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Ragnarok Online ( ), often referred to as RO, is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game or MMORPG created by GRAVITY Co., Ltd. based on the manhwa Ragnarok by Lee Myung-jin. It was first released in South Koreamarker on 31 August, 2001 for Microsoft Windows and has since been released in many other locales around the world. Much of the game's mythos is based on Norse mythology, but its style and settings have been influenced by a wide variety of international cultures. The game has spawned an animated series, Ragnarok the Animation, and a sequel game, Ragnarok Online 2: The Gate of the World, is in development. Player characters interact in a 3D environment but are represented by 2D character sprites for front, back, side and diagonal facings.

Setting

An event taking place in Morroc, a desert town


Ragnarok Online is divided into a series of maps, each of which has its own terrain and native monsters, though many monsters are present in multiple regions. Transportation between maps requires loading the new map and monsters cannot travel from one map to another.

There are three major nations in Ragnarok Online, the first of which and where all players start is Rune Midgard. The Schwaltzvalt Republic, an industrialized neighbor to the North, was added in Episode 10 and Arunafeltz, a religious nation modeled after a combination of Israelmarker and Turkeymarker is the subject of Episode 11.

A series of other, minor nations also exists, generally modeled after an ancient society in the real world, examples such as Amatsu, which is modeled after ancient Japan, and Louyang, which is modeled after ancient China.

Areas from Norse mythology are also included, such as Niffleheim, the land of the dead, and Valhalla, where players can become Transcendent Classes. New map content is constantly being added to game in the form of Episode updates.

Gameplay

Ragnarok Online is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, where players can create several characters per account, but can only control one character at a time. Basic gameplay involves killing monsters wandering around the game world in order to gain experience and level up. This is referred to PvE combat. Players can accept optional quests from non-player characters for special rewards and to flesh out the game's fantasy world. An extended series of quests have to be completed for most job advancements. There is no main narrative, and players are free to explore the game world in a non-linear manner.

Player versus Player

PvP combat is the other main type of gameplay in Ragnarok Online, of which there are several forms.

PvP Arenas

PvP Arenas are a series of maps identical to the game's major towns but devoid of all exits and non-player characters. Access to these maps is restricted to players level 31 and above and comes in two modes: Yoyo Mode and Nightmare Mode. The primary difference between the two modes concerns the penalties for dying; Yoyo Mode has no penalty for death, while Nightmare Mode has the experience point loss of normal PvE death and the additional risk of the loss of a piece of equipment.

War of Emperium

Also known as "Guild War", for two hours on any day of the week (depending on the server) an event called War of Emperium (commonly abbreviated "WoE") takes place. Guilds that have obtained the Seal of Approval skill may attempt to enter and gain control of a series of castles available in-game. On the fourth floor of each castle lies the Emperium; if a guild breaks another guild's Emperium, that guild gains control of the castle. If a guild can maintain control of a castle until the end of the War of Emperium it will retain control until the next War of Emperium and may gain a variety of benefits for victory, including access to special 'Guild Dungeons' if certain castles are controlled, which give the members of the holding guild a definite advantage in gaining experience and items. During War of Emperium hours, the castle maps are set in PvP mode and behave much the same as the standard PvP maps with a few exceptions, in particular the lack of damage indicators and a large decrease to the effectiveness of magic, skills, and ranged attacks. War of Emperium is the most popular feature of the game and most players participate in it at least once per week.

PK servers

Some regional versions of Ragnarok Online run PK (player killing) servers. These are variants of normal servers where PvP combat is allowed in what are conventionally PvE-only maps. This type of gameplay is also known as "world PvP" or "open PvP". The exact PK server rules and mechanics vary from server to server.

Job System

Jobs are one of the most important aspects of Ragnarok Online, as the job a player chooses will have profound implications on his or her strengths and weaknesses, both in a party and outside of one. The job system initially consisted of 13 classes, which has increased to over 50 via several updates. Each class specializes in certain skills corresponding to archetypes in an role-playing game. Additionally, some equipment are exclusive to particular classes, altering the play style of such characters.

