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Ragnarok Online

Ragnarok Online is a fantasy MMORPG heavily influenced by Norse mythology and set in a sprawling world. Choose from a myriad selection of classes and defeat monsters, engage in PvP battles for territory, and compete for prizes and awards.

Publisher: WarpPortal (Gravity)
Playerbase: Medium
Type: MMORPG
Release Date: August 31, 2002
Pros: +Diverse classes. +Unique PvP system. +Enormous world.
Cons: -Grind to level. -Clunky interface. -Poor translations.

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Overview

Ragnarok Online Overview

Ragnarok Online (RO) is an isometric MMORPG developed by Gravity and based on the manwha Ragnarok by Lee Myung-jin. Players are immersed in a beautiful 3D environment with intricately designed 2D sprites. An enormous selection of classes to choose from caters to every playstyle. Players gain experience by crawling through dungeons, fields, and labyrinths to slay monsters. Create a party and fight powerful bosses for rare items, or join a guild and fight for control of strongholds in PvP. A large selection of cosmetic items distinguishes your character and frequent contests offer a break from adventure to compete for prizes and awards.

Ragnarok Online Key Features:

  • Large Scale PvP pits rivaling guilds against each other for control of castles.
  • Over 50 Unique Classes each with particular skills and playstyle.
  • Enormous World – much to explore with dungeons and bosses.
  • Unique Isometric Art Style – merges 2D character and monster sprites and a 3D environment.
  • Weekly Events – varied contests where players can win prizes and fame.

Ragnarok Online Screenshots

Ragnarok Online Featured Video

Classes

Ragnarok Online Classes (Jobs)

New players start as Novices, and can make job advances after reaching certain Job Levels. Upon reaching base level 99 and job level 50, players can "transcend," starting back at level 1 with more powerful job advances available.

  • First Class (lvl 10) – Swordsman, Mage, Archer, Merchant, Thief, Acolyte
  • Second Class (lvl 40) – Knight/Crusader, Wizard/Sage, Hunter/Bard/Dancer, Blacksmith/Alchemist, Assassin/Rogue, Priest/Monk
  • Transcendent Second Class – Lord Knight/Paladin, High Wizard/Scholar, Sniper/Minstrel/Gypsy, Mastersmith/Biochemist, Assassin Cross/Stalker, High Priest/Champion
  • Third Class (lvl 70) – Rune Knight/Royal Guard, Warlock/Sorcerer, Ranger/Masetro/Wanderer, Mechanic/Geneticist, Guillotine Cross/Shadow Chaser, Arch Bishop/Sura
  • Expanded Classes – TaeKwon Kid -> Soul Linker/TaeKwon Master, Ninja -> Kagerou/Oboro, Gunslinger, Super Novice

Full Review

Ragnarok Online Review

By Sean Sullivan

Released over a decade ago, Ragnarok Online (RO) is a pillar of MMORPGs. The isometric art style and expansive world combined with a vast class system offer an immersive experience that few games can compete with. It was my first Korean MMORPG and few games have lived up to the experiences I’ve had playing RO. Since that first installation, I’ve skipped back to RO innumerable times. Careful to avoid any drunken nostalgia, I reinstalled through Steam once more.

New Beginnings

As with any MMORPG, the first choice is to design your character—to create a homunculus that captures “you.” But in Ragnarok Online, customization is rather limited. After picking your gender, your only options are to change your hairstyle and choose what color dye you want. Besides gender, every player is identical. There are no sliders to adjust your eyebrow height to ludicrous proportions like it's Perfect World. To my initial dismay, equipping armor doesn't change your appearance either. Only your current job dictates the appearance of your body. Luckily for you Team Fortress 2 players, RO has a superabundance of hats to distinguish you from other players. Become a debonair gentleman by equipping the Magician Hat or epitomize the Nordic Gods when wearing a Valkyrie Helm. A simple system isn’t bad. The lack of cosmetic options in character creation creates incentive to pursue fashionable items like hats.

Enter the kingdom of Rune Midgard, a nation in part inspired by Norse mythology. Right from the beginning, you’re allocated stat points. So, it is somewhat important to know what class you plan on pursuing. I knew I wanted to live in the shadow as a Thief., leading me to place more points in Strength and Agility while ignoring Intelligence and Luck (for the time as Luck increase critical hits). Properly assigning stat points is imperative to building a successful character. Plenty of guides exist online for every class, and it’s worth reading some before you start grinding.

