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August 22, 2007
Runescape Review

By Lynn Kraczek

RuneScape is a browser based fantasy game that was released in 2001. It offers a wide variety of things to do in a game that is free to play. They do have a membership program that is 5 dollars a month that offers more extensive opportunities and items for game play, but it is not necessary to have a membership to play and the free play is packed quite full of things to do on its own. There are also both English and German speaking servers available at this time, with access to servers that are for many other countries, such as Australia, Netherlands, Sweden and Canada to name a few.

The graphics seem a little dated and the movement somewhat choppy, but after a few minutes I wasn't paying as much attention to that, because I had too many other things going on in the game. It took a bit to get accustomed to the interface, camera and movement buttons as well, but once I got to my first objective it was an old hat. Before I get ahead of myself though, let's talk creation.

One neat thing in any game is the character creation. It's the very first thing you encounter after setting up an account, and it's the first opportunity to become your character. While RuneScape cannot support as much detail as some of the larger MMOs, it does have a very nice selection of options for character creation. The hair, eyes, clothes, feet, face shape and body types are all customizable as well as the choice of color for skin, clothes, and hair. Any game with the ability to customize my persona gets points from me!

The tutorial is very well done. It does its job and shows you everything you need to know for basic survival in the game. You learn about all the assortment of buttons and icons on the screen, which are quite numerous, and you are instructed in how they are used with each other. Making fire, catching fish, and cooking are the first things you'll do and by that time you also have a feel for the way the game moves. After you have those rudimentary skills learned, you then get to learn the art of combat, but only after learning how to make yourself a weapon to fight with. Prospecting and mining ore so that you can make a dagger comprises the task before being allowed to kill a monster. Then, you learn and practice both melee and ranged skills before going outside to learn the art of magic. After you have finished the tutorial, you are set loose; but you do still have guides to talk to should you get stumped.

In RuneScape, there are no specific classes. You can be anything and everything you like as you shape your character into your definition of a hero. Such as a ranger that can cast spells or go toe to toe in melee - the player gets to pick what role he plays in any given fight. You are completely free to do what you want. One thing I found was that casting of spells and ranged attacks seem a bit tedious because targeting can be difficult. The constant mouse clicking on a small area embroiled with other players is not a pleasant way to complete a task when the player constantly has to try and re-target. Some of that frustration went away as I played and other times it would seem to be a lingering nag. However, there was never anything that didn't leave me wanting to play longer.

Of course, if combat isn't your piece of pie, you can always become a merchant of sorts. Skills like fishing, cooking and weapon crafting can make a person some side cash, and if you need relaxation, it would be a good way to retire. Like other games, there is always questing that can be done. The quest log ranges from collection objectives to kill missions and rewards you in items, experience, or money. RuneScape has an extensive quest system that allows you to see which quests you have available, which quests are in progress, and those quests you have already accomplished.

Overall, RuneScape is a very pleasant way to kick back. Once you overlook the graphics and let yourself get pulled into the essence of Gielinor, you can spend quite a bit of time at the computer moseying around or decapitating monsters. You might just end up asking yourself how you didn't stumble across this pastime before now.


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