Now that I posted a whole chapter of memoirs in my previous post about Ragnarok Online where you can find my motivation and reasoning behind even starting with this endeavor.
Now let’s get to details – what’s Ragnarok Online for those who don’t know or for those who want to see what it is for me, but with way less nostalgia glasses compared to previous post. Let’s go…
First thought that might come across average person would be “some old shitty weebish game that can have any appeal only through nostalgia”. Fuck no! Shit had and SADLY still has best mechanics and character system out of any mainstream MMOs, probably why there are still subscription based servers in Asia and people paying to play this shit monthly while devs are still making content. Western market has many official regional servers and hundreds of private ones with different setups etc, hell, remember my first private server that I mentioned above? It’s still alive and kicking since 2004. So at least it’s not just nostalgia, even though that’s a big factor of course. Devs did Classic servers way before it was cool with World of Warcraft and now experimenting with new alternative mechanic servers to refresh the gameplay, appeal to new audiences and bring back some nostalgic boomers like me to check something new.
What’s so good about it then?
- Well game doesn’t look super beautiful engine-wise since it’s old af, but artwork and animations are great while also running on potato.
- Character build system is so complex and deep you need a special calculator to plan everything. Skill tree is an actual tree and stats you actually need to invest yourself keeping in mind your skills and equipment, because they have soft/hard caps, tresholds that are giving you something etc. You can influence your mana regen or resistance to stun by picking stats for example and that’s only small example (outside of stun there are like 8 status effects resistance to which depends on different stats). I am a nerd and I used to love digging through guides and calcs theorycrafting something in this game.
- Many unique classes with long progression and multiple viable build types per class. Some skills and mechanics are pretty unique and hard to find in modern MMOs, sometimes making some skills way to gimmicky, but looks like in new mechanics they try to fix that. Synergies between classes are pretty good and there are many classes that have support capabilities, but you can also make them capable of solo leveling.
- Equipment has upgrade system with chances to break stuff, slots in equipment that you enchant with cards that give equip some unique bonuses (every mob drops their unique card with 0.01% chance and different effects), set bonuses, special randomly generated bonuses nowadays too like in Diablo and such. You can switch equip on the go, you can build weapon dedicated for effective killing of some particular mobs for example. So gear is super customizable and you can switch multiple sets on the go according to situation, especially in PvP.
- Speaking of Diablo gameplay is kinda similar with angle and with non-target combat system where you need to click your skills on ground/mobs, gathering crowds and killing with AoE to farm xp and drops or going full one target damage. Can just go full auto-attack, or use one omeg skill, or play piano on your keyboard for dank combos – all up to you and your build/class pick.
- Lots of world bosses, lots of maps, lots of mobs, everything has special defined drop table – databases online to check things enemy drops and stats, because they for example have hit and dodge stats, so you need your own hit and dodge stats on proper levels to hit and avoid being hit by them.
- PvP is great, Guild Wars (War of Emperium) are amazing and age of the game with it’s top down view makes it only better, turning castle sieges into some weird fast paced chess. All my builds had WoE in first place and I was avid mass PvP player getting into server politics as guild leader, forming alliances, starting wars etc.
- Game has great community and gameplay always was very social back in a day (a bit less now), when you needed to just sit down and regen frequently and in some areas that was perfect time to have a chat with other players around or have a conversation in guild chat. In the same time being a lone wolf is completely viable, only making mass PvP and sometimes boss hunting a problem, because it’s hard to outdamage a group obviously, but you can just be faster at finding the boss and having a good build to get a good headstart.
Why is game not super popular then? Simple
- Doesn’t look modern and beautiful, even for pixel art standarts it’s already quite outdated and not gonna lie even back when I was playing it there already was Lineage 2 that majority of my friends were playing and it looked way more appealing.
- Even what I already mentioned is quite complicated for average gamer, but there are many more things I haven’t even mentioned like system of elements, mob size damage modifiers etc.
- Leveling and farming rare drops is huge part of the gameplay while quests are almost non-existent.
- Bosses are mostly world spawns with people competing for them (loot dropped on the ground and only person/group who did most damage can pick it for some time until it’s free for loot) and raids are pretty new addition to the game, but they are exploring this.
- Different paradigm from modern western and even asian MMOs – there’s plenty to do, but game doesn’t hold your hand at all and doesn’t push you to do something with all the dailies and other chores, even quests had no markers and proper journal back in a day. Absolute freedom that is easy to get lost in without guides and things like this.
Rest, well you can see for yourself very soon, I’m sure I missed something here, but hope I got the main points, might edit the post a bit later. If anything, I think that game absolutely deserves an important spot in MMO history and I hope its legacy won’t be forgotten, there were some attempts to create something similar and I’ll try to cover that in my streams too.