Baby Steps

Stretching your legs, movement is a simple exercise. The world is divided into square tiles—that are inconspicuous—and hovering with your mouse reveals a moveable location. Point and click with the left-mouse button to navigate to a spot. And every spot is designated by a set of coordinates. It’s rather simplistic and means you could theoretically play with one hand, if you choose to ignore hotkeyed skills. A mini map in the top right hand corner shows you your immediate area. You can zoom in and out with the “+” and “-” symbols. Pressing “Ctrl” and “~” will bring up the world map, which is broken into zones by tiles, following the quadrilateral axiom. Sometimes movement can feel clunky. I went to move my Wizard out of the way of some mobs but he backtracked and wound up driving through them. It’s an issue that becomes a significant problem in PvP, but many players learn to negotiate its drawbacks.

The official server guides new players' hands with introductory quests. All I could think about as I clicked through tedious amounts of useless text was, “I just want to slaughter porings.” Finally leaving Purgatory, I negotiated my way to a soon to be sanguinary field. An adorable pink “Poring” bounced past me. I unsheathed my novice dagger and bashed it over the head—clank, clank, POP! Killing enemies in RO is gratifying. For the past 12 years it has been my litmus test for combat in other games. Each kill rewards you with the enemies imploding body and loot scattering around your feet. Charming sound effects add to the experience. Moreover, learning new skills creates new opportunities to eviscerate monsters.

Level Up!

As you grind, two different leveling systems are gaining experience at once. One is your base level, or your main level. Your main level indicates how many stat points you can put towards particular attributes such as Intelligence or Agility. Job level, on the other hand, refers to your class level, such as novice, mage, or wizard. When you first start out, your best skill is “play dead.” Your job level will push ahead of your base level early on and at Job level 10 you can elect to change your novice class and specialize in a role, such a Swordsman or Acolyte.

Once you pick your first class, you limit what subsequent classes you can choose. Let’s break down class progression. You start as a Novice. For the sake of argument, let's say you’re a fan of Wizard101 so you elect to become a Mage. Casting some rudimentary spells is fine but once you reach job level 40 (or higher for more skill points) you can change into your second-class job. Every First Class can change into two Second Classes. Mages must choose between the destructive power of Wizards and the free-casting abilities of the Sage.

It doesn’t stop there. Hitting base level 99 and job level 50 opens up the ability to transcend and start from level 1 again. “Whoa, Whoa I have to grind all over again?” Yes. But you’re stronger, as a transcendent being ought to be. The process repeats but the nomenclature is slightly different. Rather than becoming a Wizard or Sage, a transcendent second class is called a High Wizard or Scholar respectively. They have new skills available to them and, compared to their former selves, are significantly stronger.

Again, second-class jobs cap out at 99/50. But to break the barrier, players can choose to change to a third-class. High Wizard or Scholar can choose to become Warlock or Sorcerer. At that point you’ve traveled to Valhalla, fought among the Gods, and returned to the world to slay formidable beasts. Currently, the maximum base and job level for third class characters is 175/60. Third jobs do change playstyle; they are not necessarily expansions on the former class. So again, to emphasize, understand the classes you’re choosing from before embarking on an epic grind.

Picking your first job unlocks your first set of skills. It’s limited. If you’re a thief you’re given a small sampling with a few that are combat-oriented. Choosing between Assassin or Rogue will add to your skills, and then being reborn, transcending, and choosing a third job means you’re stuck with an enormous library that can easily lead to tsundoku. It’s paramount to fully realizing your class that you understand each skills potential and its application. There are a range of skills that can easily be ignored, like Quagmire, but are versatile and ought to be employed more often. It’s the only way you’ll ever reach the end of a dungeon.

Big Bad MVPs

The RO developers decided to create their own nomenclature so instead of “Bosses” we’re left with “MVPs.” Hunting MVPs is my favorite part of RO. Typically brooding in the last level of a labyrinthian dungeon, bosses require coordinated teamwork and a diversified party to beat. Defeating a boss promises a miniscule chance of recovering a rare item, such as the bosses card which endows players equipment with unique abilities. Great Demon Baphomet’s card turns every normal attack into a 9x9 AOE while Phreeoni’s card adds HIT + 100. Bosses are also where Ragnarok Online’s gorgeous isometric art shows off. The renderings of bosses like Amdarias and Wounded Morroc are both terrifying and captivating. I went after Incantation Samurai not just for the Masamune but to catch a glimpse of the beast. You’ll need the right stats and gear to pursue MVPs.

Tinkering Away

A main feature of RO is refining your gear to increase its stats. Refining weapons dishes out more damage while refining armor offers more protection. If you want to craft items, you’ll have to become a Blacksmith. Crafting is not available to any other class. Forging skills enables the Blacksmith to hammer swords, maces, spears, and more into existence using rare materials. They can imbue weapons with the elements of Fire, Earth, Wind and Water as well—though the ability is unnecessary since the introduction of elemental scrolls and Sages.

