The Music of Ragnarok Online 2
calm, pastoral ambience
Posted by tai on Apr 3, 2009 under Audio, Commentary, Featured, Special

You have most likely heard of the popular Korean MMORPG Ragnarok Online, and many of you have probably played it at some point or another. I would like to bring attention to the sequel of that game, Ragnarok Online 2. Also produced by Gravity, Ragnarok Online 2 was to be another of their flagship games. It features the world of Ragnarok in full 3d, with new monsters, multiple playable races, but most importantly for this review, an OST composed by Yoko Kanno. She composed about 90 tracks for this game, which was first released to the public in 2006 in the Korean closed beta.

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RO² Prontera 2


I hope you all have at least heard of her, but for those that haven’t, Yoko Kanno is one of the most famous music composers in the anime and video game industry. Her list of works is not the longest, but she far exceeds in quality. Some works include the soundtracks for Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell, Card Captor Sakura, and the Honey and Clover live action movie.

Before we can fully appreciate a soundtrack, we must understand the setting the songs will be used in. Ragnarok Online 2 is a medieval fantasy world based on Norse mythology, and the main focus of the game is adventure and socializing. The game world is very pristine, with large fields, swamps, and forests alike. In the towns, there is a very rustic historical feel, and the attire the characters wear share similar qualities.

If you like symphonic compositions with a very serene cultural feel, you will most definitely love this soundtrack. The primary palette includes the viola, piano, harp, and hand drums. There are some select tracks with goodies like the mythical vocalist Gabriela Robin, and some great supporting instrumentals like the didgeridoo, marimba, and pan flute.

RO² Login Screen

The first song you hear is the intro theme to the game. My first time opening the game to the login screen, I couldn’t help but listen to half the song before entering my login credentials. We hear a vocal feature in a fantasy language, which to me sounds like a mix between Latin, French and Elven. The harp and string chorus pull my consciousness into the vast outdoors; I feel as if I am flying in the air over a vast plain with forests and mountains looming in the horizon.

RO² Hodemimes 1RO² Hodemimes 2

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Welcome, young adventurer, to the town of Hodemimes. This is a quiet coastal town with no more than a few dozen yurts and pavilions. It is here where adventurers start their journeys; a friendly, social, but quiet community. At the outskirts there is a vast coastal field for novices to train, develop their skills, and learn the adventurers’ ways of life. It isn’t an easy life, but here in county overseen by the village chief there are barely any substantial dangers.

RO² Prontera 1RO² Prontera 3

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All adventurers will eventually become well-acquainted with Prontera, the capital of the Rune-Midgarts kingdom. The King’s castle seated on the top of a hill overlooks the town bustling with adventurers and merchants alike. It is a crowded town; there are many guilds, stores, bars, and even a church. The music no longer has the pastoral feel of Hodemimes, we now are immersed the crowdedness of a small medieval Celtic city. From the King Tristan’s Castle we hear the echoes of a bagpipe salutation, and all around we hear the busy crowds of the city move in, out and about.

RO² Cognito 1

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In the previous decade Rune-Midgarts was industrializing, but due to intervention by greater forces, the industrialization was halted. Cognito was once a large industrial town, full of factories and labourers, but now it is abandoned. Mechanized fiends wander around the outskirts of the town, showing hostility towards those of other races. The once busy city is now an industrial junkyard; factory scraps are littered everywhere and the stench of rust lingers in the alleys. We hear a lonely saxophone lament, but its echoes fall upon deaf ears: Few travellers visit Cognito, and those that do leave only shortly after they finish their business.

RO² Alfheim 1RO² Alfheim Forest Goblin Tribe

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Far north in the Alfheim Forest, far from Norman (Human) development, live the spiritual Ellr elves. The Ellr obtain their magical powers by links with nature, and have built their town around the Mother Tree. A large library full of religious works is built into a large cranny in the surrounding mountains, Many Ellr come here to worship or to enrich their magical abilities. The Ellr are much sanctified; the music emphasizes the importance of their spiritualism and religion. The Ellr village lacks the casualness of the Hodemimes village, they are a devout civilization and unlike Normans spend much of their time meditating.

RO² Bandit Tribe 1RO² Bandit Tribe 2

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Scattered around the lands are the homes of various tribes. These are monsters that have evolved to sentience, but still lack the intelligence and craftsmanship of the Norman and Ellr races. Their music is very primitive in feel, with heavy ethnic beats and tribal chants. Due to oppression and uncompromising behaviour these tribes are becoming more and more hostile towards the Normans, and fewer and fewer adventurers are able to learn about the depth of these tribes’ cultures.

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Aside from composing music for the geographic locations, many of the NPCs have their own themes as well. Misha is a perky and cheerful shoplady, while Holgrar the blacksmith is much more straightforward and always hard at work in his shop.

RO² Portrait 3

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There are some songs that I have not heard in-game, but according to the title they are part of the game’s plot scenario. Various styles exist here, from symphonic suites to upbeat military briefings.

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And remaining are the “uncategorized” songs; songs I do not know the exact background behind. But they all have the same great traditional ambience presented by Ragnarok Online 2, and amongst them are my personal favourites of the soundtrack. Closing my eyes while listening to these songs instantly teleports me to another world where man lives in harmony with nature and the greater forces of the world.

