Brackish Waters

how my gaming and life coalesce.

My Saga of Ryzom

The recent episode of “Shut Up! We’re Talking” made me a little reminiscent of a game I used to play. Darren and Brent managed to drudge up a lot of old feelings and memories just by simply talking a little of their recent trial of Ryzom and their opinions about it. I’m sure the game has changed a lot since my time there but I’d like to write about it anyway.

Saga of Ryzom, as it was previously known, is the story of four races and how their lives intertwine with those of their Gods. I use Gods plural because at the time I played, there was much speculation as to if the world had one supreme being and who represents them on the planet. There are two larger factions in place that all Homins (races) will eventually interact with, the Kami and the Karavan. Much of the strife on the planet came from races aligning themselves with either of these two factions and the affects this loyalty had on the players.

Jena While the in-game mechanics of faction played a role in transportation, little else wasknown about what would come. Players were forced to use the known lore as their guide and join like-minded guilds to prepare for a coming battle. It was obvious to most who played that eventually a war would ensue if and when the Homins beat back their current real threat, the Kitin.

The Kitin are a crab-like race that operate on an instinct similar to that of ants. They burrow deep into the earth, stick together in very large numbers and when threatened, they swarm. The engine in Ryzom allowed the developers to create some very cool scripted events that would trigger large numbers of Kitin to spill over onto the surface of Atys and cause chaos in certain regions. The story of how the Homins and Kitin became enemies is described via a timeline on the Ryzom website.

Ryzom had very little in terms of guidance when the game was released. What you did have was a living, breathing world with a myriad of abilities available to every character. The skill system allowed any player to learn almost any ability they wanted, they simply needed to invest the time in-game. Players could choose between Foraging, Crafting, Combat and Magic. These skill trees would branch further and further, allowing for more specialization and new abilities. Branching kept going on and on and I had truly no idea if there was a end to the specialization.

One of the most engaging things about the skill system, was the ability to modify your spells and actions. Take for example a simple magical healing spell. The base spell you would receive would heal your target for say, 150 health and cost you 40 Sap (the power or Mana in Ryzom). You could take that spell and reduce the 40 Sap to zero and replace this with instead a 4 second casting cost. The spell would have to balance out with cost and effect, but there were various options you had to work with and that made creating situational spells much easier. This system did not only apply to magic, but every skill you would receive. This in my opinion is Freedomâ„¢ in its truest form.

The only guidance that did filter down to the players was in the form of in-game events hosted by the developers. I had the privledge to be able to make it to some of these events and it was an absolute blast. One of the events I attended had an actual asassination attempt made on a local leader, another had you working hand in hand with some of the Kami or Karavan to repel a large invasion of Kitin in all four of the homelands of the Homin. Some events yielded global rewards for the players, others were based on your own participation.

What finally made me leave was some very bad decisions and performance by the developers. Ryzom was losing players. The multiple servers and size of the world, made it seem even worse on the ground, sort of like Vanguard… There were a couple of issues that my guild ran into before the server merge and then finally after that caused my friends to slowly leave. Loss of friends, items, and a guild gave me a poor outlook for the game.

Its obvious that they are still doing in-game events, and I really want to give this one another chance. I returned to Atys for seven days about 4 months ago and I was suprised to see not only my character still intact, but also my guild restored and items still available. The population is making a come-back and after some changing of hands, it appears the game is in fact making progress. I am eager to try the Ring system but it appears that too much time has passed for my friends who have gone onto other games.

Saga of Ryzom was a game I called home for many months. While Middle Earth may be my current game, it offers little in terms of the freedom available to me on Atys.

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July 10, 2007 - Posted by | Ryzom

1 Comment »

  1. Good to hear you’re enjoying it. I was playing last night and I must say, the community there is very nice.

    Comment by darrenl | July 11, 2007 | Reply


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