January 16, 2019
Realm Royale is one of those games you either love or hate. Its very premise divided the battle royale community in that it is a class-based battle royale – something we had yet to see in the scene.
Regardless of your stance toward this game, it still begs the question: has Realm Royale improved since release?
On release, Realm Royale was a true class-based shooter with five classes (Warrior, Engineer, Hunter, Assassin, and Mage). Players could choose one of these classes while waiting for the zeppelin (Realm Royale’s battlebus) to pick them up.
Each class had a selection of class-specific, legendary-quality weapons, as well as various qualities of class-specific skills that could be looted from chests. There were also more generalized weapons available like heirloom rifles, crossbows, and revolvers every class could make use of.
The chests spawned throughout the map provided a means for players to acquire their initial gear upon dropping in. Unneeded items could be disenchanted for shards used to craft new equipment, abilities, and potions at the forges scattered around the map.
Disenchanting unwanted gear also made it so there weren’t items laying on the ground that opponents could run by and pick up. Once you were full of shards, you could no longer disenchant items, which meant if you just killed someone far away from a forge and you were nearing your shard cap, you needed to carefully choose which items to disenchant and which ones to leave behind.
It’s always a tough decision because another player can pick up discarded items and use them against you.
Weapons ranged from swords to rifles. There was a weapon for every playstyle, and not all ranged weapons functioned in the same manner. Some weapons, like the sniper rifle, had near pin-point accuracy, whereas other ranged weapons, like the heirloom rifle and revolver, had some hefty variance built into their shooting mechanics.
Armor played a pivotal role in your success. The higher the quality of armor, the higher your max armor points would be. Your armor points could be replenished with armor potions. If you loaded up on high-quality armor and armor potions, you could essentially double the number of hits you could take. The only way to one-shot you into a chicken was to score a headshot with the sniper rifle.
Realm Royale’s original systems and mechanics only enhanced the importance of your class choice. If you weren’t good at long-range combat, maybe you should have chosen the Warrior whose abilities and passive health regeneration made them ideal for someone that likes to get up-close and personal.
Were you struggling in those close-range encounters that were just too hectic for you to manage? Maybe you should play the Assassin or Hunter whose legendary weapons and abilities allowed them to excel in ranged combat and keep their opponents at a distance.
Class selection felt like a truly personal choice that could customize your gameplay and dictate the strategies you employ, but there was one major consequence of such an offering: class balancing. On top of the fact that loot RNG played a huge factor in how quickly your chosen class would snowball in a match, there was one class in particular that absolutely dominated any one-on-one encounters – the Engineer.
The Engineer’s legendary weapon and abilities were par to none. By acquiring the Engineer’s plasma launcher, players could deal area-of-effect explosive damage to opponents that only required their shots to be somewhere in the vicinity of enemies.
That made engineers the only class capable of making powerful corner shots. Some of the other classes had abilities that could do damage around corners, but not all of them, and the damage dealt by those abilities was minuscule compared to the plasma launcher.
The Engineer’s abilities enabled them to stand their ground practically anywhere, whether it was out in the open or in close-quarters combat. Despite only having two abilities slotted for use, being able to choose from Barricade, Healing Totem, Deploy Turret, and Fire Bomb ensured you would have an ability for any encounter.
There are relatively few situations where you couldn’t make use of a deployable shield, an area-of-effect heal, an automatic turret, or a fiery explosion that caused damage-over-time and allowed you to control your enemy’s positioning. Because classes could only find their specific abilities in chests, the Engineer always ended up with a decent loadout.
Now that Realm Royale has seen a little over half a year’s worth of time live and a couple of major updates, it appears to have settled into a new state that sees the game playing much differently than before.
Loot chests can now be opened once by every player, whereas potion crates can only be opened once per match. The result is an initial phase that’s far less hectic. This change allows players to open a chest or two and calculate their next move, instead of making a mad dash for loot before it’s gone.
Weapons with poor grouping and accuracy now hit much closer to the reticule – I’m looking at you, heirloom rifle!
The entire class structure has been re-worked. Engineers were removed entirely, leaving just four classes. Each class now has bonuses that apply to their respective playstyles. For example, the Hunter has bonus damage for all bow-related weapons but is no longer limited to bows. In the revamped Realm Royale, any class can use any weapon. The same goes for abilities, and although the Engineer was removed, it’s abilities can be found in chests and crafted at the forge.
Goblins! These little buggers are hidden underground throughout the map and give their position away by snickering and laughing as you approach. Very similar to Diablo 3’s goblins, once you close in on them, they’ll pop out of the ground and start running, dropping shards along the way. If you manage to kill one, you’ll be rewarded with high-quality drops.
Perhaps the most pivotal change to the game was the removal of armor and the introduction of runes. Players now start with a full armor cap, but their armor points start at 0 and can still be increased to the cap of 1,500 by consuming armor potions.
Runes are looted from chests and goblins or created at the forge. Runes provide various bonuses like % increased weapon damage or % reload time reduction, and a player can have a max of six runes which can’t be removed once slotted. Some runes can even come in different qualities, which determines how effective they are.
However, if there’s one thing I’ve noticed more than anything in the most recent version of Realm Royale, it’s the bots. At this point, I feel like I’m playing PUBG mobile with how many bots are running around in the game. Some players in Steam Community discussions have estimated 30% to 60% of the lobby to be bots depending on the time of day. Any time I play, it feels like the percentage is closer to 80%.
So, with all things considered, does it look like Realm Royale has improved? Well…it has, and it hasn’t. I know at face value that sounds like a pretty big cop-out, but hear me out.
Regarding gameplay, Realm Royale has absolutely improved. The combat feels much more balanced, and the gunplay has been refined. Every class has access to all abilities, allowing for interesting choices depending on the weapons you’ve acquired, yet there is still the incentive to play with your class’s intended weapons due to class-specific passive abilities.
No longer are you trying to shoot enemy players with ranged weapons that have an excessive amount of variance in their reticles. Your shots finally go where you want them to.
If Realm Royale had released in its current state, it might have had more staying power and attracted a larger audience. Unfortunately, gameplay and balancing are no longer where Realm Royale needs to improve.
The biggest issue at the moment is the lack of community. Right now, the Realm Royale is averaging at a peak of 3,000 players per day, according to Steam Charts. Although Realm Royale hasn’t been dealt a death blow yet, the community isn’t growing at all.
I just can’t see the game surviving much longer without an influx of players. People will eventually get bored of fighting lobbies mostly comprised of bots.
I’ve won 50% of my last 20 matches, and of those matches I placed top 3 every single time, often coming up against two or three bots in the final 5.
Now, I wasn’t bad at the game back when it first released, and I placed a somewhat respectable Diamond II in the first month or so, but Realm Royale feels nowhere near as challenging as it did back when it released.
I have high hopes for Realm Royale. It made strides over the last few months with the refinement of its gameplay and class system. However, it may be too little too late.
With a game like Spellbreak on the horizon, which offers a gorgeous aesthetic and a unique concept while targeting a similar player demographic, Realm Royale may finally succumb to lack of interest if no further action is taken.
Tags: Realm Royale