Things I didn’t get to try out enough: Khara and Guilds

Ragnarok 2 first proper mission

There’s one weird area where questing and levelling up meet – the Khara System. A grid where you have to meet various conditions in order to gain the benefits from the grid. Conditions could be kill so many of a certain monster or pick-up so many of a craft item.  Now I want to take back what I said about the earlier tutorial area. It doesn’t go far enough. The Khara system is not really explained there, so it’s unclear how you interact with it, what benefits it brings, how you make your way through it.

Meanwhile I wasn’t able to make significant progress in the game to get anywhere near to the area from which you can begin to join and form guilds.

Getting lost in crafting

Ragnarok 2 crafting

I did enjoy the secondary class system. Choosing to be an alchemist, as a mage, protected me from the need to form parties as soon as some of the other players, because I could just go and gather loads of basic potion ingredients and jus t cook up lots of potions. But it’s a really time absorbing process. Crafting takes a very long time. The more items you have to  process, the longer it takes. And while you could make an argument for realism, when you have to spend so much time concentrating on fighting it is not that pleasant, because you know you need to be levelling up.

But the process, depending on what class you pick at the beginning, could easily be on the way to riches, as it’s quite easy to set-up stalls from which to sell your wares. You’ll have needed to gotten beyond the first two areas in order to have taken advantage of the chance to buy instructions for crafting items beyond the basic sets.

Paul Blewitt’s thoughts

paulbad I have to admit, the nearest thing I have played to a MMO is Team Fortress 2. There’s a reason for this: there’s no dull questing, the gameplay is very balanced and you can play when you want, rather than being penalised for leaving the game for a while. Unfortunately, Ragnarok 2 hosts all of these qualities I wanted to avoid.  I’m not oblivious the merits of MMORPGs though, and I do see the needs they fulfil – a sense of community, personal interactions, progression that affects how you deal with problems, etc.. However, I don’t feel that Ragnarok is really successful with these.
While questing with others is unquestioningly better than questing alone, when I went into a dungeon with an ally that had already completed said dungeon, I found myself alone. Likewise, it wasn’t obvious how you would form a party – and it was one of the few things in the game which didn’t have a lengthy tutorial. In fact the only redeeming quality was the art style being anime and cutesy.  The storyline and characters weren’t compelling and overall, I did not feel this changed my mind about MMORPGs. I think when it comes to online games, I’ll stick to TF2.

Too much sugar, not enough roughage

Ragnarok 2 Kafra 1 While the way the characters looked was appealing for a bit, I’ve enjoyed regular offline south east Asian RPGs like Eternal Sonata before, but it was style over substance for a great deal of the game.  The story, at the end of the day, doesn’t make much sense and it just feels like you’re there to go around hitting monsters over the head without much else happening. There is a chance that things have been lost in translation, when lines like this exist:

“Things that he has done here are just the tip of an iceberg of the Freyjanity’s future plans. If this is true, Bouquet Village is no longer safe from harm.”

Looking beyond the over-the-top anime-esque appearance of characters and the world, other stylistic choices often seem inappropriate – mainly that the voices of none of the characters suit their character models, especially the men. It’s horrible talking to a character that looks only just about eighteen and hearing some gruff, old man’s voice.

Was it worth my time?

Embad Having played more than twenty hours of the game and having got to level 11 for both of my classes, I don’t feel like I had any fun playing it. The whole process felt like a chore with no reward at the end. Paid elements of the game would rear their head from time to time, with the temptation to spend real money on things that might make solo questing easier, but with no guarantee.

Progress never felt rewarding because of the way enemies in quests seemed to scale-up against you. Too often it was special-moves/spell and potion spamming. There was no point in levelling-up, because doing so just meant that you could now have your ass thoroughly handed to you by the next monster to come your way. And the fact that forming parties was no real guarantee to help you progress is frustrating to experience after you and your party have had your collective asses handed to you several times.

I can in no way recommend this game other than as a lesson as how not to develop an MMORPG.

Ragnarok Online 2: Legend of the Second is out now for Windows, available here . For this review we were provided with product keys by PR, which we used, but it was unclear what benefits these provided.