Progression in Taborea and the cost of convenience
Looking back now after a few weeks of playing Runes of Magic on and off, a few thoughts comes to mind.
First of all is the “free to play” terminology. I do not really like that one, because the games are not free – in the end the developers and publishers have to get paid for their efforts and they will preferably also make a profit on the game. This is no different from subscription-based games.
A slightly closer description would perhaps be “free to grind” (F2G), but that does not always hold true either.
You pay for content and/or convenience. In Runes of Magic, there is not really much of epic content, at least not what I have seen so far. There are plenty of enemies which are tougher and which you need a team or perhaps a raid to deal with. But that is just harder, not epic.
So the game is in my mind more about spending a bit of casual time in a fantasy setting every now and then. What becomes more important then is a suitable progression rate for the time spent. And in here I think is where Runes of Magic will make its money. It is perfectly possible to progress in the game without spending any money whatsoever. But, and that is a significant but, if you do not spend any money at all it will certainly become a grind.
Ignoring the quality of quests (for now), the progression though questing I think will not be quite enough to support leveling 2 classes for a character with the default progression rate. Hence there will be grinding mobs, grinding daily quests, unless a player more or less ignores the dual-class system (which some do). It becomes F2G.
Here comes the item shop then. For a cost, one can boost the progression in multiple ways – xp or tp potions to increase the gain for a limited time, talismans to collect extra xp/tp during progression to use later (not time limited), adding furniture to your house to gain rest xp/tp. Or buy an item to reset the daily quest limit.
Some items here work better for those who want to focus on a single activity (e.g. kill/grind mobs during a timed xp/tp boost), while talismans and furniture work better for those who play more varied and perhaps less often.
Also, some items related to crafting can be bought from the shop and more for convenience rather than being necessary.
And I think this approach is fair – I am happy to pay some for less grind-oriented play. Of course it would be nice with an MMO which really do not have any grind to speak of and where the extra you may pay for is just the content. But there is only one Guild Wars so far, so I do not expect the market to be swarmed by such offers – although one could hope.
After playing the game on and off for a few weeks I have spend about 1000 diamonds, which amounts to about 45 Euro. About half of that was basically one-time costs; the permanent horse and some furniture. I.e. a bit faster travel and some xp and tp bonus from being in my house (offline or online). The latter is now working after the latest update, which it did not before.
The rest of the diamonds were spent on renting an extra tab in the inventory for a few months (necessary for keeping all the crafting material), some money for changing colour on my outfits.
I also spent a bit trying a couple of booster options, i.e. xp/tp potions, tp talismans and crafting encyclopedias. Since I generally do not focus on just one task (e.g. killing mobs) during a whole session, the boost potions are not quite suitable for me. The talismans work better, but I found them to be a bit expensive for the gain they provided. The encyclopedias would have been much better if they were usable offline and not just online, in the house.
Since I expect to play the game a bit every now and then and not in long sessions, I think for my part I will mainly keep the furniture options to boost my progression. For other people some of the other choices may work out better and that is what I think is important here – different choices for different people.