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Offline JollyOhGolly

What's a Ragnarok Online?
« on: May 10, 2022, 08:09 pm »
Hello you beautiful people. I really hope you all are having a great day.

I'm going to assume that most, if not all people on here are old players who have played this game during its prime, so maybe this isn't a common sight, but... I'm a complete newbie. Not even a newbie yet, in fact.

I just heard about this game while playing on a private XI server, and it got me curious. I googled Ragnarok Online but.... Outside of an history of the game, I never really found much. Nobody I know personally ever even heard of this game as well.

So, as any curious person, I just tried one random private server out and... Eh. Somehow, I'm even more confused. So much for a tutorial: the scope, the gameplay loop, community, content - I don't even know what classes do. I just know there's a + shaped city, people selling everything in it and spamming chat.

So... 3 days later, here I am.
I'm baffled. Confused. Confuzzoled, even.
So here I am, (maybe not really at the best of times considering recent events, rip the server I was on) asking one surpringly easy but terribly broad question.

What kind of game is Ragnarok Online?

Yes, Korean, mmo, oldschool, has level, classes, skills, mobs, maps. That far, is obvious. What's not obvious?
Is this a solo focused experience or a social/party focused experience? Was the game designed to have players fight mobs or players? How do classes work, what's their point? How do you interact with the world? What's the point of quests? What's the role of the items in this game? What are Episodes some server are advertising? Empirium something? Cards? Purpose of guilds?  What's combat even like and what do people do in this game even? How do you level up? What do you do to have fun? 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? There's an open world, right? - and these are just some questions that came to my mind. Really, the more  I could learn about this game, the better, especially because playing it only made me more confused, and by proxy, curious.

Also want to thank to anyone who reads or replies to this. I know I can get very chatty, and this might look like a troll thread: it's really not!

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Offline distilled1

Re: What's a Ragnarok Online?
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2022, 09:46 pm »
Is this a solo focused experience or a social/party focused experience?
Depends if the server allows the ability to play as multiple characters at the same time or not. If multi-clienting is allowed, it's a single-player experience. If multi-clienting is disallowed, it's a multiplayer experience and requires much more social interaction.

Was the game designed to have players fight mobs or players?
It was designed for both. There's a PvP event that happens every week called "War of Emperium" on most servers which turns PvP on for a select few maps with castles to defend or conquer by opposing guilds and their members.
There are also PvP rooms if you just want to fight other people, but the meat of the game was designed around fighting AI enemies, bosses, etc such as MVP bosses in the world or in the "Endless Tower" instance.

How do classes work, what's their point?
They all work differently with their own skills. Not sure how to answer that, but they're less homogenized than they are in other games. In Ragnarok Online, each class is very distinct from the other (at least the base classes are. Things like Gunslingers, Ninjas and Taekwon Kids came along in later patches which were like alternatives to the Hunter, Wizard, and Monk classes.)

How do you interact with the world?
Not much interaction happens with the actual world environment beyond exploring it. When your guild conquers a castle in WoE, that castle becomes theirs for a week. A select few quests like the God Item quests affect the entire server. Can't think of much else that affects the entire game world.

What's the point of quests?
Unlike typical modern MMORPGs, quests in Ragnarok Online did not reward the best exp (at least before the repeatable exp quests that is). Because of this, players rarely stopped grinding for exp by killing monsters to do quests unless they either A) needed to do a quest to obtain a special skill/item/ability, or B) wanted to do a quest to discover more about the lore of the game's world. This was optimal because it didn't encourage players to soullessly go from NPC to NPC, clicking the "next" button over and over without even reading the dialogue or learning about their world like in WoW for example. When quests were done, they were usually done to become immersed.

What's the role of the items in this game?
There are so many different items for different uses. Some are consumables to buff or heal characters. Some are hats to look unique just for fun. Some are equipment. In the beginning, most equipment was pretty similar to any other given equipment piece, with the main difference between them being how many card slots they had and which cards were in those slots to determine their value and abilities granted. Though many weapons were vastly superior to others even without cards.

