Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ragnarok Online

Ragnarok Online is an online role-playing game that was released in 2002. It's old. But it was the first MMO-style game that I ever played. It inspired me to craft stories within its world, and so Poring Pelters was born.

If you aren't familiar with the game, or haven't played it in a long time, you might have a hard time following the comic. So, following this is a bit of an explanation of the game world.

Class System

In Ragnarok Online, every character starts as a novice, the typical newbie character with only the most basic skills. There are six "first classes" that a novice with sufficient experience can become: Archer, Swordsman, Merchant, Thief, Acolyte, and Mage. These, in turn, have two class options. For example, a Swordsman can become a Knight or a Crusader.

(from RagnarokHQ. Visit them for more in-depth information)

And so the Prologue of the comic is focused on a novice character seeking out her first class, visiting the various guild headquarters and generally introducing the world as well as I could at the time.

Class and Age

In the comic world, how old you are generally determines your class level.
Age 12~17: Novice
Age 15~25: First Class
Age 20+: Second Class

These are estimations because based on how hard you train, you could advance faster, or, if you're not sure what you want to be, you could take longer if you need more time to decide.


In the game world, there are also advanced classes. When one reaches max level in their second class, they can be 'reborn' (transcend) to become even more powerful. But in Poring Pelters, there is no such system. Characters using a 'transcendent' sprite are either wearing different clothes for the sake of variety (e.g. Ezzarian and Kenny) or to indicate a high honor or skill level (e.g. Sir Glass). The same is true of 3rd jobs.

About the Lore

Ragnarok Online has its own storyline and lore. Poring Pelters tries to integrate some of the lore, but I've made some modifications over the years. As I recall, the game doesn't seem to mention nobility or noble families, so that's one important artistic difference.

Also, the comic began in 2005, and there have been many updates to the game since its start, introducing new game mechanics and new regions. Much of this 'new' content I'm not familiar with, and so some of it will be ignored (specifially, the destruction of Morroc and Surt's revival, Curse of the Gaebolg questline, Arunafeltz & Veins questlines) in the comic because the story has already been written without it. As time goes on in the comic, I may investigate these topics, but we'll just have to see.

As an MMORPG, there isn't much of a 'goal' to the game except to get stronger just to defeat even stronger monsters, so the comic focuses more on friendships and relationships between people than combat, so it's more dialogue-heavy than anything.

Ragnarok Online 2?

Ragnarok Online has a sequel. The sequel's lore is not relevant to Poring Pelters' lore. I have not played the game, and, at this time, I don't intend to play it.

Death and Resurrection

In the game, you never really die. If you fall in battle, you can simply respawn at your save point. Or, perhaps, there is a priest with resurrection who can revive you, or a character with an yggdrasil leaf (revival item).

In the comic, it'd be silly if characters couldn't die. There is no such thing as revival at the save point, and there are conditions for the resurrection spell to work. You have to be alive still! If you've stopped breathing, you cannot be revived. Game over.

The Hide skill

Thieves have a skill called "Hide" that allows them to, well, hide--blend in with their surroundings. However, in the game, the thief cannot move with this skill active. That restriction has been removed for the comic's purposes.

Never played the game?

I've written the comic assuming all of its readers have played Ragnarok Online and are familiar with its mechanics. But in the odd case that you aren't familiar with it, or perhaps haven't played it in a while, here are some game mechanics and terminology that will come up:

General Terms
Party - a group of adventurers fighting together form a "party." In other games it might be called a "group."
Solo/Soloing - people without a party are alone = solo
Zeny - currency in the game
PecoPeco - a giant bird that Knights ride like a horse
Kafra Service - this is an in-game service that provides item storage and fast travel services to other towns. The Kafra service is run by maid-like ladies who are generally called "Kafras"

Fly Wing - this is an item you can use to teleport in a zone. Useful for escaping a dangerous situation. The Acolyte skill, Teleport, does the same thing. Shorthand: F-wing
Butterfly Wing - similar to a Fly Wing, but it teleports you directly to your save point in town. Shorthand: B-wing
Clip - an accessory item that can be enchanted to cast a spell (e.g. a Teleport Clip can cast Teleport)
Blue Gem - an important spell component for some priest spells. Shorthand: B-gem
Yggdrasil Leaf - an item that can be used to revive someone who is near-death
Dead Branch - an item that can be used to summon monsters. In-game it's often used to cause trouble and get players killed. Shorthand: DB
Emperium - this item is required to form an independent guild. It's rare.

Heal - self-explanatory, I'd hope. An acolyte skill.
Agility Up - an acolyte skill that increases walking speed. Shorthand is "Agi up"
Warp Portal - an acolyte skill that creates a portal that anyone can walk into and be teleported to wherever the caster set it to go. It requires a blue gem to cast. An acolyte can only memorize up to 4 locations to warp to.
Pneuma - an acolyte skill that blocks arrows
Hide - a thief skill that allows one to hide from enemies. Can be detected by an acolyte's Ruwach or a mage's Sight spell.

A familiarity with the game's monsters can't really be explained...
You should know the iconic poring and its relatives.
Boss monsters are called MvPs (like in real-life sports) and it usually takes a strong, well-coordinated party to take them down. When people go "MvPing" it means they are trying to defeat one of these bosses.

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