Ragnarok Online > General Discussion

What's a Ragnarok Online?

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Enigmatic Lake:
I will be going at this from the perspective of a 20 year long player who has understood that the time to close this chapter draws ever closer. I've played on many servers, from officials to low rate private servers, high rate competitive private servers, mid rate highly custom competitive private servers, low rate nearly fully customized private servers. One thing to note, my Renewal experience is limited. Renewal feels very shallow mechanically compared to Pre-Renewal in my experience. Renewal was figured out to me in half a year, while hopping on a custom pre-renewal server could take 2 years to properly understand what the changes entail.

Is this a solo focused experience or a social/party focused experience?
Both, and bar a lack of population, I would even dare say that it is entirely up to you up to a certain difficulty level. The thing about RO is, gearing up in an active server does not require a progression from bad gear to mid tier gear to great gear. If you party up, you'll be able to tackle more content as you would expect, but a large amount of content is also soloable with enough investment (investment which you can farm in fairly low level areas). After a point in a well-balanced server, you do need a party to do the higher tier content. In some servers that means making custom content/using renewal content in Pre-Re, to still challenge the players as the game got/gets solved. Whether that custom content is soloable or not is up to those servers.

As for the social aspect, I would say that RO is one of the OG social platforms. Back in 2003 people would randomly meet each other in fields and dungeons and ask to party up. From there some people friend others or at least remember the name, meet again somewhere in town and sit down for a chat (while recovering HP/SP). The slow HP/SP recovery is gone from a lot of server, so that social cohesion has vanished somewhat but my experience tells me that it still occurs fairly frequently. Find some common goal and work together towards it, and it'll sort itself out sometimes. I still remember my vit swordie partying up with an agi swordie in culvert some 16 years ago. She died to Thief Bugs due to Assist. I didn't because they only did single digit damage. She left the party :(
It is also tied into the solo potential in a server vs the party focus. If you have a lot of solo potential, you won't get parties as often and you just won't have as strong a cohesion between people. There are no dependencies to jump start a relationship.

Was the game designed to have players fight mobs or players?
As others have said, both. However, from my experience PvP is rarely properly balanced. GvG environments (War of Emperium, GvG rooms and BG) are usually a bit better. Where the focus lies is completely up to the server IMO. I've played in PvE focused servers and PvP focused servers. In most cases, you will be fighting mobs to fund your PvP character/builds. At one point, a server that is now basically quartered had a very strong balance between PvE and PvP. PvE had progression from Porings all the way to custom content that could only be done with parties and was still being figured out. Though there were some hurdles in terms of information availability, which is often a community issue rather than a server issue. PvP GvG also had some form of progression. The custom gear and changes as well as the 255/120 base line (and doubling the base HP of all classes) prevented the tried and true meta from just being copied. With so much to figure out, a small guild with bad gear (relative to the others) could actually compete to a surprising extent with the top guild (even against a zerg rush + Emergency Call -> second zerg rush). Brains over brawn was the name of the game, but being better geared as a group allowed use to change our playstyle to take the fight to them (up to the point where our 2 man group + 1 alt could wipe out an Emperium room in just a few seconds. Then they countered us with Kaite. So we countered them with LoV & Fire Wall. And so on, and so forth. Good times.)

How do classes work, what's their point?
As Playtester said, it's a weird question. I think that's great though, as it makes us go to the fundamentals of the classes. However, keep in mind that some of these fundamentals change between the three main server types (Pre-Trans, Pre-Renewal, Renewal). I'll be omitting Super Novice, Ninja, Gunslinger, Taekwondo Kid and Star Gladiator, but make special mention of Soul Linker due to their unique role.

