By W.B. Wemyss (Tagspeech) from mmohuts.com
Anyone who hasn't been living under a meatspace rock knows that Runescape is arguably the most popular browser-based MMORPG series in existence. Personally, I never played Runescape or its sequel, so I was curious to see how the third iteration of the series presented itself. Long-time fans of the series have reported a bit of dissatisfaction with the re-imagining of a few story elements and factions, but overall it seems that the reception has been largely positive.
The basic gist of the game's storyline (that I could glean from my time with it), was that we have two large factions warring. One of these factions is in favor of order (Saradomin), the other in favor of chaos (Zamorak). These factions are apparently named for the living gods that lead them, and given how unapologetic the game is about being a Fantasy Epic™ we shouldn't be surprised that Team Order is blue, and Team Chaos is red. You might think this all sounds terribly stereotypical: it is. But somehow, it doesn't bother me. Read on, and I'll tell you why.
If you're coming into Runescape 3 expecting some kind of new era in the saga of competitive, combat-focused browser games, you might be disappointed. The combat system is basic, bare-bones, and not terribly exciting. It's the same kind of action-bar, build-up-points affair that we've seen done over and over for the past fifteen years. But that's just fine, because Runescape 3 is a game with plenty more to offer than monster-farming.
Community at Large!
At the time of my playing and the writing of this review, Runescape 3 is still newly minted and hot off the development presses. The areas I visited were teeming with players; not just noobs, but those proud few that had already rocketed ahead and secured some sweet gear for themselves. General chat was fairly active and friendly. But the real magic of Runescape's community is how old it is; plenty of players are old guard from the first two games. Their loyalty to the series speaks to how much effort the developers put into maintaining quality and communication with their game's players.
One thing I liked in particular was how many cosmetic options I had, for a game of this scope. In the premium store I could choose from dozens of different animations, many for the same kinds of actions. I personally adore being able to replace my animations to further customize my character, and some of them were absolutely hilarious (and very well-made). The alternate gathering animations were some of the best, with players being able to take apart trees with a boring old axe, or rip into the trunk with their bare hands like some tweaked-out ogre – or even dismantle it in an orderly fashion with the power of magic. This is all on top of a huge wardrobe selection! Cue girlish squealing.
Final Verdict: Excellent
Well, what were you expecting, really? Aside from plain-vanilla combat and some minor technical issues, Runescape 3 is a premiere browser-based MMORPG experience. The game clearly has the backing of both a development team and a community that love it dearly, and the sheer number of non-combat paths and options a player can take make it truly unique among the sea of hack n' slash, linear action MMORPGs. For the social, community-minded player, Runescape is the place to be. You can even RP there, if you want! Don't worry. I won't tell anyone.
You can read full review here.
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