Ragnarok Online 2: Wrath of the Irate Character-Wiped Player
Asiasoft Online has announced the postponement of their Open Beta Test as well as a character reset for their blockbuster MMORPG, the English service Ragnarok Online 2 following their servers overloading at yesterday’s launch.
Though the game servers were scheduled to open at 3pm, there were many issues with players logging in via their PlayPark IDs – the one-size-fits-all login system for all Asiasoft games. A majority of the community were unable to log in at all, leading the company to issue a statement on the Open Beta Test’s official launch and a character reset earlier today.
In the statement posted up via Facebook, Asiasoft Online’s chairman Sherman Tan apologised to the RO2 Southeast Asian community and highlighted the company’s plan leading up to the game’s reopening on Jan 3 2013.
“Our top priority remains in stabilising the game servers so that all Asgardians can enjoy it, and being as fair as possible to the majority of our players who were not able to access Open Beta,” he said. The game servers will be kept open from now until Jan 3 2013, but all character data will be wiped when they get reset.
While Sherman asked for the players’ “rational understanding of [their] very difficult decision”, many gamers are understandably upset. Several RO2 players whom we spoke to had been able to access the game shortly after its launch, and had already made their way up to as high as level 15. One player, who wanted only to be known as Kuni, mentioned having friends who stayed up till 3am just to grind it out. He personally had a level 11 character in the game, and griped that it would be a less painful character reset had Asiasoft offered some form of compensation to players who had already devoted time to RO2.
22 year old Zack Tan, a Phantasy Star Online II player, seconded that opinion. He pointed out to us that such a level of “MMO disaster” – should it happen to a Japan-based free-to-play MMO – would’ve warranted a 3,000 yen or approximately S$42 ‘apology package’ awarded to each registered account.
Players like 22 year old Jovian Chan, on the other hand, were a bit more nonchalant. “It’s just wasting my time,” said Jovian. But he told us that he would still go back to play on Jan 3. “Only because I have friends to play with,” he said.
It is curious why Asiasoft has chosen Jan 3 2013 – the day many players will head back to school or work – for the server reset. It is currently the end of the year holidays for many in both Singapore and Malaysia, with students and working adults alike all home from their typical day-to-day drudgery. Jem Loh, speaking for Asiasoft, explained that according to their Facebook page insights, more than 60% of RO2 players are above the age of 20
“We felt that restarting OBT in January would not affect their schedules drastically, as opposed to games that have a primary audience of Secondary school students or younger. Most of our players will still be able to enjoy RO2 after school and work, and even well past midnight if they choose to,” said Jem. She added that the company was aware they were missing the “golden holiday period”, but that they don’t want to rush the fix simply to catch the crowd.
“We would rather take these seven extra days to prepare the servers instead of frustrating players throughout their New Year celebrations,” Jem finished off.
Ragnarok Online II’s Open Beta Test is not the first that the company has handed. The seasoned publisher has launched games like Maple Story, Cabal Online, and AIKA SEA, with a lot less trouble than what it is currently facing. However it is also worth noting that RO2 has been a game long in coming, and that Asiasoft expertly sold it as a ‘blockbuster’, generating an unprecedented level of expectation by players.
Kuni feels that is no excuse, though. “This is the Asiasoft blockbuster,” he told us in rage. “If the company didn’t predict the amount of traffic their blockbuster would bring then something is wrong.”