In general, the Holy Trinity is alive and well in RO, but it doesn't harm class diversity all that much. I'll be very specific in terms of class names. The tanks I see most are Monk, Priest, Crusader and Professor. Depending on the server settings I've also seen Soul Linker as a tank. DPS has to be ranged due to RO's binary aggro system, but far worse in my opinion is Agi Up. Any DPS that doesn't ignore flee will have a hard time being picked. So DPS classes are limited to Monk (due to their high damage per hit), Sniper, Biochemist, Wizard and Ninja (if they have the ability to reach instant cast). Support gets filled in by a ton of classes, each bringing their own flavor. Crusader (Devotion), Priest (Buffs, heals and resurrections), Sage, High Wizard, Bard, Soul Linker and Alchemist. For one of the highest tiers of vanilla PvE content (Endless Tower) my own experience tells me you generally have 1 tank (Monk), ~3 DPS classes (3x Sniper) and the rest as support (such as 2x Priest, 1x Sage, 1x Alchemist, 1x Bard, 1x High Wizard, 1x Crusader) leaving us with a single open slot for another party member.

ClassPre-TransPre-RenewalRenewalKnightAll-rounderAll-rounderAoE defense ignore DPSCrusaderTank SupportTank Support + Disruptor (SP)All-rounderAssassinLow budget solo DPSAssassinMelee AoE DPS + BurstRogueFarmerFarmer + Disruptor (Strip)DisruptorWizardAoE Magic DPSAoE Magic DPS + Support (Ganbantein)Magic DPS + SupportSageAnti-Mage + DispellAnti-Mage + Support (Area Denial + SP)Anti-Mage + SupportPriestSupportSupportSupportMonkTank + BurstTank + Burst²Master of all tradesBlacksmithCrafterCrafter + Tank BusterAoE Ranged DPS + Guild WiperAlchemistCrafterCrafter + Tank BusterCrafter + Tank BusterHunterSingle Target Ranged DPS + Ankle SnareRanged Crit DPS + Ankle SnareAoE Ranged Burst + Single Target Ranged DPS + TrapsBardBuff Slave + AoE FreezeBuff Slave + Crafter Slave + AoE FreezeSupport + DisruptorDancerWorse Buff Slave + AoE StunWorse Buff Slave + Crafter Slave + AoE StunSupport + Disruptor
Soul Linker has the ability to enhance the effectiveness of all of the above classes in their own way. Some are not that impactful, like Monk Spirit only giving them back Natural SP recovery and adding AoE to Combo Finish, while others are a downright crutch such as Rogue Spirit granting Dispell immunity, FSK dispel immunity, increased duration on Chase Walk's Str Bonus, a massive irreducible speed boost while in Chase Walk and increased item healing effectiveness for Ranked Potions (the main healing method in GvG). They add an unique way of balancing out certain classes (Bard and Dancer Spirit) or opening up new avenues (Sage Spirit). However, in my opinion, Gravity didn't get it quite right.

How do you interact with the world?
You only interact with the game world through combat and NPC quests. Some servers add in fishing and mining. Your interactions with the game world usually have two goals. Progression in power (and as a merchant would agree: Money is power) and progression in knowledge. Interactions with players are less limited, obviously. You can party up, share knowledge, have rivalries, band together to corner a portion of the market, just find someone to chat with, kill steal, ... They also amount to everything you can have in interpersonal relationships outside of physical interactions and voice (unless you use a VOIP). Personally I have met people who only knew me in-game in real life, so in my opinion it ends up being up to you.

What's the point of quests?
The beauty of RO is that a fair number of quests only there to give some extra info of or immersion into Rune-Midgard. No questing for exp, unless you have a specific level hurdle you want to pass. Very few mandatory quests, such as Dungeon entry quests, job change quests or platinum skill quests. After that it's mostly cosmetics or bits of lore.
Repeatable quests exist yea, but some servers straight up shut them down because buying exp contradicts the core value of RO's grind mindset.

What's the role of the items in this game?
Well, it depends on the type of item you are talking about.
Consumables exist either to heal you or buff you or support you in some way (Mercenary contracts come to mind).
Equipment are the foundation for your power, but most of them don't directly increase your power all that much. Weapons are generally easier to have a great foundation on, but when it comes to armor you will need a metric ton of them. Refining in RO is brutal without Enriched ores or Safe Refine Tickets or whatever else Gravity has made to have you open your wallet.
Cards, however, do directly increase your power a lot. The card system (and the way attack works) is why a low level weapon with 4 slots is better than a high level weapon with only one slot. They are also generally the rarest drop from a monster, especially in the case of MVP cards.
The last big group of items are Miscellaneous items. These are sometimes used as crafting materials or used as quest requirements, but the majority of them are zeny fodder. Selling items is the only way for a playerbase to generate zeny into the economy.

