Friday, July 21, 2017

Realm of the Mad God - The Friday FREE GAME Feature!

Shoot, strafe and loot in this bullet hell MMO!

Realm of the Mad God is a co-op bullet hell shooter MMO hybrid. You play as one of a number of classes with the goal of leveling up, obtaining better gear and of course defeating Oryx and his minions.

You begin at Nexus, which as the name implies is a hub that contains just about everything an adventurer could need - a bank, guildhall, marketplace and even portals to open adventure locales (where all the action takes place). The Nexus (and its chat) is absolutely infested with bots spamming ads to purchase stuff from third party sites. I'm not certain what the game's policy is on this matter, but it's so rampant that it feels like it's either accepted or they've just given up trying to police things. Suffice to say, it was a big turn-off very early which quickly tanked my enthusiasm. Leaving town, things calm down considerably in terms of spam, though.

Out in the game proper, you run around killing things to gain XP. Sometimes mobs drop a loot bag which you can check by standing on it. Other than rings and potions, items are restricted by class, meaning it can take some time to find anything you can use, let alone is actually an upgrade. Sometimes killing mobs will spawn a cave entrance that leads to a smaller zone that contains a number of mobs and one boss. These maps seem somewhat instanced, as they feel semi-private (though people fighting alongside you can join in) and the mobs do not respawn. Back in the main adventure map, players are attempting to take out the big boss which is essentially a gatekeeper to Oryx's lair. As you might guess, mobs get tougher the closer you get to the zone boss, and those inside the lair are harder still.

New characters can quickly level up by sticking close to higher-level characters and letting them do all the killing. This isn't as easy at it sounds though, as you'll have to dodge enemy projectiles, which can be instantly fatal for new characters.

Speaking of which, character death is permanent and you lose everything your character had when they die. This typically isn't a huge issue for new characters as they have easily replaceable gear, though the risk increases as you get loot and levels. You can store items back at the bank in town, but using them means you might lose them! It's important to note that all characters have access to an instant "Return to Nexus" button, allowing you to cheat death if you're quick enough.

Between the "sticking with vets" tactic and the instant return button, I feel that this game may have originally started as some kind of parody of MMORPGs. Over time though, enough people enjoyed the game that its quirks just became a natural part of things. Even with instakill attacks, some players have managed to keep their characters alive over several years of active play.

Personally, I don't see the long term charm in it. Gameplay doesn't seem to change much (if at all), making it repetitive from the start. Each class has a different special ability, but characters in general are fairly similar. Of the starting classes, the only one that felt noticeably different from the rest was the warrior, which is slow but extremely durable.

I like bullet hells, I like MMOs and I'm even okay with permadeath (as I enjoy roguelikes), but somehow this title just didn't click with me. It's obviously a favorite for some though, and if you liked what you saw in the above video you should probably give Realm of the Mad God a try.

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