RAN Online Overview
RAN Online is an MMORPG with a unique premise. Players take on the role of students in one of three rival universities and must compete with one another while surviving on campuses filled with possessed AI enemies. Unfortunately, the gameplay in Ran is not as original as the theme. The classes and combat style in the game are nearly identical to the standard fantasy MMORPGs currently available. Even though Ran Online has only recently resurfaced in the West, it has the disadvantage of being an older game, and thus suffers from poor visuals and grind-based progression.
Shaman – These students use wands to channel the spiritual energy known as Qi to heal and buff their allies. Shamans may also specialize to use Spears.
Brawler - Melee fighters who have shunned all weapons in favor of unarmed combat.
Archer - Mastering the bow requires high agility and dexterity. Students may chose to use either the short bow or long bow.
Swordsman - Formidable warriors who must be both strong and agile. Swordsmen can specialize in ‘blades’ or ‘broadswords.’
RAN Online Screenshots
RAN Online Featured Video
RAN Online Review
By Erhan Altay
Ran Online is uniquely themed MMORPG developed by the Koran studio Min Communications. While it was first released back in 2006, it failed to gain an audience outside Asia and the international service was quickly shut down. Fans were still able to access an English language version of the game based in The Philippines, but high ping and rough translations were unavoidable. In September of 2009 the original developers decided to re-launch the game under the title Ran World. Though it is still the only game of its kind on the market, Ran Online has not aged well and suffers from generic graphics and gameplay.
What makes Ran Online so original is its university themed backdrop. During character creation, players must choose which of the three rival universities they would like to enroll in. The three schools are Sacred Gate, Phoenix, and Mystic Peak. According to the game’s lore, there was a fourth university called Leonair, but its force fields failed, causing the entire student body to turn into undead monsters. Since the fall of Leonair, students have been encouraged to study one of the four fighting techniques that make up the game’s classes. The classes include Swordsman, Brawler, Shaman, and Archer, all of which are your standard archetypes. Each class has four skill trees — STR, INT, DEX, and Misc. Players should focus on one stat-related skill path to maximize their potential, though hybrid classes are viable. Appearance customization is very limited, with only a few face and hair options available.
Lost on Campus
Ran Online doesn’t have a formal tutorial. Instead, new players find themselves in their university’s courtyard surrounded by hostile hooligans. Nearby NPCs, including one aptly named ‘CLICK ME!’, provide players with basic instructions and quests to perform. Additional text hints appear near the center of the screen explaining the game’s controls. RAN Online has a standard click-to-move interface similar to the system found in many Asian MMORPGs. The graphics are not very impressive, but the game supports almost every resolution, including my monitor’s native 1920 by 1080. The client runs in both full-screen and windowed mode and there are several visual settings which can be set to low, medium, or high. Additional features such as ‘glow effect’ or ‘field shadow’ can be checked on or off but even with everything set as high as possible, the visuals are mediocre at best. Ran Online does a poor job of giving new player a sense of purpose or direction. I quickly found myself simply grinding off the low level enemies in the starting area after giving up on the difficult to understand quest instructions. Luckily, the experience rate is rapid during the first few levels. Players receive three stat points per level to assign among five stats: POV, DEX, INT, VIT, and STM. Veteran gamers shouldn’t have too much difficulty figuring the stats out, but just keep in mind that ‘VIT’ raises HP while ‘STM’ raises MP.
Players start with several skills at their disposal, along with a newbie pack that contains a pet husky, a hoverboard, and some consumables. Eventually, players will have to make their way towards their class trainer located in the ‘Main Area.’ The minimap (m) and red arrows located on the floor can guide players to this area, wherein NPCs have skill scrolls for sale. Each skill has its own prerequisites, which include a certain rank in a previous skill and a minimum value in a certain stat. Players can earn additional skill points both by leveling up and by completing NPC assigned tasks. The quests that reward skill points are generally much longer and involved than those that simply reward experience, but are still well worth doing. The first dozen or so levels in Ran are spent killing nearly identical humanoid foes with slightly varied names. ‘Hooligans’ make way to ‘Thugs’, which in turn make way to ‘Slashers’ and so on. Eventually, players progress to hunting undead monsters (such as zombies). Further down the road, demons and other more powerful, evil beings make up the grind fodder. Interestingly, the best way to progress in level throughout RAN is not by questing but by hunting certain monsters in medium-sized parties. As of now there is only a single lightly populated server for the new Global version of the game, so it may be difficult to find other gamers to play with.
PvP plays an important role in Ran and takes on two forms. The first and simpler way to fight other plays is through mutually accepted duels. Players can challenge one another to duels from almost anywhere, and if the other player accepts, the fight is on. The more complicated and interesting PvP mode is ‘Club Wars’ which is similar to faction wars in other MMORPGs. Throughout the day, players will be able to attack members of rival universities during certain hours. Large-scale campus battles tend to break out during these times, but only high level players are likely to enjoy these events. Players can unlock additional features within Ran Online if they’re willing to spend some cash at the shop. With the exception of the beginner pet Huskey, all pets must be purchased with real money. Additionally, the ability to open a personal shop must first be purchased.
Ever since playing Persona 3 and 4 I’ve been looking for something like an MMORPG version of the game, wherein I could interact with fellow players at school and go demon hunting after class. Ran Online is closer to the mark than Megaten, but still far off. The English translations are a bit improved from the Philipino version, but the game’s dialogue and backstory still feel weak. While Ran didn’t meet my expectations, it doesn’t mean gamers can’t enjoy it. Ran’s playerbase is still growing in several Asian countries, with servers now open in Japan, Taiwan, China, Indonesia, and Thailand. The grind-based gameplay and limited emphasis on story may not be weaknesses after all. If you enjoy Asian-style MMORPGs and are looking for a slightly different setting, be sure to give Ran Online a try.
Final Verdict: Fair
RAN Online is a game with a great concept but poor implementation. The unique school theme could have helped it stand out among crowd, but cliché class choices and gameplay elements prevent it from doing so.
RAN Online Videos
RAN Online Character Creation
RAN Online Beginner Gameplay
RAN Online Official Trailer
RAN Online System Requirements
OS: Windows 98/ ME/ 2000/ XP/ Vista
CPU: Intel Pentium III 500 MHz
HDD: 400 MB Free
Graphics Card: 32mb, DirectX 3D accelerations
OS: Windows 98/ ME/ 2000/ XP/ Vista
CPU: Intel Pentium III 1GHz or higher
RAM: 256 MB or more
HDD: 800 MB Free
Graphics Card: 64mb DirectX 3D accelerations