"A video game comic and blog that would have been awesome and relevant 10 years ago. Maybe." -Famous Website
Ahh, a comic themed after our old MMO of choice – Ragnarok Online. RO is a game that will forever be remembered by Pie and me for a number of reasons, the most significant being the fact that we met through playing this game. Indeed if it weren't for RO there would be no Life in Aggro for you to read here and now. Hurray for that!
We've been thinking about RO a lot lately because the parallels that we have been drawing between it and the newest MMO we've been playing, Dragon Nest. Many of the class, skill tree and upgrading systems are similar between games and it is nice to relive a piece of that nostalgia in a new venue. Though reminiscing was nice, I couldn't help but miss the good times in the MMO I was so heavily invested in.
Ultimately, we had to leave RO on principal because the company that ran it, Gravity LLC, had suplexed the game so far into the ground that its head could be seen on the other side of the planet. When we quit, I was leading a modest guild with a pretty tightly connected group of folks – we weren't the best players on the server, but I felt we did pretty well in that games end-game content – epic scale guild vs. guild PVP battles. We made friends and allies, I did a good job doing foolish ass-y things that made us enemies (both inside and outside our own guild), and we banded together to made godly items and had a lot of memorable experiences in its short year and a half run. Good times.
The elements that made RO so amazing were its PVP end game, War of Emperium, and its complex and interesting battle mechanics. The fighting was fierce, the player base had a high skill average and everything about it was bleeding fast action that required incredible reflexes and team coordination to succeed. Certainly I don't think I'll see a game with such intense and exhilarating PVP for some time and it stands as a testament to just why people become so loyal, despite its incredibly steep learning curve, terrible imbalances and grind your face into the ground leveling and item acquisition system.
Though RO is sorely missed, Gravity proved a valuable lesson on what improper micro transaction systems can look like. They sold character power, sold items through the cash shop that were unobtainable in game and split the community between the existing pay-to-play and free-to-play players when that system launched. Granted it may have saved their company from bankruptcy for all I know, but the way in which they did it was high class thievery of their player base. This culminated in randomized item boxes, forcing serious players to gamble real money to obtain equipment necessary to remain competitive. Bad times.
For those interested in a serious look at some exceptionally intelligent and cogent arguments for monetizing cash shops properly, I can't recommend this Extra Credits video highly enough. In fact, much of what the EC team says is game developer gold and should be checkout out.
Anyways! Hope you enjoyed the silly comic this week and we'll see you all again on Wednesday!