What are Episodes some server are advertising?
Any and all episodes really. Depends on the server.
Oh are you asking what an episode is? Each Episode can be simply thought of as a major patch which added plenty of new content. Usually it involved a new area of the game world, new monsters, new cards, new items, and new quests. The famous/infamous "Renewal" patch was Episode 13.1 or 13.2 I think and it was a major overhaul of the game and game mechanics. Any state of the game before Renewal is colloquially known as "Pre-Renewal" or "Pre-Re" for short.
Many players prefer the Pre-Renewal state of the game. Some prefer an even earlier iteration of the game before "Rebirth" or "Transcending" was introduced (more on that below)
Personally, I prefer Pre-Renewal after Rebirth is introduced.

Empirium something? Cards? Purpose of guilds?
Emperium is an item. It's used to create a guild.
Cards are items that are fitted into equipment and weapon slots that grant the character unique abilities or boosted stats.
Guilds are for banding together with friends and conquering castles in War of Emperium, or to simply socialize and organize.

What's combat even like?
Combat is mostly boiled down to pressing the key for your desired ability and clicking your desired opponent to use that ability on them. The mechanics behind the combat is very in depth, and I won't try to explain that.

and what do people do in this game even?
Many things. Notably War of Emperium, hunting boss monsters (often called MVPing) for cards, hunting regular monsters for cards/equipment, socializing, getting married, emoting to eachother, summoning monsters via use of Dead Branch items, PvPing in PvP rooms, when viable using the sage's hocus pocus skill to potentially summon boss monsters without the need to track them down at the huge cost of gemstones usually provided by friends or guild members of the sage who are partying to fight said boss monsters.

How do you level up?
By gaining enough experience points to level up through certain quests, but mostly through defeating monsters.
On servers that provide Episode 9 or beyond, you can choose to "Transcend" or "Rebirth" your character back to level 1 (this process can only be done once per character), to then level all the way back up to max level again but this time as a slightly more powerful version of your same class you levelled the first time around with access to new additional skills on top of your old ones. This is at the cost of requiring more exp to level up each level.

What do you do to have fun?
Kinda answered already. Me personally? I liked summoning monsters with dead branches in South Prontera field and causing chaos. I enjoyed MVPing, as well as helping newbies on a priest. Sometimes just romanticizing, exploring, or hanging out was fun.
I particularly also had lots of fun with the Endless Tower instance, and the Sealed Shrine instance.

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?
Not exactly no. It depends on the server of course, but generally it's more accurate to summarize it with "you find people to party with, grind some low level monsters, collect monster item drops, sell them, use the zeny currency to obtain slightly better gear, level up a bit, grind slightly more difficult monsters, repeat til you're max level, focus on gear and cards after that for more progress, or just focus on playing the market or just focus on vending, or smithing, or potion creating to become rich."

There's an open world, right?
Open world PvP? Only on PvP servers which are the vast minority, because trust me, that's really annoying and risky especially if you're attempting to hunt for cards. A card could drop (0.01% drop rate if not modified) and then some guy kills you for it on the spot.
I don't believe the game was intended to be played this way, and I don't think there were ever any official PvP servers. Just private PvP servers.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2022, 10:22 pm by distilled1 »
DOWN WITH MULTI-CLIENTING!

Offline Playtester

Re: What's a Ragnarok Online?
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2022, 05:13 am »
What kind of game is Ragnarok Online?
I'd say Ragnarok Online is a game where you just take the role of a single inhabitant of a big world and you just get thrown into it.
Not holding your hand is part of the game. As the character you play gets stronger, you as a player also get better and more knowledgable about the game.
The game doesn't make you follow a storyline, instead YOU write your story yourself.

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Is this a solo focused experience or a social/party focused experience?
The game used to be strongly focused on partying. Not by giving drop and exp bonuses for that or putting in instances that force you to form a party, but instead this was accomplished by making each class being really good at one thing but bad in everything else. If you decided to become an Acolyte (healer), you basically could only support others but not fight other than undead. If you ever wanted to properly fight your way through regions without undead, you just had to get a party. And so you had to socialized just because of this.

These days (usually referred to as "Renewal" in the context of Ragnarok Online), every class has damage skills and can just solo. So it's more of a solo experience now. Many people didn't like this and consequently moved to private servers, especially after there was no longer the option to play "Pre-Renewal" officially.

Unfortunately, I guess the time to do this is over now too that Gravity is determined to hunt down all private servers. So I guess now it's mostly a solo game.

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Was the game designed to have players fight mobs or players?
Fighting mobs is the most essential part of the game. Luckily it was made quite interesting through the "random location on the map" spawn system, that forces you to explore and not just camping spawn points like in other MMORPGs.
The gameplay also might feel clunky, but this also makes it quite skill-based. If you learn how to play it and all its tricks, you are just a much better player.

There is also some "Guild vs. Guild" focus, mostly for "War of Emperium" where guilds fight over control of a castle. Most other PVP in RO is usually dead.

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How do classes work, what's their point?
That seems a strange question? You want a list of each available class with an explanation what it is good for?
I mean you can just look up a guide and look at the skills each class has and then you get a good understanding of what it can do.

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How do you interact with the world?
That's another strange question, you just talk with other players, no?

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What's the point of quests?
Usually either give you access to a dungeon or give you a headgear.
Some also serve to expand the lore or introduce your character better to the game.

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What's the role of the items in this game?
Okay, that's another strange question. If you played literally any RPG ever, you should know what items are for. If you find any particular item you don't know what it is good for, just ask another player on the server.

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What are Episodes some server are advertising?
Each episode adds more content, a new area, new monster etc., but could also come with major rebalancing (usually making it less balanced than before).
Most notable episode is 13.2 because it was the last episode with pre-renewal mechanics.
You can find breakdowns on what episode added what on the internet.

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Cards?
Equips you find often come with "slots". Usually there are rare drops of the same equip that come with one slot more than usual. In these slots you can put in cards (rare drops - each monster drops its own card) that give you some additional bonus. Once slotted in you usually cannot remove them anymore, so usually you'd first get the equip you want, upgrade it as far as you can afford (might require many equips of the same type as they can break on higher upgrades) and only then put cards into it.

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Purpose of guilds?
Apart from War of Emperium (see above), it also helps to socialize. There are no chat channels in RO by default but you have a guild chat.
Guilds can also tax your exp (get added to guild exp instead), so be aware of that.

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What's combat even like and what do people do in this game even? How do you level up? What do you do to have fun? 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? There's an open world, right?
Ragnarok Online is all about exploration and fighting.
You are thrown into the world and take the role of one of its inhabitants. You find the right profession for you and start fighting monsters. You find friends, then you fight together with them. You level up, you gear up, and that allows you to tackle harder areas. You get more and more friends, can form bigger parties and tackle challenging areas. You join a guild or form one with the friends you found along the way. When you reached endgame, you can join War of Emperium with your guild. And in between you farm ingredients or rare equipment/cards to become even stronger and improve your odds at winning WoE. Or you're a pure PVM player like me that just wants to have fun with their friends and your final goal is to become strong enough to survive the really hard endgame dungeons together and maybe even defeat a super boss (called MVP).

Offline JollyOhGolly

Re: Re: What's a Ragnarok Online?
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2022, 08:57 am »
I didn't expect i'd get such interesting answers! Thank you both! I'm actually quite interested now in giving the game more of a try, but considering how the purpose of pserver was to "respect the old ways", why are the most popular servers the ones with... astronomically high rates? That's the exact opposite of what's happened to FFXI, with high rates server being the least played and Eden/Wings, the most classic-like grindy server being the most played.

