Rune 2: Expectations and Concerns

The Past

Rune 2 is coming to PC on November 12, 2019.

The original Rune, released in 2000, managed to amass a cult following. While the game was criticized for its lack of enemy variety, it was a graphical marvel at the time of its inception, utilizing gritty dismemberment to convey the brutality of Norse Mythology. However, Rune’s popularity largely stemmed from its muultiplayer aspects, with clans forming all over the world to compete for dominance in different player-versus-player (PvP) modes.

Exclusivity Concerns

Initially, Rune 2 was set to release on all available online retailers, namely Steam. However, back in early summer 2019, Human Head Studios announced that the game would be released exclusively on the Epic Games Store (EGS). This development has generated both criticism and hesitance among those who have been looking forward to the title.

Rumors suggest that EGS is where games go to die, and that Rune 2’s exclusivity deal with EGS suggests an early grave for the newest action-adventure MMORPG. However, whether or not these rumors are accurate will only be determined once the game is released. Many fans of the original Rune are still anxious to get their hands on the sequel.

Gameplay Expectations

Given the graphic nature of Rune, Rune 2 will likely feature the same amount of gore, if not more with the way the industry’s technology has evolved in almost two decades. In addition, even though the 2000s Rune had impressive mechanics for the era, with precision combat using swords, axes, and maces/hammers, the sequel should provide improvements to the original combat system, if not overheaul it altogether to provide a more fluid and tactical experience.

Hopefully, the sequel’s AI will prove to be more intelligent than in the previous game. In Rune, the AI was criticized for having no sense of strategy and simply rushing players in massive “zergfests.” While entertaining for a while, this brute force system became tedious, offering little stimulation to veteran players who would inevitably choose PvP over PvE (player-versus-enemy).

If Rune 2’s trailers are any indication, the upcoming Norse Mythology action-RPG should offer more in the way of player freedom (primarily in the form of combat styles and weapon choices). Moreover, the game’s story elements should be more immersive, appealing to more than just a multiplayer crowd, but also those who love Norse mythos and games with enthralling storytelling.

General Concerns

Often, titles that offer sequels several years (in this case nearly 20) after their predecessor’s release end up being a disappointment. However, whether or not that disappointment is a result of developer failure or excessive expectations by the community varies and is debatable from title to title.

With Rune 2, the primary concern is the EGS’ exclusivity agreement, the exact length of which is unknown. Furthermore, not much is known about the sequel and what all it entails. General information and a few barebone trailers are available on the game’s website, but Human Head Studios and Ragnarok Game, LLC have been rather conservative with information reveals.

Thus, the reputation and reminiscence of the previous title is the primary source of excitement for the sequel, which can often lead to lackluster results when Rune 2 finally launches.

Microtransactions

The fear of microtransactions in today’s market is an ever-present fear among gamers, especially after EA’s Star Wars Battlefront II loot box controversy in 2017. With MMOs, that concern is augmented, especially if that MMO already has a subscription system in place. If loot boxes offer enhancements to player abilities and items on a performance level (and aren’t simply cosmetic) and can be puerchased with real money, that’s a quick road to an angry community.

Of course, Human Head Studios has said that Rune 2 will not contain microtransactions, but these things are always subject to change, especially when money is an issue. Regardless, if Human Head Studios sticks to its word and doesn’t implement microtransactions, it will earn them respect among players.

Balance Issues

With all MMOs, developers need time after launch to implement nerfs, buffs, and bug patches. Rune 2 will likely be no different in that regard. Players can expect there to be problems upon the initial release, but hopefully, the major probleems will be curbed with any betas before the game’s release date.

It’s unreasonable to expect a game the size of Rune 2 to be completely bug free when it launches, or any MMORPG for that matter. Bugs are simply part of the equation when playing games online. Indeed, bugs are so common in today’s games that they even plague single-player titles (remember the Assassin’s Creed Unity problems that hurt more than just multiplayer).

Gone are the days when games were relatively well-polished upon release. With the necessity of the Internet in gaming and the ability to patch titles after launch, the incentive to make something nearly perfect from the start has vanished. Still, as long as the bugs aren’t game breaking, it’s not so bad.

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