Runes of Magic had some different features planned that were never implemented. Tile-dungeons, a streaming client and party-spells are a few of these features left on the cutting-room floor. In this week's Lost Pages of Taborea, I want to insert a titular line and look at what could have been.
I've seen some innovative ideas about dynamic dungeons in game forums that always remind me of RoM's proposed -- but never implemented -- tile-dungeons. Are you familiar with the Windmill dungeon in Logar? Yeah? Did you know that was to be one of the tile dungeons?
The dungeons were going to have a different, randomly generated layout every time players entered. Not only would the blueprint be different but groups of mobs and even the bosses would be switched around to enhance replayability.
Cry me a bitstream
It's pretty well known that RoM is a hefty download. Downloads lost a little weight when the slim client was released, but not much. The Facebook version should make the downloading of a client almost non-existent and get players into the game super-fast, but there was a time when streaming RoM was on the horizon.
Back in May of 2009, news sprang up that Frogster had plans to partner with Bitraider to stream the game while you played. I imagine it would've worked just like World of Warcraft's client does now. You'd download the initial client and start playing immediately while the client continued to download all the resources – allowing you to get into the game faster.
Bitraider's website still shows a RoM logo in its partners section, but there's no other information to be found. Is the deal dead in the water or still on the table? Is the Facebook version a replacement? I'd like to see both. A Facebook version is great for the instant playtime from any location, but a streaming client would be great for those wanting the client and the customizations that come from addons and tweaking graphics cards.
Monster card pets
Monster cards are everywhere in RoM. Chapter 4 added to the already numerous collection of cards that give out small, permanent stat boosts. There was a time, however, when the idea of cards doubling as pets were on the dealers' table.
It appears that the initial card-system was to have multiple uses as pets and, well, probably what we have now -- the stat bonuses. Of course, now, we have the separate pet system, but the question of whether there will be another use for the cards is still there.
I always found Vanguard: Saga of Heroes' Diplomacy system to be incredibly unique and would love to see Runewaker tackle its own version. There are close to a thousand cards already in the game or on the way. Sprinkle a little math-magic onto them and you'd have a customizable card game. CCGs are made with a lot of replayability in mind and it just seems like one would fit well in RoM.
RoM has a lot of systems familiar to other MMOs and it seems the developers had once planned a system akin to one in Lord of the Rings Online.
The party attack system would've operated fundamentally similar to Conjunctions(or Fellowship Maneuvers) in LotRO. It would've allowed a party to work together to set-off unique spells, attacks or buffs if everyone in the party participated properly. This played off a rule stating different mobs were weak to six different magical elements: water, light, dark, earth, wind and fire. If a party dealt magical-based damage in the correct order, a group-attack would trigger.
It sounds like it would've been an interesting addition to gameplay, but maybe it was best left out. With encounters being so fast, the time needed to pull off a party co-op spell would just get everyone killed. Who knows? Maybe we could see combo spells added to sets of armor and those possessing the armor could party together for group attacks. Future content could be developed differently to support it.
Flying really isn't a feature that was denied, but we've only ever heard -- many moons ago -- that Runewaker wanted to add it. Then, silence.
Mounts are everywhere in RoM. There's an ever increasing variety from warhorses and wolves to toadstools, bungas, tigers, mammoths and much more. Some of these fly in the sense that they hover just above the ground and can cross over water, but none let you soar through the air.
From a cursory glance, adding the ability to fly doesn't seem problematic, but there's at least one problem with zone borders: they bleed into unrendered lands. The hills next to Pioneer Colony separate Howling Mountains from what appears to be a testing area. If you were to cross those mountains you'd find flat land filled with holes and partially developed caves with red boxes. Once you're back there, you can walk around to the backside of other zones as well.
Erecting an invisible wall might work, but if those are to be future zones, then we should be able to fly to them after they are released. I'm sure we could still see flying one day, but some other work needs done on the zones first. If I do live to see the day we can fly in RoM, the first thing I'm going to do is fly to the top of The Big Dig and alight on the machinery way up at the top of the mountain.
Would RoM be a very different game today, had all these changes made it into the game? I'm sure a lot of players would agree that a streaming client would only be a good thing, but what about the others? Would a tile-dungeon be enough to break up the monotony of farming gold or armor? Would you want to see RoM slow its roll and then implement party attack spells? I'm interested in hearing what you would have done with these features.
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 how to how to improve versatility in RoM's content, you'll find it all here. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.