The Legend of the SecondWishing of Dead Branches and Trolling Your Friends
I’ve always been a big fan of Ragnarok Online and when the motions of a sequel was brewing, I was a bit hesitant. The first one was tends to be a gamer’s first big step into MMOs, it was a game you played with your friends on private servers because for years the only way to play it in English was to play on private servers created by people like you. It was created by the Koreans in 2002 and simply known to us as ‘iRO’. The private servers always tried to offer mods and incentives to play their servers, even though the game was free to play, yet running a server was more than a task. This was the game where you had items that could even possibly summoned bosses even if you just starting. You always gave one of these items to a friend who never played before and told them the item healed them. Only to have a level 90 boss be summoned and kill everyone on the map.
In 2006, most of our wishes were heard. There was going to be a second one created called Ragnarok Online: The Gate of the World and only joyous praises were heard. Many had attempted at private or failed versions of a second before this announcement come out. Until that announcement was given, we were stuck still playing the first one with its 3D environment and 2D characters; it’s little charm and fond memories always bring people back. The beta was first opened shortly near the end of 2006 and the beta tests ran until 2008 but not all was well. Its first year of testing was huge and overfilled but only dwindled over the years of testing because the game was a huge disappointment. Many players had snuffed their noses at it and the company, Gravity Corp was left to scrap the game in 2010. It was a sad day but we all still had the first one to play and even I keep coming back to play it.
On July 2010, Gravity Corp announced it would be creatinga new version of the second game and it would be keeping the system and mechanics of the first one. It was something that their first attempt was missing. It also announced it would be dropping the Unreal Engine and oh my, it did. They also announced that they would be having North American servers for those who played here. In April 2013 for five days there was an open beta for North American players to try it before its official release on May 1st 2013. I had heard there were quite a few differences from the fond aspects of the first one. At first, the card system was no longer in the game; the company believed that their rare weapons were over shadowed by the card system. Being able to place powerful cards that gave huge stats and bonuses into low level weapons but it begged the question of how did you get powerful weapons without this idea of good cards in bad weapons. Not everything was as simple as that.
I waited a couple months after the game first came out to test the waters of my first beloved MMO. I wanted to give a wait for whatever major bugs to be fixed hopefully… little did I know. I recently downloaded the game when they added a server for Aeria Games through Warpportal. When I started the game, they had recently introduced a new race called the Noel and their own specific classes. I thought it was a nice touch.
Straight from the get go of installing the game, I hit issues. The game requires a graphics card update of PhysX. Even if yours is update, the game may or may not encounter this issue; to solve it, simply uninstall PhysX and reinstall with the latest update, again then restart your computer. After getting through that, mind you it was a 2 hour download and another hour figuring out why it wasn’t working, you get to start. The game starts you off with five classes, no more novice and four job options. You pick one of classes: swordsman, thief, magician, acolyte and archer and then one of the four jobs: chef, artisan, blacksmith and alchemist. Each have their own benefits and helpful to what class you may choose, requiring to collect rocks, skin animals or pick herbs. A chef creates food that replenish health and mana, as well as food that buffs stats while an alchemist creates potions instead of food. Both the blacksmith and artisan make armor while the blacksmith also make weapons for all classes. After choosing, you get a starting place and most start in the training grounds. Like most MMOs, you gain both main quests and side quests, continuing along to get gears and levels. The game has a bit of a tutorial on what to do but nothing is completely clear.
My first issue with this game is lack of explanation as well confusing menus. At the right side, when you level or achieve something it pops up as an icon and you click it to proceed to where you add points or look at what you gain. These menus even have side menus that you have to right click a tab and only if you notice the tab will you find it. The achievements are your titles that provide bonus stats but it is completely up to you to manage and track. You have to ‘challenge’ the challenges while making sure you have enough points to do so. Some relate to quests you may gain so you constantly have to make sure you have accepted it, if not and you complete the quest, you may error and no longer be able to complete the challenge. Some require a certain level to achieve them and it is a pain to constantly have to back track to other areas to complete them.
Which brings me to another problem I have with RO2. Being able to travel between maps and areas. Most of them have the Flying Kafra like in the first one but these are much different. There are short range ones that may only fly in the same map or to certain points. At times you may have to fly two to three times to get to one location, pay money each time because you can’t fly directly to point A from point B. Only in the major cities like Prontera or Alberta can you find the long distance Fly Kafra. For a lot more gold, they can travel anywhere you need to go. The only good thing I enjoyed about this was the flying cinematic you got when you traveled by Flying Kafra. The other mode of transportation you receive is a mount which is a Peco Peco. You can purchase others by using real money that only lasts for a certain amount of days. At lot of the store items are limited time that have only short amount of days or a month.
Just before I started to play, they introduced a new race called the Noel. They have a total of three classes, their starting class and two other branches. One of their second classes is very much like a Soul Linker but not even close. They use this as a healing DPS class while the other is a melee AOE dps. I rather enjoyed playing as the AOE dps class for the Noel over a ranged class. I had found the targeting system to be very buggy as a ranged. Being ranged, the targeting system by pressing tab was less than desirable and I had constantly finding myself not targeting the next monster to me but something very far off in the distance. There is very little slide casting as well you are constantly force to face the monster to attack; if you even accidently rotated yourself rather than the camera, you could find yourself face down in the dirt.
While the game is still quite new, I still feel like I am very much in a beta version. There are still many invisible walls or fences that you run into but that are never there. Even the models are buggy; constantly being glitched to look like you’re in the ground or even floating. One dungeon I had run with a friend, he constantly wondered if I was in the dungeon with him or following. My character was completely invisible to him while to me everything looked normal. The dungeon themselves are instants rather than the large maps where everyone could go at once. While this provides equal chance for everyone to gain gear it can mean lack of finding people to help but a lot a more than willing to help out. Dungeons even have cinematic that show off the bosses or cut scenes between NPCs.
All in all, I have found RO2 to be only a little like the first one, understanding a lot of people’s complaints on it but if I don’t compare it direction to RO1, I find I am more accepting of it. The graphics are more than well done and the maps are quite reminiscent of the first game. The creators thought more of the little touches rather than the big things I do believe. Recently they have brought back the card system though you can only slot the cards on yourself than weapons and armors and I find that is a lot better than what it used to be and quite happy to see it back. RO2 is still a heavily in process game; not complete but not beta either. While there is a lot wrong with it, there is a lot of small improvements made. I’d say give it a chance but if you’re looking for something completely like the first one but with improved graphics, I’d say turn the car around and try another place this isn’t your stop.