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#1 Philippines sends contingent to Seoul for Ragnarok World Championships 2004

Philippines sends contingent to Seoul for Ragnarok World Championships 2004
August 16, 2004

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

Level Up Games, Philippine franchisee for the immensely popular MMORPG (Massively Multi-player Online Role Playing Game), Ragnarok Online, sent a contingent of players representing our country in the recently concluded Ragnarok World Championships 2004 (RWC). The RWC, the first ever international competition for the popular online game, was held July 17 – 18 at the COEX Pacific Hall at Seoul, Korea. The RWC was also simultaneously held in conjunction with the 3rd “Ragnafest”, a yearly event first started in Japan which brings members of the online community to celebrate the game with fellow aficionados in the form of shops, art contests, and cosplay (costume contest) events.

Team Philippines was comprised of the top two winners in the Philippine finals of the RWC which culminated at the Folk Arts Theater last June 20, 2004. RWC Philippine Champions, “Unholy” guild from the Loki server and “Rebirth” guild representing the Chaos server were part of the 11-nation international tourney. Other countries which saw action in the competition included host country Korea, Taiwan-Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, China, USA, Indonesia and Singapore-Malaysia.

A total of 162 players vied for honors and prizes amounting to USD 85,000.

Both Taiwan teams triumphed over the other nations in their respective divisions and took home 1st and 2nd place. Taiwan edged out Malaysia in the semifinals while Malaysia battled their contemporaries for 3rd and 4th place. Our very own Team Philippines-Rebirth (composed of Carlo Arrieta, Darwin Santos, Jude Allego, Ranaldo Ramos, Chris Chavez, Jerone Enriquez, Bryan Rances, Kenichi Enda and Ruderey Mendoza) lost to Indonesia on the elimination rounds. Team-Philippines-Unholy (composed of Edwin Karl Ambrose, Greald Tan, Ronaldo Dulay, Eric Alejandro, Julius Dela Paz, Ken Nicolai Alberto, Jay Magpantay, Bryan So and Carlo Enrico Nicolas) which made last minute changes to their line-up and strategies, also bowed out of the tournament to Malaysia in the second day of competition. Sadly, both Philippine teams/guilds were eliminated.

Taiwan’s stellar play wowed the audience and even the participating teams as they crushed opponents battle after battle. Taiwan guild “Unforseeable”, truly deserving of the Championship crown, took home the USD 10,000 cash and prizes from host, Gravity of Korea.

WE ARE THE STARS IN RWC 2004

With the slogan of “We are the Stars in Ragnarok, RWC 2004”, Gravity Corporation of Korea, makers of Ragnarok Online, aim to spread Ragnarok around the globe with their distinct “Glocalization” business model. Mr. Jung Ryool Kim, Chairman of Gravity said that he is pleased that RO players will now have a chance to get together in one place to have fair and friendly competitions. Kim is also optimistic about the growth for Ragnarok Online, especially now that they are aggressively branching out to new markets all across the globe. “Ever since Gravity launched its overseas market in October 2002, Ragnarok Online has been the most successful MMORPG beloved by thousands of global users from all over the world. Many more users are attracted by its authentic content everyday to experience the whole new concept of surprising and joy of the game.” Kim said.

Kim also stressed the importance of government support for the gaming industry. In Korea, for instance, their government recognizes the power of the gaming industry which they view not merely as an additional source of income and a form of entertainment but as a medium to promote technology to all their citizens. In this regard, the RWC is sponsored by the Korean Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Korean National Tourism Organization. The event was even aired live via MBC, a leading television station in Seoul.

Kim is confident that governments from other Ragnarok-playing nations will follow suit. “Government must realize the positive values of games, not just as toys or a form of entertainment but as a tool which will contribute to a country’s progress and can even create a cultural identity for them. Much like it is here in our own country.” Kim said.

‘ROK ON!

Level Up General Manager Ben Colayco mirrored Chairman Kim’s vision when we spoke in behalf of all franchisees in the orientation part of event. “In the Philippines, Ragnarok has breached barriers. I have personally witnessed players from the poorest of districts playing together with players from posh villages in Metro Manila. Ragnarok was also responsible for a 70% increase in the number of Internet cafes which now operate in the country.” Colayco said.

Colayco is also confident that Ragnarok will continue to grow locally. Colayco stressed that RWC highlighted the game’s competitive nature and has strengthened RO’s hold on the global community. Players will now have a goal to look forward to and Team Philippines’ experience in RWC will elevate local gameplay to a higher, more mature level. “I’m excited about all the possibilities. Although I admit that I was saddened by our team’s loss, I think that the boys gave it their all. They have my undying gratitude and I am proud that they have represented us and was personally there with them to cheer them on. I am certain that the community is also supportive and appreciative of their efforts. With the knowledge gleaned from this experience, I am confident that we will do well in the coming RWC.” Colayco said.

#2 Get ready for Juno, pRO’s latest expansion

Get ready for Juno, pRO’s latest expansion
August 23, 2004

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

This September, Philippine Ragnarok Online’s (pRO) players will be treated to the much anticipated expansion to the immensely popular Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG).

Aside from enhanced graphics, one of the main attractions of Juno will be the city which is named after the expansion. The beautiful and picturesque floating city of Juno will be Midgard’s newest city. This new map is the home to the Sage Academy and is also the place where the shop that sells the heaviest armor usable the swordsman class will be located.

Another new addition included in Juno is the infamous Magma Dungeon. This new map will be a challenge for high-level characters, much like Turtle Island is now.

Of course, Juno will also bring with it the much anticipated second alternate jobs or 2-2 jobs which keeps the whole pRO community excited and anxious. Players can now try their hands at becoming Crusaders, Dancers, Alchemists, Sages, Bards, Monks or Rogues. Each new class incorporates new skills previously unavailable in Philippine Ragnarok. Of course, those of you who can’t wait for Juno can always play on the Sakray test server. The Sakray test server is now available for public consumption. This means that anyone with a pRO account can now play and access Juno’s complete offering. Note that the Sakray server is a “test server” and that your characters and their items might be rolled-back or worse, deleted. But fear not, this means that you’ll be able to test all the builds and the skills so that you’ll be ready for the Juno release. For more info on how to get your hands on a Sakray CD installer, be sure to check out www.level-up-games.com.ph.

So, RO addicts… what does Juno have in store for all of us?

First off, Juno comes with a variety of upgrades to the Ragnarok client designed to make your playing experience more enjoyable. Among the new features are animated Kafra Girls! Yeah, you heard me right… the cute employees of Kafra Corporation are no longer restricted to standing around in one position all day long. The Kafra Girls will now bow when you approach them, wipe their glasses or flap their aprons! Sweet!

Another neat feature to be added to the pRO client will be Auto Silence. Flooding will now be a thing of the past. If anyone produces more than 10 text lines in 3 seconds, the game will automatically silence that user for 10 minutes. If you are silenced, you cannot use your skills or chat. Wow! Acolytes and Priests will be spared from the incessant “heal-beggars”, among other things.

Graphics and in-game effects will also be improved. Portals are now unblockable and map errors in old versions have been corrected. Also, new teleportation effects and character exit animations have been added for more style and flair. Furthermore, weapon sprites have been updated. Now your Tsurugi will actually look like a Tsurugi!

Aside from these enhancements, Juno gives PVP and WOE-crazy players more ways to kick butt with the addition of 18 more hotkeys using the F12 Quickbar! Weeee! That’s a total of 27 hotkeys all-in-all. For those who need more shortcuts, Juno incorporates the “Battlemode”. In Battlemode, the numbers 1-9 and the letters q-o on your keyboard become extra hotkeys! Just type /bm to activate the feature then to deactivate it type <space> /bm.

On the gameplay side, many monsters will now get an upgrade to their DEF and MDEF. Thus, you need to deal more damage to hurt them, definitely a good reason to party up and pound them in groups. Bosses are also beefed up. For example, Bapho, the most dreaded boss monster in Ragnarok becomes even fiercer with 668,000 hit points! Many of the other bosses received hit point and DEF upgrades which makes them even more dangerous! Definitely it will take several parties of adventurers to take down a single boss, which is what Ragnarok wants to encourage.

Another great feature is the 10-second invulnerability rule during WOE sieges. This will be a godsend to everyone who’s experience the dreaded “spawn camping” tactic in Agits. You’ll be invulnerable unless you attack or use skills. This invulnerability will make you even immune to hunter’s traps! No more using the portals as a cheap defense… REAL tactics will now take the forefront in War of the Emperium (WOE)!

Cards will also have massive changes. Pupa cards and other similar cards dropped by common nasties receive a major boost in Juno. Cards that were normally useless, like Thief Bug Egg cards (+30 HP) have received massive upgrades (+700 HP). Better start hoarding those low level cards now!

Finally, Potions have gone down in weight by 5 units each, allowing you to carry more! Furthermore, Alchemists can make superior ultra-light versions of the potions called Slim Potions, which only weigh 5. This applies to all items that restore SP and HP.

These are just some of the exciting changes that Juno will bring to the forefront of Ragnarok gaming. In the next issues, I’ll try to detail the various alternate second jobs, how they fit into the grand plot of Midgard and how they’ll affect the game in general. So, don’t forget to pick up your copy of Manila Bulletin for your regular Ragna Beat fix.

Until then, Rok On!

#3 Juno Second Alternate Jobs: A Primer

Juno Second Alternate Jobs: A Primer
August 30, 2004

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

Last issue, I’ve detailed the exciting changes that the Juno patch has to offer. But I have reserved the best for last. Due out soon, the 2-2 jobs take center stage in the Juno expansion. It is not uncommon to overhear animated discussions in internet cafes about the Monk’s Asura Strike or the Crusader’s Grand Cross. Today, I’ll fill you in on the skinny on these exciting classes and their skills.

So, what are we waiting for? Enough prattle, let’s dive right in…

CRUSADER

Crusaders are Holy Warriors sworn to protect the Church and have sworn allegiance to King Tristan III. Crusaders are mainly defense-oriented and prefer the sword and the shield since most of their skills incorporate the shield, like Shield Charge which ‘knockback’ opponents. A main offensive skill is the Grand Cross which does devastating damage to Demons and Undead. On top of all the powerful Crusader skills, they CAN also Heal! A Crusader’s main stats are INT, VIT and/or AGI. Defense-based builds like the ‘Devotion/Sacrifice’ or ‘Grand Cross’ Crusader need a lot of VIT while other builds require you to be a hybrid. To be a Crusader, you must be a Swordie with a minimum Job level of 40.

MONK

As their name implies, Monks have perfected their spiritual powers as Acolytes and have conditioned both mind and body to deliver powerful physical blows with their bare hands or with gloved-based weaponry. To enhance the Monk’s already powerful Aco skills, there are several offensive skills, most of which can be used in a combo. The Monk’s most powerful blow is the dreaded Asura Strike which can reach up to 6 digits of damage. The record so far in Sakray is 90,000 points of damage! The Stop Blade Monk build needs VIT, STR and INT. His role is to function as “pin” for other characters in the party.

ALCHEMIST

The Alternate job for merchants, Alchemists are biotechnologists specializing in potions and life creation. Like Smiths, once can go the path of the Pure Potter – where you make powerful potions, similar to a Pure Forger BS build. Alchemists can also elect to be a Battle Alchemist where skills such as Acid Terror – which damages enemy Armor - can be crucial during a PVP or WOE match. Pure Potters are built with LUK as primary while Battle Alchemists are built just like Blacksmiths using STR-VIT/AGI as a base.

DANCER and BARD

Female Archers can choose to become Dancers while their male counterparts can elect to become Bards. Both classes are fairly similar. Dancers have support-role functions since their different ‘dance and song’ numbers have different effects. For example, Service For You decreases movement and attack speed of enemies within range. Dancers and Bards need DEX, AGI and some INT for their builds.

SAGE

With a combination of enchantments, Sages can manipulate the elements to cast and counteract the most damaging spells, making them indispensable support for every party. One of their signature spells is Free Cast which allows the Sage to move and attack while casting magic spells. Another cool spell is Spell Breaker which cancels a magic spell an enemy is casting, and receives the SP amount required for the spell. Sages, of course, are INT dependent and also have to rely on some VIT if you want to go support.

ROGUE

Thieves can now choose the path of the Rogue. Although one can build the Rogue very similar to an Assassin, one of the newest builds is called the Stripper Rogue. As their name implies, Strips forcibly ‘strip’ armors and weapons from enemies. This could render those Cranial Shields and Ancient Pikes useless in a fight. Strippers rely on AGI for defense and DEX for accuracy and to increase his chance of removing enemy equipment.

#4 How to make Zenny

How to make Zenny
September 6, 2004

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

part 1 of a series

Money makes the world go round. That same precept applies to RO as well as to a multitude of other online games and even real life itself. “Zenny Power”, when translated to optimized equipment and accessories, usually separates the really powerful characters from the ordinary.

This is where the Vending Merchant (VM) comes in.

VMs are, more often than not, best generated as secondary characters whose purpose it to generate money for your primary avatar. Most people argue that their primary characters can simply open a chat window to trade/sell items. This is possible. But the disadvantages of that are enumerated below:

1. It is a waste of time for your primary (wouldn’t you rather have him or her level-up?)
2. Chat windows have limited features
3. You constantly have to monitor inquiries (you can’t be AFK – Away From Keyboard)
4. You are prone to merchants or Black Smith (BS) haggling and eventually buying your items for a lower price than you originally intended.
5. You can only sell a few items at a time.

The advantage of having a VM then, is obvious by now. But allow me to enumerate:

1. Vending is automated (you can AFK)
2. You have the Discount skill (DC) for basic necessities (pots/flys/gems/etc). This saves money for your primary character in the long run
3. You can vend your items at your desired price
4. You have more slots, hence, more items to vend or trade.
5. It is not a waste of time. Time spent generating money helps build your armory for your primary character(s).

Making a VM is easy. If you have a friend or Guildmate willing to “tank” you, a couple of hours is all you need to get the vending skill and start selling your rares or semi-precious items. If you want to go solo, I’ll also explain how to do it in the fastest time possible.

Stats and Builds

The VM build here is in preparation to the Battle Forger build. In my honest opinion, the Battle Forger is the best BS build since it combines the best of both worlds. In the words of the great Riffy (the best BS in iRO), “this build doesn’t necessarily make you a much worse fighter than a pure battle smith and not a much worse forger than a pure forging smith.”

As a slight modification to the Battle Forger build, I have stretched the Vend skills for the VM. In case you want to hit BS, you’ll have to go a few jobs beyond 40 (around 43-45)

Notes on Stats

STRENGTH (STR) – A primary statistic for any merchie (except those who take the Pure Forger path). There is NO other job in RO that can rival a merchant when in comes to STR and dealing damage. This is because most BS skills are geared towards increasing your STR and/or damage in one way or another. If you have doubts on where to place extra skill points, err towards the side of STR.

VITALITY (VIT) – more VIT is more hp. It also allows you to survive mobs. Although it does consume more restoratives in the early part of your career, it will be helpful in the long run.

AGILITY (AGI) – higher AGI allows you to dodge monsters more effectively and increases your attack speed (ASPD). With the new “drugs” introduced with Comodo, merchants will become more effective since they will be killing creatures faster hence, leveling faster. This is a crucial stat to build upon if you want to save on pots in your early career.

INTELLIGENCE (INT) – What’s this? VMs don’t need much of it (for now). I’d say an INT of 1 is enough.

DEXTERITY (DEX) – VMs start with 1. But will have to eventually pump it up. DEX increases your accuracy rate and determines how often you hit (and miss) the enemy. Higher DEX means higher accuracy. DEX also factors in Max Damage into the equation. As a rule of thumb, if you will be tanked (at Elder Willows, Sohees, or Bigfoot, for example), you’ll want this to be at least 20 in order to hit those creatures.

LUCK (LUK) – not crucial for VM (unless again, you are gearing towards being a pure forger… but this is NOT a pure forger guide hehehe). But some extra points here won’t hurt.

The Novice VM

Here’s suggested stats for your Novice VM:

STR 9
VIT 9
AGI 9
INT 1
DEX 1
LUK 1

The VM Build

AGI 10
DEX 10
STR 10
VIT 10
STR 30
DEX 20
VIT 30
STR 40
VIT 40
STR 60 <- hit BS around this time

Continue on as a BS Battle Forger with the following:

DEX 30
AGI 60
STR 70
AGI 70
STR 80

(Rest in STR. Add to DEX and LUK if you fail too often in your forging)

#5 How to make Zenny

How to make Zenny
September 13, 2004

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

part 2 of a series

Last issue, I explained the advantages of having a secondary Merchant to support your financial requirements in pRO. I’ve also outlined basic builds. This week, I’ll tell you what equipment to get.

First, you have to become a merchie. To become a Merchant you must visit the Merchant Guild, located in Alberta (the portal at the south west corner of the map). Talk to the first NPC that you see to sign up to the merchant quest which costs 1,000 Zenny. This NPC will also give you your quest location and serial number so write this information down!

Once you have the serial number and location, go to the portal to your left (the bottom portal) and talk to the NPC clerk. He will ask you for your location and serial number and present you with a package. Once you have your package head on out to make your delivery!

Once you complete the delivery, the Kafra in charge will give you a receipt. Return to the Merchant Guild and present this receipt to the Guildsman and he will transform you into a Merchant!

Skill Build (in this order)

Enlarge Weight Limit 5
Pushcart 3
Vend 4
DC 10
Vend to level 7 (or more if you want)
Pushcart to level 10
Mammonite 10

Continue on to Battle Forger… (Job 44)

Equipment

Here’s the basic equipment guide for VMs.

Weapon: +8 Blade - +8 Ring Pommel Saber – Special Chains - Swordmace - +5 Swordmace
Shield: Guard – Buckler (see below)
Armor : Leather Jacket - Adventure Suit - Chain Mail
Helmet: Hat – Orc Helm – Majestic Goat
Mid Headear: Purple Glasses – Phantom of the Opera
Robe : Hood - Manteau
Shoes : Sandals – Boots

Basically, basic NPC-sold equipment (Manteau, Chain mail, Boots) will do just fine until you find the slotted counterparts. Since VMs are usually secondary characters, less emphasis is placed on equipment.

WEAPON – I suggest you just find the highest damaging weapon you can find early on in your career. I generally don’t suggest Axes (unless you’re being tanked). As a general rule, Chains and other mace-type weapons are the meat of the VM armory. Why maces? It is simply because VMs can equip specialized bucklers to reduce damage from certain creature types. This more than compensates for the slight damage lost against using axes or other two-handed uber-damage weapons.

Here are some of my personal favorites:

+7 (or better) Triple Saharic Chain (Drainilar) – This weapon ROCKS in Byalan! You do +60% damage to water types. Sohees are included in the list!
+7 (or better) Triple Bloody Chain (Hydra) – best in PVP and for Demi-humans (Orc, Zenorc, Goblin, Kobold, Bathory, High Orc, etc.)
+8 (or better) Triple Hurricane Ring Pommel Saber (Andre)
+5 Swordmace
+5 Elemental Swordmaces (Fire and Wind should be on the top of your list)

BUCKLER – This is very crucial for merchants and those wishing to aspire to be Battle Forgers. A merchant’s buckler collection should be one of the first things to build upon. Although +4 Bucklers will be fine, over-upgraded ones are always better. The buckler cards all reduce damage from certain creature types. Knowing which creatures give the most bang for the buck in terms of XP and suiting up the respective buckler to counter them will make you more efficient and survive dungeon crawls longer.

Find the following cards to insert to your buckler:

Thara Frog (Demi-Human): Zen Orcs/Cobolds/Goblin/Reydrics/PvP
Big Foot (Insects): Argos/Agriope
Orc Warrior (Brute): Hode/Anacondaq/Dranillar/Matyr/Savages
Khalitzberg (Demon): Sohee/Whisper/Jakk/Evil Druid/Nightmare/Marionette/Deviruchi
Ambernite (+2 Def): Everything else that you can’t take.
Petite (Dragons): Earth/Wind Petite
Horn (Ranged Attacks): Penomenas/Hydras/Archer Skeletons

ARMOR – Slotted Chain Mail (or slotted Padded) should be your goal. Insert any card you fancy. But some suggestions are: Steel Chonchon or Picky (additional STR)

For a free 3-day trial of Ragnarok Online, please visit www.levelupgames.ph

#6 How to make Zenny

How to make Zenny
September 20, 2004

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

Last of a series

Now, let's get straight to making money.

First (and most important) is to set a GOAL. A good goal is something attainable (either immediately or in the near future), whether that goal is as simple as "always have 100 red pots in my inventory" or as complex as "a +5 mocking manteau", having goals will make you a much more focused and efficient businessman.

As a reminder, remember that building wealth takes time (not unless you have rare tradables). "The Fellowship" (my first VM) broke his first million in less than a week while at the same time acquiring several items necessary to optimize his leveling rate.

There are 2 basic ways to earn money, VENDING and TRADING. Like any sound business practice, it's a simple game of "BUYING LOW and SELLING HIGH". During your first vend "shops", try to sell the extra stuff in your Kafra (since you don't have a high DC skill yet).

Always look around cities like Prontera or Payon to determine Fair Market Values (FMV) of items. Remember, information is power. If you don't know how much a certain item costs, ask politely. Most players will be kind enough to help.

Another source of information is the Internet. Sites like Ragnamart (www.merchantguild.net/~ragnamart) will tell you which items are tradable and which are worth holding on to (for future vending or selling).

Local message boards or forums often have "Price Check" threads where you can post or look up items. Check out the Ragnaboards at ragnaboards.level-up-games.com.ph or The Fellowship Guild boards at http://midgard.themassif.com/forum

As soon as you make enough capital from your "Kafra cleaning", you can then start your buy and sell business. Note that I generally advise against vending "essentials" (pots/gems/yggs/fly/etc) UNTIL you have a DC of 10.

When you do get DC 10, things will now start to rock. It's now time to move on to the second phase of your business. Knowing which NPC sells a certain item will be a godsend. Also, knowing which items are 'hot' in certain places will be a huge advantage. For example, blue gems sell like hotcakes in GH while the demand for reds in Izlude and Byalan are always high. Finally, since few priests are optimized for CT, yggs are in huge demand there as well.

I suggest you find one or two "personal" spots at a certain city and stick to it. That way, you'll establish and grow your reputation and regular customers know where to go to find you.

The next business skill to learn is Trading. Trading is a skill that is best developed with experience. This will separate your VM from the average merchants out there who do nothing but vend reds day in and day out. Trading will also net you some neat surprises along the way. There are a lot of people desperate to get their hands on certain items and will do anything humanly possible to get it. Like all things in business, please try to be fair and honest.

Another skill worth acquiring is to develop a knowledge of which monsters drop semi-rare items and go to that dungeon to set-up a vend shop with a title such as "B> 3s Chain 80k. PM me". You don't waste time since you're vending and you're bound to get messages after a few minutes. Overupgrading these items is the next logical step and will net you millions.

The market trend (the law of supply and demand) for a particular server will also dictate the scope of your trading skills. What's hot on Chaos doesn't generally equate to it being the same in Loki, for example.

Again, information is power. During your "price-scouting", always have a calculator, a pen, and a small notebook handy.

Finally, all the best gear in pRO are priced ridiculously high! You could try to hunt these items. If you're lucky, you might find one in a blue moon, so to speak. Alternatively, you can just build up your zennies and just buy the items yourself. True, it will strain your resources and your Zenny pocket. But the fun of building a business empire in RO is a great new experience if you know how to play a VM effectively and efficiently.

EXAMPLE OF "TRADING UP"

As a personal example of trading, Fell's friends and fellow merchants (legionario and *Tricia, pRO Chaos) found a couple of Emperiums vending for 550k (which at that time was a steal). *Tricia got me an Emp. I vended it for 750k. A few hours into the vend, a hunter approached me and offered his Hide Clip for trade. I agreed and soon the Hide Clip was on my shop for 1M. Eventually, the clip was traded for a Quick Muffler and several items.

Total net cost of the Quick Muffler = 400,000z due to the addition of the extra items in the trade. I saved 600,000z since it generally sells for 1,000,000z at that time.

#7 Ragnarok: The Animation to 'rok Philippine TV

Ragnarok: The Animation to 'rok Philippine TV
September 27, 2004

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

ABS-CBN and Level-Up! Games recently inked the deal for a strategic multi-media partnership for the much awaited Philippine release of “Ragnarok: The Animation.” The multi-media partnership includes TV rights, merchandise licensing, cable airing and video distribution.

The country’s first and most popular Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) is now set to become the biggest Anime sensation. Ragnarok: The Animation will hit the small screen in October over ABS-CBN 2.

Centered on the tale of neophyte adventurers Yuufa and Roan, Ragnarok: The Animation details their epic journey around the world of Midgard while fighting the evil denizens that have infested the world after a series of unfortunate disasters took place. Along the way, they are helped by companions and friends to help defeat the evil that’s been causing the chaos.

Yuufa is the Acolyte with the golden heart, because she will heal anyone without even asking for a single zenny! She often acts like a princess whenever she would ask Roan for something (which happens a lot of times). Although she won’t readily admit to having any feelings for Roan, she will do anything for him. She’s a good support Acolyte and an indispensable member of their party. Her memory of the death of her brother, Keough, torments her to this day. Yuufa travels with her childhood friend, Roan.

Roan is Yuufa's self-proclaimed protector. He has a huge crush on Yuufa, but he can't admit it until he has proven his worth. He’s a clumsy lad and blunders a lot, but he’s very brave and possesses great potential. Even with the occasional goofs, people should watch out for him because his Magnum Break packs a mean punch!

During their travels, Roan and Yuufa team up with newfound friends, Takius, the lovely yet mysterious Mage; Maaya, the cute and lovable Merchant (and her Poring pet, Poy-Poy!); and lovers Iruga, the soft-spoken Assassion and Judia, a skilled and battle hardened Huntress.

Community Input

The animation series, produced by Studio Gonzo of Japan (producers of Gatekeepers, Blue Submarine 26 and Final Fantasy Unlimited), will be adopted for the local market and will be “tagalized” by a well-known team of professional voice-actors.

Tapping the skills of veteran dubbing director Danny L. Mandia (ABS-CBN’s Magic Knight: Rayearth, Meteor Garden) to helm the all-important dubbing of the anime into Tagalog for local audiences, it wasn’t immediately apparent how big the project was until he found out his son played the game. “I’m used to this kind of pressure,” says Danny, “but this was different. My son took me on a tour around the different places in the game that was also in the anime. I was amazed at how big (the game) is. They even have their own language when speaking to each other.”

Though it is much like the Online Game, the anime has its own identity. The places, items and characters pretty much function the same way in-game and in the series. Porings, Spores and Fabres scurry around the same forests as they do in-game. Geography and travel have remained consistent; the early journeys of the characters between the cities of Geffen and Prontera took them through forests as much as a player in the game would. However, the epic scope and deep themes dealt within the series contrasts heavily with the jovial, anything-goes attitude of the people in the online community. Think of Rayearth more than Lupin III.

The fans of the game weren’t totally disregarded in the dubbing process however. The in-game lingo unique to the local pRO community is there whenever they feel it fits into the scene. Apart from using the same game terms in the Tagalog-dubbed anime, some fan lingo made it through to the production. Common playerspeak (“i-heal”, “pa-heal”, “oist”), contractions (Clocktower = “C.T.”) and even their unique vocabulary (guapo = “wafu”) has made it into the anime dub.

For true RO players, the catch is to seek the references out. An RO player like Yuufa’s voice-actress, Sherwin Revister, should know. “They’re there,” she says, “You just have to listen carefully to find them.”

So, all pRO enthusiasts take heed! Level-Up! Games will soon be coming out with an official site for Ragnarok: The Animation. There, you’ll learn more about our heroes, Roan, Yuffa and their friends. Also, there’s tons of stuff to download too, like wallpapers, desktop themes, and trailers.

The LUG Community Team also plan for some in-game events that are directly tied to the anime. For instance, this week, special characters, Roan and Yuufa will be making a surprise appearance at all servers so that players may get the chance for photo opportunities or ask questions relating to the anime. They will be speaking In-Character (IC). This is an in-game Role-Playing Event, so everyone is encouraged to get into character and join the fun!

Stay tuned for updates and announcements at the notice patch, in-game and the LUG website, www.levelupgames.ph

For a FREE 3-day trial of Philippine Ragnarok Online, please visit www.levelupgames.ph

#8 GET READY FOR JUNO

GET READY FOR JUNO
October 4, 2004

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

For the past several months, the anticipation level for Juno was way off the scale! A lot of anxious players logged into Sakray, the pRO test server, when it finally opened to the public to test some of the ‘builds’ specific to the 2-2 jobs. The Sakray server offered players a chance to experience Juno before the actual launch. And it’s no small undertaking; Sakray was a prelude of things to come – the biggest and most exciting update to Philippine Ragnarok Online, Juno. Many wanted to see if their theories on paper would live on to their expectations and if would pass several “stress tests” – specifically in the ‘field’, during PVP (Player Vs. Player) and finally, during War of Emperium “sieges”.

Level Up! Also provided a special Juno site, (http://www.levelupgames.ph/ragnarok/juno/), to cater to the info-hungry needs of the pRO community. There, players can get info about the new “second-alternate jobs” (or what most players refer to as “2-2”), the new skills, spells, monsters and places that Juno has to offer.

GM Silvermaine (Level-Up! Game Play Expert, Marc Reyes) was among those in charge of the Sakray testing project for the Juno client. Marc’s job description may sound like it’s all fun and play, but it’s not without the stress. Add to that, “a-million-and-one things to do” and you’ll think twice about filling in GM Silvermaine’s shoes. Aside from answering all e-mail questions in his “Ask the Silver Sage” web column, Marc also has to document all bugs and errors so that Juno will be “hitch-free” come launch date. “I handle a small group of playtesters who test the new patch. I'm responsible for ensuring that the new game features in the Juno patch work and if they don't, I report it to Gravity so they can be fixed. In addition to that I try to make sure that the voluminous amount of game information present in each patch is organized and accurate. Juno changes everything so part of my job is to document what changed.” Marc said.

HOW TO GET JUNO

Meanwhile, Level-Up! Marketing Manager Sheila Paul is calling out to all players to cooperate so that the transition to Juno will be as smooth as possible. “Learning from our past experiences with the updates, we really thought out Juno, which is a 130MB patch as opposed to War of Emperium which was less than 5MB. Now, players aren’t allowed to download the automatic update in the game so those who are online won’t be hampered by the additional lag burden.

