Alright, let’s jump right in and take a look at this 3D free-to-play MMORPG set in a medieval fantasy world. This one’s not new to the party and some players even consider it a classic. So, we’re going to get down to business and decide whether this FTP MMO is outdated or worth downloading.
Developed by Gala-Net—formerly nFlavor—and published by gPotato, Rappelz was launched in open beta form on October 2nd, 2006. Gala-Net has released multiple upgrades. Each upgrade is referred to as an “epic.” The latest update was released on December, 16th, 2010 and is called Epic VII: Awakening. Rappelz has been published around the world and was most recently released under the title Hope of Nations in Arabic.
Prepare yourself for the possibility of a very frustrating experience when downloading the client and patches. The patches are especially known for their many file errors. Fortunately Rappelz official forum offers some trouble-shooting suggestions. If you find that the automatic patches will not work, you can find manual patches at the global Rappelz website.
Something else you’ll notice when creating your profile is the extra attention to security. Players are given the choice to select a second password which is used to access both their characters and their bank and storage items. This is a very, very rare find. In fact, I think the only game that I’ve played with this type of extra security was Requiem: Bloodymare.
Repelling into Rappelz
Okay, we’re not really repelling—I just couldn’t help myself. Now that we’ve got that uncomfortable, yet fitting pun out of the way, let’s move on. When creating your character, you’re given the choice between one of 3 different races: Gaia, Deva, or Asura. There is a nice selection of classes from which to choose—15 to be exact. Character creation is particularly dull—offering a character customization selection that would be easily found in a child’s game. I’ll be honest and say that I was almost insulted. I can handle more options, really!
Alright, I lied. So there’s no life-changing plot. Rappelz really doesn’t offer much in the way of a back-story either. Well, not one worth sharing anyway. The plot in Rappelz has absolutely nothing to do with your character or progression of gameplay. I find that very disappointing. I mean come on, at least give me a reason for being here.
Okay, well at least there’s a tutorial, right? Unfortunately, no—there is no tutorial. Once you’ve entered the game world, the only welcome and introduction you’ll receive is being tossed into a chain of quests which serve as a “tutorial.” I use that term loosely. The quest chain has just enough content to allow you to get your feet wet. But that’s about it.
On a positive note, Rappelz puts new players on a map called Trainee’s Island. This island is wholly dedicated to newbies and is very spacious. The NPCs on Trainee’s Island provide a substantial amount of information, and seem to make up for the lack of a traditional tutorial. Job changes are reached at levels 10 and 15—once you have progressed to level 15, you will no longer have access to Trainee’s Island.
Controls are limited to the mouse with point-and-click movements—no W, S, A, and D. Those “Western” gamers will find this a bit awkward. The graphics show their age, in spite of the upgrades. The UI is nice and clean—very basic. The graphics are alright; the minute you sign in it’s evident that they’re showing their age.
Progression in Rappelz is painfully slow—oh, and boring (for the most part). The quests lack depth and thus, leave no opportunity for players to truly immerse themselves into the game. Combat is monotonous. The unfortunate truth about Rappelz is that it is a poster child for stereotypical MMORPGs. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh, but come on… if you’re going to do something, do it well.
As you progress through the levels, you’ll soon find that opportunities to take on quests quickly thin out and you are left to grind. With that being said, with the release of each additional Epics comes more content and upgrades. So while there’s definitely opportunity to gripe, it’s clear that the developers are yet building onto Rappelz—especially when it comes to latent gameplay.
Early Pet Ownership
In Rappelz, players have access to both pet summoning and taming skills. This is nice, especially since the quests leave much to be desired. Pets are fantastic in assisting you through battle. There are 5 tiers in which pets are categorized according to their rarity. Advanced pet skills are only accessible to the summoner class of each race. Rappelz offers a rentable item that is not considered a pet, but rather a mount—called an Ornitho. Once you’ve summoned an Ornitho, your riding skills are automatically unlocked.
Own Your Own Dungeon
Rappelz does have a very interesting system that I really enjoy—dungeon ownership. Before we get to that, let’s talk a bit about the dungeons in Rappelz. Dungeons are isolated and may only be reached by way of a portal. Dungeons are generally only entered as a party—known as a dungeon party. Dungeon parties are groups of up to 8 players and contain a variety of classes; generally including a tank, buffer, and some damage dealers. Players will openly interact with other parties within the dungeon as they are not instanced. While this can be fun, non-instanced dungeons give players the opportunity to partake in rather obnoxious behaviors such as mob dropping and kill-stealing.
You’ll notice immediately upon entering your first dungeon that those monsters take battle to the next level and you’d better have your head in the game. I like the dungeons and I feel like they add to Rappelz’s otherwise less than fascinating gameplay. So, not only are the monsters stronger, but the job point and XP rewards are also well worth the effort. With that being said, dungeons are an excellent way for parties to progress quickly.
Okay, so let’s talk about dungeon ownership. Are you in the market for a dungeon? If so, your guild can own a dungeon and reap the benefits. There are two steps which must be performed in order to own a dungeon. The first thing that needs to be done is a Dungeon Raid—or Time Attack—which is the killing of the two guardian bosses. When a Time Attack is performed, the dungeon becomes instanced.
The second step that is required to pursue dungeon ownership is a Dungeon Siege. In order to move on to a Dungeon Siege, your guild must have successfully killed the dungeon bosses more quickly than any of the other guilds which seek to own that particular dungeon. A Dungeon Siege is a battle between the guild that currently owns the dungeon, and the guild that is pursuing ownership. During a Dungeon Siege, the dungeon is instanced. These sieges are held weekly at a predetermined time. The winner of the Dungeon Siege obtains—or retains—ownership of the dungeon in question. Benefits of dungeon ownership include Lak—an energy which is acquired when killing monsters—and rupee taxes obtained from players using the dungeon.
The Final Word
With the exception of the dungeon ownership system, Rappelz is simply your standard MMORPG. Quite frankly, most everything about Rappelz is generic. There’s not much in the way of a story line which would give Rappelz any kind of an identity. While this game encourages co-op gameplay, that is its only strength, and in my opinion, is simply not enough to carry a game. Weaponry is just another example of the lack of depth in Rappelz. Armor and weaponry customizations are generic and may only be upgraded to a maximum of10 levels.
If you’re looking for a casual gaming experience and plan to download with no expectations, then you’ll do just fine. For the rest of us who actually want a more meaningful gaming experience, I’d recommend moving on. Is this game a classic? In terms of its release date, sure—in terms of gameplay, Rappelz falls considerably short.