In less than one hour’s time, history shall be made, a historical happening that is quite near and dear to my online heart. The first North American (English) server of Ragnarok Online II will go online, clocking in at nine, that’s right, NINE years after the game’s first conceptual announcement in 2004.
To this day, the original Ragnarok Online remains one of my favorite games of all time. (Only contending against Final Fantasy X for the main title.) The game’s innovation of 2D sprites in a 3D environment broke the sphere of side-scrolling MMORPGs and proved to have one of the most, if not the most technical game-play. Let us not forget the huge amount of customization in the game present in the class system, accumulating more than 20 individual occupations, creative catalog of class skills, unique card system, and more. Ragnarok Online ushered in a new era of creative mechanics and thrilling supplementary content. not to mention its premise based off the joint-mythological battle of the gods, which just screams epic. (The game’s alternative subtitle is The Final Destiny of the Gods, god damn, how can you not want to witness that?)
Despite all of this, more than anything, what I enjoyed most about Ragnarok Online were the personal experiences. Of course it was the construction of the game that let me so to speak, find a life in the game, but when I retrospect, what really mattered most to me were the friends and interactions beyond the game. And for that, I am forever thankful that the game itself could emulate a home for me. I often say that some of my best friends ever are the ones I met online and only interacted with online. And although I’ve lost contact with them all (Curse you, private server wipe!), I still believe that to this day. Needless to say, at that early age of however old I was, I found a true subculture in the world of MMORPGs, and most specially, Ragnarok Online. From the perception of the present day, where the industry seems to be desolate and moribund; those remembrances seem bittersweet, but that’s exactly what defines those memories as precious to me.
Bring me back to the years 2004-2007 and you would find me as a boy ecstatic at the announcement of Ragnarok Online 2: Gate of the World. It was during those years that I yearned to re-experience the joys of Ragnarok so I did everything to my power to re-create that grandeur. And oh boy, do I mean everything, from e-mailing a blogger offering Korean open beta accounts, putting the game’s installation file and/or actual post-installation files on a USB for my friends to play, making dozens and dozens of e-mail accounts for some reason I don’t even remember, and even searching through loads and loads of forum posts about bypassing Korean Social Security Number (KSSN) requirements. In the end, it was all to not much avail. I was able to play the game with one or two friends, but the experiences paled in comparison. For the most part, I was able to enjoy the game for the game and not much beyond that.
Since then, time has dwindled my anticipation and passion for the Ragnarok franchise, but I will always cherish it as a defining phase in my life. Today, I openly welcome the English release of Ragnarok Online II: Legend of the Second with open arms. If there is anything I learned from my past attempts, it’s that you cannot force the greatest moments in your life. They are that great because they are beyond your expectations. Now, since the servers are to open in ten minutes, I’d like to publish this post on that very optimistic note. Here’s to great gaming and heavenly friendships in the online community!