We’re setting up at least 5 sites in conjunction with some of our partner ISPs for people to download the patch even ahead of our launch date. We’ve rolled out the client to our partner internet cafes ahead of time, though we still won’t be 100% at launch date, we’re hoping the café owners and players can work with us to pass on the client and make the launch as smooth as possible.” Sheila said.

Right now, there are several options to get Juno into your system. The easiest and best way is to get a copy of the Juno CD. As of this writing, you can get your FREE copy at the following outlets: Netopia, Mini-Stop, SM Cinemas and Cards on Tracks kiosks at all MRT stations and of course, through your favorite Internet Café in your area.

The second way is to manually download the patch. There are several ways for you to do this. For DSL/broadband users, you can download the entire update file (129MB) at the following URL: www.level-up-games.com/juno/. For those with slower connections, Level Up! took the liberty of “cutting” the huge file into several, smaller, more manageable downloads at www.level-up-games.com/juno/parts.

Whatever way you get Juno into your system, PLEASE DO NOT INSTALL/UPDATE YOUR RO CLIENT/PROGRAM BEFORE THE ACTUAL LAUNCH DATE. Installing the Juno patch BEFORE the Juno launch (October 4, 2004) will cause the game to crash.

For more information and detailed instructions regarding the Juno update, please visit the special Level-Up! website, www.levelupgames.ph/juno.cd

An excited Sheila Paul can’t contain herself when she talks about Juno. She explains Juno’s slogan; “Our battle cry for the Juno episode is “Now this is a party!” It’s on all our new posters, and streamers along with cool new artwork. The word ‘party’ actually has two definitions, it’s ‘partying’ with your friends to defeat the new monsters and experience all the new stuff in Juno and it’s also an invitation for you to join us online in Juno! It’s one helluva cyber party you won’t want to miss!”

For more information about getting Juno or trying Ragnarok Online for FREE, please visit www.levelupgames.ph

#9 HOW TO SECURE YOUR ACCOUNT

HOW TO SECURE YOUR ACCOUNT
October 11, 2004

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

Hackers! AMP! Everyone hates them. It’s an RO player’s nightmare… waking up one morning and finding all your precious rares and overupgraded gear ALL gone in the blink of an eye! What’s worse is that your high-level character could also be the target of the now infamous “hack-delete”. If this becomes your fate, then all the hours you’ve poured into the game will be for naught. Nothing can replace the time and effort one has invested for a high-level, legally leveled, pRO character.

Like the old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, the same holds true for pRO. This writer will share with you some tips and tricks to keep those nasty hackers out of your account – for good!

Don’t be a victim

There are a lot of reasons how one can become a potential hack victim. It’s best to know the most common reasons so that you can avoid becoming a victim yourself.

The most common cause of hacking are keyloggers. Keyloggers are small (often invisible applications running in the background) that track all your keystrokes. With this illegal application, one can just get your username and password without any great effort. Some people also “lend” their accounts to friends and even guildmates while others don’t even know how to change their passwords regularly. Still, some fall victim to scam e-mails and even fake GMs who ask for their usernames and passwords ingame. Remember, GMS WILL NEVER, EVER, EVER ASK FOR YOUR PASSWORD.

Anyway, here are some preventive measures on how you can secure your account:

1. NEVER TYPE ANYTHING IN A CAFE. This may sound impossible but it really is simple. You can go to a cafe with a diskette (or a CD, if you have a burner). There, in your disk, are stored text files of your user name and password. Just highlight them and copy (CTRL + C) and paste (CTRL + V) to your RO load up screen! The keylogger can't get you since you didn’t type anything. As an alternative, you can "hide" your username and password in your blog or website amidst something like 4,000 words of a story or text. Simply highlight and paste. You can cover the screen with your hands so that no one will notice.
2. DONT SHARE YOUR PASSWORDS. Be VERY VERY paranoid about your passwords. Don't share it to ANYONE. Even if he is your GuildMaster or close online friend. Only you and God must know your password!
3. BE SMART IN YOUR PASSWORDS. Avoid simple passwords like "cute_me" or "joker". Brute-force hacking tools use the dictionary. If possible, use combinations of both uppercase, lowercase letters and numbers.
4. AVOID PLAYING IN CAFES WITH AUTO TIME-OUT. There are some Internet Cafes with a “time-out” feature. More often than not, your account is still logged on while your PC is ‘locked’ by the café software. If this happens to you in the middle of game, politely tell the café owner to let you log out of your account first before checking out of the café.
5. SCAN YOUR PC FIRST BEFORE PLAYING. Most Cafés will have an anti-virus or spyware scanning tool. Simply ask the Café Manager to scan the PC for you. For suggested applications, please visit http://www.levelupgames.ph/support/security.php
6. CHANGE PASSWORDS REGULARLY. Make it a healthy habit to change passwords regularly. Doing so will keep those hackers and keyloggers off your tracks. Trust me, taking a few seconds away from your game time to change your password every other day will go a long way towards securing your account. Remember to ALSO change your e-mail passwords. Sometimes hackers can also ‘keylog’ your e-mail that contains the passwords sent by LU!. If you’re gonna change your password, do it from home or a separate, secure PC.
7. DELETE YOUR ‘CHANGE PASSWORD SUCCESFUL’ E-MAIL CONFIRMATION. Whenever you change your password, memorize it. Then open your e-mail to delete the password confirmation e-mail from Level Up!
8. HAVE A LOW PROFILE. As much as you’d like to show off your Safety Rings, +10 Immune Mufflers or Slotted Sunglasses to all your friends, please avoid doing so. This will make you prime targets for hackers. It's merely a matter of time before they take note of where you were sitting in café and do their evil work. Sometimes they use the video function of cellphones to spy on you. So, beware!
9. HAVE RECORDS. Always take regular screenshots of your characters and items. This will serve as your evidence in case you do get hacked. Just press “Print Screen” and your files will be on C:\Program Files\Gravity\RagnarokOnline\Screenshots. If you play on a café, you can email the files to yourself or save it on a virtual harddrive like Yahoo Briefcase.

In case the dreaded thing happens, report it as soon as possible. Immediately proceed to the LU Customer Support page (http://www.levelupgames.ph/support/) to file a ticket. You may also call 6700-7650/49 between 9am-4pm Mondays through Fridays, and 9am-12nn on Saturdays.

For more information about getting Juno or trying Ragnarok Online for FREE, please visit www.levelupgames.ph

#10 GOT GAME?

GOT GAME?
(reprinted with permission from JM Chua, LU! Community Team)
October 18, 2004

The U Got Game event last September 18 at the Philippine Trade and Training Centre was really a blast! There were game developers everywhere, videogame inspired costumes, and lots of video gaming merchandise available. But what really stole the limelight from the event was the launch of the latest episode for Ragnarok Online: Juno!

The Juno episode features new maps and monsters and creates a more challenging world for pRO fans everywhere. But the most noticeable change is the addition of new job classes such as the Crusader, Monk, Alchemist, Rogue, Dancer, Bard, and Sage.

And these new characters became the theme for pRO’s costume contest! Flocks of cosplayers came in as their favorite Juno job class and really showed how creative pRO players can get. There were cart-carrying alchemists, dazzling sages, and even a crusader mounted on a Peco Peco!

There was also a graffiti board for pRO players who wish to express their thoughts, or simply leave their mark, and there was also a mini-preview for the coming of one of the coolest animated series on Philippine television: Ragnarok : The Animation Online: The Animated Series.

From the 20 finalists (who got a pair of slotted sunglasses each!), the top three winners were chosen. First prize went to Christopher James Denoga who went as a Crusader mounted on a Peco Peco; second prize went to Sheila Benedicto, the Alchemist with a wheelbarrow full of potions; and third prize to Irene Jacobe, the female Sage. Winners received cash and in-game prizes, including a Ragnarok Online avatar which they can automatically change into a 2-2 job class character of their choice.

The winners of the on-the-spot drawing contest were also announced, and the winners also received a pair of slotted sunglasses and cash prizes.Level Up! also announced another treat for pRO players present during the event. Level Up! will be looking for creative and talented flash programmers everywhere who would be willing to join the Ragnarok Online Flash Game Design Contest and show everyone a Ragnarok Online inspired flash game of their own creation

They can get their application forms now through the Level Up! website, and grab that chance to win as much as P30,000.00 (For more information, visit www.levelupgames.ph/flashgame or call 751-9600 loc. 300)

Feedback: jm-chua[at]level-up-games[dot]com

#11 Ragnarok Urban Legends

Ragnarok Urban Legends
October 25, 2004

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

If you’re not in the know, Urban Legends are basically just that. Rumors circulated around which are unverified for authenticity.

In fact, there was even a suspense movie of late (with the same title) that took the theme of Urban Legend to the extreme. And in a game such as Ragnarok Online, we also have our version of Urban Legends.

Sit back, relax and try to remember if you were one of those unlucky victims to any of these “Urban Legends”.

1. DOKEBI HORN LEGEND – There was a legend that if you carried at least 50 Dokebi Horns in your inventory list, you will be assured of a higher “drop rate”. Dokebi Horns are rumored to give their owners additional luck. But of course, carrying 50 Horns was not enough. A friend of mine even went to the extreme and gathered, bought and traded until he acquired at least 400 Dokebi Horns…

Guess what? His drop rate never increased beyond the occasional rare item or monster card every couple of weeks.

Maybe you were also a victim of this rumor… did you buy your Dokebi Horns for as high as 5k per pop? Tsk Tsk… poor kid.

2. THE ICE CREAM STAT RESET LEGEND – Last year, word spread in Prontera that Ice Cream, an item that monsters in the Lutie Toy Factory dropped, will be a key ingredient in the infamous “Stat Reset”. During this time, most players were still learning the ropes and were experimenting with personal builds. Sad to say that most of these experiments ended in weak characters with inferior stats and skills. Ragnarok was new then… oh well.

True enough, a lot of players wanted a new lease on life (or maybe just for character stats and skills). The demand for stat reset was high. And somehow, the Ice Cream rumor surfaced. In the days the followed, merchants were vending Ice Cream for as high as 10M! And a lot of “hopefuls” fell victim to the evil rumor. Were you one of them?

3. OVERUPGRADE MYTHS – Who doesn’t want a +10 Muffler or a +8 Full Plate? When WOE and the second server set emerged (Odin, Fenrir, Sarah), a lot of mid-level characters were reaching their prime. Normal +4 gear just couldn’t cut it. In order to survive the demands of PVP and “siege”, overupgraded armors and weapons were in high demand. There are a lot of these legends and myths that circulated pRO. One such popular belief was that Gloria and Bless (and other items that increased a character’s luck, used in a series of exact castings, would somehow increase one’s chance to overupgrade gear. Guess what? This WAS NOT TRUE. Only one’s own “personal luck” (not the character’s) determines the chance of a successful overupgrade attempt.

I’ve also heard countless “techniques” or “lucky rituals” to increase the base chance too. There were merchants who would go in and out of the upgrade building, there was a series of “timed disconnects” and even a “sacred place” called coordinate 63,66 in the Prontera upgrade building which supposedly increased the base chance of overupgrading.

I even tried out some of these “charms”… which of course, didn’t work. /gg

4. HIDDEN KAFRA IN GLASTHEIM – Glast Heim, or GH, is such a popular place. Too bad there wasn’t a Kafra around for anyone to save or get stuff from. That’s why a lot of Acolytes and Priests make big bucks warping people to GH. Although it is apparent that no trace of the Kafra Corporation or their cute employees can be found anywhere in the map, a lot of adventurers believe that a “secret Kafra” is located “somewhere” in GH. So secret perhaps, that no one has ever found it to this date. Hmmmm… it could be a new skill called “Kafra Eternal Hide level 10”! But wait… that’s starting another rumor /heh

5. DRAGON PROPERTY OF EMPERIUM – When WOE was nearing, some noob spread word that the racial property of Emperium would change from “insect” to ”dragon”. True enough, prices for Petite cards skyrocketed! A guildmate of mine even sold his for 10M minutes into his vend. Tsk tsk… gullible people! Bah!

I’m not saying that believing in these “Urban Legends” is not good for your pRO career. Heck, I was even a victim in most instances. A word of advice though… do your homework first before investing a huge amount of zenny (or effort). Do some research over the Net. A good source of information is the official pRO site at www.levelupgames.ph/ragnarok. You can also consult advanced players or you might try to ask something via the Customer Support ticket at the LU page.

Whatever happens, take everything with a grain of salt. Who knows? There might be legends or myths that might prove to be true in the near future.

Happy Hunting!

-Sharic

#12 BEST OF SILVERSAGE

BEST OF SILVERSAGE
(reprinted with permission by GM Silvermaine)
November 1, 2004

Ask Silversage was a weekly column at the official Level Up! Juno website.

Marc Reyes (aka GM Silvermaine), LU! Gameplay Expert and one of the experts on Juno during the Sakray test, would answer questions sent to him via e-mail. Response to the column was very positive, the "Silversage" got all sorts of questions; ranging from 2-2 jobs, to items, to skills and even monsters.

I've compiled the best questions from that column for all of you to enjoy.

Let's give the spotlight now to the SilverSage…

Are players in PVP still considered Demi-Human?

Yes. They are still demi-human. Your Bloody weapons and Cranial Shields will still be useful.

John Razal Writes:

"Do BackStab and Stripping skills of the Rogue work on bow type weapons? What if I fire a shot from my bow using the skill from afar, will that work? Do I have to get close to the monster/player to strip his gear off?"

Backstab works quite well with a bow… but the thing is you must be behind the target for it to work effectively! With regard to stripping, unfortunately you must go in close to strip off the weapons and armor of an unwitting target.

Ryan Madlangbayan writes,

"I was just wondering if the Crusader-only shields, namely Holy Guard and Herald of God, can be bought in armor shops? Will there be slotted Full Plate Armors and Greaves or will they remain unslotted just like in iRO?"

The only thing you can buy in Juno armor shops for Crusaders are unslotted Full Plate Armors and unslotted Greaves. Slotted versions and the two Holy shields are only dropped by a special MVP monster that only appears during special events.

Sir Lance writes,

"Hi there! I want to ask about the monster changes in Juno. Is it true that monsters will have higher attack and defense? If yes, does it mean that there would be an increase in experience points that these monsters give? Thanks."

Yep, it's true. On the average, most monsters (with the exception of the Turtle Island monsters) have slightly higher attacks and defense ratings. However, the experience points they give remain the same. This is to encourage party play. The fastest way to level in the Juno episode is to party with your friends!

Blue Crim writes,

For Grand Cross, I've read in a website that the caster takes half the amount the enemy takes, is this true and precise? If so, what if GC damaged 3 raydrics with 10k each (30k in total) that would mean the caster will take 15k damage (or just 5k)?

The exact computations for self-damage of Grand Cross is very complicated and difficult to derive. However there are two consistent observations I have found with the Grand Cross Crusaders I have observed:

1. There is no relation between the number of opponents you attack and the damage you take from Grand Cross.

2. Grand Cross damage is somehow directly proportional to your current HP plus some constant value. The more HP you have the more Grand Cross damage you take.

Damage inflicted by Grand Cross is somehow related to mATK and some ATK (but more on mATK).

Kumi, Saki and Sakumi write,

We just want to ask you something. Will there be any changes during sieges when Juno patches arrive? Will all Agits be reset when Juno is implemented? Will there be a new Guild skill? What is the name of the next Episode?

The only change in WoE is the fact that the guild dungeon has become a permanent siege zone. You can attack players from enemy guilds there. There will be no agit resets for Juno Patch, nor will there be any new guild skills. Episode 6 has no official name yet but it will include the Amatsu and Kunlun (aka Gonryun) maps.

Marlon Joseph Pacheco writes:

If I may just ask, will the Cornutus card effect be implemented in Juno? Also if you use the Cornutus card, will the armor not break when over upgrading?

Yes, the Cornutus card works, but not that way you just mentioned. The Cornutus card will protect your armor from the alchemist skill "Acid Terror", but unfortunately, it will still break if you overupgrade it. Well, at least the card has a use now.

Pope John writes,

ei gm…. which server do u like to stay??… can u tank me or give me item or zenies some other time??…. well i usually stay in iris….can u give me some rare item there??? plzzzzzz…….by d way gm….can u tell me what is the most powerful job now in ragnarok???hope u answer this…. by the way which do u like more cabbage or brocoli??? thanks

Most powerful job? Hmmm. Any job can be very powerful, as long as you know how to build your character well. Cabbage or Broccoli? I love Broccoli! Not only does it taste good, but I've heard that carotenoid-rich vegetables like broccoli lower the chances of heart disease.

#13 Don't be scammed

Don't be scammed
November 8, 2004

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

While there are as many pRO players as there are individual motives and goals, one thing is common; they are all considered prospective victims by the unscrupulous and greedy.

Greed is what fuels most scammers. They want to get away with getting something for virtually nothing. Ironically, it is also this same motive why most players fall into the evil traps of scammers.

There are a lot of scams in pRO. Like real life, you have to be careful with your property. You also have to be careful with whom you give your trust. A lot of scam victims gave their trust easily. It's the "supposed" friends that betrayed them in the end.

This article will help you avoid some scams and be prepared while you're in-game. Although I can't detail EVERY single scam, I'll do my best to go through most of the common scams to also help you identify the tell-tale signs that give away the evil nature.

Basically, the general rule is:

IF IT'S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT'S PROBABLY A SCAM

Take everything with a grain of salt. One of the most common scams is what I call the "innocent vend scam". In this mode, a merchant (or Blacksmith) will vend advertise an in-demand item for a ridiculously low price. For example, the vend might indicate "S. Muffler 300k lang". True enough, you're currently looking for a slotted muffler for your Whisper card! Always on the alert for "bargains", you grab your mouse, drag the muffler to the 'buy' window and click 'buy'!

Presto! You tell yourself that you're the lucky kid who just got a slotted muffler for a third of the price! But lo and behold, when you go hurry back to your Kafra to get your card, there seems to be NO slot for you to place your prized card!

You've just been scammed by one of the oldest tricks in Prontera. Unfortunately, there is nothing that you can do about it. All sales are considered final! Level Up! and its GMs have no control over what items can or cannot be "vended". Also, to promote a fair, free and open economy, there is no policy about prices.

This means that you can't blame the merchant who literally 'held you up'. You can only blame yourself for not being careful. The lesson to this story is this: always check ALL items that you are going to buy. Right click supposedly "slotted" items to check IF there really IS a slot!

In tagalong, they say "Nasa huli ang pagsisi". Be extra careful in your RO business deals so that this saying won't be your motto.

Also, watch out for the "bait and switch" scam. This is also a common practice among scammers. The MO for this is when someone offers a deal for you. For example, he promises a Whisper card for a low sum. You agree and then when you deal him, he puts a real whisper card in the deal window. But… here's when you have to be suspicious… he PMs you and either says he is "overweight" or that something is wrong. The scammer tells you that he will just "cancel" the trade and then "deal you again." He does this for about two or three more times. On the last try, the scammer will tell you that "he is nearing his allotted time for the cafй and that you have to click 'ACCEPT' ASAP.

You follow his instructions and then you'll find out that he walks away with a couple of million of your zenny and you get a measly poring card in return!

Word to the wise: Always check the items before you click "ACCEPT". Also, for purpose of records and evidence, try to get a screenshot of every major deal that you'll make! Anything in excess of 1M is a good value. To make a screenshot, press "PrtSc" or "Print Screen" on your keyboard. You can then find the image in your Gravity/Ragnarok Online folder under "ScreenShot" folder.

These are just some examples of potential scams. There are a lot more. I'll continue this article next week with more Modus Operandi and more tips on how you can avoid being a victim. Until then,

'Rok On!

#14 Don't be scammed (Part 2)

Don't be scammed (Part 2)
November 15, 2004

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

Last week I outlined some common scams in pRO. I've also reminded everyone to be careful in their "deals" and RO-related business in-game. This week, I'll try to give you guys more examples and a few more tips to make your Ragnarok experience "scam-free".

GUILD RECRUITMENT SCAMS

It is common practice to charge a fee when joining a guild. More often than not, this is to cover the cost of acquiring the Emperium. For others, the funds will be used as a "zenny pool" for purchasing equipment for key characters in the guild.

Be on the lookout for players recruiting members for a fee. Sometimes they charge around 5k to 10k each. Yes, you'll be member… But after a few days, you'll find yourself expelled from the guild for no reason at all. The recruiter then runs away with your money and tries to look for new victims. These are the kinds of players who just want to make quick, illegal zenny on the side victimizing innocent players who want to be part of a guild. There really is no way to tell if the recruiter is legit or not. So just be wary and cautious. Alternatively, you and your friends can pool your resources to just buy an Emperium (it's not that expensive these days) or maybe hunt one if you have the time.

UPGRADE SCAMS

Ah… this one is a classic. You will see the scammer with a chat window saying "WEAPON/ARMOR UPGRADE 500z ONLY" (You can replace any amount in the zenny figure). Being excited to have more powerful gear, you give the guy the money AND your item without batting an eyelash. As soon as the deal is done, the other player pulls of a Harry Houdini on you and POOF! He's gone… with all your stuff /gg

Just remember that anyone CAN upgrade their own equipment. The only requirement is that your character can hold/equip the item and you have the proper items (like Phracon, Emveretarcons or Ori/Elu) plus money to upgrade. Just go to the nearest NPC upgrade shop in town and don't fall for the cheap upgrade tricks above.

Also connected with these types of scams are "Blacksmith scams". Remember, elemental weapons are forged from scratch. A lot of people don't know this and think that Smiths can "convert" your current weapons to Elemental ones. Nope! Forging requires stuff, raw materials and BS skills. (Don't worry. Next time, I'll try to write everything about forging here at Ragnabeat).

USELESS ITEM SCAMS

This is pretty straightforward. Scammers take advantage of the fact that a lot of people don't really read about or know about the items in pRO, scammers try to sell worthless junk and pass it off for "treasure". Before parting with your hard-earned zenny, do some homework and check the official pRO website (http://www.levelupgames.ph/ragnarok/) and find out what each item can and cannot do.

At any rate, here's a list of some items to avoid. (This list is not complete… but has some of the more common scam items)

- Barren Trunk, used for archer job change nothing more
- Ice Cream, used for hp regen only Chung Jah, can be bought at Prontera 5000z
- Red Frame, can be bought at Prontera 3000z
- Glass Bead, can be bought at Prontera 1500z
- Witherless Rose, can be bought at Prontera 50000z
- Crystal Mirror, can be bought at Morroc 30000z
- China, can be bought at Prontera 1000z
- Hammer of Blacksmith, NOT a WEAPON, for BLACKSMITH class ONLY! may improve refining chance, unverified
- Skull Rings, Flower Rings, etc, most rings are useless (unless slotted) and can be bought from NPCs
- Poring Dolls, Chonchon dolls, Puppets, can be bought at Prontera Doll Merchant

CONCLUSION

Always check and double-check any item or service before a deal. If you're not so sure, go ask a more experienced player. You can also go to the web to do some research. Whatever you do, just remember the golden rule:

IF IT'S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT'S PROBABLY A SCAM.

I hope that you'll now think twice before clicking those "buy" or "trade" buttons!

Happy hunting!

(Special thanks to my friends at http://www.noscams.now.nu/)

#15 Boss Time Attack 'Roks Provinces

Boss Time Attack 'Roks Provinces
November 22, 2004

As reported by JM Chua, LU Community Team

The Level Up! Community and Events GM Team (together with Marketing, Sales and IT personnel) visited key locations all across the Philippines to conduct a series of events based on the Boss Time Attack format.

In this competition, pRO players must form a team of up to 5 players on the same server. There will be a collective ceiling level total of 400 and only up to two (2) characters can be level 99. Furthermore, no two characters of the same job can be on a team.

LU GMs, headed by GM Tristan III, will then summon the team to a special room where they'll face a string of tough monsters (such as Grand Peco-Pecos, Permeters, Arch Angelings and Eddga). The team that dispatches all the monsters in the shortest time possible wins!

An exciting October 24 at the Sorsogon Provincial Gym as 18 teams battled for supremacy for 8 long hours against a horde of monsters capped with the big bear himself, Eddga! After the dust has settled and the times were tallied, Team Creative of Chaos (Composed of Joseph Jao, Joseph Paguio, Bryan Marifosque, Reynold Ayo and "GK") ruled the day with a time of 4 minutes and 45.0 seconds, easily besting the other teams.

Negrense pRO players showed their mettle and might as 5 teams participated in the MVP challenge held at Mighty Joe's cyber cafй on October 26. When the dust settled, Team Boss Hunt (Ian Agadier, Kenneth Lagunero, Rey Anthony Narciso, Adonis Eman Torres, and Ramon Charles Sy Jr.) went on to claim the trophy with a time of 10 minutes and 04 seconds.

The heat of the MVP time attack challenge was the only thing which matched the heat of Gen. Santos City as 7 teams clashed for supremacy in a 3 hour match in X-Site Cafй last October 27 to determine the finest MVP players in town. The captivated audience watched and cheered as each team showed brilliance in the arena against Peremeters, Grand Pecos, Archangeling, & Eddga, but only Team Tornaker was able to snatch the crown and title of "Gen. San's Finest" as they emerged victorious with a time of 2 minutes and 30.18 seconds.

The last (but definitely not the least) leg of the tour- we go to the city of Davao to put their pRO players to the test and see if they are up to the challenge to be called "Davao's Finest". Held in Hyperbytes cafй, a total of 12 teams answered the call and clashed against Peremeters, Grand Pecos, Archangeling, & Eddga. Each team blazed through the challenge with scorching speed and kept the excitement of the crowd pumping as they finished each match with only a couple of seconds apart between them, but Team PCXL called the shots that day with a lightning fast time of 2 minutes and 22.0 seconds - beating the previous record set by Team Tornaker of Gen. Santos!

Each team who won in the MVP Time Attack Challenge won a special Muramasa certifying them as their province's "finest" MVP players. Team Creative received a "Very Strong Sorsogon's Finest Muramasa", Team Boss Hunt received a "Very Strong Dumaguete's Finest Muramasa", Team Tornaker received a "Very Strong Gen. Santos' Finest Muramasa", and Team PCXL received a "Very Strong Davao's Finest Muramasa". These Muramasa are GM-generated, and only the teams who participated and won the MVP Time Attack Challenge are the only ones who have these in pRO! Besides the Muramasa, each member of the winning team also receives 10 Old Purple Boxes each.

#16 The pRO Guide to Words

The pRO Guide to Words
November 29, 2004

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

Admit it… ever since you played Ragnarok, you've learned a whole new vocabulary. Let's face it, pRO is sooo popular, it even spawned its own language! This language is like a "Frakensteined" version of "text-speak:", kanto language and IRC/Chat-lingo.

The first time I encountered this was back in the good 'ol Beta days. Oh yes… Midgard was so calm and peaceful back then… that was the time when you'd need to trade an arm and a leg for a Sakkat… wait, I digress… I apologize.

Anyway, as I was saying, I encountered the word "oist" when someone would always ask me: "pahil plz" (I was playing a priest back then). At around that time, players started to call potions as "pots", a shortened version of the word of course.

Then there was the dreaded and ever popular "AMP". This word can mean so many things. It's so versatile it can be used as a noun, a verb or an adjective… a feat only few words in the English language can claim.

Soon after the commercial release, a few creative players decided that it was easier to type "pa baps" than it is to type "pede bang pa agi up and bless". "Baps" is a creative take on the word "Buffs", which is precisely what the Priest spells, Agi Up and Bless do.

And of course, pRO has its share of acronyms. The most popular (and also the most useful) is AFK. This stands for "Away From Keyboard". Merchants, Blacksmiths would typically create a chat room or pub with the words 'AFK'. Although most pRO players know what the acronym means, you'd still get the occasional "tao po?… pede tawad?" PM (private message) from players.

Of course, there was the unforgettable play on words like "Wafu", which means "Gwapo" and then there was "Nyamat" which is a cutsey-cutesey take on the word 'Salamat'.

This world of words is what makes the pRO experience a richer one. At any rate, here's a compilation of some of the common pRO words, acronyms and their meanings.

Enjoy!

prist - priest
bund, band - banned
hil - heal
kau - kayo
ned, nid - need
pde - pwede
plzz, plzzzz, plssssssss, plis - please
oi - hoy
resu - resurrection
AMP - all kill-stealers
damot - all clerics
drugs - awakening, concentration or berserk potions
PBP - an empty threat (often by obnoxious jologs)
AFK - away from keyboard
fly/flyzzzz - fly or butterfly wings
reds/redzzzz - red potions
dil me - deal me
ASL pls - the oldest pick up line in the book
oist - another form of "oi"
tank - a benevolent soul who helps out hapless novices and partymates
sawsaw/sawsawers - people who Kill Steal
WAFU - Guwafu
ahihihihi - tawang babae
ahehehehe - tawa tawa lang
mamat - salamat
enkyu - thank you
pa A and B pls - asking for AGI n BLESS
pots - potions/healing items
yabyoo - love you
hunt - looking for an item or boss monster
mumu - creature/monster
mpo = impositio manus
ME = magnus exorcismus
FS = full support
asa(PVP) = balik ka na lang para patay ulit kita!! / no match ka!!
asa(PVM) = mahina ka pa di mo pa kaya monsters d2!!
pots = potions
Harry Potter = hayuf gumamit ng pots sa PVP daig pa BS
kunat = VIT priests
oist - "oi" at "psst" sabay
VVS - very very strong
CoF - Clip of Flash
BH - Bone Helm
BB - Bunny Band
FB - Feather Bonnet
CoC - Clip of Counter
no mets - no match
Aggro - Aggressive Monsters
blues - blue gems (not blue pots)
BS - Blacksmith
CT - Clock Tower
DS - Double strafe
EE - Eagle Eyes (NOT Elven Ears!)
Elu - Elunium
Elven - Elven Ears
enge - pahingi/penge FW - Firewall
GB - Ghost Bandana
GC - (ragnaboard term) Grand Cross (of Crusaders)
GR - Ghostring
HO - High Orcs
JT - Jupitel Thunder
mag/mags - magnifier/s
magni - magnificat
Magnus - Magnus Exorcisimus Priest
MG - Majestic Goat
n00b - veteran player who doesn't follow the rules or has atrocious behavior (not to be confused with "noob")
Ori - Oridecon
RB - Ragnaboards
reds/redz - red potions
RPS - Ring Pommel Sabre
SG - Storm Gust
Sonic Miss - Sonic Blow when the Assassin Misses
SS - Skeleton Soldier Card
walang bobo - no obviously bad trade offers
ygg / yggs - Yggdrasil Leaf/Leaves

Don't worry, you don't need to memorize all these words to be "IN" with the pRO crowd. All you need are a few days of "getting down and dirty" with Ragnarok Online. Still not an RO player? Be part of the community and visit www.levelupgames.ph now for your free 3-day trial account!

