Monday, March 09, 2009

Regnum Online Review

Earlier this morning I was participating in a live recording of a Linux Outlaws podcast and during a review of listeners' email I noted a Linux game called Regnum Online. Regnum Online is touted as being "The best Realm vs. Realm action available FOR FREE". It is an MMORPG game developed by NGD Studios S.A. and utilizes OpenGL. There is a Windows client that utilizes DirectX, but for this review I will concentrate on the Linux client.

Before I go any further I need to qualify the fact that I am not a hardcore gamer. However, I have recently found that I enjoy Frozen Bubble because of the simplicity of game play. Additionally, I have developed a love for the game, World of Goo. Still I am not a gamer, but I digress.

After the recording of the podcast, I visited the Regnum Online website and promptly downloaded a 428.4 MB binary installation file for 64-bit Linux. On the Regnum download page there was note made to the fact that there is no official support for the Linux client due to its experimental nature. Additionally, the 64-bit version of the Linux client requires the presence of 32-bit libraries to execute the installer properly. The specific 32-bit libraries required were not explicitly noted on the download page, but I must have had them in place because the installation went without a hitch.

Once the Regnum Online software was installed on my System76 Pangolin Performance laptop, I created an account on the website. There was an option on the Linux client startup dialog box to create a new account, but it failed to take me to the appropriate web page because it could not access the default web browser. This was a little disappointing, but certainly something I could work around.

As far as game settings are concerned, I basically left the default settings, utilizing full-screen. However, as I previously mentioned, the Linux client was installed on my laptop which has a 15.4" wide-screen. Subsequently, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was an option to set the screen resolution at 1280x800.

With the Regnum Online Linux client up and running and a connection made to a Regnum Online server, I began things by selecting the world of which I would become a part. Personally, I selected Horus (International) because I am a native English speaker. However, there are Spanish/English and German worlds from which to choose.

After creating a character, which was simple to complete without explicit instructions. In other words, the process for creating a new character was concise and very intuitive. With this process complete, I found myself transported to a time and place as far away from reality as I could imagine.

Once in the game, it took me approximately 60 seconds to understand what I need to do to communicate with the in-game characters. This is accomplished by selecting the character, with the left mouse button, to whom you wish to communicate, and then left mouse clicking on the character again.

After having communicated with three in-game characters, I was sent on my first training mission which entailed killing five (5) black beetles. This was completed with relative ease and led to my next mission which involved killing five (5) tiny tarantulas. This is where I stopped my mission, leaving it for another day. Almost one hour of game play was all that was available before I was being called for supper.

Experimental clicking on the character interface afforded me the opportunity to learn a little more about what I can expect from future game play. The following is a list of game selling points as was presented on the official game site:

- Regnum offers 3 realms to choose from.
- 9 fully customizable player characters.
- An ever expanding number of quests.
- The ability to capture forts and castles.
- Expansive lands to explore.
- Glorious graphical environments in DirectX and OpenGL.
- Support for Windows and Linux platforms.
- Premium content available for enhanced game play.

I do plan on exploring this game further, but from what I have experienced to this point, I am pleased. It is at this point that I have to give Regnum Online two thumbs up. The game is well done and professionally crafted both in terms of graphics and game play. If you have not had the opportunity to play Regnum Online, or did not even know about it, I recommend that you give it a spin and spend some time in another world of the imagination.

And with that, I am off to see the wizard...

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