Crafting may not play a large role in RO but customizing your gear is essential. Equipment contain slots for cards. Monsters have a small chance to drop a card that offers stat bonuses or effects when equipped to a particular slot. To my surprise, I found a Novice Poring Card after squishing a handful of the smiling creatures. Equipping it to my novice helmet endowed me with Attack + 5 and Magic Attack + 5. When I went to build an Assassin, I grinded Soldier Skeletons inside Payon Dungeon for their card; it gives Critical Rate + 9% meaning my assassin was bathing in delicious critical strikes. Choosing the right cards is imperative to surviving PvP.

For Valhalla!

PvP in RO is a fight for territory control through the War of Emperium. Guilds clash to conquer castles, at designated times, to serve as their headquarters. Conquered castles confer benefits and advantages, including a Guild Dungeon only accessible by members. Several strong monsters spawn in the dungeon that cannot be found in the open world. To seize the castle, players must destroy the Emperium—the cadmium yellow crystal located at its heart. The player who deals the last hit seizes the castle for his guild. At that point, all players that are not members of the guild are warped out. Castle owners are not without defense for future attacks. They can summon guardians that automatically repel invaders.

For more casual or solo players, PvP arenas can be found in most major cities. At its core, you’re thrust into an arena with other players and end up in a free-for-all match where mercy is left back in town. More than once, my High Wizard was stunned and torn to shreds before I could cast one Jupiter Thunder. A devilish Rogue was toying with me. Players who know their class and yours will dominate you. It can be demoralizing the first time you throw yourself into a duel. Succeeding in RO PvP means reading guides and learning about all of the other classes, knowing what skills work best, and what skills other classes can use against you.

Cash Shop

The game has added a cash shop since I last played. The developers can capitalize on the games character limitations by offering show-off items for a price. Looking through the store all I see are cosmetic items to make your character more kawaii. Want to make sure you're recognizable in a crowded Prontera? Then buy some Elven Ears to show just how special you are. I did notice some OP items such as a box that contains the legendary dagger Asura. But most items—including Elven Ears—expire in 7 days. You’ll have to keep your wallet open if you want to hold onto your uniqueness.

Built To Grind

At its core, Ragnarok Online is a game about grinding. I wanted to become an assassin, duel-wielding blades and attacking with graceful speed. I wanted it so bad I was willing to endure hours of slaying the same three mobs—Bathory, Rideword, and Punk—in the Clock Tower dungeon. If you aren’t born to grind then Ragnarok Online is not for you. Many Western MMORPG veterans view RO’s gameplay as monotonous. However, I see it a symbol of achievement. High-level players work for their prestige and it takes commitment. The official server has tried to appeal to an international audience streamlining a quest system.

Back Alley Ragnarok Online

Honestly, the main server is pretty tough to play on. Between vapid quest text and a convoluted story I found myself frustrated within the first twenty minutes. This was not the Ragnarok Online I remembered. RO is a game about grinding. No matter how many quests are added, all they do is create more downtime before I’m back to piercing cackling Bathory's. “If you don’t like to grind then you can just get out.” To experience RO in all its glory, I installed a private server.

Ragnarok Online still has a fairly large private server community. The top 100 RO servers exist and they are active. One such server I played on boasted 980 players during working hours, an impressive statistic. What do you gain by privatization? Often times, experience rates are changed and level caps are raised. NPC’s enable you to warp around the world, to whichever dungeon or map you choose—making MVP hunting far more accessible to my delight. Custom hairstyles, items, pets, cosmetics, dungeons, PvP events, arenas, and quests abound. And as soon as you log in, you’re thrown into a robust community. Private server players rally around their own server, as evident by active forums and community support.

Final Verdict - Great

Ragnarok Online is a gorgeous isometric world where simplicity belies its depth of gameplay. It is one of the best MMORPG’s of all time and is a driving force behind nostalgic players’ hunger for the similarly styled Tree of Savior. It’s biggest drawback is its focus on grinding as a means of progression and disorganized quest system. If you really want to experience RO in all its glory choose a private server and start slaughtering lovable Porings.

