The classic Ragnarok Online route back in 2002 is a pay-to-play model, where players have to purchase a game time card for them to play. At that time, it cost about PHP 50 for 8 hours. Long years later, most of its latest iteration, especially in mobile, has shifted to a free-to-play model where players can play the game for free but with an addition of micro-transactions. With that model, players have no longer access to some of its features because it is behind a paywall, like a predatory unfair Gacha with low-ball chances and exclusive items that are only available for paying players.
With the Ragnarok X: Next Generation available today, is it another pay-to-win MMORPG mobile game, or is it free to play friendly? Well, we have been playing the game for quite some time since its closed beta test, and here’s what we think, this game is free-to-play friendly.
The in-game currencies in Ragnarok X: Next Generation comes in three different forms: the Zeny, Crystals, and Diamonds. Among these three, the only currency that can be purchased with real money is the Diamonds.
The Zeny is like the backbone currency. It is mainly used for most parts of the game and can be used to purchase items from the NPCs and Chamber of Commerce. Those items are needed for Guild contribution (Guild Orders), daily item quests (COC Missions and Mission board), and materials for Life skills (crafting, enhancing, refining, upgrading equipment, and more). Zeny is also used to buy pickaxes and baits to do mining and fishing. Earning Zeny can be easily obtained by eliminating monsters, completing quests, and participating in daily tasks.
The Crystal is the most valuable; it is the in-game currency at the Exchange Center to trade items. Players need this to build their fortunes or advancement in the game. Players can earn Crystals by exchanging items with other players like item drops, crafted items, and farmed goods from mining, fishing, and gardening.
Players can also use Crystals on purchasing useful items from the NPC Crystal Shops. Things that can be bought here are skill and stat resets, increased bag limits, and more. The Crystals can also be used to unlock limits for Guild Orders.
On the other hand, the Diamonds is the only in-game currency that can be purchased with real money; free-to-play players can also exchange Crystals with Diamonds. It is also used at the exchange’s auction house for bidding on infrequent items like MVP cards.
Trading and Chamber of Commerce
Ragnarok X: Next Generation completely removes the traditional item store, in which players can buy items directly from the developers with real money. ROX replaced it with an Exchange Center and Chamber of Commerce where real money expenses are only inclusive to its micro-economy. At the same time, game-generated materials can now be sold and purchased at the Chamber of Commerce with Zeny.
The Exchange Center is a place to trade items with other players. Either selling to earn crystals or buying items. Extremely rare items are also sold at the Exchange center, but it can only be bought with Diamonds.
Paying players can exchange their Diamonds with Crystals; this is by trading with other players. It means all real money spent by the paying players will go back directly to the Exchange Center that benefits the free-to-play players for their hard-earned Crystals. Players who sold their Crystals will get Diamonds; the more spenders in the game, the more the Diamonds are available for free-to-play players. Something that finally works for both ways only in Ragnarok X: Next Generation.
With that trading mechanism in place, it creates a micro-economy for its resources that stabilize the price for every item listed at the Exchange Center depending on their supply and demands, whether it is a Diamond, Crystals, equipment, crystal, or mats. A fair and free trade environment for everyone.
However, there is a daily and monthly limit of purchasing Diamonds; free-to-play players had to maximize their everyday purchases to collect more free Diamonds. There is also no limit at the Exchange Center, but only the Low Tax Quota, where players will pay less transaction fee when not exceeding the daily quota limit. Currently, it is set to 1 million Crystals. Players can also cancel their listing at any time.
Any items that are sold at the exchange auction with Diamonds are also converted to Crystals (1 Diamond = 10 Crystals), which means players who successfully sold their items at the Auction house will not receive a Diamond but a Crystal equal to that amount.
For the auction house, we have not tried it personally because we do not have real money to bid in the auction. But as we check, there are plenty of Whales bidding for super rare items like this one.
No Deposit stats on Costumes
Costumes in Ragnarok X: Next Generation are purely cosmetics, and there are no deposit stats that unfairly boost pay-to-win players for every new costume that comes on every month.
However, the costume still has an effect that will only apply when it is equipped. Players can also buy costumes without using real money.
The glory pass is just like other season passes in most games; when you reach a certain level, you’ll have additional rewards aside from the default rewards allowing players to gain more resources that are needed in the game.
Most of these passes in other games are only available for pay-to-win players. In ROX, Glory Pass can be purchased without shelling out money in your wallet by simply exchange your Crystal for Diamonds, and that earned Diamond can also be used to buy the Kingdom Pass “Glory Pass”.
Kingdom Pass level can also be extended with Diamonds to unlock items on the higher levels.
The last thing you can buy with real money in Ragnarok X: Next Generation is the VIP card, which gives players some extra privileges in the game. Unfortunately, free-to-play players will not be able to buy this with Diamonds. At the Closed beta testing, we got this for free as part of their event.
Depending on players’ priorities, they can nominate up to 7 privileges that come with different advantages. Below is the list of VIP privileges:
- Make-up sign-ins +7
- Odin’s Blessing storage limit increased by 5,000
- OX Quiz answering chances increased by 1
- Exchange Center shelf item amount increased by 6
- Weight increased by 2,000
- Shop shelf slots increased by 10
- Chamber of Commerce limited item purchase quantity increased by 50
- Monthly Diamond purchase limit increased by 30,000
- Exchange Center low tax quota + 500,000
- Gain 1 Stamina Potions from daily log-ins
- Daily MVP and Mini participation bonus chances +1
- Daily minigame bonus chance +1
- Max pre-order value in Exchange Center +30,000
- Every Monday, receive Resplendent Reliquary x7 with 100 Odin’s Blessings each
- Get double the sign-in rewards every Saturday and Sunday
- Daily red envelope send limit +500 Diamonds
- Daily red envelope claim limit +1,000 Crystals
- Reward Retrieval can be used to reclaim 90% of the rewards
Based on the list, it somehow gives a few advantages to paying players by increasing their chances of doing most daily tasks. Currently, VIP cards cost around $14.99 or PHP 750 good for 30 days.
There are still Gacha in Ragnarok X: Next Generation. Still, these Gacha coins can easily be obtained in the game using its daily tasks like COC Missions, MVP dungeons, and dismantling useless looted equipment.
At the COC Missions, players can pick which kind of Gacha Coin challenge they want to take; each challenge requires the player to collect or purchase up to 10 different items. Most of these items are available at the NPC shops and can be purchased using the in-game currency Zeny.
Once completed, players will be rewarded with Gacha coins to use at the Gacha shop to pull equipment, headwear, or cards.
Players can also dismantle useless equipment, which can be converted into a Cool Event Corp Coin for gacha. ROX also separated the gear level of each gacha, allowing players to pick which levels they want and not hoping to get inferior items.
Other forms of Gacha coins like the MVP and Mini can be looted by taking the MVP Dungeon instances or hunting them in the wild. Pulling these gacha gives the player an extremely rare piece of equipment, cards, and headwear.
Gacha coins are also not wasted as it is guaranteed 100% to get any of the pool of cards.
Other than the VIP card, most features of the game are available for all. Especially the Costume cosmetic that does not come with deposit stats that most Whales are good at collecting it. By allowing players to exchange Diamonds with Crystals allows non-paying players to eventually catch up with the paying ones.
The only takeaway is free-to-play players need to grind more to get more Crystals. In the case of a Whale, they most probably progress faster than most average players because they can simply purchase any item they want at the Exchange. But it is not that bad at all, as those diamonds they spent with real money will certainly return to all players. Basically, the more spenders, the more Diamonds are available at the Exchange center, which benefits both ways and contributes to its micro-economy.
For us, as a casual player, Ragnarok X: Next Generation is a free-to-play friendly game given not all features are just exclusive for paying players. But for free-to-play competitive players, it is theoretically possible to catch up with the Whales, but they need to exert a lot of effort, time and skills.
Are you a free-to-play player or pay-to-win player? The Ragnarok X: Next generation has already launched on June 18 on both Android and iOS devices. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, check the links below.