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Lost Pages of Taborea

Lost Pages of Taborea: Fixing the economy

Fantasy, Economy, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Runes of Magic, Lost Pages of Taborea

Runes of Magic screenshot
I've got one more article concerning the current state of Runes of Magic's economy. To round out my trilogy, I'm taking a look at actual fixes to what could be seen as a broken mechanic. If the current inflation is indeed seen as something that is broken and could quickly damage the playability in RoM, then the fixes would likely be band-aids. It would take too long to rework an entire system filled with thousands of items, each affecting the other. The fix would also need to be implemented quickly. That puts some limitations on our speculations. What does the fix need to concentrate on?

The problem seems boil down to the excess amounts of gold that can be hoarded -- hundreds and hundreds of millions can be saved up. It's also possible for high-level, well-geared players to accumulate gold rather quickly. In this week's Lost Pages of Taborea, I want to take a look at gold sinks (including one Frogster is testing), gold-caps, and some other ways to tame the economy.

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Lost Pages of Taborea: Beating the economy

Fantasy, Economy, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Runes of Magic, Lost Pages of Taborea

Runes of Magic image
Last week, I expounded on Runes of Magic's current economic situation. Prices are crazier than the obligatory car salesman's, only in reverse. That is to say, prices are extremely high for everything right now. It doesn't stop the game from functioning, but it does put a lot of gear and upgrading tools out of reach for new and free players.

This week in Lost Pages of Taborea, I want to look at a handful of ways that you can continue to enjoy RoM until the storm blows over (if it blows over). Even though prices seem out of hand, you can still get equipped well enough from new quests to start running dungeons. The minigames have been rejuvenated into farming grounds, thanks to the introduction of crimson stats. And even though it is often scoffed at, arena gear is an option for those willing to grind honor points or materials.

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Lost Pages of Taborea: State of the economy

Fantasy, Economy, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Runes of Magic, Lost Pages of Taborea

Runes of Magic screenshot
For months now, it's been no secret that Runes of Magic's economy has been out of whack. I've been sitting on this article, watching and waiting to see what would happen next. The assumption, of course, is that I think something will happen. I keep thinking that Runewaker, Frogster and RoM will align like stars to zap the economy back to its previous state, or that RoM's economy will act like a large, slowly deflating balloon, but nothing's happened for months. That's not to say the something that could happen will never happen. This period of severe inflation is a drop in the bucket compared to the life of the game. But what if the economy stays the way it is?

I've stopped asking questions that pointed and started asking how this new economy makes sense. I don't think anything is more wrong with the economy now than it was before. Prices are higher, much higher, on everything. For some, that's enough of a problem, but is it a problem for the operation of RoM? In this week's Lost Pages of Taborea, follow me down the rabbit hole to see how the weird might actually be normal.

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Lost Pages of Taborea: Test driving Magic Hub

Fantasy, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Runes of Magic, Lost Pages of Taborea

Runes of Magic/Magic Hub image
I'm going to jump on this one before anyone else does. The company Overwolf developed a little application that provides MMO players with social networking, web, video and screenshot functionality without the need to alt+tab out of a game.

It's a lot like what Trion has built into RIFT, only in a third-party package, and Frogster partnered with Overwolf to provide a Runes of Magic-branded version called Magic Hub -- complete with RoM-specific buttons.

After some technical problems, I got Magic Hub to work and put it through its paces. There are other applications out there that provide a wide range of functionality for gamers, but since this one is customized for RoM, I thought I'd give my impressions.

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Lost Pages of Taborea: Lions and tigers and bears, oh... mounts!

Fantasy, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Runes of Magic, Lost Pages of Taborea

Runes of Magic screenshot
Summer is starting to wane, and the cold winds will soon be blustering through the city streets. Kids with chattering teeth and blue fingers will be sitting in front of stoves or fireplaces, rolling their eyes as grandpa proclaims that he had to walk to and from school barefoot through snow uphill both ways. While our grandfathers fantasize about the pride of hardships, we can slip off to the computer and live in our fantasy worlds that provide mounts to make traveling a bit more fun.

Runes of Magic has a wide variety of mounts that can run, hover and float over water. Some of these mounts are more rare than others, like those seen only on holidays or during special fundraisers, while some are two-seaters. From the sleek and vicious to the large and powerful to the just plain wacky, RoM has a mount for all occasions. In this week's Lost Pages of Taborea, I go over the mounts that are available, their rarity, their speed, and some ways to give your preferred mount a boost.

