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Friday, September 18, 2009

Runes of Magic

Game: Runes of Magic

Publisher: Frogster

Download or web based: Download

What you get if you pay: Diamonds can be purchased and used to buy chests containing various helpful items. Mounts for speedy travel, potions for resurrection, and vials to increase skill levels are also available. Purchasing Diamonds also earns Rubies which can be used in a secondary shop of their own.

Review: Runes of Magic takes place in the land of Taborea. Residents of the land live in small villages and farms, outpost towns, and large, fortified cities. Players themselves also have “houses” that can be entered from many wide-spread areas. The houses can also be customized with furniture purchased from a merchant (for decoration only) or the Item Shop (which can boost experience and other things). Furnishings range from simple rugs and chairs to elaborate beds or even animal head trophies that can be hung on the walls.

Character creation is simple despite the variety of customizable features. Height, facial features, and hair style/color are options along with chest size, arm and leg muscle bulk and hip size.

Choosing a character's class at the beginning isn't as important in this game as it is in some. Other classes can be accessed after achieving level 10 and used as a new main class or utilized as a secondary class to boost the main class's traits and skills. Mages can use a Rogue's throwing skill to get the attention of foes and save their Mana points for powerful spells to take the angry enemy out.

Combat is accomplished by simply attacking a foe or walking past an aggressive enemy that will attack on its own. When the enemy is defeated experience and training points are gained. Training points can be used to increase combat skill levels. When utilizing the dual-class system only the main class's skills can be leveled.

Weapons, armor, potions, and many other items can be crafted from materials collected from many points in the fields. Collecting basic materials increases the level of the basic skills and allows for the collection of items to craft higher level weapons, pieces of armor, and other items. While the basic materials can be found practically anywhere they can be refined and used to craft items only when in range of tool benches for the specific craft type. Hunks of wood can only be made into pieces of lumber near Carpentry Tools in and around villages and towns. There are NPCs near each set of tools that can sell recipes for crafting as skill levels increase.

Player versus player is limited on some servers and wide open on others. Defeating other players in combat can shift one's alignment one way or another, depending on the alignment of challenger and challenged. As one progresses up or down the alignment scale exclusive weapons and armor become available to use.

Rating: 9/10 Excellent graphics and smooth transition from one map zone to another. Large variety of quests in starting areas eliminates boredom when leveling multiple classes for the dual-class system. Combat is straightforward and simple, but allows for quite a bit of strategy whether solo or in a party.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sorcery Quest

Game: Sorcery Quest

Publisher: Edgebee

Download or web based: Web

What you get if you pay: Tokens can be purchased and used to create new characters and buy weapons and armor. Extra turns, rings to boost experience gained, and picking up rare loot also use tokens.

Review: Sorcery Quest is a simple game from a company barely a year in existence. After creating an initial party a number of of simple quests can be started from the starting village of Debrinheim. Hunting mushrums and a variety of rats in the Outskirts of Debrinheim get a player familiar with battle and getting the right balance for their party.

New characters can be created and added to the party after acquiring coins from quests or purchased with Edgebee™ Tokens. The exact type of character depends on the coin used. Fighter coins can be used to create Knights, Monks, and other melee type characters. Rogue coins spawn Ninjas, Archers, and other stealthy and long ranged combatants. The third coin type, Spellcasters, make Evokers, Illusionists, and other magic-wielding party members.

The maximum size of a party is determined by the leader's Charisma stat. The more Charisma, the more party members can be managed. To control a larger party a character's Charisma must be set at creation or when reset to a coin and remade. Rare seeds can be acquired that will also boost Charisma along with other basic stats.

Movement outside the village is accomplished using the keyboard arrow keys or the navigation arrows under the on screen map. Besides a chance for a random battle on each square of the map there are treasure chests, sanctuary points for full healing, and the occasional secret passage.

Combat is turn based with a minimum of animations. Special skill use is displayed by a flash of the attacking character's picture and an up/down arrow or small icon displaying any long term effects such as a decrease in defense or paralysis.

Each combat encounter, visit to a sanctuary, or brief rest at a campsite uses up Turns. When the number of Turns reaches zero movement in dungeons is restricted until more are available. Turns regenerate at a rate of 1 every 2 hours and can be purchased with Edgebee tokens.

Player versus player combat takes place in the arena via ladder matches. A player submits themselves to the list and challenges others or waits to be challenged. The matches themselves are automatic and can be viewed after the results are posted.

Rating: 5/10 The simple graphics don't really detract from the game much. The biggest hindrance to long term play is the limit imposed by the number of turns on hand. It is difficult to explore maps and complete quests when only 12 encounters are allowed after not playing for a day. Some enemies are enjoyable. “Not-a-rats” are large rodents wearing silly glasses to disguise their “rat”ness.