Free-to-play MMO Runes of Magic will be hosting servers in Brisbane dedicated to the Australian/New Zealand market. It’s fairly common practice nowadays to label a handful of servers “Oceanic” in a US datacentre, changing the game world’s clock and letting that be that. But come October 6, Runes of Magic will let you get your low latency grind on and will offer PvP as well, without hopping across the pond.
Runes of Magic has been out for around a year and a half now as a free download with no subscription, featuring simple MMO PvE with standard classes, but with the ability to combine two classes later on. It utilises the standard free-to-play formula of offering convenience in exchange for microtransactions. Even purchasing said convenience is itself convenient - the game famously lets you purchase quest items within the quest (or items that improve drop rates), making it dangerously easy to bypass the grind.
So far, this system has garnered four million users, although it isn't clear how much of those are active. But at least there's no lack of interest in Runes of Magic - in fact, this one of those few occasions where we both have an Australian server and won't suffer from launch issues. N3V Games is claiming they've implemented the ability to scale up their server cluster very quickly to cope with high demand, partnering with an unspecified "leading Australian ISP".
Some view the microtransaction model as a bad thing, but for others, it's just a different way to spend your time. If you work all day, and can't venture forth for 30 boar tusks on a whim, what's a few dollars here and there to stay up to speed with your friends?
Will Australian servers be enough for you to add to Runes of Magic's four million strong playerbase? F2P games may not fall under the "hardcore" gaming category, but the prospect of low ping MMO PvP is worth considering.