Runes of Magic is a "free to play" MMORPG, developed by Runewalker Entertainment. Though developed in Taiwan, it became surprisingly popular in America and Germany after another company called Frogster Interactive translated it into English and German.
It is often criticized for being very similar to World of Warcraft, to the point of some calling it a rip-off. Even its fans are willing to admit this if you press them. Nevertheless, it has met with great success, and the number of players who signed up on both the launch of the open beta and the full game were unprecedented for a free-to-play MMORPG. Thanks to an online "item shop" where players can buy "diamonds" with real money in order to get items, extra character customization, and gameplay conveniences, plus boxed versions being sold in Europe, Frogster and Runewalker still manage to make a profit off it despite its "free-to-play" status.
The game is set in the High Fantasy world of Taborea, specifically on the continent of Candara. In ancient times, Candara was the homeland of Taborea's exceedingly proud humans, but that civilization was destroyed in a robot uprising. Some humans survived on the nearby continent of Kloyida, however. They are now in the process of rediscovering the Lost Technology of the Ancient Kingdoms and recolonizing the ruined land of Candara.
Players start out with the ability to choose one of eight classes. Starting at level 10, players can also choose a "secondary class" ; someone might play as a Warrior/Knight, or a Rogue/Mage for example. Upon getting both primary and secondary classes to level 20, one can also choose a third class.
Players start out in a small mining colony where they are introduced to the world and gameplay, then promptly set off into a Wide Open Sandbox.
This video game provides examples of:
- Allegedly Free Game: A mild example. The game is still perfectly playable if you don't pay extra, but the stuff in the item shop can make it more fun.
- You will spend AGES farming cash at endgame without diamonds, however.
- You used to be able to buy diamonds on the auction house with in-game currency — in other words, to earn premium currency (and all its rewards) without spending a dime.
- All There on the Website
- Anti Poop-Socking: Stay logged in for too long, and the NPC's will start telling you to quit playing! This makes questing impossible, since every quest involves talking to an NPC at some point.
- An Adventurer Is You
- An Interior Designer Is You: This being a frontier, homesteads are simply given to everyone.
- Awesome, but Impractical, depending on how you combine two classes: Mage/Priest combos are very versatile, but both classes rely on the same limited resource (mana).
- Backtracking: So...much....backtracking....
- Baleful Polymorph: A few days before the end of Open Beta, statues of a giant frog appeared all over Candara, surrounded by frogs. Whenever players killed enough of these frogs, the Frog King would appear, and if it kissed you, you'd have froginated yourself.
- Beast Man: Most prominent are the Capras, which are goat-people. There is also Snoop the Stubborn, who is basically a talking version of Snoopy. Around Eastertime, Gaia Rabbits also appear.
- The Beastmaster: Wardens get to summon pets to help them do their fighting.
- BFS: Any two-handed sword.
- Big Bad: Sirloth for the first three chapters. While you're in Candara, if something really bad is going on, chances are the Zurhidon are behind it and he's pretty much the most prominent Zurhidon member shown.
- Blood-Stained Glass Windows: The Forsaken Abbey zone.
- Breakable Weapons: It takes a long, long time for them to break though, and they can be repaired afterwards.
- Cap: You can only get to a certain Character Level, and only carry a certain amount of items.
- Character Customization
- Character Level
- Chokepoint Geography: Every geographical region is divided by mountains, and you must take narrow mountain passes through them if you plan on travelling between regions without magic.
- Class and Level System
- Critical Existence Failure
- Combat Medic: Priest-class characters are supposed to heal people, but they can also kick ass if you use them right.
- Death Is Cheap
- Enough to Go Around
- Expansion Pack World: Justified on the grounds of this being a frontier—the new lands aren't just appearing, they're being discovered. Oh, well, at least they're free.
- Fungus Humongous: The Fungus Garden
- Green Rocks: The titular runes of magic, which do basically whatever the designers want them to.
- Hot Wings: The "Phoenix" spell for mages. It looks pretty neat, but how often do your enemies line up nicely for you?
- Impossible Item Drop: From the mobs you slay.
- Mad Lib Fantasy Title: "Chapter I" in this virtual world's lifespan was "Runes of Magic: Rise of the Demon Lord." Chapter II is "Runes of Magic: The Elven Prophecy." The third chapter is "Runes of Magic: The Elder Kingdoms." , and the fourth chapter is "Lands of Despair".
- Magic Knight: Knights, by default. Also, each character can eventually get two classes — resulting in plenty of Warrior/Mages, Warrior/Priests, Knight/Mages, and Knight/Priests.
- The Magnificent: Players can get such titles by slaying boss monsters or completing quest chains.
- Nice Hat: It takes many hours of gameplay to even get a piece of headware. This has been changed around a bit since the Chapter II expansion. A few elven starter quests give out hats.
- Money Spider: Averted - you will not see a single gold piece off a mob you kill, but you will see plenty of item drops. You primarily earn money through doing quests for people and selling off item drops.
- Nebulous Evil Organization: The Zurhidon. You could probably guess just from how their name sounds.
- Only Mostly Dead: When you "die," you fall over. You can still talk and pan the camera around, and it is possible for a sufficiently skilled priest to revive you.
- Sufficiently skilled - read "played for all of three hours and hit level 10."
- PVP Balanced: parodied here.
- Rainbow Pimp Gear: The item shop does allow players to recolor their armor, but most players aren't willing to pay Real Life money for such a trivial feature. Which results in some very, erm, colorful-looking high-level characters.
- Ruins for Ruins' Sake: Subverted. All the ruins were in fact built by somebody, we find out what many of them are supposed to be, and there are NPC's studying them to find out more.
- Shoulders of Doom: For extra doominess, said shoulders are on fire.
- Squishy Wizard: Mages, Priests, and either combination of the two.
- Standard Status Effects
- Stripperiffic: Good gosh. The game's website used to have a picture of a woman wearing little more than a Chainmail Bikini, but the game's classes still follow this. At least for girls, naturally.
- Sword and Sorcerer: Both types are present.
- Turned Against Their Masters: The mechanical guardians of the Ancient Kingdoms.
- Urban Segregation Varanas is divided into the Lower City East (merchants), the Lower City West (craftsmen), and the Administrative District (Exactly What It Says on the Tin).