You Should Play Realm of the Mad God Exalt

The cycles of life and death are reduced to shallow sequences of routines in Realm of the Mad God (RotMG) Exalt, a beloved free-to-play MMO and bullet hell shooter about killing as many pixelated foes on screen as possible. Not only does death come by shockingly swiftly if you’re not wary—every death here is permanent—but it’s especially frequent with your character’s level cap of 20. There’s also no grand quest other than to murder the eponymous Mad God himself, not much of an overarching narrative, nor even much of a combat system other than to keep producing little pellets of pain yourself by clicking furiously (or holding on to your left mouse button). 

At its core, RotMG is an RPG that also embraces its most mechanical, mind-numbing and intoxicating aspects: the shooting and the looting. The traditional RPG system, which is also pared down to its barest form in RotMG Exalt: archers shoot, rogues shoot (shorter bullets), and clerics shoot (and heal allies). At the start, you choose a character class to play as, such as a warrior or wizard, and keep on grinding until you gradually level up. You collect powerful weapons, armour and accessories along the way to increase your damage, and bolster your defence. In a couple of hours, you’ll probably die and lose everything

But this deceptively simple setup is exactly why the game can be incredibly difficult to put down, since the doling out—and revoking—of rewards happens so frequently and quickly that it actually encourages lengthier, drawn out expeditions. You may soon discover that the easiest way to get through the bulk of initial combat unscathed is to trail doggedly behind a more powerful stranger, who may clear the path for you as you pick up their leftovers. After all, it’s just an inglorious—but very exhilarating—romp to the finish line, where survival means prudence, and knowing when to make cowardly retreats can just save you from losing hours of progress.

It is also FREE, so go forth and have fun.