Up, up and away
I wrote an article looking back at a year of RoM. In that article, I wrote generally about what was added, changed, and fixed over the year. It grew a lot, but why? If you look back to just before Allods hit the scene, you'd see a brand new MMO that featured predominantly Western style gameplay packaged in a F2P business model. It was a very different and new type of MMO that I can't remember ever seeing before. Jumping into the world of Taborea feels more like you're playing Warhammer, Lord of the Rings Online, or World of Warcraft, than any previous F2P like Aika and its brethren. Unless you start looking at different business models, RoM was the first of its kind and perhaps Allods is the only other one that currently shares a similarity in play style.
Knowing you can get a full-featured experience from a game that you can download and play for free is a great reason to try it, but not the only reason. Runewaker put terrific features into RoM that not only improve standard gameplay elements like daily quest drops, a tracking system, and a world search function, but add incredibly fun new features you can't find anywhere else. Couple that with the size and frequency of updates added to RoM, and you'll never finish or get bored.
RoM's steady climb in popularity is starting to remind me of EVE Online. Both these games are steadily chugging ahead and gaining new players that make for impressive bar graphs. At last count, there were 28 servers for RoM. Following the previous year's trend, there's a good chance that RoM will be adding many more updates and servers in the coming years.
There's a really good sign that RoM's game world is going to continue to grow with totally new content and zones as well. Runewaker has not only been working on making RoM larger, but they've been growing the company as well. It's a great indication that the speed at which the updates are released will not slow down, and the game will not plateau and stagnate.
Frogster is a German publisher that has made efforts to maintain a presence not only in Europe, but the United States as well. Various convention visits, public interviews, and many giveaways have worked well to reinforce a growing out-of-game community that pushes RoM further into the spotlight every day.
Frogster is also going to be present at GamesCom 2010,complete with the world's top RoM guilds playing through live raids and speed runs. It's really a terrific community outreach that reminds me of past Sony Online Entertainment and Blizzard events.
Not to beat a dead bunga, but RoM now has its first fiction novel written in German. I asked the author if it was being translated into English and received the reply that he'd pass along my question and it was his wish that it be translated as well.
Frogster has been dishing out computers, peripherals, figurines, and an assortment of merchandise to other companies and players alike. There are constant giveaways, free item codes, and contests to be a part of. The main website will always keep you up-to-date on these events. Most of these prizes are very nice high-end computers or cutting edge peripherals with original RoM artwork, making for much more than an average prize.
The game is just plain fun
Well, really the game is not "just" fun, or "plain", but it's fun. RoM has these wonderful features that keep me interested in playing without fixating on a progress bar or worrying about building a character wrong. Over at WoW.com, Chase Christian had written about how WoW rogues had players worrying more about DPS and less about simply making a fun build. I think RoM does a great job of providing freedom in how you want to build a character, and having a separate way of maximizing stengths. There are so many amazing spells and skills you can take as you level-up, that add fun variety to fit your play style without overtly hurting your character. On the other side of this coin is the gear that can be insanely modded to strengthen and improve your character however you see fit. The game seems to cater so well to how you want to play, and that feeling of freedom adds to fun no matter what your play style is.
Well, what can I really say. It's a rather simple premise this week: You should be playing this MMO! RoM has seen nothing but tremendous success since it launched, and it has been growing rapidly in size ever since.
I can't really comment too much on the inner workings of Frogster's deal with TERA, because I don't have their offices bugged... yet. I do know that a friend and I have played just about every F2P and subscribtion-based MMO that's been released over many years. My personal experience has been up and down with Frogster's support, but it's also been pretty much the same way with many companies both large and small. There are so many factors that my computer affects, where I download, and the company's work hours and man-power, that it's very hard to judge a company by one incident. Besides, all you'll be doing is missing out on one of the best MMOs currently released.
I'd also like to remind you that Massively TV is up and running. There's a good chance you'll see me playing RoM in the near future, so keep an eye out for it. You can also find Rubi playing Dungeons and Dragons Online, and much more soon.