The Infinite Zenith

Victory costs. Every time, you pay a little more.

Introduction and basics

Ragnarok Online (RO) is an MMORPG created by GRAVITY Co., Ltd. based on the manhwa Ragnarok by Lee Myung-jin; it is the first one I have tried. Much of the game's mythos is based on Norse mythology, but its style has been influenced by Asian cultures. It is highly recommended for people who have not played RPGs before, since that RO is extremely simple and has a user-friendly interface. One simply starts out as a novice, chooses a profession and builds his or her character's statistics and skills around that profession. Along the way, the one can explore the RO world.

  • One of the differences between Ragnarok and World of Warcraft: the cute anime-like characters. The client is remarkably light-weight: it only consumes around 2.4 GB on a hard drive, and can run without an installer.

 

  • This picture gives you an idea of what the Ragnarok Online interface is like: nice, simple and easy. It is far easier than the WoW interface, with all its controls bound to the keyboard and floating menu UIs. I haven't played RO in a long time, but the game certainly brings back memories: I spent a great deal of time with Iino, and here, he accepts my request to explore the most remote and exotic places Ragnarok.

Setting 

Ragnarok Online is divided into a series of maps, each of which has its own terrain and native monsters, though many monsters are native to multiple regions. Transportation between maps requires loading the new map and monsters cannot travel from one map to another.

  • Pronterra is the capital of Rune Migart. I used to meet up with friends here before going on dungeon raids, and recall fondly one spring afternoon where a bunch of us got together for a Zombies Festival. The wizard may be a glass cannon and may be weaker in PvP if not geared correctly, but is still incredibly useful in crowd control situations.

  • Moroc Pyramid is a ways from Pronterra. This is the third level of the pyramid, and is home to a wide range of undead. Players may wish to farm items here for zeny, as drops are fairly good for making a little exta cash. One level below is where ancient mummies are: Lazychubb and I spent an evening taking them out after his first encounter resulted in his getting wiped out.

There are three major nations in Ragnarok Online, the first of which and where all players start is Rune Midgard. The Schwaltzvalt Republic is an industrialized neighbor to the North, and Arunafeltz is a religious nation modeled after a combination of Israel and Turkey. Each of these nations have a town at the center. The towns are where players go to buy and sell stuff, get job changes, start quests, etc.

A series of other, minor nations also exist, generally modeled after an ancient society in the real world, examples such as Amatsu, which is modeled after ancient Japan,and Louyang, which is modeled after ancient China. Areas from Norse mythology are also included, such as Niflheim, the land of the dead, and Valhalla, where players can become Transcendent Classes.

Jobs

Much like most RPGs, RO allows one to choose their profession as either a swordsman, mage, thief, archer, merchant or acolyte. I have only ever played as a wizard, and hence, I am most familiar with the technique to building a good wizard.

Guides

As with all other MMORPGs, there are sites and guides for those who are interesting in improving their game experience. There is no right or wrong way to play the game, but people who are somewhat of an authority on certain matters have kindly shared their experiences with online guides. 

  • Official Website- A very colourful, easy to navigate place, the official site gives outlines of all the classes, some FAQs and screenshots.
  • RatemyServer Database- The ultimate place to go for looking up items, monsters, maps and FAQs on specific matters. For GMs, this is a goldmine of information.
  • Character Guides- Wondering how to get your crusader up to speed or how a priest can be effective at soloing? GameFAQs has user-submitted guides that will be of assistance.

Mage Outline

Before becoming a wizard, one must be a mage first. Mages utilize powerful spells, rather than melee attacks to defeat thier enemies, and thus, have a large set of skills that maximize thier magical capacity. Playing as a mage requires a set of tactics exlusive to mages. Firstly: to set up a mage, maximize intellect (boosting SP) and dexterity (which reduces cast time for spells). Then go to Geffen to change jobs. The test itself is quite simple: you simply must obtain ingredients to make a simple potion. Once you become a mage, work on levelling up to obtain the necessary skill points and experience to obtain skill points, which will go towards earning your spells. Start out with napalm beat, and level it until Soul Strike becomes an option. Head to the Payon Dungeons to level up easily on the undead monsters there. The experience earned towards your job level can then be used to obtain the remaining spells, which will be required to unlock the more powerful wizarding spells later. 

  • Payon is an archer village, but it's actually a nice place for mages: the Payon Dungeon is north of the city: with plenty of undead monsters, it is perfect for mages seeking to master soul strike, which happens to be the fastest casting spell a mage will have access to.

