Doddler's RO Journal

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Requiem Online

By Doddler on June 26, 2008 in category 'Random Stuff'

Before we begin, this isn't a "Doddler's quitting RO" post.  For those not too familiar with the game, Requiem: Bloodymare is a game produced by Gravity, which just launched publicly last week.  Being by Gravity I felt compelled to give it a shot and talk about it a little.  This is a one-shot post, I probably won't talk about the game here again.

Requiem's claim to fame is that it touts itself as a 'Horror' MMO.  This theme, I'm not sure how well they succeeded in making the game 'scary', because its not a very frightening game.  The theme does seep into every aspect of the game though, from the characters, to the environment, to the monsters that inhabit it.

At the core of the game, Requiem is really your traditional MMO.  And by traditional I mean that if you didn't know any better you might be under the mistaken impression you were playing say, World of Warcraft.  The game plays pretty well like any regular 3D MMO you find these days.  You find quests, you slaughter monsters, you obtain better gears and levels, etc.  There's really nothing truly unique about it on the surface.  Where it does excel at is its unique theme and game environment.

The game world itself I found was the most convincing aspect of the game for me.  I don't think as a 'horror' MMO they really tried to go with scary, but what they did create was a very brutal, sometimes disturbing game environment.  The monster design I think is the strongest aspect here... the designs range from grotesque, to disgusting, to 'what the f*** is that shit'.  The variety of designs is really quite amazing.

The player attacks feel powerful and brutal.  When my warrior uses power moves, the resulting attack feels really satisfying to see.  The game certainly has no lack of blood, and in combat you'll see quite a bit of it fly off of the monsters and weapons (and yourself if you take a beating).  If this isn't your thing you can turn it down in the options and settings.  When a monster dies, they don't just keel over and die, but usually in some extravagantly brutal fashion.  Finishing blows seem to have a surprising tendency to knock limbs sky high, cleave monsters in two, and shower pieces all over the place.  Its brutal and over the top violent, but it feels right in the game.  I can't help but think that maybe they could have made better use of the havoc engine, but Requiem may be the only MMO game that when you kill a monster you're showered by pieces of your opponents.  Havoc does make it so these... explosions happen the same way across the network, so the effects you see is what everyone else sees too.

There's no shortage of blood in this game.

I found that environmental effects were lacking.  That's not to say I didn't like the environment itself, which was great, but the effects seemed a bit weak.  Its funny to say, but when I played Ragnarok Online 2, one of my favorite features was the in game time and weather.  The passing of time always flowed so nicely in RO2, and the game just looked breathtaking under the night sky... it really was impressive.  So for a game like Requiem, which puts so much emphasis on its environment, its kind of a shame that they didn't really flesh out this aspect more.  There is a constant time of day clock in game, but generally the game world looks the same during the day than it does in the middle of the night (there is some difference but not enough to be noticeable).  The only time the environment visibly changes is during Nightmare, but even then I'm convinced that they just threw in more fog and made it a bit darker.

Nightmare is an interesting game feature, though I think its better in concept than in practice.  When night strikes, between 11pm and 2am game time, the skys go pitch black for a few seconds, and then Nightmare begins.  Basically, Nightmare monsters are incredibly nasty monsters that make an appearance at this time of night, that usually you need to party together to take down.  When I heard of this game feature, I envisioned the clock striking 11 and going 'oh shit' and running for cover as monster came crawling out to take down unsuspecting travelers. 

Unfortunately how it really works is that nightmare monsters, and there's many different types but never more than 1 per region, usually appear in a rather small part of the map.  They are indeed frightening monsters, seriously, some of the nightmare monsters are the most twisted abominations I've seen in a game.  But the regions where they appear are so small that generally you have to look pretty hard to actually find where nightmare monsters are.  These monsters generally act like every other monster in the game too.  That is, they have a set spawn location, and usually walk slowly across a (usually rather short) patrol path, usually just back and forth between two points.  Its seriously hard to be afraid of monsters when they're so insanely predictable.

