Runes of Magic

Runes of Magic Review for PC

On: PC

Free to play MMORPG with micro-transactions.

Review Verdict Read Review
7Out of 10
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If this screenshot reminds you of World of Warcraft, then well done, because it should.
If this screenshot reminds you of World of Warcraft, then well done, because it should.

If this screenshot reminds you of World of Warcraft, then well done, because it should.

You might be wondering, at this point, just how publisher Frogster's going to make any money out of Runes of Magic. The answer is diamonds. Lots and lots of diamonds. With diamonds, purchased with real world cash, you pay for in-game items designed to give you a leg up in the levelling process. Examples include potions that increase by 30 per cent the experience collected in combat for all members of a group, or portal runes that transport you around the world, or clothes racks for storing armour in your customisable house (every character has a residence, kept spic and span by a sexy anime-style maid), or even a war horse, available to rent for seven or 30 day periods.

While the idea of buying advantage with your own cash will give many players the fear, it's important to note that in Runes of Magic you can't buy powerful armour or weapons. Only subsidiary items are available. In that way, you should never come up against another player in a PvP situation (restricted to duels at the moment) who's got the edge because he's considerably wealthier than you. And, really, if you have the time and inclination, there's no reason to spend any money at all. The Phirius Tokens system allows you to cash in rewards from a number of area specific daily quests for many of the items that you'd otherwise have to pay for with diamonds. Because Frogster seems to have made such effort to make the game fully playable without the need to spend a penny, it seems unclear at this stage why anyone would.

Instead, the appeal, as the game's title suggests, is in runes. Customisation is the order of the day here. Weapons and armour have slots in which you're able to fix runes that grant statistical bonuses. You can do this for absolutely everything, and it doesn't stop there. You can strip powers from new objects into a rune and attach it to your existing armour. You can even combine runes to form more powerful ones. In this way, it'll be a rare sight indeed to see two players with identical gear, unlike WoW.

It's great for a free game, but in the grand scheme of things it won't knock your socks off.

It's great for a free game, but in the grand scheme of things it won't knock your socks off.

For me, Runes of Magic is impressive for a free MMO, perhaps even the best, but predictably it's nowhere near as good as its subscription-based rivals, WoW and Warhammer Online. It doesn't do anything particularly ground breaking, and in parts it's shoddy - music will inadvertently cut out for no apparent reason, the text sometimes makes no sense, betraying its Taiwanese origins perhaps, and the graphics won't knock anyone's socks off, but it's free, and, by all accounts, popular. The English-speaking PvP server tested is heavily populated, with LFG requests popping up in world chat every five seconds. The game world, Taborea, isn't particularly big, but that's much preferable to having a massive game world with content spread too thin. Runes of Magic's 50 levels should keep players entertained throughout the grind, and the promise of regular free updates with new game content bodes well for the future.

For MMORPG newcomers, though, Runes of Magic will be utterly bewildering. There's little in the way of explanation, the game isn't particularly user friendly and it clearly assumes a degree of knowledge on how these games work. You have to imagine that Frogster's missed a trick here: there's bound to be one or two people who've been put off by MMORRPGs in the past because of the regular fees. Runes of Magic doesn't explain itself well enough to appeal to them.

From whatever angle you enter Runes of Magic's virtual world, don't expect it to blow you away. But it works. Dave summed it up well: "So, what do you think?" "It makes me want to play Warcraft". "Yeah."

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8 Comments

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User Comments

Scotty01's Avatar

Scotty01

Played this game for Over a year. As free mmo's go it's actually
So-So. Lots of Quests but many are bugged. Guild's get nice
Castles, but half the time they don't work. The newest release
Chapter 3, was extremely lame not much was really added and
Again many things just don't work. Feels like a Beta-Game.
Frogster is also Ban happy. You can be banned from the game
VERY easily. All in all, I'd have to give this game a 4 out of 10.
Posted 18:38 on 23 June 2010
Show-me-your-moves's Avatar

Show-me-your-moves

looks good and its looks better than paying £10 a month
Posted 20:32 on 10 July 2009
BeanTown's Avatar

BeanTown

Is anyone excited about the release of Runes of Magic: The Elven Prophecy? Come party with me in the game!!
Posted 18:58 on 10 July 2009
foogoo's Avatar

foogoo

Nice review. This is the first time that I've heard of an 'all you base are belong to us' issue happening. Perhaps I was just too busy testing out all the other goodies along the way. But you're right, the game was dev'd in Taiwan, and you'd think that Frogster would have gone over all game text with a fine tooth comb. But then again...they're not native english speakers either. ;)
Posted 13:19 on 07 April 2009
CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee

[] FREE
[] MMO
[] GOOD

You can only pick two.

To be fair, I tried it, and it is everything you could possibly expect. Easy enough to get into, and with some handy user-friendly aspects tacked on. (Auto-travel to location chosen from world map even if I have never been there? More like this, please!) What sets it apart from the other hundred free Korean MMOs is the daily quests. Now, sure, the daily quests are near enough all of the "Kill # of [mobs] and bring back their [body parts]." variety, but at least there is potential for more. Also, with server-wide world events happening from time to time, I can actually see me playing this one beyond level 7!
Posted 22:23 on 06 April 2009
redhotchilli's Avatar

redhotchilli

NICE 1 I LIKE THAT!!
Posted 23:05 on 05 April 2009
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman@ thpcplayer

Food for thought - Some shops charge 10p for out of date crisps!
Posted 15:32 on 03 April 2009
thpcplayer's Avatar

thpcplayer

well, it's free so it's mine
Posted 15:06 on 03 April 2009

Game Stats

Runes of Magic
7
Out of 10
Runes of Magic
  • It's free
  • Dual class system
  • General lack of polish
  • No new ideas
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Release Date: 19/03/2009
Platform: PC
Developer: Runewaker Entertainment Ltd
Publisher: Frogster Interactive
Genre: Fantasy RPG
No. Players: 1 + Online
Rating: PEGI 12+
Site Rank: 844 46
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