MMOs and the "spirit" of Ragnarok Online?

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MMOs and the "spirit" of Ragnarok Online?

Post by Silk » July 15th, 2014, 8:49 am

So here's something I've been meaning to talk about for years. When I played Ragnarok Online I had an experience that was alot like Dot Hack or Sword Art Online in that I went online and there were goals, skills, and levels, but it was all about the people I met and how cool they were. Games these days feel scripted to me, in RO a level 78 Crusader was a new character, them being the cool strong older teacher wasn't a scripted event told by a writer but was just a thing that happened to you, you met a guy and he was cool. You weren't given a strong military leader, you met a guild leader who trained you. You weren't given a rival guild with a specific member who was your rival by some contrive story that doesn't work with 2000 other players, no, you actually had a rival guild that you battled for castles over, and they were your rival because of some complex little drama that was rumored about and retold constantly between guild members. You weren't told that you had signle handedly defeated the super duper tough MVP that was terrorizing the town because raider summoners from the khumari clan had BLAH BLAH BLAh. Someone used a Dead Branch in town, there were no high levels, you fixed it and some novice said "wow your strong" and then you left.

Then World of Warcraft quest systems got really popular and mucked it all up.

That's been much of my opinion on the MMO genre for the last 10 years and I'm bein blunt about it here because we're Tree of Savior and probably Ragnarok Online fans, if you ladies and gentlemen can't understand what I'm trying to grasp at here, then I have no hope of explaining it to anyone.
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Re: MMOs and the "spirit" of Ragnarok Online?

Post by Laima » July 15th, 2014, 11:05 am

Silk wrote:Then WoW happened.
Pretty much this. And well, the fact that one's first real MMO experience carries something magical that just doesn't happen ever again.
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Re: MMOs and the "spirit" of Ragnarok Online?

Post by Phelsetti » July 15th, 2014, 2:48 pm

There was always a story within players whenever I played RO. I believe the unique aspect was not everyone started at the same place, they all had to adventure in a world without much of a guide. It was a kind of game that you have to interact with people from the get-go to know about the world itself. (An acolyte I asked about classes enlightened me on everything and taught me how to sit, I'm surprised I still remember that haha)

RO was a game that you didn't need to follow a storyline, but if you did, it's easy to get hooked to. The world was so vast, so everyone doesn't follow a generic pathway in leveling, giving everyone different perspectives of playing.

Getting involved with a RO drama just continued to hook you into playing the game. Even at the stupidest point of the drama, I always thought to myself, "Wow, I seriously want to beat them up!"

This was the game that found me friends that I still talk to this day. I'm glad RO was my first MMORPG to play.
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Re: MMOs and the "spirit" of Ragnarok Online?

Post by Silk » July 15th, 2014, 5:09 pm

Oh thank goodness, rational people.

Okay, I'm joking, WoW players and modern MMO gamers are fine too... but...

You know I honestly think, after years of trying to make RO happen again, that it's in the game design. For one it's cute which doesn't quite fit with the "OMG PRIEST SUX PLS KICK" attitude. Plus there weren't really instances or mutual reasons to party temporarily bosses and stuff. I was never in a party once that didn't talk, and I never got drafted into a party by a group request and expected to disban from them right after we did some one important thing.

Newer games are designed from the ground up not just to be soloable, but to be soloed. The other players are just filler, fluff in an online world that's meant to be centric on your character. RO was designed from the ground up like an online game. Every class is given the chance to solo in certain places, but they all also have options to party with others in ways that will allow them to take on monsters so much stronger than them they can level from one kill at first. Who remembers leveling in the caves, level 2, with around two other level 20 characters way to weak for here, until you all leveled so much it became manageable. And then you leveled in the caves level 3. Plus there was always this balance where you could add another player and either A the kills would go faster or B you had enough people to go to a harder place. I *NEVER* had to kick someone or make someone leave because of exp, they were *always* beneficial.

Yeah people died here and there and it took out a few minutes of the fun, maybe everyone went back to town and sat and chatted for a bit while all regaining MP, but I literally never had a rage quit. In fact usually that first party you chill with in the caves for hours become good friends of yours for the remainder of the game.

I've got a lot of thoughts about how and why this happened, why everyone was nice and stuff, but what it boils down to is this:

How players act in the game is *actually* up to the games designers, not the players. Ragnarok online heavily but secretly recommended not only team work, but hours of it with the same people. I won't go into a lot of detail on how, but basically party stability, class balance and synergy, WoE member collection, and a feeling that the game wasn't telling you what to do and you could almost cheat because all posibilites were open.