Screenshots

Ragnarok Online Screenshots

Videos

Ragnarok Online Videos

System Requirements

Ragnarok Online Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: Windows-based
CPU: Pentium II, 400MHz (or better)
RAM: 128 MB RAM
Video Card: Any with 3D Acceleration & at least 16MB on-board RAM
Hard Disk Space: 2 GB available space

Recommended Requirements:

Operating System: Windows 7
CPU: Pentium Dual Core or Better
RAM: 2 GB RAM
Video Card: Nvidia GeForce 8000 or better
Hard Disk Space: 3 GB available space

Music

Ragnarok Online Music

Additional Info

Ragnarok Online Additional Information

Developer(s): GRAVITY
Publisher(s): GRAVITY

Korea Release Date: August 31, 2002
North America Release Date: June 1, 2003
Europe Release Date: April 15, 2004
Australia Release Date: December, 2005

Update History:

Ragnarok Online has received frequent content updates over the years in the form of Episodes. A much larger update called Renewal was released on June 17, 2009.

Episode 1 – Star of the Adventure (August 3, 2002)
Episode 2 – Lutie (December 17, 2002)
Episode 3 – Comodo (Feburary 4, 2003)
Episode 4 – War of Emperium (May 2, 2003)
Episode 5 – Juno – Forgotten Legacy of an Ancient Era (July 15, 2003)
Episode 6 – Beyond Rune-Midgard (October 7, 2003)
Episode 7 – Village of the Utan Tribe – Umbala (January 27, 2004)
Episode 8 – City of the Dead – Niflheim (February 23, 2004)
Episode 9 – Branch Job System (April 19, 2004)
Episode 10 – The Republic of Schwarzwald (March 29, 2005)
Episode 11 – The Religous Nation, Arunafeltz (July 11, 2006)
Episode 12 – Nightmoare of Midgard, Destruction of Morroc (October 17, 2007)
Episode 13 – Ash Vacuum / Encounter with the Unknown / El Dicastes (June 25, 2008)
Episode 14 – Bifrost / Eclage / Decisive Battle (July 1, 2010)
Episode 15 – Fantasmagorica / Fantasmagorica Second Story – Memory Record (July 2, 2013)
Episode 16 – Banquet of Heroes (February 25, 2015)

Development History / Background:

Ragnarok Online (subtitled The Final Destiny of the Gods) was developed by South Korean video game corporation GRAVITY Co., Ltd. The company based the game on the manwha (Korean term for comics) Ragnarok by Lee Myung-jin, which also formed the basis of an anime called Ragnarok the Animation. GRAVITY has released 8 games for mobile devices that allow players to play as their characters from RO, though not in the same world as the PC version. Ragnarok Mobile Story Online was released in Japan for Android and iOS and provides the same experience as the PC version. A free mobile game called Ragnarok Online: Valkyrie Uprising is also available for Android and iOS and provides the traditional RO gameplay with a limited class selection. A strategy game titled Ragnarok Online: Ash Vacuum is also available on both Android and iOS. A sequel to Ragnarok Online titled Ragnarok Online 2: Legend of the Second officially launched on May 1, 2013. Gravity Corporation specializes in MMORPG's and has released several other PC games such as ROSE Online but has shifted focus to mobile games.

  • Truly a classic. The soundtrack alone is a masterpiece. I ran my own Ragnarok Online private server during Middle School. So many random kids played on it, even some non-gamers. I don't know what it was about Ragnarok, but it managed to appeal to such a big base of players. Such fun times. I loved casting Icewall on my mage and trapping people in town!

  • Justtom

    Classic, love it.

  • MitsuneBewbs

    There is always a serious spot in my heart and brain for RO. No matter how far I stray and keep away-- It burrows out of that box I shoved it down in. Taunting me with it's nostalgic ways... RO<3!

  • Michael

    +1 for soundtrack, its epic.

  • Insprata

    Is this game still worth playing as of 2016? I couldn't figure out what I'm supposed to do in the tutorial or how to manage the interface :/ Should I get through it or is it not worth it?

  • G. Golfz

    Let me take a moment to register here my thoughts on this game.
    It was my first MMORPG ever, and I played it for at least (overall) 8 years, being about 3 to 4 of them consecutively. Last year I played was in 2014, being about 2 years and a half I haven't touched it.
    This game, its graphics, theme songs, background musics / sounds, everything about it marked what I like to say 40% of my childhood. My memories will be with this game forever and no matter how much it changes, nothing will change what it once was.
    And among many, one thing that made me appreciate even more the MMOs personnel, was the fact that we share the same feelings and expectations, specially towards RO.
    We are always looking for new games expecting that feeling we had playing Ragnarok, it's sad because this feeling might never come back, but it's beautiful because only who felt it knows what it is. And that's how a game wins, by marking its name in millions of lives, forever.

    • CavGaia

      *clap clap clap* true true

  • CavGaia

    Since 2004 to this day, never played anything that made me feel even remotely like RO backed in the days, period. I did put *some* faith in Tree of Savior, but... Oh the disappointment!