Rather than being kind of a 'survivor' mode, nightmare simply ends up being a couple of harder monsters with good drops that only appear at a set time.  It might feel better to call them bosses if you wanted, as you do usually need a strong party to survive in a Nightmare region.  Of course nightmare isn't all bad, since the times where I did group to kill Nightmares, it was a damn good time.  I just can't help but feel the feature is lacking.

My character, 'Tharis', at the character select screen.

Questing I think felt quite good when playing, which is good since its probably one of the main aspects of leveling.  Quest chains are quite rewarding and probably your top source for lant (in game currency) in the early game.  Even though about 50%-70% of the experience you need to level will need to come from monsters, the quests keep you focused and generally killing things within your level range, and give you a decent sense of direction.

That said, some of the quests are really dumb.  When I reached level 20, I was given a quest to kill some Sprigans.  Thats cool I thought.  Sprigans are pretty tough and come in big packs so I ended up having to find a party to kill them with.  After a while we organized a team, killed the Sprigans we needed to, and parted ways. Good stuff.  I went back to town, got my level, life was good.  And then there was another quest... to kill (you guessed it) more sprigans.  So I go out, repeat the process of finding a party, and killed the Sprigans.  This still wouldn't be bad, except I ended up having to do it like 6 different times, go to town, get another quest to kill Sprigans, find a party, kill them en mass (because the drop rate on the items is stupidly low).  It wouldn't be so bad but you don't get the quests at the same time, and it isn't possible to solo them really.  We couldn't just keep the same team because usually you had to get a level to get the next quest, and the people in the parties were usually doing different quests. It just got old after a bit.  That's not to say all questing ends up like this, but it was a defining moment for me.

Quests generally come in two flavors: regular NPC quests and scroll quests.  NPC quests are quite rewarding, usually follow long chains and you continually get good rewards over a period of time.  Scroll quests are started by using a scroll item, either bought from an NPC or found from a monster.  I'm not really sure what the scroll quests are good for other than to keep you busy.  For example, at level 28, it takes about 300,000xp to level. A good NPC quest will give me from 20,000 - 40,000 xp per part, and since lots of the time they'll just be simple 'talk to x person', they're usually quite worth it.  For some reason though, the scroll quests are giving me about 8,000-12,000 xp.  When they generally involve killing dozens of monsters that give me 1,500xp a kill, it seems pretty lame.

One thing that I like in this game, is the HP and SP regeneration.  I guess this isn't as much about Requiem as it is about how much it sucks **** in RO.  While regeneration is rather than how HP/SP regen is slowed while in combat, but when you're out of combat you can recover to full HP rather quickly, like in < 30s or so on my warrior.  Potions exist in the game but they're on such a lengthy cool down that you only can use 1-2 in combat usually, and out of combat its faster to let natural regen take over.  The regeneration rate means that its easy to form parties with any class.  While intense fights and instance dungeons definitely need dedicated healers and tanks, for regular hunting there's definitely an advantage to partying.  Monsters you can't normally take down on your own, you can do in a duo or small party.  You take less damage in the process, meaning you can go way faster.  This is unlike RO, where regeneration is so weak it may as well not exist at all.  For example on the kRO free server my level 25 mage takes approximately 14 minutes to reach max HP of 280. You can party in RO, but without someone to heal you, there's no benefit to being in a party.  It all comes down to the almighty potion... its a mechanic that would be nice to change.  But enough of RO.

