March 23, 2007 4:16am CST
Counter-Strike was the once the most popular network game in Philippine cybercafes. That's in the past tense because the undisputed king of the hill right now is Philippine Ragnarok Online (www.levelupgames.ph/ragnarok). I don't think anyone was really expecting Ragnarok to become this popular--and so quickly after it was introduced, at that. The great thing about Level Up! is that, just in the case of Oz World, they give away the Ragnarok installer CD for free, and you sign up on their site for a free three-day trial before having to pay subscription fees. Of course, once you're hooked, you're more than willing to pay to play: P50 for eight hours, P100 for one week of unlimited play and P350 for one month of unlimited play. These fees, of course, are on top of what you pay your Internet service provider for online access, but they're still reasonable, plus a number of young players just congregate in cybercafes to play ragnarok. Also, thanks to a tie-up with PLDT Play (www.pldtplay.com), if you're a PLDT Vibe or myDSL user, you can buy Ragnarok PINS online at a 10 percent descount and the transaction will just be added to your phone bill. The action in Ragnarok takes place in the world of Midgard--if you're familiar with Norse mythology (you know, gods like Thor and Loki), Midgard was the name of the Vikings and other Scandinavians gave to Earth while Ragnarok was the last battle among the gods. Ragnarok offers cute anime-inspired characters, lots of interesting quests and even the ability to tame some creatures in Midgard and keep them as pets. Apart from joining a party of adventurers, you can also form guilds and lay siege to castles--strength in numbers man. Now you know what's keeping your buddies or your younger siblings busy at the cybercafes.