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Like most real online games, The World R:2 has towns that serve as the anchors of your experience. Every player needs a place to get equipped, healed and meet up with other characters, and that's what's on offer here.
"R:2 is set 100 years after the previous The World 's timeline and society has evolved along with machinery and the steam culture," Matsuyama observes. The original setting as seen in the first four-part .hack saga was hard to peg - the dungeons were bizarre and fanciful, while the towns were sedate fantasy fare. This time around, the developers have pushed for more personality. Even the pig-like Grunties, talking monsters that provided you with a ride, have made a change, according to Matsuyama. "This time, they are no longer a means of transportation and they have evolved to bipedal beings that can speak. You will be able to encounter their evolved form somewhere in the town. G.U. will have its own mode of transportation that will excite you as well."
To enhance that unique "online, but offline" feel that only .hack can deliver, new elements have been added to The World R:2 that more closely mimic popular online RPGs of today. On top of shopping and saving, the towns now house guilds, or groups of players who band together. Whenever a guild is established, a special private room known as @HOME is established for its use. A battle arena, located in the Warring City of Lumina Cloth, allows for three-on-three fights between groups of characters. Players battle to become Emperors of one of its three palaces: Demon Palace, Holy Palace and Sage Palace.
You make your way out of town and into the larger adventure, as before, using Chaos Gates, which take a number of keywords and combine them to form a special password which unlocks an area.
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