What is it?
If you happen to have never played any subscription-based MMO like World of Warcraft or Aion, you may not be familiar with a database. Like Wowhead is to WoW, RoM Database is to RoM. It's an all-encompassing repository of knowledge about RoM. While it may not tell you every last little thing you'd want to know, it goes a long way toward trying to do just that. You can look up items, quests, recipes, zones, skills and many other points of interest that are in the game. Most items -- including weapons and armor pieces -- have a 3-D viewer that allows you to see what the items look like. All pertinent information such as weapon attributes is provided for the items. Are you looking ahead to the next level but don't know what the best choice of weapon is? Are you stuck on a quest? Are you wondering which mob drops a specific recipe? These and many other answers can be found at the RoM Database.
What's it for?
It's great to have one place to go to for massive amounts of data, instead of hunting down and jumping between multiple sources to find answers, but having all that data in one place -- and displayed in an organized fashion -- allows for research and planning. Clicking over to the skills section displays lists with descriptions of all the skills available to a class, along with elite skills based on secondary class choice. It makes it much easier on the clicker and your patience when you want to browse through the many available skills and formulate how you want to spend your talent points, or if you're still deciding on what class you want to try.
Looking for some fun ways to use all this information? The RoM Database comes with some nice extras that can enhance your out-of-game gameplay. An item comparison tool, map linker and syndication tools are available for calculating and planning while you're not busy slaying Wild Mane in RoM.
The item comparison section lets you pick whatever items you want and have them displayed neatly side by side. Decision-making is even easier when you have 1, 2 or even 10 items lined up next to each other with all their stats laid out in a graph below the items. I love being able to look at and compare recipes for staves alongside the same level staves found only as drops. The fact that I can create a comparison chart and then share a link to it for bragging or asking others for advice is icing on the cake.
The map linker lets you pull up a map for zones, cities, instances, world instances, event instances, battlefields and guild castle. The fun parts are being able mark locations, download or link to the maps. Guild leaders could use the maps to mark specific goals when planning an instance run and share them with all the members of the guild.
Syndication tools allow you to take information from the database and visually display it on another website. Did you notice the pop-ups that appear when you mouse-over an item in the database? You haven't looked at it yet? Go look at any item then come back here. Good. Those are tooltips that will display on your website if you create a link to any point of interest in the database. The syndication tool takes a little technical know-how as you'll need to embed a line of code into your site's HTML for syndication to work. Syndication also allows you to directly link to a 3-D view, which will open in a small window without taking you to the database.
Perhaps one of my favorite aspects of the database (one I'll never use myself) is the data interface. Anyone can have access to XML files that provide data from the database. Maybe the security that the release of this new database provides will finally prompt some creative players to make some programs utilizing these XML data files. I'm looking at you, smartphone community. Even if it's a simple browser interface to only look at what's in the database, it's a huge plus. Of course I'm not going to stop anyone who wants to be more ambitious and makes, say, a phone app version of StatCompare.
The database comes with its own forum and commenting system. This is a great way to expand on any information already in the database. Each item has its own place to comment. You can share a boss strategy right on the page that details info about that boss, leave a hint on a hard to finish quest, or help others find a hard to find drop.
This database will always be updated with the latest content from new patches. Furthermore, you can help the database by running a small program that collects data and feeds the information back to the database as you play.
As someone who's partial to RoM, I love seeing additional game-related resources appear. It's visual evidence that the MMO is fairing well, it enhances gameplay, and it can feed more social interaction. Bloggers can utilize the syndication tools, guilds can use the map and item tools, and everyone has a place to point newbies to who inevitably fill chat with the same questions over and over.
Keep in mind that the front page news in English is aggregated from the European RoM site. Other than that, the database is there for any RoM server in the world.
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.