Pez". No idea why exactly, because it will definitely eat your face off of your skull if allowed the chance.
Here's a look at the equipment interface, which is also fairly standard. I should point out that when I say "standard", that's not meant to be a put-down. There is very little at this stage of MMO development that points toward evolving elements that just work well. Why reinvent the wheel? The trick, in fact, is knowing when not to innovate, and it's here that Gravity has done right by its players.
To the left there is a player on a flying mount. There's a great, almost Baroque look to a lot of objects in R:B that should help with making it stand out to a jaded audience. I'm looking forward to seeing some higher-level content.
And here's the latest suppurating, pus-filled horror I must destroy. And I'm happy to do so. Requiem: Bloodymare
is engaging in ways that might surprise you, and that's even before you pass level ten, with all the gameplay that doing so opens up to you -- item crafting, DNA modification, choosing a job class, etc. It's a solid title with a lot of disgusting monsters that you'll enjoy pulverizing. I've enjoyed my time in the world of Ethergia and anticipate further enjoyment the deeper I get.
Go check out the full Gallery
, accessible by any of these screenshots, or by the Gallery link at the top of this post. There are more pictures there than are represented in the post itself, including shots of each of the playable races, and a series of storyline artwork that explain a little bit of how the world came to be. All in all, Requiem: Bloodymare
is worth trying out for yourself. But don't play if you're a bit squeamish about blood and body parts -- trust me on this.