'Rok On!

#17 Ragnarok at the Netopia Cyberleague

Ragnarok at the Netopia Cyberleague

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

Level Up is proud to be one of the sponsors to this year's premiere gaming event, the Netopia Cyberleague. Netopia, the largest and fastest growing Internet and Network Gaming chain in the industry with over 120 branches nationwide, recently launched Cyberleague to a jam-packed crowd last Tuesday, November 23, 2004 at the SM City North Edsa Activity Area.

Philippine Ragnarok Online is once again included as an official game for this year's tournament. The format for pRO is the highly acclaimed Boss Time Attack which had a successful and largely attended pilot launch at the provinces a few months back.

Gaming enthusiasts can look forward to high-adrenaline gaming fun as they take on other featured games such as NBA Live 2004, Need for Speed Underground, StarCraft: Broodwar and Ragnarok Online, of course.

Steven Huang, Content Development Manager for Netopia said that this year's Cyberleague is bigger and better, "Netopia's annual gaming event is going to be huge. We're giving away bigger prizes. We're calling all gamers out there to come down and join the fun. This year, we're giving away complete computer packages from Intel and also educational programs and learning courses. Anyone interested to take on the challenge can register at any of our 120 branches nationwide. Registration is ongoing and will end on December 25, 2004. The matches will begin on January 8, 2005 culminating with the Finals in May at the Glorietta Actvity Center." Huang said.

Cyberleague is presented in cooperation with Intel, PLDT MyDSL, ACSAT, Coca Cola, and Smart 286 Mobile. Co-presenting the tournament are Infocom Warpspeed, Level Up, Chikka and Asus.

EPISODE 6: Legend of Two Cities

During the event, Level Up Gameplay Expert Marc Reyes and this writer were on hand to brief the gamers about the Boss Time Attack Format as well as present a 2-minute "teaser-trailer" of Episode 6 (tentatively entitled "Legend of Two Cities") for Ragnarok Online.

Another highly anticipated series of enhancements for the Philippines' first and coolest MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game), Episode 6 will feature 2 new oriental maps, the medieval Japan-inspired Amatsu and the Buddhist city of Kunlun. Not only that, Episode 6 will also see the debut of the hip and cool job - the Super Novice!

Those who wish to have a special event with their Ragnarok sweethearts can avail of the "Marriage System". The marriage patch will allow male and female characters to (of course) wed and finally be able to wear the Formal Suit and Wedding Gown.

"Episode 6 is going to be another exciting enhancement to the biggest online game in the Philippines - pRO! We have lots of events in store for all our players. Just make sure to visit the website (www.levelupgames.ph) and stay tuned for in-game announcements on updates for Episode 6." Reyes said.

#18 Remembering my Novice Days

Remembering my Novice Days

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

Ahh… being a novice…

I remember the good old days. Back in the days of pRO beta, being a novice was a great experience. True enough, as a Novice, you really were a newbie in the most accurate sense of the word.

All things were mysterious. And discovery of new game mechanics, commands or features were all exciting and fun! I remember back then - I was so amazed when I finally learned how to sit and recover HP and SP. Whoa! Suddenly, consumption of apples, red herbs and bananas would not be as quick as I wanted to.

These were just examples of how fun and exciting my discovery of the entire Raganarok experience was. When I was new, I still remember holding on to almost all my loot - for fear that selling the stuff to NPCs would be a thing that I'd regret later on. This meant all 7 of my "clubs" (that I got from Fabres) stayed in my Kafra for like two months straight (before I finally figured out that they were not so expensive or useful after all).

Playing as a Novice was always something to look forward to. This meant that during the good' ol' days of Beta pRO, there were a thousand questions that can only be answered by trial and error: Can I take on this monster? Am I tough enough? Is this map good for me? Are these creatures aggressive? Is my weapon strong enough? Can my reds save me in time?

I learned (the hard way, of course) that "green porings" were not just Porings of a different color. "Hey! A green Poring! How cute… attack!" were the final words I typed to my partymate before I died. Ahh… the good old days…

HELPING OTHERS

Back then, while everyone was fairly new and discovering the intricacies of the game, Novices can just go to a first or second-jobber and ask to be tanked. Now, that "culture" is slowly dying. In addition, there are a lot nuisance accounts out there who pretend to be noobs just so they can earn a fast buck. I encourage everyone to help those who are truly new to the game. I'm sure most of us went through the stage of self-discovery. Wouldn't it be more enjoyable if you could have a "Kuya" or "Ate" to help you every step of the way?

It is this sense of community and friendship that drives the pRO spirit. It is this element that makes Ragnarok stand out from the rest of the MMORPGs out there. I firmly believe that this same spirit of "helping out" is what will make the community stronger. So, where am I getting at? Simply put, if we all just try to share the gaming experience to 2 other (new) players in a month, I'm certain that the community will grow and spread like wildfire to every island in the Philippines. Wouldn't it be an exciting concept to literally be in a real, dynamic community of Filipino gamers who all want to share the great experience of online games to everyone? It could be a dream… but hey, all great things start small.

Let's start with ourselves. The rest will follow.

NOVICE TRAINING GROUNDS

LU! has recently launched an in-game program for Novices. It's called the Novice Training Grounds. Here, the guys at LU! added a lot of stuff to the 'Training Course'. You'll get free items designed exclusively for Novices (like the Novice Ninja Rag and the Imitation Egg Shell!) and get to level up for FREE just by reading the NPCs instruction courses and answering the test at the end.

In addition, you'll get to level up exclusively in an area just for little boys and girls (novices) where you get to kill Chon-Chons, Fabres and Pickys among others without fear of pesky KSers.

This new and cool concept was developed by Level Up! so that the Novice experience will be something that all new players will cherish. It's designed as an educational and instructional in-game mechanic to teach all new players the basics of the game. Additionally, security and tips to avoid hacking and scamming are included in the NPC instructions.

And if ever you're stuck… fear not! The pRO Community Team made a "walkthrough" for the entire Novice Training Grounds. Just point your browsers to: http://www.levelupgames.ph/ragnarok/

May your Novice Blade strike true and may the drops be kind!

Seeya next week!

#19 Celebrate Christmas the Ragna way!

Celebrate Christmas the Ragna way!
December 27, 2004

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

Sharic could see the outlines of Prontera’s buildings across the horizon. It was almost sunset and the Priest was following the eastern river back to the capital. From the distance, he could see some adventurers making their way to Culvert and this scene conjured images from his days as an acolyte where he spent countless hours bashing thief bugs and familiars.

It would be nightfall soon and Sharic knew that the woods east of Prontera was never a safe place… especially for someone traveling alone and without a party.

With a short prayer to the gods of Midgard, Sharic flicked his wrists and activated his Teleport spell. He never liked Teleport. For some reason, he becomes disoriented after repeated use. But he knew that it was either this or risk the woods at night.

“Better the migraine…,” Sharic told himself.

With a whoosh, Sharic materialized just a few feet away from shrubs engulfed in mid-afternoon shadows. Jutting at the top of the foliage, the Priest caught a glimpse of what appeared to be the upper half of a Santa’s Hat. “Hmmm… it seems a Swordie is addressing the ‘call of nature’…” Sharic smiled.

All of a sudden, the unmistakable crimson spray of blood spurted from inside the shrub which was followed by a deafening, sick human howl.

It wasn’t a swordie wearing the Santa Hat! Sharic saw that the creature was vaguely humanoid. Covered with course white hair, it looked like a mutated version of a 3-feet tall Santa!

The creature was devouring the remains of Rocker!

“An Antonio!” Sharic said as he sprung into defense.

“Kyrie!” shouted the Priest. Immediately, Sharic was covered in a golden glow of light. The Antonio lunged at the Priest and landed a blow squarely at Sharic’s chest. In what could’ve torn the chest cavity from a grown man, the spell protected Sharic and the monster was thrown back.

“Now it’s my turn!” Sharic said as he sprung into the air. Midway through his ascent, he fired a deadly bolt of Holy Light at the Antonio. The spell found its mark and the Antonio reeled back in pain. Towards his descent, Sharic unbolted his Elemental Chain and drove it straight into the Antonio’s skull.

The monster was dead even before Sharic could snap the weapon back to his belt.

Not far away, the Priest found a rotting red sock.

“Hmmm… it even has a hole.” Sharic muttered to himself as he pocketed the loot.

After another Teleport, Sharic found himself a few hundred yards from the East Gate of Prontera. It was almost nightfall.

Entering Prontera, Sharic was surprised. The streets were brightly lit with Christmas Lanterns and at the City Plaza stood a grand Christmas Tree magically lit and trimmed with thousands of candy canes, stockings and other Christmas goodies.

And as if to accent the pleasant surprise, snow began to fall and Sharic could feel the chill in the air.

“So, this is Christmas in Prontera…” the Priest said whilst subconsciously rubbing his Safety Ring.

“I never knew it could be this magical.”

RAGNA ROKKIN’ CHRISTMAS

Yes kids! A Merry pRO Christmas is waiting all citizens of Rune Midgard. I’ve been lucky lately and the Ragnarok Community team shared with me a few secrets on how to make the most out of your Ragnarok Christmas experience.

First, you have to know how to get the Christmas Patch into your PC. Starting this week, there will be a Christmas patch download to prepare for the holidays. Just go to the Level Up! website (www.levelupgames.ph) and follow the instructions on how to download and install the 5MB update.

Once installed, you’ll see the cities of Geffen, Alde, Izlude and Prontera decorated in Christmas colors. Plus, you’ll see and experience SNOW not just in Lutie but in all four cities!

And that’s not all, During the Christmas Event, the fake Santa called Antonio will appear on the surrounding city fields and Antonio will drop an item called “Holed Red Sock”. If you take 3 holed red socks to the Santa (the real one) who lives in Lutie, the Santa will give you a “gift box”, the gift box has the same function as “old blue box”. However, the gift box has higher chance of giving quality items.

There’s also a chance to acquire the much coveted Santa Poring card by way of the Santa Poring (which will appear only during Christmas season). Finally, you can hunt down the Santa Goblins that will appear at Lutie Dungeon (Toy Factory) and they will drop ‘Gift Wrapper’ and ‘String’. Take the Gift Wrapper and String with a Gift Box to the Kafra Staff in Santa’s house at Lutie for a personalized gift box. The Kafra staff will write your name on the Gift Box, charging you 1000 zeny. Then, if you take your named Gift Box to other Kafra staff in Santa’s house with Gold or Silver ring, the Kafra will write your name on the ring and the ring will have status of Luck +1.

These items are great gift ideas to your guildmates, friends and even “special someones” /kis.

A Merry pRO Christmas to everyone! Seeya online!

#20 Cards, Cards? Anyone?

Cards, Cards? Anyone?

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

Ever since Juno invaded pRO last October, a lot of people were anticipating price surges in what seemed to be ‘underestimated’ cards like the Fabre and Pupa. These once puny cards now pack a true punch and give you more ‘bang for the buck’, so to speak.

It’s the cards that separate the ordinary gear from the truly powerful and sometimes priceless. Slotted gears (most especially overupgraded ones) are now so much in demand. Too much a demand, that merchants and Blacksmiths have made fortunes from the buying, selling (and even overupgrading) of these items.

If you need to round out your character, chances are, you are looking for either the right overupgraded equipment for him, the right card to go with it or both.

In this issue, allow me to share with you some tips and tricks on how the Juno patch affected the current environment. Let me share to you some “hot picks” from that card list. Let me analyze 5 “top Juno cards” so that you’ll know what to look for.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to quote specific prices for each card since server economics differ from server to server. They are also listed in no particular order since power is always relative; what might be powerful for a specific job or class might be weak for another.

TOP 5 CARDS

1. PECO-PECO (Before Juno: +150hp, Now: +10% hp) (Compound name: ‘armor’ of Ares) – Obviously this is very good for any VIT-based character. Imagine the difference of an additional 150 hp bonus as compared to a 10% bonus to a VIT Knight’s hp (say… 17,000hp). That’s an automatic +1,700 hp bonus. The extra life is almost always a gamebreaker in tough PVP sessions like Seige Day or even in MVP Boss hunting. The obvious winner here would either be Swordies, Knights, Crusaders or BlackSmiths. Finding either an overupgraded Full Plate or Chainmail (at least +8) and compounding it with a Peco-Peco will really do wonders to your characters!

2. PUPA (Before Juno: 50hp, Now: +700 hp) (Compound name: Hard ‘armor’) – The Pupa has gone from Rags to Riches! Look at the VERY big difference in bonuses! From a measly 50hp bonus, you get a whopping 700 big ones to help you survive your first few days as a Novice or First Jobber. Imagine the look in your partymates’ eyes when they see your Novice or First Jobber mindlessly hittingTthiefbugs or even Mandragoras and being able to take the punishment! “asa!” would then be your favorite battlecry! The Pupa is now relegated to its rightful pedestal overnight because of Juno.

3. RAYDRIC (Before Juno: reduce 15% of damage from neutral attacks, Now: reduce 20% damage from neutral attacks) (Compound name: Immune ‘garment’). A must have for PVP or Guild Seiges, anyone wearing an Immune Manteau or Immune Muffler certainly has that great edge. This is because ALL attacks from humans (read: Player Characters) are Neutral in nature. ‘Nuff said.

4. FABRE (Before Juno: +1 VIT, Now: +1 VIT AND +100 hp) (Compound name: Vital ‘weapon’). Ahhh… this is Pritong Kandule’s card of choice. I knew it! He was really making sense when he was bragging about his Triple Vital Falchion! /heh. Anyways, VIT types like Knights or Smiths are the real winners with this card. Any quadruple weapon will now have double purpose in the hands of a VIT-based character. Imagine have an additional +4 VIT *and* +400 hp! In the hands of a good player, this will mean victory for that character through sheer force of will and body toughness (hp).

5. WILLOW (Before Juno: 30SP bonus, Now: 80SP bonus) (Compound name: Wise ‘headger’). Imagine… +50 FREE SP. For a variety of characters, this could mean multiple things. For spellcasters like Wiazards or Priests, this would me extra Heals or Storm Gust. Sometimes, when defending an Agit, one is only limited by the amount of his SP and the number of restorative potions he carries inside his pack! For Knights this could mean 4 extra Brandish Spears or more Bash! Crusaders, because of their multi-roles, can also benefit from this card.

CONTEST

While we’re at the topic of cards, there’s an International RO contest about Card Illustration. Draw your own version of the in-game cards and be recognized worldwide! For more details, please check www.levelupgames.ph

#21 Spirit of Christmas Literally Captured

Spirit of Christmas Literally Captured

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

Level Up! recently finished its Christmas event entitled, RO Christmas Screenshot Contest last Dec 31, 2004.

As the last event of the year, players were encouraged to literally ‘capture’ their pRO Christmas ‘moments’ and share it for all to see. In this event, all one has to do was to make a “screenshot” of their actual game and send it to the LU office via e-mail.

There was one winner for each of the seven servers of the game. From that pool, a grand prize winner was chosen. All winners were validated and chosen by the LU! Community Team headed by GM Tristan III.

Thousands of entries from all around the country poured into the LU inbox. It was interesting to note how creative and artistic pRO players were. There were characters in Santa Hats, shots from Lutie (the RO Christmas village), shots of entire guilds (with Santa Hats!) and even screenies of their adventures from different parts of Rune-Midgard (the name of the realm where RO is based).

After thorough screening of thousands of entries, only 7 screenshots were picked as finalists. The competition, which ran through the entire month of December, accepted unedited Christmas-themed screenshot submissions from the pRO Community. From the final 7, a gift-giving themed entry from Odin emerged as the winner. Therz Edwin Buenaviaje of Odin captured the Christmas spirit by wanting to share his blessings with our countrymen who have been ravaged by the storm and landslides. He had these things to say about his entry:

"GIFTS FOR THE FLOOD VICTIM" This Christmas there are lots of flood victims who need our help. Even though this is just game (Ragnarok), I, as a ragnarok"er", citizen of Odin, care for these people and dedicate this game for them and share this gift *even though it's not for real* so that at least they'll feel that someone cares for them. Even though I didn't give them material things for this Christmas, my gifts of LOVE and CARE are things which a rich man can't buy! Happy Holidays!

Therz Edwin Buenaviaje, 18 years old from Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, got 50 gift boxes and a Walgwanggum (a powerful RO weapon) for qualifying as server finalist, and another set of 50 Gift boxes and a Princess knife (another cool and rare weapon) for bagging the pRO Best Screenshot Award!

Other server finalists got 50 gift boxes and a Walgwanggum. From Ragnabeat and Manila Bulletin, kudos to Therz!

‘Rok on, dude!

NEW YEAR, NEW SITE!

Meanwhile, as the new year kicks in, LU! reinvents its web interface as www.levelupgames.ph gets a cleaner, friendlier, and more organized look.

Launched last December 24, 2004, the new LU! website now has fresh sections like the "Real OG” (Online Gamer) where RO and Oz World player profiles and pictures are featured, as well as the "Game Guilds" part where RO guilds are given spotlight. Older sections are now presented with more emphasis and are even easier to navigate. The new layout is designed to focus more on the community side of LU! – its players and its organizations. “Real OG” aims to feature the vibrant personalities of RO and Oz World, publish their favorite hangouts and games as well as other juicy personal tidbits.

The section Game Guilds, on the other hand, centers on the group and its vital information.

In line with the new Real Og section, LU! is looking for players who can send us their best pictures (real life pictures, not screenshots of your characters!) and profiles.

Interested players may e-mail [email protected] for more information. You can also check out the new website and find out how to send your personal and guild profiles to the site.

I guess that’s it for this week’s Ragnabeat. In future issues, I’ll give you some teasers on the many interesting things that Level Up! has in store for the community this 2005!

Happy New Year everyone!

‘Rok On!

#22 How to have Fun with Ragnarok

How to have Fun with Ragnarok

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

When Level Up! opened the open ‘Beta’ testing for Ragnarok Online sometime in June of 2003, a lot Filipino gamers were curious about the novel concept of online games. Although there were a handful of those who have tried online games, most of the gaming community were into Local-Area Network games (LAN) offered by Internet Cafes. Games such as Counterstrike and Warcraft 3 were very popular.

Level Up! built upon this growing market and introduced Ragnarok Online, developed by Gravity Corporation of Korea, to the Filipino. From a handful of players, the game’s cute anime-inspired graphics and great gameplay was passed on through word of mouth. The rest, they say, is history.

Now, from as far north as the Ilocos Region to down south in Zamboanga, Philippine Ragnarok Online has hundreds of thousands of users and is still growing strong. There are also around 7,000 retail outlets selling pRO Prepaid Cards, this includes the 3,500 Internet Cafes all across the country that offer the game.

Ragnarok allows you to take on a role and play with thousands of players all across the archipelago. In this Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG), you can assume the role of either a Swordsman – mighty warriors equipped for battle, Mage – a powerful spellcaster, Thief – masters of guile and stealth, Acolyte – pious healers and servants of the Church, Archer – experts with the bow, or a Merchant – entrepreneurs with a knack for combat.

In the game, you can interact with your fellow players, complete quests, slay monsters, gain treasures and explore the vast world of Rune Midgard – a version which RO borrows heavily from Norse mythology.

GET INTO THE GAME

The best way to know the game is to play it!

For starters, you need a computer and Internet access. If you decide to play in an Internet Cafe, you’ve got both covered. Almost all Internet Cafes carry Ragnarok Online and offer it for play.

At any rate, should you decide to play at home, be sure that your computer is fairly new. The minimum requirement for pRO is a Pentium III 700 and at least 32MB of video card power. Of course, the higher the specs of your machine mean a better gaming experience for you. Dial-up connections will work well with pRO. But broadband connections like DSL or office T1 connections is always a better deal! With DSL companies jockeying for shares of the growing demand for broadband, it will be safe to say that prices for DSL will steadily decrease in the coming months due to competition.

Next on your checklist should be getting a copy of the Ragnarok Installer CD. If you have friends who are already playing, chances are, they’ll be more than glad to lend you a copy of the CD (anyone who has installed it won’t be needing it afterwards). If not, check out your nearest Internet Cafe for free copies of the installation disc. For a list of cafes and for more info, please check out Level-Up’s site at www.levelupgames.ph

As soon as you have your copy of the CD, it’s time to register for an account. Level-Up offers a FREE 3-day trial at their website. After this period, you can continue to play by purchasing prepaid “top-up” cards (very similar to Prepaid Cellcards). Top-up cards are available in denominations of P350 (for one month unlimited), P100 (1 week), P50 (8 hours) and P20 (2 hours) and P10 (1 hour) and the recently launched P75 (3-days unlimited) cards at internet cafes and various dealers nationwide (list is also at www.levelupgames.ph).

‘Rok On!

#23 Basic PVP Gear

Basic PVP Gear

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

After the release of WOE (War of Emperium), Ragna fanatics were treated to a twice-weekly PVP (Player vs. Player) bashfest. Due to this, PVP has grown in popularity and a lot of players rose to the challenge of building a PVP-based character, acquiring the proper gear and refining his or her own build to be master of either Agits or the PVP rooms.

Deciding to embark on PVP-oriented play is not so difficult. It’s actually challenging (and fun) to learn from your mistakes, talk with PVP veterans and master the many skills and techniques which could make or break any match, be it one-on-one or a group PVP match.

Now that both the Ragnarok Philippine Championships 2005 and Urdr, the Player-Kill (PK) server releases are nearing, I thought it would be best to share with you some tips on basic PVP gear. Do take note that this is merely guide on PVP and not meant to be a definitive take on the subject. Experience is still the best teacher and nothing compares to trying your gear and skills in actual combat.

STANDARD GEAR

In PVP, the general rule is; TAKE LESS DAMAGE AND DELIVER MORE TO YOUR OPPONENT. Most of the cards and gear that PVP vets take into account adhere to this simple principle. Damage reduction cards compounded into over-upgraded slotted gear are popular. For starters, the Reydric card (Immune) which grants 20% less damage from the Neutral property is standard fare among PVPers. Since all attacks from Player-Characters are considered ‘Neutral’, your Immune Manteau or Muffler can let you withstand more attacks allowing you more time to deal damage of your own.

If your character can hold a shield or buckler (BS, Priest or even some Wizards), it’s best to invest in a Cranial (Thara Frog) shield. You can’t go wrong with 30% damage reduction from demi-human attacks (this includes ALL Player-Characters, of course).

For headgear, believe it or not, one of the most popular in PVP is the meek Poo-Poo hat. The extra 10% damage reduction is an added bonus. Some spell casters try to wear headgear with Marduk cards (Peerless: Protection from Silence) or, if you can afford it, an Orc Hero Card (Neutral: Never be stunned). Do you know why a pair of slotted sunglasses is so expensive? Because it provides you an additional headgear slot to compound cards in. Some prefer wearing Masquerade Masks (+3% extra damage added on Demi-Human Monsters) for the extra damage, of course.

For weapons, it’s a no-brainer that Hydra Cards (Bloody: +20% damage to demi-humans) are the most popular cards compounded on PVP weapons. Knights favor their quad bloody +10 pikes while the other classes either go full bloody or combine it with some ‘status’ cards. Second most popular would be the Mummy Cards (Ancient) for extra accuracy. This will prove helpful against characters who are hard to hit like Hunters and Assassins with very high Dex.

For boots, Matyr cards (Green: +1 AGI and +10% hp) are favored. For accessory cards, the Horong (for Sight) can be useful if you’re up against ‘Sins that can Hide or Cloak. For armors, one of the best cards is the Marc card. The Marc will make you immune to Storm Gust or Frost Diver. Since these spells are used by Wizards as ‘crowd control’, you’ll just breeze by any Agit encampment and whack at your enemies. Alternatively, you can make a dash to the Emp room and retake their base en masse.

For restorative supplies, potions provide the first line of defense in PVP or Agit siege. Of course, White pots are the healing potion of choice because it heals the most amount of damage. With damage reaching the thousands, the skill of white pot ‘spamming’ (continually pressing the function key where your whites are) is a must-learn.

Additional potions that you’ll need are Panacea (anti-status) and the various ‘drugs’ like Awakes or Berserks. While you’re at it, try to carry a few Ygg leaves (for Resu) just in case your Priest partymate dies early.

URDR: THE NEW WORLD ORDER

This February 2, 2005 marks the birth of a “New World Order” for Philippine Ragnarok Online. Level Up! Games has just announced the launching of their newest and coolest server ever – URDR!

Urdr, named after one of the ‘Fates’ whose name means “the past” (in Norse mythology), is the first-ever Ragnarok Player-Kill (PK) server. In this new server, players will be able to attack each other out of PvP/WoE maps. Coolness!

Players below base level 51 cannot PK and cannot be PKed. Towns and maps near them are considered non-PK maps, but everything else is PK-enabled. Modified experience and drop rates will be applied for Urdr’s first few days.

Prepare for the ultimate PVP experience!

‘Rok On!

#24 RO and its Influence on Pinoy Gamers

RO and its Influence on Pinoy Gamers

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

This little game called Ragnarok Online crept from obscurity to a full-blown phenomenon. Since its release to the public last year, Ragnarok Online has not only provided entertainment to a myriad of players but it also influenced a lot of lives. Some have even met the “apple of their lives” online, Philippine Ragnarok Online (pRO) was the cupid that launched the arrows of love to two strangers who have only met online. To some, pRO has taught them the values of friendship, camaraderie, teamwork and fair play. Some have taken the game to the extreme and have brought the gameplay to an entirely new plateau. This highly competitive nature contributed to the creation of our National Team that proudly carried the country’s colors in the recently concluded Ragnarok World Championships at Seoul Korea last July.

Indeed, there are as many kinds of personalities that play pRO as there are Porings (those cute and lovable creatures associated with the game) at the outskirts of Prontera, the capital city of the game world.

No one can contest that the majority of pRO players are teens. But there has been a resurgence of young professionals and even entire families totally immersed in Ragnarok. One such player goes by the nickname Paulina in the official Ragnarok messageboards. She recalls the early days of Ragnarok; “During those days, I met lotsa friends… and later on, some moved on with their lives, some moved servers, some stayed with me. One quit RO, for his future, he moved to the US and studied there, after that he said he'll get married. My closest friends are Lu, and Nikki. I met Lu at Payon forest, when I was still a swordie exploring Midgard, and ‘Him’ as a 'lil merchant. Nikki, whom I met at Geffen Dungeon level 1, when I was, killing 'em poison spores, and recruiting members for Elite's guild. We text each other, we're friends in Friendster, we know each other's ym ID, birthday, age… those stuff. Nikki called us the "Dynamic Trio."

”Those two, they taught me a lot of things… it's fun playing RO, if you have friends…we help each other when there's a problem. Because of RO, I met lotsa friends, the hardships…the fun times, but still, even when friends get separated, even when you quit RO, you'll never forget the memories, the fun crazy times, the serious times, the sad times, and of course, the friendship you made with them.”

”As for me, I'll continue playing RO, it still doesn't bore me, there are a lot of stuff to do, collecting headgears, leveling up, before I quit…” Paulina concludes. Here’s an example on how a simple thing as an online game has enriched someone’s life. She is now a few friends richer.

You’ve probably heard the adage that the Internet has breached the barriers of distance, language and culture. That’s no small feat. In a country composed of more than 7,000+ islands and an equally immense number of dialects and local customs, we can continue to thank communication and mediums such as online games that continually make our nation a smaller place in terms of social interactivity.

Community

Perhaps second only to SMS or text messaging, Ragnarok has brought old friends together. It has opened up a river of opportunities to meet new friends online, where they log in online to share fun evenings portraying roles in an epic fantasy world.

After school or work, pRO players stop being students, professionals, housewives, employees and even businessmen. Once they log on to their pRO accounts, they become Knights, Hunters or Blacksmiths in a grand fantasy world where anyone and everyone can interact with one another. Once the game loads on the computer, a player who has an avatar named Muramasa Kisei becomes one of the game’s renowned Merchant. “I actually got on to RO about 6 months before pRO was officially released. (iRO) At first, I just treated it like another Diablo-style game - kill things, grab loot, sell loot, buy better stuff, etc. But then came the interaction with people. Being a Merchant, everyone asked me for OC/DC (overcharge and discount services) and to Vend stuff. It was an eye-opening experience for someone who treats video games as a solo or a small-group activity at the most. You begin to consider other people before acting - something that most gamers aren't used to doing.” Muramasa explains.

Muramasa then focused his energies on forming a community. A community truly changes the game into a living and breathing virtual world. “We had the chance to start the community in pRO, so we did. I immediately tried to establish good standards for the economy and for the conduct of Merchants around.”

”I jumped servers a lot - following the friends I made wherever they went. Before I knew it, the characters I made were designed with complementing their strengths and weaknesses in mind. By the time I settled down on the Fenrir server, I had become one of the pillars of our guild - our family.”

Muramasa is proud of his accomplishments and he has gained not a few friends in the process. Today, he reflects on these accomplishments. “Now, I spend my time helping people out - items, tactics, company, even RL (Real Life) problems. I have helped foster a community. Not just a group, not just a collection of people, but also a family.”

”And to think I started out as a lone individual. That is the power of friendship and community. That is how Ragnarok Online should be.” Muramasa concludes.

‘Rok On!

#25 RPC 2005

RPC 2005

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

Do you guys remember the excitement of the Philippine preliminaries for Ragnarok World Championships 2004 at Folk Arts last year? Yep, despite the heat, 7 guilds battled it out for the chance to represent us in Korea for the first-ever RWC.

After the smoke settled from the intense PVP action, two guilds were triumphant, guild Unholy of Loki and Rebirth of Chaos. As official commentator for RWC, I could literally feel the heat of the moment as the overwhelming competitive aura permeated the venue. Each mouse click was the equivalent of a deadly spell – a fatal Storm Gust or a deadly Hammer Fall/Mammo combo! Up until then, did I realize how exciting and fun RO PVP matches could get. Last year’s RWC was a showcase of pure adrenalin and is a lasting tribute to the competitive element of Ragnarok Online.

I was personally with Unholy and Rebirth during their stint at Seoul. After bowing out in Seoul, Korea last year, I had a chat with some of the Filipino players. Everyone was determined to return to RWC with a vengeance! Everyone agreed that more practice, better rules and mechanics for the next RWC, and ample time to prepare would give us a fighting chance in next year’s international tour.

The teams that competed were prepared for RWC and each gave it their best. But in every tournament, there would be winners and, unfortunately, losers. Both players and the event organizers (and me, too) at last year’s RWC learned valuable lessons. These very lessons were taken into consideration to plan for another exciting year of RO PVP competition.

