Return to Morroc, Innovation in a twenty year old game.

Started by SandmanCometh, Dec 06, 2023, 08:10 PM

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  I'll preface this with saying that, like many of you, I have played this game on and off over the past fifteen years.  I have tried classic low rates, mid rates, and even some high rates for fun.  From long term 1x servers to "for fun" 255 servers, I have been around Rune Midgard a fair amount.  I cannot categorize Return to Morroc in the same way as those servers.  It is its own completely new entity.  The ideas and thoughts behind many of the new custom mechanics and ideas are very innovative for Ragnarok Online, and they often go unnoticed in their complexity.  I feel like I owe it to the time I spent on this server to try and bring my interpretation of the server to light, so perhaps you too could give it a try.  I truly believe this server to be a hidden gem worth trying at least once.

  I will start with what I believe to be the most important and obvious change.  The class system, and how you interact with it.  In PRM, there is only one starting class.  The Orphan.  It is basically the equivalent of the Novice in classic RO, but a more refined Novice.  You will not spend a lot of time as an Orphan but if you pay close enough attention, you will realize your job levels as an Orphan are actually meaningful.  Built into the job levels of Orphan are your universal heal, agility up, loot ability, and PRMs own twist, a very long universal buff.  It is a refinement on the classic Novice job levels which give you the ability to do things like sit down or regenerate sp or trade.  Why do I bring this up?  Well, because its a universal theme on PRM.  If you look closely enough at the new mechanics and ideas, you will see a lot of well thought out design behind them.  Even the basic Novice has been revamped into a way that is more meaningful.

  Another important difference is the divergence from the holy trinity.  Classic RO has already done this by constantly introducing more and more transcendent classes that basically made classes more independent.  That is in part because of the emergence of more prominent solo play in not only RO, but in most MMOS.  PRM starts off with no trinity (as of now, could change in the future?).  Every class is a capable solo class which can do all content all the way up to the soft cap of level 130 with relatively no problems if you do the tiniest amount of research or read your skills and understand the strengths of your class.  You have, at your disposal, the abilities that made playing classic RO more convenient or fun at the ready in the form of "manuals", a very smart idea of an item that takes a costume slot to give you the abilities that you might consider necessary to play RO.  Abilities such as Heal, Agility up, Portal, Fly wing (blink manual), or even hiding.  They are accessible by all classes.  In party play, anyone can heal or throw down a portal for the party.  You might be asking "What about blessing", to which I would ask you, "Why do we need blessing?" its a flat stat increase.  If your game is already well balanced around not having blessing, do you really need it?

  There is a lot of thought behind even the universal buffs.  Heal is balanced a particular way, you cannot fly wing blink constantly (a good decision in my opinion as fly wings turn the game into a slideshow) and portal still needs blue gems.  Hide especially, is extremely important in PRM.  If you come to this server, put hide one of your most used hotkeys.  Hide in PRM is essentially an evade, and many monsters can be out played by using hide.  If you are familiar with Dark Souls, Hide is essentially a dodge roll in PRM.  You can evade a large amount of casted spells and AOE with it, and it is very helpful to master.  This adds a gameplay interaction I personally have not seen in RO in all my years.  Perhaps some server has given hide as a universal before, but I have not played it and I absolutely love this idea.  Introducing a skill based combat interaction on an emulated 20 year game is no easy feat, and most server admins would not even think to innovate like this, and on the note of innovation, I would like to provide an example.

  Everyone is familiar with Monks in classic RO.  If you know Monks, you know combo monk or physical based monk.  The class that basically was somewhat inconsistent to get started due to combos, worked okay in endgame with enough gear and was sort of less than optimal to play over standard Asura Strike monk.  Ornstein has taken the classic combo monk and turned it into a finely tuned class.  I would like to introduce Executioner/Gravekeeper, whos skill tree has the playstyle of combo monk built into it, but more refined.  Instead of praying for triple strike to proc, haven't you ever just wanted to walk up to mobs and start doing combos on them like you're Liu Kang in a fighting game or something?  Thats what Combo Executioner/Gravekeeper does.  It still has the classic Monk fury, in its own iteration of it, and works much in the same way of hitting buttons to do your combo.  It goes an extra step in its design however, because Gravekeeper has a thematic "Lex Aterna" ability called "Loki's Mark".  This means you can Lex Aterna any part of your combo if you build properly.  I should mention that It is done in a balanced way, in order for Executioner to feel like a fast combo monk, you must build ACD (after cast delay) to make your combos faster.  The classes are designed to have strengths and weaknesses to exploit or build around.  That is not the only way to build this class however, it has another build option on the skill tree more focused to doing AOE, as most classes do, and these skill trees are fully custom.  They obviously use RO assets and effects, so expect to see those, but these playstyle designs are fresh and fun to a jaded RO player like myself, and I'm sure you will enjoy them too if you give them a try.

