Video Games

ESGS 2018: Gravity’s Ragnarok M: Eternal Love And Nostalgia

When nostalgia hits, it hits hard. Ask anyone about a memorable moment from an event or occasion, and they can go for hours and hours of storytelling without end. The same goes for video games, especially when you mention Ragnarok Online to any older gamer. Given the existence of Tencent’s Ragnarok Mobile and Ragnarok 2, a “new Ragnarok” in the Philippines might be confusing news. However, folks from Gravity helped clarified a lot about the upcoming game to the media in a short session at the E-Sports and Gaming Summit this year (ESGS 2018). Ragnarok M: Eternal Love touts itself as Gravity’s way of “giving back” to fans.

Ragnarok M: Eternal Love

Gravity’s new take on Ragnarok Online comes in the form of Ragnarok M: Eternal Love. If there’s any way to describe it so far, it appears to be quite the “faithful” adaptation of much of Ragnarok to a mobile platform. This is, of course, speaking from what little we’ve tried in ESGS 2018.

The crowd in support of Ragnarok M shouldn’t be underestimated, though. Gravity announced as many as 2.5-million pre-registered users for the game. Gravity explained policies and mechanisms such as language-based servers and regional servers will be equipped to handle the load of users on their servers.

In speaking of regions, Gravity appears to have plans forming partnerships with various brands in the country to promote the game. “We now have experience integrating payment systems and working with companies, … Players can now see more of the game online and offline as well,” they said.

Gravity also explained the regional aspect of servers will allow them to focus on particular community issues in the game. These include hacking, bots, and especially bullying. They said the new game will have dedicated GMs and customer support staff to meet the concerns of various players. Modern technology also allowed them to keep better track of bots and hacking.

On Ragnarok: The Basics

Newer MMO players will likely hear about the phenomenon that was Ragnarok Online from “vets.” Ask anyone who’s been gaming for almost the past two (2) decades, and memories will suddenly come in. It helps to learn about the game’s origins to understand the hype attached to the “return” of the classic in a modern format.

Enthusiasts – Ragnarok meta “specialists” in particular – will likely remember the game’s inspiration. Ragnarok Online gets its concepts from Lee Myung-jin’s manhwa of the same name. Gravity adapted the manhwa into a game in 2002, an anime in 2004, and an official sequel in 2012. It’s the original MMO, 2002’s Ragnarok, that perhaps jumpstarted the MMO “craze” in the Philippines. A lot of people still credit Ragnarok as the “OG,” and the MMO that perhaps propelled the Philippines as one of the biggest markets of online games globally.

The game touts 2D character sprites interacting with 3D environments. Players can choose from a myriad of classes after “graduating” as a Novice. These classes have their own special class progression systems. The world itself changes in both appearance and features as the “story” of the game evolves. This makes a lot of experiences memorable and unique for players, as they see the world unfold in their very eyes.

Server support PvE (Player vs. Environment), PvP (Player vs. Player), and Guild vs. Guild combat. Additions to the servers included Arena Combat, Player vs. All, and other interesting instance variations. Its dynamic class progression system (e.g., Transcendent) and unique socialization options (e.g., marriages) made a mark in MMO history.


A Modern Take On A Classic

According to Gravity, the new mobile experience builds on the “legacy” of the original game. This apparently goes across all dimensions, from recognizable features such as the marriage system and even graphics to attract both new and old players.

Also, according to Gravity, the new mobile experience builds on the “legacy” of the original game. This apparently goes across all dimensions, from recognizable features such as the marriage system and even graphics to attract both new and old players. Features such as PvP may arrive “soon” in the game. This will be one of many additions the game will have to retain the “spirit” of the original Ragnarok Online, which focuses on friendships and guilds.

“We want to share the memories of old players to new users,” they said. “We named the game ‘Eternal Love’ because we want to return the eternal love players have given to the game.”

However, this does not mean there will be no “modernized” content either. Costumes and hats will be accessible courtesy of a currency system. Whereas macros got to be the go-to tools for players before, skills apparently got optimized for the mobile version. Interestingly, there have been no hints as to the depth of the involvement of microtransactions in the game.

Gravity also clarified there will be no cross-play between PC and mobile versions of the game. They said this allows players to experience the key strengths of each platform. Spinoffs have yet to be in the works, but Gravity did clarify they are in consideration.

However, Gravity did tease the potential arrival of an e-Sports dimension to the game. “We’re doing R&D, … What we’re doing right now is to have a World Championship on mobile. But given the difference of network environments, we’re considering country versus country.”

Ragnarok: Nostalgia Hits Hard

Whether Ragnarok M: Eternal Love will make an impact on Philippine gamers has a lot to do with the game’s features and overall appeal. Admittedly, a lot of gamers – especially the older demographic – may find the concept of a “modern take” on Ragnarok interesting. The push to help introduce the “Ragnarok phenomenon” to newer gamers can be a good way to help them learn more about gaming’s roots in the Philippines as well.

Now, whether or not modern technology and gaming trends will help Ragnarok M: Eternal Love receive eternal love from audiences can be seen soon. The game will have an Oct. 31 launch, which will allow players to finally try the game on both PCs and mobile devices. Got any Ragnarok Online memories to share? Feel free to ping us or tell us in the comments!

Rhenn Taguiam

Rhenn Taguiam is a frustrated journalist with a knack for comic books and video games. He likes pizza and pasta, and has an uncontrollable urge to gush over anything Super Sentai, Star Trek or X-Men. He is currently on his way to get his Master's Degree - unless he creates his own video game or graphic novel first.

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