After getting my Trader to level 46 in Anarchy Online, I was starting to feel somewhat burned out, so I decided to take a break and play something else. I wasn't exactly sure, then I remembered R.O.S.E Online, which I'd heard about some time ago, although I can't remember where or how. I certainly hadn't expected my break to be in the form of another MMORPG, but there's something about open betas I can't resist.
It did actually end up being a refreshing change of pace, which I really wasn't expecting. R.O.S.E (which stands for Rush On Seven Episodes, it's anybody's guess as to what that means) is much simplified from your usual MMO formula, which results in the game feeling almost like an "arcade style" MMO, as strange as that may sound. Leveling is fairly quick and painless compared to other games, at least during the earlier levels - something I learned quickly as I started playing yesterday and now have a level 23 dealer.
Before moving on to the graphical side of things, a quick warning. This game could be considered by some (ok, most) to be "cute" (complete with buyable fairy wings), and it's something that really can't be denied. It's not really a kiddie type of cute, though - more of an anime cute or, even closer, a 3D take on the look of several classic SNES-era RPGs. In fact, that's exactly what the characters strike me as - grown up sprites. Still big-headed, still goofy-looking, just occupying space in a three dimensional manner. Honestly, I really like the look of the game, especially the different playfields, but it's certainly not suited for everyone.
There are quite a lot of people playing the game, and almost every area I've been too so far has been crowded, especially with player shops. In towns, combined with the graphics, it gives a carnival type of atmosphere more so than any MMO I've played to date. Of course, with the crowding come problems. Kill stealing, scamming, and even exploits are plentiful, even if they are avoidable. This is sort of par for the course with these types of betas, and it's actually a good thing provided it helps the developers fix the flaws.
Exactly how long R.O.S.E is going to be in the open beta phase is a mystery to me, but I'm sure that it's not going to end in the next few weeks. It's still got a very beta-ish feel to it, with some missing or garbled text in places, so I doubt it will be released in it's current state. Nicks in the varnish aside, I've found my (admittedly short) time with it fun, and I'll probably be talking about it again next week after I've had more time to poke around.
By the way, it sure didn't take long for an open source project to show up after the recent release of the Quake 3 source code.