RF Online Review

I noticed some time ago that RF Online had switched from a subscription model to a free-to-play model and finally got around to checking out the game. My opinion of the game is that even for free it is vastly overpriced.

The first experience you will have in RF Online is one of the most absurd tutorial segments I have ever encountered. The first thing the game tries to teach you is the meaning of the various graphics options. This tutorial is done in the most laborious, time consuming method imaginable. The tutorial text is slllooooowwwllly typed out into the chat box then waits for the player to click 'ok'. At this point the mouse pointer slllooooowwwllly scrolls up to the slider or setting in the options menu and points it out. Then the next one and so on for every setting in the panel. Long before this was complete my patience was exhausted and I started smashing keys till I was able to exit the tutorial and get on with the game. Unfortunately the game itself did not get much better than the tutorial.

Like the vast majority of MMO's that come out of Korea RF Online is a total, substanceless, grindfest. Right from the beginning this becomes apparent. Once you are able to find your way out of the town and into the nearest PvE area the first enemy you kill will most likely drop a handful of objects. These will be one or more of, trophy items, ores, excelsior's or useable loot. Each of the first three types of item must be collected in vast quantities in order to craft better items or improve existing ones and each of those types comes in more than a few varieties. In addition each resource requires processing before it can be used and the processing costs money. the only way to obtain this money is to pick up the loot dropped by monsters, haul it back to the town and sell it to a vendor. This wouldn't be so bad except that the player's inventory space is severely limited. In the beginning there is not even sufficient space for all of the craft materials alone much less anything extra which could be sold.

To further detract the already shallow game all quests offered are of the kill 'x' / collect 'x' variety and the game world itself appears to follow a strictly linear path for character development. Every 2-3 levels there are roughly 2 types of creature you can kill for items or experience. Killing anything else is either too trivial to be worthwhile or too difficult to be profitable. As soon as you have killed the requisite number of creatures to advance to the next bracket you need move only a hundred yards or so to the next area where you can sit and kill the same thing repeatedly until you can advance to the next stage and so on. Quests will be given by radio message each time you reach a new level and rewards will be placed directly in your inventory or dropped on the ground around you.

The way in which the player's character develops is determined by two things. The class they choose and the weapons they use. In addition to gaining experience and levels in the typical way players must also gain points for using weapons in combat and defending themselves. Every special attack and combat style has it's very own set of points that must be accumulated in order to advance. There are several categories for each class each of which requires players to repeat attacks using a specific weapon an ever increasing number of times in order to progress. This leads to players macro-ing or botting for hours at a time in order to raise their skills and from my brief experience with the game unattended or automated play appears to be wide spread throughout the game.

One more flaw in the games design is there are only two types of monsters discernable by players. The first's name appears in red and are targets within the players level range that can be killed for experience or loot. The other type's name will appear in grey which means either that the monster is trivial or that the player will be slaughtered within seconds of approaching it. Which is which can only be learned by trial and error.

The game's primary focus is on PvP. At certain times as you play there will be world wide announcements that a battle has started. During this time players from opposing factions enter the battlefield and attempt to gain control of the central mine. The winning faction is then able to harvest resources from the mine until it once more becomes contested.

I could only tolerate the mind numbing tedium of the game for a few hours so I can't offer any opinion as to how actual PvP among players works out. The only direct PvP experience I had was being attacked by another player of my same faction whom I could neither attack nor defend myself from. I don't know if this was an intentional mechanic of the game or if someone was employing some sort of exploit to kill me. In either case any game that would allow one player to attack another with complete impunity is a steaming pile of shit and no further inquiry is really required. Being killed carried no great penalty with it as far as I could discern. I was sent back to the starting base and had a temporary debuf that lowered my attack and defense by some indeterminate amount which did not have any noticeable effect on the character.

So, as I said at the start, my opinion of the game is that even though the game is free to play it is still vastly overpriced. It is completely without exaggeration that I say they would have to pay me more than just a few dollars a month for this kind of crap.

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