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E3 2012: Runes of Magic details chapter 5

Andrew Ross

Runes of Magic is only three years old, but the game has added an impressive amount of content for a free-to-play title. As we've reported previously, it's happening again on June 12th, when Frogster will add the Dwarven race, Warlock and Champion classes, and a few other goodies.

We had the opportunity to sit down with Frogster to talk about the new content at this year's E3. Will it be attractive to veteran players? Is it made specifically to attract new players? Read on to find out.

The Dwarves

Unlike the Dwarves RoM players can currently battle, the Shadowforge Dwarves have been trapped for centuries in stone. A gift of magic turned out to be booby-trapped, and as the Dwarves were working one day, they were all turned to stone. Scientists found these stone Dwarves and decided to free them. This is where you, the player, will begin, as a dazed and confused Dwarf newly freed from your stony prison, and it will be your choice whether to regain your lost honor through more dark methods (which is how you ended up in this mess) or to be a bit more honorable this time around. Oh, and your reputation with the Humans and Elves matters once you reach the surface. No pressure or anything.

It shouldn't be surprising that, given its access to magic, the Dwarven race in RoM uses a bit of magic in its race-exclusive classes. The Warlock class is a caster, so he'll be standing in the back. Runes swirl around the class as it uses its magic, but the emphasis is that it's dark, soul magic that also attacks the mind, as opposed to, say, the Druid's nature magic.

The Champion class, on the other hand, is a tank that uses a hammer with both destruction magic, such as a lighting move, and creation magic, such as the ability to turn into a rune robot for a bit. This gives the player access to a new set of moves until turning back into her regular old Dwarvey self (well, not so old that you're stone again).

Now, if you're scratching your head about that rune robot bit, don't worry. Dwarves in RoM are a bit different than in some other games, as is their environment. The Dwarves in this game seem to have a bit of Gnome in them in that they're fairly tech savvy. There's a good number of gears and gizmos around their town, which may seem similar to World of Warcraft's Ironforge. There's more of a magical flavor for the RoM Dwarven city, with light sources coming from green and purple flames. Oh, and some vegetation. Yes, there are things growing in the cave, and they're not mushrooms. Outside the city, it's actually green. Yes, you're in a cave, but there's moss, ferns, small trees. It's not your usual Dwarf cave.

Of course, you'll have to leave home at some point, but only after going through a new Dwarf-only newbie instance. You'll certainly want friends before you face the Dark Gargoylem and... well, whatever it was standing behind him. Be sure to look for a certain princess whose name references a carbonated beverage before leaving though! Don't you wanna find her? Mm-hmm, thought so.

The rest

The new race and classes aren't all there is to this new chapter, of course. For one thing, RoM will be able to be launched through your browser. That's right: You won't need to download a client. You can play anywhere now (even at work, but don't tell your boss we said that). The European version of the game has access to this at the moment, but the US servers will get it soon, and I was told that the browser version loads just as fast as the version launched through the downloadable client. Same graphics, same game. There are no differences between the two versions, and yes, you still get loyalty rewards for playing on the browser version of the game. Frogster just wants the game to be more accessible.

While the demo I played focused on low-level content, there's been previous news about high-level content, which sadly couldn't be discussed at the Expo. Having content that focuses on the high levels and newbie experiences is all well and good, but it's a bit normal, right? Possibly good news for those stuck in the middle! Content is being added for you! The idea is to help shape the entire leveling process and give things a bit of a "new" feeling for veterans and new players.

Again, all this content will be free come June 12th, but possibly not the browser version yet for the US servers.

Massively's on the ground in Los Angeles during the week of June 4-7, bringing you all the best news from E3 2012. We're covering everything from PlanetSide 2 and SWTOR and ArcheAge to RIFT's and LotRO's upcoming expansions, so stay tuned!

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