And guess what? This year, Level Up! is going to do it again… bigger, better, and ‘badder’!

NEW FORMATS

This year, we’re renaming it the “Ragnarok Philippine Championships 2005”. This is due to the fact that RPC tournament mechanics has been “re-formatted” to include the entire Philippines for the search for the best 9-player Ragnarok PVP team.

LU will be touring Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and Greater Manila Area (GMA) and get the best players from those regions. Joining is simple, from February to March, you just gather a group of friends (you don’t have to necessarily play from the same server). Form a team of 9 players (plus 2 alternates) then go look for an internet cafй to sponsor you (only 1 team per cafй and vice versa). Players can only register under one team.

Get the application form from the LU site, Cafes, LU Business Relations Officers, or any LU Regional Office. You then fill it up as individuals then as a team. All you need to do know is attach a copy of your birth certificate and have the owner or representative of the cafй sign in, attach a copy of his business permit and your good to go.

You can then snail mail it or just have your Cafй sponsor give it to any Level Up sales team member or to his distributor or dealer. At any rate, complete instructions and mechanics will be up on the website soon.

From all the applicants, the LU RPC 2005 Committee will then draw (via lottery) 32 teams per region. The lottery draw is tentatively set for the Amatsu and Kunlun launch sometime this March.

Each region will have 32 teams and these 32 teams will battle in a 2-day tournament eliminations/elims/semis/finals format until there can be only one “Regional Sovereign”. These 4 Regional Sovereigns each gets a slot to the RPC 2005 Finals in June (venue and date to be announced).

The Regional Sovereigns will then battle their Server counterparts in the Finals.

AGITS AND WILD CARDS

In the ‘server side’ of RPC, it will now be a Dynamic Attack System.

Guilds must lay siege to, hold and improve agits for as many weeks as they can in order to qualify for a slot in the Server Eliminations. Agits will be rated according to their Economy and Security ratings in a formula known as the Dynamic Attack System. The scores of multiple agits held by the same guildmaster add up together, and if they are in more then one area, they get a multiplier to the siege points they earn for that siege. The Military Victory path is a race to accumulate as many siege points as possible from March to May, 2005. The top two guilds in terms of Siege Points will qualify for the Server Elimination Match.

Siege points are determined by adding your agit's ECONOMY rating and DEFENSE rating together. For example, an agit with Economy 5 and Defense 9 earns that guild 14 siege points for that siege. Add up together all the ratings of all the agits the guildmaster personally owns. Extensions count as separate guilds. There is a special multiplier for holding agits in more then one city (ie: if you have agits in Prontera and Aldebaran for instance, your siege points double)

• If you hold agits in 2 areas (example: Payon/Prontera): Your siege points x 2
• If you hold agits in 3 areas: (example: Payon/Geffen/Prontera) Your siege points x 4
• If you hold agits in ALL 4 areas: Your siege points x 10

In addition to acquiring siege points, you can also participate in RPC via the Wild Card. In the Wild Card, players nominate and vote for their guilds or allies to represent their server. Top-up cards are needed for nominating and voting. Every 1 peso denomination is equal to one vote (except for the P350, which is equal to 400 votes).

Nominating and voting will all be online. The top 2 Wild Card (per server) will battle the top 2 Agit lords in an epic 4-way Battle Supreme. The winner will represent their server. This will be further narrowed down to 4 Server Sovereigns who will compete against the 4 Regional Sovereigns. These 8 teams will clash in the Finals where only ONE will survive as the RPC 2005 Champion!

For more details, please stay tuned for more announcements at www.levelupgames.ph

‘Rok On!

#26 Love Roks and more!

Love Roks and more!

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

Ahh… it is February, the month of romance and a time to remember your “special someone”. Even Ragnarok Online has its share of romantic stories. I’ve heard of stories where couples met each other online and are now either best of friends or better yet, sweethearts.

I also have friends (married couples actually) who spend some quality RO time together inside Midgard and adventure as a husband and wife team. I’ve actually done this together with my wife (who plays two characters, Snarla – a Priestess and Eula Rae – her favorite Merchant). Together with Sharic, my Priest, we spend some romantic moments scaling the mountains of Mjolnir or hanging out in romantic places like the Hidden Temple or St. Capitolina Abbey.

RO can boast other romantic places. There’s the big flowers at Mjolnir on the way to the Coal Mines. There’s also Lutie, with its huge Christmas decors and big gifts.

And to celebrate the month of Romance, pRO has a lot of events and promos in store for the community.

Read on and join!

LOVE ROKS CONTEST

Level Up! is giving away a romantic dinner for two and a complete in-game grand wedding celebration for lucky winners!

Tell the world of Rune-Midgard how much you love your honeybunch and get the chance to treat her to a sweet and romantic valentine’s dinner date for free. Interested? Then listen up, Casanova!

Send in your RO love story (with a maximum of 300 words) on how you met the love of your life while playing the most romantic MMORPG in the country, Ragnarok Online (please include a picture of you with your significant other and your in-game sprites along with your letter).

The one who sends the most romantic story will win for themselves a GM-sponsored wedding in-game (complete with the items needed for the wedding and the reception), and a candlelit dinner for two in a romantic restaurant!

So if you have a sweet story to tell, send ‘em now to [email protected] and show us how much of a romantic you can be.

For more info, visit the LoveRoKs contest page at www.level-up-games.com.ph/ragnarok/loveroks.php

VALENTINES PATCH

To highlight the month of hearts, LU! is also patching the game to include some “love elements” into the game. This will be automatically patched into pRO starting Feb 9, 2005.

Celebrate Valentines’ with your beloved by giving them personalized chocolate goodies! Here’s your chance to have your name engraved on a healthy chocolate drink or some delicious hand-made chocolates – guaranteed to melt the heart of that special someone.

But first, you have got to talk to these NPCs and do some special quests for them.

You have to find Marco Bacinio and Major Valentine (HINT: They’re at the map where Father Rubalkabara is). Talk to these guys and give them 5 yoyo tails. In turn, he’ll give you a special item called Cacao. Go to Alberta (near the West Kafra) and you’ll find a new NPC named Chocola Bacinio. You can then buy Chocolates from Chocola for 5,000z each!

After you do this, you go to Arles Orlans (who is located inside Prontera Tavern, at the lower left of Prontera Town; near the Veggie Merchant.) and he will give you 1 Hand-Made Chocolate in exchange for 3 Chocolates. Once you get 1 hand-made choco and 1 choco, you can get a personalized Chocolate (with your name on it. Perfect for gifts to your RO sweetheart!) from Julie Valentine. Julie is located at the Prontera Bridge leading to the Castle.

HEAVEN AND HELL RPG EVENT

But February isn’t all about love and romance.

Magical anomalies emanating from a magical tome deep within the Clock Tower has greatly affected the balance of magic and mystic energy in Rune Midgard. As such, random portals have opened in locations all across Midgard. The great King Tristan III has summoned Tzerero, a renowned Alchemist who is also a trusted ambassador and adviser, to investigate this magical phenomenon.

Tzerero gathers the guilds of Midgard and forms a team of 9 adventurers. The company is named ‘The Sovereigns’ and together, they venture forth to the Clock Tower to investigate.

At this time, monsters coming out of the portals are invading the various cities and towns. Some reported sightings of the Dark Lord alarm citizens! There is talk of an invasion by the forces of evil… or worse, the second “Ragnarok”…

Deep within the dark dungeons of Alde baran, Tzerero and the Sovereigns fight their way through horrible and unnamed dangers. Until finally, they come to the Sanctum holding the legendary Book of Heaven and Hell…

Tzerero opens the book and is instantly engulfed in dark flames. Part of the essence of the Dark Lord consumes him.

He is driven mad.

As to the Sovereigns, very little is known of their fate….

Meanwhile, monsters continue to appear randomly across Midgard.

All heroes are called by King Tristan to help…

… What do you and your Guildmates do? The fate of Midgard is now in your hands…

Heaven and Hell will include all servers including Urdr! Stay tuned for In-game announcements and check the site for details.

To receive RO bulletins and event notices, text ENTER<space>PRO to 2213. To join Amatsu and Kunlun text promo, text TALE to 29769.

Happy Valentines day!

‘Rok On!

#27 Amatsu and Kunlun: A Tale of Two Cities

Amatsu and Kunlun: A Tale of Two Cities

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

The long wait is almost over.

A few weeks from now, another highly anticipated patch for Philippine Raganarok Online is hitting all servers and worlds.

Heralded by a grand launching on March 12, 2005 at the Market! Market! Mall at the Fort, Amatsu and Kunlun: A Tale of Two Cities hits your PCs tentatively on March 16, 2005!

And “Tale” isn’t your ordinary launch… for the first time in gaming history, ‘Tale’ has a detailed storyline which will be adapted into a full-feature stage play, comics and online fiction! Join the young prince of Amatsu, Shosuro Ran, together with Princess Fei of Kunlun and Willow, the deadly Assassin, in their quest to battle Tzerero and his corrupted Super Novice army.

In order to defeat Tzerero, Ran must uncover the secrets to a long lost prophecy and find the meaning of true love. See their epic story unfold at unfold at the grand launching this March 12 at Market! Market!

GAME FEATURES

As the name implies, ‘Tale’ features two new cities. The first is Amatsu; take a ship from Alberta and journey to Amatsu to explore the magnificent Lakeside Castle, where most of the village treasures – books and historical valuables – are secured. Or why not visit the the Tatami Dungeon, a deceptive labyrinth of endless tatami and rows upon rows of rooms? And that’s just one of several new dungeons. Are you ready to face the perils of the Underground Battlefield or the Haunted Shrine?

For those who wish to visit a new Chinese-inspired city, you can take your party to Kunlun, a place known for its stunning tourist attractions and sceneries, deep religious roots and impressive economic conditions. There, you can find the Field of Fighting. From this arena, one can encounter the meekest to the most ferocious monsters existing in Rune-Midgard.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. ‘Tale’ also features the highly anticipated Wedding Patch and a new and cool job, the Super Novice!

WEDDING

Proclaim your undying love and let the rest of the world bear witness to your eternal devotion! Let your partner know how much he or she means to you. Bear the honor of having the great King Tristan III officiate your wedding rites and seal your marriage! Once you have succeeded in winning your beloved’s heart, you can begin preparations. Here are the required items and fees:

MALE: 1,300,000 zeny, Tuxedo x 1, Diamond Ring x 1

FEMALE: 1,200,000 zeny, Wedding Dress x 1, Diamond Ring x 1

Prepare for these items as early as now! After collecting all the requirements, you can proceed to Prontera Church to begin the ceremonies. When you think you are ready, you may register at the Prontera Sanctuary, through the marriage helper. She will then schedule your nuptials. After which, you may begin inviting your friends to celebrate this happy occasion.

Wedding Procedure:

1. Register with Merry Happy, the wedding planner.
2. The bride and bridegroom form a party of 2.
3. The bride and bridegroom talk to the King
4. The bridegroom enters the bride’s EXACT NAME.
5. The bride enters the groom’s EXACT name.
6. The King declares them man and wife and they change sprites to the wedding costume.
7. The couple is given Wedding Rings which they can use to access the wedding skills. All wedding requirements are taken by the NPCs.

TIP: You must enter your spouse’s name exactly. If you do not do this, all your wedding requirements will be wasted.

NOTE: Newly wedded adventurers may not use skills or attack for an hour. They will also only walk at half speed. This condition persists even if you disconnect and then reconnect.

SUPER NOVICE

Another exciting feature is the new Super Novice job (or SuNos for short). To become one, talk to Tzerero in Al de Baran, and you will be given the chance to become part of the Ordinary People’s Club. As a Super Novice, you can train to Job Level 70 and most first class skills are available to you. Furthermore, there are some strange reports going around that a Super Novice that reaches the highest level without a single death (even after they have become Super Novices will be rewarded greatly). Super Novices have their own Guardian Angels that cast numerous buffs, such as Kyrie Eleison, Magnificat, Gloria, Suffragium and Impossitio Manus. There are chances a Super Novice can summon the Angel during certain increments in their EXP bar. There are even times that the Angel will cast Steel Body and replenish her ward’s HP if the young one falls unconscious.

(TALE TEXT PROMO: Text TALE to 29769 for details on how YOU get to choose who will win Ran’s heart!)

Next week – more details on the Wedding Skills, Super Novice and the story of Ran, Willow, and Princess Fei! More info: www.levelupgames.ph/tale

‘Rok On!

#28 Amatsu and Kunlun: Features

Amatsu and Kunlun: Features

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

Last issue, I gave you some teasers of things to expect for Amatsu and Kunlun: A Tale of Two Cities. This week, allow me to give you more details on the great things to expect for Ragnarok Online’s latest expansion.

First off are the specific quests and skills for the Wedding Patch. Then I’ll give you updates and inside scoop on what you need to do in order to become a Super Novice.

Excited? Yep, so am I! Let’s start the ball rolling….

WEDDING PATCH

Again, here’s how to wed:

Here are the required items and fees:

MALE: 1,300,000 zeny, Tuxedo x 1, Diamond Ring x 1

FEMALE: 1,200,000 zeny, Wedding Dress x 1, Diamond Ring x 1

Prepare for these items as early as now! After collecting all the requirements, you can proceed to Prontera Church to begin the ceremonies. When you think you are ready, you may register at the Prontera Sanctuary, through the marriage helper. She will then schedule your nuptials. After which, you may begin inviting your friends to celebrate this happy occasion.

Wedding Procedure:

1. Register with Merry Happy, the wedding planner.
2. The bride and bridegroom form a party of 2.
3. The bride and bridegroom talk to the King
4. The bridegroom enters the bride’s EXACT NAME.
5. The bride enters the groom’s EXACT name.
6. The King declares them man and wife and they change sprites to the wedding costume.
7. The couple is given Wedding Rings which they can use to access the wedding skills. All wedding requirements are taken by the NPCs.

TIP: You must enter your spouse’s name exactly. If you do not do this, all your wedding requirements will be wasted.

NOTE: Newly wedded adventurers may not use skills or attack for an hour. They will also only walk at half speed. This condition persists even if you disconnect and then reconnect.

WEDDING SKILLS:

Now that you and your beloved are formally married, there are, of course, benefits both parties will enjoy. This includes summoning of the spouse, as well as HP/SP sharing. Read on for more info. Now that you and your beloved are formally married, there are, of course, benefits both parties will enjoy. This includes summoning of the spouse, as well as HP/SP sharing.

WEDDING RINGS

These are symbols of a couple's love, with unique traits that set them apart from other regular items and equipments. Wedding rings cannot be sold, dropped or traded. They will never appear in your trade window or your buy/sell windows. They cannot be put into carts for vending purposes. They will forever be in your inventory as constant reminders of your vows.

So…better make sure you are marrying THE ONE.

SKILLS

I'll Sacrifice Myself For You

A married woman supports her husband by providing SP, giving up 15% of her total SP as she uses this skill. This skill requires that the wife wear her wedding ring. Her husband need not be wearing his wedding ring.

I'll Save You if You are in Danger

A married man provides HP to his wife by sacrificing 15% of his total HP. This skill requires that the husband wear his wedding ring. His wife need not be wearing her wedding ring.

I'm Missing You

Summons a red warp portal that calls the casters's spouse regardless of where he or she is. (even if the spouse is in a dungeon or agit) They take 20 seconds to cast. This skill cannot be used inside siege maps.

SUPER NOVICE

The Ordinary People's Club is located near the South entrance of Al de Baran. When you've gotten inside, turn right. You will find Tzerero.

The Quest to become a super novice (compared to other jobs) is very easy! You'll be surprised!

GUARDIAN ANGELS - Super Novices have their own Guardian Angels that cast numerous buffs, such as Kyrie Eleison, Magnificat, Gloria, Suffragium and Impossitio Manus. There are chances a Super Novice can summon the Angel during certain increments in their EXP bar. There are even times that the Angel will cast Steel Body and replenish her ward's HP if the young one falls unconscious.

SUPER NOVICE LIMITATIONS

1. They cannot change into Second Jobbers.
2. They have the same HP/SP, equipment limitations and attack speed as regular novices.
3. They still receive -1% EXP penalty upon death.
4. The Play Dead skill can no longer be used (once you become a Super Novice).
5. They cannot equip bows and two-handed swords; therefore, they can never get Double-Strafe and the Two-Hand Mastery skills.

That’s it for this issue. Don’t forget to go the Amatsu and Kunlun launch on March 12, 2005 simultaneous at Market! Market! The Fort, Ayala Center in Cebu and Matina Town Square at Davao. Also, text TALE to 29769 to help Ran choose between princess Fei or Willow.

Official Amatsu and Kunlun site: www.levelupgames.ph/ragnarok/tale

‘Rok On!

#29 The Amatsu and Kunlun official storyline!

The Amatsu and Kunlun official storyline!

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

Greetings Ragnafanatics! Mark this date on your calendar – MARCH 12, 2005!

This is the day that LU launches Amatsu and Kunlun in a big party in not just ONE location but on a simultaneous party/launch in TWO OTHER areas – Ayala Center in Cebu and Matina Town Square in Davao City! This is in addition to the main event at the Market! Market! mall at the Fort.

Join us in the biggest Raganarok launch party yet! There, LU will announce who the lucky girl to steal Ran’s heart will be. Will it be the deadly yet sexy assassin, Willow? Or the equally beautiful and powerful monk, the Princess Fei of Kunlun?

You can still make those votes count… just text TALE to 29769 (for GLOBE or SMART) for more details on the Ran, Willow and Fei: Amatsu and Kunlun text promo. Get a chance to win a trip for Hong Kong just by texting your votes! Remember; the more votes, the more chances of winning! So, text in those votes now.

Of course, the highlight of the Amatsu and Kunlun is the epic storyline developed by LU just for the latest patch for Philippine Ragnarok Online. The first of its kind in any gaming event, the story has been translated onto three mediums – Comics, an online novel and even a stage play (which will see its debut performance at the launch party on March 12 at Market Market!)

THE STORY

In a nutshell, the story is about Shosuro Ran, prince of Amatsu. His father sends him to aid the besieged land of Kunlun. Kunlun is under attack by an alchemist known as Tzerero. If you recall, in the recent LU Heaven and Hell story arc RPG event, Tzerero, an alchemist and adviser to the king of Midgard was sent by King Tristan III to investigate magical anomalies caused by the Heaven and Hell book located at the bowels of the Clock Tower. He hasn’t been heard of since. Rumors have it that he has gone mad and that the evil within the book has corrupted him.

Meanwhile, novices are mysteriously disappearing all across Midgard. Some malignant and unknown force may be the cause for this. These novices resurface thousands of miles away… in the eastern lands of Amatsu and Kunlun. They are now under the magical control of Tzerero! Tzerero has indeed gone mad. Possessed by the Dark Lord, he is fueled by rage and greed. He has formed an army of evil Super Novices (also called SuNos) and marches his army to invade Kunlun.

Why Kunlun, you ask?

When Tzerero opened the Book of Heaven and Hell, he released the Dark Lord into the realm. The once loyal servant of King Tristan III is now possessed by Dark Lord. The Dark Lord discovered that the monks of Kunlun guard the secrets to kill him. These secrets lead to magical gems and two ancestral weapons, Heaven’s Blade of Amatsu and the Dragon’s Teeth of Kunlun… secrets that, if learned, can kill Dark Lord. Tzerero, possessed by the Dark Lord, decided that these secrets must be destroyed so that no mortal may stop his plans to eventually conquer and rule the entire realms of Rune Midgard.

The full power of these ancestral weapons can only be activated via True Love. It is also said that the monks of Kunlun also guard the scrolls that contain an ancient prophecy:

When the Dragon unites with Heaven
As True love is finally found
Darkness shall be crushed forever
And peace shall at last abound

Meanwhile, Ran forms his own army and rushes to aid Kunlun. He and Princess Li Yang Fei of Kunlun are scheduled to be married soon but the war has temporarily put a hold to their families’ plans. Fearing for the safety of his future wife, Ran force-marches his army to make haste towards Kunlun.

Alas! Along the way, they are ambushed by a force of highly trained SuNos! The SuNos defeat Ran’s army, killing all warriors except the young prince. Ran is rescued from sure death by a mysterious and beautiful assassin who introduces herself only as “Willow”.

The Assassin agrees to help the young prince in his cause to save Kunlun and free the city from Tzerero and the SuNo army that currently holds it. Willow and Ran continue their travels to Kunlun. Along the way, they meet Princess Fei! The Princess has escaped from the clutches of Tzerero and is also looking for a way to defeat the corrupted Alchemist. She currently carries “Dragon’s Teeth” a very powerful monks’ “knuckle” that has been passed on the Li family for generations. Ran boasts the he too wields the ancestral weapon of Amatsu, the “Heaven’s Blade”, a +10 powerful Muramasa! The party of three slowly see the Prophecy unfolding before them… the Dragon has united with Heaven. But how do they defeat the mighty Tzerero and his army?

There is this component of “True Love”… and now the buck stops here.

Ran is really confused. Will he choose his betrothed, Princess Fei? But he has also fallen in love with the nimble and strong assassin, Willow… now, the young swordie’s really confused.

I won’t spoil the story and give you the ending. Suffice it to say that we need YOUR help! Text TALE to 29769 and go to the Market Market event, watch the stage play and get to see who will finally steal Ran’s heart!

Official site: http://www.levelupgames.ph/ragnarok/tale/

‘Rok On!

#30 Level Up! Steps up Security, Updates Hack Policy

Level Up! Steps up Security, Updates Hack Policy

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard of the new Level Up policy on hacks and hack policies (effective since Feb 18, 2005). This week, I'm reprinting it here for those who were not able to catch it in time or for those who want to cut this column and use it as "easy-reference".

Let me say that I sincerely believe and fully support Level Up's new policy 100%. Users should be the frontline of defense. Responsibility and accountability should be theirs. BUT it is also important that LU! help the users by enhancing security solutions (such as Gameguard) and coordinate with the Cafe owners and help them secure their own networks and setup. LU is currently implementing their "Cafe Security Program" to address this. Also, I encourage the community to help and educate fellow players on how to secure their accounts. Call it cliche, but I really believe in the adage that "An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure".

At any rate, enough prattle from me, here's the official LU policy:
In the past month, Level Up! recently invested in several security systems and software intended to protect its community. Notably, Gameguard (for the Ragnarok Client) and 'secure' web page system for log-in and topping up your account has already been installed and is currently in operation. Although no system is immune from security threats, these systems together with user vigilance, hand-in-hand with close coordination with Internet Cafes, should significantly reduce your vulnerability to hacks. We will continue to upgrade systems in the coming months for even better security.

EFFECTIVE 7pm of Feb. 18, 2005, Level Up! will NOT ENTERTAIN hack complaints requesting for compensation. Hacking is a crime punishable under the law and is best left to the proper authorities. However, Level Up is committed to cooperating with the proper government agencies to prosecute offenders to the fullest extent of the law.

Here are the contact numbers that you should know:
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)
Anti-Fraud and Computer Crimes Division (AFCCD)
Atty. Elfren Meneses - Chief
Agent Palmer Mallari - Executive Officer
Phone: 525-4093 / 524-6395
http://www.nbi.gov.ph
Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) - Transnational Crimes Division - Philippine National Police (PNP) / Government Computer Security Incident Response Team (GCSIRT)
Police Superintendent Col. Gilbert Sosa - Director
Captain Weneco Fuentes
Phone: 723-0401 local 5513

Get more information on securing your account at: http://www.levelupgames.ph/support_securitytips.php

FAQ's ON "NO HACK-COMPENSATION" POLICY

What is LU!'s no hack-compensation policy?

LU!'s no hack-compensation policy means that we shall no longer be accepting/entertaining reports or tickets concerning hack cases. If a player gets hacked and submits a ticket through the Customer Support page, or calls a Customer Support Representative, we will not investigate or return ANY items for hack complaints.

However, other non-hack related concerns such as difficulty in connecting to the game or reports on bugs, etc. will still be entertained.

Why has LU! implemented such a policy?

The intention of a "no hack-compensation policy" is to empower and stress to the players that they are the first line of defense against getting hacked. This means that they should be self-accountable for the security and integrity of their accounts. This policy is being implemented by some of the biggest online gaming companies in the world, the likes of Sony for "Everquest", Blizzard for "World of Warcraft", Square Enix for "Final Fantasy 11" and Mythic for "Dark Ages of Camelot".

Due to the complexity of "proving" or "disproving" that a player was hacked, we feel that it is best left to the experts like the NBI Cybercrime unit and the government to decide whether or not a hack actually took place. Only a court of law can decide what evidence is acceptable or relevant for a "hack" to take place, and ONLY the Philippine government can levy the appropriate fines and penalties.

What has LU! done to help players combat hacking?

In January 26, 2005, Level Up! implemented Gameguard into Philippine Ragnarok Online. This is a program designed to detect and disable keyloggers and other spying software. However, it has been proven time and time again that no security system in the world, real or virtual, is 100% fool proof. Therefore, players should not fully rely only on Gameguard alone or any other security program to ensure the safety of their accounts.

That is why Level Up! has a designated section on Security Tips available to all players in its website.
It is a must for players to visit this site so they will be armed with the basic knowledge on how to protect their accounts.

What about game policies, rules and sanctions? Are these affected?

Yes. We have also revised the Game Policies page and the corresponding sanctions and penalties for offenders in light of the no-hack compensation policy.

Please check out the new penalties at http://www.levelupgames.ph/ragnarok/penalties.php

Is there a Philippine law against hacking? What are the penalties?

Yes. There is a law called Republic Act 8792 or the Electronic Commerce Act. You can download the entire law in PDF form at the LU site.

#31 AMATSU AND KUNLUN LAUNCH EVENT

AMATSU AND KUNLUN LAUNCH EVENT

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

Amatsu and Kunlun: A Tale of Two Cities was formally launched to the public last March 12, 2005. This was a day of “firsts”. This was the first time that a stage play was made for an MMORPG event, this was also the first time that a game launch was held live simultaneously at three different locations; Market! Market! at the Fort, Ayala Center in Cebu and Matina Town Square in Davao city. It was also the first time that the players themselves determined the ending of an epic storyline created specifically for the Amatsu and Kunlun patch, Ragnarok’s latest game episode. This was done via the “TALE” text promo wherein winners earned the chance to win a trip to Hong Kong (among other prizes).

Also, the event formally marked the opening of the Ragnarok Philippine Championships 2005. Tournament Director Mon Macutay did the honors with the presence of defending 2004 champions; Team Philippines Unholy of Loki and Team Philippines Rebirth of Chaos. The winners of the RPC 2005 Regional Lottery for Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and GMA were also drawn live and announced. If you wanna know the complete list of teams that would represent the Regionals, please check the LU! site at www.levelupgames.ph

Highlights of the show included the stage play by Audie Gemora’s Stages Productions which depicted the story of Shosuro Ran, prince of Amatsu and his love interests, Princess Fei of Kunlun and the mysterious assassin known only as Willow. The play was written by Luna Inocian and directed by Slyde Ardiente. It starred Maria Criselda Consunji (as Willow), Dianne Dela Fuente (as Fei) and Roy Rolloda (as Ran).

And that’s not all, details of the story are actual online. If you want to get in on the action and adventure, do check the complete online novel at the official Amatsu and Kunlun website: http://www.ragnarok.ph/tale/novel.php

The program proper was hosted none other by Fei (Valerie Roxas) and Willow (Claire Chan). An authentic Dragon Dance paraded across the mall while Ragnafanatics were treated to an entire day of RO booths and activities such as a wedding booth (officiated by King Tristan III himself!), the Ice Wall challenge, the “I Miss You” booth and a body painting booth.

Of course, an RO event would not be complete without a cosplay, an on-the-spot drawing contest and a bodypainting contest. Some of the winners for the Cosplay included Jewel Pineda and Robert Wong as the unforgettable Alchemist with the amazingly crafted Hode (see photo)!

Finally, the event was capped with by Moonstar88 with their performance of the official Amatsu and Kunlun song entitled “Pag-ibig ko sa’yo”.

‘Rok On!

#32 RPC REGIONAL LOTTERY WINNERS REVEALED

RPC REGIONAL LOTTERY WINNERS REVEALED

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

The long wait is over! Winners of the RPC 2005 Regionals lottery were finally revealed at the Amatsu and Kunlun simultaneous launch at Market! Market!, The Fort; Ayala Center in Cebu and Matina Town Square in Davao.

Live from Market Market!, the 30 teams from Greater Manila Area (GMA) and the 32 teams from Luzon were drawn while Cebu drew the 32 Visayas teams and Davao completed the draw by announcing the 32 teams that will compete for the Mindanao RPC Regionals.

