Saturday, 11 December 2010

Realm of the Mad Dog

I'm not really sure if I can recommend Realm of the Mad Dog. By every metric it provides, I've failed.

I've failed to reach level 20 with a mage. I've failed to reach level 20 with a warrior. I've failed to reach level 20 with a rogue. I came close with an archer, but failed.
Has a history of failure

In fact the game itself has has a mean streak: it nearly gave me RSI because it didn't deign to commend the autofire toggle to me during the tutorial; 2000 clicks later and my wrist was fused to the trackpad. And what do you get for 2000 clicks? Ample recognition that you clicked 2000 times and failed.

Perhaps I am not worthy to recommend it.

Realm of the Mad God, as it's rightly known (and ROMG as it'll be referred to hence forward) shares a lot in common with arcade favourite Gauntlet.

In Gauntlet you could gang up with whatever friends you could scrounge together (max 4) to try to beat the game. As in ROMG, you never really knew what you were doing; clearly you were throwing swords at monsters, but what's your motivation? As in ROMG, you needed other players for safety, yet the gits kept making off with the food and items you so clearly coveted. As in ROMG, death featured quite heavily (though Gauntlet takes the biscuite for making him an adversary).

Awarded Most-Like-ROMG award
Unlike Gauntlet's cramped rooms, ROMG's world is a pretty sizeable, monster infested Realm. While it's too structured to be the creation of the titular Mad God, the vast monster population does point to some issues which which will need to be adressed through therapy. Unlike Gauntlet's puny 4 player limit, ROMG opens up the doors, in a slightly Mad way, to a full 80 players at any one time.

That's 79 potential thieves! 79 buggers actively trying to make off with the armour you so desperately need.

Other players are thieves
Given the sizeable number of monsters, it's advisable to swarm the world in packs. ROMG actively encourages this by generously handing out experience points (XP) to anyone in the vicinity of a monster's death. Live vicariously, and grow too! You want XP because it makes you more powerful: it pushes your character from the puny level 1 mage he started out as, towards the utopian level 20 mage you desire [pervert].

However ROMG is not so generous with its loot. This is not shared! You want the healing potion? Well so does Joe679 and he just got it before you! Better be on your toes next time!

Suddenly ROMG is full of players who are quite happy to hide in large groups, being blessed by undeserved XP from heaven, but - at the drop of a well padded bag of loot - they will charge past a pack Minotaurs to reach a sack of bronze helmets first. Such foolish actions will usually result in death.

One word about death: permanence. Your characters do stay dead, you'll have to start from level 1 all over again. Now stand back and let the daisies grow. There's something about sucking the air through your teeth and wondering to yourself: "Do I want to do that all over again", which is sort of refreshing.

Perhaps the truly crazy thing about the game is that you don't play it to defeat the Mad God. That can happen at pretty much the start of your game if you join a server near the end of the cycle. Instead your goal is to reach that pedestal of perfection: to climb to the mighty heights of level 20. I don't know what happens when you reach level 20. Does your character explode in a ball of light and instantly transcend the fabric of the realm? Do they escape to a nirvana populated by titans where they rule over the very forces of good and evil? Probably. I've never got there.

1 comment:

  1. I just read this review, and I would like to point out that most people can make it to level 20 without too much difficulty. For me it takes about half an hour at the most to reach that. Also, reaching level 20 is not the purpose of the game. The purpose is to run through dungeons and aquire loot, to fight in more difficult dungeons and eventually accumulate a vast amount of wealth. You seem to have played it for maybe a few days at the most, to get the full idea of the game you have to play for much longer than that.