When it comes to a new game, whether retail or free-to-play, I always go into it with a clear mind, and looking for any fun that can be had. Ragnarok Online was one of those games, and one that I played when I was a small Canadian, it was also was my first foray into the MMO world.
It was a 2D, top-down game that incorporated a lot of mechanics that my young mind was amazed at, and the inclusion of one of my all time favourite mythologies in history (It’s in the games name, if you haven’t guessed). Everyone started equal in the game, as in they were the same class. At level ten, you were allowed to choose the first class you wanted, and there were plenty to choose from. Combat was easy and fluid, and there were plenty of things to keep you entertained for hours. Now, we arrive at the sequel to the game I loved so much as a child, and it has definitely delivered on the fun I used to have as a child.
Ragnarok brings things to the table that I have come to expect from modern MMO’s, but leaves me with a sweet taste in my mouth. While many MMO’s I have played got stale rather quickly, most recently being Neverwinter, Ragnarok Online 2 is the game that has my attention, and will hold it for a long while.
When I got into the game to make my first character a few days ago, I was surprised that they decided to ditch the Novice class which gave everyone equal footing in the beginning, in exchange for five starting classes, and four professions. The classes consisted of Swordsman, Thief, Archer, Magician, and Acolyte, and the professions consisted of Alchemy, Artisan, Blacksmithing, and Cooking. There are a few options to make your character you own, though not that much in therms of creation and you will probably get a character that looks like someone else’s, just with slight differences like eye colour (it happened to my friend and I).
Once in the game, I was blown away by the graphics and art-style. They felt right for the type of game Ragnarok Online is, cartoony and eastern influenced. The controls were the same as I was used to from previous MMO’s, and even kept the old style of clicking on the ground to control your character, though I feel that works better with top-down games, like Diablo and Torchlight. It’s a good thing you can change your camera to make the game top down, though some graphics get in the way of your vision. Of course, like any MMO, I ran up to the first quest giver you met, and ran into my bane from the last game.
The first quest I received was to slay three Baby Porings, and at first I was a little hesitant. My past memories with Poring are not the greatest in the world, mainly because in the first game in the franchise, I was ganked by a group of twenty of them thanks to someone running away from a group. Since then, my hate for these jello balls has manifested into something of legend (not really). Once I was finished with that, I began doing other quests and tasks. The game has that feel of any MMO today, as in “Go here and slay X amount of Y”, or “Collect this much of Z”, but I love the grind of these things. It feels like I accomplishing something in MMO’s. The system works and I quite enjoy it, but only when it is implemented properly. This game, at least to me, does it perfectly. And you get rewarded for your killing by using cards, just like in the last game.
Cards are items that drop rarely from creatures, when you aren’t farming them that is. Cards are used to give you an extra boost in your stats, and each card does different things. Some cards are more geared towards the spell classes in the game, while they others are geared towards the physical classes. Between me and my friend, I would say one of us is more interested in the cards in a collectable sense then in a stat boosting sense, and I can tell you that it is not me. On the note of slaying monsters, now would be a good time to talk about combat.
Combat is what you would expect of a standard MMO, and by that I mean would be to click on your target, select a skill from the skill bar, and chain them together for damage, stuns, protections, etc., in order to kill your enemy before he/she/it kills you. This system has been in place for as long as I can remember, and while it does get stale, and very unmanageable later down the line with multiple hot bars for different skills and items. I am a little iffy on this system, but at the same time, it is something I am used to as I grew up with it. I’ll admit, I always get my finger placements mixed up on the keyboard, making my character strafe instead of moving forward because of it, and I favoured the system I used in Neverwinter when I played it. A smaller, more fluid skill bar, with limited skills for you to use would clean it up a lot in the long run, making you think on your feet about what skills to use, and which to leave behind in the list of skills.
Another system that you will find in this game is crafting, and I will tell you that I am an insane craftaholic. To me, crafting is the staple of any MMO you play. It saves you money, and it is a good way to make money at the same time. There are an abundant of crafting materials around the world for you to harvest, from rapidly respawning harvest points, to almost all creatures having the crafting materials to need.
But a thing that this game does differently from other MMO’s that I have played is that you can craft where ever you want, in stead of trying to find a spot where you can craft, and wasting valuable time back tracking to a furnace or an anvil. You can just pull a sewing machine or an anvil right out of your pocket, and you can craft in the middle of a dungeon if you wanted to. The only thing you need to do is go to your crafting expert, and buy ingredients and recipes, so it is a good idea to get stocked up ahead of time, especially if you have Cooking or Alchemy as your profession. Crafting in this game is also beneficial, as I have seen, so far at least, that all crafted gear, potions, and foods are actually better then the gear, potions, and food you’ll find. This makes me one happy crafter, as for the most part, MMO’s I have played actually allow you to make gear that is fundamentally lesser then what you find or obtain from quests as rewards.
Finally, what I also liked about this game was the fact that anyone now can sell what they find or make in Ragnarok. With the missing Merchant class, I would say this is a good replacement for it. It is also a better alternative to the auction house if you have to idle, and have things to sell. You can name your store, as well, giving yourself an identity, though most people use this section to say what they are selling. If you do take this method, I would suggest that you do it on a more populated channel, and in the main city of Prontera. While wondering around, I found more people populating it with their stalls then I have seen outside the city.
In my honest opinion, the game is on my list for one of the more fun MMORPG’s I have played. I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys anime-styled graphics, a heavy dose of Norse mythology, coupled with an excellent crafting system. Of course, this is just a first impression, so there maybe underlying things that I haven’t found yet, or am suffering from too much nostalgia to see it. If you are interested in trying this game, head on over to Ragnarok Online 2’s homepage, and click the “Download” tab.
This is Travis, signing off.