  That being said, there exists completely new classes which basically have no equal in RO.  I cannot think of a class similar to Kingslayer, a tank class which uses area of effect control abilities to do damage.  Dark knight which is basically a class which leverages HP percent to do very thematic skills and damage, and on top of it all "shadow" set items which use up their own slot, add their own abilities and playstyles.  There is a TON of design to dissect here and create builds around.  Each class has a level of complexity to it that you will notice if you pay close attention to it, and there is class specific discord channels you could ask questions to if you have trouble grasping ideas on how the class functions.  You can also come to the Black Plague class group therapy channel for memes, the choice is yours.

  The items.  This is another huge one.  Items in PRM roll with random attributes.  You might be thinking "That sounds awful, what if they break on the upgrade?"  Items dont break on upgrade.  Infact materials have been made more rare and have had a static zeny value added to them at blacksmith npcs as a zeny sink.  the items are also mostly custom, and have had bonuses applied to them statically and on refine amount, so be mindful that one item can completely change how your class feels.  Nothing breaks though, just your wallet trying to upgrade these items  /heh .

  The map is different, there are no instances and all dungeons are fields that have specific custom entrances.  Some dungeons are completely new and nice looking, I consider observatory to be quite a spectacle, with custom sprites and environment.  They also have their own loot pools of course.  How you interact with each mob appears to have been thought out and tested, the MvPs too.  On the note of MvPs, they have been toned down to be solo able and the cards they drop are less deterministic in what you are able to do, and they are more accessible than most servers with PRMS custom relic system which lets you drop items to summon MvPs.  All very well thought out systems.

  There is a central hub that you will always have a teleport to, an identifier that will identify items, and npcs which sell all the essentials.  There is also a custom introduction if you choose to interact with it, and neat custom class job quests with hints at more lore related content in the future if that's your thing.  Ideas such as arrows being a static amount and not lost upon skill use and other convenient things.  The formulas for stats are different, ASPD is different, alot of is different and im probably missing other things that are worth mentioning.  There is just too much work put in there to explain in one forum post.

  I'd like to talk about the server Admin, Ornstein himself.  I never needed to interact with the person to understand that there was alot of passion in PRM, its obvious in the design that alot of time was invested here, and it must have not been easy to do this as just one person.  Most servers would just do a few custom things here and there, put a donation system in, and be done with it.  This server is the complete opposite.  The costumes are mostly tasteful, with only one personal exception.  I dislike wings, and there appears to be one set of wings that is accessible through achievements or perhaps the shop?  I am not sure from where.  Ornstein, delete those immediately  /ok .  Wings always gave me the impression of really imbalanced high rate servers, which is the complete opposite of PRM.  Ornstein himself is very active in the discord, for better or worse, and even is willing to thoroughly explain his decisions and designs to even me when I suggested a change.  The problem is not alot of people are listening  /heh , so I can understand after some time of constantly working on the server and dealing with people who complain or dont read all by himself, sometimes he might be alittle irritated, but he is mostly a fun person who will meme with you.  This is truly quite an impressive project he has created here, so Im very respectful of his decisions and given what I've seen, he makes pretty good ones.  He does not appear to be slowing down either, having recently teased an entire custome city, and even MORE new classes.  This guy is a madman.

  The one negative thing I think REALLY needs to be changed is the vending system.  Ornstein has mentioned this is difficult because of how the server functions, but it does hurt the economy.  When the vending system is so unintuitive to use, it is very discouraging for me or even new players to even try to get a merchant running to sell items, this in turn hurts the amount of items in the economy.  The catalogue system that lets you search items is very nice and convenient though, and there's always trade chat. B>Ancestral Funeral Set +3 Luk btw.

  The future is looking bright and fresh on this completely custom server, with its wild end game dungeons and new classes.  I can see myself playing this server for a very long time until I have tried every well designed class out, except Night Ravens, because no one likes those (not the class, the players).  It also has something more like a game designer behind it and not just your typical RO admin, who's willing to discord interact with the community.  There is alot to try here, and it would be a shame to pass this much work up, so please give PRM a try.

  TLDR:  Yo come try out these new classes and dungeons!  They are pretty great! /gg

  Ornstein please buff physical Black Plague.