Game Reviews and Previews

MWO Interview from IGN.com

Posted in: 05-14-2008           by: ben

( This article comes from http://rpgvault.ign.com. Click here to go to its original URL. )

A very long time ago, Lucifer, the King of Devils, led his frightening Death Legion out of Hell to attack the Magic Continent and its human race, which was celebrating the annual harvest festival on site of its origin, the Golden Plain. Odin, the King of Gods, reacted without hesitation by sending his Super Corps to save the beleaguered victims. However good his intentions, his quick decision led to dire consequences. His forces, which soon proved no match for their foes, were soundly routed. The fiends then advanced to storm the Gods’ stronghold, Frozen Mountain. The situation there rapidly grew desperate until Odin was left with but a single option. To prevent the fall of the entire universe, he made the ultimate sacrifice, fusing himself with a magical blade, the Dominant Sword, thereby sealing the border between the two realms.

This divide would endure for many centuries before it was unintentionally undone. In the meantime, the humans split into two factions, Dynasty and Empire. Centered in the Magic Continent’s north and south respectively, they also grew apart culturally. Eventually, the former’s discovery of a rare magic crystal mine, which it was unwilling to share, furnished the spark that ignited open hostilities. Then, the discovery of the Dominant Sword allowed the devils to return. Magic World Online takes place within this chaotic scenario, giving players on the two sides the option of fighting each other or their common foe. Developed by Goldcool Games, the title will be available in the west through Ingle Games. With the second round of closed beta currently under way, it seemed like a particularly appropriate time to find out more by questioning Product Director Kane Hao.

Jonric: To begin with a basic introduction to Magic World Online, how would you summarize it? What is its underlying premise? What differentiates it from other massively multiplayer games our readers know of?


Kane Hao:
Magic World Online is a new concept fantasy-themed MMORPG that takes place in a persistent magical world that combines character action and progression with social interaction and actual role-playing. By using the title Magic World Online, we primarily want to convey a sense of identity recognition, namely fantasy MMOG, to people who come across this game. In addition, we would like the name to give them a hint about the magic of the content it offers.

we want our players to enjoy the essence of MMORPGs with relatively small investments of their time… say one hour per day. And we want them to skip the unnecessary parts such as walking across maps and clicking on mobs

The game boasts gameplay that is both unique and balanced. We believe it is readily distinguishable by its tempting features, which range from the intriguing combination of cozy in-game video communication and the thoughtful official MWO Robot to the realization of personal ambitions as well as the accomplishment of nourishing community life. Other notable elements such as the availability of honorable official positions, romantic marriages, multi-functional houses, intelligent mounts and incredible growing weapons are also available. Going beyond that, we are now undertaking the task of bringing in even more from the latest Chinese version.

Jonric: Please tell us a bit about the developer, Goldcool Games. Where is the company located, and how long has it been in existence? Has the team released or is it currently working on any other projects?


Kane Hao:
Goldcool is a new rising online game developer located in Shanghai, China. Magic World Online is its first successful product; the company has been working on it for over two years. We’re very excited that it has hit 180,000 peak concurrent players in Mainland China, and has also surpassed the 60,000 mark in Taiwan.
At the moment, Goldcool is engaged not only in developing MWO expansion packages, but also in bringing out a new MMOG featuring a comic-type style.

image

Jonric: When did the development of Magic World Online actually begin? When did it first enter commercial service? Where is it currently available, and how successful has it been?

Kane Hao: Development began in 2005. Shortly after MWO started to become popular in Mainland China in 2007, it was taken to Taiwan, where further success awaited; it stayed in the top five as ranked by the MMOG Rating Board for months.

Jonric: What is the current status of the English-language version that’s being prepared for release in the North American market? Will you be using the optional micro-payments business model?

Kane Hao: Ingle Games has obtained the exclusive worldwide publishing rights for the English-language version of MWO, and is now running phase two of closed beta testing. We are happy that the innovative nature and the appeal of the game have been confirmed and praised by the thousands of testers who have been insiders for a while now, since the first stage. The schedule for open beta in North America has not yet been released, but it will start as soon as we reach a stable stage of the product.
We intend to run MWO using the increasingly popular “free to play for life” business model, which means that the players decisions about purchasing from the item mall are entirely optional.

Jonric: What kinds of gamers comprise your core target market because what they want matches the primary benefits this title offers?


