The Saga of Ryzom - PC - Review
Saga of Ryzom is a fun and exciting game based in a lush, 3D world. The graphics are well done and the sound system only helps immerse you in the world. Saga of Ryzom is an entertaining game set in an intriguing new world. The innovative system for creating unique skills adds a level of creativity to the game. Even with the stanza system the game is not overly complex. Players can jump right in and begin enjoying the world just as much as they can plot out the next "uber skill" they want to build for their characters.
As more and more MMORPG's come out the emphasis seems to be on better graphics as the mark of the "next generation MMORPG." If you want to compare Saga of Ryzom to the new crop of visually beautiful games you can... And Saga of Ryzom is just as beautiful. The graphics are clean and clear, detailing a lush world. When I first started up the game I completely missed the in-game tutorial for new players because I was running around looking at everything. Just looking around at the architecture for the player races lets you know... you're not in Kansas any more, and that’s a good thing.
The character advancement system for Saga of Ryzom is based on skill use. As your avatar performs tasks they will gain experience in the appropriate skill. For example pulling out your harvesting tool and mining resources from one of the random resource spawns will earn you harvesting experience. Turning those resources into a piece of armor will get you crafting experience. There are experience pools for melee fighting, using magic, harvesting raw materials, and crafting weapons, armor, and other goods.
Earning new skill levels does not have an immediate effect on your avatar. Gaining a new level in crafting, for example, doesn't have any immediate benefit to your avatar. There are no increases in hitpoints or sap, mana in the world of Ryzom, or other statistics. Instead you get skill points which you can use at the appropriate trainer. Those skill points are used to buy new skills or increase your avatar's stats. Some of the abilities available early in your character's career include adding to your strength and hitpoints, or increasing your hit point regeneration. While each specialization has different skills you can buy, they all have access to some basic abilities. This comes in handy when you are first starting out because you can work on one of the less dangerous professions, like harvesting, and buy up a few abilities that will enhance your abilities in combat. (And of course the money you can earn working on a trade skill is always welcome.)
The most innovative feature of Ryzom is the skill system. Skills are constructed using skill bricks called "stanzas," which players earn whenever they purchase a new skill. Each skill starts out with its component stanzas. Players can mix-and-match the stanzas to produce new effects, in essence creating the skills they want. The manual talks about a way to turn one of the offensive spells players can get early into a short-range spell that does decent damage. Short range, do you say? Who would want that? Well, by mixing the stanzas right the mana cost for the spell is zero. Yes, you can create an offensive spell that is free to cast. While I was playing Ryzom I also got to overhear two other players putting their heads together to try and create a very powerful attack spell regardless of the cost. After all, as they put it, what does the cost matter if you take out the mob in one shot?
In the end Saga of Ryzom is an enjoyable game that allows players to develop their characters however they wish. With its clean graphics, interesting game world, and innovative skill system Ryzom is definitely going to be one of the more interesting games in the new crop of online games that are hitting the market. Will it win the hearts of the online community over the new EQ2? Will it beat out Blizzard's World of Warcraft? I don't know the future, but I can tell you that Ryzom is definitely worth a good look if you are hunting for the next big game.
|Review Scoring Details|
Saga of Ryzom plays very well. The world is interesting, the controls are responsive, and the character growth system allows players to build whatever kind of character they want. The addition of stanzas into the game means that players can not only build the characters they want, they can build the skills they want. Learning how to build a skill that the game will let you get away with takes a little time, but it definitely adds a level of complexity and fun to the game.
With the new rush of MMORPGs that have come out in the last year with such a heavy focus on presenting a beautiful world (Lineage 2 and City of Heros spring to mind) Saga of Ryzom fits in well.
The soundtrack for Saga of Ryzom is about what I would expect from an MMORPG. The sounds are good, don't get me wrong, but I didn't hear anything that had me thinking, "Wow. I wish I had the soundtrack for this on a CD." The sounds come across clearly, and help project the world that Ryzom is trying to portray.
On a difficulty scale Ryzom is about in the middle. The addition of the stanza system makes things a little more difficult than other online games in terms of starting from scratch. Once you get the hang of it things become much simpler. The responsiveness of the controls definitely helps make this game easy to play.
If you were expecting just another online game, look elsewhere. The world of Atys is interesting to look at and interact with. The introduction of stanzas are Saga of Ryzom's most innovative feature. Just being able to build skills the way I wanted was enough to keep me playing with the system late into the night several nights in a row.
In my time with Saga of Ryzom the only problem I had with it being an MMORPG was a small one: downloading patches. The players I bumped into were more than willing to give me a hand learning about the world or mixing up a new skill. Between the helpful players and the small amounts of lag I experienced this was definitely a fun game to play online.
Saga of Ryzom is a fun game that has some very innovative features. The world is fun to explore, and the character growth system allows a player to not only build the kind of character they want, but to build the kind of skills they want to have as well. With good graphics, great gameplay and concept behind the game, and overall decent sounds this one might be right for many of the MMORPG fans who have been waiting for a good title.