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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] Ragnarok Online: The Indie MMO’s Best Bet

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26 posts found
  SBFord

Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 13261

 
OP  10/26/12 8:28:08 AM#1

In this week's Independency, we take a look at a surprising game as our choice for the best bet of all the indie MMOs out there. What you read just may give pause to think. Check it out and then let us know what you think in the comments.

Yet, in spite of the fact the cutesy Korean Ragnarok Online had little to offer in the way of perspective-changing content; it was responsible for (I think) what the most pleasant experience in my MMO career. Over the next few years, I would find myself constantly discussing the good old days, the guild-run events that consisted of little more than attempts at unearthing the latest MVP, the sense of camaraderie we had and the ridiculous amount of fun that was to be fun. Even today, I occasionally find myself, head cocked and expression quizzical, glancing at my most recent MMO and thinking, "MMOs are nowhere near as fun as I remember them to be."

Read more of Cassandra Khaw's Independency: The Indie MMO’s Best Bet.

Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

  cdtcpl

Novice Member

Joined: 11/12/09
Posts: 6

10/26/12 8:54:31 AM#2

For me, even though I started in EQ, it was SWG.  I got in when it first started and everyone was confused.  Some people were taking their starter blasters and grinding, some people discovered quest consoles, others just started sampling the ground beneth them trying to figure out what they could craft, ignorant to the fact that the stats of the ore affected the quality of the product.

 

SWG was an expansive game with so much to explore, including worlds where it was very dangerous to go early on.  It also was the only game I have ever played that treated crafting professions as equal to their combat counterparts.  I remember my first mount that my creature handler friend got just for me, in exchange I gave him a house.  You read that right, we traded based on our professions.

 

The other real bonus was the fact that because you chose your own skills, but there was a cap on them, a new player could catch up to a vertan fairly quickly.  I had friends join who I could play with right away, and by helping them get a path started we could join forces and destroy, but also play without each other an not have to worry about out-leveling each other.

 

Ah the good times...

  Kalafax

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/05/05
Posts: 501

10/26/12 9:20:20 AM#3

I miss Old SWG the most, it wasnt my first MMO but it was the first MMO that really drew me in.

I miss the unknown information, the accual adventurering/exploring, and huge social aspect of the game.

If my dream MMO was build right now it would need alot of things.

- Levelless Progression System: SWG showed how well a levelless system could thrive, no level requirements, no areas you couldnt go to based off level restrictions, and everyone was on a equal field to compete with each other.

- Profession System that isnt locked in: SWG was the only game with over 30 Professions( Equivilent to Classes ) that you could freely mix and match in any combo you wished, alot of them not even being combat based but Entertainment or Crafting based.

- Indepth Crafting: Crafting has been dumbed down for ages now, in a world where we are looking for improvments on our game systems SWG has the most indepth Crafting system I've ever seen and no one has even gotten close since. Starting from having to buy Harvesters of varius sizes, then surveying the planets for the resources your looking for, then planting the Harvesters and paying the upkeep on them to run, checking the quality of the resources your gathering which have a huge effect on the quality of made items with that resource, to the varius combination of hilts, grips, barrels, scopes, blades, and other components all crafted by the player and all having different quality based on the resources used to craft them, and then combining them to try to get the best quality Weapon you can make with the resources you have, without having specific recipes your forced to build or a discovery system that still forces you to discover only specific recipes.

- Living Economy: Having a game wide economy that isnt restricted to faction or server, all items crafted or aquirable by players, Devs have to seed the Economy Originally and then as people begin using the system they would withdraw all their seeding and let it freely be ran by the players. This requires Items that will decay and be destroyed from use without the ability to constantly repair them, repairing should fix them but lower its max duribility each time till eventually it will break completly and need to be replaced. Crafters gained fame by word of mouth for their superior items if they knew the locations of really high quality resources that they could craft with, the quality resources would shift based on how much its being harvested crafters had to be diligent on surveying and finding good quality mats for the picky consumers.

- Player Towns/Housing: SWG is the only game that I feel did player towns and housing correctly, the planets were huge and open to player housing in almost all of the terrain, people would build houses out in the middle of no where if they wanted seclusion or they would build near each other and slowly start a community of their own. You could have houses, shops, guild halls, cantinas, medical facilitys, and even Rebel/Imperial bases. These places didnt show up on maps unless you have a shuttle port connected to it and you had to know where to look to find them, leading to explorering or having to hear from word of mouth where the towns were. Towns gained fame by the crafters that lived there, beautiful town layouts people would create, or the popularity of the cantina's in that town. There was even a Mayor Profession that allowed for town voting and better improvements and building placements based on your Mayor skill sets.

