Monday, May 9, 2011

Triumph of the $5 Mount

It's been two years since Darren made Runes of Magic's $10 mount famous, and I've finally shelled out for a ride of my own in the game.


It happened that last weekend combined double exp (relevant only in that it got me back into the game in the first place) with a double "diamond" sale and half off permanent mounts.  As a result, I was able to snag something significantly beyond what $10 bought back in 2009 - Darren's mount is a plain brown horse that goes at +55% speed, while my new ride goes at 70%, can supposedly carry a second passenger, has a fancier animated texture, and can hover over water without dismounting, all for $5 after the sales.  As always, it pays to wait when cash shops are concerned. 

In some ways, the way in which the deal got better drives home Darren's point about how arbitrary the digital horse sale is.  On the other hand, the $10 I spent on a pre-paid card (which got me some bonus goodies, and ensured that no one involved has any credit card info they can cough up in the event of a hacking debacle) is the only money that I've spent on the game thus far, and I've gotten well more than that much entertainment out of it. For the most part, I'm regarding the money almost as a gratuity, with the fact that I no longer need to worry about 30-day mount promos expiring as an added bonus.

Revisiting the item shop
After the last time I wrote about ROM, I basically decided to take a step back from the experience rather than push forward and end up with burnout on the game.  The experience is unapologetically a grind, which routinely offers nominally higher level quests that send you back to fight low level mobs you were grinding on a few quests back.
Read carefully, this text is your only warning that this particular quest may spawn an elite mob who will one-shot you and give you exp debt.
This is okay - sometimes it's fun to sign in and beat down several hundred mobs in a weekend with zero downtime and relatively little risk, just for a change of scenery.  The problem is when the exp curve causes you to run out of even this content, and you're left with the frustrating experience of trying to beat higher level stuff you can't handle and incurring substantial death penalties in the process.  Apparently, double exp from the bonus weekend was the difference between struggling, as I was the last time I played, and having fun for a weekend of gaining levels at a steady clip (10 levels of Rogue and 7 levels of Druid, ending at 40 Rogue /37 Druid).

If you're bent on never spending a dime on the game, this gets irritating really quickly.  That said, now that I have a relatively firm idea of what the currency is worth and which bonuses I consider necessary to have a fun experience, it looks like a night's worth of solid entertainment in ROM will cost me about $1.  That's more than the cost per night on a subscription MMO if you're playing every single day, but much less than you pay per night if you only play one or two weekends a month.

(None of this considers the prices on the game's potentially pricey cash store item enhancements, which I haven't needed for solo play thus far and would probably price me out of the market relatively quickly.)

Overall, I think this is a game I will revisit from time to time.  In particular, I'm curious about the planned addition of a back-up secondary class to the game.  My current balance of diamonds and potions (from promos etc) will see me through a fair chunk of that from the back of my blue winged $5 horse, so I'm not complaining.

P.S. The prepaid card I redeemed supposedly comes with a 30 day promo mount code that I now no longer need since I own a permanent mount.  I make no promises that any of this functions as advertised (in particular, I'm pretty sure that this only works on the US servers) , but I will be happy to send the code to the first commenter on this post who wants it and provides instructions on where they want me to send it.  The winner: it's Xax.
On the plus side, ankle-deep water does not frighten this horse away.  On the down side, after playing several games with real flying mounts that have less fancy wings than these, I occasionally expect my new ride to be able to take off.

4 comments:

Xaxziminrax II said...

Oh, oh, me, me! I recently got back in RoM, though I guess I'm not nearly the goblin you are, since I didn't know at all about the specials going on, or I also would have a shiny blue horse with wings.

Anyways, if you have that code, I would dig to try it out! You can drop it at catthou@gmail.com if it's still available.

Green Armadillo said...

The winner: it's Xax.

Incidentally, I get the impression on the forums that you can get all the freebies with the Zeevex cards even if you only put the minimum $2 on them. If this did work, your diamond exchange rate on such a small purchase would be less than ideal, but that's actually not a terrible price for a 30-day mount and a pile of misc potions and consumables, plus some small number of diamonds. The catch is that you have to find somewhere that stocks the variable value cards to test this theory.

Indy said...

Have they finally added back the ability to buy and sell diamonds in the game? (With in-game currency between players.)

As far as 'minor risk grinding mobs' go, the straw that broke the camel for me was finding out they put in the occassional 'elite' creature that looks just like the others... no difference in the health frame... except it apparently had twice as much health (you don't know that beforehand, as all you see is it's at 100%) and took half the damage.

Combine that with the xp debt system. Well, their customer service is horrid anyway; apparently they like to ignore tickets and hope you go away, and stealth close them without contacting you.

Green Armadillo said...

@Indy: You've identified probably my top two complaints about the game.

Diamond trade is not back in the game, and I agree that it is inexcusable for the company to happily pocket the revenue from people buying diamonds to resell but not do anything to safeguard those transactions. I do not consider this approach a viable way to finance your gameplay.

I think the issue with tougher than expected mobs may be some kind of anti-exploit terrain bug. I encountered this a few times last year, and usually it was either with a flying mob or on non-level ground. As long as I noticed in time and moved to a flatter location, the mob would go back to normal. That said, the majority of my deaths in game have been as a result of either this issue or quests that spawn elite mobs on top of you with no warning, and I agree that this is not really appropriate given the exp/debt system and the cash shop.