List of official winners:

GREATER METRO MANILA (GMA)

1. IWSIPOINTBLANK Pointblank Computer Network
2. CHIEF-TEK Chief-Tek Computer Rental
3. SNAP AND PLAY WITH ME Snap and Play
4. LIMPIN_PARK Limpin Park Computer Services
5. BIT WORLD ELIMINATORS Bitworld Computer Services and Supplies
6. JAAZDEVILS Jaaz Com Internet and Gaming Center
7. FOLLOW THE LEADER Third Level Computer Shop
8. DCA DEMOLITION CREW 2 DCA Rematch
9. JEREMARK INTERNET CAFE Jeremark Internet Cafe
10. SERAPHANT Shinobis Computer Shop
11. HAZARDS Mojaja Computer Center
12. GNET INTERNET CAFE TEAM GNET Internet Cafe
13. NEWSCHOOL New School Internet Cafe
14. TAGA-QUEENSROW Cygate Internet Plus
15. MARIKINA HEARTROBS Melcay Internet Cafe
16. BLUE ORB INTERNET AND GAMING Blue Orb Cafe
17. BC NET BC Websight Internet Cafe
18. PEDXING Crypton Links Computer Shop
19. STEELWOLVESGP Graphics Port
20. INQUISITION ALL-STAR PCQuest
21. BECKHAM MOST WANTED PC R' US Computer Center
22. PETERSON NET Peterson Net Connection
23. FREEDOM HOWL Webfusion
24. JBD INTERNET JBD Cybernet
25. 25 NET Graphics Sphere 25 NET
26. RAMJAZ TEAM Ramjaz Internet Cafe
27. COCKERREL Cockerrel Cyber Cafe
28. CARLWIN Carlwin Cafe Internet-Hulo
29. JUDGMENT SAINTS Max 3D Computer Network
30. INSOMNYAK Kino Kerk Game Station
31. UNHOLY (bye) Defending Phil Team
32. REBIRTH (bye) Defending Phil Team

WAIT LIST FOR GMA

1. EXODIA Intranet ni Kuya Cate
2. SUGO NI BANGOKNGOK Cybermart Computer House
3. ISCARIOT JDB Softworks
4. SURFSCAPE Surfscape Gaming Station

LUZON

1. MAG.NET SUSTAINERS Mag.Net Cafe
2. ONE SIZEFITSALL COL96 Internet Cafe
3. UPRISING GODZ Quirimit's Internet Cafe
4. LSM GODZ CLSU Foundation Inc.
5. POWERNETS Power Internet
6. DIVINE WARRIORS Channels
7. FINGERPRINT Fingerprint Computer Center
8. BRATZ Jeux Internet Cafe
9. CHAOS GODZ Neurocraft Computers
10. KENOPIA Kenopia
11. VIRTUAL HYPE Virtual Hype Business Center and Internet cafe
12. SAINTS SHIELDS Dreamworkz
13. DESTRUCTION TEAM CTBase Computers
14. ALLIANCE OF THE SWORD Vixar Computer Center and Internet Cafe
15. MOX Mox
16. BULAKENYO.COM Bulakenyo.Com
17. MIXMIX Arbee's Computer Shop
18. NED'S ARMY Ned Internet Cafe
19. SORSOGON'S FINEST Globalink Internet
20. K2 BLISS JUNCTION K2 Bliss Junction
21. THE ALTER GRAVITY WARRIORS Alter Gravity Computer Gallery
22. DEUS EX Deus Ex
23. RLC GUILD RLC Cyber Cafe
24. RAD COMPUTER R.A.D. Computer Center
25. POTPOT AND THE MAGIC BULATE TMT Computer Networks
26. ONE AIM NETWORKS Oneaim Network
27. TAMBAYAN THRONE Tambayan Computer Center
28. I DOME I Dome Internet Cafe
29. FUZAKERU 33rd Avenue Computer Services
30. ESTEEMED HOUSE OF CRAME Boogli Org.Computer Rentals
31. DATASITE VAEVICTUS DataSite Computer Rentals
32. RESTIE'S REVENGE Vitruvius Internet Cafe

WAIT LIST FOR LUZON

1. DECENDENT OF DEI Dei Computer Station
2. BWENAS LANG! Kamote.Com
3. E COMPUTER CENTER E Computer Center
4. ACECOM Acecon Cyber Cafe

VISAYAS

1. Monkey Clan WebAsia Internet Cafe
2. Orange Multimedia Orange Multimedia
3. Retribution Yobib Internet Cafe
4. VIIl Fifteen Internet Cafe VIII Fifteen Internet Cafe
5. Sarutso Gang Surfers Paradise Internet Cafe
6. Oracle Ken.net
7. Live Strong Net Kom
8. Wombats Wombats Internet Cafe
9. NetSafe Netsafe
10. Digital Planets Digital Planets Internet Cafe
11. SC Misfits Star Circle Internet Cafe
12. Kissbone Fabian Cebu Cybernet Internet Cafe
13. Right Click Online Right Click Online
14. GameCIty Mandaue DTN.NET Internet Cafe+B52
15. Gamers Camp Gamer Camp Computer Center
16. Game City Game City Cebu Brooklyn
17. Jickoy Jickoy Internet Cafe
18. Kokoloko Kokoloko Internet Cafe
19. PC Componets PC Components Sales And Services
20. Gamers (New Realms) Gamers Online
21. High Men Breakers Monkey Online
22. Mac World Clan Macworld 2 Internet Cafe
23. Net AXS Net AXS Surfing Center
24. Two Little Pigs Two Little Pigs Internet and Gaming Playground
25. ACS Internet Cafe ACS Internet Cafe
26. Synergy Boys Synergy Link Internet Cafe
27. Mighty Joe Dumaguete Mighty Joe Video Game And Internet Center
28. Dynasty Webhackers Internet Cafe
29. HQ Main Hidden Quest main
30. Ilo-Ilos Finest GC&C Business Center
31. Battle Station 1 Battle Station1
32. HQ Annex Hiddeln Quest Annex

VISAYAS WAIT LIST

1. XY Internet Cafe XY Internet Cafe
2. Cyber Max Cyber Max Internet Cafe
3. D&P Liveshow D&P Internet Cafe
4. Sencias WASD Internet Cafe WASD Internet Cafe

MINDANAO

1. .10-4BOYZ.DVO WEBPORTAL COMPUTER SALES & SERVICES
2. AETHEREAL EQUINOX SLEEK INTERNET CAFE
3. Ann's Team Ann's Internet Cafe
4. Armageddon Pixel Internet Cafe
5. Armageddon Dabaw Bless.Gln.Ph
6. Armageddon Davao Deytan Internet Cafe
7. Armed N Loaded Vaqsys Solutions Internet Cafe
8. BONUS PACK XAERO INTERNET CAFE
9. Boyztrek 1 Boyztrek (Main) Internet Cafe
10. Boyztrek 2 Boyztrek Internet Cafe Bolton
11. Bytes Bolton Bytes Internet Cafe & Co.
12. BYTES MATINA BYTES INTERNET CAFE-MATINA
13. CHANNEXT EMPIRE CHANNEXT INTERNET CAFE
14. Cronus Barracks
15. DAVAO GOD'Z HYPERBITZ MALVAR
16. Ehubhub Clan EIC - EDS (EIC - Electronic Digital Solutions)
17. Endless Battle City
18. Game Spot Game Spot
19. Ghostz WTC Computer Haus
20. Hyper Bits & Bytes Matina Hyper Bits & Bytes Matina
21. Multi-Synch Masters Multi-Synch Internet Cafe
22. Netopax Netopia Gmall I
23. PAULMAFE DAVAO CITY PAULMAFE BUSINESS CENTER
24. Quagmire Ventures Netcafe Quagmire
25. Red Army Outlet Internet Cafe
26. Shadow Circle Stronghold Bulletstrike Internet Cafe & Games
27. Supreme Gods - Armada C-6m ( Counterstrike 6) Internet Cafe
28. TEAM LORACROW LORACROW XTREME-GAMES
29. TITANS PHILZOOM
30. WAYPOINT CAFE TAGUM WAYPOINT CYBER CAFE & SERVICES
31. XSite 1 XSite 1 Internet Cafe
32. XSite 2 XSite 2 Internet Cafe

WAIT LIST FOR MINDANAO

1. Arby's Team Arby's Printing & Computer Services
2. Ace Sonic Team Ace Sonic Internet Cafe
3. Jacinto Bytes Hyper Bits & Bytes JACINTO
4. Team Maximus Maximus Internet Cafe

Teams will be contacted by the LU! events agency (Momentum) for confirmation and instructions.

We would like to thank all players and cafe owners who participated in the RPC 2005 Regionals Lottery. Congratulations to all drawn teams! Good luck to all!

Seeya all for the RPC 2005 Regionals tour.

For more information, see the RPC Regionals page at http://www.ragnarok.ph/rpc2005/regional1.php

(Next week: RPC Visayas Regional coverage!)

‘Rok On!

#33 TEAM KISSBONE OF CEBU IS RPC VISAYAS CHAMP

TEAM KISSBONE OF CEBU IS RPC VISAYAS CHAMP

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

April 2-3 , 2005. LU! held the RPC 2005 Visayas Regional finals in the Queen City of the South, Cebu!

It was the weekend were everyone witnessed the supreme power of the Monk as the Visayas Regional Finals leg stormed and conquered Ayala Mall, Cebu. Intense RO PVP matches stormed the mall’s activity center as the 32 RPC Visayas Regional teams battled each other, band sideshows and mini-events were staged during and after the matches. Bands who rocked the 2-day event were Typecast and Sheila & the Insects. Mini-events featured were the RPC Loot-a-Palooza, Poster-Making contest, Headgear competition, and Poring Treasure and finally, auditions for the RPC Commentator Quest were well received by Cebuanos and other attendees from the neighboring Visayan islands.

The 2-day event showcased all 32 lottery winners for the Visayas Regional teams. They battled each other in 10-minute face-offs. Dynasty from Iloilo, the guild which topped Day 1's matches, pitted their RO skills against Kissbone of Cebu, winner of Day 2's fights. Sunday of April 3 ended with Kissbone, ‘asura-striking’ their way to victory. The final match score was 3-1 out of 5 matches.

For their efforts, Kissbone will go home as the RPC 2005 Visayas Regionals champs with a purse of P30,000 and will have the first spot in the 8-team strong RPC Finals in June this year. This will take them one step closer to the 1 MILLION PESOS grand prize!

Allow me to take this opportunity to present to you this year’s RPC Visayas Regional Champions: KISSBONE.

Cafe Sponsor: Fabian Cebu Cybernet Internet Cafe

Erwin Yu, 22 (Monk); Ryan Alexander Clint Abella, 20 (Priest); Adrian Abella, 23 (Hunter); Charles Philip Teng, 16 (Crusader); Marc Laguna, 23 (Alchemist); Christian Irvin Regis, 21 (Wizard); Dan Trinquite, 24 (Sage); Stevens Navera, 17 (Bard); and Oliver Tariman, 22 (Knight).

DYNASTY VS KISSBONE

Here’s the final match blow-by-blow by Kristoffer G.J. Aradillos from Team Cybermax. Thanks, Kris!

Match 1. Right at the opening bell, the audience was treated to small show of camaraderie and friendship. The knights of both teams, Alpha and Colgate, met at the center and talked for 3 minutes or so. This became a symbol of gamesmanship and respect from both sides. When they both stood up and went back to their team's start positions, the game was on. Dynasty gained early control of the center. Kissbone tried getting in by they were having a hard time breaking Dynasty's formation. So they backed off to regroup and prepare for a push. And when they did, the Kissbone sage was able to position the Land Protector properly and the SG of the KB wiz caught several Dynasty members. This paved the way for the KB monk to take out several key elements of the Dynasty formation. In less than 5 minutes after that first kill, Dynasty was down to 2 people. Knowing that those 2 people couldn't really harm anyone, the remaining team members of both teams sat down, opened pubs and talked until time expired. Kissbone 1-0.

Match 2. Again things started off the same. This time Dynasty occupied another chamber. Kissbone tried pushing, but in the process, their hunter fell. With 1 man down, KB pushed ever harder into the Dynasty formation. But Dynasty was on their lockdown mode. Asura Strikes darkened the screen. And when it cleared, several key KB members were dead, including their wizard. The KB bard and crusader tried running into the Dynasty formation to do Frost Joke, but it backfired. The screen darkened, and another death for KB. Hurting and demoralized and missing key members KB was set to lose this match. Dynasty wins, tying the fight at 1-1.

Match 3. This match was basically the same as Match 1. Not much I can say about it. Dynasty's defensive strategy was bolstered up with Safety Walls right outside their Land Protector allowing their monk to be in a forward position to discourage any penetration attempts. Seeing this, KB backed off and came in from another direction. This kind of caught Dynasty off guard and caused them to lose the match. Kissbone 2-1.

Match 4. With Kissbone leading 2-1, the pressure was on Dynasty. The match begun with both teams setting up their defenses. Dynasty, because it was their strategy, Kissbone because they were in the lead. But with their momentum high, they killed at least 5 of their enemies while Dyanasty decided to go on the offensive. Meeting in the same location in which they met in Match 3, it was expected to become another long fight. Kissbone tried several pushes but were effectively pushed back by Dynasty. KB kept trying to push and tried to break down the Dynasty members which they did. And when KB spotted the opening, they capitalized on it. KB's monk had one of his finest performances ever. Asura Strikes flew and Dynasty was first disabled then finally decapitated. Dynasty accepted defeat graciously. Kissbone wins, 3-1.

‘Rok On!

#34 Rok On! the Album

Rok On! the Album

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

Once upon a time, Rock `n Roll gave voice to the revolutionary youth movement of barrier-breaking, community building and social activism. In 2005, the revolution is revitalized in a new medium. The internet has expanded our world and at the same time made it much smaller by connecting each and everyone of us to one another.

Online games and their virtual worlds are the playgrounds of this inter verse. Ragnarok Online has broken down both physical and socio-economic boundaries, a brand new economy has emerged and even a new language has been created.

Ragnarok is so Rock `n Roll. In this same thinking, Level-Up has tapped local, well-known talents in its search to capture the exuberant spirit of the game. After sessions of melody-tuning, lyric-writing and constant head-banging, Level Up, the bands and the producers have come up with six (6) exceptional masterpieces:

1. Pag-Ibig Ko Sa `Yo by Moonstar88
2. Chiksikog by Kamikazee
3. A Different Kind by Kjwan
4. Rockin` It (The RoK Remix) by SVC
5. Phoenix by Typecast
6. MVP by 7 Shots feat. Pikaso

This album is the aural expression of Ragnarok's perpetually fun essence. Thanks to the bands for exploring our world and bringing back its essence into yours.

Last Tuesday, April 12, 2005, members of the press and guests were treated to the Rok On album launch party at the Blue Onion at Eastwood Citywalk, Libis.

“Rok On!” is a special collection of original music by the country’s most exciting bands. The album will have six songs written expressly to reflect the experiences not only of Ragnarok Online players, but the rest of the youth who enjoy online games.

“This is Level Up’s first real album, but from the start, we’ve always been supportive of the music industry. We started with music videos for Slapshock and Sugar Free, and a song last year by 7 Shots for our biggest episode. Music is the most natural fit into our gamers’ lifestyles,” says Sheila Paul, Level Up! Head of Marketing.

Featuring catchy tunes from bands such as Moonstar88 with their piece “Pag-ibig ko sa ‘yo” and Kamikazee with the witty “Chiksilog”, it will also contain the theme song for the upcoming Ragnarok Philippine Championships, “A Different Kind”, performed by the band Kjwan.

The CD will also feature Typecast, Sun Valley Crew and 7 Shots, offering a rich variety of sounds for different playing moods and different types of people.

“The songs and the bands included in this CD are meant to reflect the different and very unique aspects of the pRO community. It’s about situations that really exist, emotions like love, humor, competitiveness, friendship that are experienced when you’re part of Philippine Ragnarok Online,” said Sheila Paul.

The Moonstar88 song, “Pag-ibig ko sa ‘yo” was especially written by Level Up’s Joshua Luciano as the theme song for the epic love story behind the recent game episode, Amatsu and Kunlun: A Tale of Two Cities.

The song captures the love triangle between protagonist Ran, prince of Amatsu, his betrothed, princess Fei of Kunlun and the mysterious Assassin known only as Willow as the three of them go on an epic adventure to save the eastern lands from invasion. While the fun song “Chicksilog” (a term used to describe a guy playing a female character in pRO) by Kamikazee tells the comic story of an ordinary pRO player and his misadventures with trying to meet the person behind a female character that he regularly sees online.

All in all, the Rok On album has something for everyone. From hip-hop music, to alternative, to rock, listeners will be treated to a little bit of everything, genre-wise.

The album comes with a Ragnarok Online game installer, a newbie guide and a lyric book of the songs.

Watch out for RoK On! The Album as it becomes available in your favorite music bars and record stores this coming April with a suggested retail price of P199.00.

LU! is also developing a microsite for Rok On which will be online in the days ahead. For updates, please check www.levelupgames.ph

‘Rok On!

#35 A Chat with GM Phage

A Chat with GM Phage

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

GM Phage, 25, Community Coordinator for Level Up!, is one of the most popular female Game Masters (GMs) in Philippine Raganarok Online. The mere mention of her name sends Goosebumps up the spines of young boys who have a crush on the foxy, blonde GM.

And yet, amidst all the popularity, amidst all the fans, GM Phage is still your average young lady who’s currently enjoying her career and has a genuine passion for the game which knows no boundaries.

I caught up with GM Phage at her office on a hot Monday afternoon. I chanced upon her doing for a couple of in-game events for Ragnarok. She then invited me over to Starbucks for some well-deserved iced coffee.

Eager to begin the interview, I fumbled over the first question: How did you become so popular? She replied, “Oh! Hihihi~ I don’t really have any secrets. It just kinda happened. If you know what I mean, all I remember was going online and just doing my job, being nice and all that. Helping players along the way… And then suddenly, people started talking about me.”

Between large gulps of coffee, I asked her how she became a GM; “I worked in a Call Center before, and one time, right after a really bad day at work, I turned my PC on, logged in the game and went to Clock Tower. And then suddenly, I got a PM from GM-Praetor. He asked me how my day was and how’s work doin’ and asked me if I want to be a GM… Yes… It was that easy. He asked me for my resume, I went to Level Up! and passed the interview. After a few days, I became Phage.” She said with a cute smile.

Phage, who also likes R&B and has Lose My Breath by Destiny’s Child as her cell phone ring tone, tells me the story of how her name came to be; “On the first day I came to work at Level Up!, GM-Celestine told me that I have 5 minutes to think of my GM name. I was pretty worried because it’s going to be a one-time thing. It’ll be a name I’ll be using in my entire GM life and I only have 5 minutes to think of one. So I thought about Phage. Phage the Untouchable is my favorite card in Magic the Gathering because it’s quite deadly, but you have to make sure you use her wisely because your opponent can use her against you too. I have a zombie deck and she’s the leader of all of them. Tough girl, ne?”

A real, full-blooded gamer! This is exciting! Let’s continue the interview…

Mon: “What’s so nice about being popular?”

Phage: “Uhmn… I admit I like the attention. But sometimes it’s just so overwhelming. Anyway, I guess what’s good about it is the fact that I get to talk to a lot of RO players. They like asking me stuff. Some are not even related to RO. I like socializing with players kasi.”

Mon: “E, what not so nice about it?”

Phage: “Maybe the fact that there are a lot of rumors about me that usually comes out. If I remember it correctly, there was this time that there were threads about me in the Ragnaboards claiming that I’m a guy. Another one that says I’m pregnant… I don’t know where they get these stories but they’re just so weird that I don’t know how to react to them.”

Mon: “What’s a typical day for you?”

Phage: “Hmmm (pauses). A long time ago, during the prehistoric days of RO, it was all easier IMO. I go in the game and walk around invisible, talk to players, catch scammers, help hack victims, and ban bad players. Those were the days, ne?

Now, it’s answering e-mails, answering phone calls, planning events, going to meetings, making reports, going to events, posting announcements and making sure my staff is doing their job in implementing events, etc. Tougher than what I do before but it’s all worth it. ^_^ I love my job.”

Mon: “What’s your wish for the game and the community?”

Phage: “That the players become more competitive and strategic especially for the RPC (RPC Visayas Leg showed me a lot of potential. ^_^), that the game prospers with the arrival of the future episodes, and that the community tighten their bond even more. Their friendship with other players makes our community a great one to be in. It’s our friends that makes RO Rok!”

Mon: “Last book read?

Phage: “The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by Anne Rice.”

Mon: “Last movie seen?”

Phage: “Spongebob Squarepants The Movie”

Mon: Last non-online video game played?

Phage: “DDR’s Dance Maniax 2 and Percussion Freaks 5. I’m a regular at Time Zone.”

Mon: What’s on your mp3 player?

Phage: “50 Cents, Ja Rule, Ashanti, JLo, Destiny’s Child, Beyonce Knowles and the Rok On Compilation Album. I love Kamikazee!”

Mon: “Parting words to your fans?”

Phage: “Mahal ko kayong lahat” (waves)

And that concludes our interview. Now, her cell number is 091—hahaha! You wish!

‘Rok On!

#36 X-Site wins RPC Mindanao Regionals!

X-Site wins RPC Mindanao Regionals!

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

Team X-Site from General Santos city topped 31 other teams and took home the crown of RPC 2005 Mindanao Regional Champions by defeating local favorite, Team Quagmire 3-0 in their best-of-five Finals series. Team X-Site will occupy the second seat in the RPC 2005 Finals after Kissbone of Cebu won the Visayas leg of the tournament recently.

For the second leg of the RPC Regional leg, LU! GMs and staff trooped to the SM Entertainment Center, Davao City last April 23 and 24, 2005. It was one of the most anticipated weekends for Ragnafanatics from the south.

Aside from the two-day tournament, Ragna players were treated to a lot of contests, activities and freebies including a mini-concert by two bands featured in the Rok On music album, Kamikazee and Typecast. Both sang their hits, Chicksilog (Kamikazee) and Pheonix (Typecast).

In what was truly a Rok-and-Rollin’ weekend, a lot of fun and exciting activities were simultaneously ongoing with the 9-on-9 PVP tournament onstage. Creative players joined the Headgear competition (a guy wearing a cool Solar God Helm captured the first prize). While the Davao community also showed off their artistic inclinations as young girls and boys (all RO players, of course) sketched and colored their way towards a grand exhibit of RO characters, scenes and artwork in the On-the-spot Poster Making Competition. The Lootapalooza in-game event also drew a lot of participants and the winners took home rare in-game items such as +6 Boy’s Caps! Wowoweeeee!!!

The RPC Commentator Quest also drew a number of aspirants. All of them vying for the P10,000 first prize to be announced before the June Finals.

Prominent GMs like GM Tristan III, GM Battlechaser, GM Silvermaine, GM BS Bentaboy, GM Lilith, GM Sumire and GM Patsan were also around for photos and autographs.

Asura One-shot-kill

Team X-Site, who suffered only ONE casualty during the ENTIRE tournament, proudly attested their victory to the awesome skills of their Monk. Played by Mark Angelo Selvido, the XSite Monk seldom missed and had perfect timing and target selection. Hands down, Selvido was the MVP of the Mindanao Regionals!

The rest of Team XSite are; Jonah Betia, Jeremiah Pring, Romeo Godinez, Manuel G. Aspera Jr, Victor Jayson Go, Boyet Fernando, Tom Markinson Jo, Mark Angelo Selvido and Agustin N. Yu.

X-Site (the Sunday winner) never had a casualty during the elimination round, Semis and Quartefinals. They defeated Supreme Gods Armada via wipeout (all killed) in the semis and won over Hyperbits Matina in the Quarterfinals. They then faced team Ehubhub Clan in the Finals of Sunday and came out on top 2-0., Asura-striking their way to victory!

They then faced off with Davao locals, Team Quagmire (the Saturday winners) in the best-of-five Finals!

One of the official commentators for the event, GM Battlechaser, shares with us his analysis of the matches in the finals, “Team Quagmire used lots of Quagmires, Safety Walls and Demonstration while casting Land Protect for defense. During the eliminations, their main strength was using terrain to their advantage. However, the narrow passageways of magma dungeon map used in the finals prevented this strategy to materialize.”

And what about Team Xsite’s strategy? GM Battlechaser has this to add; “Xsite has a 'quota' of 4 kills for the first 4 minutes and has at about 60% record of 'wiping out' all opponents before the first 5 minutes. Of course, the Asura Strike was the key and their Monk proved that he was the best in that department. XSite perfected their offense - that of disabling opponents through SG and Frost Joke before casting Asura. Their target selection, team play, coordination, coupled with the superb skills of their Monk player paved the way for their victory!”

Thanks GM Battlechaser! Congrats to Team Xsite and seeya all for the next RPC Regionals – Luzon on May 14 to 15, 2005 at the Olongapo Convention Center!

‘Rok On!

#37 RPC LUZON REGIONALS – OLONGAPO HERE WE COME!

RPC LUZON REGIONALS – OLONGAPO HERE WE COME!

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

RPC 2005 strikes three as we go for the 3rd leg of the Ragnarok Philippine Championships 2005 Regionals at the Olongapo Convention Center on May 14 and 15 (Saturday and Sunday)!

Besides the anticipated tournament, Level Up! will be hosting a lot of events and activities for everyone attending the Luzon Regionals.

It’s Olongapo or bust!

HEADGEAR CONTEST:

Show up at the event wearing your real-life “Ragnarok Online” headgear and win prizes!

Those who will join the contest automatically get a limited edition RO calendar from Level Up! Those who will win the contest will also get the chance to win cash prizes!

The criteria for judging will be as follows:
Craftsmanship (50%)
Choice of materials & over-all construction of the item.
Accuracy (50%)
How close the entry resembles the in-game item it was inspired from.

The winners of the contest will receive the following:
1st prize - P3,000 & an RO goodie bag
2nd prize - P2,000 & an RO goodie bag
3rd prize - P1,000 & an RO goodie bag

ON-THE-SPOT-DRAWING CONTEST

Express how much of an RO fan you are and join the on-the-spot drawing contest!

-The contest is open to all Ragnarok Online players and non-players

-Contestants who are 16 years old and below can join the junior division, while those who are 17 years old and above can join the senior division

-The theme for the contest will be announced on the date of the event itself.

-The basic materials will be provided by Level Up! Games, but if the contestant wishes to use additional materials, they are welcome to do so.

The criteria for judging will be as follows:
- Adherence to the theme (40%)
- Demonstration of artistic skill (30%)
- Use of creativity (30%)
For a total of 100%

PRIZES:

The winner of the junior division will receive:
- 1 Level Up! Goodie Bag & 1,500PhP cash.

The winners of the senior division will receive:
1st prize - 1 Level Up! Goodie Bag & 3,000PhP cash.
2nd prize - 1 Level Up! Goodie Bag & 2,000PhP cash.
3rd prize- 1 Level Up! Goodie Bag & 1,000PhP cash.

LOOTPALOOZA OLONGAPO:

Don’t throw away any of your stuff that’s RO! You might need them for Lootapalooza and win original and limited edition RO merchandise from Level Up!

1. Watch out for the one-time broadcast made everyday 5 days before the RPC leg event nearest you.
2. Look for or make the items being asked for and put them in one plastic bag with your name on it.
3. Go to the RPC Leg and look for the booth assigned for this event and take a number.
4. Wait for the coordinator to call your number.
5. Once called, (just in case you’re early and there are still a few more winner slots left), the coordinator will check your quest items.
6. If complete, they will get the items from you (temporarily) and will ask you to sign a form.
7. The form is to be submitted to Community and Game Play so they can post you in the website and give you your in-game prize. (But this will be on a later day. The coordinator will tell you when.)
8. After the 10 winners are determined, they will be announced so people would know that the booth is closed.

So join us as we determine the top team who will represent Luzon this May 14 – 15 during the 3rd leg of the Ragnarok Philippine Championships!

There will be a total of 32 teams eying for the 3rd slot of eight for the RPC Finals this June at the World Trade Center. The winner of the Luzon Regionals will follow Visayas winners, Kissbone of Cebu and Mindanao Regional Champions Team XSite of Davao!

Intense 9-on-9 PVP action will storm the Olongapo Convention center for two straight days… and only one team will rise above the rest…

Seeya all there at Olongapo!!!!

For details, please check http://www.ragnarok.ph/rpc2005/

‘Rok On!

#38 Super Monk- The job to beat or the job to be?

Super Monk- The job to beat or the job to be?

By Paul Mendoza (Battlechaser)
Part 1 of 3

(Sharic’s Note: This week, I present to you a piece from Paul Mendoza aka GM Battlechaser as he contributes an interesting series about one of the more famous jobs in pRO right now – the Monk! Take it away, GM Battlechaser!)

In Search for the Kryptonite

Being a player of different games (CCGs, RPGs, video games, etc.), I am always in search for the “metagame”. What is a metagame? Metagame, by a gamer’s definition, is the strategic analysis of a build, in hopes of creating something that could counter, resist or adapt to the punishment of the other common builds that dominate the current environment in a certain area. It’s like using a kryptonite sword in a coliseum full of Supermans. By probability, it has the highest winning percentage if analyzed correctly, for each other build used by the other teams will more likely be the anticipated nemesis or a hybrid of the original build. However, it is not a walk in the park, for finding the right metagame requires thorough analysis of what the current environment is. And knowledge of the right tools to oppose the majority are key elements to victory.

With a million pesos at stake, teams and guilds vying for the top spot of the Ragnarok Philippine Championships are giving their best to come up with the best 9-player-team-build. Last year’s Ragnarok World Championship in Seoul, Korea was surprisingly dominated by Taiwan’s pure-trapper hunters. At present, the birth of the Juno job classes in today’s RPC2005 definitely adds spice and variance to the playing field.

Faster than a speeding bullet

The RPC Visayas and Mindanao legs were dominated by one super 2-2 job—the team with the better Monk bagged the win in most cases. Monks by nature have the most powerful attack in the game in its artillery. A single Extremity Fist/ Asura Strike could return anyone to his/her last saved point. The Monk of Visayas Champion KissBone showed the power of effectively using Body Relocation and Asura Strike combinations by entering and leaving their opponent’s territory with blinding speed, purging one key opponent every time. Mindanao Champion’s Team X-Site on the other hand is faithful with its record of killing 4-6 opponents in the first four minutes of every match and even managed to bring down two key characters within a span of less than 10 seconds!

What constitutes a good RPC Asura Monk? The damage of Extremity Fist is a combination of ATK (attack) and MATK (magic attack), therefore, the three vital stats to focus on are Strength, Intelligence and Dexterity. A high priority should be given to Dexterity for a number of reasons:

1) Accuracy rate against high flee characters;
2) Good synergy with Body Relocation skill or the ‘Snap’ skill to travel from one point to another in lightning speed, and most importantly; and
3) It reduces the cast time for a level 5 Extremity Fist up to a whooping 0.5 seconds!

Automatic choices for equipments are Double Bloody Boned Chain/Double Bloody Double Boned Mace, Hard (Pupa) Armor, a Cranial (Thara frog card) Buckler and Soul Enchanted (Sohee) Shoes for additional boost in Asura damage. If you elect a more tough monk in terms of endurance, I recommend using Pupa for additional hit points. This compensates for the lack in the monk’s defensive stats. Higher SP is okay if you are planning to kill higher HP characters like Vit Knights and Assassins and you can achieve this by using Rhoda Frog and Verit Cards. However, it is recommended to bring down the characters with lower HPs first like the Wizard, Sage and your Monk counterpart, so a very high damage is not really that necessary.

Stats and skills are not the only factors that make an impressive Monk. Like any other game or sport, familiarization with the task is proportional to its effectiveness. Veteran Monk users can utilize their character’s skills like piano keys (your PC’s function keys), and even with eyes locked on to their monitors, their fingers are in rhythm with death’s sweet tune against their adversaries.

Timing is everything; as a poorly decided execution of an extremity fist could spell the whole battle’s outcome. With stats focused on attack properties, the RPC Monk leaves little room for for defensive attributes like Agility and Vitality. This is where his teammates come in to the equation and more than compensate for this slight disadvantage.

Next week, I will be discussing the key characters that would complete the effectiveness of an RPC Monk. With his skills and proper support at his side, every Monk can claim that he came from the planet Krypton and deserves to be called “Super”…

To be continued.
Email feedback at ebonfierre[at]gmail[dot]com

‘Rok On!

