Ragnarok: War of Gods takes the battle to Android
Ragnarok: War of Gods is a mobile MMORPG developed by Neo Cyon and published by Animoca. It is heavily based on Ragnarok Online by Gravity, which itself is based on the manwah or Korean comic Ragnarok: Into the Abyss by Myung-Jin Lee.
Ragnarok Online was the very first MMORPG that I played. I was one of the beta players and continued playing the game for five years or more. That is why upon learning that Ragnarok Online is coming to Android, I was quite excited to give it a try.
Gameplay and mechanics: It’s not about hack-and-slash
Ragnarok: War of Gods is quite simple. You farm monsters in the fields to earn experience and Zeny, the currency in the Ragnarok world. Pretty simple, right? However, in this game, the highlight isn’t the combat system, but the rest of the game mechanics, which affect how you build your character. Players may choose to play as a Swordsman, Mage or Acolyte, and they can change their jobs or classes after reaching a certain level. Each character class may have different builds. This is where Ragnarok: War of Gods shines as well as gets tricky.
There are two level branches per character — the base level and the job level. Every time a character gains a base level, he is given status points, which he will then distribute among five attributes. The key here is to focus on building two or three attributes that you will focus on in order to come up with a build that will suit your play style.
On the other hand, every time a character gains a job level, he is given a single skill point, which he can use to upgrade an existing skill. Building your character’s attribute goes hand-in-hand with building your skills and in turn, both skills and attributes affect what kind of equipment your character will use.
The character building system is something I like in this game because it makes up for the abundance of rote monster farming. What I don’t like, however, is how my monster-killing gets interrupted by the monotony of having to go home to sell my stuff because inventory space ran out too quickly and once it does, I am either slowed down or immobilized. To avoid this, players can either use inventory expansion items or choose which items to pick up.
Visuals and interface: Yes, they use 2D chibi anime sprites
Ragnarok: War of Gods is made up of a 2D sprite world with cute anime-like designs, which is exactly like Ragnarok Online. In fact, the character, enemy, and NPC sprites, as well as buildings, attack and skill animations, emoticons, and other elements are taken straight from Ragnarok Online. I believe this is to attract and please the players of the original Ragnarok Online. And in my case, it worked.
Since the game is played via a mobile device, I expected that movement in the game would be simple. Ragnarok: War of Gods offers two ways for players to move about. Players may tap on the screen or use an in-game directional pad. There are also two methods in talking to NPCs and attacking monsters. These alternative methods are convenient especially for people with large fingers that prohibit accuracy on the screen. Also, the in-game directional pad saves players from continuously tapping on the screen to get somewhere. You can just hold the in-game pad towards one direction that your character will keep on walking.
Audio: What just happened?
The game uses the midi format for music, and that’s understandable from a nolstalgic standpoint. I even liked that they used familiar background music and sound effects from Ragnarok Online. What I didn’t like, however, is how it is looped. Background music usually plays continuously without noticeable breaks or with fade-out, fade-in silence in between.
In this case however, the background music looped with awkward breaks. I also understand how background music sets the mood for action and adventure, but in the field map, the background music felt quite off. It was too heavy and energetic for my taste. I ended up turning off the background music and continued playing with the regular sound effects, which worked just fine for me.
Ragnarok: War of Gods is for gamers who like to think and calculate about character builds and reaping the fruits of their deliberations. It involves a lot of computation, logic, probability, and patience. It is not for gamers who prefer to skip the thinking and jump into the action. Nor does it rely purely on getting great equipment and learning the best spells. If you do not pay attention to the character building system, you might perceive it to be a boring tap-and-kill routine-based game.
Both patient and veteran players will enjoy this game. If you previously played Ragnarok Online, I definitely recommend this. It will stir up nostalgia in your stomach. You will remember your old characters, your old party-mates, and guild-mates. The first few minutes will remind you of your first character, your anticipation of learning a reliable set of skills, and your boss-hunting sprees.
Ragnarok: War of Gods is free to download from the Google Play Store and offers in-app purchases using real money.
(Edited by Terence Lee)