Also to adress some of my "strange questions".
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How do classes work, what's their point?
That seems a strange question? You want a list of each available class with an explanation what it is good for?
I mean you can just look up a guide and look at the skills each class has and then you get a good understanding of what it can do.
Skills don't really help. Maybe this doesn't sound as obvious as somebody who plays the game, but as somebody who is outside of it... what does "merchant" mean? What does it mean that I'm a Novice? Also, apparently, you can Marry and adopt people. Is this also... somehow... a class? I mean, it's something that gives you skills, combat skills, even, so it's not like being a husband gives you small rp buffs, it also interacts in the way you can engage in combat.

If I'd make a comparaison to oldschool XI, classes, or in XI's lingo, Jobs, only define the way you interact with enemies. There is no actual real trinity in the game as well. Some Jobs are good only at damage, other at holding aggro, others at tanking, some debuff, other buff, heal, generate resources for the party. Some Jobs progress mainly through quests or items (NIN), one in particular learns their moves from enemies (BLU). WHM also gets the ability to teleport around the world, "Taxi-ing" other players.

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How do you interact with the world?
That's another strange question, you just talk with other players, no?
That's not interacting with the world, that's interacting with other players. Back to the XI example, in XI you can:
PvE: Normal level/point grinding. NM (Special monsters with specific spawn conditions that drop special gear), Dynamis and other special areas for griding mobs.
Gathering: With logging, mining and harvesting nodes. Fishing and chocobo digging are also a thing. They all have their unique skill associated with them.
Crafting: Self Explenatory. You select items, combine them, and get lucky! Macro and repeat the same craft, eat a macaron, and hope you level up enough.
Questing: There's very few "okayish" repetable quests for gil. Other quests just tell you more about the world, or unlock various features, like the ability to board airplanes.

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What's the role of the items in this game?
Okay, that's another strange question. If you played literally any RPG ever, you should know what items are for. If you find any particular item you don't know what it is good for, just ask another player on the server.

The thing is, items act in different ways in different RPGs. In FFXIV, items are just to give you small buffs. In Monster hunter, the Items you bring with you, outside of heal and buffs, interact with the different monster in different ways, and are there to assist the player both in recovering health and in CC. In other games, you can chug potions at nauseum, and live through anything that doesn't oneshot. And this is without touching gear. Again: in FFXIV, gear is a gating mechanism with it's Ilevel. upgrading your gear means that you go from +88 streanght to +89 strenght. in FXI, you have gear that you can get at level 7 and last you up to level 75 because the stats are just so good. Upgrading gear means that you are finding gear that synergizes with your playstyle and wearing it: it's not just a stat damage increase. Maybe the new sword lets you double attack, maybe you steal mp, or maybe your spells cast faster and with less mana. In monster hunter, gear gives you both more armor to allow you to make more mistake, as well as give you strong passives.

Offline Playtester

Re: Re: Re: What's a Ragnarok Online?
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2022, 09:25 am »
Ah, with more concrete questions, I can also give better answers.

Skills don't really help. Maybe this doesn't sound as obvious as somebody who plays the game, but as somebody who is outside of it... what does "merchant" mean? What does it mean that I'm a Novice? Also, apparently, you can Marry and adopt people. Is this also... somehow... a class? I mean, it's something that gives you skills, combat skills, even, so it's not like being a husband gives you small rp buffs, it also interacts in the way you can engage in combat.
Every new player starts out as Novice. It's basically the class to slowly learn the game. You increase your "Basic Skill" which unlocks the games basic features such as creation of a party.

After that you choose your first job. Or you stay Novice forever and turn into a Super Novice, but that's very advanced for a new player.

Merchant is just another job in Ragnarok Online. They get skills that allow them to sell things more expensive or buy things cheaper. They also get a skill to open a store in town to sell their items to other players. They also have a damage skill that uses up money.

I don't think marriage has much of an impact on combat. I never looked into it much but as far as I know the main feature is that you can summon your partner to you. I think you can also exchange SP?

