Super-duper sale explosion
Sales are frequent in RoM. When you decide to spend money on the game, spending only during sales will save you cold hard cash. Developing some good spending habits doesn't hurt either. There are always different kinds of diamond sales, but I only spend during double-diamond specials. There have been specials better than that, but they are very rare. The double-diamond sales, however, occur fairly often and can easily be waited for. Of course, then it's best to only spend diamonds on sale items. This is even more valuable for players trading gold for cash-shop items. There are also items on sale every day of the week, every week, so don't spend just because something's on sale.
Use what you bought wisely
There are some great opportunities to use some cash-shop items to your advantage. If you've purchased some daily quest tickets, wait and use them only during double XP/TP days. The same goes for potions that increase XP/TP gain. Never make the mistake of using a God's Redemption Ticket if you're under level 32. Every day, the Newbie Pet will give you a free voucher that will remove all debt -- but you have to ask for it every day.
If you're looking ahead to endgame, you may want to save any purified fusion stones you get. Take a look at current gold-to-diamond conversion rates and keep an eye on the auction house. In some cases, it may be more reasonable to sell cash-shop items for gold and then buy some modded equipment for yourself. Save those fusion stones for special pieces that you are modding. It's also viable to never buy fusion stones then to convert all your diamonds into gold and find some very nice mods off the auction house.
Personally I'm not a big fan of the surprise orbs. They encourage impulse spending, and it's a gamble to win the best prize. I'll still buy one occasionally if it offers other items I'd want anyway. However, if you're already done with what you wanted and are raking in the gold, it's not really costing you.
Keep an eye out for freebies. RoM will run code giveaways once in a while. Free is free and worth any time it takes for me to get the item. Since I've been playing, I've gotten free megaphones, potions and even a free special pet. You can usually keep up with any free offers through the front page of RoM's website. Massively also hosts many of these code giveaways.
This might be the biggest section of the guide, but there's a good reason for it. A lot of deciding what to buy has less to do with the game and more to do with you. It pays to teach yourself good spending habits. We live in an era when the media wants you to want instant gratification, but you need to do what's best for you. Weight-lifters don't get vein-bulging muscles over night. But they aren't all sad and miserable because of this. They develop consistent long-term goals and stick to them. The same can apply to playing RoM too. Find out what you really can spend, determine whether you really want to spend it, and then measure whether you will be happy every step of the way.
One day many moons ago, I was just a youngin' with a new job at a grocery store. I was shopping at the mall when I stopped at an arcade and ended up blowing five dollars on a video game. To me, at the time, that was a lot of money. In a way, I felt I wasted it, but I actually had extra to spare. It didn't dip in to any money I had budgeted for other stuff, and I did have fun playing that video game.
A word to the wise: Don't spend oodles of dollars thinking the grass is greener on the other side. If you aren't having fun through long play sessions now, you're not going to have much more fun later. It isn't some magically insane fun that exists past a bunch of hurdles and boring road blocks. Everything in the game is fun... for the people who like these kinds of MMOs. If you find that you really only like dungeons or fighting with other players, there are games like Vindictus and Halo that you might enjoy more.
I'm not trying to be elitist; I'm trying to save you money and heartache. The younger me had spent what was a lot of money at the time but had the money budgeted for it. I had also really enjoyed the game. I didn't leave feeling like I hadn't gotten to the fun part yet. Yes, there is something to be said for trying to reach different experiences in RoM. It's not flat-out stupid to try to achieve these goals and to try to get past the stuff in the way. It's a balance. Be a bit zen about it. Is the lid on the peanut butter jar worth missing work to wrestle with it for 10 hours to get the yummy content, or are you just going to be left breathless, broke and too angry to enjoy it? In other words: Is the juice worth the squeeze?
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.