Malcolm Owen On July 10, 2006 at 6:26 am

Imagine you are in a stereotypical American high-school. You’ll have the jocks, the geeks, the nerds, the normal kids and then the cheerleaders. Some girls get classed as airheads, where they can be more good looking than average and have an idea how best to include Dolce and Gabbana into their existing wardrobe, but for anything else in their life they’re useless. They can effectively put on mascara in a moving vehicle, but conversationally they’re dull as heck. Examples of these sorts of people include Jade Goodie and Paris Hilton, and many other ditzy bimbos like them.

RF Online (That’s Rising Force Online) is the latest MMORPG to hit our machines, and right from the start you get greeted by gorgeous graphical splendour. It’s a damn fine looking game that many an MMORPG player would be glad to watch. And that’s the problem. Behind the shiny veneer lies a game riddled with problems and issues only truly visible after you start playing it for a long period of time.

Right from the start, you have the tutorial that tells you everything you didn’t want to know about the game, because half of it isn’t actually needed, and it’s so laborious in it’s detailing that some people would take this as a sign of what is to come and resign from the game. They’re the wise ones.

Generally the game is a By-The-Numbers MMORPG. You go off and kill stuff, you collect stuff, you sell stuff, you earn XP, you get to the next level so you can kill bigger stuff with newer stuff. Nothing wrong with that, it’s how most of these things work. It’s the methodology that’s the problem.
Take for example “Quests”. Yes, there are speech marks around that word because the “Quests” aren’t really Quests, they’re Quotas. Via the power of Mystical Telepathic Instant Messaging, “Quests” are sent to you and they usually boil down to ‘Kill X Number of Y’ or ‘Kill lots of Y so that you can pick up X amount of the random drops’. You don’t need to go anywhere to gain or fulfil these missions, you just have to trudge to wherever Y-Creature is and start killing them. Once you have picked up enough of the latter kind of “Quest” you don’t need to drop them off anywhere at all. After completing the “Quest” you get a reward that gets sent to your inventory straight away, which is amazing considering some of these rewards involve complete armour outfits and would therefore be a tad difficult to MTIC to you.
As for killing creatures or attacking other races, it’s fairly simple. You go near what/whom you want to attack, start hitting and wait for either them or you to die. If you have the ability to cast stuff, you have to do this manually because auto-attack doesn’t cover this almost obvious method of killing. If you’re dying quicker than you thought or have managed to use up all of your MP resources, a quick drink of the cheap and plentiful potions will help. This sadly makes some battles a race to see who runs out of potions first instead of a competition of technique or finesse, and devalues the process.

Mining for ore is a weird part of the game. Grab a drill and some batteries and you too can make a few steps forward from the teleport and start digging, just like the legions of other people doing the same, many of whom leave their characters drilling overnight for maximum results. The only incentive to venture further than where the masses stay is the “Central Mining Area” (Their words), which you can only venture into if your race wins the latest “Chip War” (A large PVP section where people kill other people in order to win, however in order to take part you have to be of a high enough level, which takes ages and you will almost certainly get bored before you can participate). Most don’t bother to do this, because mining anywhere yields average results, no matter if it’s halfway to where the Central Mining Area is or two steps away from where you start the level at.

Generally, I found my experience in RF Online to be a quiet and lonesome experience. You don’t have to meet anyone in it. You don’t need to see NPCs for “Quests” except to buy and sell stuff. It’s just you doing the same actions over and over without much interruption. Add to that the loose ends like the lack of decent word wrapping and that some names of force powers when you buy them don’t always match what you can actually do with them, and it makes the game seem worse. Even the loading screen has “Fantasy and Romance” on it, trying to make you believe it’s more than it actually is: An identikit MMORPG that you have probably played aspects of elsewhere in your life that gets by thanks to it’s good looks.

Know of anyone like that?


Repetitive grinding in a lonesome environment.


Beats the pants off most MMORPGs out there


Uninspiring, yet OK.


Pretty, but that’s really about all it can offer.
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