Developer Journal #3
About Lighthalzen, the second city of the Schwaltzvalt Republic
Hi, I am Minsoo Lee, the lead developer of Ragnarok Online. Ragnarok Online (RO) is currently on the episode 10.1; Einbroch, The City of Steel. I would like to give you an idea about episode 10.2, our next update.
Lighthalzen, the corporate city-state was developed as a part of our 2005 plan to focus on the main story of Ragnarok Online.
I feel that developing an online game is not only simply development, but also a service provided to customers. I insist on this because we cannot exist without our users. Our 2005 plan was based on this fact and our goal was to satisfy our users’ biggest wishes.
Before we get into the main subject, I would like to display my opinion on the difference between the eastern RPG style and the western one by using Ragnarok Online as an example.
Ragnarok Online appeals to western players because it's regarded as the MMOG version of a console adventure - fun, easy to get into, and non-stop action. Some may consider this to be a weak point. However, I think if we can provide enough features based on one set story, we would transform that negative into a positive; in that it allows groups of people to unite and share in the story together. The experience can be likened to a group of people discussing their opinions after watching a cartoon or film together. If we can pull this off effectively, it can only serve to strengthen ties within the user community.
With the Lighthalzen update, we tried not only advancing the main story, but also adding a unique feature: The Lighthalzen Dungeon, the Life Experiment Laboratory.
In this dungeon, users encounter a wealth of powerful monsters that have never been introduced in Ragnarok Online before. I must say they are challenging and worth fighting, because of the great rewards that they provide.
Another important feature of 10.2 is the Homunculus system. In fact, we were planning to implement the feature since we developed a 2-2 job class, the Alchemist. But we thought the homunculus system was not feasible considering the structure of the game and we hesitated to try at that time. Things have changed and now we’re willing to give it a shot.
We tried to create a middle-character between the two by implementing Homunculus and I see it as a success so far.
We provide users a convenient AI modification system for their homunculus. Of course, we provide the most basic AI for beginners. But they can modify the AI if they feel the need to change whenever they want.
Some people might lament seeing the homunculus system implemented in game. These folks (read: botters) are those that use unauthorized third party programs to play. We adapted the concept of a bot program for the homunculus system.
Using bot programs may sound wrong, but when you think about it, botters are also our users, those who love Ragnarok Online as much as normal users. So we thought it would be good if we could provide them a better auto-play program that was officially made by Ragnarok Online developers so they can come out of the shadows and play legitimately.
Besides of Lighthalzen dungeon and homunculus system, there are many intriguing features within the 10.2 update such as new skills for transcendent classes and the Juperos dungeon. I hope users will enjoy the new features when the update is introduced in the future.
I also hope users will continue to support Ragnarok Online and thank you for your continued interest and support.
- Minsoo Lee, Lead Developer of Ragnarok Online
Any comments on this article? You can post them here.