Realm of the Mad God
|Realm of the Mad God|
Title screen in February 2015
|Developer(s)||Wild Shadow Studios/Spry Fox|
|Composer(s)||Wild Shadow Studios|
Windows & Mac (Steam)
Realm of the Mad God (often abbreviated to RotMG) is a massively multiplayer game originally created by Wild Shadow Studios (acquired by Kabam in June 2012) and Spry Fox. It was in public beta from January 2010 and the browser version officially launched on June 20, 2011. On February 20, 2012 the game was made available on the digital distribution platform Steam for Windows and OS X.
The game has been described as a "massively-multiplayer cooperative bullet hell shooter" with an 8 bit pixelated art style. Players control characters who have been transported to the realm of Oryx (the titular Mad God) to become food for his many minions and abominations, which the players must dispatch. Central to the design of the game is the fact that character death is permanent. Upon death, the player's character is lost along with all carried equipment, although the player may store a number of items for safekeeping in a limited capacity vault away from danger.
The game is free-to-play with optional in-game microtransactions. Items which can be bought with optional transactions include in-game equipment varying from low- to high-level weaponry, pets that provide aid to the player, increased storage space, and aesthetic features such as skins and dyes.
The game consists of players shooting projectiles from their weapons and destroying enemies to earn experience, fame, and equipment. A character moves around using the WASD keys (though other controls can be chosen) and uses the mouse to aim and clicks to shoot. Contrary to usual practice in MMOs, the experience for killing monsters is awarded in full to each player present, rather than split. This, along with the possibility of teleporting to any player on the map instantly and only at the cost of waiting 10 seconds to teleport again, makes it very easy and attractive to team up.
After a certain amount of experience has been earned, the player levels up and their attributes are raised, allowing them to fight more powerful enemies and unlock more classes. The maximum level a player can achieve is level 20. The player can then gain "fame" on their character, which eventually grants permanent stars that indicate accomplishment and may entitle one to a place on the game's leaderboards upon death. Character death is permanent, meaning that the character's items and statistics are lost.
Players begin their game sessions in the Nexus, a safe haven which can be teleported to at any time. In the Nexus, players may buy consumables using gold purchased with real-life money, though player starts with 40 gold. Another currency is fame, gained when you die. The player enters realms (i.e. game map instances present on the server). Each of these realms are named after monsters in the game. The capacity of each realm is 85 people at once, and a full realm cannot be entered until a player in it dies or leaves.
During gameplay, the player is directed to "quest" monsters indicated by a red marker at the edge of the game window. As they level up in the realm, they are guided from the "Lowlands" areas at the edges of the map, through the "Midlands" and "Highlands" to the more difficult "Godlands", which host powerful monsters known as the Gods of the Realm. Completing certain quests allows "event" bosses to spawn, which can be killed to obtain higher-tier loot and open portals to the rarest dungeons.
Killing high-level monsters can grant the player permanent stat boost potions, which are rare and exist in eight variations that correspond to the major attributes. Consuming stat potions allows the player to improve their characters stats after reaching the highest level, which can be done until the attribute is maxed out (indicated by its text turning gold). Upon death, the size of the grave left behind corresponds to the number of stats maxed. (Items could previously be retrieved from graves, but this functionality was removed as it led to players luring others to their doom to loot their graves.)
The 14 classes currently available are Wizard, Priest, Archer, Rogue, Warrior, Knight, Paladin, Assassin, Necromancer, Huntress, Mystic, Trickster, Ninja and Sorcerer. Players begin with only the Wizard class and successively unlock the remaining classes as they gain experience with each class. Each class has its own weapon, armor and ability specifications, base statistic averages and statistic caps. For example, Warriors, Knights, and Paladins have high defense and are the only ones that can use swords and heavy armor, while the Assassin, Rogue and Trickster have the highest potential movement speed and dexterity (rate of fire) statistics and can only use daggers and hide armor.
Items are classified into tiers, with higher tier items having better stats. Tiers range from T0-T12 for weapons, T1-T13 for armors, T0-T6 for rings, and T0-T6 for abilities. Some items are un-tiered, giving them a special classification. These items are typically unique, with examples including limited use items, very powerful weapons, and April Fools Day accouterments. The best items appear in special bags (known as soulbound bags). These soulbound bags will only drop for players who have delivered an unknown percent of the monster's damage, and can only be seen and picked up by the player it dropped for. Un-tiered (UT) items are currently "Soulbound" which means it is unable to get picked up by any other player.
The game features guilds, each allowing for a maximum of 50 players. A guild costs the founding player 1000 fame to name and create, and has a guild hall which can be accessed by members of the guild. Upon a member's death, guild fame is earned proportionally to the amount of fame that the player earned. Guilds can buy upgrades such as larger guild halls and cosmetic features with the guild fame.
The game was originally created by Alex Carobus and Rob Shillingsburg, founders of Wild Shadow Studios, for TIGSource's "Assemblee Competition" in October 2009, which limited the competitors to a very small sample of art resources. The developers described the aim of the game was to "shake things up by breaking as many MMO ‘rules’ as we could" It was noticed and received a good response from players, prompting the developers to work on a full game. The game was finally launched in a beta stage on January 10, 2010.
To help fund the game's development, optional microtransactions were added to the game, drawing a mixed response from players. The developers defended the microtransactions, saying "they seemed like the most convenient, customer-friendly way to pay for the game... those that passionately love the game, can spend as much as they want, helping us to grow the game over time."
The game has been receiving updates "every few weeks" since its release, with additions including "dungeons, new character classes, hundreds of items and monsters, bank space, pets, clothing, guilds" and more.
After a year of post-release game development, Wild Shadow Studios were acquired by Kabam in June 2012, with part of the deal being that Spry Fox sold their stake in the game to Kabam. Wild Shadow co-founders Alex Carobus and Rob Shillingsburg both left to pursue other opportunities after the acquisition, while Wild Shadow employee Willem Rosenthal stayed on the development team through the transition until June of 2013.
IGN gave the game a score of 8/10, stating that "this unusual free-to-play MMO hybrid is worth every second of your spare time", criticising, however, the controls, saying "it's a shame that the controls aren't as tight as they should be for the arcade-style shooter gameplay." Eurogamer gave a rating of 9/10, calling the game "superb" and "the perfect game for people who love the idea of raiding, but can't afford to invest the time all MMOs require before the really good stuff", and PC Gamer described the game as "Unrepentantly simplistic and fun", and "one of the most distinctive multiplayer experiences around" in their 89% score review.
RPGFan criticised the simplistic nature of the game, saying "the game currently feels a little bare-bones", adding, however, that "with almost no downtime, a true sense of cooperation, and constant challenge, RMG is an MMO that never grows stale" scoring the game 78% overall.
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