It has been a long time coming but I want to dedicate this week to a game I have been playing on and off for a decade. It has exchanged hands, and evolved from a flash game to something that, for lack of a better phrase, has a problem with attracting new players. The developers have had a laundry list of things to fix since 2016, including keeping dungeons in the game fresh and new for new and veteran players. I have enjoyed Realm of the Mad God (RotMG for short) for a long time and I want to convey my 1500 hours into a comprehensive talk about the game and my journey playing it.
RotMG is a free-to-play Bullet Hell MMO from Wild Shadows Studios and Deca Games. It was released in February 2012. The point of the game is to level your character to level twenty then move inward to the God Lands and proceed to “max” your character through the running of dungeons. Life, mana, defense, wisdom, dexterity, speed, attack, and vitality all need maxing, so running according to dungeons is key to accessing endgame content. Exaltations were added quite recently and added to the endgame content by giving bonuses to players who have completed an absurd amount of endgame dungeons.
I fondly remember playing RotMG on a real shitty desktop PC, and with that, a real shitty internet connection. At the time there was only a handful of endgame dungeons: Tomb of the Ancients and Oryx’s Winecellar. With the weapons and the abilities at the time, these dungeons were some of the scariest things on the planet. Other dungeons were not far behind in terms of intimidation. The Abyss of Demons was another dungeon where I lost plenty of characters. As time went on and RotMG exchanged hands from Kabam to DECA, the game began to evolve in more ways than one.
Since July of 2016 RotMG has gained a whopping fifteen dungeons. Gods that inhabited the game before DECA had their own dungeons. The Slime God now had the Toxic Sewers, Leviathans dropped the Puppet Master Theater, and the Beholder dropped the Cursed Library.
On top of that, more world bosses were added to a rotation that would keep each realm iteration “fresh.” The Killer Bees drops The Nest, The Lost Sentry drops the Lost Halls and the Jade and Garnet Statues drop the Mountain Temple. Each dungeon has its own mechanics, enemy types, bosses, and unique loot that, at the time upon release, was incredibly attractive to the player base.
RotMG eventually faded into antiquity for me because there was nothing to do that kept the game up to date with other MMO experiences; then came the ability to craft items, daily quests, and events. As the game began to expand, so did the ability to complete the higher-level dungeons. If you happened to be in a guild, then dungeon runs were easier but for those who weren’t a part of a guild, it was challenging to gain the loot that propelled you into the endgame. The ability to craft items made it somewhat easier for players who couldn’t fully complete endgame dungeons to ascertain the loot.
Daily quests and the introduction of marks allowed players to gain extra potions to help ease the burden of fully maxing a character through constantly running endless amounts of dungeons. These marks could also be used to craft high-level gear at the Blacksmith. This allowed the players to feel included even when those players were not in a guild that ran those endgame dungeons every weekend. I personally despise the Haunted Cemetary, so I will always craft the Plague Poison so I do not have to run it a mind-numbing amount of times. Crafting has even gone as far as to introduce a system of blueprints that players can grind to ascertain some of the most powerful gear in the game.
Events have always been in the game, but DECA has amplified it by 200%. Events are some of the most fun that I have had in the game in a long time. I specifically login to collect points and spend them on gear specific to the event. The Antimony event, Month of the Mad God, and holidays were all events that gave players the ability to receive reskinned top-tier loot alongside new skins and other cosmetics. DECAhave introduced the obligatory battle pass, but it is cheap enough and really gives cosmetics and maybe a few blueprints along the way.
There have been four new classes since DECA has owned the game and Kensei has been unplayable for a very long time due to conflicts with the ability and it disconnects you from the game after use. It honestly felt like an eternity until they fixed it, but I guess they fixed it because I haven’t seen anyone complain about it in some time. The Bard is integral to the game, I think. The character is incredibly fun to use. The same can go for the Summoner. We will not talk about the Samurai class because the character has not been viable since its release.
DECA has been, recently, dedicated to revamping character classes. Bows have been recently fixed and are now the assassin and sorcerer.
As of this post, there is so much to do in RotMG but it is bogged down in things that feel so incredibly stupid and trivial, I.e new player experience, and bug fixes.
If it wasn’t for the community, I don’t think that I would have ever played the game. I vaguely remember the tutorial to be: use left click to shoot, use ability, WASD moves, this is how health/mana potions work, and defeat an enormous chicken. DONE. I cannot accurately tell you reader that DECA has fixed this but it explained absolutely nothing about the actual game. If the interest was based on the half-assed work of the tutorial, then no one would play the game.
THANK GOD for Realmeye.
The RotMG Reddit page is probably some of the most tenacious bunch when it comes to complaining about player retention in the game. DECA has stated in multiple posts that players are important to the longevity of the game, but I haven’t seen much from them that doesn’t appeal to the whales who play the game. It is just small things that are very apparent, for instance, free items are at the bottom of the store page when events come around while you have to scroll past an absurd amount of paid items. Those items can be a form of gambling for items, character skins, pet skins, etc.
It gets pretty exhausting
I really like RotMG. It is my ranking for one of my favorite games to be released. I have just about 1500 hours. The bullet hell and permadeath aspects make the game a blast to play. The rewards and risks are perfectly weighed. It feels bad when you die, but a majority of the time when you die it is ultimately your fault. Rare loot feels really good when it drops. I don’t think that I have ever got something from The Hive, but that is nothing important, only to my sanity. I feel like this has been a long time coming because I dedicate this blog to games that I honestly enjoy and want people to play and RotMG fits this mold perefectly.
The game is fun and the community is the same. I just really wish that DECA would do more in the player retention department so that more people would try the game.