Rising Force (RF) Online is a classic sci-fi and fantasy game that takes place on a remote planet in the Novus system, wherein magic coexists with cutting-edge technology. Although it stresses three different Race vs. Race vs. Race (RvRvR) ideas and advanced technologies like mecha and nuclear weapons, this MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role-playing game) maintains the classic fantasy environment with swords and wizardry that is also present in other MMORPGs.
RF Online is a free-to-play, sci-fi action, 3D MMORPG that was developed by a South Korean game developer known as CCR and released in August 2004. Two years after its successful launch in Asia, the game’s retail phase was launched in North America and Europe in February 2006 and published by RedFox Game. The first version of the game was released in the South Korean language and later in Mandarin (Chinese), Japanese, Indonesian, Portuguese, and English translations.
Before jumping down into the rabbit hole and deep diving into this game, here are the five key features that you need to know about RF Online:
Large-Scale Player VS Player Game – One of the most exciting aspects of this game is the epic Chip Wars that take place three times a day. It’s an intense battle that will keep you on your toes and leave you feeling victorious when you emerge as the champion. Three races will strategize and fight for victory to have the advantage of additional power or buff in their race making them invulnerable for a short period of time.
Rapid-Fire Action – To come out victorious in this world of intense player-versus-player action, you must have quick reflexes and make swift decisions within the battle system. The competition is fierce, demanding your full attention and focus to overcome your enemies.
Unique Character Leveling System – By repeatedly mastering certain actions, you can earn points to improve your skills. The more you use a weapon, the more proficient you will become with it. When your character reaches a certain level, you will have the freedom to change or select your master class, and have additional skills specific to your character class.
Create Your Own Persona – Players can customize their characters with class advancements, specialties, and gear by choosing from three distinct factions and four separate classes. They can design a gaming experience that is specially matched to their tastes and playing techniques.
Well-Made Storyline – RF Online has a very well-written storyline and lore and it is one of the things that’s really fascinating about this game.
II. CHARACTER OVERVIEW
This game has a rich and incredible amount of folklore, backstories, and history in the game universe. Now that you have known the key features of this game, it’s time to understand the type of races that players want to choose, here is a brief overview and background of the three races:
Bellato Federation – In the world of RF Online, Bellato is a government that is the most balanced of all races. They are powerful because they use both Force and technology to achieve their goals. They may be small in size because of the strong gravitational pull on their planet, but they are physically strong and tough with pointy ears and childlike features. The Bellato Federation is an extremely innovative group of people. They have technology that combines things like weapons, scientific tools, and magic. It’s their creativity that helps them keep up with other races who might be better in other ways. But what sets the Bellato apart from everyone else is their special ability to control Massive Armored Units (MAUs) which are huge mechanical walkers equivalent to the strongest warrior of Accretia. There are different classes you can choose from if you want to join the Bellato Federation: Warrior, Rangers, Spiritual, and Specialists.
Holy Cora Alliance – Cora, also known as Corites, is a society run by politics but rooted in religion. They are all about spirituality and sorcery. Legend has it that their deity, Decem, created the planet to bring light out of darkness and made the Corites fulfill His will. These people are like elves from ancient Terran stories and have been blessed with magical abilities. They’re really skilled at using a mystical power called the Darkling Force which they consider special gift from Decem himself. Cora is ruled by a tough government that really values spirituality, and magical abilities. They’ve got four classes you can join: Warriors, Rangers, Spiritualists, and Specialists. Due to their aggressive characteristics and strong power, they won’t stop until they get victory.
Accretian Empire – The Accretian race comes from the same ancestors as the Bellato and Corite species, who were created by human EMC scientists long ago. However, in the Empire of Accretia, everyone is forced to follow the Empire’s ideas and goals, no matter what. The Accretians may look like robots, but they’re actually cyborgs with mechanical bodies that hold their brains. These people feel proud of building huge and powerful weapons with the goal of destroying everything in their path. Their actions are not only dictated by programming but also by a cultural drive for perfection. It’s a scary duality that guides them toward destruction. Unlike the first two races, Accretia only offers three classes to choose from: Warrior, Ranger, and Specialist. They don’t have spiritualists because they are not capable of using magic.
Now that you have an idea about the races, the storyline of this game revolves around a faraway planet in the Novus system where magic and futuristic technology coexist. This MMORPG offers more than your typical fantasy game as it features an epic Race vs. Race vs. Race concept alongside mecha and nuclear weapons. The swords and sorcery are just the beginning of this epic game.
For ages, the three distinct races coexisted in peace on planet Novus. But as time passed and resources became scarce, they turned against each other. The Bellatians, Corites, and Accretians are so dissimilar that it astounds modern-day historians to think they got along for millennia. Through their battles, each race grew stronger and wiser. The Holy Alliance of Cora is a spiritual society that leans heavily on its god Decem for direction, insight, and might. Lastly, the Bellato Union blends mechanics and spirituality to create its unique way of life. It’s both fascinating and heartbreaking to see how these once-peaceful societies fell apart due to competition over resources. However, we can learn from their struggles and strive towards harmony and cooperation rather than conflict.
IV. GAMEPLAY MECHANICS
RF Online, like many other adventure games, starts with the player picking a race and battling monsters to gain XP. There are tons of different creatures lurking across countless areas in the game. As you start playing, an in-game guide will walk you through the basics so you can get your bearings. From there, you’ll be led on a series of quests that help you learn about your character’s headquarters. As you level up, these missions might take you into dangerous territory where other players can attack you. As you keep on leveling up your character you will reach a certain level where you will get to choose your specific class and with more enhanced skills.
