Jeff's Review of Saga of Ryzom

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Jeff's Review of Saga of Ryzom

Postby jtdarlington on Sun Dec 12, 2004 2:06 pm

This will go on the main site as part of Monday's News item, but I thought I'd post it here as well in case anyone wanted to discuss it:

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Jeff's [Preliminary] Review of Saga of Ryzom: Now before anyone thinks the GPF News site is turning into the "GPF Game Review Site," I'll just say that once again we've been targeted by some ambitious advertisers that want to get more information to you through us. By now, most of you have probably seen the nifty Flash animated ad featuring Fooker that's been running on certain Keenspot sites in the past week. (Note: Clicking the ad in the above link won't work; I'll give you a working link in a bit to the official site.) Yep, Fooker is hawking a new game, and just like last week's Pocket Kingdom review, I've been asked to play the game and review it for you. Of course, I'm still playing it and I haven't progressed that far yet (which is why this is a "preliminary" review), so I'll give you a more exhaustive one later. But I needed to get something up today, so I'll give you my first impressions.

The game in question is Nevrax's Saga of Ryzom. Like Pocket Kingdom, this is another massively multi-player online game, but this is more of the traditional role playing game than PK's combat focus. (Thus, we get the unwieldy acronym MMORPG). As with many MMORPGs these days, you play a single character in a gigantic virtual world, fitting into some niche as a fighter, mage, harvester, or crafter along with thousands of other real life players, building a virtual society in cyberspace. Ryzom is for Windows-based PCs; system requirements can be found at the bottom of the general FAQ.

Now, I'll go ahead and start off by saying I am not a big MMORPG lover. As I mentioned last week, I like playing RPGs (those and first-person shooters are my usual dabblings into gaming, and Neverwinter Nights still tops my list), but I haven't had much success with the MMO part. I received Star Wars: Galaxies as a Christmas present a couple years ago, but I never lasted much beyond the first free month and the first month of paid subscriptions. Perhaps it was Galaxies' early bugs or the lack of interesting missions to start out with, but I'm betting it had more to do with that awkward transition between a long tradition of playing single-player RPGs and making the jump to MMORPGs. With traditional RPGs, I've gotten used to that mission-based mindset of go on quest, complete quest, gain experience, get new stuff to sell or upgrade, level up, lather, rinse, repeat. When you first enter the world of MMORPGs, it's hard to get out of that mindset and look at those other players as real people and not NPCs (non-player characters for the RPG illiterate). I grew up with my RPG as one application and IRC as another, so combining the two has been a bit of a learning curve. But in the equally long tradition of old dogs learning new tricks, it is possible to make that transition, and hopefully this review will be of more help to MMORPG luddites like me than for die-hard, dyed-in-the-wool, Ultima-and-EverCrack-baptized veterans of the MMORPG world. :)

Ryzom is interesting in that it's a blend of fantasy and science fiction that seems to work very well, at least on the surface. Taking place on the distant planet of Atys, four player races collectively called "homins" live and work on this world under the guidance of the great goddess Jena and her disciples (or maybe not disciples, as that's part of the story) called the Karavan and the Kami. After some the homins inadvertently ran into a subterranean insectoid race called the Kitins, the Kitins swarmed to the surface in retaliation. The resulting war between the homins and Kitins decimated the planet until the homins were forced to retreat to far away lands. After untold centuries, the now nomadic homins have begun a long exodus back to the old lands to rebuild their civilization. As one of the returning refugees, you take your place in one of these new fledgling societies and help to reclaim all that has been lost, while trying to keep the peace between the different homin races and the ever-present threat of more Kitin invasions.

Ryzom has a number of features that set it apart from other MMORPGs. The races, for one, are fairly unique and original. Although some borrow from long established RPG conventions (the Matis remind me quite a bit of Tolkien elves), others seem to have a good bit of originality to them (especially the jungle-dwelling Zora
Last edited by jtdarlington on Thu Apr 07, 2005 5:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Murray M. Lee on Mon Dec 13, 2004 10:23 am

I managed to get into Runescape okay, though maybe it was the experience I had with "Federation" and "Gemstone" several years ago (MUD-type games), or maybe it was that the free game had no time limit, and I had plenty of time to learn things.
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Postby CRMagic on Mon Dec 13, 2004 9:33 pm

Runescape is evil, addicting, and should be avoided by mere mortals who cannot afford to combine the perks of Evercrack with a nice sized free game world.