- Noncombat and combat profession equality: SWG was the only game that utilized combat and noncombat professions extremly well, crafters were needed for everything from building ships and houses, to making spices and med kits. Medics and Doctors were needed to clear serious injurys or status effects you may have picked up in the wild, to get buffs so that you could equip this or that that you wouldnt be able to otherwise before going out in dangerous hunting trips. Dancers and Musicians were needed to alleviate battle fatigue that you would gain while out hunting and would eventually render you near newborn fagility if it wasnt taken care of, so cantinas or even camps placed by players out in the wild became large gathering social areas to hang out and talk while listening/watching entertainers to rest your fatigue off, even Image Designers which could completly change the appearance of other characters purely for vanity sake were in huge demand.

- 1 Character per Server: In a system where you can change professions when you want to, and the economy is living and breathing, there should only be one character per server, this allows for you to gain fame or infamy whether you want to or not, and you cant run from it, cutting down on alot of the bad behavior people tend to show when they have online anonymity and also allowing for a true community to begin. When you can travel the galaxy and see people you've been hearing from other players, such as that famous bounty hunter youve heard about who you just spotted on Dantooine so you know he hunting someone down, you start to get a true feeling of the world being alive.

- Last but not least, Legally binding Terms that restrict players from creating wiki's, guides, videos, or any type of site where you can gain out of game information for use ingame. I honoestly feel these sites have killed a huge part of MMOs and that is the social community, Sandbox's were popular yes because of the ingame freedom but also hugely popular because everything was UNKNOWN, you had to discover things yourself or ask around and find people who knew what you were trying to find out, everyone didnt know everything and it created and real world, without that returned to games we'll never have that feel of a living breathing game world again.

Mess with the best, Die like the rest

  Kalafax

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/05/05
Posts: 501

10/26/12 9:20:20 AM#4

edited for accidently double posting.

Mess with the best, Die like the rest

  QSatu

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/14/06
Posts: 1765

10/26/12 9:45:10 AM#5
RO is actually quite unique game. It's very obvious when you compared RO2 which had modern mmo mechanics to it's predecessor. Combat was incredibly fast (at higher lvls), class flexibility was enormous. You could do so much with your character thanks to stat system, cards, skill trees etc. Job changes gave another layer of diversification. there was a lot of variety not only among characters but enemies too. Guild wars were very fun too. Now when i think about it most new mmos are very limited compared to RO. Add to that a lot of charm when it comes to graphics, very good music and it was a nice mmo.
 
  hardicon

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/23/10
Posts: 359

10/26/12 9:48:06 AM#6

Asherons Call was my first mmo and is what got me into computer gaming in general. 

 

I think my ultimate mmo  or what I would pay for now would just be a updated Asherons Call with todays graphics.  Dereth felt like a living, breathing world.  Sure it had static quests with some instancing but anyone could enter an instance so it wasnt your instance.  i think the monthly updates had alot to do with it, and with those updates you would see monsters attack towns and whatnot.  the game just felt alive to me. 

Currently on my radar is Pathfinder Online.  mainly because it feels like they are trying to make a living breathing world rather than just a bunch of dungeons surrounded by scenery.

 

  simlol12

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/06/12
Posts: 28

10/26/12 10:43:11 AM#7
never liked rangnarok
  Purutzil

Elite Member

Joined: 10/02/11
Posts: 2844

The Critical Hit Pretzel!

10/26/12 10:49:05 AM#8

Ragnarok Online was by far one of my favorite Past MMos to play. It was quite simple and didn't have 'that' much to do in terms of quests (which didn't exist at all back in the day) and it was basically a 'grind' game of sorts, but for some reason it was so much more fun leveling on that game compared to World of Warcraft. It had such charm to it and really made leveling feel entertaining and an accomplishment. You felt like your character actually became stronger as you played and the thrill of getting those new skills made it all the better so you can take on harder and harder monsters.

It was just so well done in what it had that even today I'll end up picking it up and playing it from time to time. Even with its flaws  (controls can be a bit stiff, designed back when MMos were pretty new so response time can be a little delayed and cause flinching and positioning lag) it is just so fun. If only Ragnarok Online 2 tried to stick to what RO1 did best and expanded upon it, it could of possibly been a big hit.

