Sunday, August 26, 2012

Private Servers

Ragnarok Online: Private Servers

Ragnarok Title


Ragnarok Online is a Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game created by GRAVITY. It was launched on August 31, 2002 and is still existent until now. It have also spawned lots of Private Servers as well as Official Servers all over the world. There are also news about a new Ragnarok Online 2 game in the works.
As for its graphics, it is run in a full 3D environment but the sprites ( characters ) are only 2D. As for its gameplay, it has the point-and-click system and the keyboard is used to cast respective skills, but you will still need the mouse since the skill system is very dependent on the point-and-click system.
Here is a picture of the game's graphics:


Now for its BGMs ( Background Music ), it consists of over 100 individual tracks, composed by SoundTeMP and many others. Every area or map in Ragnarok have its own unique BGM, skills also have their own sound effects, even a level up have its own catchy yet short sound effect.
As for its distribution, it started out as P2P ( Pay-to-Play ) game but then later on in the industry, many servers emerged as F2P ( Free-to-Play ) which made the official server quite neglected, so they changed the game into F2P instead. Private servers are now rampant throughout the world, with player communities ranging from only hundreds or even thousands. Ragnarok might be shadowed out by newer games, but its own beauty and unique gameplay will still be good throughout the years to come.

Ragnarok Online: Private Servers

Private Servers emerged when people learned out how to customize as well as improve the already existing Official Servers with the use of eAthena, is an open-source game server software used to modify the game client of Ragnarok.
How eAthena looks like:

In choosing a Ragnarok Private Server, players choose from three major points

1. Rates of the Server

As stated above, they choose the rate of the server, which is whether the server will be super high rate. high rate, mid rate or low rate. Below, I will explain each rate in a more detailed manner:

a. Super High Rate ( SHR ) - these servers offer players very accelerated play where leveling and hunting items will be easy, BUT will have them tied down to quests that requires a lot of items for example, a quest will ask a player to submit 1000x jellopy and 2 more items of the same quantity. Usually too, the stats and custom items in these servers are very overpowered especially the ones from Donation Mall. Also please take note of the different maximum levels for each of these servers.
Rates of SHR servers are usually around these: 15000~99999 boosted rates.

Maximum levels of these servers are usually: 500-999 <- Base level

b. High Rate ( HR ) - these servers offer players accelerated play where leveling is a breeze but hunting items will be quite hard, quests will not be as time consuming as the ones from Super high rates but that depends upon the item's usefulness. The custom items from these type of servers might be very well balanced, but some servers might just have overpowered items being sold in the Donation Mall.
Rates of HR servers are usually around these: 2000~10000 boosted rates

Maximum levels of these servers are usually: 255-500 <- Base level

c. Mid Rate ( MR ) - these servers offer players a faster play compared to low rates, meaning, players take time to level up and hunt items but are still able to max out in just a few hours or days time. The quest system will also be balanced as well. These servers also offer well balanced Donation Mall items and only a few custom items.
Rates of MR servers are usually around these: 150-500 boosted rates

Maximum levels of these servers are usually: 150-255 <- Base level

d. Low Rate ( LR ) - These servers offer players a gameplay which is quite similar to the official servers but are still quite faster compared to the official servers. These servers are mostly well balanced out, custom items doesn't really have an impact. Quests are also quite hard to finish due to the low drop rate of items and whatnot.
Rates of LR servers are usually around these: 5-20 boosted rates

Maximum levels of these servers are usually: 99-150 <- Base level

2. Donation Mall or Item Mall

But these private servers need income to be able to stay up and running, and through that they devised that they should also offer exclusive items that can only be gained through DONATING, in a sense, you give them money, they give you something back in return as a token of appreciation.

But playing in private servers, especially high-rate servers, has its own disadvantages. What you ask? I believe that the answer to that question is that some servers have their own custom items BUT are overly edited ( item stat bonuses are changed ) which causes them to be imbalanced and that these items will only be accessible to players who DONATE to those servers. By DONATE, I mean to say they pay the server to be able to get the item they want and have an edge over the non-donators.

But not all servers exhibit that kind of market, some approach the donation system by merely adding small incentives to players who donate rather than give out overpowered items that will ruin the game. These servers give the players cosmetic items like headgears as rewards for donating, and usually these headgears have little or to no stat increment but is exclusively available to donators only.

3. Community

Most of the servers are globally connected, but some servers have their communities focused in one location. For example, a server that hails from Brazil will likely have more players playing from Brazil rather than from other countries, but for instances some servers also disregard that statement, for example a server that hails from the Philippines have their  community made up mostly of players from the US rather than from the Philippines.

Players also tend to stick to a server which has the same community background as they are. Brazilian players stick to servers that are mainly populated by Brazilian players, or Filipino players sticking to servers with more responsive Filipino Community.

My Conclusion:

The owners of these servers as well as future server owners will need to know who they want to play their servers, what they want from the players and what they want to give to the players to be able to have a successful server launch.
Many servers out there try their best to match the wants of their communities wants, but rather than stepping up to it, many greedy server owners tend to make their server a P2W ( Pay-to-Win ) server which makes the server very hard to start in especially newbies as well as non-donators. But some servers exhibit potential by expressing that what they want is their players to be able to have fun and have a very balanced environment meant for relaxation and just hanging out.

My references: