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Contents

Graphics Isometric View with 2D sprites / 3D Backgrounds ...................................................................................................... 2


The UI ......................................................................................................................................................................................... 2
The Artstyle ................................................................................................................................................................................ 3
Classes ........................................................................................................................................................................................ 4
Gameplay ....................................................................................................................................................................................... 5
Fixed drop rate and XP rate ....................................................................................................................................................... 5
Market ........................................................................................................................................................................................ 7
Skill and Stat System .................................................................................................................................................................. 8



Over the years of playing many MMOs and many other types of online games I've always yearly come back to
Ragnarok Online, one day I started wondering why? Why is it that I'm drawn to this 10+ year old game even with
new games out today such as WildStar, Tera, Elder Scrolls Online, Guild Wars 2 and so on... Now a lot of this might
be me using nostalgia to explain why things are good or bad but I did ask around of forums and people do seem to
share my sentiment of what made Ragnarok Online what it is. I'm actually writing this because theres a spiritual
sequel coming out called Tree of Savior and people told me Hey you seem to get it why not explain it a bit more
indepth so I'm going to try and do just that. Excuse my writing, spelling and other errors I'm not a native English
speaker.


Graphics Isometric View with 2D sprites / 3D Backgrounds

The first thing you see when you come into the game obviously. What made Ragnarok online the game it is. It has 2D
sprites for most of the interactive objects in the game such as players and monsters. Some trigger objects in the
background were 3D. Less is more is the name of the game here.
The UI
It was minimalistic and you had a clear view of the battlefield, your sprites and the monsters sprites where clear. All
the necessary information was there. Unlike modern MMOs that literally flood you with useless information. Now a
part of this is because Ragnarok Online really had no quest system but it still today looks sleeker if we compared it to
some modern ones.

The Artstyle
Ragnarok Online is what many in the west would refer to as an Anime MMO it has
this cutesy Japanese looking art style, everything is made out of sprites and the
only way to customize your character was to color the sprite or get a headgear but
more on that later. What made Ragnarok attractive to a lot of people was exactly
that art style. Anime fans flocked to it. It was their first online anime game. People
looked the same (classes), while some would argue it was a lack of customization.
I would say it simplified things and I'm glad Tree of Savoir is sticking to that.
Naturally we need to talk about the monsters and the humble poring. Really it's
just a cuter version of a slime from Dragon Quest but boy did it become iconic. It
was cute, it was easy to kill and it was found everywhere. And they simply
changed to color or added cute wing and they had a new monster or boss. I don't
know who came up wit the idea but it was awesome. And the idea was
consistent. Low level mobs were cute little fuzzy things. You could usually tell
by the look of a monster how strong it was. There was no "Monster levels"
above their heads or even HP bars. People in the old days had to use Monster
Property/Sense to get the monsters stat. And that skill was limited to the
Wizard but the party could see it. This made the game a lot more mysterious
and encouraged exploration, but also punished it because well you could die
and lose XP if you wandered too far or made a wrong corner in a dungeon.
Anyways on track. The fact that you could tell monsters strength by their looks
also made a twist late game were a cute monster would rape you in 2 seconds.
I always remember going down into Payon Dungeon and seeing a cute
pantiless catgirl only to get raped by it and it's horde of summoned ninetails.
The point is the art style knew a great balance. How to make things scary, how
to make things cute and how to make things deceptively cute before you're
raped.



Classes
While this could be considered art style too I wanted to touch on it some more. Every class had a unique sprite. That
made a long leap in recognizability of players and what function they served. When I first started playing I went into
town and saw all these people. It was clear who was a knight, who was a priest and who was a mage just by one
glance. When I was in a dungeon and I saw an acolyte I could ask for a buff. The point is unlike 3D MMOs you knew
who was what, look at this WOW picture of armors and you'll instantly know what I mean plus the armors changes
every few levels and they all mostly have the same looks. The fact that the when you're playing you're zomed all the
way out in any MMO. Also what made things worse for 3D MMOs is that recognizability falls off with distance
drastically. Also while you were a novice you could have something to look forward to. These was a lot of class
mobility and back tracking but later on that. It really enabled a lot of communication between people and made
cosmetics stand out even more!






Gameplay
Fixed drop rate and XP rate
Now this is by far the biggest difference in my opinion except for the graphics between Ragnarok online and every
other MMO out there ever. Now I'm going to have to touch on a lot of points here so please bare with me.
While this might seem to some to be insignificant to some, it's actually one of the biggest gameplay features in
Ragnarok online. While other similar games like let's say Diablo had totally randomized loot tables with randomized
items, other MMOs like WoW had drop tables randomized so you couldn't hunt anything specific in general. You had
a change that something uncommon or common would drop depening on your level there was no control. They also
had these silly limitations placed on them because of that system where you wouldn't get any drops or XP if you
were above a certain monsters level. For all intents and purposes all the gray monsters 5 levels below you were
basically irrelevant removed gameplay elements and so were the areas you visited. Once somethings was done and
you were above it's level it was useless and that in my eyes that was a big mistake because it leads to a huge
decrease in "class mobility" . To this day a lot of MMOs continue this trend and I fear Tree of Savoir might go in this
direciton but no info has shown up yet. Basically in a modern MMO you start at point A and go to point B. The
designers designed areas and monsters for you to fight. Like a map in Ragnarok Online where it says from level 1 - 10
after that it's useless. Anyways on to the main point to make you understand while fixed XP and Loot a great force in
the "class mobility".
So whats this "class mobility" I keep talking about. Well it's the interactions of low level players with high level
players and replayability of content in low level areas. In Ragnarok Online as you know monsters have a fixed drop
rate. If you kill this thing a certain number of times this will drop. Now what this system enabled was making content
relevant to everyone at all levels.
A Pupa would drop a Guard [1] or a Pupa card. While being low drop numbers these two
items were used by medium/high tier players. Same with a lot of starting area monsters.
Fabre cards, Peco Egg Cards, Picky cards and so on, they were cheap alternatives or
actually required equipment for some high tier classes. This would lead to high level
characters farming in low level areas for items and cards. Low level players would get to
see the higher classes, they would see high level spells and could if wanted interact with
high level players and that would lead new players to this feeling of "I wanna be that one
day" or I wanna play that class next plus it enabled an economy for new players if they
were smart, naturally this also lead to a lot of stealing and unfair prices but that was to m
also one of the charms of it... If you just started the game and found a Pupa card. You
could sell it depending on what server you were on for at least 100k or more. That was very valuable starting money
that enabled you to buy items, consumables, travel or simply having the security of money. This made interaction
between players a lot more exciting in the lower levels and it made content of low level areas replayable to higher
levels. If you farmed low level monsters you would still get the XP and the loot. You were still doin something
relevant. Even if your XP meter was moving along 0.01% per Pupa.



