Staring at a black screen with a little hand icon in the center gives a person time to contemplate the meaning of the universe. The struggle to find contentment each day can sometimes be so great one can't help but wonder if reaching for some higher, perhaps impossible goal is worth all of the time, effort, and sacrifice. I sure as hell don't think so, which is why I load up task manager and kill the Risk Your Life runtime the hard way. Unfinished is fine for symphonies, but not for retail titles. I've been using computers since Zork, and I've never seen any program need as much time to unload itself from memory and return to the desktop as RYL does. This might seem like a minor point, but it's a symptom of a larger problem, put succinctly by a longtime player in chat channel, "this game really needed more time in beta."
So it begins.
After selecting your server, logging in, choosing your race, gender, and thus creating a character, you are unceremoniously dumped at the docks of a world struggling to imitate Morrowind with about half the level of detail, and with the same muddy brown color scheme. Unlike any offline RPG, however, a few moments later a Guide or GM is likely to ask you if you're a noob in need of a little help. They'll direct you to the nearby NPCs that will explain the ins and outs of the control scheme via exp-rewarding missions, or give you a jump start on that long, hard road of leveling up. You'll be profoundly grateful that Planetwide Games doesn't require these reps to speak in the annoying clichéd pirate jabber of your NPC instructors.
Stumble around town and the game will suddenly pause as it loads up all the player created shops that clutter the area, making your intended destination difficult to find at best. To the point that you much too tiny mini-map in the corner of the screen, which can't be resized, becomes completely useless. The interface in general is un-customizable, just like the controls. Starting quests will get you up to level three, with one remaining mission that demands you reach level ten before even thinking of finishing it. Look like it's finally time to hunt some lizard midgets.
The game calls them ichman, but I can't help but think of them as scaly little people, who are just minding their own business standing in place for hours on end until you come along with your big old sword (or other melee weapon of choice), and try to cave their miniature skulls in. Lucky for you they don't seem to believe in teamwork, so all nearby ichman will stand idly by contemplating their existence while you turn one of their brothers into a corpse, which vanishes in approximately three seconds later. You can't start with the elites right away either, not at level three. You need to work your way up from young ichman, to village ichman, then to fighting ichman, followed by magus ichman, and then finally you might be ready to face the cream of this diminutive crop...but the squirrels will still be able to kick your ass.
The game doesn't tell you anything about the monster pecking order, letting you find out the hard way, though thankfully the only death penalty is a few more dings in your equipment that are cheap to repair. Not knowing this, I made the grave mistake of attacking one of the deadly squirrels right at the start, and the thing actually ran away from me...straight into solid rock. Amazing powers these MMORPG rodents have. Even without an exp gain, I still felt like a big man scaring away the fearsome predator, but it was only biding its time. Later when I was in town where no monsters are supposed to be able to go, and in the midst of a conversation to finish up a quest, the squirrel reappeared and managed to kill me before I could act. Furry bastard.