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If I'd make a comparaison to oldschool XI, classes, or in XI's lingo, Jobs, only define the way you interact with enemies. There is no actual real trinity in the game as well. Some Jobs are good only at damage, other at holding aggro, others at tanking, some debuff, other buff, heal, generate resources for the party. Some Jobs progress mainly through quests or items (NIN), one in particular learns their moves from enemies (BLU). WHM also gets the ability to teleport around the world, "Taxi-ing" other players.
Well, you definitely can group the jobs into damage dealer, tank and support if you want. Though "tank" here just means it's the only character in melee as you can't really build aggro in RO. And each job plays a bit different in RO. I still do think you can draw most of how a class plays like from the skill list.

If you're interesting in a particular job I can give you more info on that one I guess.

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That's not interacting with the world, that's interacting with other players. Back to the XI example, in XI you can:
PvE: Normal level/point grinding. NM (Special monsters with specific spawn conditions that drop special gear), Dynamis and other special areas for griding mobs.
Gathering: With logging, mining and harvesting nodes. Fishing and chocobo digging are also a thing. They all have their unique skill associated with them.
Crafting: Self Explenatory. You select items, combine them, and get lucky! Macro and repeat the same craft, eat a macaron, and hope you level up enough.
Questing: There's very few "okayish" repetable quests for gil. Other quests just tell you more about the world, or unlock various features, like the ability to board airplanes.
But interacting with other players is the main interaction in RO in my opinion.

As I mentioned earlier, unlike other MMORPGs that make you follow quest lines or give you tasks, in RO it's all about writing your own story. Exploring regions because you want to see them. Defining challenge you want to overcome yourself like fighting through all dungeon levels with friends.

Outside of interaction with other players, the interaction in RO is mainly:
- Explore and kill monsters
- Talk to NPCs to learn more about the lore
- Do quests for cute headgears
- Do quests to access certain dungeons

(Note that I'm mostly speaking from pre-renewal viewpoint.)

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The thing is, items act in different ways in different RPGs. In FFXIV, items are just to give you small buffs. In Monster hunter, the Items you bring with you, outside of heal and buffs, interact with the different monster in different ways, and are there to assist the player both in recovering health and in CC. In other games, you can chug potions at nauseum, and live through anything that doesn't oneshot. And this is without touching gear. Again: in FFXIV, gear is a gating mechanism with it's Ilevel. upgrading your gear means that you go from +88 streanght to +89 strenght. in FXI, you have gear that you can get at level 7 and last you up to level 75 because the stats are just so good. Upgrading gear means that you are finding gear that synergizes with your playstyle and wearing it: it's not just a stat damage increase. Maybe the new sword lets you double attack, maybe you steal mp, or maybe your spells cast faster and with less mana. In monster hunter, gear gives you both more armor to allow you to make more mistake, as well as give you strong passives.
RO has a lot of different items, name any effect and there's probably an item for it.

Healing items have a strong impact in RO as you can just drink as many as you like, so they are basically an unlimited source of HP in exchange for money.

Offline Enigmatic Lake

Re: What's a Ragnarok Online?
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2022, 01:49 pm »
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-RenewalRenewal
KnightAll-rounderAll-rounderAoE defense ignore DPS
CrusaderTank SupportTank Support + Disruptor (SP)All-rounder
AssassinLow budget solo DPSAssassinMelee AoE DPS + Burst
RogueFarmerFarmer + Disruptor (Strip)Disruptor
WizardAoE Magic DPSAoE Magic DPS + Support (Ganbantein)Magic DPS + Support
SageAnti-Mage + DispellAnti-Mage + Support (Area Denial + SP)Anti-Mage + Support
PriestSupportSupportSupport
MonkTank + BurstTank + Burst²Master of all trades
BlacksmithCrafterCrafter + Tank BusterAoE Ranged DPS + Guild Wiper
AlchemistCrafterCrafter + Tank BusterCrafter + Tank Buster
HunterSingle Target Ranged DPS + Ankle SnareRanged Crit DPS + Ankle SnareAoE Ranged Burst + Single Target Ranged DPS + Traps
BardBuff Slave + AoE FreezeBuff Slave + Crafter Slave + AoE FreezeSupport + Disruptor
DancerWorse 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.