A few random Free Realms thoughts

Free Realms seems to be the blog topic of the week, so since I don’t want to be left out, I thought I’d toss out some cranky thoughts about it.

I played a bit in beta, and now I’ve played a bit in launch. I’m far from the intended audience so I don’t think a ‘review’ from me is really appropriate; it wasn’t designed to appeal to me. So these are more musings than anything.

First, I thought it was interesting that the much-hyped Tuesday launch didn’t happen for most of the US, and no one started spewing hatred and vitriol at Sony. I suppose the free client is a big part of why, but a lot of MMO Rage isn’t based on any kind of logic. Maybe the Rage-types just aren’t interested in the game anyway? It was just sorta nice to see that most people interested in the launch found it in their hearts to be understanding about the delay.

Second, I keep hearing the gathering mini-game as being like Bejeweled. OMG don’t you people play casual games? It isn’t like Bejeweled! In Bejeweled, you swap the positions of gems to connect 3 or more of the same color. In the crafting mini-game, you don’t move anything. You just mark connected gems of the same color, at which point they vanish. This game exists in the casual world but I’m an old man with a faulty memory and I don’t remember the name of it. 🙂 But it ain’t Bejeweled! [Please note tongue firmly in cheek for this point.]

Third, the name still bugs me because it isn’t free to play. Sure, some of it is, but not all. And the $5/month subscription model still doesn’t get you everything; some items require an RMT. This includes Pets. And what’s the very first thing they introduce to you when you leave the tutorial area? Pets! That feels kind of sleazy to me, honestly.

Fourth, I wonder how many gamers will get frustrated by the tutorial because it is so slow moving. You can’t dismiss dialog boxes until the voice over completes. There’s a reason for this…the client is still downloading in the background so they *have* to slow you down in order to give that time to happen. Not being a paid subscriber I only have 1 character slot, so I don’t know if they change this in subsequent runs through the tutorial (or just let you skip the tutorial altogether).

I’m not sure I wouldn’t have pointed out that there’s a reason for the slow moving tutorial. I just worry that some people will get frustrated and leave before they ever start playing.

Fifth, just because a goblin-thingie wears a colander on his head as a helmet, it doesn’t mean he can’t kick your ass. Angela and I grouped up and tried a combat encounter mostly at random. We got *smoked*. I couldn’t see any way to judge the difficulty of the encounter (other than that we’d gone exploring and were a good ways from the starting location).

Sixth and last, Green Armadillo has a post up about points card for the game. Basically you get more for your money if you jump in your car and burn some fossil fuel to go to a retail store and buy a card which you can then throw into a landfill, rather than just downloading points. This sucks. Why not promise to kill a baby seal with every purchase, while you’re at it, Sony?

We didn’t play for long. First the server we were on crashed, then when we got into another server we spent a while trying to find each other, hoping we could ‘friend’ each other if we were in proximity, but we couldn’t. Long after we gave up trying we got a “Friend Server Down” message in the chat.

Angela wants to play more. I’m not as sure. Maybe. I’m kind of on the fence with regard to playing mini-games in a $5/month MMO for levels vs buying them for $5 or $10 on the XBox 360 and playing them for Gamerscore. The combat seems like pretty fun hack and slash casual gameplay, though, so I might give that a go. And just running around the world was actually kind of interesting, chasing bunnies and squirrels and stuff just for grins. So maybe. Maybe not. But again, I AM NOT THE INTENDED AUDIENCE so my playing or not playing isn’t really relevant to the success of the game.

4 thoughts on “A few random Free Realms thoughts

  1. I wasn’t really thinking of the fuel being wasted, since I can just pick up a card the next time I’m at Target anyway. (In fact, one place where SOE may win on this deal, despite the presumably large cut to the retailer, is that players who happen to see a card that they haven’t bought yet might snatch it up just for the bonus, even if they hadn’t been planning on buying more Station Cash.) That said, I didn’t even think of the complete waste of landfill space that is the card once you’ve used the code off of it. That is pretty lame in this era of green stuff.

  2. I can’t disagree with anything you’ve wrote about Free Realms.

    I’m not the intended audience either, but tried to view it if I was new to MMO’s, etc., or young – I’d likely love it. As it is easy (and if I was new the slow would be a good thing for awhile at least!), the artwork/graphics are nicely rendered, variety of things to do, etc.

    What I did find frustrating finding a quest only to have the ‘not a member’ thing flash. It’s free or its not. Too much of the content seemed member only.

  3. Recycle, mate. Used credit card-like pieces of promotion like that make good emergency window scrapers in the winter. 🙂

  4. ya as he said the beginning is like the most annoying thing possible… i left 10 times before i just put up with the thing but then after that i learned that the characters you make cant even frown i mean come on you cant always be happy and here is a another thing that annoyed me so much you.. need to be a member to play half the game and… the game name is “Free realms” now who thinks that’s a good name for a membership game? and man i hate that tutorial so much why cant they make a skip option for the experienced people i mean come on going through that every time you make a character?!?!? they really need to Chang that… my final thing i will say is that this game is almost exactly like wizards101 only no cars and you can skip the tutorial oh and you at least look better then what ever they call cool? No offense to older people viewing this but adults need kids to help them make games for kids or they end up having a game like this which i bet no one over 16 plays now there i rest my case ( i am a gamer so i do not care about punctuation or grammar so deal with that part)

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