If you thought RoM was getting too strictly gear-oriented, you'll be happy to see that there are other ways to significantly boost your character's strength by obtaining guild siege badges.
The big prizes to buy with siege badges are titles. The titles not only give you a cool moniker, but reward you with attribute bonuses. These aren't small rewards like you get from the monster cards. One of the cheapest titles you can buy gives +25 to all attributes, and bonuses go up from there. You can find more titles like the one that boosts all attributes as well as titles that boost specific attributes. No matter what classes you play, there's a title for you.
Once you throw down the badges to purchase any title, it's yours to keep. You can't stack the bonuses, because you only benefit from them when you have the title equipped. But given the number of titles available and the large bonuses each one gives, I think it's understandable. The ability to stack them would quickly lead to insanely powered characters. They work best to supplement different playstyles. If you're out soloing on a priest, just don a title with a nice intelligence bonus for increased magic attacks. If you're healing a group in a dungeon, switch to a title that offers a wisdom bonus.
I'll discuss guild siege in more depth in the near future, but I want to let you know that guild siege -- and any title that can be earned via guild siege-- is not restricted to the highest-level players. That makes the rewards a very strong incentive for anyone to join a siege. There are ways that any level of player can contribute and help win a battle, but even if you lose you still walk away with some siege badges.
You might be apt to think that, after the large pet system was introduced, a selection of pet enhancements would start popping up in the cash shop. While it may still happen, the first premium items actually showed up in-game with a siege-badge cost. Buying the special pet food with badges significantly speeds up your pets growth over gold-only methods.
Honor points are earned through all the battlefields that don't take place in the arena. There's a wide range of armor and other goods to buy with honor points. This is one of those nice alternative avenues for procuring things from the item shop using in-game-only means. Items like many of the more unique mounts can be rented for seven days; repair hammers, guild runes, and many crafting materials can be bought.
Every crafter knows that if you decide to shortcut some of the crafting process by purchasing materials, you'll go broke very fast. Buying them from the NPCs within Mercenary Square of Obsidian Stronghold can save you a lot. All materials are already refined one level and simply take a combined payment in gold and honor points. Some other items like the seven-day mounts require both phirius tokens and honor points.
There's also a huge selection of PvP-oriented gear and epic recipes you can buy. Most of the gear is for level 55 and up and comes with nice yellow stats. It's definitely useful armor for building a PvP set, or useful for getting the stats.
I'm not quite sure what happened to arena points, but it seems Runewaker and Frogster are slowly shifting away from having them in RoM. It was a chore to track down any info at all. Most of the PvP gear used to be sold for arena points, but those have been combined with the honor point merchants. I might never have known about the changes if I hadn't recently started exploring RoM's battlefields and arena battles. I was earning arena points one day, and the next I had zero and anything I earned was in honor points. There's still a listing for arena points in the character PvP window, so maybe we'll see them again soon. I'm sure there's enough room to support arena points in some form. At the very least, the points could be used as a basic ranking system for arena junkies. I like to think that the developers have even bigger plans for arena points in the near future.
There's a growing list of items that can be bought with honor points and siege badges. Every player should check them out, especially crafters and merchants. I've found that many of the battlefields are fun just to play. The added rewards feel like they enhance the fun that's already provided, rather than like a begging-mechanism to get you to go through the motions.
Probably the most interesting item you can buy with honor points is a bundle of crafting resources. As a crafter myself, I like the idea of having a way to make extra money on top of simply gathering and selling on the auction house. I'm participating in battlefields anyways, so any materials I buy to sell in the auction house translate into extra profit.
If you haven't explored the many items you can buy with honor points and siege badges, you really should. They'll give you extra options to obtain items normally only found in the cash shop, allow you another way to earn gold, and get you items that provide nice bonuses to boost character stats. If you've already been happily taking advantage of these alternative currencies, you likely know some tricks or tips that you're more than welcome to share in the comments.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.