This is a very old MMORPG made by the Korean company Gravity. It was released in 2002 and is still played by people worldwide although its popularity is decreasing due to various reasons. It also became pretty much free to play, except the VIP servers. This is an MMO that I spent the most time on and will probably spend more since I never get bored of it. That's why I just couldn't resist but writing a review of it :]
The world of Ragnarok takes place in a medieval world with a lot of futuristic elements and mainly borrows from Norse mythology. There are many interesting quests that will keep you occupied. Either defreezing a wizard in an ice dungeon, freeing a girl in Thor's volcano or even unraveling the mysteries of a village full of ghosts, are only some of the quests available to you. However, since it is an old game there are still bugs in some quests and you'll find yourself at a loss since you don't get an explicit quest to-do list like in most MMO's, but instead you have to talk to NPCs (non-player characters) to get more information every time. For the lazy people, there are plenty of guides and walkthroughs out there for RO quests so don't let this discourage you.
You can see the choppy graphics and the fake 3D easily here.
Since this is a MMORPG, the main goal is to increase your character's level by killing monsters and acquire new equipment. Every RO player wants to perfect his character "build" to use the full potential of his skills. The gameplay can be divided into two main branches: Player vs Monster and Player vs Player. The former is somewhat necessary to be good at the latter, but many players prefer one over the other. PvM is all about killing monsters and organizing "parties" for hard dungeons. Partying is also necessary to kill some of the hard Boss monsters, so teamwork is essential.
PvP consists of many parts as well. There are PvP arenas, where players can test their skills against other players in a typically small room. There is also something called BattleGrounds, a recent update that added a special location where players join teams and play against each other in various game modes. Finally, there is the War of Emperium, an event that usually takes place twice a week when guilds confront each other in order to secure a castle. The guilds that successfully protected and kept a castle by the end of WoE will receive many reward items throughout the week and will have access to the respective guild dungeons, which have unique and rare monsters.
Unfortunately, this game is very vulnerable to hacking and "bots," programs that play instead of a player, allowing him to leave his computer and go to school, for example, while his character automatically levels up. Various exploits have already been fixed, but people always find new ways to cheat and it can be quite frustrating to honest players.
Visuals and Sound
It is an old game and its graphics are not even comparable to some of the newer MMOs, but there are captivating sights, although you don't come across those very often. The game isn't even fully 3D, since rotating the view around your character only shows around 10 different angle views (you'd understand if you played the game) and some movement/skill animations are often primitive and choppy. However, the game offers some great background music, which changes depending on your location. Even if you don't like it, you can always turn it off.
Another thing to mention is all the art and fanart that comes with Ragnarok Online. Just do a google image search and you'll see plenty of awesome character drawings (for example hot anime chicks dressed up as a priest or gypsy). Ragnarok Online is probably the MMO that inspires the most real life dress-ups during anime or video game conventions, but this is a rather controversial issue since some people love it and many people find it weird and childish.
From left to right the classes are: Champion, Lord Knight, Whitesmith, Creator and Assassin Cross.
Isn't that hot?
Another thing I want to discuss is the multitude of servers there are running RO. The official servers have the latest updates (not necessarily a good thing), the most reliable hardware and sometimes a lot of players, but lately many people have been considering playing on private servers, which often include various customizations, improvements and higher "rates" for experience gain and item drop chance. Hence, depending on what kind of gamer you are, you'll need to decide on which server to play since you will get a different game experience depending on the choice you make.
Lastly, I'd like to warn some people that this game is dying and gets very few new players. I do encourage you to start playing it but you'll be a newbie among thousands of veterans, so it might be a little too competitive for some. The server communities often have a lot of nice people who are willing to help newbies though, so don't give up. The best way to start playing this game is on a friend's server. Join his guild and get all the help you can get, and you will then get a great game experience :]