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Another awesome interview translated by the great Jameinkaiser, from Aionsource.
This time it's with the lead designer of Aion, explaining how they are working for the 3rd closed beta stage, and explaining a bit the concerns from beta testers. A must read to know the game status.
Here at ThisIsGame, we've had the opportunity to ask a few questions to the lead developer of Aion, Ji Yongchan. How much do you think Aion will change in closed beta 3? Read as we discuss the problems that had been pointed out in CBT 2 and the new features that will be implemented in the future.
TIG> It's been a month since the second beta. How are things going right now?
Ji: Things are still quite hectic right now, getting things ready for the next test and looking over the problems from the last test.
TIG> How do you feel about the results from CBT2?
It was okay. I suppose it came a bit shorter than what we had expected. If we were to rate ourselves, we'd give 80 out of 100.
TIG> There were many criticisms about Aion's lack of creativity after season 2.
Aion's game design doesn't allow for it to show off its unique nature in such a short period of time. Plus the level cap and the absence of Abyss made it so players couldn't experience RvR very much. Aion's unique qualities will truly be shown after the next test.
It could also be a problem with timing. MMORPGs of the past didn't have much difficulty inserting new, creative contents because the target audience was so limited. But now that the audience is so much broader and players come from all backgrounds, it's much more difficult to introduce new concepts without considering what the player reaction would be.
Aion was therefore designed to be friendly to players who came from playing other games as well. Aion's own unique qualities will become more noticeable later on; and personally I think it's more important to ask if the game is more fun or not rather than asking if it is different.
TIG> Which game do you think Aion was influenced by the most? Is there a game you'd like to model Aion after?
Probably Diablo, Ultima Online, or Everquest. Most Korean MMORPGs probably model themselves after Diablo, while games developed overseas tend to follow Everquest's model. Aion was probably influenced the most by Everquest, among the ones mentioned.
TIG> Stigma system was implemented in a way to 'free the character after being locked into its skill frame of the class.' But the effectiveness of Stigma varied so much that they didn't seem to be very successful in distinguishing the character classes very well.
The current version is just a prototype. We thought it would be easier to introduce more approachable Stigma stones rather than introducing the more powerful ones right from the start.
Another thing to note, the current Stigma stones are presented without any categorisation, but in the future they'll be divided into more identifiable categories to aide the players. Take the gladiator's Stigma for example: they'll be divided into: Attack-specific Stigma, Defense-oriented Stigma, and Stigma for PvP. Character distinction will become more clear once we set some general directions.
TIG> Does this mean Class-locked Stigma will be continued?
Yes. Class-locked Stigma will be retained. Unlocked Stigma will be introduced later.
TIG> Flight was also extremely limited. Is there an expansion of flight-enabled zone planned?
The flight was designed more for the Abyss. Flight in normal zones can be considered more of a 'learning process.' We won't be expanding flight-enabled zones without a specific reason.
However, enabling flight in order to facilitate inconvenience in specific cases is something we would like to do.
TIG> For a game geared for RvR, climbing up the level ladder is relatively slow. There was also a lack of content in terms of leveling up.
We're still adjusting the rate of leveling up. We're also designing zones for level 30-50 players. The Abyss will also facilitate leveling up, which will be introduced in the next test.
Compared to the initial launch of the beta, wouldn't you say the amount of content available in Altgard or Verteron has improved significantly? We plan to do the same for Morheim and Eltnen as well. Look forward to seeing a lot of improvement in level 20-30 content.
TIG> What does the development aim at having with Aion's leveling-up process?
Basically, what we want is to satisfy players from both Lineage and World of Warcraft. We plan to make it possible for players to get to the max level by simply doing quests without having to grind at all, and vice versa for those who prefer killing mobs instead of questing.
TIG> You've mentioned leveling up within the Abyss; does this mean that there will be monsters in the Abyss? Or do you mean combat between players?
There will be monsters. Abyss combines both PvE and PvP. Think of having a war over hunting grounds. Hunting in the Abyss naturally comes with more risk, and will be rewarded accordingly. We have a lot of quests and content geared towards leveling in the Abyss, so look forward to it.
We have not yet decided whether to make experience gain from PvP a reality.
TIG> There were instances where the quest rewards were incredibly bad compared to the work it required that it was better not to do the quest at all.
This we will look into and adjust. Item rewards will be adjusted as well.
TIG> The dungeons found in each faction's zones were not instanced at all. Are the dungeons to be introduced in the future not instanced either?
The current dungeons are planned to be converted into instances. The dungeons to be introduced in the future will be divided into two categories; Instanced and open area.
TIG> The death penalty was harsh. Any changes planned?
We're still fine-tuning that. There's a misunderstanding about losing experience when killed by a member of the opposing faction while killing a mob; you only lose experience when you've taken a certain amount of damage from the mob before being killed by the enemy. This is being adjusted as well, of course.
TIG> The top and bottom halves of the characters still look awkward and don't work correctly. Some skills are even affected by this, was this intentional?
To say it clearly, half of it is due to a bug and the other half is intentional. Prohibiting movement after executing the said combo chain was intentional. We wanted to allow the opponent to get a small chance at counter attack after being hit by the attack.
On the other hand, the inability to move while executing the first step of the combo was indeed a bug. This will be fixed.
TIG> How do the rewards for Abyss Points work?
There will be an 'Abyss' slot in the equipment panel, and Stigma stones and items unique to the Abyss will be available.
TIG> What are the required specs in order to enjoy fluent combat?
Taking the Abyss into account, we're looking at about GeForce 6000. It's of course subject to change depending on the size of the battle.
TIG> Certain rare items were only obtainable from 'named monsters'. As a result, informed players were 'camping' the named monsters.
That aspect will not change. Such items will only drop from Named Monsters. We believe it's best to let things be the way they are. After level 20 however, item drops will be adjusted.
TIG> The inability to foresee the success rate in crafting and losing all the materials afterwards caused some grief among players.
We believe crafting requires a certain 'feel.' As a result, we won't be introducing any display of success rates. We are however, looking into the issue of losing all materials upon failure. It's a difficult matter to handle, because making crafting too easy would also cause problems.
TIG> Any specific games you're watching?
I've played some North American MMORPGs prior to Aion, to the extent of signing up for beta tests. Nowadays I can't really do the same because of the amount of work I have, but there are games I'm looking forward to playing.
Personally, I think the genre is stuck at the benchmark set by WoW and Everquest. I'm looking forward to seeing how games will break free from the frame set by World of Warcraft.