RF Online: A SciFi Classic Returns
By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor), OnRPG Journalist
RF Online, originally named Rising Force, has been out for a loooooong long time. It has been online since 2006 and has been one of the few that started out as a pay to play subscription. Unfortunately due to license problems the service was brought down as of November 9, 2008. The developers however didn’t felt like this MMORPG should’ve just died because of a license and went to host it for themselves for the NA/EU region. And only a couple of weeks ago the good news came in! GamesCampus decided to pick up the game which means there is a bright future ahead for RF Online!
It has been Free-to-Play for quite some time now already since the game wasn’t as successful as hoped back in the day. Since it had been quite some time since I had played this game I decided to return to the world of Rising Force that was once so popular. RF Online is a free-to-play scifi/fantasy MMORPG made by CCR. The game is set in a deep space galaxy known as Novus, there is an ongoing war between three nations and you can pick one of these powerful factions to fight for domination over Novus. The three nations the player can choose are the following:
The Bellatians look very thin at first sight but don’t let these people fool you because they have strong physical abilities. They are specialized in high tech machinery from Accretians and spritiual powers from Corites and use both to grow their civilization.
The BELLATO Union offers four classes to choose from: Warrior, Ranger, Spiritualist and the Specialist
The ACCRETIA Empire decided their natural bodies were too frail and decided to leave them for a somewhat stronger one. They left their human bodies for stronger mechanical ones which makes them one of the most beefy nations of them all. They have an extremely high defense and supporting armor but unfortunately because of this they cannot use the Force.
The ACCRETIA Empire offers three classes to choose from: Warrior, Ranger and the Specialist.
Holy Alliance CORA:
The Corites as they like to be called are best categorized as the religious faction of the galaxy. They focus themselves on the spiritual realm and don’t appreciate mechanics as much as the Bellato or Accretia. They depend on their god Decem for power and wisdom and thus are the most humanized faction of the bunch.
The Corites offer a home for 4 classes: Warrior, Ranger, Spiritualist and the Specialist.
I chose to leave my own body in return for a strong mechanical one that offers one of the greatest defenses in the game, who doesn’t want to be a kick ass robot shooting lasers? When you are done creating your character you get a really long tutorial that will take you through all the basics of everything. It shows you how to move your character, adjust the options to your liking, and other sound options and minor conveniences. I have never ever seen such a thorough tutorial, and since I am not really new to the genre at all I was hoping for a button to skip the whole thing, unfortunately I had to sit through this session which took quite some time…
When you are finally done with the long informative tutorial it is time to play in the big boys’ world. You are dropped in your hub city and from there the choice of what to do next is yours. I was given some goodies that look absolutely amazing including a bow that was shining like it was competing with the sun and a rocket launcher that looked too heavy for even my mech to use but he held it like a boss nonetheless.
The graphics of RF Online are still looking beautiful, as should be expected of a game previously launched as a Pay-to-Play. It does however entirely depend on what kind of resolution you are playing. When I first played the game in windowed mode on a smaller resolution much of the games’ tiny particles and skinning was lost due to the shrink. Make sure to adjust your game to HD with a higher resolution to get the most of it. Still its age does show though, especially when outside of the cities. The countryside lacks detail and ambience, resulting in very plain looking worlds. To play RF Online you will need the following computer requirements:
XP, Vista or Windows 7
Nvidia Geforce FX Series, ATI Radeon 9500 or better
Over 6GB of free space
XP, Vista or Windows 7
Intel P4 or better
Nvidia geforce 6 or over, Ati radeon x700 or over
Over 6GB of free space
As you can see the requirements to play this game are asking absolutely nothing out of your system, partly this is because the game is already quite old but it also was perfectly optimized when programmed. As a PvP enthusiast this was much appreciated as I didn’t have to worry about sudden lag spikes when clashing with fellow players.
The user interface feels quite messy in my eyes and would be the first thing I would overhaul if it was for me to decide. Basically it is just as simple as other MMORPGs but with the addition of multiple tiny buttons that don’t readily display their functionality through visuals. The skill bars are at least well designed with multiple rows available by default so new players can adjust their hotkeys properly. The minimap in the upper right also feels like it could use a change; it works as a small radar and gives little dots with each interaction you can do, as you can imagine there’s a lot of yellow dots on the radar which stand for a monsters. Overall the user interface isn’t great nor unusable, it’s just clunky and functional on par with industry standards.
With so many games suffering recently due to lack of quality and content, RF Online is a bit of an odd fish. It’s definitely better than most on the market but has suffered keeping up with newer rival titles due to the constant shaky situation with developers. The developers still have high hopes in this game though or they wouldn’t continue pumping out updates for all these years. However despite the excellent graphical first appearance, RF Online is starting to show its age in other areas. Their attempt at throwing some amazing items at players following the tutorial seems like a last ditch effort to keep people playing long enough to build a population, and for RF’s sake I hope it works. RF Online was once among the shining stars of the MMO industry, and I had a lot of fun playing this game in its heyday. But now I can’t help but feel it’s lost some of that same magic that held me spellbound long ago. I hope GamesCampus is able to revive the game to its formal glory because the options are few and far between for SciFi MMOs with a heavy PvP emphasis like RF brings to the table.