My Take on Free Realms

After playing a bit in the Free Realms Beta I can safely tell you that Free realms is for kids and for people that think WoW is too hardcore. 


Since I want to break it down a bit further here are my list of complaints and how I felt after playing it durring beta.


There is little penalty for failure.  Yes I know kids and players that fail at WoW.  But still… when it puts you into an instance fight against an enemy and you can simply spam buttons until you get knocked out, then rise up again at full health and the enemy’s health remains depleted, it feels a bit too easy. 


It is too instanced.  Everything in the game is instanced.  Want to fight a mob? Instance.  Want to bake a cake? Instance.  Want to race a cart? Instance.  Is it too much to be able to watch another player race carts or cheer on a friend as he wrestles the bear? 


The cart racing and destruction derby lobby mechanics needs some work.  You have an option of jumping directly into an instance and compete against computer-controlled opponents, or you can sit around and wait for other players to join a player only game.  Perhaps the games against other players will have higher rewards, but I am unable to determine that since over the course all the time in beta, I could never get a player game off of the ground.   Why should I have to create a game anyway and sit in the lobby?  Shouldn’t there just be a queue to join and then pull the players into the game automatically?  I imagine most of the younger players will just hop right into the instant NPC game


Naming sucks.  There are pre-made character names that are all very cute sounding that you can choose from.  My usual character name required a two-day approval process, in which I had to run around as Jimmy McSmileywinks. (Or something equally atrocious.) If they really plan on having millions of players, I hope they automate this process somewhat.  Perhaps this will be changed for launch.


Speaking of characters and character creation, how are there only two races?  You have human and you have fairies.  That is it.  Isn’t this from the guys and gals that made Everquest II with a dozen or so races? 


The only thing that I found enjoyable in that “I-Could-Do-This-All-Day” manner was the cart racing and the destruction derby.  The only problem with these activates is that the controls seem rather off and the physics behind the cars movement is very poor.  The best analogy that I can think of is that it feels like playing Mario-Kart for the Wii after about a six-pack of beer, which is much more enjoyable.  The controls are clearly designed for children, who have never driven before. 


Overall I would have to say that I enjoyed the game over the beta.  I can see it as a viable game to pickup and play for a few hours a week, at no real cost.  It is about a 10 minute time frame from when you first hit their website until you are in the game, which I think is great for who they are targeting. 


As a free-to-play game the quality is top notch.  I could easily see this as a subscription based game.  Some parts of the micro-transaction model seem a bit unbalanced.  For example you will have to purchase pets with real money.  While it may sound like not a big deal for something so trivial, you have to play the game to see the AI that is programmed into the pets.  They will be a large part of the game for many players.  Additionally there is an entire Pet-Trainer class to level up, and the fact that this will only be available to those who are willing to pay for it seems a bit out of sync with what the game is trying to be about.


~ by Centuri on April 23, 2009.

6 Responses to “My Take on Free Realms”

  1. […] but nothing full-time.  Ogrebear likes it, mostly, although slams it for lack of a Mac version.  Seriously Casual: “Free realms is for kids and for people that think WoW is too hardcore.”  Epic Slant […]

  2. I just cannot imagine playing this game. Besides the ultra-colorful look, too much is just too much, you mentioned some points that really turn me off: The “super-easy-you-cannot-fail-even-if-you-are-dumb-and-trying” approach for instance.

    Can’t they not deliver a somewhat challenging game that does not get easier and easier and easier over time?

    I do not ask for what Tobold would call a hardcore elitist raid game or something like that, but right now many MMO-style games out there seem to try to cater to the very lowest common denominator in difficulty.

    There is no point in abilities and combos and whatever if the mob will die by auto-attacking anyways.

    Maybe this is a game of socialization? Intentionally making everything easy, so that people can communicate.

    But if there is not much else to do, no challenge, no incentive to do much more, it is just a glorified chatroom with colorful avatars.

    I somehow fear the “kids” and “super-casuals” are the new target group for MMO gaming.

    I fear I will have to focus on singleplayer games and ICQ or IRC chat in future if the big studios decide to cater to this group of players.

  3. Well I certainly fall into the ever present pit of judging a game by the first few hours of play. It does have a few redeeming qualaties. For one it’s free. Secondly, it costs you nothing to play it. Third…well you get the idea.

    Perhaps at later levels the challenge is increased and it will carry some appeal to actual gamers.

    For an MMO beta it was relatively bug free and enjoyable. If your looking to spend a few hours a week and can put up with the color and extreme-cuteness of it all, then it’s not bad to pick up and run around in. Afterall…it’s free.

  4. […] the dropping of the NDA on the Free Realms beta, a few MMO players have put up their views and impressions of the […]

  5. […] the dropping of the NDA on the Free Realms beta, a few MMO players have put up their views and impressions of the […]

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