Kane Hao:
We have tried to publicize the fact that we want our players to enjoy the essence of MMORPGs with relatively small investments of their time… say one hour per day. And we want them to skip the unnecessary parts such as walking across maps and clicking on mobs - both of which tend to be boring, and even tiring - so they can and focus their experience on the very essence of the game.
For this reason, we feel our game is a good fit for players who are sometimes busy with activities in their lives, like housework, school, jobs and so on. We also lean toward those more inclined to accept leisure games, and who may never have played an MMORPG before, as well as those hardcore gamers who’ve grown weary of spending all day in other ones.

Jonric: What are the key elements in Magic World Online’s overall setting? In particular, what are the main conflicts that will exist for the players to take part in when the game launches?

Kane Hao: The story is about the complex relationships among Gods, Humans and Devils. An intricate conspiracy initiated by the devils culminated in their taking over the gods’ dominion over Magic Land and its human residents. Since the gods were defeated, the two historically opposing camps among the humans, namely Dynasty and Empire, have faced the difficult dilemma of choosing between reformist cooperation and hostility for the sake of revenge.

the arena, guild war, town siege and country war elements are out there for PvP, which requires strength, power, technique and strategies. The maximum capacity for participants in a country war is over 1,000.

Reason would probably suggest that they begin by setting aside their differences in order to form a common front against the devils. Deep down, however, humans are not the kind to put aside their inner drive for vengeance, at least not easily. So, the ultimate outlook for the fate of the race remains pessimistic.

Jonric: How would you describe the look of the game’s art direction? What major factors influenced it? What’s most distinctive or otherwise notable about it?

Kane Hao:
Delicate 2D art has been employed to create the world. On thing to note is that when players advance to higher level, they’ll find the look of the characters and maps completely different. This also explains the size of the game client, which is more than 2.2 gigs. LOL. The world designers and builders really dedicated themselves to the artwork, especially to making all of the maps fully detailed.

image

Jonric: How expansive is the gameworld? Does it include a large number of areas, and how often are you adding new ones? How much of it is instanced?

Kane Hao:
At the present time, 48 maps and four instances (solo and team) are available in the gameworld. However, new areas are being added as frequently as possible. To go through all these places, it would require at least several months for an average player.

image

Jonric: Can we expect to see many friendly and neutral NPCs as we travel around the world? What kinds of roles do they play, and how important are they overall?

Kane Hao: NPCs are everywhere in MWO. Having experienced important events in and changes to the Magic Land, they have made up their minds to serve the country and to counter the devils. The players are intended to rescue the country with the NPCs’ instructions and help.

Jonric: What choices do players have when they create or select their avatars? Are they given much scope for attribute or visual personalization?

Kane Hao: At the very beginning, players can only choose class and gender for their characters, all of which share the same starting characteristics, including their apparel. However, they do begin to diverge once they reach level 10. Since it’s a 2D MMORPG, Magic World Online didn’t put much emphasis on much facial details, but players can select their preferred hair colors and styles.

Jonric: How does the game’s system for character advancement work? Does it incorporate any elements that you consider innovative, unusual or otherwise worthy of special mention?


Kane Hao:
Our character advancement is certainly a combination of class-, skill- and level-based. There is a unique feature called the Class Transfer that allows players to advance in different career paths, with different class skills. Let me give you an example on how this actually works.
If you select the Archer class, you can advance up to level 15, at which point you will have two professional tracks you can choose, Bounty Hunter and Stalker. Once you reach level 30, you can then do your second transfer, and a level 50, your third. After each time, you are able to learn some unique class skills. They are so essential for the character’s survival that once they are acquired, they become ingrained, like instincts, and thus will never decay.

image

It’s also possible for players to reverse career paths and choose others. In this case, the skills their characters have learned will stay with them. For example an individual who has chosen the Sniper King professional track can subsequently decide to reverse this selection and to pick Dragon Slayer instead, without losing the skills that were already acquired.

Jonric: What would you like us to know about the combat element, its level of significance and any specific aspects that help it to stand out?


Kane Hao:
Combat has a huge impact on character progression. Defeated monsters contribute items, gold and experience points, while defeated players give honor and have a 10-percent probability of dropping a backpack inventory item.
The whole gameworld as well as the arena, guild war, town siege and country war elements are out there for PvP, which requires strength, power, technique and strategies. The maximum capacity for participants in a country war is over 1,000.
From success in PvP and by completing quests, players can gain official positions that give the characters honorary, bonus attributes and prized gear.