RO² Portrait 1

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To sum up, Ragnarok Online 2’s soundtrack is a serene symphonic compilation using the music of various fictional civilizations. Due to continuously delayed production and release of the game, I believe this soundtrack to be underrated because it is unheard of by most people. Kanno did a great job at composing music that attaches us to the natural world, making players breathe the crisp morning mist through their ears in our expeditionary quest through the Rune-Midgarts Kingdom.

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I have made the entire soundtrack available to download. The files from the Korean Open Beta are in Ogg Vorbis format, aside from meta tags these are the original files extracted from the official client. Songs that didn’t make it from the third Closed Beta to the Open Beta are included, these are in MP3 format. I have archived the collection into two files to facilitate downloading.

RO² Portrait 2

  • On April 4th, 2009 at 22:39,

    There are people who play this? Oh wow.

  • On April 7th, 2009 at 13:53,
    zzeroparticle wrote:

    Well, this soundtrack has been largely well-received by the VGM community and I’ve definitely enjoyed listening to it. The intro song does have this sort of feel to it where it instills a sense of wanderlust within the listener to get them to go forth and explore a whole new world and marvel at the wonders that exist beyond their hometowns. Clap & Walk also has the same sort effect, though it’s got a more energizing feel to it, but nothing quite compares to the epic Celtic/Irish flair of Din Don Dan Dan which is absolutely wonderful. I daresay that may be the best piece on the entire album.

    Either way, this album covers so much that a comment simply won’t be able to do it justice, but like you said, it captures the fantasy scenery and atmosphere through its symphonic pieces really well and I also second your motion that more people need to give this one a listen.

  • On May 3rd, 2009 at 10:58,
    Gen' wrote:

    A great work from Yoko Kanno, I definitly enjoy each song from this soundtrack. Thanks for this heartwarming review, it’s the less that it deserves 🙂

  • On May 6th, 2009 at 16:41,
    Kajy wrote:

    I really love this soundtrack. I listen to it all the friggin’ time 😀

  • On June 30th, 2009 at 11:52,
    NamiElementallist wrote:

    This music is breath-taking, as well the game looks amazing. I’m a constant player of the original Ragnarok, and I’m debating trying out the second beta. I have to say, the way you portray this game with music, pictures and storyline really draws me in! I think in the soon future when I can muster up the time to download and install this, I’ll be happy to give it a try. 😀 Thank you for the music downloads, I really think some of my friends would love this music. :3

  • On August 13th, 2009 at 18:06,
    Aldarion wrote:

    Very, very good review! I got all the musics 🙂 Best OST, ever! Hey can you just answer me, how can i take a ScreeShot without the HUD )menu and status bar)?

  • On October 12th, 2009 at 09:14,
    3ms wrote:

    Every song captivated my heart. Great job. Ragnarok is always going above my expectations.
    Cheers.

  • On January 15th, 2010 at 18:49,
    KodaichiZero wrote:

    Hey, tai, I really hope you read this. I’m glad to see you have good taste in music, and if you extracted those files yourself, I’m pretty excited to hear that. Perhaps you’ve heard of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles — it’s another game, similar genre, though not online, and it’s also renowned for its sound track. I’ve been looking to try and replace the audio from RO2 with audio from FFCC. Don’t get me wrong, I love the music from both games, I just want to try it out. If you have any knowlege of how I can unpack, or even better, repack the .rmp format in the current Open Beta, I’d love to get any information I can. All I know is it might be Real Metadata Package format, but nothing will play these files, so I’m stuck.

  • On March 20th, 2010 at 00:48,
    Ben wrote:

    Thank you for your coverage and the streaming samples! Makes me want to play the game! Am a huge fan of the first Ragnarok Online and its soundtrack.

  • On March 22nd, 2010 at 09:35,
    Adeline wrote:

    Have been trying to play this, just lately, the music is so lovely it hurts. Found these when trying to learn more about the music. The music is beautiful and engaging, but the game . . . maybe if playing it did not result in constant crashes, strange problems with things not appearing and delayed reactions it would be enjoyable. Not sure.

    The sound a graphic design are beyond beautiful though.

  • On March 27th, 2010 at 08:12,
    ian wrote:

    oooh whered u get the cognito field music? i like it so much >.<

  • On January 3rd, 2012 at 01:29,
    Fuuko wrote:

    Oh wow, was trying to look up for more of that music I heard (i heard the intro music for RO2 LoTS) and you’ve compiled them all here! Thank you! I want to DL them and listen to them <3

  • On August 13th, 2014 at 11:15,
    Norowas wrote:

    Whoa, I’ve been looking for more RO2’s OST since I re-listening the Intro Theme recently. It’s quite difficult to look for the soundtracks, and most sites I’ve found only have about 20 tracks or so.

    Thank you for compiling and sharing them! (and I’m really glad the links are still working!)

  • On August 13th, 2014 at 15:58,
    tai wrote:

    You’re welcome Norowas, and everyone else who has popped in over the years. I’m surprised myself that everything is still more or less functional after all this time!

  • On April 19th, 2015 at 23:30,
    animai wrote:

    I wish this were legally available on iTunes, because I would pay for these tracks and support Kanno.

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