The instance dungeons I have taken part in have been pretty fun. The Chaste Sanctum was an interesting time, though somehow we bugged one of the triggers by wiping as the boss died, preventing us from coming back and properly finishing this stage and moving on. Its the first most have heard of it so its probably not a big deal. I also did the Ruins of Lament a few times, which is also similarly an entertaining experience. One complain though that's quite obvious here is that the client is very poorly sync'd with other game clients. In one part of the Chaste Sanctum, you're required to jump onto a rotating platform and then similarly make jumps to the door you need to get to. Requiems not really a platformer but this is a pretty simple thing. Unfortunately it was insanely apparent that the platform was in a different position on each of our PCs. Players would appear to jump when there was nothing there and ride across thin air to the exit. Its a bit jarring to see that there's so little sync between the objects in the game world and across the clients, and probably a bit more concerning is the fact that it appears that character movement is handled client-side rather than server side.

I've been ragging on the game pretty hard, so I guess I should make it clear that its a pretty good game.  Of course, I neglected to mention the primary draw of the game up to this point, and thats that it is free to play.  I suppose its not totally free to play, they have two premium package tiers that gives you increased exp/drops and lowered death penalty, and a cash shop system that in my opinion, is considerably better than RO.  I gotta hand it to them, when I was playing Requiem, I had the feeling that the money I spent on the game was much better spent than on RO.  I bought the basic package for $7.99/month, which gave me +20% exp and drops, regional chat feature, and lower death penalty.  I also made a small shop purchase of a week of +30% exp additional and a fast mount that lasts a month (about $5 for those).  Consider in RO to get 50% bonus exp costs $1 for half an hour, I feel that this system is way better.  Not to mention that when I'm feeling on the cheap, I can still continue to play Requiem.

Anyways, so thats Requiem in a nutshell.  It shares a lot with WoW and other mainstream MMO's, and while its not as polished or expansive as say WoW is, Requiems impressive pricing scheme and bloody and twisted game environment could put it in a good position.  Its miles different from RO, though in actuality RO would be considered the unique MMO and Requiem definitely more main stream.  I got my character to level 29 so far, and being a free game I may come back from time to time to play.  Don't worry, I'm not leaving RO!  But Requiem isn't a bad game to try out if you enjoy this style of MMO.

Note: I would have had way more screenshots but apparantly Requiem screenshots weren't saving and I made it to level 26 before I figured that out.  Whoops!  I ended up having to use fraps for screenshots.

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Beelzebub Video

By Doddler on March 15, 2008 in category 'Random Stuff'

Here's a fun little video I found on nico nico video.  The video shows Beelzebub summoned at St. Capitolina Abbey via bloody branch on jRO Loki server.  In this video he's already changed forms to his larger, more grotesque form, and quite dangerous.  Its certainly a fun watch!  The Beelzebub was alive for aproximately 13 hours before it died.  And yes, Capitolina is considered a town map, but you can DB/BB towns on jRO.

Note that to use Nico Nico you need to register. I plan on linking to these videos in the future so you may as well make a login! The site is Japanese but you can use this guide to know how to sign up.

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WoE:SE Again!

By Doddler on February 7, 2008 in category 'Random Stuff'

Just when you thought I wouldn't make another video post, I did anyways!

A higher res version of the video can be downloaded here.

I decided I would break down what is going on in the video, so that people may be able to get a better idea of the flow of WoE:SE.  Note that there may be some error in my interpretation, but it should be pretty clean!

