Let’s start with a little history.
Back in 2003, we were graced with Ragnarok Online. It featured a strong hack and grind aspect anime styled good class system MMORPG. It had its flaws, which is why when RO2 was announced, it was thought that it would include a lot of things lacking in the original, including a 3-D system. Ragnarok Online II was announced as “The Gate of the World” in November of 2004. It met with some disapppointment of people because it wasn’t “RO”. Completely different storyline, completely different locations, everything was completely different. It stayed in “Open Beta” in Korea and was met very negatively by fans of the original. Sort of like a Final Fantasy 14 of the Korean world. Eventually, it was remade, and on May 1st, 2013, Ragnarok Online II: The Legend of the Second was released.
I originally played the Open Beta and got through the first 6 or 7 quests before I just had to uninstall it. It was less than what I expected. The class system was there, the locations were there, but there was no….substance. It appeared like it was hurried. The camera was horrible, controls were horrible (seriously, who defaults the Numlock to run) and they were not able to be changed. The resolution was locked on 800×600 (you name me one gamer who uses anything less than 1280×1024 and I will send you $5) and the music volume was incredibly loud for the rest of the game, even with the effects turned up and the BGM turned down. It appeared broken, unfinished, not very good.
In May of 2013, the game was released, and again I tried it. I was once again less than pleased, although they had fixed a few things that I had issues with from the Beta, including some of the wacky options and stuck resolution settings (yay 1920×1080!).
I put it down-uninstalled it again. I could not bear myself to play it. The camera and movement were clunky, outdated. The questing was basic at best.
My girlfriend tried to get me to pick it up again, and I’d have to say, I’m getting past all the bad and looking toward the good, except for a few things:
* The game is very linear. I don’t see many high level people running around. They make 2 characters, level them up to 50 (the max), hunt for some gear and then leave. There is really no incentive to stay. No alternate storyline, no alternate way of doing things, no different paths. Once you get to max you finish your quests, hunt for gear and possibly duel. Higher level people in the original game (and in other MMORPG’s) find a need to go to the original towns and get stuff or do stuff from those areas, whether it would be a specialty NPC or daily quests in that area scaled to your level, or an item from a monster for a recipe. Not this game. You follow the yellow brick road all the way to the end of the game. The yellow brick road does not fork or offer you a different path to take.
* The map is very small (I guess an extension to the above). There are only 6 or 7 areas to go until the end. It looks like they’ve offered some expansion opportunities, but there’s no telling when they’ll take advantage of it…and if they’ll raise the max level cap and open a new area for higher levels, or open a new area for lower levels and you can select where you’ll start.
* The equipment selection is linear as well. Some MMO’s you can keep the same sword or staff for many levels because it offers you a huge boost to your primary stat that you can’t see yourself throwing away. But….as you progress through the game, each weapon for your class improves in all attributes, which means you have to switch it out to stay ‘on top’.
* The storage and backpack ‘system’ is horrible, but it does have its ups (see below).
* The camera controls and mechanics are horrible. For such detailed character designs and facial changes, the camera is horrible. Zoom too far in and your character disappears (and no, it’s not in first person, because your camera moves around a center axis, not look around as if you’re in first person), When you’re up against a mountain the camera collides with the mountain, bringing the camera zoomed in really close and therefore making your character disappear. The camera also does not offer transparancy to obsticles blocking it from seeing what you’re doing. Put a tree between your character and the camera? Guess what. There’s a tree in your camera and you can’t see anything else. Position your character behind a building? You have to manually move your camera to see your character (most MMO’s I’ve seen automatically move the camera to see your character if it’s being obstructed).
* The god damn options, settings, key bindings and preferences in game are CHARACTER INDEPENDANT. Which means to change that crappy Numlock binding to another key I have to change it on every character I create. To reduce the BGM volume I have to do it on every character. To change the resolution I have to do it on EVERY. CHARACTER. Arrrgh. </rage>
* Tons of mispellings and grammar issues in the NA version. Stuff that should have easily been picked up on before release. Amatuer? Titel? Come on.
The good about this game is limited.
* It does pick up on the original Ragnarok Story very well.
* The original classes as there, along with some of the original bosses and most original locations (yay Porings!)
* The backpack system, while annoying, has its ups as being freely expandable. You start with 16 slots. As you kill stuff and do a few quests, you pick up additional backpacks. One with 4 slots, one with 8 and one with 12 (there could be more but I’m not that far). You can carry an additional 3 backpacks on your character and they’re not level dependant (which means you can get a Medium packpack from one of your higher level characters right at the start of the game, if you wanted).
* All characters can start a vending stand, unlike the original where only the Merchant class could).
Overall, the game is free. I would at least give it a try but I don’t expect many to stay. It’s outdated, clunky, and overall feels like its unfinished. I hope Gravity keeps improving this game because it looks promising, but I’m not expecting much.
On a side note, I’ve started playing iRO Classic again.