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Dragon Oath Official Developer Blog

Developers of ChangYou's Dragon Oath, the F2P True Martial Arts MMORPG, write about Dragon Oath and the gaming industry. We'll also bring you insights about MMORPGs made in China and published in the West. Share your thoughts with us!

Author: changyou

The Role of Players in Developing an MMORPG

Posted by changyou Wednesday March 31 2010 at 8:52PM
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I was meditating today on the importance of player input when managing an MMORPG. Obviously, a successful game company will listen to what their players want, and introduce features that appeal to them. But companies that don't allow a deeper level of input are missing out on an incredible resource: the knowledge and dedication of the fans.

We recently made one of our most enthusiastic players into an intern. He's been giving us great feedback. We've learned that even if someone in the office likes an idea, if he doesn't agree with it, it needs work. Why should he know better than our trained game development and marketing staff? It's simple - he loves the game. He cares too much about it to let us mess it up with something that only sounds like a good idea from behind a desk.

Of course, I also understand how fan-love can motivate someone to want to make a better game: I myself am a fan of Dragon Oath. As the new Community Manager, this isn't just another job - it's a dream come true, being able to work hands-on on the game that I love. I'm passionate about what I do, and if I believe there's a change that will make the Dragon Oath experience better, I fight for it.

We are experimenting with a system that we call the OathKeepers, where selected players would help us police Dragon Oath - everything from catching spammers, to enforcing our language policies, to directing new players to the appropriate FAQs. Not only will this give us some much-needed extra eyes and ears, but will involve the players in maintaining their own community. That way, everyone can feel good knowing that no one has an unfair advantage (bots) or is out there trying to ruin your gaming experience (spammers, bullies.) This would also show our new players that if they get involved in our community in a constructive way, they can rise to the level of OathKeeper and mentor new players as they themselves were mentored.

In a perfect world - which is what an MMORPG tries to create - everyone would have a day job that they really cared about. But at least we can give the people that care about Dragon Oath a chance to contribute.

- Lucy Song
Community Manager

What sets a MMORPG apart from others

Posted by changyou Friday March 26 2010 at 1:45PM
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Pet System

World of Warcraft: Most beasts can be captured and tamed as pets, but they are typically limited to being non-combative companions. The hunter and warlock classes are unique exceptions. Hunters are allowed to have up to five combative pets, with stats chosen from three different groups (Tenacity, Ferocity, Cunning). Warlocks can enslave demons to summon as pets; they have less than ten different demon types to choose from.

Perfect World International: For most Perfect World players, pets are a rarity, as they must be obtained through Venomancers. Only the Venomancer class can capture and use combat pets; pets that belong to other classes are merely for show.

Jade Dynasty: Players can choose to have combat pets, which fight in battle, or crafting pets, which gather materials and craft items. Pets can also farm items, evolve into two states, and die when their age is full. While unique, the pet system in Jade Dynasty lacks customizability; six predetermined classes specify the pets' stats.

MapleStory: Pets cost real money and expire after a limited time frame (typically 3 months). The approximately 25 types of pets can be taught tricks, be dressed up, and talk. While the pets can alter your speed and jump, they do not fight in battle.

Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO): No real pet system. Summoned and charmed pets are temporary and cannot be controlled.

Atlantica Online: No pet system. Let your fantasies come true in Dragon Oath. Visit Pet Island to catch the pet of your dreams. Whether it’s an air-gliding golden dragon, a Stegosaurus or a ramen-cooking panda, your dreams become reality here. Control their stats and skills as they level up with you. Transform them into adorable babies, or breed them to create new, exceptionally powerful pets. Unlike most MMORPGs that offer, combat pets are not limited to just a few classes: anyone can tame and own one! Dragon Oath boasts a pet system where possibilities are truly endless.

Dragon Oath


QUICK FACTS

• 400,000 unique combinations
• ~70 different types of pets, each with its own personality
• Each pet has a baby, standard, and rare form.
• Pets raise stats and personal skills as they level
• Allocate pet's attributes in Strength, Intelligence, Stamina, Willpower, and Agility to enhance your pets’ toughness.
• Can learn tricks and skills through a pet trainer
• Can transform grown pets into baby pets
• Can be bred with friends' pets to create more powerful pets with unique skill combinations
• Each pet can have up to 6 skills. One manual and 5 automatic skills.
• Pet skills are either manually operated or automatic skills
• Pet foods help recover the pets HP.
• Pet toys to regulate pet's happiness to be summoned.