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Lost Pages of Taborea: Customization in Guild Wars 2 and Runes of Magic

Fantasy, Guild Wars, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Free-to-Play, Runes of Magic, Lost Pages of Taborea

Guild Wars 2 and Runes of Magic screenshots
It took me a little while, but you should know by now that I was going to do a Guild Wars 2 comparison. It's a little later than I previously said I'd write it, but there's no time like the present, right?

Runes of Magic has been chugging along for over two years now, while GW2 is -- sort of -- just around the corner, and Guild Wars is the veteran of the bunch at six years of age.

What do these MMOs have in common that would provoke me to attempt a comparison? I'll give you a hint: It has nothing to do with jumping. What they do share is character customization, which, really, many MMOs have. It's a pretty standard feature.

In this week's Lost Pages of Taborea, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how RoM could have taken some customization cues from GW, while GW2 might be taking some from RoM -- sort of like a movie based off a show based off a movie.

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Lost Pages of Taborea: Runes of Magic's potential for EVE combat

Fantasy, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Runes of Magic, Lost Pages of Taborea

Runes of Magic screenshot
I've been thinking a lot lately on other ways that Runes of Magic reminds me of EVE Online. Not that any systems are exactly the same, but they have certain similarities. Wurm Online and Minecraft are arguably different in how they function, but they both scratch the same creative itch.

RoM's gear-modification system lends itself to EVE-esque combat. Keep in mind we're not talking about how the mechanics or guts of the games are similar or different; we're talking about how the same itch is being scratched. In the case of RoM's PvP being like EVE, it's more like tickling the itch with a feather, which makes you want to scratch it even more. I want to scratch that itch with a Brillo pad by exploring how RoM's open-world PvP could function more like EVE's, thanks to the arcane transmutor. Let's start with how I think battlefields differ from open-world PvP.

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Lost Pages of Taborea: Answering email

Fantasy, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Runes of Magic, Lost Pages of Taborea

Runes of Magic screenshot
Today's email comes to us from Jack Readman.
Dear Jeremy: As the subject suggests, I am curious about Runes of Magic. I have given it several tries before and can say I enjoyed it, but I always left it after a while due to distractions. Currently I'm playing RIFT and enjoying the endgame raiding and to a lesser extent the 5-mans. So I do like my PvE content. What does RoM have to offer in this regard? I love The housing thing and other diversions like that. What else is there? Tell me what is great about RoM and what gives it its flavor? How dependent do you have to be on the cash shop?
Thanks for writing, Jack. I'm sure many players have very similar questions when approaching Runes of Magic for the first time. I've tried to formulate a response akin to how I'd explain RoM to my friends -- if they'd actually want to listen to me for as long as this article is.

I can only offer my opinions, but ultimately what you think of RoM is up to you. I play RIFT, but I haven't gotten beyond level 20. I'm also not really into endgame in RoM yet, although I think I'm fairly familiar with the MMO as a whole. Keep in mind certain features will net you different answers depending on how a player approaches MMOs in general. I can tell you right off the bat that the majority of RoM's dungeons are six-man or twelve-man, but for the rest of my verbose answers, you'll have to click past the break.

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Lost Pages of Taborea: Faction flags

Fantasy, Lore, Free-to-Play, Races, Runes of Magic, Lost Pages of Taborea

I love taking screenshots. There, I said it. Give me endless zones with nooks and crannies to explore around every corner and I'll take screenshots of them. I'm currently sitting at 11.2 Gigs -- just for Runes of Magic. Buildings, landscapes, caves, outfits, weapons, mounts; You name it, and I've probably taken a screenshot of it. Oddly enough, it's the action shots I usually don't try to capture. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy capturing a good light show as my guild face-plants a boss, but the majority of my screenshots folder is overwhelmingly filled with persistent-world shots devoid of player characters.

Many of the factions in RoM have unique architecture and flags signifying their peoples. I've dug through the beast I call a screenshot folder and put together a visual trip through the many different ways factions choose to advertise. Did I say there were many? There are. I didn't include every last faction-flag I could find, but I've chosen from some of the more common ones -- and some of my favorites. As you'll see, there are some really great designs that help immerse you in RoM. I love these little attentions to detail that show the effort developers put into designing a world.

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Lost Pages of Taborea: Chapter 3 character background tie-ins

Fantasy, Lore, Free-to-Play, Races, Roleplaying, Runes of Magic, Lost Pages of Taborea

The lore in Runes of Magic can sometimes be frustrating. There's an incomplete -- and vague -- history that sparks questions of who did what and when. Sometimes, there are references to reoccurring incidents without anyone knowing anything of who was involved or when it happened. As new chapters are released, some of those questions are answered and story-holes are filled, but new questions get added as well. We are veering off the beaten track in this week's Lost Pages of Taborea to dive into some lore.