And let's not forget the fact that a fixed drop rate basically gave you a meaningful grocery list. You knew what items
you needed, you knew where to get them. You went out there and you knew what you had to do. It was a really
good time waster and the game knew how to make grind seem fun.
The combination of this fixed drop rate, fixed Base XP and fixed JobXP gave rise to content replayability and farming
different areas. Like I mentioned before Modern MMOs are all about hand holding while RO was an exploreative
sandbox type of game. So you had basically 4 types of farming spots. And then these was a mix of these depending
on the area.
*Good Base XP, Okay JobXP, No loot, No money making
*Good JobXP, Okay BaseXP, No loot, No money making
*Really good low drop change loot, no money making, okayish JobXP and BaseXP
*Tons of good money making items, okay JobXP and BaseXP but no good low drop chance loot.
This system also forced you to think. How fast am I killing these monsters whats my hourly XP average, what is my
gold average, how efficient is this area. The game had depth and a lot of things needed to be considered, if you were
in a high level area and you were a VIT character there was always the question of how much am I spending and how
much am I earning to level in this high level area compared to a more safer place. In modern MMOs this never comes
up because healing items are always highly limited to prevent "spam" and most monster combat is at most 5-10 vs 1
while in RO by draging creeps around you could easily end up in a 40 vs 1 situation if you weren't careful.
In a modern MMO the designers design 2~3 areas for your level range and later maybe just one. They hand hold you
with quests give you gear to progress while you kill monsters for irrelevant quest aka "Bring me 5 Wolf Hairs and you
get these boots" and then the funny thing is only every 3rd wolf drops "wolf hair". But what this system does it is it
eliminates the class mobility seen in RO. Content becomes irrelevant and obsolete as you complete it because even if
you haven't completed that one boots quest you know that in the next area you will find another one just like that.
This leads to a lack of replayability at high levels and makes high level characters never want go to the starting areas
ever again.
What RO did was tell you: "Hey NPCs sell basic gear, want better gear HUNT FOR IT. Where? Heres the map and what
drops what." You were encouraged to go out to the wilderness and hunt and survive. And after your adventure was
complete your gear while not visible would show were you have been. Kind of like Monster Hunter really. Now
naturally this system is more grind prone and it also user unfriendly if these is no interface in game to tell you what
drops what. Ro solved this by having websites and you could easily alt+tab to them to see things. So this area
became at first was a huge mountain to climb but after a while the community developed to fix things and then later
an actual map ingame was made.
So basically the combination of NPCs selling okayish items but no where near the droped ones, the fact that fixed
loot and XP gave you things to hunt and the fact that even if you came home with nothing you still maybe got money
and you could buy the thing you wanted on the market. All this lead to more communication betwen players, more
replayability and more incentive to make grind actually fun. Honestly to this day RO is the only game where I can just
go into the wild and grind. I don't care about quests or anything and it's still damn fun!






Market
Now this is a low point for Ragnarok online and it's mostly because the game was made such a long time ago. As you
probably know Ragnarok Online had a dedicated class just for well marketing. They had a great idea together with it
and thats the DC/OC system where you could sell loot for more and buy NPC items for less. If you wanted to play and
make money effectively a merchant at least with OC/DC maxed was a mandatory thing. While a very interesting class
to consider and it's advanced classes the blacksmith and alchemist are fun and I'm nostalgic we're losing them in
Tree of Savior I'm also kind of glad because this system was in place for the sole reason of technical limitations of the
time. Now on the the real market. Anyone that played Ragnarok online knows what a horrible market system it had.
First at in the beginning you had to basically leave your PC on with the merchant to sell things while you weren't
there. Then the fact that each shop can only contain a certain number of items. Then the fact that items had weights
so you actually had to have that too to sell them. Then the fact that there was no search system. Then the fact that
there was multiple markets around the server. Then the fact that you had to click and visit each one individually and
that could take around like from 2~20 minutes to do. Basically RO had a horrible outdated market system and I know
we'll get a normal auction house in Tree of Savior. Thank god for that too. I mean look at that picture.
But still this was one of the charms of RO and it's probably nostalgia speaking here. It's interesting to note that a lot
of korean MMOs sufered from this too. Maple story as an example but there was a lot more.



Skill and Stat System