A Short Reflection on pRO Closing Down
After more than a decade of operations, Philippine Ragnarok Online is finally closing down their local servers. The announcement was made no less by Level Up Games, the publisher of the title here in the Philippines. To those who don’t know, I was an avid gamer of Philippine Ragnarok Online. The game pretty much was one of my biggest passions when I was in my early 20’s, and it grew into a full blown career when I joined NetGames and eventually Level Up. I owe a lot of who I am today to that game and most especially to my co-players.
Allow me to just share 3 key lessons I learned while being a pRO gamer, Shadow Circle (Chaos Server) Guildmaster, and as the Brand Manager for the title.
1. There is a lot of Good in Everyone
In Ragnarok, our guild, the Shadow Circle, made a lot of enemies. I was so into the game that the rivalries kinda became personal. However they were only personal in my head (lol). A lot of the opponents we faced in the land of Midgard turned out to be great friends in real life. Actually let me tell you guys a really awesome story.
In 2006 I was shot several times by a group of robbers while my girlfriend (now wife) were in an Internet cafe. To make a long story short, I survived (duh) after an emergency operation in a nearby hospital and intensive care afterwards in Medical City. When I first opened my eyes after my first night in the hospital, the first visitor I had was a guy we all knew in Ragnarok as Makmak641. Makmak641 was the guild master of Alliance and we fought fiercely inside pRO. His genuine and sincere concern for my well-being was so touching and humbling. I remember having an awkward conversation with him back then. Well I was the one who was awkward because I was really surprised and shocked he visited, haha! Anyway, his visit was a big source of encouragement and I hope he gets to read this post because I want him to know that his visit mattered to me a lot. Salamat Kuya Mak!
There are more people who I met in pRO that were in-game adversaries but in real life were superb, talented, and fantastic people. This taught me early on that there is a lot of good in everyone.
2. Value Relationships
At our biggest, Shadow Circle, our guild in-game, had huge membership of around 400-500 people. While I wasn’t able to keep in touch with all of them, I do have some really good friends today from the guild. Friends who gave me the privilege to be a witness of how they grew up in life.
Two really nice examples to illustrate this point:
- Kelvs, one of my guildmates and co-leaders in SC, getting married. Himala. Kinasal siya. Wassap!!!? Surprise of the century. It was nice that he gave us an “SC table” during the reception too, hehe!
- Ending up as a ninong to the kasal of Miko who eventually was my colleague in TV5 and DM9-Di9it. I maintain na dapat groomsman lang ako. Di ko talaga gets bakit ninong. Hayup ka Miko. Pinatanda mo ako ng todo!
There are many more that I can list down but that would probably make this post so much longer than it needs to be. My point is this: seeing my guildmates grow and flourish in real life (professionally and personally) has been such an amazing and rewarding voyeuristic experience, hehe. 😛
3. It’s Just a Game
And this is perhaps my most important lesson. Too much of anything can be bad, and this is definitely true for gaming. The world of Ragnarok for me was an escape. It became the alternate world that I wanted to live in when times became bad in real life. It was my escape from school, my escape from family, and my escape from responsibilities. It numbed the pain of loss and made me feel much more accomplished and important than I really was. Waukeen, the character I made, was no longer just a virtual character inside a game that’s made of just pixels. In my head he was who I wanted to be so that I could escape the realities of the world.
Ragnarok was just a game. But if my girlfriend (now wife), family, and friends didn’t pull me out when they did, my life today would be so much different.
Never let a game rob you of your life. Don’t let it become a false substitute for real relationships and achievements. As cliche as this may sound, play the game and don’t let it play you.
Waukeen, Shadow Circle Guildmaster, Philippine Ragnarok Online, signing off! Cheers! 🙂