The summer’s here! As well as basking in the beautiful weather in Taborea, we’re celebrating the dawn of a new era: Runes of Magic is now available on the world’s most popular gaming platform Steam!
-Runes of Magic news page
When I say “at last” it isn’t as though I was anxious for it to be there, it is just that they have been talking about this for some time and the target was June and then July. Now, in the final week of August it has arrived on Steam. Summer is indeed here, but we’re on the far side of it and autumn is on its way.
I’ve written a bit now and then about the game. It was kind of a big deal back in 2009 when it launched, when it was both a built-from-scratch free to play MMORPG and an attempt for an attempt by an Asian studio to build a western style, quest drive game.
But, as it turns out, this move to Steam is also a moment of opportunity if you have ever wanted to try the game. As part of the Steam launch they are also putting up a couple of new servers, one in the US and one in the EU, so you can start on a fresh new server rather than joining one where the years have clumped most of the user base at max level and the economy has been distorted by past problems.
Your favorite game is now available on Steam!
In addition, we’re also launching new servers for the USA and Europe to coincide with the game’s Steam debut – the perfect opportunity for newcomers and returning players to discover Taborea afresh.
Runes of Magic, news page
This is probably as close to a retro or progression server as you are going to get for Runes of Magic. The devs haven’t changed much of the content over the years, so it is mostly still the 2009 experience. And you can still use your same old account. In fact, you have to create an account for the game in the same old way, with Steam basically acting like a launcher for the launcher in that way that makes Steam feel a pointless part of the process.
I do wonder what this move to Steam will really do, if anything. The “at last” in the title is also a question about why it has taken so long to get to Steam, why it is happening now, and what they hope to get out of this jump onto the Steam platform. I hope they aren’t planning on this saving the game.
Steam has gone from a service with a fairly select range of games to a garbage heap over the years. It is the last refuge for the greedy or incompetent who seem to think they getting on a distribution platform is the main point of the exercise. And Steam’s premature policy change (we’ll let even more crap in now and give you filtering tools at some point in the distant future) doesn’t promise to make anything better. It is a mess, with the company still pretty much running by the old guidelines while people debate over what “trolling” really means.
(I’ll tell you what “trolling” means in that context. It means whatever the person making the decision at the moment wants it to mean, so the games that got rejected before the new policy will probably all still be rejected after the new policy.)
Anyway, there is Runes of Magic hidden in that mess, one of dozens of “new releases” on the Steam store this week (so it is already on page four, in 98th place, on the Windows new releases list in less than two days), with a 2009 launch date in its description, and already being pummeled by a series of negative reviews declaring it old (it is), unstable (it does leak memory), and pay to win (it does sell power), leading it to an overall “mixed” rating, which is as good as a “do not buy” label in big red letters across the page.
If the developers were hoping for a bonanza of new players I suspect they may be disappointed. But it is hard to tell what the real plan is from the outside. Is this a last gasp effort to keep the ball rolling?
Certainly the new server thing was contrary to my prediction about the game at the start of the year, when I suspected that it would lose at least one of its two remaining servers, with the very quiet US server either disappearing or being merged into the EU. Instead they have doubled the number of servers they are running.
We shall see if this keeps Runes of Magic alive or if it was just a last, unfortunate roll of the dice.