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Culture-Oriented Expansions for Ragnarok Online.

MARINA DEL REY, Calif. -- September 27, 2004 -- Gravity Interactive's launch of Amatsu for Ragnarok Online marks the first in a series of free expansions to the game based on different cultural settings. Amatsu opens up the world of Japanese folklore and legend for Ragnarok players.

Each expansion will include new maps, building designs, clothing and monsters based on actual or mythical elements from major Eastern and Western civilizations.

In addition, NPCs will tell players about the history, folklore and traditions of each culture. For instance, in Amatsu, players can wander through fields of cherry blossoms on their way to battle tengu (Japanese mountain and forest goblins). Many of the buildings in Amatsu are derived from actual Japanese palaces and pagodas, complete with gardens and reflection pools.

Ragnarok Online has one of the world's largest MMORPG communities with millions of people playing in more than 100 countries. Because of that diverse community of players, Gravity is providing content that appeals to people in multiple geographic regions.

Many MMORPGs on the market draw subject matter from a single, or very few cultural contexts. In contrast, the Ragnarok culture-specific expansions will be inspired by multiple world traditions. This will allow local players to see familiar and comfortable subject matter that confirms to the interests, their likes and dislikes, which have been influenced by the society in which they live. This will also provide foreign players with a more diverse game that incorporates novel elements from other cultures. The core Ragnarok game draws its inspiration from Norse mythology.

Gravity plans to continuously supply free expansions and updates to Ragnarok Online. Several culturally themed expansions are already in development. The next expansion in the series is currently in beta testing and will be available in a few months.

Amatsu is composed of five new Japanese themed regions/maps to explore. Clothing and buildings are based on historical styles and real-world structures from Japan. Several now monsters derived from Japanese folklore such as the karakasa, tengu and kapha populate the expansion.

Two technical updates were also recently added to Ragnarok to coincide with the launch of Amatsu. The total number of characters per server for each account was increased from 3 to 5. A graphical sprite addition was introduced to improve particle effects for weapons.

The Amatsu expansion is available for free for Ragnarok Online players at http://iro.ragnarokonline.com/download/download.asp. New players can download the Ragnarok Online and play free for 15 days at http://iro.ragnarokonline.com. Unlimited gameplay is available for $12 a month or 30-hour sessions can be purchased for $7.99.

About Gravity Interactive LLC
Headquartered in Marina del Rey, Calif., Gravity Interactive LLC is the U.S. subsidiary of Korea-based, Gravity Corporation, a worldwide leader in the entertainment content and character creation business. Gravity Interactive develops characters and storylines for the online world, mobile technology, traditional animation, merchandising and all other forms of media.

Posted by MPOGD on September 28.

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