MMORPG: Ragnarok Online Episode 14, Hugel

Ragnarok Online PriestessThere’s no other word to describe it. Ragnarok Online’s next episode—Hugel—is simply HUGE! What’s so great about Hugel? New quests, new dungeons and, most important of all, new playable character classes.

“It’s the game’s biggest patch, literally and figuratively, since Lighthalzen,” says Philippine Ragnarok Online Administrator Carlo Ople, who has left his life as the battleforger Waukeen for a nifty desk job at Level Up! Games, the game’s local publisher.

“Hugel is so big you can feel the pressure, the excitement building up. This is even made more apparent by the resurgence in interest in the game. We have not only recaptured the attention of long-time players of Ragnarok who have shifted to other games but also new players.”

New players couldn’t have chosen a more opportune time to enter the world of Rune Midgard. With the addition of the Hugel patch this March, Rebirth and Level 99 avatars will have a new stomping ground to test their mettle.

WHAT’S NEW?

Well, first off, there are quite a number of new maps, including the coastal village of Hugel (of course!), the Odin Shrine, and the Robot Factory of Kiel Hyre. Aside from unique city maps, quests areas and dungeons, maps linking Hugel to Juno and Einbroch will also be added—along with new powerful monsters such as the Valkyrie.

As with past map alterations, the locations of monsters spawning across the newer cities, such as Hugel, Einbroch, Lighthalzen and Juno—collectively known as the Schwarzwald Republic—will also change.

There is, of course, the new expanded classes—the Gunslinger and the Ninja. Novices wishing to take up these jobs can change normally once they reach Job Level 10. Be warned, however, that Gunslingers and Ninjas have no second classes, cannot be reborn or adopted.

What good are new job classes if you don’t have items to arm them with? Specific items and equipment for the Gunslinger and Ninja classes will be added and quests for these will be delegated to non-player characters for eager adventurers.

Like previous big patches, the Hugel update will cut a wide swath through the Rune Midgard that we know. A system-wide auction system will soon be in place, and so will the much-awaited mail system, through which players can send messages, items and zeny to registered friends and other players who are online.

The route of the Schwarzwald domestic airship will be altered to include Hugel. The new flightplan is Juno-Einbroch-Lighthalzen-Einbroch-Juno-Hugel-Juno.

Perhaps the most disconcerting change the patch will bring is the relocating of the Hunter and Blacksmith guilds. From its cozy nook in the Payon fields, the Hunter Guild will be moved to the city of Hugel, while the busy and noisy clanging of hammer against anvil of the Blacksmith Guild will soon be heard resounding in Einbroch.

MAPPING THE NEW WORLD

A player’s first stop when the patch opens new horizons should, of course, be Hugel, a small rural coastal village in the northeastern shores of the Schwarzwald Republic.

Due to its location, however, the village took a different course in its growth from other Schwarzwald cities. It’s proximity to the notorious Thanatos Tower and Abyss Lake makes land travel outright suicide for low-level players. Fortunately, the Schwarzwald airship is modifying its route to include Hugel.

Hardy adventurers who wish to make their way by land have a wide choice of areas not only to explore but also to level in. Hugel has three field maps filled to the brim with tough mobs, such as Metalings, Beetle Kings, and Demon Pungi. Juno and Einbroch also have new field maps that link them to Hugel.

What, the maps aren’t hard enough for you? Then hop on a boat at the eastern docks of Hugel and travel to Angbroda Island for 500 zeny. The island is host to Odin’s Shrine, another new map ripe for exploration.

The history of Angbroda Island’s shrine to Odin, however, is far from the Norse mythology on which much of Ragnarok Online’s storyline is based.

According to Rune Midgard lore, the shrine—and consequently the island—were abandoned after worshippers found out that Odin was capricious and not benevolent as they once thought. Only the creations of Odin—presumably the monster mobs roaming the island—remain on the island to give adventurers a run for their zeny.

Still not enough to whet your appetite for hacking and slashing? There is Kiel Hyre, a dungeon that is accessible only after players finish a quest. The quest, however, is available only to players Level 70 and above, and is reportedly very, uhmmm, challenging. Bring your Level 99 buddies just to be sure.

The rewards for unlocking the quest—and the gates to the Kiel Hyre Corporation headquarters—though, are worth it: two million base experience points, a taming gift set, an old card album and, surprise, surprise, a keycard that lets you enter the second level of the dungeon.

Intrigued? Great! Hie off to the Juno Bar in (where else?) Juno and talk to the “troubled master.” He will ask you to make a delivery to the Kiel Hyre Academy. What happens next, however, is for you to find out. Just make sure to stay out of the way of the Kiel-D-01—a new, nasty MVP.

EAST MEETS WEST

In an effort to keep Ragnarok Online interesting, Gravity—through local publisher Level Up! Games—is introducing two new character classes: the western Gunslinger and the eastern Ninja.

“Ragnarok Online will continue to evolve to hook new players—and recapture long-time players who have gone astray. One way of doing this is by introducing new things to experience in game, like quests, maps, and playable character classes,” Ople says. “Level Up! has done this in the past when it introduced the Taekwon, the first expanded character class.”

The downside, Ople explains, is that expanded character classes cannot transcend or be reborn unlike the original playable jobs, like swordsman, archer, acolyte, and thief. Gravity assures, however, that the new classes will give players a unique and refreshing experience, enough to chuck comfort zones and go in guns blazing.

Ninjas are, like their real-world brethren, stealth warriors, relying more on the element of surprise, a host of melee and ranged weapons, and magic to defeat their enemies.

The ninja has three main branches in its skill tree: the Togatana (or throwing weapon technique), the Taijutsu (or martial arts technique), and the Ninpou (or ninja magic). A player may choose to specialize in just one or branch across the tree to build a unique character.

Gunslingers, on the other hand, are much akin to western cowboys, sans the horse. They can equip a wide variety of weapons, from conservative yet lethal pistols to powerful but inaccurate ribalds and blunderbusses.

These gun-totting characters have to different sets of skills—coin skills and gun skills. Coin skills are usable with any weapon and require a set number of gold coins to activate them. Gold coins can be collected by using the skill “Flip the Coin,” which is unique to the Gunslinger.

Gun skills, meanwhile, can both be passive or active, and affect the performance of a specific group of weapons—be it handguns, rifles, shotguns, grenade launchers (yes, they have these but I’m sure it can’t level buildings), and gatling guns.

Just like real guns, a Gunslinger’s guns also need ammunition, which can be bought from your friendly neighborhood weapons shop.

So there you have it. What are you waiting for? Get into the game with guns blazing and katanas slashing. —Joel S. Tan

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