#39 Bags 3rd Finals berth for the Grand Finals

TEAM RAD COMPUTER WINS RPC LUZON REGIONALS
Bags 3rd Finals berth for the Grand Finals

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

Team RAD Computer from Lipa City, Batangas scored an upset over former RWC stalwart and server champion, Chaos Gods of San Fernando, La Union. They join Kissbone of Cebu and XSite of Gensan City as one of the 8 finalists who will vie for the chance to win 1M Pesos in the Grand Finals of the biggest MMORPG tournament this June.

RAD Computer, Day 2 winners of the RPC 2005 Luzon Regionals held recently here at the Olongapo Convention Center, was forced into a ‘sudden death match’ overtime in game number 4 of their best-of-five finals series.

Chaos Godz, the top team after Saturday’s elimination round, succesfully sent the series into the deciding fifth and final game via the sudden death match. In that "overtime match", the team who scores the first 'kill' ultimately wins the match. A succesful Asura Strike from the Chaos Godz Monk sent the lone RAD Computer victim into the "dead room". This was the first time that the 'Regionals' went the distance of five matches in the Finals.

RAD Computer, of Chaos, was sponsored by R.A.D. Computers cafe owned by Mr. Borei Deguito. Hailing from Lipa City, Batangas, their team is composed of:

Rachi Deguito, 26 - Hunter
Ryan Desipeda, 28 - Monk
Angelo Hernandez, 22 - Priest
Alvin Cera, 17 - Wizard
Vincent Chavez, 21 - Knight
Christian Jorge, 26 - Bard
Adrian Kalaw - 23 - Assassin
Joe Mark Maralit, 22 - Crusader
Francis Reynaldo Tolentino, 18 - Sage

They take home P30,000.00 cash prize, medals and more importantly, a slot at the RPC 2005 Grand Finals on June 25-26 at the World Trade Center which brings them one step closer to winning ONE MILLION PESOS!

Minette Navarrete, Managing Director of Level Up! was pleased with the turnout and success of the Luzon Regionals, "I am aware of the sacrifices that these kids made. They came all the way as far south as Bicol and as far north as the Ilocos provinces. It warms the heart that our players really prepared for this and view RPC as a grand 'cyber-sports' event!"

"That's the reason why we, at Level Up!, are always committed to running and facilitating a fair and challenging tournament for all of them." Navarrete said.

Mayor James Gordon and Councilor Cynthia Cajuto of Olongapo City were also on hand to welcome the participants and wish them the best of luck. "We are glad that Level Up and Ragnarok chose Olongapo to host this tournament. We at Olongapo always support computer and IT development for kids. I believe that technology spurs development. Internet applications such as Ragnarok will surely contribute to this vision." Gordon said.

Finally, contestants and attendees were treated to a mini-concert featuring bands from the "Rok On" CD album, SVC, Seven Shots, Typecast, Kamikazee and Kjwan.

The Luzon Regionals of RPC 2005 was sponsored in part by PLDT Vibe, Villman Computers, Studio 23, Abralex, Cebu Pacific, Animax, 96.7 K-lite (Olongapo), Intel, Super Cat, K-Zone, GamesMaster.

‘Rok On!

#40 Episode 7: Umbala and Niffleheim

Episode 7: Umbala and Niffleheim

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

Last week, LU! officially launched its latest patch, Episode 7: Umbala and Niffleheim to all the commercial worlds!

If you still haven’t updated your game client, be sure to visit www.levelupgames.ph for the step-by-step instructions on how to do so.

Episode 7: Umbala and Niffleheim bring new maps and adventures to Midgard!

Let’s take a tour to both places, shall we?

UMBALA: Village of the Utan Tribe

A legend foretold of a hidden village located North of Comodo. According to the myth, at the end of this village stands a tree that contained some mysterious treasure. Intrigued by this story, bards and dancers spread word about the village. Soon, people of different occupations flocked into Comodo, desperately searching for clues that would lead to the hidden village. It wasn’t until someone explored the Cave of Ruande that they discovered an entrance carved in wood. This led them to the lush jungles of Umbala and eventually to the Village of the Utan Tribe, where the “Mother Tree” — whose great expanse nearly covered the skies — stood.

The Utan Tribe is composed of a hospitable bunch. They would sing and dance and perform rituals that fascinated the visitors. Unfortunately, some of the visitors were utterly disappointed that they could not find the legendary treasure. Their greed caused a rift between the villagers who were opposed to their presence and the villagers who welcomed them. The chief of the tribe, being the only one who can speak the visitors’ language, have no qualms about letting the visitors stay. And because of the exotic environment, culture, and exquisite wood-carvings, Umbala has become one of the hottest tourist spots beyond Rune Midgard.

Umbala features Bungee Jumping! Weee! You’ll be able to try this at the town proper, where you will encounter something in the water that will make you want to jump. It’s quite risky, though. You will either live, die, or end up in the City of the Dead. Also in Umbala, you can also pay a visit to an NPC called the ‘Tribe Shaman’, he’ll let you do quests to gain more elemental stones! TIP: it’s wise to learn the Utan tribe language so you won’t have difficulty communicating with the natives.

NIFFLEHEIM: City of the Dead

Upon further research, scholars have concluded that the “Mother Tree” of Umbala might be a part of the legendary Tree of Yggdrasil. Thinking that this might be the end of the search for the great fortune, visitors started traveling into the tree. Alas, none of them made it back. Alarmed by this turn of events, King Tristan III sent his best crusaders, priests and knights to investigate the tree. Very few of them returned, but they were never the same. Their eyes had this vacant, hollow look that would make one think that their souls had been ripped apart. No longer could they speak coherently, but would mumble nonsensical phrases about a city full of dead people. Deeply disturbed, the king sent out more guardians and knowledgeable sages to aid the other warriors. And thus, the exploration of Niffleheim, the City of the Dead, began.

TIP: Stuck in Niffleheim? Not to worry! Just locate a rickety old piano and place the right keys into the right sockets and you’ll be teleported to a witch’s lair. This witch will get you out of Niffleheim.

Other Features

The legendary boss monsters, Lord of Death and Amon Ra make their appearance in Episode 7! Plus, a lot of new boss monster skills are added. Some can now even destroy your armor… you have been warned. For a more complete listing of monsters, be sure to check the Episode 7 microsite. You can find it at www.ragnarok.ph/episode7/

Explore Umbala and Niffleheim now!

‘Rok On!

#41 Super Monk- The job to beat or the job to be?

Super Monk- The job to beat or the job to be?
Part 2 of 3

(Sharic’s note: This is part 2 of 3 on the special feature on the monk by special contributor Paul Mendoza aka GM Battlechaser)

During part 1, I discussed about Monk builds and how it turned the tide in each of the previous Ragnarok Philippine Championship legs I had personally attended and witnessed — thus labeling it as the Super Monk. Super Monks are definitely not your typical Man of Steel. The Super Monk, also known as the Asura Monk, is a major hitter in the game with his Asura Strike, capable of bringing down any opponent with just one hit! The recent RPC Luzon held in Olongapo showcased the record for most number of kills for the least number of time. RPC Luzon Champion, Rad Computer’s monk, killed 8 out of the 9 players in the span of less than two minutes!

I also shared with everyone the definition of metagame and how one could use it to gain advantage over his opponents. By analyzing the current environment in the tournament, one could devise an effective way to counter or survive the punishment of the commonly used builds at the least. It is not obvious that in the case of Ragnarok Philippine Championships 2005, the teams used the power of the Asura Strike to conquer their way to the top spot.

The Super Friends

Indeed, the Monk is a heavy puncher but everything has weaknesses and the character is not spared from this fact. An ill-prepared Asura Monk could be defeated by just a swift flurry of blows from a high STR Blacksmith’s Mammonite and could also be “cast canceled” by all interruptions whilst in the process of performing the big blow, including the Knight and Crusader’s Provoke and Sage’s Spell Breaker. The other eight members of the team therefore should make sure that the Monk is safe, uninterrupted and supported.

Top of the list of the Asura Monk’s best friend is the Devotion Crusader. This heavily armored tank is a walking Phen clip at the very least, preventing all distractions to the Monk and the spellcasters alike. What’s more, the Devotion skill transfers all damage from the ‘devoted’ character to the Crusader, and by having one of the highest hit points in the game, their opponent must bring the great wall down first before dealing with the Monk. Some defensive skills like Auto Guard (chance to block a melee attack by chance) will also be acquired by the Monk.

Next is of course the Full Support Priest. But take note, the heal skill would just be a secondary necessity as the RPC Monk would crave for nothing more than Status Recovery Skill every time he is incapacitated. In RPC, there is no Marc card so most of the time even the most careful player would find himself frozen due to Storm Gusts and Frost Jokes.

Then there is the Potion Alchemist. Who wouldn’t want tons of heal and SP restoration from the Potion Picher Skill? This is how a double Asura Strike is possible in the span of 10 seconds and even less. Instead of wasting your time pressing for the hot keys to regain SP from blue potions, you could just ask a blue potion pitch (Potion Pitcher Lv.5) from your team’s Alchemist and just go activating the Extremity Fist’s preparatory spells right away after each major strike.

The rest of the team members are geared towards making the Monk’s target an easy prey. An Asura Strike targeting a moving target will result to a lesser damage output so the other team members could concentrate in inflicting Status Ailment effects to get around this problem. With the lack of Marc cards in the RPC item list, all characters are capable of being frozen with a variety of effects like the Wizard’s Storm Gust and Frost Driver, Bard’s Frost Joke and the effect of Marina cards. While frozen status and Ankle Snare traps immobilize targets, curse effect will make the movement rate of the character slower and turn his Luck to 0. The Blindness status however, will confuse an opponent resulting in the victim being unaware from which direction the Asura Strike will come from.

So is the Super Monk really unbeatable? Now that we have analyzed the Monk’s strengths, it is now high time to search for the Kryptonite against the majority of the RPC Teams’ superhero. Next week will be the finals installment of the article. See yah!

To be continued.
Email feedback at ebonfierre[at]gmail[dot]com

‘Rok On!

#42 RPC 2005 GMA REGIONALS

RPC 2005 GMA REGIONALS

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

Anticipation from both organizers and players for the last stop of the four-city Ragnarok Philippine Championships 2005 Regional Tour drew a fevered pitch as defending Ragnarok 2004 Team Philippines; Rebirth and Unholy finally see action after an almost year-long hiatus.

All roads from Midgard led to the SM Megamall Megatrade Hall 2 last weekend (June 4 and 5, 2005) for two days of intense Player-vs-Player (PVP) competition. Suffice it to say, the huge crowd of ragnafanatics were not disappointed.

After the smoke settled, it was a newcomer to RPC, Team Hazards of Sarah that came out on top! Having done the unthinkable, Team Sarah defeated BOTH defending Ragnarok Philippine champions, Rebirth and Unholy, all in a single day! Hazards, sponsored by Mojaja Computer Center owned by Mr. Jonnel Perez, edged out Rebirth in an extended Finals match where both teams focused on defense.

Battling their way from gruelling matches to the last stand-off against Rebirth, the "Legend Killers", Team Hazards emerged victorious in the double overtime finals that gave both teams 1 win each. While both teams held their ground in succeeding matches, Rebirth lost their monk in the last minute. With both teams awarded one win, Hazards managed to score the perfect Asura Strike to take down the monk in the closing minutes of the match to take home the RPC GMA crown for good!

RPC GMA is the last stop of the biggest MMORPG tournament to-date. Having been to Cebu, Davao and Olongapo for the last three stops, teams that participated in Metro Manila did not fail to impress both organizers and attendees.

RPC Head GameMaster, Marc Reyes, mirrored that very sentiment when I talked to him during a lull in the battle, “We continue to witness various new tactics, builds and even impressive new PVP strategies every time we go out on field for the RPC 2005 Regional Tour. Metro Manila was no exception. Metro Manila is where the best ‘meta-gaming’ minds converge. But it is equally exciting to note that a lot of talent also exists in the provinces. Saying that almost everyone is anxious to see them face off in the Finals at the WTC is most likely an understatement,” a beaming Reyes said.

In this last leg of the RPC Regionals, defending pRO Philippine Champions, Rebirth and Unholy were given seeds among the 32-strong team line-up participating in the tournament. Having free seats on the RPC Regionals did not give any byes nor special privileges to either Rebirth or Unholy, whose last competitive stint was during the RWC Finals at Seoul, Korea almost a year ago.

DAY ONE

After a slow start which was somewhat interrupted by 3 technical problems, Team Rebirth took care of their first assignment, BC Net. Rebirth, almost having the exact same player line-up they had last year, continued to storm through day 1 with an unconventional Bard AND Dancer included in their character roster.

It was this apparently bold move that staved Rebirth from certain elimination when they managed to edge out team Most Wanted in the semis by the skin of their teeth. In a match that finished with both teams tied with two kills, Rebirth came out on top by 5 points when levels of their characters were summed to determine who won. In RPC, the *lowest* total levels win. At the end of Saturday’s competition, it was Rebirth who finally came out on top. The Saturday winners will then face off with their Sunday counterparts in a final battle for the RPC GMA crown.

DAY TWO

Sunday began with a bang!

Hazards scored a shocking upset over Unholy by killing the Unholy Sage in the final seconds of their game. Hazards, counting on their strong defensive strategies, would go on to demolish their succeeding opponents by being patient and ‘surgically precise’ in their moves.

By mid-afternoon of Sunday, only four teams remained standing from the original 16, they were Hazards, Steel Wolves GP, GNet and Serphant (composed mostly of the original RWC SteelWolves players). Both Steelwolves teams were taken down by their counterparts in the top 4. Ultimately, Hazards took care of GNet 2-0 and emerged as Sunday’s winner. They then face off against crowd-favorite Rebirth in the final best-of-five series where Hazards pulled the plug from co-defending champion Rebirth in a tense, defense-oriented game which Hazards perfected to their advantage.

Hazards goes home with P30,000, medals, plaques and more importantly, a seat in the RPC 2005 Grand Finals on June 25 to 26, 2005 at the World Trade Center where they will have the opportunity to win ONE MILLION PESOS in the ultimate Ragnarok PVP face-off!

Seeya then! RPC 2005! Where heroes come from!

‘Rok On!

#43 What is a Ragnarok GM?

What is a Ragnarok GM?

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

This week’s article attempts to unravel one of the most mysterious facets “behind-the-scenes” of Ragnarok Online – the Game Master.

A lot of people have misconceptions about what a Ragnarok Game Master (better known as GM) does. In order to set things on the right foot, allow me to start off with what a GM DOES NOT DO;

First of all, a GM CANNOT give away items and/or zenny to anyone. This is the most common fallacy that a lot of players assume. Not just because it’s disallowed as a Level Up employee, the hard truth is that a lot of GMs CANNOT generate items or zenny. In the interest of security and game integrity, the company has changed a lot of procedures and policies both in-game and as a corporate entity. Only a handful of individuals can generate items and zenny now, and this power is closely monitored and audited. Also, a lot of it has to do with being fair to everyone – pRO GMs should favor no one. Giving one freebies or in-game ‘advantages’ is simply unfair to those who legally play hard to earn their upkeep, so to speak.

Second, GMs cannot simply edit characters. The GM Tool has now been regulated. Currently, around 95% of GMs today can only view accounts and CANNOT see player passwords. Access of the highest security level is required for advanced GM Tool functions. And only authorized and trusted personnel are allowed to do this. Also, like all things corporate, this is all logged, monitored and audited.

Now, in order to understand what a GM does, let’s first discuss the different kinds of GMs and what their job implies:

COMMUNITY GMs – These dudes are responsible for conceptualizing and facilitating in-game events, contests and promos. GM TristanIII, GM Lilith and GM Phage, the most famous female GM in pRO, are members of this department. They are the ones who follow-up on prizes for winners and get to mingle with the community during their PAs or Public Appearances. Communty GMs also get important player feedback which management uses to make informed choices. In short, they are the most active in the Ragnaboards where they monitor, administrate and record player concerns so that it gets escalated to the proper departments. Cases such as connection problems are escalated to the IT department, for instance.

GM Lilith sums up her thoughts on the job; “I love Ragnarok and I love the community. I have always been in awe with the concept of growing a character and adding friends in the process. RO has enriched my life in more ways than one. I think I owe it to this game to give back to the players and share that experience with all of them.”

GAMEPLAY GMs – GMs donning the mantle of Gameplay GMs or “Game Gurus” are literally paid to play. But for them, playing a game such as Ragnarok is not just fun and relaxation… these guys have the Herculean task of making sure that bugs are found (and fixed) before patches are made public. For this, Sakray is their playground. Through the aid of various official playtesters, Gameplay GMs comb the game for errors, bugs and exploits so that the entire game experience is smooth and hassle free. They are also the “Gurus” in the Ragnaboards.

GM Silvermaine (you might have spotted him during the various RPC Regional tournaments) is the uber-GM of this department. “Contrary to what people think, being a gameplay GM is not a walk in the park,” Silvermaine says. “It takes an individual with a keen eye for detail, the patience to test (and retest) various game features in all different aspects, and the precision of a neurosurgeon to be qualified for this job. Me and my team do it because we love the game and we love our jobs… where else can you have fun and get paid at the same time?” Silvermaine concludes.

CUSTOMER CARE GMs – Led by GM BentaBoy, the customer care department addresses all complaints and player concerns. They are further subdivided into Field GMs – those who regularly patrol the game world (cops) and enforce the law, and the Operations GMs – those who handle tickets, e-mails and calls.

It takes months of training to master the many aspects of their jobs and these dedicated young men and women do it because of their love for the game and also due to their passion to help others in need.

JUDGE NOT

I know that there was a lot of mudslinging hurled towards LU and its GMs in the past. It seems that these individuals are what the citizens of Midgard just “love to hate”. However, it seems unfair to judge them simply because they are shrouded in mystery and operate under strict security protocols.

Let’s give them a break, shall we? The next time someone starts a flame in the Ragnaboards or spreads wild rumors about the GM team, think closely, GMs are humans too and have emotions. They are not drones or heartless individuals which some think wrongly. They all have a job and have sworn to do it well – ‘mediocre’ is a word not found in the pRO GM dictionary.

‘Rok On!

#44 RAGNAFEST 2005

RAGNAFEST 2005

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

At the RPC 2005 Finals last June 25 to 26 at the World Trade Center, thousand of RO players were also treated to most awesome Ragnarok weekend ever! This was Ragnafest 2005!

A lot of other countries like Korea and Japan already had their own “Ragnafest”. The goal of Ragnafest was for the entire RO community to share their talents, skills and even merchandise to fellow community members.

Ragnafest 2005 occupied a significant portion of the vast venue. At the centerpiece of it all were the Guild Booths – a group of a dozen booths where guilds showcased their talents and wares. Guilds like Atom, Aegis, The Fellowship, Shadowmaidens and even Armada made an appearance and there were a lot of activities happening at the Guild Booth area. There were Henna Tatoos, lots of merchandise from headgear, to artwork, to ceramic porings, to GM-authographed potions for sale! Ragnafanatics milled at the guild booth area to shop, browse and participate in the parlor games sponsored by the participating guilds.

Since this was also a contest, AEGIS guild of Odin and Sakray garnered first prize for their Morroc-inspired booth. There, they gave demos of tabletop RPGs based on Ragnarok using the d20 BESM RPG system. For their cool guild booth, AEGIS takes home P10,000.00 as cash prize

Armada wins second place for the Guild Both contest while ATOM took home third place honors.

For art aficionados, the 2nd Ragnarok National Art Contest (NAC) drew in the crowds too at the NAC wall. The viewing area was converted into a mini-museum displaying 100 of the best submissions from all across the country. Sponsored by AIR21, the NAC got a lot of entries for both the digital and contemporary divisions of the contest. Stay tuned for the official announcements of the winners at the Level Up site! Do check out some photos of some of the artwork displayed! Cool!

Of course, whenever there’s a Ragnarok event, there’s bound to be a cosplay – a veritable favorite of the community!

For the cosplay, there were more than 50 entries competing for around 9 categories. There was even a group-cosplay category where the contestants had to do a skit while showcasing their knack for creativity and tailoring!

Here’s a partial list of winners for the cosplay competition:

Noble Hero: Mark Jerome Estrada, Valiant Heroine: Carissa Cristobal, Fearsome Fiend: Pablo Bairan, Super Novice: Akira Obedoza, Emperium Anvil: Krystel Marie Batiller, Midgard’s Choice: Cindy Fadera, and King Tristan's Choice: Czarines R. Ladines.

And that’s not all! LU also gave away the following as a bonus treat to those who attended: 500 in-game prize packages with the following items: 2M zenny, 200 OPBs, and 200 white slim potions EACH! Wow! Is that something or what?!?

For those with the most number of guildmates who attended the event, LU gave away 4.5M guild EXP to not one, but THREE guilds of their choice! To top off the spectacular event attended by a record crowd of thirteen thousand, Level Up also gave 2X EXP to the server with the most number of attendees. Hands down, it was Chaos who took home the bacon!

Check out the pics! That’s all for now… seeya in the next big Ragna event. Stay tuned to Ragnabeat for more info!

Bb ^^ /kis

‘Rok On!

#45 RPC 2005 – The Road to the Finals

RPC 2005 – The Road to the Finals

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

By the time you read this, there would have been an RPC 2005 Champion Team (I write the column a week in advance). The biggest MMORPG tournament in Philippine history has finally come to a climactic end, and the biggest pot money – ONE MILLION PESOS in cold cash – has been given away to the best 9-man Ragnarok team in the country to date.

And what a tournament season it has been!

Being part of it all has been a fulfilling experience for me and the whole RPC organizing committee. As I followed the tournament through all corners of the archipelago and throughout the persistent world of Rune Midgard, I have gleaned many strategies, met new friends and learned a thing or two about patience and organization.

All throughout the season, I have seen the spirit of sportsmanship come alive. Fueled by the adrenaline of competition, both individuals and teams were driven not just to conquer the enemy, but to conquer themselves. There was the agony of defeat and the sweet fulfillment of victory which droned the event halls from Olongapo to Davao during our RPC Regional tour. Whereas, online, guild politics reached their supreme pinnacle as allies within servers rallied to defeat the opposition in the Wild Card and Agit portions of the tournament. Alliances were forged – and broken – as renowned guilds in servers such as Chaos swelled to record numbers as they participated in both offensive and defensive campaigns not just for the glory of their guild but also for the game which we all so love – and still do!

For most, the RPC was a call to battle, heeded by many not just for the huge cash prize, but also for the chance to prove their supremacy and mastery of Ragnarok Online. For some, it was an opportunity to call upon every iota of strength within their guilds towards the goal of organizing the largest offensive in an online MMORPG campaign. Still for others, the RPC was the chance to claim the recognition and fame (and yes, fortune too) that it promised.

Join me as I go back and share with you the previous months which led to the awesome conclusion of RPC 2005…

ROAD TO VICTORY

The road to the RPC Finals was highlighted by some major upsets along the way.

February 1, 2005 officially marked the beginning of RPC 2005. Registration opened for the Regional stage of the tournament and hundreds of teams sent their applications to make it to the 32 slots for the four regions, Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and Metro Manila.

At the simultaneous, nationwide Amatsu and Kunlun launch event, LU drew the lucky 32 teams. Defending champions Rebirth and Unholy were given free slots at the GMA regionals to defend their crown. By February 18, 2005, the nomination stage was opened for the RPC Wild Card online segment. In the Wild Card, the heated battle between mortal rivals in Chaos, Alliance (led by the famous makmak641) and the Shadow Circle guild which was led by the legendary BS, Waukeen, blazed into a frenzied battle! Meanwhile, Unholy still claimed top spot at Loki while the Cebuano’s Pride, Armed and Loaded, dominated the southern server of Odin.

By April 2, 2005, the RPC tournament team set foot in Cebu for the first Regional stop. During the exciting two days, it was an upset by Kissbone of Iris as they defeated crowd favorite teams composed of Unholy stalwarts. This set the stage for some other upsets in the months to come.

On April 23, LU was in Davao and witnessed some of the best PVP matches ever. In an awesome display of skill and coolness-under-fire, Team XSite of General Santos city, swept their way to the top spot as they massacred their opponents match after match. Some analysts have predicted Team Xsite to take home the bacon for Gensan and for their server, Odin.

Another major upset shocked the Ragnarok community when Team RAD computer defeated RWC veteran, Chaos Godz to take home the Luzon Regional Championships at Olongapo. RAD Computers, from Lipa, Batangas, is the only representative of Chaos to make it to the Final 8. Their entire server is depending on them to bring home the glory!

But the most impressive display (and upset) was yet to come… just last month at the SM Megamall, a group of players rose from relative obscurity into celebrity status – literally overnight! Team Hazards of Sarah, defeated not one, but THREE RWC veteran teams to claim the coveted GMA Regional Crown. Hazards, defeated Rebirth in the finals with their awesome, defensive style of play. During their rise to the finals, Hazards clobbered co-defending champion Unholy and also a sponsored Steel Wolves team!

At the server-side of the tournament, Alliance bowed gracefully to Team Punishment while Dynasty (ally of Kissbone of Cebu) lost to Executors of Fenrir (a guild under the guidance of the legendary EHOC). Hatred of Lydia and Renegades of Odin complete the Server Sovereigns and the Final Eight.

It’s an all out war as 8 teams battle for the lone crown – the RPC 2005 Championship Trophy! (next week – tournament coverage /no1)

‘Rok On!

#46 3 Types of RO Players

3 Types of RO Players

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

As I blindly hammer at the keyboard composing my thoughts, it struck me that there are different types of Ragnarok players. Some have playing styles which set them apart from most. Heck, I remember once during the old pRO days (when only Comodo was the latest patch). All I wanted was to get a friggin’ Bible for Sharic, my priest at Chaos. This was my goal. THE goal. I wanted to have cool items like the rest of my pRO buddies and guildmates. Although some wanted to do PVP and talk about builds and compounding cards, combos, and tactics all day, I wasn’t so much into that.

All I wanted was my Bible.

Another aspect I enjoyed in RO was managing the guild. Being the founding GuildMaster (GdM – to differentiate between “GM”, which means Game Master) of Fellowship at Chaos, I was proud and happy to lead a bunch of innocent misfits (but close friends) into the world of Midgard.

Being GdM and having control over the Guild Menus was cool and fun! It was the closest thing to being able to change things in-game, and being a true GM. Things such as taxes, titles, privileges and even the power to sanction were all just a mouse click away (insert evil, maniacal laughter here ^^)

As you can see, I may fit the description of the casual player. Although work practically took a large portion of my time, I tried to fit Ragnarok into my schedule as much as I could. I even converted my wife and my son to become certified RO “addicts”. Not a patsy at gaming, I eventually came to the conclusion that I couldn’t compete and have a “level race” with the younger players that practically play during every minute of their waking life /heh. Eventually, we controlled our RO gaming experience and it wasn’t the other way around.

There are other types of players. They each have their own playing styles and enjoy their RO gaming experience as dictated by their own individual and peer-group norms and values. Generally, we can classify them into three 1) The Casual Gamer (or semi-pro) like me. 2) The PVPer (or hardcore) and 3) The Chatter (or political figure). Let’s briefly examine all three;

1. THE CASUAL GAMER – I’d like to call them semi-pro. These players generally stay away from PVP, RPC or other intense competition. They feel that they cannot compete with the high-level guilds in terms of siege or politics and are happy hunting and purchasing simple pleasures such as Whisper Cards, Hydras or upgraded gear. They don’t usually go out and look for the +10 or the uber-rares. For these types of players, playing fair and being with their friends and guildmates mean more than perfect builds, skills and items. Don’t get me wrong, they also take the time to research and tune their builds and items. But that’s secondary from the enjoyment they derive from sharing adventures with friends.

2. THE PVPer/HARDCORE – these types of players are out there for two things – to WIN and be the BEST. They are always constantly searching for the Holy Grail of RO, the “Perfect Build” and some of them go out of their way to delete a high-level PC just so he can start all over again (and start it right this time). The hardcore players are often members of high-level RPC-contender guilds. They would love to discuss builds, combos and strategy all-night long. The PVPers, as their name implies, hang out in PVP rooms to test their gear and skills against all those who challenge them. They form a close-knit, military-organized guild structure and take their sieges seriously. For them, Ragnarok is a big battle and only the toughest survive! Popularity is a huge motivation for these types of players – those with well-known and legendary deeds are hailed as heroes and celebrities within their own servers.

3. THE CHATTER/POLITICAL FIGURE – For these types of players, chatting with guildmates, partymates and even strangers is the primary motive for playing pRO. True to the promise on interactivity, the Chatters take to this with gusto! For them, their Friendster accounts become an extension of pRO and they are equally active in the Ragnabaords or their own local server message boards. Headgear and being cute is important. Also, you could PM them for any info about the major characters in the server and they can give you that guy’s friendster email or even a contact number.

To continue my story, my guild eventually flourished and grew. We leveled up the guild and shared many adventures together. Most of us are casual players. Some graduated to being PVPers. Eventually we migrated to Odin and made new friends there. Hey, we even managed to capture a Payon agit for a week!

Those good ol’ days I will treasure forever. This simple game called Ragnarok Online has left me with something now priceless – my friends and the many memories we shared. Oh yeah, and what about my Bible, you ask? I was able to borrow zenny from my rich BS guildmate and bought the first one I saw at Prontera!

Sigh. My Bible. All I ever wanted…

‘Rok On!

#47 Super Monk- The job to beat or the job to be?

Super Monk- The job to beat or the job to be?

By Paul Mendoza (Battlechaser)
Part 3 of 3

Look up in the sky! It's a bird… no it's a plane…

No, it's the Super Monk! Using the skill body relocation, he snaps beside you, casting spirit balls, commanding them to give him the ultimate attack. Three, four, five balls… you know what's up next…

What the monk is about to launch is the most powerful melee attack in the Ragnarok- the Asura Strike! Seconds into the offensive move, there is nothing but pitch darkness, all that remains in your memory are the vague Chinese characters on top of your screen before your character's death…

The Kryptonite Revealed

Now that the RPC 2005 (Ragnarok Philippine Championship) is over, we have witnessed that the key to victory has, for the most part, an expertly built and played Monk. All the teams in the Final Eight have this in common. Part of their preparation was analyzing the "metagame". Monks undoubtedly conquered the tournament during the eliminations and made a more lasting impression in the finals, therefore team strategies revolve around giving a Monk a clear shot for the game-winning strike and protecting him from the wrath of his enemy counterpart.

