Runes of Magic

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Runes of Magic

Runes of Magic

They've taken WOW, and they've runed it.

In the West, the perception of free-to-play games can be that they're poorer quality, or more rudimentary, or feature basic browser-based graphics, or are for younger audiences - or are simply off-putting for the two-tier culture that accompanies the sale of game items for real currency, real-money trading (RMT). Runes of Magic, however, could bridge the gap between such games and the fully-fledged MMOs in the West. It may be free to download, but it's also a deep, complex game with all the features you'd expect from a modern MMORPG.

In fact, as I discussed in our preview, the game - developed by Taiwan's Runewaker Entertainment and published by Germany's Frogster Interactive - is clearly influenced by World of Warcraft, and gunning for some of its market. But will Western gamers, who've traditionally been happy with buying a boxed game then paying a sub, embrace the free model?

When you first enter Runes of Magic, you start at the Pioneers' Colony, where you level to 10-ish bopping sundry fungi, wolves and bears. The gathering skills (mining, woodcutting, and herbalism) also have their trainers located here. If you want to use any of the game's six production skills – alchemy, amour-crafting, blacksmithing, carpentry, cooking or tailoring – it pays to get cracking with your gathering and processing straight away.

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Free MMO Runes of Magic launches

Free MMO Runes of Magic launches

Over half a million were in beta.

German publisher Frogster has officially launched its free-to-play fantasy MMO, Runes of Magic. You can register for an account and download the game at the Runes of Magic website.

The game's been in open beta since December, during which time it's amassed an impressive half a million players.

Although developed in Taiwan, unlike most free MMOs Runes of Magic takes its cues directly from World of Warcraft and the EverQuest games, serving up a traditional high-fantasy world and plenty of questing to get you through the levels.

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Runes of Magic leaves beta in March

Runes of Magic leaves beta in March

Free MMO nets 300,000 players.

German publisher Frogster has announced that Runes of Magic will leave beta and enjoy "commercialisation" - which, in the language of free-to-play online games, means "launch" - in March.

The World of Warcraft-style MMO entered open beta testing last month, since when it has attracted a respectable 300,000 players.

Developed in Taiwan but given a thorough localisation by Frogster, the very slick Runes of Magic looks like the pick of the free-to-play bunch. We'll bring you a review soon, but in the meantime, visit the Runes of Magic gamepage for more.

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Runes of Magic open beta begins

Runes of Magic open beta begins

Chance for all to sample freebie MMO.

Free-to-play fantasy MMO Runes of Magic has entered open beta testing, opening its gates to all comers.

As you can read in our preview, Runes of Magic is a fairly slick entry in the wild world of free MMOs, with dual classes, player housing, a flexible equipment system, and a style strongly influenced by World of Warcraft.

All of the game's features go live in this open beta phase - including the item shop, where you can buy items for real money. Sounds more like a soft launch to us.

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Open beta date for Runes of Magic

Open beta date for Runes of Magic

Free MMO opens gates in 10 days.

German publisher Frogster has announced a date for the open beta test for its free-to-play fantasy MMO for PC, Runes of Magic.

The beta is open to all players and will begin a week on Monday, on 15th December. All you need to do is register at the official Runes of Magic site.

All closed beta testers get an automatic pass to the open beta phase, plus an in-game event to celebrate the end of closed beta.

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Runes of Magic

Even better than the real thing?

There's no getting around the fact that the very name Runes of Magic sounds generic. And indeed, once you're past the character creation screen of this free-to-play MMORPG - where female avatars appear, primed to go into battle in metal panties and armoured stockings - the game itself doesn't refute this impression. However, games are generic, by and large, and to be considered thus isn't that much of a slur.