(I would go into more detail on what RO does right and what WoW does wrong if someone asks, but I'm already writing a book here)
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Re: MMOs and the "spirit" of Ragnarok Online?

Post by ThisFeeling » July 15th, 2014, 6:21 pm

There's one thing I didn't like about some of the player base from RO, and that one thing was actually part of what made me quit playing, among other reasons. I seriously hope that in Tree of Savior there's no system which asks you your gender upon sign-up and locks it in for every character you make. That made things a little weird, to be honest, and it made me feel like RO had a dating simulation thing going.

I loved the adventure. I loved the camaraderie. I loved the overall atmosphere. But I hated the fact that a lot of people, because of the lock-in gender thing, had the mindset of If you have no boobs, gtfo. I remember getting my ass handed to me in a dungeon, and I went to recover at a place where people congregated and socialized. I didn't really want to wait for my stats to recover, so I politely asked for a heal. I saw umpteen dozen priests sitting around, BS'ing, just having a good time. You'd think one of them would just casually stand up, click one button, target the person who asked for a healing spell, and heal them. Not that hard, right?

I asked three or four times after that, if I could get a heal, because they seemed to have been ignoring me. I kept asking in hopes that another priest or acolyte would come along and hear my prayer, per se. I had no healing potions or food. And then, without warning, a female archer walked up next to me, she was in the same boat as I was. She asked for a heal, and every priest in the area jumped up and used a healing spell on her. Then they sat back down. What else am I to think? I didn't know any of these people, I had no enemies, they just refused to heal me because I was playing a male character.

That infuriated me. I thought of going and buying healing items, but I didn't know where the merchants were. Why ask? I was being ignored anyway.

I hope to God that Tree of Savior isn't going to be like that. It really bothers me when people base your gender on whether or not they'll go out of their way to help you, even if it's something as minute as a single healing spell.
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Re: MMOs and the "spirit" of Ragnarok Online?

Post by ThisFeeling » July 15th, 2014, 6:29 pm

Silk wrote:(I'll go into more detail on what RO does right and what WoW does wrong if someone asks, but I'm already writing a book here)
Come to think, what does RO do right, and what does WoW do wrong? I haven't played RO in forever, and aside from the stuff you mentioned, I don't see any other comparative rights and wrongs between the two games.
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Re: MMOs and the "spirit" of Ragnarok Online?

Post by Flash » July 15th, 2014, 7:04 pm

ThisFeeling wrote:There's one thing I didn't like about some of the player base from RO, and that one thing was actually part of what made me quit playing, among other reasons. I seriously hope that in Tree of Savior there's no system which asks you your gender upon sign-up and locks it in for every character you make. That made things a little weird, to be honest, and it made me feel like RO had a dating simulation thing going.
Questions and Answers about TOS #1
Q3) Does player’s gender link with character’s gender?
A3) No. character’s gender can be chosen freely.

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▲ If you fall in love with a female character, then play with a female character.

I've this behavior myself (I had a friend who always played female chars) and it was always easier for him to get help and so on so I hope this will be different but im confident because it hasn't been this extreme in any other game imho.
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Re: MMOs and the "spirit" of Ragnarok Online?

Post by ThisFeeling » July 15th, 2014, 8:19 pm

Flash wrote:Questions and Answers about TOS #1
Q3) Does player’s gender link with character’s gender?
A3) No. character’s gender can be chosen freely.

Image
▲ If you fall in love with a female character, then play with a female character.

I've this behavior myself (I had a friend who always played female chars) and it was always easier for him to get help and so on so I hope this will be different but im confident because it hasn't been this extreme in any other game imho.
Sweet! I saw this before, but I was half-asleep at the time, so I didn't process the information thoroughly enough. When I saw "If you fall in love with a female character, then play with a female character," I thought back to RO's system. Oh, the wonders of sleep deprivation.
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Re: MMOs and the "spirit" of Ragnarok Online?

Post by Silk » July 15th, 2014, 8:58 pm

ThisFeeling wrote:
Silk wrote:(I'll go into more detail on what RO does right and what WoW does wrong if someone asks, but I'm already writing a book here)
Come to think, what does RO do right, and what does WoW do wrong? I haven't played RO in forever, and aside from the stuff you mentioned, I don't see any other comparative rights and wrongs between the two games.
Okay, so I've been thinking about this for a while but to make my theory complete I need to play more MMOs including WoW. Right now I'm trying to max out a character in Tera and I'm testing the aspects of the game for basically socialness and seeing where it prohibits being social and where it allows it. Now I love Tera, and I'm having fun, but here's my opinion on the matter.