What are Episodes?
You can see basically see episodes as content packs. I don't like Fandom, but they do have a good list of the episodes.
https://ragnarok.fandom.com/wiki/Episode_Updates_(RO)

Emperium something?
Emperiums are Miscellaneous items used to create guilds and to make some special weapons. You'll also see a representation of it in War of Emperium that has to be broken to conquer the castle. I personally would say the best endgame for a server is to have an ever-shifting WoE meta. I've only seen it once, and when they added some more custom content that broke that balance it went downhill fast.

Cards?
See my response to "What's the role of the items in this game?"
Additionally, cards come in many forms and uses. Many of them come in nigh-useless forms too. For example: Blazzer and Tengu cards rarely get used, except potentially to further increase zeny gain while farming zeny.
Cards were not created equal. A Drops card is quite valuable to reach instant cast. A Bow Guardian Card, not all that useful outside of a meme Arrow Shower build. One is a level 3 monster, the other is a level 80 monster.

Purpose of guilds?
Guilds primarily exist to create enclaves of like-minded people, or people with similar goals. They can range from people who just like being around each other and doing things together, to a farming guild where they use their collective farm power to do bulk contracts, to competitive guilds that only focus on doing WoE or clearing the hardest content available. They all have their place in the social economy, but depending on the server you might not see any of these types of guilds.

What's combat even like?
I always compare it to an ARPG like Diablo, Grim Dawn, Dungeon Siege and the like. You start slow and progress towards a character that feels like it can move mountains. Especially on higher rates/renewal, we start looking more like a high end Path of Exile mapping build. Killing swaths of mobs every few seconds.

What do people do in this game even?
The same you do in every MMORPG, depending on the server.
You have a progression that hits the dopamine. You have people to chat with so you hit more of that dopamine. Finally you might get a rare drop or complete that challenging content after your progression has stalled to hit that dopamine.

How do you level up?
You kill monsters by the tens of thousands. Quests can also give exp and there are some repeatable quests, but the vast majority of the exp will still come from killing monsters.

What do you do to have fun?
I make sure to play somewhere where things aren't figured out yet. Once they are figured out, I leave. I'm at the point where I can feel that I'm playing on my last server, because it is the most customized server I've seen so far and I don't see anyone competing on that front.
In the past it was mostly about the progression, so starting a new server wasn't bad. For a short amount of time (about two years) it was about social interaction. Later it shifted to the competitive side with beating the hardest custom content/excelling at WoE with the least amount of resources.
TL;DR That's up to you to find out for yourself.

Do you just kill Porings for 9 days straight and then jump into a temple, kill all the gods, become op, start massacring people in the open world?
Make it 15 years on a 1x/1x/1x server and you could yea. The sheer amount of Jellopies you sell would fund most builds in most servers.
In all seriousness, no. At least not your first character on your account. I always rejected the idea of a main character because in the end, RO expect you to have many different characters on your account. Your account is what you play, not just a single character.
We don't kill any gods. Becoming OP is more of a knowledge/experience thing rather than a character power thing (see my example under "Was the game designed to have players fight mobs or players?").

There's an open world, right?
Yes, without any sharding and until Renewal very few instances. The only game that exceeds RO's open world to my knowledge is EVE Online.

General stuff I think you should know:
In mid/high rates you might also see custom gear, sometimes completely invalidating vanilla gear. Some low rates also have this, but is generally toned down more.
RO's magic lay mostly in not knowing, and learning. It was back when we didn't have everything about a game laid bare 2 days before release (figure of speech of course). A lot of mechanics were unknown to the average player. I don't know how to best retain that magic.
Don't worry too much about efficient play. I AFK 90% of the time yet I usually reach the top percent in something somehow. Knowing what to do is much more important than putting in the hours, until people have everything figured out that is ;)

Sorry but not sorry for the wall. It is a testament to how deep we could go. After all, I've only scratched the surface on most of these subjects.

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