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The beauty of being a gamer in Korea is that you never have enough time to master all the new games that are released. That may not be the case for console game players, who only need to spend a few hours or perhaps a few days to finish off a game, but here, where new online games are introduced every week, it is difficult to catch up with all the activity.
In fact, you may as well give up trying to master an online game because they can be never-ending stories.
Because it takes a lot of time to develop a game character up to a certain skill level, game players usually stick to just one or two games. That’s why it requires a lot of marketing and good game elements to attract players.
That makes it all the more impressive to hear hard-core players of the most popular games talk about the next big thing. Recently, fans of “World of Warcraft” (WoW) and “Lineage” ― two of the hottest online role-playing games ― have talked about migrating to “Rohan,” a role-playing online game developed by Geomind.
The game is currently in its open beta test, which means it is free and anyone can play before the developer fixes bugs, pins on a price, and officially launches the game.
Although “Rohan” still sticks to the tiresome Lord of the Rings-based Middle Earth zoology of elves, dwarves, humans and the like, the game differs from existing online RPGs in that it incorporates trade and construction.
Of course, all role-playing games have a certain element of trade, but “Rohan” takes that a step further, enabling one to set up a street shop and sell one’s wares, or let a shopowner at a village sell one’s items on commission. The game is very realistic in the sense that if someone buys your item, you have to go back to that shop to collect your money.
The game caters to all types of players. Loners who wish to hunt wolves alone in the forest may do so and develop their character in the traditional role-playing fashion, while others that wish to take advantage of the online mass-player interface can create parties and guilds, performing quests together and building fortresses.
This fortress-building activity takes on characteristics somewhat similar to city-building simulation games, and is a feature that is rarely found in other online games.
Other interesting features include a down-enchanting system. For a fee you can lower the level of a certain item to match your own level so you can actually use the item. For low-level characters who want to utilize items with good features, this was a brilliant idea.
These various elements combined give “Rohan” a very good chance to be the next “Lineage.” It also has a good chance of even beating “Lineage” because the graphics are far better, although they fall a little short of WoW.
If stocks could be an index of popularity, the game has been extremely successful so far. The publisher, SunnyYNK, which owns more than half of the shares of the game developer, has seen its share price double in the past month.
The verdict: “Rohan” is a great game, but it’s going to take something more to tear away hard-core fans from “Lineage” and WoW. The developers could use a little more originality in the storyline.

by Wohn Dong-hee
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