The basic idea I have so far is that RO allows socialness, it allows everything. There's no bars or gates to where you fight or how, there's not even one of time. You can teleport to one of the many different cities from the get go and the only thing prohibiting you from killing an enemy is your level and ability.

Tera on the other hand, which is built more like your standard modern MMO, is very prohibitive in many ways that everyone has become used to. For one, there's a set path to leveling, the BEST way to level is storyline quests so doing anything else is mere tomfoolery in comparison. Atleast that's what the playerbase will tell you in guides and such. Furthermore you need those storyline quests for the best weapons at the earliest levels. And then there's that you cannot fly to zones that you haven't been told you're allowed to fly to yet, you'd have to walk. And some places are impossible to walk to regardless. Instances are the best way to level, and the idea behind tera is that with enough skill you can do anything even at a low level, but regardless you're not allowed to enter an instance until you're the minimum level for it, which obviously is the level at which the storyline quests for that instance become available.

Yes, I *CAN* party, I am *able* to force myself to play with friends that I want to play with. But we're constantly on different quests, any lapse in play time throws us wildly off quest progressions and means between minutes and hours of waiting and back tracking. Any ability to do anything that represents legitimate exploration or trial and error is bared, caged, unfeasible. See that mountain over there? Yeah, you *can* go to it, but we're going to take you there in 15 minutes anyway, and there's nothing to do there for you, you won't be allowed to do anything there until you're the level we say you should be. You know what, just stay here, just come back don't walk to far off the road. Co-operation, freedom, and creativity are completely stifled and buried by the developers hand so that they can know you're getting the prime experience in Tera.

"See everything, do everything, be completely free in our open world so long as you follow our giant yellow adventurous arrow until your max level. We promise you'll be free to do as you please and adventure and free roam in our treacherous environments... Once you're level 60 in absolutely no less than 2 weeks, we know, we calculated. Believe me we know, we know how long it takes you to get from one town to another, we know how long it takes you to walk to a NPC A to NPC B with the mystic agi buff, we are absolutely positive that even if you skip all the monsters and somehow take down the boss our instance will take you nothing less than 14.2 minutes, we playtested! We've rubbed out all the kinks and sharp ends so that you have a well paced, well fabricated gaming experience full of splendor and awe dictated to you by lifeless characters written 15 at a time so we can have hundreds of them. Just don't think to hard about jumping around on our collision maps and platforming to a nice view you weren't supposed to see, it would really mess up our pitch perfect entertainment curve."

To me, it's all about giving the player the systems and places and lore to explore. I think that RO was more open to social experiences than the modern MMO, and I think that's because the modern MMO isn't built to be social from the start. It's built to be completed in an order and amount of time.

And that's just how I feel about the quest system, don't even get me started on how all that is stifling player creativity and personality, or what RO class synergy in RO vs Tera... Yeesh.
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Re: MMOs and the "spirit" of Ragnarok Online?

Post by Silk » July 15th, 2014, 9:00 pm

ThisFeeling wrote:
Silk wrote:(I'll go into more detail on what RO does right and what WoW does wrong if someone asks, but I'm already writing a book here)
Come to think, what does RO do right, and what does WoW do wrong? I haven't played RO in forever, and aside from the stuff you mentioned, I don't see any other comparative rights and wrongs between the two games.
Oh gosh, I mean "I *would*" go into more detail, as in I wasn't planning on writing any more on the subject. My bad, typo.
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Re: MMOs and the "spirit" of Ragnarok Online?

Post by ThisFeeling » July 15th, 2014, 9:41 pm

I think I get what you're saying. So MMOs like WoW and Tera are pretty much a race track. You can go as fast as you want, as long as you go where the track takes you. If you go too slow, other people will get ahead of you.

Ragnarok Online reminded me of Ultima Online, except it had levels and things NPCs asked of you. I liked the fact that I could go anywhere I wanted in RO. It gave the game a -- dare I say it? -- a realistic feeling.
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Re: MMOs and the "spirit" of Ragnarok Online?

Post by Silk » July 15th, 2014, 11:18 pm

Definitely. When the rules are all set up from the get go things can feel very realistic.

About girls in RO and in games, you know it's tragic. Thing is I like girls, I like em plenty, I wanna chill with em. But if a guy asks for a heal, I'm not gonna deny him. And sometimes you meet cool people who are guys too.

The gaming community can be rather unfortunate when it comes to subjects of gender and flirtation. That's a conversation for another thread though. I will say that I dont think Ragnarok Online caused or facilitated that kind of sexism in it's systems, because frankly it exists everywhere. It certainly exists in Tera. A guy in my perma party started with a female character because people are nicer to females. Free stuff, free heals, etc.

But as we spoke and we talked about his armor being a "dress," he immidiately became uncomfortable and switched to a male, teddybear-ish character.

It also creates a problem where, see, I'm nice to everyone. But if I'm nice to a girl, it means I'm being nice because she's a girl. So the idea gets reinforced forever weather it's true or not.
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Re: MMOs and the "spirit" of Ragnarok Online?

Post by Flash » July 16th, 2014, 1:40 am

The funny thing about this is that many of these female characters actually were guys so I actually never why people always assumed them to be girls in real life. In most new games where you are able to choose the gender I have the feeling that way more people realize this possibility. I actually heard that some girls played male characters because they were sick of all the guys whispering them.
I'm not completely sure why it was this extreme in RO but I guess there were several factors:
1. Many of us were still young or at least younger and new to online games so probably were a bit naive
2. Because of the account wide gender some didn't think about this possibility because of reason 1
3. RO was actually played by more girls than other online games at that time imho

But yeah this definetly happens in every game. I still remeber that I got asked if I'm a girl while I was playing my Wizard in Diablo 2 even though in Diablo 2 every class had a fixed gender....
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Re: MMOs and the "spirit" of Ragnarok Online?

Post by Vrenna » July 16th, 2014, 7:28 pm

That happens with everyone that are in their first years of internet/MMO.
Female Beggars were common practice in the days I played, only the young, lonelly and unexperienced men fell for that. We also considered girls to be either not competent on playing (so they lacked natural skills for it) or pets that meant status and accomplishment of something, who knows what.
7-8 years ago were terrible days.

I think I agree with the Questing thing limiting people, I mean, right now in any games with quests I can't just chill out with my friends in the open zones because... they aren't doing the same quests I am! Even though their lvls are so close to mine. The only games I didn't cared about that were Ragnarok Online (almost no quests when I played), Grand Chase (liked to whack things even without quests) and Guild Wars 2 (new age stuff, everything kinda works well), or so I remember. Everysingle other game you will pretty much party with other people for: Dungeons, Raids, Arenas, Battlegrounds, you know, stuff that needs groups on default.

I remember that in Ragnarok I always complained about how we didn't had quests and we were just assassins with no purpose on life other than... leveling up. And I still think that, but differently from the solution I thought was the right (literally make it into WoW with constant questing) now I think we should have scattered quests and lore distributed around the world, and feel free to do them in any order you like, just like Ragnarok had but... it was kinda lacky.
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Re: MMOs and the "spirit" of Ragnarok Online?

Post by Silk » July 17th, 2014, 4:32 am

Vrenna wrote: I remember that in Ragnarok I always complained about how we didn't had quests and we were just assassins with no purpose on life other than... leveling up. And I still think that, but differently from the solution I thought was the right (literally make it into WoW with constant questing) now I think we should have scattered quests and lore distributed around the world, and feel free to do them in any order you like, just like Ragnarok had but... it was kinda lacky.
Yeah, it's a difficult problem. You have players like me who want things to be as open as possible, I'd rather just play a minecraft server if you're going to bog me down and tell me what to do. But then we have players that need something to do, and I think this is more or less a problem to.

While it's great to feel like you're adventuring and exploring, it's also unfortunate if players are left with the feeling that the developers gave them nothing to do. While there does need to be an amount of freedom for the player so they can actually DO what they want: I want to hang out with friends. There also needs to be a communication between the player and the developer so that even though things may not feel pushed, they also don't feel *barren.*

And I think I understand the feeling. Literally feeling like everything you could do is pointless, there's nobody around or the developers don't care about this game anymore. Too much of the developers hand is bad for me: I feel smothered, and trapped. But too little of the developers hand is bad as well, it feel like being at a party without a host.

Striking a balance would take more than just changing quest amounts I think, I think games and quest need to be rethought and redesigned. Some games are looking at the quest system differently like guild wars 2, but I'd have to play them to see what effect they have, I plan to anyway.
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Re: MMOs and the "spirit" of Ragnarok Online?

