first published at the Manila Times Oct 23, 2005 | by Uy, Ed

Online gaming has a new face, and she is no less than the model, VJ and television host Iya Villania.

Villania has signed up with the Philippine ROSE (Rush On Seven Episodes) Online, the hottest, fastest growing online game today. “We feel that Iya Villania represents our brand of spunk, style and sense. Her fun, wholesome personality coupled with her work mirrors our vision for the brand and personify the players that ROSE Online attracts,” said brand manager Pao Pena.

“Now more than ever, we see a lot of young girls exerting their individuality and not just through fashion but also in terms of their work and social activities,” added Pena. “Energy, spunk, skill, wit and values-it’s what ROSE’s style is all about. These are what we want to encourage and promote.”

Based on a mythical universe composed of seven planets, ROSE Online attracted 350,000 registered players a mere three months after it was introduced by pioneering game publisher, Level Up! Inc., the company behind the massively popular Ragnarok Online. ROSE Online broke new ground as the first fully three-dimensional online game. But the real attraction of the game is its newbie-friendly game interface and its character customizable feature.

Explained Pena: “The heart of the ROSE Online brand is the player’s ability to express his or her personality through fashionable clothes and accessories. We’ve taken gaming beyond the usual hard-edged hack-and-slash template and given it a friendlier, more accessible feel.” Unlike in other online games, there is less restriction on what players can wear within the game. Many of the clothes are not specific to a particular character or job class, further enhancing the role-playing aspect of the game.

“ROSE Online is really friendly and even first-time gamers will find it easy to find their way around the game.” It also helps, she added, that there is a mythology behind ROSE Online. “It makes it easier for me to relate to the game because it unfolds like a fairy tale and the fact that I’m one of the characters within the world of ROSE makes it exciting and much more engaging.”

Indeed, the percentage of ROSE Online female players has risen since the game debuted in June. “The current ratio of ROSE players is 60-percent male and 40-percent female,” shared Pena. “While the majority of ROSE Online players are still male, we believe there is a huge market potential for the game and the relatively large percentage of female ROSE players, compared with our other games, proves it.”

As the new ROSE Online endorser, Iya Villania will be prominent in the brand’s marketing campaign as well as lending her vocals to the ROSE Online theme. The song, entitled “Good to be Me” and composed by Pikaso and Kim Fabros, is a fusion of R&B and trip-hop music that embodies the ROSE brand value of spunk and of being able to rise up to any challenge.

ROSE Online will be officially launched on October 29 with a grand public event entitled “ROSE Bash” at the Glorietta 4 Dolphin Park in Makati. Activities will include the finals of the Search for ROSE It Girl, ROSE Cosplays, Fan Art and Cheerdance Competition. The game site is found at www.roseonline.ph.