Guild System

World of Warcraft: Besides the normal guild benefits (chat, trade opportunities, access to party members), WoW provides two atypical elements: Guild tabards are wearable items that display the guild's chosen symbol and colors, but are limited to the designs provided by the NPC, and Guild banks allow for a shared repository for guild members to withdraw and deposit from. Max 500 members per guild.

Perfect World International: Guilds (called factions in Perfect World) allow for member chat, use of faction emblems, and PvP wars, in which factions fight to control certain regions of the world and earn bonuses. To reach the max 200 player faction size requires increasing the faction to level 3 and spending millions of in-game coins. Faction members can be assigned specific jobs, which determine their ability to invite and promote members.

Jade Dynasty: Clan/guild members get the normal benefits of chat and clan interaction, with four additional clan skills: AP raise, HP raise, spirit raise, and shared experience. Clans are small (limited to 15 members), but can form alliances with other clans to participate in alliance wars.

MapleStory: A typical guild system that doesn't offer any new or interesting elements. Guild members are notified of other guild members signing in, have guild-exclusive chat, bear a guild title, and have a guild emblem, which can be selected from a few available options. Max 30 members per guild.

Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO): Like MapleStory, just the ordinary guild system.

Atlantica Online: In addition to the regular social aspects, Atlantic Online offers an interesting take on guilds, allowing them to take control of cities. City control lets guilds collect fees from city shops, control the population of the city by completing town quests, and build new buildings. In return for these benefits, a guild maintenance fee is collected from all guild members at the first of every month. Max 50 members per guild.

Dragon Oath:

It offers the most complete guild experience available in any F2P MMORPG. Not only do guild members get access to new friends for partying, trading, and chatting, but members also receive special guild quests, reap the benefits of numerous guild skills, and make money just by contributing to the guild. For example, commercial routes can be created to spur trade with other guilds and reward trading guild members with bonuses. Proudly bearing their own, individually customizable guild emblem, guilds can form alliances and declare wars on other guilds in a 2-hour guild combat. As guilds battle to capture supremacy, they can increase their notoriety by building and maintaining their own city, which provides them special rewards such as tax income. Players can do quests such as Construction and Marketing to improve guild rankings. Make friends, form alliances, and fight to be the controlling leaders of Dragon Oath!

QUICK FACTS
• Join guilds by level 10; create own guild by level 40
• Numerous guild member positions available (Leader, Deputy, Public Officer, Mission Officer, Interior Officer, Trader, Elite, Member)
• Design own emblem
• Declare war on other guilds (2-hour combat)
• 8 guild quests to gain rewards, experience, and guild contribution points
• Guild skills: life skills on casting, cooking, etc.
• Build and maintain own city for special rewards


Marriage

World of Warcraft: Surprisingly, there are currently no benefits to marriage in this popular MMORPG. Marriage is possible, but, as reflected by the zero-stat wedding rings, it's just for fun and show.

Perfect World International: Marriage in Perfect World isn't for the poor: getting married costs real money (~$60), and divorces are costly (2 mil coins). Benefits of marriage are solely item-based; couples receive marriage clothing and ten wedding gifts.

Jade Dynasty: Couples can get married by choosing to spend real money (~$60) or time (undertaking quests to achieve 9,999 romance points). In addition to the typical wedding clothes items, couples receive access to romance buffs, spouse teleportation, and the ability to embrace your spouse.

MapleStory: After completing a number of small quests, the couple can choose to get married in either a Cathedral or a White Wedding Chapel and have a one minute photo opportunity. Premium weddings conclude with time in the Untamed Hearts hunting ground, where valuable items can be procured. The sole benefits of marriage are stat boosts on wedding rings and the ability to enter Amoria Dungeon, where exclusive monsters are located.

Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO): No marriage system.

Atlantica Online: No marriage system. Go all out on your wedding ceremony with parades and fireworks for your one true love!

Dragon Oath:

Marriage is as important in Dragon Oath as it is in real life: couples can only marry after their friendship reaches a certain level, and they must plan ahead by sending their friends personalized wedding invitations. The benefits of marriage are extraordinary: the happy couple gets access to a set of exclusive rare skills and items, gains access to unique titles, and even earns special bonus experience when playing as a family. No other MMORPG offers a wedding experience like it!

QUICK FACTS
? Players can get married after friendship points reach 1,000
? Each partner pays 50 gold for marriage fee
? Players who want to renew their wedding can purchase "Love Story"
? Married couples can learn skill "Couples Call"
? Receive extra experience rewards from training with each other in the same party


Parties/Special Community features

World of Warcraft: Notable characteristics of WoW parties are shared experience across members and several loot options specified by the party leader (Round Robin: everyone takes turns, Free-for-all, Master Looter: group leader loots everything, etc.).

