The evolution of Ragnarok

Michelle Lojo - Philstar.com
The evolution of Ragnarok

MANILA, Philippines — Back in 2003, there was one game that dominated the country — Ragnarok Online. The popular Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) was originally launched by Koren developer Gravity Co. Ltd. (Gravity) in 2002. In the Philippines, the game was under local publisher Level Up! Games Philippine, and saw over 57,000 concurrent users in the game and had almost 10 million accumulated users during the early 2000s.

But with the continued popularity of video games at that time, may it be MMORPG or under different genres (first-person-shooting or battle arenas), Level Up! Games struggled to keep the game afloat which resulted in Ragnarok Online shutting down at the end of March 2015.

The game would then see new life after a relaunch under the partnership of Gravity with publisher Electronics Extreme back in 2017 and more recently, the launch of Ragnarok Online on PC just this 2022 by Gravity Game Hub (GGH), a subsidiary of Gravity.

But even with the trials the game has faced in the past two decades, Ragnarok is still close to the hearts of many Filipino gamers.

In an email interview with Philstar.com, Gravity Game Hub Chief Operating Officer Robin Ng, sees Ragnarok's MMORPG nature as the main thing that attracts Filipinos to it.

"Many gamers make friends through the game over time and remain friends [until today], [some] players found their other half in the game and [got] married. A MMORPG is like a second home to many where gamers come together and bond together. Cooperating and collaborating to complete tasks or quests or fight it out together in guilds. Many moments of joy, laughter, sadness and sorrow are shared in the game just like in real life. This is the beauty of MMORPG. This is a genre that appeals to culture with strong community bonding like Filipino gamers," said Ng.

Though Ng acknowledged that most Filipino gamers are mobile gamers, he notes that PC gaming, especially with Ragnarok Online, is a different experience with some gamers preferring to have a bigger screen or sing a keyboard and mouse rather than a phone's touch screen.

"The rise of mobile phone ownership gives rise to an increase in mobile gaming over the years. Gamers are able to play games on their phone with ease and convenience. However, the gaming experience on mobile and computers differ a lot. Computers are more suitable for games that require more complexity in control or require higher graphics requirements. Some gamers would prefer such an experience when they are gaming," Added Ng.

Recently, Gravity Game Hub announced the pre-registration for their game Ragnarok Arena, a mobile strategic role-playing game that follows a storyline to collect over 99 well-known monsters from the classic Ragnarok Online, giving an opportunity for the next generation of gamers to experience Ragnarok in a different light.

"We will just keep doing our best to develop more games with Ragnarok IP and provide a series of different genres and types of games for the Filipino community, bringing the fun from the IP to multiple age groups and generations. I do hope that Ragnarok can be a game where parents can play with their kids or be played together [by] three generations," said Ng.




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