In November 2004, Gravity Corporation announced that they would be working on a sequel to follow up on the title they're best known for—the MMORPG Ragnarok Online, based on Myung-Jin Lee's Ragnarok graphic novel series. Ragnarok II: The Gate of the World (also called Ragnarok Online 2 or RO2) was to be an ambitious project with the express purpose of competing with World of Warcraft, which by then had already taken the lion's share of the MMORPG market. To that end, Gravity sought to design the game to appeal to all players from all corners of the world, retaining enough of the characteristics that made Ragnarok Online so popular while expanding its appeal to other tastes. Instead of soundTeMP, the group that provided most of Ragnarok Online's music, Yoko Kanno was tapped for the job of composing The Gate of the World's soundtrack. And boy, did she deliver.
The Gate of the World's story starts a thousand years ago, when the world was on the brink of total destruction until the son of Baldur, St. Lif, saved the day. The modern day is set near the year 1000 L.C., twenty years after the Normans of the east and west waged a bitter war between one another. Peace has returned to the Norman lands, but troubling events have happened as of late—the half-giant Dimago have awoken from their slumber, and the half-elf Ellr have arrived from Alfheim as part of their investigation on why the Mother Tree has fallen silent.
Where this story would have led, we may never know. The Gate of the World was only released in beta testing restricted to South Korea—first as a ten-hour test in which 190,000 people applied but only 2,000 were selected, a second phase in early 2007 with up to 20,000 players joining in, and finally an open beta that ran from May 2007 to August 2010. Player feedback from the initial testing was poor, leading to Gravity's repeated delay of the game's launch while trying to address player concerns. Eventually, Gravity decided to axe the project and start anew with development of Ragnarok II: Legend of the Second.
Tropes specific to the playable races and character classes should go on the character sheet.
Ragnarok II: The Gate of the World provides examples of:
- Art Evolution: The somewhat childlike appearance of Normans in The Gate of the World is a direct 3D translation of the body proportions that character sprites have in Ragnarok Online. The game overall is supposed to be closer in appearance to the art style of Myung-Jin Lee, while still retaining Gravity's cutesy super-deformed style.
- The Gate of the World's UI has a different style than RO's, sporting a black color motif rather than white and blue.
- Breakable Weapons: Unlike RO in which equipment would only break under very specific circumstances, all weapons and armor have a durability gauge. They need to be repaired from time to time by a repairsmith.
- Combos: The Gate of the World featured a Letalis mechanic in which certain skills would build up a Letalis Point (LP) meter. Other skills required one or more (or all) of the LP gauge to use. Outside of combat, this gauge would rapidly deplete itself. As far as was shown, the Letalis system was to be intrinisic to all races and classes, and not like, say, Rogues in World of Warcraft (or Thieves in Legend of the Second).
- Character Class System: The Gate of the World has one, just like RO—with the same Novice, First Class, Second Class progression—but it's only for the Norman race, and Normans can freely change their class rather than making a permanent cnoice. On top of that, the available classes are different; Archers have been replaced by Recruits, Acolytes and Magicians by Enchanters, and Merchants are gone from the equation entirely.
- Equipment-Based Progression: A rare case where this is used in addtion to the class and level system. Many pieces of weapons and armor gain experience with use, just like a character. They can then "level up" when taken to a blacksmith NPC, who will upgrade the item for a fee. Gravity designed this system to avert the Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness, although there are still many pieces of non-leveling equipment to be found.
- Five Races: Only three races are playable (the Normans, the Ellr, and the Dimago) but at least this many are implied from the setting. Notably, each of the races play very differently from each other. As in, "only one of these races has a class system" different. Each of the races were designed to appeal to the tastes of different types of gamers.
- Inventory Management Puzzle: Not with items, but with skills. Certain skills within a Norman's class can be used while playing as other classes, but this is represented by a puzzle grid in which the eligible skills take different shapes.
- Gaiden Game: There was a tie-in mobile game planned, Ragnarok II: Rise of the Dimago, that would have helped flesh out the backstory for the Dimago race. Whether it actually saw a release in Korea or was scrapped beforehand is unknown.
- Game Engine: The Gate of the World was developed with Unreal Engine 2. After player feedback from the initial beta, Gravity switched to Gamebryo while reworking the game, but the results of this were never seen.
- GoldSilverCopper Standard: Introduced a subdivision of Zeny in which 10,000 Rufi (noted by silver coins) equaled 1 Zeny (noted by gold coins).
- Gratuitous Latin: Shows up in a couple of places—
- "Letalis" is a Latin word for "deadly, fatal, or mortal."
- Enchanters have a series of elemental resistance skills that have Latin names, in addition to some imported RO skills that were in Latin.
- A few party-based support skills used by Clowns also have Latin names: Supplico and Imperito, for example.
- Oxygen Meter: Compared to RO's Super Not-Drowning Skills, The Gate of the World gives characters the ability to swim in deep waters, but restricts them with a breath capacity system that works like this.
- Point Build System: The Gate of the World has one that is similar to what RO had, albeit with some major changes. Rather than six stats (STR/VIT/DEX/AGI/INT/LUK), there's only four—
- STR (Strength), which governs both maximum physical melee damage output and defense,
- DEX (Dexterity), which governs the chance of Critical Hits with physical melee attacks as well as dodging them,
- CON (Concentration), which governs the chance to hit with physical melee attacks, the maximum damage of ranged attacks as well as the chance of a critical hit with them,
- INT (Intelligence), which governs the chance of landing a hit with a ranged physical attack, the maximum damage of a magic attack, and defense against magic attacks.
- Luck (LUK) also exists, which boosts the chance to dodge all types of attacks, but it's modifiable only through equipment or buffs.
- Norman classes also have a skill point build system similar to RO.
- Spell My Name with an "S":
- Baldur was known as Balder in Tokyopop's localization of the original manhwa.
- The sub-Zeny currency was spelled Rufi here. Later, in Legend of the Second, it was called "Rupee" instead.
- Steam Punk: Several examples of it—
- Everything about Recruits; the class is reliant upon its steam-powered guns.
- The average technology level seems to be heading into Urban Fantasy, as some of the areas previewed in the in-game opening movie look remarkably like a modern city.
- Trailers: Gravity put out a few over the years of The Gate of the World's development—
- This anime trailer was shown at the 2005 Korea Amuse World Expo and Tokyo Game Show, showing off the Ellr, Dimago, and the Normans, all set to the city of Juno's music from Ragnarok Online.
- This 3D animated trailer aired around 2007, featuring a Norman adventuring party fighting machines to Yoko Kanno's music.
- Virtual Paper Doll: The Gate of the World gives characters greater freedom to customize their appearance than RO does. All armor worn is visible on the character, rather than every character wearing the same class uniform as they do in RO.