By Jeffrey Kerkdijk (Hyarume), Onrpg writer
The Saga of Ryzom is an MMORPG made by the French studio Nevrax. It was released in September 2004. Unfortunately the game was rather unnoticed and shut down twice. Now it’s back with a new owner. Currently the game is still fully free-to-play, but this will change back to pay-to-play sometime in the future. Ryzom has a Science-Fantasy theme and has gameplay that no other MMORPG can give you.
As long as is remembered the Homins (people from Atys) lived in warfare, with only occasional short periods of peace. This was said to be the destiny of the Homins, until…
Welcome To Atys
Like most MMOs, before you start the game you have to create a character. In the Saga of Ryzom you cannot play as a human but will be choosing from four humanoid races. The Fyros are tanned desert fighters. There are the Zorai who wear mysterious masks and the Matic, who worship Life. Then there are the Trykers who, well, just have their own business.
After choosing your race and customising your character you are ready to begin your journey. You start on the starter island of Silan where you will learn much about the game. You will uncover many mysteries on the island whilst you learn how the game works and how to play.
The controls are great and, since WASD controls are very common in MMOs nowadays, you’ll be pleased to know the WASD controls here work very well.
Unlike most MMOs however, you don’t really gain experience, nor do you have level. Instead you develop skills in four groups. These are Combat, Magic, Harvesting and Crafting. You improve your magic by casting spells and your combat by regularly fighting beasties. This is how the experience system works.
One remarkable feature of Ryzom is that it is a living world. There are many animals living in the world. Some carnivores, some herbivores. They will interact with each other and the world in a realistic way.
Quests in the Saga of Ryzom are the standard fare. There are lots of ‘kill’ quests, delivery quests and scouting quests, where you will be asked to find a specific type of animal, be it carnivore or herbivore. Their names will be shown in your quest menu, but not where to find them. One of the things I really liked about the game was the ability to really explore the land you’re in.
One area where the developers have really innovated is with their expansion, The Ring. The Ring is a system by which the players can make their own worlds. They design the maps then place their own animals and quests.
Other players can then access your own little world and you can visit theirs. This adds a substantial amount of depth to the world and, whilst the maps are very time consuming to make, is a great addition to the game.
There is plenty in Ryzom for the PvP fan. Everything from simple Duels to Guild vs Guild matches, right up to full Outpost Wars.
The Outpost Wars particularly can give quite a challenge to players. These Outposts sit outside the main cities and can be fought for and controlled by the Guilds. You can also choose to fight the opposing faction at any time and rumour even has it that there are secret underground areas that are simply one huge free-for-all!
Graphics & Sound
I would rate the graphics as very good. There are changes in the weather and the living organisms look very natural and realistic. There are many living NPCs that walk through the towns adding real character. I’ve not seen a game with this unique style before. I really adore it. It is nothing short of a masterpiece.
The sound is also very well done. There is little music, but what is there is of a high standard. Most of all though the game creates an incredibly real ambiance with sound. You can hear yourself and the creatures around you. Even the world itself makes its own sounds. They all fit to the game perfectly and are very exciting.
The Saga of Ryzom is a wonderful RPG. It is a real pity that it hasn’t had as much advertisement as it deserves and is therefore underpopulated. It features a unique and interesting storyline and gameplay, all in an incredibly real living world. You have never seen an MMO with such realistic animal behavior. Add to all this the ability to create your own small part of Ryzom, and you have a real winner.
If you are tired of all the same old RPGs, or just looking for a new game to try, I would highly recommend The Saga Of Ryzom!
– Living world
– Crafting system
– Unique character development system
– Great PvP