Ragnarok Online has been Gravity's Baby since 2002 when it went pay 2 play in Korea. Since that time tons of partner versions have opened up around the world. iRO was one of the first non kRO versions around, and we had a great time in open Beta period when there weren't even 2nd classes in existance. Since 2002 the game has greatly expanded and changed. New classes, new systems, new ways of competing, all have been introduced, and along the way the community outlook has changed. Looking back at materials such as loading screens, fansites and even our own little collection of screenshots it is easy to see that the feelings in the game are different. The reasons for that are probably as diverse as the people having them but I know competition, long time of playing, real life, getting older and even how we service Ragnarok probably factor highly into the joy in the community.
I can speak for most of the team here that has been around since before 2005, when I say we came to work here and stayed here because we love RO, we played it since the olden times, and have played it with friends and had many smiles along the way, but things don't quite feel the same now as they did then.. The play styles over the years has certainly gotten more aggressive and abuse of players/systems etc have certainly risen. Those behaviors used to be from the deviants of the community, but now it seems to a prevailing attitude that definitely lowers overall joy and positive feelings in Ragnarok. I know that Renewal certainly didn't help, although its intentions were certainly good and the premise was solid just not the implementation. Right now Ragnarok is doing "ok" but ok is not where I want to be, I want to see new players enter, I want to see old vets return and have fun, I want to see WoE actually have a point rather than feeling like it is a necessary chore.
In the past I would pass much of the changes to the dev team to fix correctly, but at this stage the issues are numerous enough and the ideas plentiful enough that I believe we can make great strides towards these goals with just our own team here. One thing that I know we can't do, is not to try, we must get things moving in the right direction, if we can gain momentum from you we can keep it going and get more support to make the changes even faster with the Development teams support. Stagnation is the greatest enemy a game and community can have and frankly I love this game too much to let that happen. I hate my job when I have to say NO to good ideas, so for now we are going to try the "if we can make it happen then we will make it happen" idea and skipping some of the long approval and dev creation steps.
So with that out of the way I want to actually talk about what crazy ideas we are going to start pushing in May.
- Seal quest Revamps Early May: This will improve the seal quest rewards. Make parties better able to do the quests together (so bottlenecks are eliminated) already the Divorce Devi can reset your Seal quest status with a Reset stone.
- God item creation revamp late May: Brining actual competition back in the item making. This will be controversial but I do believe it will be fun. After seals close the dwarfs take 10 minutes or so to open a portal to a new guild dungeon that is only open when making god items. A tougher set of monsters will be in there, and a long kill count that only the item creator can undertake WITH THEIR GUILD IN THAT DUNGEON. After the count is complete the dwarf will let you in to make the item. Those pushing the seals with each turnin get to vote on which of the 4 realms they want to open. The winningest vote gets in early to the special dungeon. If no creation happens in 6 hours seals open up at 10 away from releasing, kill counts reset on subsequent entries so you can't prestock the kill count.
- Safe way to "lend" god items.
- Monsters in the guild dungeons will be reviewed at this time as well to make them more gooder.
- New Player game play update Mid May: New players have a heck of a time knowing what is going on, the tutorial system need love, website needs updating, eden group needs more "notice" from new players.
- Level penalty being hacked out.. (late May Early June) : We will have to review all the monsters current level and exp and the exp that characters need to level. Both will get updated so we have a "kills per level" system that players can go faster than by taking on bigger challenges. I already expect oversights with this as it is a HUGE potential update, so your patience is appreciated when we screw up with it.
- 13.3 is going to start internal testing in Late May. We expect it to get onto Sakray shortly after USRC is done, and hopefully we can have a neat game update in the middle of summer for once for players to enjoy.
- The skill updates that HQ has done over the last year, we are Indian Leg Wrestling currently to get those ASAP. Even though they are not perfect they are better than now, and I would rather us try to make changes on something that has a better base than the shaky one we currently have for skills.
- Kafra shop stuff: There is a GUI for the kafra shop that we are working on so that the NPCs are no longer necessary. We also are working with getting new Dyes, the cool mounts and hopefully by end of summer the "Costume System". These are all things that we have wanted every bit as long as you all have, so those are definitely on our asap list.
- We are also going to be making more VIP content like special hard dungeons (will be level restricted to make sure it stays a challenge) that can give gear as rewards as well as fast leveling. Those without VIP can get in for 30 days by using a Reset Stone. Those Reset Stones will likely get a name change to be something like "Wonder Stone" or something spiffy like that, but those are the things we use to keep VIP great but those that still want to do so, able to do so.
All games I've ever played have had problems or things that aren't quite perfect for me, but even with those things the communities still can be positive and wholesome, we need to get back to that Wholesome as it is more fun for everyone and it is far more likely to attract new players, so very likely the forums will go through a change more towards sugar plums and fairy tales in attitude rather than the gritty war forum talk we currently have. We will ask each player to be nice, even when you have a problem to please be nice in how you state it; it is a measure of higher intellect to get an angry point across without being rude/mean/acerbic about it.
Changes be a comin', keep a smile on your face and happier days will arrive!