I played Ryzom again last night for a couple hours. Mumbles suffered his first death... actually his first few deaths. But more on that later.
Freedom to Build
Ryzom divides actions (skills and spells) into four categories: Fight, Magic, Harvest, and Craft. As you use actions from one of those categories, you gain experience and unlock more specialized areas. For example, if Mumbles gets enough experience in Magic, he will specialize in either Offensive Magic or Defensive Magic (or both). You have the freedom to build your character instead of being locked into a specific class.
Another attractive feature is creating custom actions. I loved playing Legos as a kid (still do with my kids) so building things out of blocks was an obvious turn on for me. You start with a blueprint, which is the basic type of action you are creating. For example, a damaging spell or an aura or a melee attack. Then you add different blocks (called stanzas) that define the action's effects in detail. To make the action balanced, you add "credits" to it such as longer casting time, usable only after dodging, or costs HP.
Unfortunately the game designers added unnecessary restrictions into the action building feature. I cannot mix and match stanzas from the Fight and Magic categories. Also, the action blueprints are too narrow. I want more freeform in how I build my spells. I want to combine healing and damaging stanzas. Perhaps at higher levels I will unlock those features. Maybe I'll do a bit of research on the intrawebs this evening.
Quick digression: My initial vision for Mumbles was a hybrid dps/healer caster. But after completing a few missions from the fighter trainer, I think going more of a melee dps/healer would be more fun and effective. I recommend anyone starting in Ryzom to go fighter first, then branch out into the other professions.
My First Death(s)
One of my newb missions (quests in Ryzom) was to find a group and hunt some big, dangerous creatures. I wandered around looking for the creatures to see if I could solo them, but could not find them. I sent a message to general chat asking where they were and someone whispered me that if I help her with some boss, she'd help me with my mission. Cool.
I join the team and see another team member is Ethic. Talk about weird coincidence. Ethic (from Kill Ten Rats) commented on one of my posts and suggested I check out Ryzom. Now here we are in a random PUG. Call me a freak, but I'm still tripping on that one.
So Ethic and me follow our team leader off into some ruins. She tells us to stop and wait while she pulls. Ummm... can we discuss tactics maybe? Nothing. Soon the leader comes running back with a pack of creeps following her. The leader runs around in circles. Ethic starts healing and I start casting some crowd control and DPS spells. No dice. I take two hits and I wake up in the camp hospital with a little XP penalty. Haha... good times.
The leader wants to try again. Why not? She found another newb to join us and off we go again. A little more luck this time. I actually completed four spells before getting pulverized. I don't think we even dropped one of the boss's minions. Ethic is wise and hit the road. I left shortly after because the leader kept ranting about all we need is more people. Sure. Good luck with that. Here's a dollar, now go buy a clue.