Our first two installments revealed the power of the Super Monk. In the first issue, I discussed the builds and preferred equipment of the RPC 2005's most valuable character while the second issue tackled the needed support from his teammates for the Monk to deliver the fatal, one shot Asura Strike (a.k.a. Extremity Fist). For those wary of the Monk's power, this 3rd issue serves as a guide to counter the one-shot killer, for the Super Monks out there; this will be a guide to better know your identity and which "Kryptonites" you are up against.

Break the wall!

With the inclusion of the 2-2 Juno jobs in the tournament, the Priest in the party gains additional support power from the Crusader's Devotion and the Sage's Land Protector and Dispel to protect the Monk. Without dealing with them first, you will not be able to lay a hand on your opponent's Monk.

Guard the crusader and you guard the Monk- Devotion transfers all damage to the devoted characters back to the Crusader and also make their skills uninterruptible. Therefore, looking for ways to counter this skill should be the first initiative in getting rid of the opponent's Monk and other more fragile characters.

The Rogue's Strip Shield skill will make the Crusader helpless as he takes away the Devotion away from the protected characters since the skill is impossible to cast without using a shield. Why not just use the Strip Weapon on the Monk and cut his offensive capability? Although possible, this also is a big gamble. Most RPC Monks have 90up DEX and since DEX is the main attribute for a successful strip, it has a great chance to fail for a number of times… and being closely side by side with the opponent's Monk for several seconds is not good news for any opposing character.

Another important thing to remember is, although the devoted characters have a ‘walking Phen card' with the presence of a Crusader, the Crusader himself is not devoted to another Crusader, therefore making his skills (except for the Grand Cross) interruptible. Casting Devotion, even with a high DEX will take a long time. Although physically hitting the Crusader to cancel the skill is possible, it has a chance to fail because of Auto Guard. Magic attacks with less casting time are more advisable like the Mage classes' Napalm Beat or even the classic Swordsman classes' Provoke-Cancel strategy.

If not under a Devotion skill, a Monk is not as super as it seems. Asura Strike can be easily canceled and he is an easy target to the opponent's attack. In the RPC Regional legs, very few Monks survived after losing their team's Crusader. Therefore, it is commonly accepted that when the Crusader falls, the Monk will soon follow.

Freeze! - The non-existence of unfrozen armors in the tournament will also render the characters helpless against frozen status. The only skills that could remedy this status ailment are Status Recovery by the Priest and Dispel by the Sage. Here's the deal though, if you manage to ‘freeze' these characters first, then nobody will be able to do something about it and you have several seconds to execute your attack. Some players prefer variations of Freezing effects and Stone Curse (especially if their opponent switches shields with Megalodon card, providing some resistance from being frozen), so make use of the two according to your preference. Also keep in mind that Sage's Dispel will take all buffs and protections away from a character, therefore a character being newly ‘dispel-ed', even by his own teammate's Sage, is a perfect target for a concentrated attack or your team Monk's Asura.

STOP THE ASURA – WIN THE GAME!

Traps and Status Ailments such stun, blind, or even the BS Hammerfall or the Dancer's Scream skill are all options used to stop the opposing monk dead in his tracks. Important status ailment cards that should be kept in mind are the following: Savage Bebe (Stun), Marina (Freeze), Familiar (Blind), Magnolia (Cursed) and Plankton (Sleep).

The one-shot kill is most devastating at the early stages of the game. One team must endure the assault of their opponent with an incomplete line-up for the rest of the game; not to mention withstanding the pressure of scoring a kill to catch up. This situation could spell the outcome for each game and the Monk is the key player on this play. By slowing down the Monk, you could keep your team intact for the most parts of the tournament while looking for an opening for a suitable attack of opportunity.

E-mail feedback at ebonfierre[at]gmail.com

‘Rok On!

#48 EPISODE 8: LOUYANG

EPISODE 8: LOUYANG

Philippine Ragnarok Online's newest episode, Louyang, has lots in store for both newbies and grizzled vets alike!

For starters, newbies will be treated to a more user-friendly quest where you'll get to level up and have novice items for FREE! Second, there are new maps to explore such as the enchanted village of Louyang and the romantic island resort of Jawaii – where married RO couples can enjoy their honeymoon.

There are also game updates that will make your RO-experience even more fun. For instance, the new Inn System allows characters to “rent” the inns for fee and replenish lost HP and SP. There's also the Kafra storage update – from 100, this has been expanded so that you guys can store up to 300 slots for your cherished items and consumables!

Inspired by the culture and architecture of ancient China, Louyang has these and more… read on… I promise you, you won't regret it…

BACKGROUND STORY OF LOUYANG

Louyang boasts of vast fields and tall mountains. Beyond the grand northern walls of the field lies the glorious Castle of the Dragon, capital of Louyang. Majestic in size and architecture, this city is guaranteed to awe any visitor (best viewed from Louyang's sightseeing tower). However, deep beneath the beautiful Castle of the Dragon lays a dark crypt teeming with unspeakable horrors.

Far from the shores of Volsug, the brave adventurers discovered the land of Louyang. With its high mountains, vast fields, and the glorious Castle of the Dragon looming on the horizon, it wasn't long before the adventurers were captivated by this foreign land's mystique. Not only was the landscape spectacular, but the citizens were equally interesting. Here, they discovered unique artworks, weapons, masterpieces, and products made by skilled native craftsmen; treasures not found in any other land. Rumors also speak of another kind of treasure, a treasure so vast that is was said to compare to the vaults of King Tristan III and those guarded by the Schwaltzwald Republic

However, unlike in Amatsu or Kunlun, foreigners weren't welcome in Louyang. These people have a strong connection to their culture. The connection of the local folk was so strong that they ostracized outsiders in order to protect their way of life.

It was a great warrior named Bai Long that unified the martial artists of Louyang (called the Wu Lin). Through Bai Long's leadership, the Wu Lin managed to quell the monsters that threatened the countryside thus creating peace and prosperity for many years.

Years passed and the glory of Bai Long's youth faded. The peace enjoyed by Louyang slowly began to crumble. As Bai Long aged, many of the warrior schools began to fight with one another, each seeking to gain dominance over the others, and plotting to take Louyang from Bai Long. With dissention among the schools, monsters once again terrorize Louyang.

Lamenting over the crumbling Wu Lin which was now fragmented by the selfishness and greed of the warring schools, Bai Long decided to open Louyang's walls to the outsiders. So long as they were pure of heart and strong of will, Bai Long welcomed them into Louyang to help battle the fearsome monsters.

As an outsider, your adventure begins here!

NEW QUESTS AND HEADGEARS

NEW QUESTS - Within the city of Louyang you will meet several interesting people. They would be willing to lend their wisdom and knowledge for a small favor or two (quests).

Visitors can help the man in the highest peak of Louyang field, who'll teach clear your mind if you get him one of the specialty soups from the Louyang restaurant. There is also the Bard who's seeking to complete his song, learn the secrets of Pharmacy from the Louyang Herbalist, or do errands for the legendary Poison King of Louyang.

By helping these people, not only do you get useful items, but experience (exp) as well.

SINGLES BAR - For those who want to drown their sorrows, you could visit the Jawaii singles bar and meet new people. Who knows, you might find the love of your life here. And if for some reason you end up getting rejected, head over to the bar and have our bartender prepare something to wash those miseries. Aside from being a top notch bartended, he's a good listener, and gives very good advice.

NEW HEADGEAR – There are also approximately 30 or so new headgear that Episode 8 offers. Start gathering items to make those quests. Headgears such as the cool Ears of Devil Wing (STR +1, Def 1, Equipped on: Mid, Weight:10, Required Lvl: 70, Available job: All Jobs) and the Ears of Angel Wing (STR +1, Def 1, Equipped on: Mid, Weight:10, Required Lvl: 70, Available job: All Jobs) are all worth “questing” for! And speaking of quests, the legendary Orc Hero Helm will set you back 10,000 jellopies, 10,000 orcish vouchers and 100 Heroic Emblems! Oh yeah… and that's just the first part!

To learn more about Louyang, please visit the official site at http://www.ragnarok.ph/episode8/Home.htm

‘Rok On!

#49 SHARE RAGNA, SHARE AN ADVENTURE

SHARE RAGNA, SHARE AN ADVENTURE

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

When was the last time you truly enjoyed something and shared it with a friend or loved one? Do you remember that last book or movie you saw? Yeah, I'm sure you really enjoyed that action flick or that novel which you really couldn't lay down. Now wasn't that experience worth sharing to friends? I betcha it was.

And a good experience such as Ragnarok is better shared with others rather than enjoyed alone.

You see, the thing that makes Philippine Ragnarok Online different from any videogame experience is the interactivity. Sure, that new PS2 action-adventure game had swell graphics, a rich story and an equally appealing gameplay. But once finished, rarely do you pick it up and play it again. Ragnarok is a different story.

Ragnarok Online is that is a living and breathing world – economic and political events are shaped by the community - the actual players and participants of this vibrant and dynamic virtual-fantasy-world. Sure, it may be virtual, but the friends that you'll gain are all real and alive!

I distinctly remember my first foray into the world of online games. And yes Virginia, it was Ragnarok. The year was 2003. GM Preator (being a friend of mine back from my Jurassic Magic the Gathering days) called me up and wanted me to try this cool new game from Level Up - it was called Raganarok Online. At first, I was kinda reluctant to try it. I assumed (falsely) that a dial-up connection was insufficient for an online game knowing full well that most US-based and international online games were broadband and demanded a huge amount of data to be transferred from client to PC. I was certain that this ‘Ragnarok thing' would be crawling with lag and I'd just be frustrated with the experience.

AT FIRST IT WAS A "NO"

Believe to or not, I said "no" to Preator's initial offer.

Months later, a good friend of mine got hold of a beta CD from somewhere and he began playing it. This friend was a member of my tabletop RPG group and he began telling us how cool, exciting and addicting the entire RO experience was. Soon he was boasting of being able to gain levels, add new skills, get new drops from monsters and was getting more powerful everyday!

Intrigued, I interrogated him and asked a few questions:

"You mean this thing CAN run on dial-up?"

"Yup", smiled my friend.

"…and what about my crappy PC with my old video card? Can RO run on it too?"

"Uh-huh", he said.

"Then what are you standing there for? Give me the darn CD!!!" I half-jested.

My friend told me that he'll drop by at my place in a couple of days and give me the CD. Not wasting any time, I immediately set out to do "web research" (like I always do) on this new game.

He was playing a Swordie and bragged about his Bandana! "Gasp", I muttered to myself. "I must have one of those powerful headgears!!! Mental note… mental note…". My online quests for more information lead me to a lot of sites, official and unofficial, about Ragnarok Online.

I discovered that this wasn't just a simple game. Though the graphics may be cute and anime-ish, this game had more to it under the hood. Ragnarok boasted of thousands of items, lots of combinations for skills and builds, an almost infinite number of monsters and a huge land to explore called Midgard.

Always in love with healers (Sharic was a Cleric in D&D tabletop), I chose to become an Acolyte and eventually a priest. I tried to as much info as I could on how to build and play an Acolyte effectively (don't tell anyone… but Sharic's Blessing and Agi Up are only at level 1 and 2 respectively /sob).

Soon I was immersed in my adventures in Midgard with my friends every night! – we discovered dungeons, traded items, experienced how creepy GH was, ran away from our first MVP boss encounter, and even formed a 20-man strong party (mostly composed of first jobbers) just to defeat a single Anolian!

That old and battered RO CD eventually got passed to more and more friends. Soon my small band of a dozen or so friends (who had different alter-egos by day: doctors, lawyers, businessmen, consultants, government officials, students, etc.) grew and grew as the weeks and eventually, the months rolled by.

Soon, we wanted to form a guild. And yeah, I think I wrote about that story on a previous column.

The rest, they say, was history… and those days were the most memorable online experience of our lives. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my Swordie friend (he's now a Knight getting ready for Heritage) for letting me in on pRO and into his online life as an adventurer. Thank you, Sir Noshada! I'm also grateful that Nosh and I shared RO with as many friends as we could. And we still plan to spread the good news even more!

So, what are you waiting for? As soon as you put down this paper, I'd like you to do me a favor – think of 2 or 3 close friends who haven't experienced Ragnarok before. Then, text them, call them or send them an email or instant messenger with a message saying" "hey, I got this cool new CD which you MUST try".

Trust me, you're not just sharing a game – you're sharing a lifestyle!

‘Rok On!

#50 BEWARE OF SCAMS!

BEWARE OF SCAMS!

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

It's been a while since I last wrote an article about scamming. Since then, the scammers have “enhanced” their evil repertoire with new and advanced techniques to fool and hook the gullible into their sinister web.

The world of Philippine Ragnarok Online can be a cool and fun place. Sadly, not all of its citizens are out to find friends, party-mates or even guildmates. Some players get satisfaction from lying and cheating their way to gain items and zenny (and some just even spite you) for personal gain.

Now, more than ever, we have to be wary of these unscrupulous individuals. The saying “knowing is half the battle”, from an old 80's cartoon show, may sound cliché but that's our first line of defense against these selfish individuals.

I've listed new modus operandi below for your reference. Hopefully, you won't fall into these traps:

THE INSTANT MESSENGER WEBCAM SHOW

It's a known fact that 90% of the time, a pRO player will also have an instant messenger account. The messenger account and email is, more often than not, connected with that player's pRO account. The scammers gamble on this statistical data to prey on the unwary.

Here's the scenario: a “female” player character sends a private message (PM) to you in-game and starts a conversation. Soon, she gets your trust and offers a “show”. A “show”, in internet parlance, is a webcam show where the girl will supposedly undress – all for a prize. In this case, your new female “friend” offers it initially for 5 to 10M zenny. But, she tells you that she'll send you a “sample” for free… absolutely no obligation.

A few minutes into the conversation, you get an authentic-looking photo of a cute girl.

Your new “friend” then continues with more small talk. When the time is ripe to strike, she'll ask if you want to view a video of her. Again, this is free and without obligation. A couple of minutes later, the familiar buzz of “new mail” signals the arrival of this supposed “gem”!

You open your inbox and find what you're looking for. But once you click that video or zip file, you've doomed yourself and your pRO account for all eternity! That little file contains a Trojan or a hidden file that buries itself into your computer and sends your e-mail data to the scammer. Little do the victim(s) know that the scammer is now foraging through your inbox in search of messages from the RO Admin. These messages contain your new password or worse, answers to your secret question.

Before you know it, the scammer has hijacked your account! Once you relog to your account, all items, zenny and characters are lost forever!

Another victim bites the dust! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Beware… don't be fooled by these miscreants. (TIP: don't use the email account you registered with pRO as the same email for instant messaging. Simple and effective.)

THE GM HOAX

The scammers get a lot of victims through this evil system. One of the oldest trick in the book, it plays upon the promise of in-game items as prizes. Let me echo a tip I shared here before: if a deal sounds too good to be true, it's most likely a scam!

Anyway, there are many variants to this hoax. The simplest one? The scammer makes a novice account that copies the GM naming convention. For example, ? GM-Something ?™ PMs you and offers you a prize. Their spiel would most likely go: “Congratulations! You've just been chosen as the winner of <blah-blah> contest and can win a Solar God Helm! Just give me your username and secret answer/password and we'll process your prize!”…. yeah, right! Sadly, a LOT – and I mean a LOT - of players fall for this.

Some scammers take advantage of the digital highway and wreak havoc via email. They fake an LU email (complete with logo and is actually written decently) and get away with asking for your account details if you fill up a “form”. Again, the promise of powerful items and zenny blind their victims.

Still another method is to lull passersby to a pRO pub or chat room. There, they fake a conversation with a “GM”. All it takes is one player to control the room and it seems that everyone in the pub is talking to a GM. A little scripting, acting and soon, you give your usernames and passwords. Words of wisdom: count the actual number of people inside a pub. Even GMs register as an entry. So, if it says “2/2” and there are 3 of you, get out! It's a scam!

Common to all the scenarios above is one thing – the lure or promise of instant items and/or online wealth is sometimes hard to pass up. But remember, GMs will NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, EVER ask for your password . If you have doubts on a “GM”, do this: a) ask him or her to show themselves. b) take screenshots of your conversation c) report them to customer care at once!

Bottom line thus: IF IT'S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT'S LIKELY A SCAM.

Better be safe than sorry. Play safe! ‘til next week…

#51 Ragnaboard Gems

Ragnaboard Gems

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

The Ragnaboards is often an interesting place. A place with a diverse mix of very animated residents, the boards is home to a lot of different individuals (with differing opinions sometimes). Although we see the occasional “heated debate” from time to time, you can also gather gems from the talented “RBers” as we call ourselves.

Quite recently, GM Tristan III requested submissions to the upcoming pRO Ultimate Game Guide (a series of published books for both intermediate and advanced players). That post was met positively and a lot of RBers grabbed the opportunity to share their ideas and have the chance to see their works published.

This week, let me share with you a couple of splendid essays from those submissions. The first is a great essay about Blacksmiths submitted by Yralyn of Chaos followed by some tips on how to overupgrade your weapons and other gear submitted by [FS]Denunci of Aesir guild from Loki.

Without further ado…

BLACKSMITHS (by Yralyn of Chaos)

Blacksmiths, those who breathe life into their craftsmanship, are primarily concerned with the crafting and creation of powerful variations of most normal melee weapons.

There are two main types of smiths: Forger, and Battle.

Forger builds normally rely on others to level, since their main stats are for the sole purpose of forging (high/maximum DEX & LUK). Before, they were believed to be the richest type of character in-game, because forged weapons were difficult to make and very expensive (even today they rack up to the millions in wealth).

Battle builds (often dubbed “battlesmiths”) have high STR, and decent amounts of AGI & VIT. Their DEX is significantly lower than the forger, and their LUK is oftentimes non-existent, which is okay since battlesmiths normally have little need for LUK and the DEX is made up with Weapon Research, a skill that adds 20% to the chance to hit opponents.

My best tip for both types is this: be prepared to spend. Unlike popular belief, the Blacksmith class is an extremely expensive class; Forgers might earn millions but they also spend millions trying to make weapons and for leeching/leveling, while battlesmiths simply drain so much zenny from using potions and Mammonite.

This doesn’t stop smiths from being one of the more respected and feared classes in PvP:

- Mammonite – can whittle down all but the toughest opponents down in seconds
- Cart Revolution – a quest skill that makes it possible for a lone smith to wipe out an entire party
- Hammerfall – perhaps the most feared non-damaging skill in PvP, as it can easily stun players, rendering them helpless against the relentless assault of the smith.

For the Blacksmiths, their best defense is their powerful offense.

EQUIPMENT OVERUPGRADING by [FS]Denunci

Equipment upgrading is one of the most important aspects of the game. The stronger the equipment, the stronger you are. A Chart has been made to show the different upgrading ore required to upgrade the weapons, costs of upgrading the item, the damage increase of every weapon level and the weapon level’s safety limit.

Level 1 Weapon: Uses Phracon, costs 50z, +2 damage per upgrade level, +7 Safety Limit
Level 2 Weapon: Uses Emvertacon, costs 200z, +3 damage per upgrade level, +6 Limit
Level 3 Weapon: Uses Oridecon, costs 5,000z, +5 damage per upgrade level, +5 Limit
Level 4 Weapon: Uses Oridecon, costs 20,000z, +7 damage per level, +4 Limit

Armors may also be upgraded, but the only difference is that armors don’t have a level. Each armor upgrade requires an Elunium and 2,000z. An armor’s safety limit is until +4

Overupgrading is the exciting part. You may upgrade an item past its safety limit, but it will have a chance to break. Once an item is broken through upgrading, it cannot be repaired, it will be lost, along with all cards compounded to it. Some people say that using Dex and Luk increasing items will affect your chances to overupgrade an item. I do not believe that (but it wouldn’t hurt to try, right?). I think it is the player’s real life luck that affects overupgrading. When overupgrading, try to overup many items of the same kind at a time, so you might be able to get what you want. Try to place all your items at their safety limits, and then start overupgrading them, one by one. I know, it might feel tiresome, but it helps.

Also, be prepared to fail sometimes. It is inevitable. Don’t feel down because your +9Muffler broke. Keep playing, and you’ll regain your losses in no time.

#52 KNIGHTS AND EXORCISTS

KNIGHTS AND EXORCISTS

By Ramon C. Macutay
monmacutay[at]yahoo[dot]com

Last week, I featured 2 awesome articles by our contributors from the Ragnaboards, Yralyn of Chaos’ great Blacksmith guide and [FS]Denucci’s essay on overupgrading.

This week, allow me to continue with two new articles by two new writers, T’wolf and Pardoner. Both of them citizens of Chaos as well. T’wolf writes about the versatility of the Hybrid Knight and Pardoner shares his thoughts on the Exorcist Priest, more commonly known as Magnus Exorcismus (or ME) Priests.

To T’wolf and Pardoner, thanks for the cool works!

Without further ado…

THE HYBRID KNIGHT

By T’wolf, Midnight Carnival Guild, Chaos

The Hybrid Knight mixes the best of both worlds from the VIT and AGI stats. With the right equips and skills, a Hybrid Kniht is one of the most versatile builds in the knight class.

Due to the AGI and VIT, Hybrids are capable of wielding both swords and spears. This gives them the ability to adapt to almost any situation. A hybrid can utilize a sword for quick leveling since his AGI will give him enough flee, and at the same time he can switch to a spear and shield in PVP mode. In WOE, the Hybrid Knight can switch from Defender to Emperium Breaker, switching from a pike and shield for defense to a muramasa for emp breaking.

However, the saying "A Jack of All Trades is Master of None" holds true for the Hybrid Knight. The Hybrid will pale in comparison to an AGI knight when it comes to attack speed, and he will never have as much HP and VIT DEF as a VIT knight.

Certain sacrifices must also be made. Since AGI and VIT are both raised, this will result in either lower STR or DEX.

Despite this, Hybrid Knights hold their own against AGI and VIT knights in PVP. They can take advantage of their Flee rate and DEF to make them hard to hit and hard to kill. Also their AGI will give them a fast attack speed when wielding a spear, allowing for insane Pierce spamming.

In the end, a Hybrid Knight is all about versatility and the ability to adapt to any and all situations. From MVP Boss Hunting, to Leveling to Emperium Breaking to Siege Defense, the Hybrid Knight plays a role in them all.

ME PRIESTS

By Pardoner of Chaos

The Exorcist (or ME priest as it is blandly called) has been many times slammed for its weak constitution and its non-versatility. True, FS priests are more durable and more party-oriented, and Battle Priests can fight in any environment. What people do not understand is that the beauty (and power) of the Exorcist lies in its specialized nature.

To raise a point, most of the strongest monsters in Rune-Midgard are Demons or Undead. Most of these creatures are weak against Holy element attacks. Finally, most of these creatures re-spawn at a very high rate and make for good EXP or hunts. Scary thought, until you remember that Magnus Exorcismus is a Holy Element - Area-Effect spell that exclusively affects Demons and the Undead. ME is perfect for slaying the demonic hordes of Glastheim, the Undead Plague in Morroc, and the Lord of the Dead’s minions in Niffelheim.

Undead monsters like Wraiths, Khalitzburgs or the Undead Plague in Britonniah are a challenge for higher-level players. The Exorcist though, has no difficulty handling these nasties. The spell Turn Undead can instantly kill any of these monsters regardless of how much HP they have.

Certain MVP Bosses like Dark Lord, Dracula, and the Lord of the Dead have 70+ MDef, which means Jupitel Thunder won’t even make them blink. Against the Exorcist’s Sanctuary, a spell which pierces MDef, they’ll be taking Holy damage non-stop, at the same time the Exorcist’s allies are being healed. And hear this - all for the price of one measly Blue Gemstone.

How will the Exorcist do all this without any AGI or VIT? Safety Wall at maximum level will block 11 melee hits regardless of damage. This is perfect for boss hunting. Pneuma on the other hand, will block any long-range attacks for its duration.

Still not convinced? Let me see you take out an Ancient Mummy in 1 second. Can’t do it? I thought so.

(Sharic’s Note: Don’t forget! It’s 3X this week! Check www.ragnarok.ph for EXP promo details)

#53 Boss Time Attack invades Visayas Part II

RAGNABEAT
For September 19, 2005

Boss Time Attack invades Visayas Part II

Last year, the pRO team went to Visayas and Mindanao for a very successful Boss Time Attack (BTA) tour. During the entire month of September and October 2005, LU will be touring key cities in Visayas for the BTA!

Organize your party and plan your strategy as you duke it out with the finest pRO Visayan players in a “Last Team Standing, Winner Takes All” match. Wipe out all the monsters and do it in record time, then earn the title of being “The Finest” monster killers in your province!

What is BTA?

BTA or Boss Time Attack is a Philippine Ragnarok Online tournament. This is usually held in a café (either remotely or physically) by pRO GMs. The GMs act as facilitators and judges of the tournament. LU! Representatives help out the GMs run these events.

Teams of 5 players (in a common server) use their characters and items and attempt to defeat a swarm of monsters in the least possible time. The fastest team wins.

Mechanics

Bashing other players is cool, but they are not the real enemies of Rune Midgard. The ultimate test of skill is how quickly adventurers can slay the most powerful monsters in Midgard!

1. Each team is summoned to a large special room with no entrances or exits. There in that room they must fight Creatures and Boss Monsters that are summoned into the room by the GMs! After defeating one monster, they must find the other two until they, or the bosses they are fighting are destroyed.
2. Each team will use their own personal characters. No more than FIVE (5) characters in a team
3. All characters in a team must be from a single server.
4. Maximum of TWO (2) level 99 characters.
5. No two characters should be of the same class.
6. The following items are forbidden: Yggdrasil Berry , Yggdrasil Seeds , and Fly Wing . Please do not carry any of these items in your inventory or cart (if applicable). GMs or Marshals who discover these items in your possession will issue you a warning and will ask the players to remove these items from their possession.
7. Any player found violating rule number 6 during the actual tournament will be disqualified.
8. The monsters and Boss Monster(s) to be fought will be declared before the start of the match.
9. Time stops when either the MVP boss is killed or the last party member dies.
10. Each use of the Resurrection Skill via Priest Skill or Yggdrasil Leaf will merit a +10 second time penalty.
11. If the team spends more then 10 minutes in the battle arena and they have not killed a single boss they will have lost the time trial.
12. Teams that have been totally annihilated are considered defeated. Their time will be recorded but it is not included in the list of qualified teams. Only those teams that have at least 1 character standing after the MVP boss is killed are qualified for the fastest time count.
13. Winner shall be the team with the fastest time among all contestants.
14. Each Café team will then have the chance to compete for the Provincial BTA Championships
15. Schedules of the BTA Provincial Championships will be conducted remotely and will be announced soon.

How To Join

Joining is simple. Just follow these steps:

1. Form a five-man team. All your characters must be on the same server
2. Read and familiarize yourselves with the rules above.
3. Go to the cafés listed below and fill out an application form
4. Make sure that your account has ample top-up during the tournament. If your game time expires during actual BTA tournament, it is your responsibility.

Schedules

There will be two types of format. The first is the REMOTE BTA – this means that the GMs will be running the tournament from LU! HQ in Makati . Our Marshals and Café Sales team will help us run the event from the café. The second format is the GM VISIT. This means that GMs will be physically present at certain cities (sorry, we can't visit all… as much as we'd love to) to conduct the tournament. LU is visiting Bohol, Negros, Panay, Aklan, Boracay, Cebu , Ormoc and Tacloban.

For prizes, complete schedules and more information, please check www.ragnarok.ph

#54 PREPARE FOR HERITAGE

PREPARE FOR HERITAGE

The most anticipated path for Philippine Ragnarok Online is just around the corner. The official LU banner says it's gonna be on October! I'm sure me, and thousands others, can't wait for Heritage and see what's in store for our characters.

For those who can't wait, there's Sakray, where you can try Heritage way ahead of the others. But alas, some really want to experience the Transcendent Jobs in your home servers with your friends and guildmates.

Thus, I've done some research and prepared a sneak peak into things to come. (oh btw, yup… there are rumors floating about another EXP bonanza! I hope it's true!)

NEW GUILD SKILLS

Note that these are unofficial skills and unverified as of the moment. Kindly await the official announcements by Level Up at the official Heritage site:

http://www.ragnarok.ph/episode10/home.htm

With the coming of Heritage, Guild Masters will now have skills that will change the dynamics of the War of Emperium (WoE) and the sieges forever. From buffs, to development boosts, even guild mate summoning, the Guild Masters' new skills will bring about a new age to WoE.

These new skills will help in the planning, organization and leading any guild. Choose your skills wisely, Guild Master! The fate of your guild is in your hands!

[Passive] Great Leadership

Ability: Every guildsman within 5X5 cells around the guild master will receive 5 extra stat points onto their STR

[Passive] Glorious Wounds

Ability: Every guildsman within 5 x 5 cells around the guild master will receive 5 extra stat points onto their VIT.

[Passive] Cold Heart

Ability: Every guildsman within 5 x 5 cells around the guild master will receive 5 extra stat points onto their AGI.

[Passive] Sharp Gaze

Ability: Every guildsman within 5 x 5 cells around the guild master will receive 5 extra stat points onto their DEX.

[Supportive] Battle Command

Ability: This skill can be only be used during siege mode. Only a guild master can use this skill and all guild members who are in range of a guild master's sight get + 5 to STR, INT, and DEX. Duration of Battle Command is 1 minute. After using this skill, no other guild skill(s) can be used for 5 minutes.

[Supportive] Regeneration

Ability: This skill can be only be used during siege mode. Only a guild master can use this skill and all guild members who are in range of a guild master's sight get fast recovery of HP/SP. After using this skill, no other guild skill(s) can be used for 5 minutes.

[Supportive] Restoration

Ability: This skill can be only be used during siege mode. Only a guild master can use this skill and all guild members who are in range of a guild master's sight get 90% recovery of HP/SP. After using this skill, no other guild skill(s) can be used for 5 minutes.

[Supportive] Urgent Call

Ability: This skill can be only be used during siege mode. Only a guild master can use this skill. Urgent Call will instantly gather all guild members right next to their guild master. After using this skill, no other guild skill(s) can be used for 5 minutes.

ORIGIN OF TRANSCENDENT JOBS – THE BOOK OF YMIR

According to ancient legend, as Ragnarok - the end of the world, comes near, the Valkyrie will seek great heroes from the land of Midgard . These heroes will pass beyond mortality and be guided by the Valkyrie to the hallowed halls of honor - Valhalla .

From the halls of Valhalla , they would be sent back to Midgard to be reborn, to start their lives anew so that they may train to realize their destinies as gods among humans. Scholars of Juno call this the “Transcendence”. This tale was passed down from generation to generation. The legend originally came from an ancient tome, containing great wisdom and knowledge, unearthed by scholars from Juno called the ‘ Book of Ymir’.

