(Back away now, I’m gonna be showing my age XD /gg)
If I wanted to escape into a virtual world back in 2003 — I didn’t do it on websites likes, eh, what was up then? Friendster? But that wasn’t really a place that I would go too often, mostly because there was a lot of local drama mucking around and also I was too much of a noob to decorate my profile page with sparkling gifs and things like that. Wasn’t much of a talker, either, or a chatter, because I was still essentially using a shared computer and anyone in my house could walk past and ask weird questions about ickle bitty me talking to strangers.
So I went out to computer rental cafes instead, and pulled on a pair of headphones, and threw myself head-on into the world of Ragnarok Online.
For a first MMORPG experience, it was — well it was weird was what it was! I had to pay to play, and that wasn’t easy on either a college-student allowance or a pittance of a salary. The connections were sloooooooooooowwwww in the most notorious kind of way. (Why else did we call the game, only half-jesting, LAGnarok?) The mythology and backstory were a confusing mish-mash — especially to me, a long-time enthusiast of Norse stories featuring people like Thor (the one with the beard, before the Marvel Cinematic Universe) and Loki (the actualfax asshole one, not the one that’s been woobified to all the hells and back). The language that I had to learn was far more abbreviated and messed-around-with than text-speak already was.
Oh, and the absolute hassle of being a real-life girl in computer rental cafes full to the brim of overtestosteroned boys. The whole idea of being a girl in “boys’ pursuits”? I was exposed to it for the first time in this world.
(That is a story for another day.)
So there were a lot of problems to being a gamer, and to being a gamer who happened to be female, and to being a gamer who happened to be female and enjoy both swords and sorcery.
But on the other hand: I could escape into another world! I could smash and bash my way out of monster encounters! I could learn things like forging weapons and armor! I could trade for things that I might need!
And, most importantly: I had a community and we were all bound together by a shared, if pretty weird thing in common! I even had the not-so-usual advantage of my virtual gaming group — i. e., the boys I played Ragnarok with on a regular basis — being the boys I hung out with in real life.
Having that sense of camaraderie, and a sense of being able to happily interact with fellow players and enthusiasts all over the country with ease (well, the ease allowed by laggy, laggy Internet connections) — that was the real gift that we all got out of playing Ragnarok.
And then the game got shut down because everyone moved on to bigger and better games. Let’s face it, Ragnarok’s charm — if that’s the right word — lies in the cute factor of its sprites and its monsters, but that can’t hold up for long against games with much more sophisticated and evolved graphics. (Case in point, the games I left Ragnarok for, such as Granado Espada and Atlantica Online.) There’s no point in keeping up a game servers if there’s no one playing on those servers, or if those servers have been overrun by bots and similar poopy malicious things.
So you can imagine how I felt when I heard that Ragnarok was making a comeback!
At first I was like this:
And then I was like this:
So I’ve made my way back to Rune-Midgard and — well.
The more some things change, the more some of them stay the same, maybe?
Or maybe it’s just the fact that I’m playing a really popular game in its first few months of (closed and open) beta, and so: IT’S STILL LAGNAROK ahahahahahaha
I have a chance to go back to this world AND DO THINGS RIGHT THIS TIME /dramatic thunder and lightning flash
(Because the advantage, of course, of coming back to a 2000s-era game is that the guides have all been made and refined and whacked around with, thanks to noodling and tweaking on private servers.)
And now, please check out my girl :)
Well you can see her character name up there in the left-hand corner. Throwback time? teleute_thanatos was my wizard’s name back during my very first foray into Rune-Midgard, and I’ve gotten attached.
This screenie was taken during the second week or so of open beta, and I was fortunate enough that the initial rush into the servers had already passed me by, which possibly accounts for the fact that this screenshot is not crowded to hell and back with fellow novices.
After getting through the oh-so familiar problems of being a noob again, here is my girl with her current preoccupation in life:
My novice turned into a swordie, and you can find her in a crowd thanks to a nifty set of feelers. She’s been leveling off giant grasshopper-type mobs called Rockers.
And again, how fortunate can I get? I’m going to be joining a guild, and the members of the guild are people I actually interact with in real life, because they’re my coworkers :)
I’m looking forward to continuing my adventures in Rune-Midgard, with a new set of friends. Expect screenshots in the future.
(Oh, and for bonus comedy gold: What happens when a wee low-level swordie gets left alone on a map called Poring Island, at ass o’clock in the morning?
(And now she dead of little glutinous blue blobs of monster poop. XDXDXD)