There's a growing amount of story for lore-hungry players to discuss and I wanted to revisit some Chapter 3 lore that helps us to understand a little more about the history and present-day in the world of Taborea. The following article is written for those players who may already know about the game's lore, but want to know even more. Given the overall amount of story and the way it's spread out through levels, zones and time-frames, I almost didn't feel the need to put any spoiler warnings on this post. Instead, I left out details learned from going inside the various dungeons.

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Lost Pages of Taborea: What could have been

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Free-to-Play, Runes of Magic, Lost Pages of Taborea

We always face changes in our favorite MMOs. A new patch comes along and changes multi-click gathering to single-click, a cool pet system gets added or our main class gets nerfed. Sometimes changes happen before the game ever sees them, though.

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.

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Lost Pages of Taborea: A history of Diamonds

Fantasy, Economy, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Runes of Magic, Lost Pages of Taborea

It's been a long time since we've heard anything about Diamonds being reinstituted into Runes of Magic's auction house. Since that fateful day they were removed, a lot of new players have joined, veterans have left and some things that should not have been forgotten... were lost.

Having Diamonds in the auction house is an important feature that was planned from the get-go. It allows for seamless trading and player-controlled price fluctuations that keep all items obtainable for everyone. It's about having the freedom to play multiple ways. Options are more numerous than simply paying and having everything opened up or not paying and being stuck. With RoM's cash-shop items being integrated into the title's gameplay, there's a grayscale that lets players have many more options in how they want to play.

It's not an overly complex issue, but one worth looking back on. Getting Diamonds back in the auction house isn't a lost cause, but the issue has dragged on to the point that long time players may have given up all hope. This edition of Lost Pages of Taborea is all about looking back at the beginning and bringing players up to speed on diamonds in (or not-in) the auction house.

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Lost Pages of Taborea: Comparing EVE's PLEX and PvP to RoM's

Fantasy, Economy, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Runes of Magic, Lost Pages of Taborea

I was prepping for a Guild Wars 2 comparison with Runes of Magic, but in light of the current buzz in the air, I'm moving my EVE Online comparison up.

A couple of interesting blocks fell into place this week that fit well with a look at how EVE and RoM allow money to circulate through the economies, and how PvP works in conjunction with it. While there's no contest as to which MMO has the more robust economy, there are still similarities that fit the pay-to-progress comment Mr. Simon Ludgate made in a recent Gamasutra article.

Swarming around the above topics is the question of how much it costs to stay competitive in RoM, which I've also been working on. What does Gamasutra's article have to do with RoM, how much does it cost to be competitive and how are economies similar in these two MMOs? You can also read my memorandum to all EVE PvPers. Set your jump-point past the break to see.

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Lost Pages of Taborea: Improving versatility in RoM's content

Fantasy, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Runes of Magic, Lost Pages of Taborea

I'm bouncing off last week's Lost Pages of Taborea to elaborate on why Runes of Magic's content is lackluster, especially in light of the ability to over-gear but also to come up with some ideas to keep it from becoming meaningless and boring. It's not absolutely necessary, but it will help if you've read last week's article.

RoM's gear-system ensures that you get a lot of variety in choosing what kind of character to make and how you want to play it, but there's a threshold at which the only way to allow for even more diversity among class builds is to offset the linear difficulty of new content by replacing your stats with more powerful versions of themselves, adding refinements and tiering, upgrades that just up your sheer power. Players get funneled into more restrictive builds as they gain levels.

The downfall is in the content itself because it becomes super-easy-mode killing after over-gearing. It's turning on a cheat code. Any need -- or desire -- to manage blood bars or skill rotations gets thrown out with the trash. It's a foreseeable issue in just about any game across any platform or genre in which you would allow the players to gain extra amounts of power. But is there a way to allow for it and keep in some challenge and variety? Some solutions might be to slow down the pace of combat, stretch the utility of player bars, make content more dynamic, or throw in some sandbox behavior.

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Lost Pages of Taborea: Content needs to meet the versatility of gear-upgrading

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Runes of Magic, Lost Pages of Taborea

Last week I compared looting and class-bending in Runes of Magic with similar features found in RIFT. RoM's system of gear customization was a part of that article. This week, I want to talk business. Don't worry, I'm not a business major about to sling pie charts at you or talk about quarterly earnings. I want to talk a bit about business, specifically about how it might relate to decisions developers make concerning what kind of balance to put into an MMO.

RoM's gear system is extremely flexible on the outside, but inside there are some restrictions. Some of these restrictions are imposed by the game, but some are imposed by players. In this week's Lost Pages of Taborea, let's take a look at how the flexibility and choice of RoM's gear system -- and other systems -- are in opposition to the game's content and some desires players have.

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