  Ozmodan

Elite Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 6633

10/26/12 10:51:40 AM#9
Free form MMO's are always better, except that the "I want it now" crowd usually screams when they have to spend any amount of time learning how to play a game.
  different

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/20/04
Posts: 179

10/26/12 10:53:14 AM#10
My 1st MMO was underlight but it wasn't until UO that I was really drawn in. In fact in those days I didn't need drawing in, the games for like worlds not games. I still remember reading some book I a house then running outside and telling everyone about it like I was the only one to know about it. This was back in the time before internet or phone flatrates and after notching up 3 grand phone bills in 2 months then travelling with work I never got back into it. Swg and now tsw the only games to come remotely close, but for different reasons
81Aircooled Xfire Miniprofile
  Salio69

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/29/06
Posts: 423

10/26/12 12:07:45 PM#11

Interesting calling Ragnarok an Indie game.... Gravity is one of the oldest and well known mmo companies of all time. I wouldn't consider them Indie at all. Their games like RO predate more well known games like World of Warcraft. In the eastern hemisphere, Ragnarok online is extremely well known and considered to be one of the most successful MMOs ever. Theres plenty of offline spin-offs on many platforms inclulding their lastest one which is on the Playstation Vita. To consider this game "Indie" seems like a gross insult to a game which has been widely respected across the globe since the early part of the last decade.

Theres nothing wrong with Indie games but this game is from a professional company, not an indie one.

  Dakirn

Advanced Member

Joined: 2/16/04
Posts: 360

10/26/12 12:38:00 PM#12
Originally posted by Salio69

Interesting calling Ragnarok an Indie game.... Gravity is one of the oldest and well known mmo companies of all time. I wouldn't consider them Indie at all. Their games like RO predate more well known games like World of Warcraft. In the eastern hemisphere, Ragnarok online is extremely well known and considered to be one of the most successful MMOs ever. Theres plenty of offline spin-offs on many platforms inclulding their lastest one which is on the Playstation Vita. To consider this game "Indie" seems like a gross insult to a game which has been widely respected across the globe since the early part of the last decade.

Theres nothing wrong with Indie games but this game is from a professional company, not an indie one.

I think it's a failed assumption that an indie can't also be a "professional" company.

 

The amount of hate I see for Indie companies is astonishing when you consider they have REAL skin in the game (their own money, not some big publisher's money) and seem to be the ONLY ones willing to give players what they WANT instead of what a publisher THINKS they want.

 

If there was more support for indies and less for the big publishers that keep pushing out crap maybe the industry would actually change.

  Hodo

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/05/08
Posts: 559

10/26/12 12:46:22 PM#13

UO was my first MMORPG, but not my first online game.  I played a few MUDs prior to that and a couple of odd games here and there.   Been gaming online since 1991 so I can say I have seen a lot come and go. 

 

But by far my top three games were,

-SWG(pre-CU),  [mod edit]

-UO, because it was DEEP, and ever changeing and really the first true sandbox MMO.

-StarQuest Online, it basicly is UO in space. 

 

There have been a few games that I wish would comeback out or be redone...

-Multiplayer Battletech:3025, EA had a gem here and dropped the ball canceling this one.  It was the last true Battletech sim out there.

-WWIIOnline, CRS had a great idea, but just dropped the ball on so many levels.

-Motor City Online, another EA game that they dropped because they didnt realise they had something good.  It had the deepest engine construction model I have seen in a racing game ever.  I loved it on so many levels because I am a gear head.

 

 

So much crap, so little quality.

  Salio69

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/29/06
Posts: 423

10/26/12 1:07:28 PM#14
Originally posted by Dakirn
Originally posted by Salio69

Interesting calling Ragnarok an Indie game.... Gravity is one of the oldest and well known mmo companies of all time. I wouldn't consider them Indie at all. Their games like RO predate more well known games like World of Warcraft. In the eastern hemisphere, Ragnarok online is extremely well known and considered to be one of the most successful MMOs ever. Theres plenty of offline spin-offs on many platforms inclulding their lastest one which is on the Playstation Vita. To consider this game "Indie" seems like a gross insult to a game which has been widely respected across the globe since the early part of the last decade.

Theres nothing wrong with Indie games but this game is from a professional company, not an indie one.

I think it's a failed assumption that an indie can't also be a "professional" company.

 

The amount of hate I see for Indie companies is astonishing when you consider they have REAL skin in the game (their own money, not some big publisher's money) and seem to be the ONLY ones willing to give players what they WANT instead of what a publisher THINKS they want.

 

If there was more support for indies and less for the big publishers that keep pushing out crap maybe the industry would actually change.

Theres no hate here for Indie companies. I support indie companies.  What I dont like is people writing articiles and don't seem to know what they are talking about. I've pointed this article out to other vets(since the 90s) like myself on MSN and they started laughing at it.