Start - Red Mirage begins attacking the enemy fort.
0:22 - The guild begins pushing toward one of the Gate Stones.
2:00 - Directly attacking the Gate Stone.
2:16 - The gate stone is destroyed, and the point abandoned.  The guild pushes toward the second Gate Stone.
3:40 - Recalled next to the second gate stone, the guild destroyed the second gate stone.  The main gate to the castle is now down, and the first barricade now vulnerable.
4:20 - The guild begins attacking the first barricade.
5:05 - The guild is recalled next to the first barricade.  You can clearly see that the main gate has been restored, indicating that the defending guild has restored the Gate Stones.  The attacking guild's re-enforcements can no longer reach the main attacking force from the entrance.  However, the attackers are already beyond the main gate, and so the defending team can not abandon their posts to ensure the gate stones are not taken down.  This move will by some time, but its too late to rely on the gate stones.
5:20 - The first barricade is broken.
5:30 - Re-spawning players in the attacking guild move to re-capture the gate stones.  Since the gate stones have been restored, the castles guardian force have also been restored.
6:02 - The gate stones have again been destroyed, destroying all defending guardians.
8:06 - The second barricade is in range and begins taking damage from the attacking team.
8:45 - The guild is recalled past the second barricade.  While the video does not show it, the second barricade must be destroyed at this time.
9:16 - The third and final barricade comes under attack.
10:00 - The final barricade is destroyed.
10:16 - The guild has captured the castle, and begins defending the entrance.
10:38 - The guild cannot hold the entrance portal, and begins defending one of the Gate Stones.  Its presumed that by focusing defense on one, the other gate stone may be quickly destroyed.
11:01 - The player uses the flag outside of the castle to warp directly to the emperium room.  From the emperium room, the player warps directly to the area they are currently defending.  This occurs several times allowing quick access for the defending guild to any part of the castle.
21:25 - The enemy guild pushed back, focus can be put on preventing players from entering the main entrance.
Till End - The guild successfully holds the attacks against the gate stones.  While the gate stones are intact, the enemy guild cannot pass the main gate, which leads to a perfect defense of the captured castle.

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Vision of Okolnir

By Doddler on January 31, 2008 in category 'Random Stuff'

This is one of those things that has nothing to do with my RO Journal, but I really wanted to talk about a little.  Appologies for the bad picture, its ripped right from the video.

Vision of Okolnir is the new god item quest so to speak.  Its unique from the old god item quest, in that its a trial that an entire guild must endure in order to create the godly equipment.  The requirements to enter are steep.  The guild leader must fully assemble the pieces of the god item he wishes to create (Aesprika or Brynhildr), bring his guild fort to a high enough econ level, and then organize 20 people to attempt the trial.  There's a time limit of 1 hour to complete the test, and failure means you'll have to try again the next day.

I've uploaded a video of korean players completing the trial, and its a joy to watch.  You can find the video here or here (use the first link of possible, to help conserve bandwidth).  Details about the dungeon progression can be found on irowiki here.  Special thanks to the great player who took that video and his guild, although I don't honestly know who they are (just found the video on mncast).  If you can't play mp4, use VLC Player, its well worth it.

I took some care when translating it, because it was hard for me to figure out what they were refering to in the original text.  The term "Okolnir" is the planes that exist after the battle of Ragnarok.  Vision, or the other translation for the term Illusion, likely refers to the fact that you are experiencing something that has not yet come to pass.

Anyways, having watched the video possibly more than I should have, I really got a feel for what the dungeon represents.  The design, the progression, it all looks supurb.  RO has never looked or played this well on any level.  Its an amazing piece of work, and a great example of what an end-game dungeon should be like.  The only shame is that only a handful of people will be able to attempt the trials.

It seems that my facination with the WoE:SE game update just keeps growing and growing as I learn more about it, and I hope you too are excited .   Since its possible that iRO may get WoE:SE in the near future, maybe I could convince some people to invite me if they were to do the quest, I would love to take part in it.


On a completely unrelated note, having been a bit bored with existing loading screens and being the future game update fetishist that I am (is that alright to admit?), I compiled some of the recent kRO loading screens into a pack to use for iRO.  If anyone feels like using them, although I doubt anyone does, its fairly easy to use.  If you don't use a skin, just extract the skin version into your RO\skins folder and in game switch your skin (alt-o) to future loadscreens.  If you do use a skin, just download the image only pack and drop it into your currently selected skin folder.  If you get sick of them (which you surely will!) just delete them or change skins.

Future Loadscreens - Skin Version
Future Loadscreens - Image Only

(I included the thor loading screens too but they won't display since iRO has a max of 11 loading screens)

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