Royal Quest is a free-to-play MMORPG in which you take up swords, staffs, and other fantasy accoutrements and go defend a virtual kingdom.
Then again, all of this sounds a bit familiar. It seems the majority of MMOs have always been medieval “hack and slash” affairs. Does Royal Quest set itself apart from the pack? Or should you just cave in and go back to WoW?
If you’ve so much as glanced at the covers of various fantasy novels over the years, Royal Quest’s character system will seem familiar. You can choose from familiar genre archetypes such as Warrior, Archer, Mage, and Rogue.
This simplicity is ultimately a good choice. It makes the game more accessible to new players by not overwhelming them with choices from the very beginning. And players do not have to be steeped in any kind of deep fantasy lore to understand and appreciate these character types.
Don’t worry, though. There is a chance to expand these characters into more specialized classes like “Crusader” and “Assassin.” This gives more experienced players a goal to shoot for and offers some tantalizing rewards for continued gameplay.
If I only had one word to describe Royal Quest, I’d go with “cute.” The characters are all colorful cartoons, and they inhabit a similarly colorful and vibrant world.
I’ve written about this before, but cartoonish graphics for an MMO are actually a wise choice. Attempts to look super-realistic are always doomed to failure, and such games end up looking very dated within a year or two of their release.
However, cartoon-style graphics are functionally timeless. It’s a design decision that has worked well for World of Warcraft, and Royal Quest couldn’t ask for a better model.
One area where this game does not really copy WoW is combat. The overall combat mechanics in Royal Quest are very simple.
You have several basic attacks you can use on the foes that inhabit this kingdom. Using these attacks builds up a special meter (for the mage, it’s the Concentration meter) that then allows you to use more powerful attacks.
This system is fun at first, but can eventually get a bit repetitive. Imagine playing Overwatch but being stuck with only the first character you chose. Sure, your initial attacks are cool and your ultimate ability is awesome. But it’s tough to imagine playing for hundreds of hours without getting some more significant upgrades.
Put simply, the combat-related upgrades you receive in Royal Quest do not feel significant and do not dull that feeling of repetition.
PvE vs. PvP
Royal has had a weird history of PvE vs. PvE. When it first came out back in 2014, the developer emphasis was more on PvP. In fact, reviewers complained about the fact that PvE just kind of abruptly fell off as they progressed and they were expected to do PvP grinding for progress.
Now, the PvP element of the game has largely dwindled, and PvE is arguably the bigger draw. Players go from tackling small creatures roaming the world to teaming up with fellow players to clear out dungeons full of beefier challenges.
As such, this shift more towards PvE is a good thing. It’s friendly to newer players and offers a more rewarding experience.
Same Old, Same Old
Because the game is largely PvE, that means you are going to be completing many quests. And these quests have some good elements and some disappointing ones.
First, the good: many of the quests don’t take themselves too seriously. The humor goes well with the game’s aesthetic and is genuinely funny.
The bad: while humorous, most of these quests don’t exactly break the MMO mold. You’ll be doing a lot of fetch X-thing or kill Y-thing style quests. If you have ever played a single MMO in your life, you’ve already experienced what most of these “royal” quests have to offer to players.
The Crafting Gamble
Crafting plays an interesting part of this game. Whether that means “good interesting” or “bad interesting” comes down to how much you like to gamble.
Basically, you gather a few key elements and throw them into a magical pot. What comes out next? Your guess is as good as mine!
The idea is to keep players coming back because you never know when it will spit out something truly epic. However, because it’s completely random, you may also get nothing but garbage items for a long time, which is profoundly less fun.
I found the system fun to go back to, but it may leave you longing for a more stable crafting system.
Ultimately, Royal Quest is worth trying out. It’s genuinely engaging to explore this detailed world, and if you stick around, it’s rewarding to join guilds and participate in things like castle sieges.
I don’t love the freemium system of the game (who does?), but you can experience everything without paying a penny. And it doesn’t get any cheaper than free!