Unlike Flyff (one of the MMORPG games that I used to play with similar gameplay as RF Online) when it comes to leveling up your characters, it’s easier to level up your characters in RF Online by just finding and attacking high-level monsters consistently. However, the downside of this is the scarcity of resources, because of the territorial competition between players due to the large game population. There are two tendencies and situations that slow down the players when leveling up: getting ambushed by other races in neutral locations or the same race members not sharing resources.
Each race is run by a political system and has a leader called the archon who is elected by their race members. The archon has four councilors under them who have special abilities to help their race in battle. “Consul” – Can Deploy nuclear missiles. The archon will decide who will be his “Strike Team”, “Defense Team” and “Support Team”. They have a specialized buff that can incinerate normal units. The archon can add 2 units per team. There are three races fighting for resources in the minefield and they battle it out in Chip War three times a day. Chip war is a war between races where they need to strategize and come up with a defensive and offensive plan on how to win a victory against the two opposing races. The goal of this war is to destroy the beacon of each race, the first race that gets their beacon destroyed loses and will fall into a vulnerable state on their skills and power. However, the winner of Chip War gains control of the Holystone Keeper which allows them 60 extra minutes of mining time without being attacked by the monster guarding the mine. This is a very exciting moment in the game because it requires the full cooperation of the race members and each race will have the freedom to become an ally with other races to gain an advantage in the game. On the other hand, only the racial headquarters and settlement towns are safe areas from enemy races. Players in the same race cannot engage in combat except during same-race competitions events conducted by game masters or whenever obtaining and consuming chaos potion. Chaos potion gives you a certain time when you are allowed to attack a race member.
V. GAME CONTROLS
Now let’s talk about game controls. For me as a first-time player, this game has complex game controls that involve shortcuts that use mostly your keyboard and macro settings. But when you fully understand the game and your character specialty, it’s easier to understand and use the keyboard shortcuts to your advantage.
Using the Marco system of RF Online allows you to create your own multiple shortcuts for each different tab: “Auto Potion (this is where you can configure the setting and set your potion that your character automatically consumes and can be activated by hotkeys)”, “Auto Action (this is where you can configure your automatic skills and can add up to 10 skills and can be activated by hotkeys)”, and “Auto chat (this is where you can input your automatic chats or reply to everyone, this is best for Archons to use especially when giving commands during chip war and can be activated by hotkeys)”. Just like any other game, it also has WASD keyboard control for movement, which allows you to change between keyboard or mouse control depending on the gamer’s preference. Additionally, camera angles are adjusted through mouse scrolling.
You can also set the movement of the characters between Running or Walking. Your character can move fast by running but it consumes more stamina than just walking. Portals are also accessible in all stations and other specific locations. These portals allow you to teleport or move to other places within the continent. But when you go to the Ether, which is a different continent on the planet, it requires everyone to ride a space shuttle. In my experience playing this game, it actually feels like a real-life experience comparable to a bus when waiting for the space shuttle that will take you to the Ether because it follows a certain schedule of time to pick up the passengers and it requires a ticket that needs to be purchased in the cartellas. If you don’t buy the tickets you cannot enter the spaceship.
The game interface also displays your stats and armor specs on your screen. It may look overwhelming at first but as you consistently play, you will find the significance of these interfaces to the game. The camera angles of this game can only be switched between 3rd person view and 1st person view. In my own opinion, I always prefer the 3rd person view as it allows me to see my environment and zoom in/out the camera angle giving me the freedom and advantage to see the players around me or within my visual range.
For the graphics and sound of this game, I found the sfx very fitting to its game settings and characters. The monster sounds and player sounds are really fascinating which adds to the excitement whenever you play. And due to its simplified graphics, anyone with this minimum system requirement can already play RF Online in their homes.
Operating System: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8
CPU: Intel Pentium 3 / AMD Equivalent
Video Card: GeForce FX Series / ATI Radeon 9500 or Better
RAM: 256 MB
Hard Disk Space: Over 6 GB
VII. FINAL REVIEW & CONCLUSION
If you love PvP-driven and adrenaline-pump MMORPG then this is the right game for you, and if given a chance I would love to play it again. However, I am giving this game a 4.3-star rating because the longer you play this game the more it becomes repetitive and a bit boring which is one of the reasons I moved on from playing. Given three months of gameplay, you will already achieve the highest rank, and it feels like there’s nothing more that you can do in this game other than PvP and Chip war. But other game masters from different servers have their own different tactics or strategies to make the players more engaged with the game by conducting weekly or monthly game events with different and rare item prizes.
I just wished that they would’ve improved and updated this game with new game mechanics, and graphics. I know for sure due to its large fan base and loyal players it will once again be popular and will surely take the internet by storm. Although there was a new, upcoming version of this game called RF Project, according to a recent news article from MMOs.com written by Marc Marasigan last February 24, 2023, its release is unlikely.
“The western version of RF Online has officially sunsetted due to contract issues with the sci-fi fantasy MMORPG’s current publisher, RedFox Games, and its developer CCR. According to RedFox, they signed a publishing agreement with CCR before it was bought out by Netmarble in 2020 and have exclusively communicated with CCR since then.”
Marasigan also stated that “RedFox said that they tested several patches over the past two years, tried to rollback the servers to one of the more popular versions, and even looked into rolling out a classic version to keep RF Online alive but none of them ever made it to the live servers and ultimately led to the game’s closure. The studio also confirmed that there are currently no plans to transfer servers and existing account data.”
It’s sad to know that this game is almost to its end, but there are private servers of RF Online that are still active to this day. But whatever the future will be, I still consider myself lucky to get a chance to play this game as it gives me the nostalgia and memories of my first MMORPG experience.
Written by Jeraldine Reyes, Lethbridge College
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