Other than that, yes, 'tis very easy to get into. :)
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Postby Kithplana on Tue Dec 14, 2004 4:54 pm

Ah, I love Runescape. The free world is pretty good, but I feel sorry for the mods there :P

But perhaps we should move to another thread? If Jeff would be so kind as to split off our little thread hijack...
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Postby jonaso on Fri Dec 17, 2004 12:32 am

Saga of Ryzom looks nice enough that I'd actually be willing to give it a try. If it wasn't for the hardware requirements. Is it common for new games to require Pentium 4, 2GHz's? :-?
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Postby stjen on Fri Dec 17, 2004 8:12 am

jonaso wrote:Saga of Ryzom looks nice enough that I'd actually be willing to give it a try. If it wasn't for the hardware requirements. Is it common for new games to require Pentium 4, 2GHz's? :-?

Yes. Most new games (especially the FPS's) frequently require the hottest, fastest processor, the most memory, and especially the latest and greatest video card with the most onboard memory.
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Postby jtdarlington on Fri Dec 17, 2004 10:43 am

The system specs in the Ryzom FAQ seem to match up with the recommended requirements in the Ryzom manual that came with the software. The minimum specs are a little lower:

Windows 98SE/2000/XP
1GHz Pentium or equivalent (doesn't specify P3 or P4, just clock speed)
nVidia GeForce2 GTS or equivalent 64MB video card
56k modem
All other specs (memory, disk space, etc.) are the same

I managed to get Ryzom to install on Apollo, our 1.6GHz P4 ThinkPad. It has an ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 with only 32MB video RAM, but it doesn't seem to have any problems running the game. (The only configuration setting I changed between Apollo and Diana, our 3GHz desktop, was the texture sizes, which I knocked down to 32MB.)
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Postby jonaso on Fri Dec 17, 2004 11:09 am

stjen wrote:Yes. Most new games (especially the FPS's) frequently require the hottest, fastest processor, the most memory, and especially the latest and greatest video card with the most onboard memory.


This is a strange world for someone whose fastest machine is a PII 400Mhz, and who comes from a world where you often throw more memory at a machine (I have 2GB in my workstation) rather than upgrade the CPU. :)
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Postby stjen on Fri Dec 17, 2004 8:40 pm

jonaso wrote:
stjen wrote:Yes. Most new games (especially the FPS's) frequently require the hottest, fastest processor, the most memory, and especially the latest and greatest video card with the most onboard memory.


This is a strange world for someone whose fastest machine is a PII 400Mhz, and who comes from a world where you often throw more memory at a machine (I have 2GB in my workstation) rather than upgrade the CPU. :)

Well, that just means you're not a die-hard gamer. Those people have resigned themselves to upgrading their machine(s) approximately every 3-6 months, adding one or more of faster motherboard, faster processor (with better cooling capabilties, and possibly overclocking it), more memory, larger/faster hard drives, USB 2.0, Firewire, state of the art video cards with maximum onboard memory and 3D accellerators, gigabit ethernet for multi-player, the fastest possible internet links, and so on. And then you go to your local CompUSA store at midnight to be the first to buy some new whiz-bang game, only to find that it requires a new video card that hasn't even been released yet. (I think User Friendly had a strip like that recently, a month or two ago.)

(Disclaimer -- I am not a gamer, nor do I play one on TV. I do not have state of the art hardware as described, nor am I likely to do so.)
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Postby Shadowydreamer on Fri Dec 17, 2004 10:25 pm

It's true - I have upgraded computers to play games. The first was U6.. then Doom.. and then Everquest.. and then.. actually, EQ about 4 times .. and was THRILLED to find out WoW has LOWER requirements than all the new games and my machine plays it fantastically with no upgrade requirement. Long live Blizzard!!

