Ahh, memories. The super-cute Ragnarok Online was the first MMOG that I ever played. It usually was a group venture — a group of about 6 or 7 of my RL buddies during my third year of college (circa 2004) would group up and play together, leveling and venturing into dungeons, and staying up through the wee hours of the night LAN-party styling it up as we took on bosses way too strong for us (and usually died pitifully). It was only a few months that I played, but those memories have stuck with me.
Fast forward to now, and my nostalgia for the game that first hooked me into the MMO genre has been hitting hard. A few months ago, I indulged in Ragnarok DS, the handheld adventure game spinoff. I ended up setting it aside when life got busy, so it’s on my list of games to pick back up again. And just this past weekend, I bit the bullet and signed up for the RO Free to Play server, Valkyrie.
How has time changed my perception of the game? Read on for more.
It’s not that the game has really changed all that much. Yes, there have been plenty of patch updates and content additions, but the gameplay still feels and looks mostly the same, at least in the starter area that I’m in now. I guess it’s more that my expectations for MMOs have increased. A lot. And understandably so – it’s been more than 5 years, which is ages when it comes to advancement in the technologies that create our gaming experience (plus the fact that even in 2006, the game already was 4 years old).
I’m not the only one who’s moved on from RO. The fist obvious announcement came in September 2008, when I got an e-mail attempting to beckon me back to the brand new Free-to-Play server. And just earlier this year, we heard news of server mergers for the three US servers into one.
But despite how incredibly outdated the game is, there’s something about it that still pulls me in. Perhaps the simplicity of design is a good thing. Minimal character design choices, small playable sprites, pixellated terrain — despite all this, it’s still satisfying to run a dagger through one loot-stealing poring after the other. Perhaps it’s just the thing to get me through the summer lull that many WoW guilds seem to be experiencing right about now.
More importantly, I’m psyched to update myself on the Ragnarok lore and Prontera goodness before Ragnarok Online 2: The Gate of the World hits, which supposedly may be fourth quarter of this year (although it’s been pushed back since 2007, so we’ll see!)