Perfect World International: Typical party system. No other special community features.

Jade Dynasty: Typical party system. No other special community features.

MapleStory: Party members get additional 10% EXP bonus when a fellow party member of similar level is hunting on the same map. Max 6 members.

Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO): Built in voice-chat is included, providing players a greater degree of community. A standard party system of up to 6 members is implemented. Raid parties can be larger (up to 12 members), allowing high-level players to gather and complete high reward quests.

Atlantica Online: Parties in Atlantica Online provide bonuses, such as additional experience points and higher probability of receiving items. The party leader can invite up to 8 members and decide on the item distribution (Searcher Acquisition, Random Acquisition, Party Leader Acquisition). Dragon Oath provides numerous unique features focused on building community friendship and enhancing the social experience between players. Party up with strangers to help complete rewarding quests, earn items, fight high level monsters, and kill boss for rewards, with the ability to designate experience as shared, distributed, or pet-oriented. If you're eager for communities beyond the typical party system, look no further. No other MMORPG can compare to the unprecedented relationship systems that

Dragon Oath has to offer. Become a master (if you're an experienced user) or a disciple (if you're new to the game), and gain not only a lifelong partner, but also rare items and special rewards, such as extra experience in battle! Players can also form kinships with their friends, earning titles and bonus experiences when partying.

QUICK FACTS
• Master benefits: access to rare items, earns extra 2% experience when disciple gains experience, extra 10% experience in battle
• Disciple benefits: access to rare items, earns extra 10% experience in battle, and extra 20% experience when partying with the master
• Only one Master/Disciple relationship per time
• After level 45, disciple graduates and master can take on another disciple
• After disciple reaches level 30 and 45, Master receives experience and item rewards.
• Kin benefits: experience bonus when partying, receive a title
• Up to six kins per player
 

Why Pet System Matters

Posted by changyou Friday March 19 2010 at 5:03PM
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Greetings, everyone!

Our forum volunteer Vexx brings this in-depth look into the pet system of Dragon Oath. Check out why he thinks a good pet system can make a big difference! 


(Screenshot of Vexx on Pegasus Mount and his Second Generation Dragon Pet )
 

The pet system in Dragon Oath is unique in many ways from other games.
You can capture and train a variety of pets ranging from cute and cuddly to fierce and ferocious.
There are so many different pets you can try, and they even come in several different and rare colors.
Pets are even customizable with tons of unique skills to help both you and your pet in battle.
You may choose to fight alongside your pet as you adventure throughout the world of Dragon Oath and watch as your pet grows in size and power or you can even breed your pet with someone else's and get rare second generation pets that can be even more powerful and unique.
Oh, don't worry, you can hold more and more pets the stronger you get, whether you are rare pet collector or just wanna have a different kind of pet for each situation you get into. The options are there!

Get started

Once you create your Dragon Oath character and reach level 5, you will receive a quest titled "First Pet" from Master Zhao[160,157] in the City of Da Li.
For this quest, Master Zhao would like you to go to the pet store near East Street in Da Li to find Lily White[265,129].
After talking to Lily White she will give you a new quest called "Level Up Pet" and she will give you her bunny pet.
Lily White would like for you to level her bunny to level 2.
First, go to your character page by clicking the picture on the lower left of your screen or pressing Alt+C and then go to the Pet tab at the bottom of the page. Once there, look at your pet list and click on "First Bunny" and then click the word “Summon”. You now have a bunny pet to play with. You can bring it to fight beside you in Wild Plains or Mt. Infinity. Go kill some monsters until your First Bunny reaches Level 2 and then return to Lily White to turn in your quest.
Continue to do quests alongside your Bunny companion until you reach level 7. Talk to Master Zhao once again and he will send you back to Lily White to learn how to capture a pet. Talk to her and receive the quest "Capture a Pet".
Lily White wants to capture one of her ducklings. To do so, go to the Smart Temple in the Northeast part of Da Li to find someone named Serious Wong[275,49]. Talk to him to enter the King's Garden. Once there, do a bit of exploring until you find some Ducklings. Attack one until it becomes unconscious. After you've done that it becomes a catchable Duckling. Click on it to lure it in and catch it. Return to Lily White once you have captured a pet Duckling.
You now know how to capture and level pets. Feel free to adventure and quest alongside your pets as long as you want. Once you reach level 10 you can leave Da Li and go to the city of Luo Yang to talk to Cherry Yun[183,155] to go to pet island. There you can choose and capture from a variety of many exciting pets, and as you level higher you can even more to choose from. You might even get lucky and capture a rare pet.


