18 May 2010

[Literature] A qualitative study of Ragnarök Online private server in-game sociological issues

Back in November 2009, I mentioned the multiplayer game design issues impacting social life inside RO. The paper has been accepted at FDG2010. You can read the final version.

I conducted interviews and observed players' behaviors in an official server (2000 users at peak time) and two private servers (200 and 2000 users at peak time). On the examined private servers, the social environment and some of the game mechanics were more adapted to players' needs. Examples are:

  • a broader choice in avatar customization
  • the ability to observe parts of the game world while not being logged-in (the Control Panel)
  • less constrained groups
  • events and GM taking the player community more into account
  • easier XPing (leveling in RO is the main activity, and it's a lot of grinding) thanks to rates and the Warpra+Healer combo
  • @commands enabled to players so that they can see who is online, sell merchandises with a character while playing with another and compare prices

Clearly, the Warpra+Healer totally changed the game. Champions could camp the respawn of MVP (boss monsters) and kill them relatively quickly with Asura Strike. This left virtually no end-game challenge for guilds other than the bi-weekly War of Emperium (battles between guilds in castles lasting between two to three hours).

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