RO is NOT an indie game. You can consider RO somewhat of a "base" for asian grinding games just as much you can consider "WoW" as a base for all of its clones(even though WoW is a clone of EQ).

Theres no such thing as an "indie game" being made by a professional company. The whole "indie" term comes from the company itself. Example Indie X Gaming Studios made Indie X game. I remember playing RO back in 2001 and reading up a lot on Gravity since I liked the game so much. Gravity is a PROFESSIONAL  company not an indie company.

 

  BillMurphy

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/28/06
Posts: 1702

10/26/12 2:35:15 PM#15
Just a note folks, Cass never called Ragnarok an Indie Game.  It was just a touchstone for her to explain what the Indie MMO maker should look towards if they hope to make a mark on the industry.
  aphydork

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/19/12
Posts: 133

10/26/12 2:52:31 PM#16

That title is really distracting. ^ ^

 

  xAPOCx

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/25/12
Posts: 870

10/26/12 3:06:11 PM#17

I cut my teeth on RO. It was my very first MMO. Perhaps its why i cant find what im looking for in other newer games. Im looking for that community that RO had. Hanging out in Pront with your guildies talking in TS.

 

Gathering outside a castle waiting for WOE to begin. Hunting down MVPs. Making HATS!!! And for those that remember...Hangin out in the devi room waiting for the evilwings to drop! Loved the clock tower.

 

Its these features that i believe lead to great communities that you just dont find in MMOs today. There are no more "devi rooms" or "camp check" sites where you can convien with fellow gamers and just hang out.

 

The closest thing iv come to was VG in terms of what i want. Im hoping AA or EQN can give me the game i want to spend years in.

 

SFS

  Po_gg

Elite Member

Joined: 5/12/10
Posts: 1997

10/27/12 3:04:11 AM#18

Nice article, good job :)

My first 'mmo' was a local MUD around the mid 90's, and I guess that's why I love content and crafting and lore more than combat and grinding.

MUD's (and MUSH'es) were by default not the typical rpg games, more like the K grinders of today, with client-side scripting, bots everywhere, etc. A few dudes in college got bored of it, and started an own version. A good GM from a pen'n'paper group wrote a persistent world, they're added great quests with exploration, logic, investigation, etc. (and changed it dynamically when some grinder dude made a script which played a quest through :) ). The MUD system - movement, combat, char. development - was the same, but the world and the quests almost made a TSW-like change from the average MUD's...  I even start to learn lpc just to help them in testing and to goofing up an own quest :)

Too bad that after college (less time, relocating to work, etc) the group disbanded, the game was online for a few more years but without updates, and then the graphic mmo's take over making MUD's obsolete.

  Zinzan

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/03/06
Posts: 1368

10/27/12 5:24:37 AM#19

I remember beta testing way back in the early UT/CS days, i forget if it was when testing UT:TacOps or CS:DoD, a fellow tester invited me and a few others to help test a new type of game in it's early beta (back when betas were real betas and testing meant testing, not free play), that game was Dark Age of Camelot, 10-11 years later im still playing it :)

No mmorpg release since then even comes close to DAoC's pvp (RvR) and thats a very sad state of affairs for the genre. Warhammer tried and failed, GW2 tried to water down the concept for the "gimmeegimmeegimmee" generation, but it's just not the same.

However, I can get my DAoC fix from DAoC...what i MISS is SWG.....a semi-sandbox game set in a world of rich and established lore. Ok, it was buggy as hell and many classes were simply broken, but i'd take my broken Bio Engineer or Musician over any class in any modern mmo any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

The biggest miss is the lack of community mmo's have these days, im afraid my generation is long gone now and the current crop of gamers don't give a rats-arse about it so i doubt we'll ever see real close-knit communities in mmo's again.

Expresso gave me a Hearthstone beta key.....I'm so happy :)

  Po_gg

Elite Member

Joined: 5/12/10
Posts: 1997

10/27/12 5:54:30 AM#20
Originally posted by Zinzan

I remember beta testing way back in the early UT/CS days, i forget if it was when testing UT:TacOps or CS:DoD

No mmorpg release since then even comes close to DAoC's pvp (RvR) and thats a very sad state of affairs for the genre. Warhammer tried and failed, GW2 tried to water down the concept for the "gimmeegimmeegimmee" generation, but it's just not the same.

We switched from CS1.6 to Day of Defeat, it was a great mod.  /hat raise to you, sir

In the f2p-related threads, when I refer to the new members of the expanding target audience as a cause, it's tough to describe them in a non-offensive manner. If you don't mind I'll steal this "the "gimmeegimmeegimmee" generation", it's a spot-on definition :)

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