Breed Your Pet

In the world of Dragon Oath you can choose to breed your pets and create awesome Second Generation Pets that are even more powerful and colorful than your original pet.
Breeding requires 2 Young Pets of the same type, 1 male and 1 female. You can capture a young pet of your choosing from Pet Island, buy it from peddlers or players who sell pets, or even get one from a special event.
Once you have your young pet you need to find it a mate. Perhaps a friend or guildie have a pet of the same type and would like to breed with your pet, or you could advertise in yell chat that your pet is looking for a mate as a lot of pet breeders do to find that perfect match for their pet. Another option is to release a pet personal or check the pet personals to find a mate for your pet. You can do so by talking to Si Si White[87,143] in Su Zhou. This is also the person you will talk to when you are ready to breed your pets.
You can breed a pet for the first time when it reaches levels 30+ and then every 20 levels after that. For example, if you breed at level 31 you can breed again at 51 and then 71 and so on. But it is ideal to start breeding right at level 30.
Once you have found a breeding partner who meets the pet breeding requirements, you can team up with them and take your pets to Si Si White. Make sure both pets are at 100 joy and 1000+ Life and then talk to her and input your breeding pets.
The higher the level the pet is, the longer it will take to breed. You will be informed to pick up the pet by mail after your pet has been successfully bred. If you have not taken your pet within 48 hours, the pet will be set free.
To pick up your new pets, both you and your breeding partner must return to Si Si White in a team, and have enough space to hold 2 pets, your Breeding Pet and your new Second Generation baby Pet.

There are alot of things to look for when trying to create that perfect Second Generation Pet.
The better the Breeding Pets are, the better your Second Generation Pet will be, though some aspects of breeding pets are completely random as well.
Growth Rate: Growth rate is critical to the abilities of the pet. Growth rates range from Normal, Good, Preeminence, Excellent, and Perfect. Normal being the lowest and Perfect being the highest.
Stats: The Higher the stats of your Breeding Pets, the better they will be for your Second Gen.
Str: Increase Strength to Improve your pet's Physical Attack.
Int: Increase Intellect to Improve your pet's Spirit Attack.
Sta: Increase Stamina to Improve your pet's Physical Defense and Maximum HP.
Wpo: Increase Willpower to Improve your pet's Spirit Defense.
Agi: Increase Agility to Improve your pet's Hit, Reflexes, and Critical Hit.
Try to build the Breeding Pets with the stats you would like for your Second Gen to have.
Increasing the Savvy of your pets will also increase their stats, so it is also believed that a pet with good Savvy will make a great Second Generation Pet.
You can also use a Baby Pet Scroll on your Young Pet before breeding it to rejuvenate it and get a new Young Pet to work with. People often do this to try and get a better breeding pet. There are different levels of Baby Pet Scrolls as well. The higher the Level the better your rejuvenated pet will turn out.

Train and Enhance Your Pet

As you quest and adventure alongside your Dragon Oath pet, it will begin to level and become more powerful.
As your pet levels up, you can make it stronger by adding stat points as previously mentioned in the Breeding section.
Str: Increase Strength to Improve your pet's Physical Attack.
Int: Increase Intellect to Improve your pet's Spirit Attack.
Sta: Increase Stamina to Improve your pet's Physical Defense and Maximum HP.
Wpo: Increase Willpower to Improve your pet's Spirit Defense.
Agi: Increase Agility to Improve your pet's Hit, Reflexes, and Critical Hit.
There are 3 different types of pets.
Physical Attack Pets: These pets use mostly Physical Attack Skills.
Spirit Attack Pets: These pets use mostly Spirit Attack Skills.
Balanced Attack Pets: These pets use both Physical Attack Skills and Spirit Attack Skills.
Now that you know the basics, there are several ways that you can use these stats to build a pet that suits your needs.
For a Physical Attack pet, some people will often go for all Strength stat points for a pure damage pet. You could also add some Agility in there to increase its Hit and Critical hit. Make it a powerful offensive pet.
For a Spirit Attack pet, some people will often go for all Intellect stat points for a pure damage pet. You could also add some Agility in there to increase it's Hit and Critical hit. Make it a powerful offensive pet.
Agility is good all around :)
For Balanced pets you can go either way, Physical or Spirit attacks, the choice is up to you. Or you could even leave it Balanced and use both.
Some People even make Tank Pets by adding Stamina Points to increase the pet's HP, Willpower to improve the pet's Spirit Defense. Or even Agility to increase the pet's Reflexes.
There are so many options available and you can combine any of these stats however you would like to create your ideal pet.
Adding Savvy to your pet will also increase its stats, not to mention it will allow you to level your pet higher than normal pets. You can do so by using Savvy Bone Pills or even combining Wild Pets that you capture with your own pet. These wild pet's must have the Bone stat of at least 1+ the amount of savvy your main pet has for best results. If you are lucky, adding Savvy will even result in your pet learning another skill.

