Tobold's Blog
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Where I am with Free Realms

In the open Sunday thread some readers wanted to have more information about Free Realms. I can give some answers, but fact is that I haven't played all that much. I didn't quit World of Warcraft just to play another MMO for 20 hours per week, and even if I wanted to do that, Free Realms wouldn't be terribly suited for that purpose. For example in one weekend I managed to level up blacksmithing to the level cap, and mining close to it. Free Realms is more suited for casual gaming, an hour here, half an hour there, and that is what I'm doing.

I like mining and blacksmithing, and now I maxed it out I can forge a range of useful weapons for various other jobs I haven't started yet. The only negative point of the smithing / mining exercise was that it turns out that the three mini-games involved are nearly identical to the two mini-games involved in harvesting / cooking. Free Realm's "main" mini-game seems to have been recycled in slightly different forms for various jobs, where of course I would have preferred the mini-games to be more different. Some people called this game a Bejeweled clone, but doesn't quite describe it. It isn't enough to have 3 or more stones of the same type in a row to destroy them, you need to click and drag your mouse through those 3+ stones, and you can follow a curved path. And there is no swapping of gems involved, just destroying gems by drawing a line through them, and some special effects tiles.

I haven't played all that much of the trading card game yet. But the boosters I bought contained, besides cards, various goodies, one special item per booster. These are somewhat complicated to claim, you first need to release them in the card game, then claim them in Free Realms itself. But I did find a dog in one booster, so I didn't need to buy a pet. And I also found a special card players club card, which allowed me to play through a short series of extra trading card quests, which aren't available to players without the club card. The other items were things like clothing, or items with temporary special show effects.

I occasionally try to find those of my readers who posted their Free Realms name here, but it appears that they as well don't play for long periods. I really wish one could send a friend request to somebody who is currently offline, but that feature isn't supported (yet?).
Well, if you want to find one reader, who plays Free Realms "hardcore" (I do about 6-7 hours a day at the moment), I'm on US 1 a lot. The name is Sare Katoan :).
Jaxon Soggymask is my game name but as I am only in game sporadically you are unlikely to meet me.

There are plenty of thing I haven't figured out about the game yet but I don't care. I find it to be a relaxing diversion and I don't want to get seriously into it. In fact I would suggest that they day I start min-maxing my Free Realms character will be the time to leave the game:).

There are some things I am sure are bugs but may be game features, I don't really know. The quest trail for example (green dots) keeps disappearing on me and using the button on the mini-map doesn't bring it back. Is this a bug?
I'm playing it a lot like you seem to be, Tobold.... although I haven't tried pushing any profession to the level cap yet.

As both a miner & a harvester I'd say that the games have completely different strategies required to be successful. Sure, the chaining is the same, but in mining you need to work the bottom of the board efficiently, while a harvester is more concerned with big chains wherever they can be had.

If you see 'Malorn Knickerknot' online that's me.....
Well, I did level my inscription 0-max in WoW in an evening, that's less then a weekend.

Card games in game, reminds me of star wars: knights of the old republic. That gmae had a nice in-game cardgame.
I agree that the Mining and harvesting games could have a bit more to differentiate them. Speaking of the minigames, the different Tower Defense games are not too bad. There was one I couldn't beat, and it had me trying for hours on end. Anyone prone to game addictions better steer clear of those games because they are so quick and fast with that they always leave you wanting just one more quick try. Several hours will just melt away once you get "in the zone". And they strike that blend of strategic player improvement as you learn what works well, and then when you lose you always think it was totally your own fault - but next time you will know better!

I seem to keep getting sidetracked during certain quests or goals. Something interesting seems to often present itself right when you're in the middle of something else, and part of the fun is to allow yourself to get carried away by this new goal rather than stay ultra-focused on the present one like you would in a more "serious" game.

Slayblaze - Server 1
Adding offline friends probably won't be supported since adding another player as your friend requires *their* permission. Something they obviously can't give if they're offline. Being friends is also mutual, if someone adds you as a friend then they are also added to your friends list. Presumably if you remove someone from your friend list then you drop off theirs.

Given that the game is aimed squarely at children, this is a Good Thing.

Primula Sandyhair.
Perhaps a date and time should be announced, or chosen somehow in the blog, for everyone ot get on at the same time to get friends with each other in the game?
My name is Revolok, I jump from server to server, but I'll try to be on Server 1 for the next couple days, feel free to hop on and friend me.
Lyle Zul on FreeRealms
I am ridiculously proud that I beat 100k on the iron mining minigame :)
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