For more info and details, check www.ragnarok.ph

#55 ADOPTION NOW ONLINE IN HERITAGE

ADOPTION NOW ONLINE IN HERITAGE

In Episode 6: Amatsu and Kunlun , introduced the Wedding System which allowed players to express their undying love for their Ragnarok or real life sweetheart. Now in Episode 10, you'll be able to start a family with the Adoption System!

Only married couples may adopt a child and both prospective parents must have reached a certain “level” of maturity (Base Level 70 and higher). The child can be any character as long as he/she hasn't changed to a 2nd Job Class yet, though this doesn't prevent him/her from changing in the future.

HOW TO ADOPT

The steps to adopt a character are as follows:

Step 1: The married couple equips their wedding rings.

Step 2: The married couple forms a party and invites the character they wish to adopt.

Step 3: The married couple right-clicks on the character they wish to adopt. An option will show up allowing you to request adoption.

Step 4: The child accepts the adoption request. When he/she does so, the child's character sprite becomes smaller than the normal sprites. Congratulations! The married couple has now successfully adopted a child!

NEW SKILLS

Once they have formed their family, the parents and their child gain access to new skills. The parents acquire:

Baby Come Here

User: Parent
Ability: A parent skill which summons the child to the parents' location much like the marriage summon skills.

Mom and Dad, I miss you!

User: Child
Ability: The child also has his own version of the skill called “Mom and Dad, I miss you!” which summons the parents to the child. These summon skills let the family save on travel expenses: Only the child has to pay for the Kafra warp service, then just summon the parents when he/she arrives at their destination.

Mom and Dad, I love you!

User: Child
Ability: The child has another skill called Mom and Dad, I love you! Once activated, the parents will not lose any experience points if they die during its 2 minute duration. This skill consumes 10% of the child's SP. Your family can now face tougher monsters without fear of losing those hard-earned EXP!

EFFECTS OF ADOPTION

Aside from the new skills, there are other ways a child is different from a normal character. Their sprites' becoming small is not just a visual change—they are also considered to be Small-sized creatures. So weapons that have been compounded with a Skeleton Worker Card (+15% damage to Medium size) for use in PvP will be less effective against them. In addition, many weapons like maces and swords are penalized when used against Small-sized creatures. Some jobs actually have new sprites and not just shrunken versions of their normal counterparts. To be exact, Dancer children and the Pecopecos of Cruasader children are new sprites.

Another good thing about being a family is that you can set your party to Even Share regardless of the members' levels. Your family is no longer required to be within 10 levels of each other. But don't think that there are no downsides to adopting a child. A married couple may only adopt one child and once a family has been organized you cannot disband it. The couple can still get divorced but, just like in real life, the bond between parents and their child can never be broken.

For the character getting adopted, there are other concerns because you are, after all, just a child in Rune-Midgard. You can only raise your stats to a maximum of 80 and you have 30% less Max HP and Max SP compared to normal characters. You also have decreased forging success rate. Finally, adopted characters are not allowed to marry nor change into the Transcendent Jobs.

CONCLUSION

Now that you know everything about the Adoption System, grab your spouse (or get married if you don't have one!) and start your very own Ragnarok family. As they say, “The family that plays together, stays together!”

#56 Tips on Leveling Melee Characters

Ragnabeat
Issue for October 24, 2005

Tips on Leveling Melee Characters

By the time you read this, the much awaited Episode 10: Heritage, is now online and active at pRO commercial servers. Heritage brings the game full-circle as most of the level-99 population hit the leveling lands once again.

This article by E.L.F.A of Sarah gives us some tips and tricks on how to level up faster and more efficiently.

Without further ado…

It's not easy leveling… One of two primary reasons why people bot is the “brain sloshing” or boredom that level-grinding brings to gamers. This is especially so for melee characters, like assassins, rogues, agility knights or crusaders… basically any class that uses normal attacks most of the time. Even blitz hunters fall under this category, although not literally melee.

Here are a few tips in hand-leveling your MELEE characters:

1. Set short term goals –this is especially important when level 80+, as you may find that it will take several days (or weeks… even months) for you to reach your next level. For example: collect 1000 of a single common drop, like skel bones or rotten bandages. Or look around for that rare shining plant hidden around your map. Or keep tally how many monsters you can kill in 30 minutes, trying to break your record each time you play.
2. Move frequently –look around for new and fresh areas to level in. It helps remove the fog in your head before you head back to your primary leveling spot.
3. Study and research about your chosen profession –this helps you get hyped about making your character stronger, and helps you defend your build when they call it a n00b/weak/useless build…
4. Find easy monsters to kill –when you get a really bad day or just feel down, nothing beats running around in a dungeon and massacring anything that moves. You may be surprised at the experience you get (or even the loots) when you're done with your massacre.
5. Hide your experience bar –have fun! Don't look at that nasty experience bar and notice that you only got 0.3% experience in 30 minutes… You need to check it once in a while, but it would be better if you did that once in a while, not all the time
6. Avoid the “rare obsession” mentality –don't go into a dungeon expecting to get rare items… you will begin to hate leveling with this mentality if after a week or two you STILL haven't gotten that card. (In my dungeon, it's been two months and 4000 whispers estimate… still no card). Enter dungeons with a “leveling and a looking-for-adventure” mentality. That's much better than being obsessed with rares.
7. Find a party to level in a difficult dungeon –THIS is the core essence of MMORPGS: banding together with others to achieve something great! Team up with friends to explore the deepest recesses of Glastheim, or dare to enter the fiery Magma Dungeon, even float around in the surreal dungeon of Kunlun . It's all up to you!
8. Role play once in a while –In the dungeon I level in, I'm the janitor. I mop up monsters that bunch up in certain areas (that's because I'm all alone in that dungeon.) That's why it's called an MMORPG. Give your character a mentality or a persona you want to portray… it keeps things interesting Just learn to differentiate between reality and fantasy, or else you'll end up an MMORPG-junkie!
9. Give your character a purpose in existence –my purpose with my assassin is to show my peers that you don't need bot programs to reach 99, or to make money, even with a melee character. What is YOUR purpose? WoE? PvP? MVP? Any purpose can inspire you to keep playing your character!
10. Make a friend –this is the primary reason I still play pRO. No, don't go looking for the ‘barkada' type friends, or the sugar daddies/mommies, or those who only know how to show off and try to act all rich and powerful. Look for those people who can stir up a good conversation. It is not easy, trust me. More often than not, you will meet immature dudes and third-party programs throughout your adventure in pRO, but there are still some decent people out there. Talk to people, say hi and type /heh when you meet real players… you never know if that mage you bump into while leveling in seals could become your best online buddy!

That's all folks… my two cents

#57 BTA XTREME TOURS OLONGAPO

BTA XTREME TOURS OLONGAPO

OLONGAPO CITY - The Ragnarok Vanguard team, led by GM Tristan III, recently visited Olongapo City last December 3, 2005 as part of the BTA Xtreme Luzon Tour . Hosted by KBBPS Café at Magsaysay Boulevard , Olongapo City , 8 teams from Olongapo slugged it out against tough MVP monsters and each other to determine the best and fastest boss hunters in their province.

BTA or Boss Time Attack is a Ragnarok Online tournament. This is usually held in a café (either remotely or physically) by pRO Vanguards. The Vanguards act as facilitators and judges of the tournament.

BTAx also known as BTA eXtreme is the latest evolution of the BTA especially made for advanced players. Instead of fighting random monsters before facing the boss, each team will now square off with three MVP Bosses- fighting each one at a time!

Teams of 5 players (from a common server) use their characters and items and attempt to defeat the monsters in the least possible time. The fastest team wins.

Team Chronicles from Sarah was crowned the champion of BTA Xtreme Olongapo. With awesome control of boss monsters and their minions, Chronicles wiped out the “Egyptian-themed” roster of Pharaoh, Osiris, and Amon-Ra in 5 minutes and 29.0 seconds. Representing Team Chronicles were Ronnel Domingo, Dandy Domingo, Adonis Alarin Jr., Oscar Sabeniano, and Mark Arabit.

For their efforts, Chronicles took home 500M in zenny, 50 Old Purple Boxes, 20 Sway Aprons, 20 Forbidden Red Candles, and Ragnarok goody bags! They will also have the chance to win the unique “+5 Very Strong Sabbath Axe”, which will be named after the province of the victor. They will be up against Team Shutdown (from Sarah also) of Bulacan who clocked 1 minute and 10.0 seconds in the previously concluded BTAX Bulacan a day before. Stay tuned for announcements at the website on when these two teams square off for the Northern Luzon BTAX finals.

Rounding up the winners of BTAX Olongapo were second placer “College Drop Out” team of Sarah clocking in at 6 minutes and 43.44 seconds followed by 3 rd placer, Merry Christmassacre of Odin with a time of 11 minutes and 58.00 seconds.

For more info about the BTAX, please visit www.ragnarok.ph

Sarap Dito!
View the BTAX Olongapo pictures here

#58 RO Ultimate Game Guide Now Available!

RO Ultimate Game Guide Now Available!

After almost 4 months of hard work and sleepless nights, the pRO Ultimate Game Guide Job Sourcebook has seen the light.

Yes! Finally, the first book in the pRO Ultimate Game Guide series is now available. The Official Job Sourcebook is THE definitive and updated guide to character jobs in Philippine Ragnarok Online, the country's first and biggest MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game).

With article and art contributions from the playing community, the debut volume in the Ultimate Game Guide series of books has invaluable information you need about jobs, skills, stat and attribute bonuses, builds, quests, complete information about the new Transcendent Jobs, and much, much more!

Both novice and veteran players will benefit from the detailed information contained in this tome. The Official Job Sourcebook will make your pRO life easier since you will have all that info right at your fingertips.

As Editor-in-Chief of this huge project (and Level Up's first foray into publishing), I was responsible for gathering all the data, working with the Gameplay GMs (thanks Marc and Jed!) and also making sure that there was new art for the new book.

Part of the challenge was also to make certain that the playing community would have some contributions to the book. The “quotes” and player articles were gathered from selected submissions from the Ragnaboards. There were many good articles and tips by the players and I had the enormous job of sifting through all of these and selecting the ones appropriate for the job classes.

I'm also glad to say that the first RO Ultimate Game Guide has new and original art both from fans and by professionals. Our team had to commission a lot of the Transcendent Job art since we had very few ‘Official Artwork' for those.

I can say with pride that the pRO Job Sourcebook is the most complete Ragnarok Job manual perhaps in the world, today. We made certain that some of the popular PVP and siege builds would be presented in the volume.

Stay tuned for the next series of Ultimate Game Guides from the Ragnarok team! The next volume that we're working on is tentatively entitled; “The Atlas of Rune Midgard” and will feature ALL the maps of towns, cities, dungeons, fields and even agits. This is a very exciting project and work on it is now underway.

Again, I call upon the players to contribute to the second Game Guide. Keep your eyes glued to the Ragnaboards and the official ragnarok website: www.ragnarok.ph for more details.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the wonderful team that worked with me in the Game Guide… THANK YOU! (You know who you are!… yep, due to space limitations, I can't write all of your names)

Finally, the Job Sourcebook (PHP 275.00) is available at selected branches of N etopia, Dataventure, Mini-Stop, National Bookstore, and the Level Up! Office at Makati.

The Ragnarok Ultimate Game Guide Official Job Sourcebook will also be available at selected internet cafes all across the country.

Bili na! This is the BEST Christmas gift you can give to your friends and guildmates! Merry Christmas mga Wafu!

#59 Alde Turbo Track and More

Alde Turbo Track and More

Einbroch Features

Episode 11: Einbroch is just around the corner. Last issue, I've outlined some of the exciting features that Einbroch has to offer. This week, I'll focus into more details of the Aldebaran Turbo Track, where you can race or do obstacle courses in specially designed maps. Plus, I'll give you the details on the Ranking System for Alchemists and Blacksmiths.

Ready? Let's go…

ALDEBARAN TURBO TRACK

Come one, come all! Everybody's welcome at the Turbo Track of Aldebaran! This is the place to show off your speed and strength, as well as your wit, in an exciting-and often dangerous—foot race. (When you enter the Turbo Track with a Pecopeco, you automatically dismount.) Each one of the nine courses has its own obstacles and mysteries…only the greatest of champions will emerge victorious!

Log Bridge Course: The Log Bridge Course is a simple yet tricky area which requires quick and precise movement. There are no surprises here, but if you rush through it carelessly, you might find yourself falling off the narrow paths.

Box Piled Course: The next course is called Box Piled and it is very fitting. There are many boxes at different elevations and it is difficult to find the proper way through. Monsters and traps also make this course more difficult than the first.

Desert Course: The Desert Course is a very deceptive one. It may seem easy but there are traps hidden all throughout that can impose one of the many status ailments onto characters that get too close to them.

Maze Course: This is a truly baffling course! The Maze Course has random starting points and exits, making it very hard to master. There are also many traps that can afflict characters with the Blind status ailment. Come prepared or else you'll find yourself crawling in the dark!

Snail Course: The Snail Course resembles a snail's shell. There are many obstructions, but there are spots where characters can snipe at each other using ranged attacks. At the center of this course is a warp portal that will either warp you to a random spot on the map or let you through to the next course.

Snake Course: The sinister Snake Course is a winding series of paths that are guarded by Archer Skeletons. These guardians can be attacked to clear the way. There's a warp portal in the center that can send a character forward or backward.

Mini Cave Course: The Mini Cave Course resembles the dungeons of Payon. How fast you finish the course depends on the path that you choose. There are many monsters, both fast and accurate, that guard the narrow caverns so players had better be careful.

Invisible Maze Course: Inspired by the Assassin job change quest, the Invisible Maze Course is filled with invisible barriers. Players must rely on their intuition and good old luck to get through this course quickly.

The Final Course: The Final Course will decide the winner of the race. It is no less deadly than the others as it is packed with traps that can hurt and wear down characters that step on them. Only one character can be declared the winner, but 2nd and 3rd place finishers will also be declared in the 8 or 16 player tracks.

PROCESS RANKING SYSTEM

The Forging Ranking System keeps track of the top 10 smiths in each server based on extraordinary feats of forging and upgrading. Smiths can earn points by accomplishing one of the following:

• Successfully forge a Level 3 Weapon using three materials = 10 points
• Upgrade self-forged Level 1 Weapon to +10 = 1 point
• Upgrade self-forged Level 2 Weapon to +10 = 25 points
• Upgrade self-forged Level 3 Weapon to +10 = 1000 points

Weapons forged by the top 10 smiths will deal +10 damage, much like having an additional Very Very Strong effect! You can view the top 10 smiths of your server by typing in the /blacksmith command.

The Pharmacy Ranking System keeps track of the top 10 chemists in each server based on extraordinary feats of brewing. Chemists can earn points by accomplishing one of the following:

• Successfully brew 3 Slim Potions in a row = 1 point
• Successfully brew 5 Slim Potions in a row = 3 points
• Successfully brew 7 Slim Potions in a row = 10 points
• Successfully brew 10 Slim Potions in a row = 50 points

Potions brewed by the top 10 chemists will be 50% more effective compared to normal potions. (This does not apply when the potions are used for the skills Potion Pitcher or Slim Pitcher.) You can view the top 10 chemists of your server by typing in the /alchemist command.

#60 HOW TO BUILD A CHARACTER

HOW TO BUILD A CHARACTER
By Leandro Galvez

This week's article is from Leandro Galvez (aka Richter of Ragnaboards). He shares some tips on character creation. Thanks, dude!

This applies to every single class and every single stat build. It's very generic advice, let me warn you.

SKILLS

Often there are “cookie cutter” builds floating around. They are called “cookie cutter” for a reason, they are soild and proven builds. But everyone plays differently. The perfect build for another might not be the perfect build for you.

When you are building a character you have to decide what role(s) you want it to fill and what skills would help you fill that role. How can you decide that?

One good way is to observe other players. See what skills they have, how they use it, how you think you would use it, and in what ways you think it would benefit you. You will probably see a lot of skills that would be nice but you don't have infinite skill points. You need to pick a set of skills that work well together and leave you with the least weaknesses for your intended role, or at least a weakness that you can play around.

Another way is experience. This is why I said this advice might not matter so much for a first character, where cookie cutter skills are probably a good idea unless you do tons of research. Even researching a lot can often leave you with a build that you aren't happy with. It's true that nothing can substitute actual experience. If you actually have a skill and you have used it in the situations you want to use it in you will know if you want it in your build. You can also properly weight it against other skills.

I wouldn't recommend copying skills from a "rate my skills" post, because often even the critiqued skill build is not the right build for you. What you should look for in these posts is the advice given about their skills and then try to apply that to your own skills.

Another thing worth mentioning is looking at skills and thinking of ways to “abuse” them(read: optimized use), or use them to their full potential. There's always a possibility you will see a way to use the skill that you never thought of before.

NOW TO MAKE IT

Now it is time to actually make the character. The order you get stats in should be for ease of leveling but also in a way that allows you to perform your role in an optimal way. As a melee character, you will almost always gain faster EXP if you raise STR sooner. It will be somewhat harder to level since you lack a strong defensive stat. It can also slow down EXP if you constantly have to go for pots.

You might find that a certain stat you thought would be acceptable is lacking, or in a worst case scenario a certain stat you now have is far too high. This is when a smart player will modify their build. Sometimes they will make a new charater if they find that they took a stat too far, other times they will try and build around it. It depends how much the stat being too high hinders your goal.

If you are not sure that you want to bring a stat beyond a certain point leave it at that point, get a stat you are sure you will be getting, then when the time comes, raise what you feel need more between the two stats you were debating.

Even if you end up with a cookie cutter or almost cookie cutter build after doing all of this you will have a greater understanding of your character. Knowing why you have the skills/stats you have and the roles they play is never a bad thing. Knowing why people get skill A rather than skill B is better than blindly getting skill A because everyone else does it. There is always the chance skill B is not so bad after all.

#61 Win 300M Everyday!

Win 300M Everyday!

Ahh… zenny makes the world go round. The world of Midgard, for that matter.

And zenny powers everything. It is the central element in WoE sieges, it is used to pay mercenaries-for-hire to do your guild's bidding, it used to buy pots to make leveling and PVP easier, and more importantly, zenny is used to buy the cards and overupgraded gear to advance your characters so that you can face more powerful opponents, monsters and challenges in the persistent world of Rune Midgard. To others, zenny may also be a status symbol in your respective server.

But no matter how much zenny you have, it seems you'll never have enough, right?

Do you want to know a secret?

I'll tell you a way where you can win up to 300 MILLION zenny a day! But promise me this… you have to TELL OTHERS and spread the word, okies?

JUST DOWNLOAD THIS???

Level Up! Games , publisher of the Philippines' leading online games, in cooperation with Yahoo Asia , part of Yahoo! Inc.'s global network, are proud to bring to you the new Level Up! Tab Add-On for Yahoo! Messenger with Voice!

With the Level Up! Tab, you get the lowdown on the latest happenings in your favorite game, Ragnarok Online, as well as Level Up!'s other games ROSE Online, RF Online, Hyper Relay and FreeStyle.

And if you're lucky, you could win awesome prizes EXCLUSIVE to Level Up! Tab users in the daily and weekly raffles! Here's what'll be up for grabs when the Level Up! Tab launches on January 27, 2006:

Win 300 million zennies! ONE (1) winner will be drawn EVERYDAY!

And that's not all, you can win one of these overupgraded rare headgear! One (1) winner per server will be drawn every week.

+7 Angel Helm
+7 Boy's Cap
+7 Spiky Band
+7 Majestic Goat
+5 Grand Circlet

And that's just for our initial offering! New prizes will be given away all the time so keep on using your Level Up! Tab! Sarap Dito !

Downloading and installing the Level Up! Tab

You must have Yahoo! Messenger with Voice installed.

Step 1. Download the Level Up! Tab installer . Once you've downloaded the Level Up! Tab installer, double-click it to start installing. You can also get the Level Up! Tab installer from the latest Level Up! CDs.
Step 2. Once the Level Up! Tab is installed, sign in to Yahoo! Messenger with Voice.
Step 3. Go to the Yahoo! Messenger with Voice Preferences window by either:

a) Pressing Ctrl+Shift+P.
b) Clicking on the small triangle at the lower right-hand corner and choosing Customize.
c) Clicking the Messenger menu and choosing Preferences.

Step 4. In the Yahoo! Messenger with Voice Preferences window, choose Content Tabs under Category to show all the content tabs available. Under Hidden Tabs , choose Level Up! Games and click Show -> to move it under Displayed Tabs.
Step 5. Click OK.

Congratulations! You've activated the Level Up! Tab!

The Level Up! Tab should appear at the bottom of Yahoo! Messenger with Voice. Just click on it to start receiving content from Level Up! like news and information about our events and promos, and to join the daily and weekly raffles.

========================================

RAFFLE MECHANICS:

1. The raffles are open to everyone, players and non-players of Philippine Ragnarok Online.
2. To join, click the Level Up! Tab then choose Ragnarok.
3. Fill up all the requested information then click Submit.
4. A confirmation number will be sent to your email. Keep it to claim your prize if you win.
5. You may only join the daily raffle once per day. You will be automatically entered in the weekly raffle.
6. If you win, you will be notified by email. Reply with your confirmation number.
7. When your confirmation number has been verified, the username and password of an account containing your prize will be sent to your email.

Note : Please beware of unofficial email or text messages claiming that you have won. Official winners will be announced in-game and on-site and only authorized LU representatives will contact you. Note that, as always, we will NEVER, EVER, EVER ask for your username, password, secret question or answer.

#62 Ragnarok Philippine Championship 2006

Ragnarok Philippine Championship 2006

By Phage

Is your heartbeat racing? This is the usual feeling Ragnarok gamers get during War of Emperium. And now that the RPC season is just around the corner, it might be the prize (at least that's what most people think) that pRO players aim for. But for most gamers, it's all about being the sole sovereign— The right to hold the title as the ultimate Ragnarok Philippine Champion this year.

If you've got what it takes, join now and prove your mettle against the best of the best of pRO. Be the victor, and claim the throne as Philippine Ragnarok Online's sole sovereign.

Choose one of the two paths to the Finals.

1. AGIT LORDS

Bring glory to your guild.

From March 16 to July 18 2006, claim and maintain agits (castles) from Payon, Al de Baran, Geffen, Prontera and rack up those Siege Points.

Join in the race for the Top 4 Guilds per server in the Battle of the Agit Lords then qualify for the Server Eliminations.

2. WILD CARD

If you can't beat 'em with raw PVP power, you can do it with numbers! Even in pRO, there is strength in democracy!

In the Wild Card segment of RPC 2006, players can vote for their own guilds or allies to represent the community. This voting period will be on a "per server basis". All pRO servers (excluding Sakray) are qualified.

This year's new Wild Card mechanics will incorporate not just 2 but the top FOUR (4) Wild Cards per server. Votes will be based on top-ups.

Once we have the Agit Lords and the Wild Cards, they will battle it out to ascertain who will have the right to represent their servers in the Grand Finals.

After the epic battles, only 1 guild per server (a total of 8 servers) will advance to the Grand Finals o n September 30 to October 1, 2006 at the World Trade Center, the Server Champions (8 teams) will duke it out in the final confrontation to crown the 2006 RPC Champion.

Once the dust settles, only one team will be left standing.

The Ragnarok Philippine Championship started 2 years ago when Gravity Inc. informed Level Up! Inc. of a tournament where players from all over the world gather for an international PVP (Player vs. Player) event. This was the Ragnarok World Championship 2004. Unholy of Loki, the Champion that year, with 1 st runner up - Rebirth of Chaos were sent to Korea to compete.

After a year, it was Hatred of Lydia's turn to bag the one million peso prize money and the title as the sole sovereign of the country's first and biggest MMORPG.

Every year, there are changes in the tournament because of the continuous developments and evolution of Ragnarok Online. Tactics differ every year and so are job class choices.

What the Unholy did during 2004 or even Hatred's style during 2005 may or may not work this year especially with the recent launch of the Transcendent Classes, the Einbroch Cards and some changes in Tournament rules. Ragnarok's major patches really shake things up to bring more challenges and excitement to old and new gamers alike.

The mechanics and rules for this year's RPC is a mixture of 2004 and 2005's. The Regionals were eliminated and the concentration of the promotion lies in Server Champions but the slots for the Server Eliminations were also doubled to give more guilds a chance to qualify and represent.

But what makes the RPC 2006 something to look forward to is the infusion of new blood into the Brotherhood of Legends. New gamers tend to show off new tactics and “l33t 5k1llz” during every tournament. They're so good that even the Game Masters are astounded in watching their every move.

Be a part of this historical tournament. Be it as a participant or a member cheering for his guild and server. Take part in RPC 2006: Brotherhood of Legends!

For more details, please check www.levelupgames.ph




#63 Level Up LIVE!

Level Up LIVE!

By Ramon C. Macutay

This year's BIGGEST online gaming event will signal the revoLUtion of gaming in the country!

Brought to you by Level-Up!, the nation's first and biggest publisher of online games, Level-Up! LIVE aims to bring the gaming community under one roof to collectively share their passion and prowess for games such Ragnarok, ROSE, RF Online and Freestyle. LIVE is the epitome of online gaming as we know it today.

LU LIVE will also be the official tournament avenue where the greatest LU gamers compete for over 1.5 MILLION pesos in cash and prizes. The grand event will be on September 30 to October 1, 2006 at the World Trade Center , Roxas Blvd , Manila . Mark your calendars!

Just last week, the official website of LIVE ( www.levelupgames.ph/live ) was launched which signaled the beginning of the 2006 LIVE tournament season.

From March to September, guilds, clans and teams from the 4 games will duke it out in each of the grueling tournament qualifiers, playoffs and semi-finals. Here's an overview of the tournament rules for each game:

RAGNAROK: RPC 2006 Brotherhood of Legends

This year, RPC 2006 continues the annual tradition. Guilds in Ragnarok Online will take one of two roads to the Grand Finals. The first path, “Agit Lords”, will be an online competition where the best guilds score points through acquisition of guild castles (called “Agits” inside the game). During weekly War of the Emperium siege modes, the guilds that successfully capture and/or defend their Agits will score points. At the end of the season, the top guilds per server (pRO has 8) will compete with the Wild Card finalists to determine the Server Champions.

The second road to the RPC finals is the Wild Card. In the Wild Card portion of RPC 2006, players can vote for their favorite server guilds online using their top-up game cards. The top guilds at the end of the voting period will then go head-to-head against the Agit Lords for the right to be crowned the server champion.

The eight server champions (from Chaos, Odin, Loki, Iris, Fenrir, Sarah, Urdr and Lydia ) will then qualify for Grand Finals at the World Trade Center .

ROSE LION'S DEN EXTREME 2006

King of the Lion's Den Extreme is a PVP tournament event to be held at the LU LIVE Grand Finals. A total of 8 teams, 5 from King of the Lion's Den and 3 from ROSE Royal court, will battle it out to determine the ultimate King of the Lion's Den Extreme 2006.

The Lion's Den will be held from December 2005 to July 2006. There will be four (4) tournament seasons for Lion's Den.

Each season, 4 clans from each server will battle to determine a champion: 1 for Polaris and 1 for Sirius. Then the server champs will meet in Tala server for a big battle to determine the season's King of the Lion's Den. There will be One (1) Clan winner every season. These clans then compete with the 3 winners of the Royal Court (an online voting contest similar to the RO Wild Card) at the Finals.

RF NOVUS ELITE SQUAD TOURNAMENT (NEST)

RF Guilds must form Elite Squads of 8 members each. Each Elite Squad must pass the tough criteria for eligibility. Team Captains must submit their Squads to tournament officials for verification. Slots will be on a FIRST-COME-FIRST-SERVED basis. There will be four (4) Season Qualifiers throughout NEST.

After the culmination of the server season qualifiers, 4 Squads each from Accretia, Cora and Bellato will advance to the playoffs for their servers (Altrax and Nexus). At the end of the Playoff period, Racial Server Representatives (1 Squad each per race for each server) will have been chosen through bloody combat and will advance to the Inter-Server Finals and eventually to the Grand Finals at the WTC.

FREESTYLE ALL-STARS 2006

The “Hip-Hoop” gaming community will dribble and dunk their way to the first-ever online basketball tournament. Dubbed Freestyle All-Stars 2006, this competition will feature the best ranked players - the All-Stars. But for those who aren't ranked, fret not! The tournament also has an “Open” division where teams can go to official qualifiers at partner cafes all throughout the country. For more info, just point yo' browsers to the live website.

Again, the URL is www.levelupgames.ph/live

Pass the word, gamers! LIVE is an event you WOULDN'T want to miss!

Until next week…

#64 RF ARCHONS

By Marc Reyes

In ancient times, an Archon was a Greek ruler who oversaw the political and military well being of his city state. In this tradition, the rulers of the far future in RF Online are named after these respected figures of antiquity, for they must take on a similar role for the well being of their race.

Each race in RF Online has a racial high council. The High Council is made up of the Archon (the #1 player in the game) and four Consuls (Player #2 to #5). These players have the ability to broadcast messages to every player in the race, regardless of distance, a powerful tool to organize and inspire the race that they serve.

During chipwar, the race's High Council becomes an indispensable tool for victory as the High Council uses its race-chat powers to organize the race and have them perform tactical maneuvers to eliminate the opposition. However, the effectiveness of the Archon and High Council is only as good as the individual players' ability to follow orders. United, a race can conquer even the most determined opponents. Separated, it will fall with amazing speed.

Archons are determined by the number of contribution points that the player gets as well as the level that they are. The highest level player with the most contribution points becomes Archon and #2 through #5 become the Consuls of the race. This is computed and changed daily. However, in the future game enhancements will allow the Archon to be elected, in a true democratic fashion.

Archons are not only the focus of in-game power in RF Online, those who are Archons can compete for real life prizes as well in the Lord Archon challenge. Every month, the top Archons of each race, which earn points through winning chipwars or garnering the votes of their race-mates, will compete with the other 2 Top archons of the other race in a three way last Archon standing match! The winner of that match will be known as the Lord Archon and will win cool real life prizes and be the undisputed Master of Novus.

The RF Online Archon System is a test of true leadership. The new Archon System program aims to reward those who exemplify the best qualities of leaders who lead their respective races to victory.

But true leadership is not all about winning wars and battles, the Level-Up RF Online team also wants to promote the values of camaraderie, friendship and cooperation with the community.

For more details about the program, please check out www.levelupgames.ph