Welcome to First Impressions, where I play through the first few hours of an MMO, report back to you on some of the things you can expect as a new player - and whether or not I enjoyed the experience of the game. This week, we have Runes of Magic, a game currently launching early tomorrow morning (or late tonight, if you prefer) at 2:00 AM Pacific. Developed by Runewaker Entertainment and distributed by Frogster, this free-to-play MMO may well be the one that gets even the most staunchly anti-f2p player interested enough to give it a whirl. Also, keep in mind these impressions are on the open beta of the game, so some things may change slightly at launch.
I'll start off by saying that I've heard some truly positive things about this game from several MMO fiends I know. That said, a few of them bagged on it for being a World of Warcraft clone - but I'd have to argue that point now that I've played it. There's definitely enough in Runes of Magic to feel eerily familiar to anyone who has played World of Warcraft for any length of time. However, I feel that there's enough different in the two games - aside from the obvious free-to-play versus subscription - to say that each game will ultimately stand (or fall) on it's own merits. I'd also be remiss in noting that as a First Impressions posting, there was no possible way to reach everything there is to get to in this game - PvP arenas, player-killing, pissing off NPC factions, guild castles, high-end crafting, raids and a bunch more - there's a depth and complexity that I am glad to find in a free title. That said, today's overview should give you enough of a taste of the various parts of this easy to pick up but hard to master MMO for you to decide for yourself if it's worth trying.
Now, on with the gallery, and my First Impressions of Runes of Magic!