Post by Lazgrane » August 11th, 2014, 9:38 am

It has got to do with the amount of 'freedom' the game give you.

Just look at Eve Online and you'll see.
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Re: MMOs and the "spirit" of Ragnarok Online?

Post by Sevic » August 11th, 2014, 12:37 pm

I can completely relate to a lot of what was said in this thread. I think a lot of it has to do with games being new. When RO was new (and even a while after), the game had much more of a community feel. Everyone was new and learning to play the game together. Games are always more fun when they're starting out. After people start figuring out the formulaic and more efficient ways of doing things in a game, they become very competitive and lose that initial naivety that made them so fun to begin with. I am currently playing a game called Wakfu that started out really fun. People learned how to play together and enjoyed learning all the many different things the game had to offer. 3 or so years later, everyone has a character at the current level cap and all they talk about is their perfected characters and equipment or the new character they just made that they power leveled from level 1 to 110 in 3 hours by dual-clienting. The point of playing an online game instead of a video game is the community feel - player interaction and forming friendships.

I can't imagine it will be any different in ToS. We will all enjoy it for a year or 2, then after we have gotten a feel for it and become accustomed to all the ins and outs, it will become formulaic and purely competitive. The best thing we can do as a community is come to the realization that this happens to every online game. A few of the ways I can think of to improve upon this inevitability are:

1. Be kind to new players when they join and lend them advice and some help without playing favorites. There is nothing a new player dislikes more than seeing one of their friends magically go from a low level to high level in no time while they're still low.
2. Try not to be competitive and keep the community aspect even into high levels. I believe the person who created this thread mentioned Sword Art Online, so I'm going to use it in my example. In SAO, the front lines were the most dedicated and strongest players. Together, they had a goal, and they were going to do whatever they could to meet that goal. Those of us who are actively commenting on these forums are obviously going to be some of the most invested players in ToS - the front lines, if you will. Let's continue to work together into high levels and show the newer players how to work together as a community.
3. Try to enjoy the game for what makes it unique. ToS is going to have some qualities that make it unique to other games. Every game has their own qualities that make them unique. Let's utilize these qualities in ToS. Every game ends up being a formulaic grind-fest, but let's enjoy ToS for it's individualism.

Any other ideas?
:hmm:

Oh, and a note on the gender aspect of games. As long as there are only male and female characters to choose from, there are always going to be little boys that only want to help little girls. We can thank the concept of chivalry for that. This will improve when we start viewing each other as humans instead of genitalia. :...: And I'm not really sure what the answer to this is other than a culture change. Androgynous character designs? :heh:
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Re: MMOs and the "spirit" of Ragnarok Online?

Post by Flash » August 11th, 2014, 4:40 pm

Sevic wrote:...
I want to add that for many of us RO was one of the first MMOs we played which made the experiece even more exciting. For me Runescape was acutally the first MMO (the 1.0 version not the weird 2.0 version with new graphics or this shitty 3.0 version that tries to copy generic MMO gameplay) but I started RO nearly at the same time, because they complement one another pretty well (Runescape with the crafting system and RO with the fighting system). And I'd really love to have the experiece again I had in those two games. I just walked around found new spots leveled where I wanted not where it was best for my char. Was very excited for quest... I can still remeber the one quest in Runescape that allows you to pass the gate from starter village to the desert for free instead of paying each time. Nowadays I wouldn't care too much. It would be optimization for me but back than it was mind-blowing for me to able to pass this gate for free suddently...
I really miss this time :sob:

Sometimes I wish I could erase all my gaming experience just to be able to play all those games again without any knowledge about "how to play a mmo right" :heh:
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Re: MMOs and the "spirit" of Ragnarok Online?

Post by Arec » August 11th, 2014, 6:47 pm

RO Nostalgia! :awsm: :awsm:
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Re: MMOs and the "spirit" of Ragnarok Online?

Post by ArcticaWind » September 29th, 2014, 1:41 pm

My first MMO was Ragnarok Online. I think it was the open beta for NA or International before it went P2P model back in like...wow, something like 1998 was it? Probably off a few years, but it was around that time in general. Feels like it was a long time ago. but anyway.. It was magical. I was having an adventure across beautiful landscapes, along with other players, building a character of my own style, to great music, and having fun while doing it. Sure, it was before I knew what grindfest meant, but every second was worth it because each step you took really was satisfying. Not an easily replicated experience.
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