  • Payon Dungeon, level 3. Usually, there are hydra monsters here, but Lord of Vermillion fixes that in a flash. If you are a mage, use Thunderstorm to clean them up. Payon Dungeons are fairly easy, except for the ninetails you'll run into later. It is suggested you have some defensive spells or a few buddies to assist you in the higher levels of this dungeon.

Mage Skills

Unlike a majority other classes, which use melee attacks as thier means of defeating monsters, mages (and wizards) use skills to attack monsters. The following list of skills are important for building a good wizard

SP Recovery- Recover SP every 10 seconds while character stands still. The amount of recovered is the sum of an SP amount equal to the skill`s level multiplied by 3, and an SP amount determined by the character`s Max SP. This is useful for solo players, especially where you take on large groups of monsters and drain SP quickly. 

Fire Bolt- Summon bolts of fire from the sky to strike a target. Skill`s level affects the number of bolts summoned in one skill cast. There is a skill delay after each cast of Fire Bolt. In general, the bolts are good damage dealers for beginners. This is (obviously) a fire element spell (and therefore, useless against fire elementals.)

Cold Bolt-Summon bolts of ice from the sky to strike a target. Skill`s level affects the number of bolts summoned in one skill cast. There is a skill delay after each cast of Cold Bolt. You will require this spell to get Frost Diver, a useful spell which also will unlock useful water element spells as a wizard.

Frost Diver- This spell requires a level 5 cold bolt to be acquired. Attack a target with an ice spell that has the chance of freezing it. The target`s Magic Defense affects the chance of being frozen, as well as the duration of the Frozen status. Frost Diver will not work on Boss and Undead monsters. This skill has a 0.8 sec Cast Time, as well as a Cast Delay. This is a good spell to get for starting mages, as it will enable you to obtain the most powerful spell later as a wizard.

Lightning Bolt- Summon bolts of lightning from the sky to strike a target. Skill`s level affects the number of bolts summoned in one skill cast. There is a skill delay after each cast of Lightning Bolt. A wind element bolt, it is useful for later when it is required for the more powerful wizard spells.

Thunderstorm- This spell requires a level 4 lightning bolt to be acquired. Summon a Thunderstorm to inflict splash damage in a 5*5 area around the targeted spot. Each strike of the Thunderstorm inflicts an amount of damage equal to 80% of the caster`s Magic Attack strength. This skill`s level affects the number of strikes inflicted by the Thunderstorm. Once again, useful AoE spell.

Napalm Beat- A Ghost property attack that causes damage to enemies within a 9 cell area around the target. There is a 1 second Cast Delay each time after Napalm Beat is cast. It's not very effective, but having it enables you to get Soul Strike, the Mage spell with the fastest cast time.

Soul Strike- Requiring a level 4 Napalm beat,  Soul strike summons holy ghosts to inflict Ghost property attacks on a target. At level 10, these ghosts will inflict 5 consecutive strikes. This skill has a 0.5 second Cast Delay.This is the fastest spell a mage (and wizard can have, and it is extremely useful in most situations.

Sight- Summon a fire ball that will spin around and detect hidden enemies within a 7*7 cell area around the caster. Each cast consumes 10 SP. This will be required later to obtain the AoE Meteor Storm (which requires Sight trasher)

Wizard Outline

Wizards are the next class after becoming a mage. You will gain new spells that are considerably more powerful than your old ones, and a new array of Area of Effect (AoE) Spells. However, before you can enjoy these awesome new powers, you must first get to a Job level of 40 and apply to take a test. The test is rather difficult, and is element focused. An alternative to taking the test is to obtain gemstones and giving them to an NPC as a quest. Once you are a wizard, your main purpose will be to stay in the presence of crusaders, knights, assassins and hunters, and assist them. Let these classes rush in and attract the attention of mobs and/or bosses, and stay in the wings, dealing out damage with your AoE spells. This method will allow you to level up quickly. As a soloing wizard, you may wish to develop spells that cast faster, as well as obtain equipment that allow you to increase dexterity.

  • My buddies and I gear up for a winter zombie festival in Pronterra. Moments after I took this screenshot, zombies started invading. Of all my friends, I was able to practically clean up the entire mess, owing to my AoE spells. AoE, or Area of Effect spells, will become an indespensible tool for wizards.

  • "I'm at the top of the world!" Gonryun is one of my favorite places in RO. I came across it during the later part of summer 2008; at this point, I was finally capable of exploring and getting to places without dying, and this floating town with its unique attractions is quite possibly one of the most peaceful places to be in RO.

