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Friday, December 14, 2007

Ragnarok Online

Oddly enough, I met all my friends (including Teh Gunrun) over this one game.

Ragnarok Online is a pretty old MMORPG that uses 2d sprites on a 3d environment. In this one, there are (as usual) a variety of classes that you can choose once your in-game character has reached a certain job level. You can choose from 7 classes that can change once more into new classes, or you can choose Gunslinger or Ninja or Super Novice and stick with that class for the rest of that character's "life."
In total there are 39 job classes. This includes the "high" classes that you can obtain after hitting the max level and being reborn.

Needless to say, in terms of jobs only, there's a lot to do. RO isn't any different from other MMORPGS. As always RO is also a grindfest that you'd expect from an MMORPG, but then again the fun in the game is the community and not really the game itself. Yes, the gameplay is important, but when it comes down to it, RO isn't that spectacular on any level. Besides the clean sprite animations and the very peculiar perks of each class (there really is no "this skill for this class is really that skill from that class in disguise bit") There's also the nice "guild wars" feature that RO has which is pretty unique to the game. The major towns have castles that can be taken over and it benefits the guild as they invest more and more into the castle. Character building wise, the stats are almost fully customizable. As you gain a level, you earn points that you can invest into a stat. The same goes for skills and it's possible to completely neglect a part of the skill tree if you don't feel like going for those skills. Graphically, the only thing you can really change about your look is whatever you put on your head. Your head itself has three slots (top, middle, lower) and so it's possible to have something like a halo, sunglasses and a flu mask. RO when it comes down to the foundations is an MMO that simply developed a bit more than other MMOS. Ok. So gameplay is just like any other, the entire soundtrack is about one gig, the graphics aren't top-notch. What's so good about it?

It's probably the mass amount of private servers out there along with the ability to modify the code VERY VERY easily. You see, besides the original (Korean RO, simplified to KRO) the official Ragnarok Online servers aren't that popular. However, due to a really bad leak in server code, RO servers began popping up like crazy? Why? Like I said before, it's very easily modifiable. There are generally two ways you can handle the server. All text or MySQL, both of which don't take much time to learn how to edit. The language used is pretty basic and if you can do code injections, then you already know too much. Since they're sprites, graphics are much, much easier. The only problem I could see is making the sheets for 4 different angles. Since the code was leaked early on, there's also already a general foundation for making a private server.

Now usually, private servers are actually inferior to official ones. While hacking, maintenance, and costs tend to create problems for private servers, due to how easy to manage RO is along with it's lack of requiring godly amounts of system resources, private servers for once, are superior to official ones (besides KRO). Not only can rates be changed, but which castles can be taken can be controlled, monster spawning is easy to manage, NPC editting is very simple, and skills can also be modified with a simple switching of numbers in a text file. The options for custom servers has gotten to the point where it's actually very hard finding two of the same server. While you do have your general categories of low, medium, and high rate servers, how they decide to handle the actual game itself isn't that hard. Also, a lot of the data is client side, which leads to nice graphics mods (such as new hairs, and animaitions) and mixing of all the official RO data.

So, I feel that RO has become more community based than any other MMO because of this leak. And it takes a very long time to finish everything. (I believe it took me two whole years to complete everything there is to do in the game, and that's excluding the special Storyline events made by the Korean RO staff) I will have to admit though, depending on how you play, it can be decent grinding or a hellhole as you play one hour to obtain 3% of a level. This will probably be the only time I say this. The private servers are better than the official ones. When it comes to Ragnarok Online, playing on a private server definitely boosts your gaming experience.