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Developer Journal #1

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Developer Journals 0

A Peek Inside the Life of a RO Developer

When I think about my job, I ask myself with puzzled wonderment, "How did I get here?" Not the kind of puzzled wonderment like I just woke up from a dazed stupor beside three of the Laker Girls or discovered I'm immune to bullets as they pass right through me. The feeling I’m talking about is much like the first time I sat down in one of those electronic full body massage chairs: peculiar—I was essentially being massaged by a robot after all—yet undeniably good.

If I remember my company dossier correctly, Ragnarok first started off as a comic in Korea by Myung Jin Lee. That comic was so good, people in other countries started reading it too and it sort of became an international comic phenomenon. Then, some dude who loved the comic got the idea of making a Ragnarok Online MMORPG in Korea, and lo and behold, people in other countries started playing it and that became an international MMORPG phenomenon. Thanks to new updates and features that are developed and released on a quarterly basis and the enthusiastic support of its player community, RO has endured for three years.

There’s a lengthy and detailed process behind RO game development that involves a series of different teams. Now, the lab boys—or at least that’s what I call them—develop all the graphics, music and features in Korea. My team actually kicks in during the last stage of development, which would be the localization of the Ragnarok Online game in other countries. The easiest way to describe my job would be to say that I’m a bug tester, an adaptation editor for all of the in-game text, and the guinea pig on which all the new updates are tested. And just like all people in the business, I too must forego the pleasures of the flesh for the sake of ensuring that the latest updates are implemented on time. I can’t count how many times I’ve been roused from my official Ragnarok Online hammock, while wearing the official Ragnarok Online pajamas and clutching a stuffed Poring doll to my chest, to get back to work.

In fact, I’ve even had to cancel this week’s entertainment because of our next update. Now, I sincerely believed with all my heart that after the Transcendent Classes, job classes so powerful that characters are required to reach the experience level cap and then be reborn in order to access them, were added to iRO, things would settle down a bit. After suffering through the blustery, thunderous storm, the rainbow eventually comes, right? Wrong.

First off, I’ve been hard at work tuning up the new quest system: each First Job Class will have its own specialized tutorial quest. One of the lab boys figured that although you don’t need a freakin’ manual to start playing RO, there will always be that select group of new players that immediately want to learn some of the finer game play nuances. To keep the interest of the players that know it all, these quests offer loads of opportunities for some easy experience for new or reborn characters. Since you’re fighting stuff and learning stuff at the same time, I think these quests are just like Sesame Street, except now you get to beat up the puppets. I know you RO diehards out there are drawing the connection between RO’s Hode and Oscar the Grouch’s pal, Slimey. And if you are thinking about that, don’t worry. I used science and a little bit of calculus to prove that you’re normal: I took a survey and 14 out of 14 GM Team members couldn’t avoid thinking that thought.

Speaking of the inevitable, Juno, the capital city of the Schwaltzwald Republic, has been sitting by its lonesome. Sooner or fashionably later, the rest of the Schwaltzwald Republic had to show up to the party. Without revealing too much, so that I can leave the rest to your tantalizing imagination, two new towns, Einbech and Einbroch, are slated for implementation. Similar to the early modern age of Europe, on which the Schwaltzwald Republic seems to be based, Einbech and Einbroch deal with issues of industrialization and social differences between the bourgeois and proletariat classes. In other words, you’ll be doing things like fighting smog monsters when the city pollution reaches dangerous levels, fix a broken down factory to save the city, and hooking up a rich girl with a poor boy. If working for the greater good doesn’t happen to be your style, you can opt to fly around in the new Einbroch Airship where you can gamble with Apples.

If you prefer games of skill over games of chance, you’ll be able to whet your appetite for competition at the Al De Baran Turbo Track in the near future. For a nominal fee, you can race against your friends in a variety of obstacle courses. Although bragging rights are usually enough incentive to win a race, winners will be rewarded with Turbo Track Points that can be traded for useful or rare items. Oh, and characters that ride around on Peco Pecos will have to dismount before they can race. Although they’ll have to ditch their transportation for a while, they’ll be given a free coupon so that they won’t have to pay the Peco Peco rental fee once they decide to leave the racetrack and get back on their high horse, so to speak.

Seeing as I’ve reached my quota of insider secrets for today, I shall bid you, Fair Reader, adieu for now. I hope that all you players enjoy the work that I do for Ragnarok Online.

- Cianar Cabos, Ragnarok Online

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