All players start in the game's first class, the novice. Novices are, as their name implies, largely a tutorial class built for allowing new players to get the general feel of the game. Upon reaching a certain level (dependent on their desired job), players can change to one of six first classes, or choose one of the expanded classes, along with Super Novices. Upon reaching another level goal, first classes can then change into one of two second classes. Once the player reaches base level 99 and job level 50, they can elect to "rebirth" their character, and relevel as a transcendent class, which has more skills and a larger number of status points to work with, although the experience curve is much higher.

A player will change jobs multiple times over the course of playing, though the number of changes will be determined by choices made by the player.

The currently available jobs and their progression is transcribed in the following table.

Novice Class
Novice
Super Novice
First class
Swordman Acolyte Mage Thief Merchant Archer Taekwon Kid Ninja Gunslinger
Second class
Knight Crusader Priest Monk Wizard Sage Assassin Rogue Blacksmith Alchemist Hunter Bard / Dancer Star Gladiator(Taekwon Master) Soul Linker
Transcendent
High Novice
Transcendent first class
High Swordman High Acolyte High Mage High Thief High Merchant High Archer
Transcendent second class
Lord Knight Paladin High Priest Champion High Wizard Professor (Scholar) Assassin Cross Stalker Whitesmith (Mastersmith) Creator (Biochemist) Sniper Clown / Gypsy
Third Class
Rune Knight Royal Guard Arc Bishop Shura Warlock Sorcerer Guillotine Cross Shadow Chaser Mechanic Genetic Ranger Minstrel / Wanderer


Swordsman

The Swordman class is the most basic melee class in Ragnarok Online. Specializing in one-handed/two-handed swords or one-handed/two-handed spears, the Swordman class functions best using its skills such as "Bash" to deal direct damage to enemies. Also, the Swordman class makes the best "tank" of the first class characters, with its "Increase HP Recovery" and "Provoke" skills which allow it to heal itself over time and to taunt an enemy to attack them. The Swordman class progresses into either Knight or Crusader.

Acolyte

The Acolyte class is the standard healing class in Ragnarok Online. It is the only of the first class characters with a healing spell. The Acolyte class also may buff itself or others with skills such as "Increase Agility," "Blessing," and "Angelus." Furthermore, the Acolyte class, through its "Divine Protection," "Demon Bane," and "Signum Crucis" skills functions as the anti-undead class. The Acolyte class progresses to either Priest or Monk.

Mage

The Mage class is the basic offensive spellcaster in Ragnarok Online. Specializing in elemental damage, the Mage deals damage to enemies by casting spells. The Mage class progresses into either Wizard or Sage.

Thief

The Thief class, like the Swordman class, is a melee range damage dealing class. However, unlike the Swordman, which uses its high defense to absorb attacks, the Thief class uses its skills to dodge enemy attacks. With the skill "Double Attack," the Thief class has a chance to strike twice with each attack whenever a dagger is equipped. The Thief class also may learn the ability to steal from enemies as well as go into a stealth-like state with the skill "Hiding." The Thief class progresses into either Assassin or Rogue.

Merchant

The Merchant class provides the backbone of the Ragnarok Online economy. Merchants may purchase a cart to carry additional items with them, as well as may open up street vendor shops with the "Vending" skill. The Merchant class also may purchase items from shops at a discounted rate, as well as may sell items to shops for higher prices, thanks to the "Discount" and "Overcharge" skills. Merchants also possess fighting skills, with the ability to take their cart into battle with the "Cart Revolution" skill, which deals additional damage if the cart is full of heavy items. The Merchant can progress into either Blacksmith or Alchemist.

Archer

The Archer, as its name suggests, specializes in attacking with a bow and arrow. Its skills allow the Archer to attack from further away, as well as to fire two arrows at once with the "Double Strafe" skill. The Archer skill "Improve Concentration" allows the Archer to temporarily increase its dexterity and agility stats as well as detect hidden enemies in a small area. The Archer class progresses into either Hunter or Bard for male characters and Dancer for female characters.

