RF Offline

By Alec Meer on October 3rd, 2008 at 6:26 pm.

I am nothing if not subtle

Yes, the MMO with the perfect concept – giant robots twatting elves – but the tragically ultra-grindy execution, has had its last respawn. RF Online is now offline in Europe and the US, though its Korean servers (where the game began) are still going great guns. Apparently Western publisher Codemasters couldn’t persuade a license renewal out of Korean devs CCR, so as of 8th November, that’s it. The game’s been free to play for a while now, which we’d presumed was a sign of its susbcriber base being a bit widdly, but Codies are nonetheless calling its three years of operation a success.

RIP RF, then. Anyone played it lately? Did it blossom into something better over the years?

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21 Comments »

  1. sinister agent says:

    Played it? I’ve never even heard of it.

  2. Lorc says:

    This kind of thing always saddens me. When I think of the vast efforts needed to make mmos, concepting, environmental design, modelling and texturing, sounds, animations, effects, everything creative. And the vast majority of it goes to waste because it’s spread too thin, or crushed beneath EQ1-tier game design. And so it all goes to waste. It seems an artistic tragedy.

    Even if they were ultimately profitable (before their demise), the loss of resources and effort bothers me. If only the same creativity and sweat that gives us this constant parade of doomed and disappointing MMO failures could have been contributed to the worthier examples of the genre, instead of ridden into the ground to be lost forever.

    Well, except in Korea of course. But places where I’m not, don’t count.

  3. Kits says:

    Played it for a month or so when it was first released. Really pretty game, and the concepts in it were wonderful, but it took grinding beyond anything I’d even deemed possible.
    I played Lineage 2 for a couple years from release, and that was grindy, but RF took the biscuit and went waaay beyond that. Not only did you do it to level up, you also had to grind skillpoints for practically everything you could do, which was even slower, and tremendously painful.

    If it had even a tiny bit more actual gameplay, rather than the forced repetitive bashing, it could have been a great game.

  4. Scioptic says:

    Wow! I only just saw this last weekend in CEX going for £2, and I instantly thought “I wonder what happened to that game… I wonder if the servers are still going…?” I guess that answers my question then.

  5. mandrill says:

    I played it and thought that the setting was let down by generic grinding games design. It was pretty enough but it sucked.

  6. SanguineLobster says:

    Wait what? I didn’t know that Credence Clearwater Revival had any Korean members! This changes everything!

  7. The Hammer says:

    I once bought my best friend this for his birthday, because I saw it for a fiver.

    To this day, he still days it’s his worst birthday present ever.

  8. Zeno says:

    And nothing of value was lost.

  9. Schrodinger's Lolcat says:

    Further proof that the Asian MMO market caters to an entirely different mindset than the American/European market.

    Grinding equals success over there, like there’s some sort of weird sadomasochistic bent to the whole gamer psychology of the region. And while western MMO players long for skill-oriented gameplay, (eg. the oft-lamented Planetside) effort-oriented seems to be much more of the demand for eastern players.

    Actually this kind of explains WoW’s breakout success I think because it disguises the essential grind mechanic just enough to be appealing to a western audience while keeping it ingrained enough to be appealing to an eastern one.

    But to be perfectly honest, everything I’ve ever seen from eastern mmorpgs has seemed like more of a regression in mechanics even with the colorful paint of new ideas or unusual art style.

  10. Phil H says:

    My only regret in passing on it is that I didn’t get a chance to check it out to explore how they translated the Masamune Shirow character designs into 3D. Ah well.

  11. jambamagamba says:

    I spent a very boring day at work thinking how great this game sounded. I then got home and downloaded it.

    Long story short, I’ve had kicks-in-the-balls that were more enjoyable than playing this abortion of a game.

  12. Kanakotka says:

    Typical asian MMO grindcore fest. Of no interest when it began, and of no interest when it was free. These MMOs are free for a reason, people. :P The reason is they suck a fat (chicken).

    Of course, it’s alot of effort to make an MMO normally, though this usually isn’t muchly the case in the asian ones, as there are a total of around 80 things to kill, and you’ll be killing each around a 1000 times to level…

    To this day, the only SUCCESFUL asian MMOs (if you can even count the other one as one) have been Guild Wars and Gunz. Yeah, Gunz. If you ignore the kiddies in the chat, it’s a pretty neat skill based shooter.

  13. Ketch says:

    The Hammer is right, it really is the worst birthday present ever, at the time the subscription system was still alive and it never crossed my mind to buy a month after the trial period and even after the subscription was gone I didn’t bother at all!

  14. Malagate says:

    Ahh I remember playing RF Online, I specifically remember the best way to play was to not actually be at the PC whilst playing it. The grind was immense, so immense that I figured out to raise my low level (~8 I think it was) buff skills I would have to continuously use that skill for more than 28 hours. This gave rise to my bot system, which is basically a can of sweetcorn, an old style DS and a pair of mini-binoculars carefully balanced on the F4-F6 keys whilst I went and did something else.

    Also they advertised massive inter-faction fights, which did happen and were pretty neat, but the reward was more grinding, but this time it was mining grinding! So a long hard fight equals a few hours of resource collection, where you literally just stand there jiggling a bit, with rewards like that it did not take long for me to stop entirely.

  15. Tei says:

    The zapper! Again! (obscure gucomic reference)

  16. SPEEDCORE says:

    Wow, I’m amazed you’re still friends

  17. The Hammer says:

    It was either that or Dirty Dancing 2.

  18. Ketch says:

    Yeah I got off lightly, who did we get dirty dancing 2 for again?

  19. DaFox says:

    I had tried it once it went free, Thats the fastest I have ever uninstalled a game after playing it. Basically after I got done making my hottie elf and realizing that theres no.. keybindings. (atleast not easily)

  20. Stromko says:

    Great ideas, bad execution. It’s just a repainting of Lineage, except instead of PvP anywhere you have to grind for a year to get a taste. I only tried it early on, granted, but they’d promised to americanize it (IE reduce the grind) long before that and they sure as f**k didn’t.

    It’s probably made me appreciate Warhammer Online more. Make character, join scenario, wait — RvR at level 1. They don’t put the carrot at the end of a 6-month stick, they just give us progressively tastier and tastier carrots.

    Ultra-grindy games like RF Online and Lineage 2 are truly just the sign of a lazy developer that doesn’t care about its customers. They want you to stick around as long as possible to unlock infitismally small lumps of content. You spend 3 months getting an item that took 20 minutes to implement because somebody adjusted a value on a spreadsheet that makes you require 1000x as much XP and money to get it.

    Yes, waiting does make you want something more and appreciate it when you get it, but personally I’m just too disillusioned to fall for it. I won’t bust my ass to get something I’ve had a hundred times before in other games, either.

    A half-dozen interesting MMOs with potential have died before this (Earth & Beyond, AutoAssault, Hellgate: London (almost)), but RF Online being rid from the West just about makes up for it.