Ragnarok RoundTable : Developers Talk Ragnarok Classic And Other Upcoming Features
After recently celebrating its 9th birthday and announcing the release of the upcoming Ragnarok Classic, developers Gravity Interactive invited us to take part in an exclusive roundtable discussion to talk about the features included in Ragnarok Classic, as well as a number of other exciting updates due in the near future. Jason Koerperich, producer of Ragnarok and avid player since 2003, walks us through the various changes involved in Ragnarok Classic, a project that he’s more excited about than anything else he’s worked on in the last 4 years.
Ragnarok Classic was originally meant to launch last week but hit unforeseen delays and is now expected to release some time this week. Jason Koerperich was the first to admit that Gravity Interactive have made a few mistakes during their time publishing Ragnarok but they hope to rectify this and have been doing well recently, especially regarding community involvement. Some of the older players may remember the game back in 2007, when several new maps were launched, resulting in negative changes to the original maps. The aim was to force players to participate in the new content, but as Ragnarok is one of the rare games that offers experience points regardless of level difference, many thought these changes were unnecessary. 2007 was also one of the most active time periods for the community, with thousands of players posting regularly on the games forums. At the time, they didn’t have the resources to get involved in the community, other than elected moderators, but after speaking with Jason, it’s clear they plan to change that and already have to some extent.
In fact, the entire concept behind Ragnarok Classic is due to player requests and feedback. A large number of players felt that many of the updates over the years removed what made Ragnarok special, thus they left to find greener pastures. Although many of these players still participate on the forums, dropping their 2 cents into developer posts and suggestions. The developers are hoping to offer Ragnarok players a feeling of nostalgia as they return to the game in a state they once loved. I’ve played my fair share of MMO games, over 300 in my time writing online, but there are only a handful that offer the feedback driven content that Gravity Interactive are providing with Ragnarok Classic, something all developers should take note of.
Recently celebrating its 9th anniversary, Ragnarok is one of the longest running MMO titles online. Loved for its cute anime styled 3D backgrounds and detailed sprites, Ragnarok was at the forefront of MMO games in its day, offering a variety of new features and innovative mechanics. Players enter the world of Midgard as a mere novice, but can specialize into 6 distinct advanced classes. As players advance through the game they can then branch off into a further 2 class choices, before transcending at level 100. Transcending offered players the opportunity to begin their journey at level 1 again, but with increase stats and extra skills. A further system was introduced later down the line, the Renewal system. A feature that allowed players to choose a third class choice once they reach level 100. Although these features can be seen in various free online RPG games nowadays, they were ground-breaking additions back then.
The new Ragnarok Classic mode will feature on 1 server, alongside the 3 currently available Renewal servers. Gravity Interactive are turning back the hands of time and restoring the much loved version of Ragnarok, but with a few core changes. Veteran players will remember the several towns that were destroyed over the course of various updates, these towns make a return as well as monster spawns being reverted to their original locations. The Renewal physics will also be removed as many players complained it ruined various interaction aspects with skills and party members. Some of the features from the current Ragnarok version that will be ported over to Ragnarok Classic are the instance and raid systems. These weren’t available in the original game but are now some of the most appealing aspects of the MMO title, players requested that it would be added to Classic in some capacity and Gravity have responded by adding a large number of the difficult dungeons currently available.
Playing a game that’s over 9 years old is tough. New players joined a server only to find guilds full of veteran gamers that didn’t have any time for fresh meat, not to mention the hugely overpopulated economy. The introduction of Ragnarok Classic not only offers veteran players the opportunity to return to a game they loved, but it also gives new players the chance to experience Ragnarok in all its former glory.
As well as the announcement of adding Ragnarok Classic, Jason Koerperich also mentioned how the game will expand over the new few months. Renewal will not be featured when Ragnarok Classic launches but they hope to implement it once a large portion of the player base reaches level 100. Various other updates applied to Ragnarok over recent years will also be introduced over time. Many of the content and maps introduced during the various updates released in 2004 will be added to Ragnarok Classic on a regular basis, with the plan to eventually include all of the 900 maps from Episode 1 to Episode 14.1, within 18 months. Once released, Ragnarok Classic will be available both as a patch for the current client, or a totally new client.
Ragnarok proves that games can still go the distance, there’s many MMORPG titles that release and disappear within months in today’s industry. But a title almost a decade old is continuing to prove that you can teach an old dog new tricks, and Gravity Interactive are throwing their full weight behind Ragnarok Online.