I remember when I first tried Ragnarok Online (RO) after it launched in June of 2003. Prontera, the game’s main town, was huge. And busy. I spent a day trying to find my way around it, long before I figured out how to get to the fields where adventure awaited. I quit it soon after, and didn’t give it another thought until a friend told me about this new thing called a “private server.”
These tended to make up for the irritations of the official servers. Warpers took you to fields and dungeons. A simple command would shuttle monster drops straight into your inventory. Lots of little conveniences like that. I didn’t know they were illegal at the time since I was used to LAN games where they gave you a client and server. I later learned the economics of MMORPGs like RO are very different and they need a mass of players on the company’s servers to be viable, but that’s for another post. The company hired to develop War of Gods understood all this.
There’s a little button in War of Gods that selects and interacts with NPCs and monsters. If it’s a monster, you attack. If it’s an NPC, you talk. If there’s an item nearby, the pick-up button takes it. It’ll even show you where NPCs, portals, and monsters are on the map and walk you there with a single tap. Of course, every MMORPG made in the last five years has most of these, but RO was one of the first, and lacks a lot of modern niceties. War of Gods is what I see as the first true sequel to Ragnarok Online.
So far, it looks like they’ve learned from the long-running cash shop in the original RO. I haven’t hit a cash shop wall so far, and I don’t expect to. Most of the items are there to speed the game up. The game moves at a decent pace as-is, but I could see myself buying items if I wanted to save time.
My main gripe so far is that the music in the main town, Lan Forta, is a shortened version of one of the field background tracks from the original RO. The looping is very shoddy, so you hear it start over every few seconds. For the most part, the music is remixed from the original game and loops cleanly.
Make sure you start on the quests early. I didn’t really need them since this game is almost identical to the original in terms of mechanics, skills, and equipment, but it does give you a lot of helpful rewards, like a little Poring pet that scoops loot up for you. The quests are fairly simple, and you can move between them using the lists in the minimap. You’ll see three kinds of NPCs in the list: plain with no markers, NPCs with a grayed out question mark, and NPCs with a bright yellow question mark. The grayed out ones are for NPCs in a previous part of a quest. The currently yellow ones are for the next step. This makes swiping through to find the next step very easy.
Equipment is much easier to figure out in War of Gods. In RO, you had to read guides and run extensive calculations to figure out the ideal equipment for your purposes. In this game, green means better than what you’re wearing. At least, as far as I can tell. Limiting customization does take some of the fun out of the game, but it makes the game more accessible to casual players who tend to pay more of the money that keeps the game running. It’s a trade I’m happy to take.
One thing I miss from RO: multiple selections when selling items to an NPC merchant. I have to tap the item, click sell, then repeat for the next. In RO, you could just click until all the items were ready to sell, and hit the button.
But that’s as far as I plan to go for now. Like its predecessor, it’s dull and repetitive, so the game is only fun when you have friends to talk to while running between NPCs and fields on quests. Ragnarok: War of Gods is worth playing, but bring a friend or two.