By Rick Charbs
One wonders why this classic MMORPG based on Norse mythology is still extremely popular to this day. Spending time on this game has been a virtuous pleasure, though with many ups and downs. As this game was first released back in 2003 by Gravity Co. Ltd., this game has become a nurtured MMORPG by its wide ranged audience. It has been released in 13 different countries, excluding the utmost popular North American version. Ragnarok is even planned for release on the Nintendo DS, and is already in the mobile market. Some of these versions are free with limitations, whilst some only offer a 15 day free trial. Either way, this game is a true gem in the gaming industry. That being said, there are also some features that will not necessarily attract others, due to its unique style.
Basic game play
Ragnarok Online brought a new style to MMORPGS in its time. Despite how generic it may seem these days with many similar games in the market, the combat in Ragnarok Online is very elaborate. This title is host to one of the largest character class selections, and they are all extremely well developed. This also means you will have large selection of unique skills to choose from.
Training may be a bore if done constantly, though there are many other things you can do in the game. Hunting for cards to insert in your equipment to empower them is a general hobby of the average Ragnarok Online player, as is questing.
Have an affinity for pets? Ragnarok allows you to capture and raise many different creatures that will eventually fight by your side and offer skill assistance. Furthermore, the most popular 2d game war system, the War of Emperium (WoE), is an extremely amusing sport for the elitist and the regular guilds. This implies your guild, defending or attacking an enemy castle, in order to claim it as your own. The War of Emperium is held twice weekly. Player versus player is also a fun getaway from training. Of course, the game lacks gathering skills, but there are other aspects that are tended to instead. All of these features become even more fun as you level and gather strength, such as when you are able to fight bosses!
Questing in Ragnarok Online can be at times amusing, and at times extremely rough and tiring. As the title was developed for a Korean audience, you can only imagine the grind style that might be taken at times. Yet some things have been modified, but in some quests you may find the rewards insufficient to your donated hours of work. Otherwise, quests are extremely fun to overtake. Most of the time, you’re either solving a puzzle, a riddle maybe, or challenging monsters to go to special dungeons. You always need to complete quests in order to advance jobs as well. Another interesting aspect of the quests in this game is headgear quests. These quests seem like your average “gather x amount of items” quests, although you will always be awarded with a fancy, somewhat unique, headgear. Headgears are naturally gathered and used for bragging rights in this game (and for good looks, of course).
Graphics and sounds
If you enjoy 2D/2.5D graphics, you’ll absolutely adore Ragnarok Online’s graphics and environments. The sprites are all very carefully designed, and the monsters are all very creative (with the occasional recolor). The environments are very original; they always put you in the right mood. Dungeons are done exceptionally well, with many secret doors and pathways. There are hundreds, probably thousands, of maps to explore.
If I only had one word to describe the music and sounds of this game, it would be “jaw-dropping!!!!” (okay, so two words). The music was done by famous artists in Korea, and this is proved by its exceptional quality. I thoroughly enjoyed almost every piece they had for background music. However, the sounds do get a little annoying after a while, but they fit the game exceptionally well. There are music pieces all the way from rock, to techno, to urban. If you do not like one particular style, there are always others to listen to. Overall, the time and energy put together in the development of this game really shows in its graphics and sounds. It really sets the mood and immerses you into the game. This is one of the reasons the game is still as popular as it is today, over five years later for North American audience, and eight years later for the Korean audience.
I’ve been playing Ragnarok Online on and off for years now, and I do not have that many negative comments to say against the title. As far as music and graphics go, keeping the fact they are very old in mind, I find them very acceptable and entertaining. I adore the sprites and their graphic style, the 2.5D dungeons, the monsters, and the various pets. One thing though- I absolutely despise techno, and there are a few tracks of it in the game.
Also, contrary to popular belief, the official servers are still very abundant with players, and the community is extremely welcoming and warm hearted. You can’t play this game for more than a few hours before making a new friend. I found the customer support really helpful as well, aside from the money they charge you extra for their aid.
The game play is my favourite aspect of the game, though. Out of the dozens of classes to choose from, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed trying out every single one. They all have so many skills and different play styles, depending on the stats you chose to build up your character. Ragnarok is one of the few games I actually enjoy to PVP on, and of course the infamous War of Emperium is like my second home.
As for training and grind level, I believe it to be not so harsh up to the max level. However, in order to advance to your third job (transcendent classes), you must reborn your character back to level 1 and level up again, which can be extremely tedious. With help from friends though, this process can be very well sped up. In all honesty, this has to be my favourite MMORPG out there currently, and I’ll never tire myself of its fun and unique game play. They add new updates very frequently that offer new maps, monsters, and items to acquire. Soon there will be new jobs for the Korean version, which we will see later this year. If you have the time and money for this game, you will not be disappointed.