Written by Remko Molenaar (Proxzor)
This week I went back to play a classic MMORPG, one that I grew up with and remember dearly as part of my childhood. I have never played this game for a long period of time, no this is not the reason why this game is so special to me. Back when ROSE Online was brought to life, it brought with itself a new era of MMORPGs. It had its own quirky visual appeal that was both higher quality than the competition, all the while setting out on its own style rather than being just another copy cat. So how did the trip back to nostalgia fare me? Keep on reading to find out if ROSE Online has aged well!
First sight upon returning back into this game gave me the nostalgic chills that I experienced way back when I first touched this game. The town folk stood waiting in front of me as the sound of ninja beans jumped in the distance. It felt good to be back. It didn’t take me long to get back in the Rose Online combat groove while beating up some of these bean ninjas. The attack animations reminded me of so many memories. Before I knew it I hit a level up from grinding, and excitedly looked over the options for character building. When you level up in ROSE Online you get to pick your stat points. Unlike most modern themepark rides, Rose gives you the freedom to level up manually to adjust your progression to your liking. This way you can choose to become a little tankier, or to become a feared damage dealer anyone would want in his party.
For those thinking Rose looks generic now, it should be stated that it was among the fore-runners of the F2P roaming anime MMORPG. In general the game really goes for the typical Asian style with cute faces, wild hair, and cute yet functional outfits. The monsters in ROSE Online only act to further push the cute limits of the game. From ninja beans to walking fish, there are all sorts of crazy combinations that shows you that this game's creative direction is one of a kind.
The world of ROSE itself is also very beautiful; there are a ton of different environments and I myself have wandered around looking at the landscape rather than following my quests just to enjoy the view. All of these weird looking monsters you might find while wondering will vary in strength, but a helpful color coded monster level will give you warning of what to keep your distance from. The darker the color, the stronger the monster you are facing is, and the lighter it is, the weaker it is compared to you. There are many ways to level in ROSE Online, but most people prefer to follow the quests while grinding out the excess exp in the local quest areas. You can also do this together with your friends through a party, which can hyperdrive your experience gain by knocking out quests in a flash.
Every new player starts out as the beginner class. This class doesn’t know a lot of skills and is mostly there to ease inexperienced MMO players into the mechanics of the game. Once you have reached level ten you are able to choose between the four branches of classes. The options are Soldier, Muse, Hawken, and Dealer. The Soldiers prefer the way of the sword, the Muse use magical spells for their attacks and heals, the Hawken have a couple of tools that they can use like bows and claws, and the Dealers prefer the use of guns. Each one of these classes also branch off into other classes that you are able to upgrade to later into the game. Make sure to do some research before blindly leveling up as each class garners different results from different stat boosts, so you'll want to know your chosen path's strengths.
Rose Online has aged well, and its unique art style and quirky humor are primary factors in this transition. A player unfamiliar with Rose would never guess it has been available since 2005. There's plenty of epic looking equipment to deck your character out with, so gamers that prefer the Asian MMO setting for its customization will easily find gear to set themselves apart from the crowd. There are seven planets in ROSE Online that you can travel to, and each one of these planets received equally beautiful treatment of their landscape designs.
Unfortunately there are greater powers on all the other planets. You start as a simple ‘Visitor’ on the first planet of Rose Online. The god of malice, Hebarn, took over the seventh planet and renamed it after himself. Your goddess Arua has summoned all Visitors to Junon, the first planet of these seven planets, to prepare a counter assault against him. This backstory sets up the grind to end-game as your character slowly advances in preparation for Hebarn's confrontation.
Since Rose Online is a free to play game, the game has its own Item Mall to buy all sorts of different items with real money. If you have some money to spare you can find yourself equipment like weapons and other useful gear or even mounts/car parts. One surprising piece of the shop are purchasable skills to make your character stronger.
I will say it once more, because I feel that I have to give credit towards it. Rose Online has aged extremely well, both in gameplay and graphics. Coming back to Rose Online gave me a mixed feelings, both good and bad. I still remember the game to be as awesome as back in the day, but I unfortunately also saw what was wrong with it once again. The item mall includes items that could definitely help people out that have cash to spare. Now I myself do not really care much about that, but I can agree that people that do not have anything to spend could feel a bit overwhelmed by the power gap. Outside of its archaic cash shop though is the awesome game that I remember, both beautiful and packing solid gameplay with smooth combat. The additions over the years such as more dungeons and PvP make Rose still stand out as one of the best titles in its genre almost a decade later.