  • I have a lot of fond memories of Ragnarok Online. It was February 2008 when I was first introduced to the game, but owing to the tedious nature of being a novice, I never played too often until one evening (of a lunar eclipse, no less) when my friends got together and helped me out. I soon became a mage and spent countless hours with Lazychubb in the Payon and Orc dungeons levelling away. Six months later, I was a level 90 wizard, and with Iino, I went exploring some of the quieter corners of the RO world.

  • This was one of the destinations: Moscovia. A Russian themed town, the only way to get here is from Alberta. After touring the town's unique architecture, I had one more request in mind...

  • The final destination was the Yggdrasil Tree; in Norse mythology, the Yggdrasil tree connected Hell to Heaven and Earth, and was tended to by the Norns.My intention for the moment was to farm Yggdrasil berries and Mandella Fruits, but I was amazed by how sceneic it was here.

Wizard Skills

In addition to carrying over and improving mage spells, wizards also learn to use the more powerful AoE spells, which are indespensible when it comes to taking out mobs and crowd control in PvP.

Jupiter Thunder- Requiring a level 1 napalm beat and a level 1 lightning bolt, Jupiter Thunder shoots a lightning ball that will inflict multiple hits at a target. The distance, counted in cells, that the target is forced backward after being hit by Jupitel Thunder is equal to the number of hits received from the lightning ball. On water element enemies, it can do damage exceeding 12000 HP.

Lord of Vermillion- Summon explosive bolts of destruction to a targeted area, hitting enemies within the area 10 times per second for 4 seconds. Lord of Vermilion also has a chance of inflicting the Blind status to enemies. There is a 5 second Skill Delay after each cast. Lord of Vermillion requires a level 1 Thunderstorm and a level 5 Jupiter thunder.

Sight trasher- This skill can only be used after Sight has been cast and is active. Sightrasher projects the fireballs summoned from Sight in 8 directions around the caster. These fireballs will inflict Fire damage and push back enemies. This skill has a 0.5 second Cast Time followed by a 2 second Skill Delay. It requires sight and a level 1 lightning bolt.

Meteor Storm- Summon meteors from the sky that will inflict Fire damage to nearby enemies. The meteors will fall on random spots within a 7*7 targeted cell area. Each cast is followed by a 15 second Skill Delay. This fire spell requires sight trasher and thunderstorm (level 1)

Storm Gust- Summon a blizzard upon a targeted area, striking enemies within range a total of 10 times, pushing them in random directions. Enemies that are hit 3 times in 1 Storm Gust may freeze, although this skill cannot freeze Boss and Undead monsters. It requires a level 3 Jupiter thunder and a level 1 frost diver. It is the most effective AoE in the game, able to freeze most enemies (or damage them heavily). Frozen enemies, regardless of element, can then be damaged heavily by Jupiter Thunder or Lord of Vermillion.

Transcendence

Once the player reaches base level 99 and job level 50, they can elect to "rebirth" their character, and relevel as a transcendent class, which has more skills and a larger number of status points to work with, although the experience curve is much higher.

  • Belldandy, a High Priest, will walk you through the quest to transcendence. She is currently standing in front of the sage academy.

Quest to Transcendence

Talk to the Librarian, pay him exactly 1,285,000z to get started. He will not accept your zeny if you have anything more or less than the required amount on you.

  • This is the Book of Ymir. I never thought I would come here and see the library, but I've transcended around five characters at the time of writting

Requirement: You must be at base level 99, job level 50, used all your job skill points, is a 2-1 or 2-2 class, is not a super novice, ninja, gunslinger, soul linker, star gladiator or any other classes that does not have transcendent class.

Now go all the way south until you see a stair leading down. Walk down the stair to enter the maze, there you have to find the Heart of Ymir. It contain the last piece of knowledge you need to open the Book of Ymir.

  • The heart of Ymir is located precisely here. Getting here takes a while (on my first try, it took around 15 minutes to get to the spiral stairs), but a trick is to make turns in one direction (e.g. always turn left or right).

Once inside the maze, just keep walking and enter portals until you end up in a spiral room with a portal in the center. You must enter the portal in the center of the room. From there, you will enter a room with a machine in the center. The Heart of Ymir is just located under the machine. Go to the south of the machine and look for the NPC Chat bubble ( the "..."), talk to it and you are done. Now you can go back to open the Book of Ymir.

Read the Book of Ymir, it will warp you up to Valhalla. You will see NPCs representing different classes up there, when you are ready to be a Transcendent (or Advanced) Class, you will have to talk to them to change your job. For now, you just have to become a high novice. So just go straight up and meet with Valkyrie.