Audio

The background music of Ragnarok Online currently consists of over 100 individual tracks, composed, arranged, recorded and mixed by SoundTeMP and Hankook Recording Studio, with some tracks by NEOCYON and others. The game's music spans a wide variety of genres and musical styles, including trance, techno, jazz, rock, and orchestral. New tracks are added to the soundtrack as with every new area added to the game world.

"The memory of RAGNAROK" Ragnarok Online Original Sound Track is a best-of soundtrack album featuring background music in addition to remixes and vocal arrangements of certain pieces. The game's official theme song, "You & I," is also included. It was developed bySoundTeMP and released by Gravity in 2006. The album features vocal arrangements of certain pieces, performed by Lee Seung-Yeon, Lee Jeong-Hee and Seo Ji-Hae. The album's booklet features text in Korean, Chinese, English, and Japanese.

Licensing

While Ragnarok Online is both developed and run by Gravity in South Korea, its various official overseas versions are licensed and run by regional ventures. This has led to a multitude of regional differences in the game, such as localized or translated text, special in-game events, and the payment model.

P2P servers

The original payment model, pay to play, is still in use by all regional versions. Depending on the version, users can pay by a monthly subscription or by pre-paid cards.

Kafra Shop

Microtransactions and virtual freemium shops have become an increasingly favored revenue stream over monthly subscriptions for online multiplayer games, especially in the Asian MMO market. As such, the Kafra Shop (an Item Mall) was added to iRO (International Ragnarok Online) on June 19 2007. Users are able to purchase Kafra Credit Points with U.S. dollars as a currency for the special items limited to the Kafra Shop.

This service appears on most other localized servers of Ragnarok Online such as jRO (Japanese Ragnarok Online), idRO (Indonesian Ragnarok Online), pRO (Philippine Ragnarok Online) and kRO (Korean Ragnarok Online), using the currency of the respective countries for points. In addition, upgraded forms of normal equipment can be rented using Kafra Points.

F2P servers

There are official "Free To Play" servers where players can play Ragnarok Online free of charge, with a few differences in game play. Major differences are the limited use of the Kafra Teleport service, upgrading weapons and armor never have a "safe zone" in which you cannot break the Weapon/Armor, items have had their costs changed or been removed entirely from the game, the Acolyte skill Teleport has been modified, and prices on certain NPC items received a moderate increase. Notably, characters may be any job class, access any map, attain all skills, wear any gear, and progress to all levels without payment of microtransaction fees. Changes vary from server to server.

The use of free servers has resulted in a higher reliance on the Kafra Shop item mall for revenue stream. Many localized versions of Ragnarok Online have implemented free servers during 2007-2008.

Private servers and emulation

Ragnarok Online's official server software is called Aegis, which is used by iRO, kRO, euRO, phRO, bRO and other local versions. Several server emulators have been developed for use in hosting private servers. Regardless of the legalities, many private servers are active today, and it is debatable whether or not their existence has created a loss of revenue for legitimate official servers. With many official servers changing over to a Free-to-Play with cash shop revenue model, their future viability is called into question. Although some private servers have no donate-for-advantage models, some players feel more secure in the environment. Server emulation follows the development of the Korean version, thus they often contain more recent updates than other local versions.

While the legality of private servers is debatable, it is against the Ragnarok Online EULA to be a founder or owner of a Private server (commonly referred to as a "p.server"). On the iRO (International Ragnarok Online) game policy page of their website it is listed as a felony, and if the owner/founder is currently a member of the iRO community and playing on a Pay to Play server (or P2P), it will result in their ID being deleted.

Two of the Ragnarok Online private server emulators include eAthena and Aurora.

Ragnarok Mobile

Gravity Co. Ltd. released 8 separate games for the mobile phone allowing players to experience the game on the road. Each version focuses on the main aspect of the acolyte, thief, merchant, mage, archer, and swordsmen class based on the version of the game they have. Players are able to advance their characters using the attributes STR, AGI, VIT, LUK, INT, and DEX. Though not placed in the server, players control their character and complete a series of quests or tasks. As players earn zeny, (the in-game currency), they are able to send the zeny to their real accounts. Along with that, a ranking is present where characters are ranked by the amount of zeny the character has.

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