A few months ago I did play a bit in the closed beta of Runes of Magic. I cannot say I was particularly impressed with the game then; although I did only play a few levels. But since it was also a closed beta at the time it would be expected to perhaps be incomplete and a bit rough.
Recently I decided to pick up the game again even though it is in “open beta”, after I read in a post by Saylah that the characters would stick around and not be wiped. This means that they are essentially doing changes and tuning to the game still. But since the characters will stick around we basically have the same situation that a number of former MMORPGs has been at their official release. At least here it is being a bit more honest about where they are currently. Saylah also has a number of other posts on Runes of Magic – well worth a read!
Payment to play the game is through an item shop, which seems to be fully functional at this stage. In order to see how much the game might cost me in practive I did order 500 diamonds (the item shop currency), which cost me roughly 22 Euro. It will be interesting to see how long that lasts.
Starting the game again this time did not initially give a much better impression that from the closed beta, although texts in general had been translated at this point to English. The initial tutorial feels a bit cheesy and not particularly exciting. There is no feeling of excitement, destiny and glorious adventure waiting. The environment does not have the splendor and detail that may be found in Age of Conan, Lord of the Rings Online, Guild Wars or the ambience of Chronicles of Spellborn. And while the sound is not completely non-existant, there is not much of it and not something that I would consider memorable at this point. But maybe they will improve on that before the real release.
Still, that does not mean that it is bad. In fact I did start to like it more and more as I played. It has more of a bit cosy and casual feeling over it, not taking things too seriously and providing a bit fun for a bit of time. In a sense it is a spiritual child of World of Warcraft in my view. The developers have certainly been inspired by Blizzard’s game, but they have done more than merely trying to copy it.