She will change you into a High Novice, warps you back to the town where you can change to your corresponding first class. (Note: you must have no possessions[with the exception of some items], zeny or a pet).

  • This place is epic. After becoming a high novice, you'll start over again from scratch. A good idea is to put all your stuff into your Kafra storage, and retrive them later. As for money, some of your friends can help you carry it (if you trust them)

From there on, you can level up your high novice and talk to your corresponding first job quest NPC to change you into your high first job. You do not have to do the job quest again, the NPC will change since you are a high novice.

When you are ready to hit your transcendent second job, go back to read the Book of Ymir to get up to Valhalla. Talk to the corresponding NPC to your job, he/she will change you into your Transcendent Class second job.

Note: As a high novice, you will get 100 stat points to distribute freely. Your quest skills will reappear when you have the skill requirements.

Interesting places

  • Alberta is the gateway to Gonryun. It is a nice, tropical town, where the merchants begin their adventures. My sage, Koyomi, stands in one of the streets, wondering where to go...

  • Belldandy standing outside a shop in Ayothaya. I've always wondered where this map is, and what a pretty town it is too.

  • Keitaro, an assassin cross, stands on a cliff in Hugel. This town is very Germanic in architectural terms.

  • Try talking to the NPCs, as they often have very interesting things to say. In Amatsu, this girl tells of a rather interesting story about the Saukra tree on the hill.

  • This is one of those few places where you feel like you'll fall off the cliff and into the eternal fog.

Memories of Ragnarok Online

"The memory of RAGNAROK" Ragnarok Online Original Sound Track is a best-of soundtrack album featuring background music in addition to remixes and vocal arrangements of certain pieces. The game's official theme song, "You & I," is also included. It was developed by SoundTeMP and released by Gravity in 2006. The album features vocal arrangements of certain pieces, performed by Lee Seung-Yeon, Lee Jeong-Hee and Seo Ji-Hae. Online, it's an extremely rare download (in fact, only two known downloads exist. One is in .vbr format, which requires a dedicated codec or VLC to play, and the one I supply below is .mp3.

Memories of Ragnarok Soundtrack 

The soundtrack is very beautiful and captures some of the best songs in the game. It evokes a fond memories of the older days when things were far simpler...some of these memories are shared below.

  • Lazychubb (an assassin) meeting up with my wizard prior to raiding the Morroc Pyramid as a two-man army outside Geffen. In the earliest days of playing Ragnarok, my mage was so fragile I couldn't level up without dying at least once. Being in a party with a crusader and assassin really helps, as the crusader can heal and tank, while the assassin can cover me. I went on a few battles with Lazycubb, most notably in the Morroc Pyramids. I was capable of casting quickly enough to dispatch everything except the mimics, and subsequently, died. Lazycubb named our next party "Damn Boxes". Another adventure in Morroc involved us taking on the Ancient Mummy: back then, we were level 50 characters, and while he distracted the enemies, I would freeze and shock them with Storm Gust and Jupiter Thunder. These days, I can dispatch an Ancient Mummy no problem using the same spells. Below, Lazychubb wails on a mummy that came towards us: he specialises with Assassins, and is one of the most knowledgable players around as to what the best gear is.

  • Exploring the Payon Dungeons with Iino. I spent many a hour in Payon dungeons perfecting Soul Strike, but when I got to the third level, the Ninetails always laid waste to my wizard. Having a friend around really helped, and one night, I partied with six other players to fight the boss of Payon Dungeons. After the fight ended, I was stuck there with no butteryfly wings and essentially left my wizard there. Below is the Gonryun dungeon: the first level is an underground cavern filled with zipper bears and butterflies. The next bit is rather more novel: it is a giant bagammon game board.

  • After another friend joined my party, we worked to get him up to speed with the rest of the players. Tanking a mage with a wizard marginally worked, and I stuck around with my friend until he was level 40.

  • I convinced a priest to join our party to help out with raids, and by doing so, the lower-level members could survive longer and level up faster. Ragnarok is most fun in large groups, like WoW, but in order to get to that stage, one needs to get past the first few levels, which involve whacking stuff.

  • Belldandy and I enjoy a moment together in one of the pagodas surrounding Payon.

  • Ninjas are an unusual class in RO, capable of using stealth and magic. I decided to play one after a friend and I managed to defend a castle effectively during WoE. My instant cast Storm Gust and his Lightning Jolt worked very effectively at stopping anything that entered our portal, and from what the other guild had said, the Storm Gust instilled fear in their souls. Ninjas have some rather cool magic skills, and here, my Ninja casts Blaze Shield.


Infinite Zenith