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System specifications

Postby bigbubba on Sat Dec 18, 2004 3:16 pm

Based on my personal experience as a software engineer deploying solutions for customers, I can say this:

A lot of times when a company gives out the minimum requirements or optimum requirements, they just look at their own labs. They pick the oldest machine as the minimum requirements and the average as the optimum. And since companies keep buying new stuff and the old stuff keeps getting put in the closet, the story about the specs just keeps getting higher and higher. A lot of times the oldest machine break simply because of abuse from a team fo 50+ people whereas people's personal machines don't have more than 2-3 users on an average.

I've used many programs where I had a lesser machine than the minimum requirements and have had the best possible performance out of the program.

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Postby nagrom on Sat Dec 18, 2004 10:36 pm

I tried it on my computer last August, but it didn't work. It had a problem with ATI's drivers.

I do a fair amount of gaming, and I don't upgrade my computer that often. I just get a new one for ~500 every two or three years. (I can just get a barebones system and re-use the monitor, keyboard, etc. from my previous system.)

I've had my current computer for a little over two years. It wasn't the newest when I got it and it's no where near the best now, but a 2.4Ghz P4 with 512MB ram and a Radeon 9000 is nothing to scoff at. It probably couldn't handle Doom 3 very well, but it's fine for the games I play. Saga of Ryzom worked fine except that it looked horrible because of the driver bug, and that also affected people with the newest Radeon cards.

I tried it back in Beta; they probably have that fixed now. (They'd better.) I just don't have the time for online games. (But I still manage to spend a ton of time on webcomics and related forums.)
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Postby jonaso on Mon Dec 20, 2004 12:50 am

nagrom wrote:I do a fair amount of gaming, and I don't upgrade my computer that often. I just get a new one for ~500 every two or three years.


Yikes! I guess it says something when I spent about as much in SEK on my computer (which is around 70 USD or so) :D
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Postby Rognik on Sun Dec 26, 2004 12:14 am

I'd be tempted to play this, if it weren't for the 1+ GB download it requires, and that my computer is probably a bit on the oldish side for it to run optimally. Black and White had trouble, I recall.
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Postby jtdarlington on Mon Dec 18, 2006 5:52 am

Yes, Jeff is performing a little bit of thread necromancy, mostly because I thought this would be an interesting bit of follow-up news to the thread which also ties into my personal interests in Open Source.

NewsForge recently reported that the Free Software Foundation is pledging $60,000 to support the Free Ryzom Campaign. It seems that Ryzom's developer, Nevrax SARL, has filed for bankruptcy and the FSF is trying to purchase the source code, artwork, and other intellectual property associated with the game and then release it through the GPL. From the Ryzom.org site:
We're a group of former Nevrax employees, members of the NeL community, people who enjoy playing Ryzom, people who enjoy playing MMORGs in general and people who advocate the use of "Free Software". We strongly believe that virtual worlds, such as Ryzom, should belong to all of its players. Furthermore, we believe that the players, as virtual citizens of Ryzom, should have the right to influence the laws governing the virtual worlds in which they live. Also, any sufficiently motivated developer should be able to realize their own dreams, by starting their own virtual world.... This vision should include making all of source code, artwork, documentation and tools available to any developer as Free Software.

Ground breaking, risky and unconventional, it could as well fail as open a new era of creativity and exploration.

The only question remaining is, will you help us succeed?

I'm no longer playing Ryzom, mostly because the free year-long subscription they gave me for the review ran out, but I wouldn't have time to play it now anyway. But it's certainly not because I didn't like the game. I actually found it pretty interesting, and I spent a lot more time working with this one than I did with my only other brief experimentation with MMPORPGs.
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Postby Graeystone on Tue Jan 02, 2007 7:20 am

Yeah, sure, a developer should dump a few million dollars into an MMORPG then not have to charge players for using it. I guess these leechers expect the developers to pay for server upkeep with their 'hidden swiss banks accounts'. :roll: Considering how complicated things can get, the days of free online mulitplayer anything are just about over.

Reason why I don't do the big MMORPGs is because I don't own a credit card and have absolutely no desire to get one.
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