Pet Skills

There are 2 types of pet skills – manually operated skills and automatic skills.
Manually operated skills allow the owner to use the skill whenever they choose. These skills can be placed in the shortcut bar for easy access.
Automatic skills are skills that a pet uses automatically during a battle.
Pet Skills are abilities that your pet can learn to do various things, such as Breath fire, Stun the enemy, Shoot lighting attacks, Buff Master's Stats, etc. Those are just a few examples of the amazing things that your pet can do with skills. And you can even get advanced versions of skills as well.
Pets are able to learn skills through various ways. There are pet trainers that you can talk to, to teach your pet new skills. Players can teach their pet to compensate for their weaknesses or support their strengths. To do this you will need a pet Skill Scroll or an Advanced Skill scroll. These can be obtained from boss drops and even some regular monsters. You can get them from Chests or buy them from shops also.
Then head over to Nana White[181,157] in Luo Yang pet shop and select the option to "Learn Pet Skill". It's as simple as that.
Depending on the level of your pet, using pet Skill Scrolls may Replace a current Pet skill, but the higher your pet levels the more new skills it can learn.

Your pet can truly be Unique from the decisions you make on what stats to add and what skills to use. Even what color and rarities of the pet you choose to use.
So many options and so many pets to choose from! Not to mention you can have several pets at the same time.
These are some of the many reasons why the Dragon Oath Pet system is so awesome.
Try Dragon Oath out and see for yourself the wonderful things you can do!

-- Vexx
 

The Globalization of MMORPGs

Posted by changyou Friday March 12 2010 at 3:05AM
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Ever heard somebody say that the world is getting smaller? It’s certainly true now, simply because of the technology that we have readily available to us. A person halfway across the planet is nothing more than a video chat or an email away. If you’re playing an MMORPG, you certainly know what I mean. A player in your guild could be someone who lives in another state, another country, or even another continent! Recently, I’ve thought a lot about the implications of this, and I’ve come to the conclusion that most MMO players don’t appreciate this aspect of online gaming enough.
It’s not to say that just because people are using this powerful ability of the Internet for purposes of entertainment that they are not truly appreciating it. On the contrary, I think anyone who reads this article understands and acknowledges how important the World Wide Web is. The point I’m making is that we’ve been spoiled by our plethora of options for communication, and that we’re starting to take our opportunities for granted. After all, just 20 years ago the only multiplayer option you had was your brother or sister sitting next to you while playing Duck Hunt on the NES. Nowadays you can be in California and join a quest with somebody from London. How cool is that?
For me, it’s taken a long time for this fact to sink in. Despite all the talk about globalization, and even the fact that I am working for a game developer that is bringing a game from China over to the U.S., it still wasn’t until recently that I began to realize what an amazing situation MMORPG players have been given. And if it weren’t for Facebook, I might have never had my sudden realization…
Something we do quite often here at ChangYou is browse our forums and social networking pages for user feedback. The other day while I was looking on our Facebook fan page to see what players had been saying, I noticed all the different networks listed next to the comments. It was as if the United Nations had decided to host a web forum on our page. For me, it was not only gratifying to see that our game had such worldwide appeal, but it made me appreciate how our game had succeeded in bringing people of such different backgrounds and cultures together to share in one common experience.
As the MMO with the largest global user base (a healthy 75 million players worldwide), Dragon Oath has truly done its job in bringing people together through gaming. For those of you who are interested in finding the most diverse playing field available, look no further than Dragon Oath. Players are immersed in a game where the virtual world surrounds them with players from different parts of the real world. In the game, it’s not uncommon for your guild to be comprised of players from a country you might know nothing about, nor is it unusual for you to be trading with someone who is thousands of miles away (especially if he turns out to be a Chinese gold farmer, but more on that in a future article…). I urge players to go beyond their usual routine in their MMORPGs. Strike up a conversation with the people you are questing with, learn a bit about who the player behind the screen is. Take advantage of this special opportunity you’ve been given, and make the most of your MMO experience.
 

 

 

 

Why MMORPGs Have to Expand Constantly

Posted by changyou Wednesday March 3 2010 at 1:24PM
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  MMORPGs are famous (or infamous, depending on how you look at it) for their expansion packs. We don’t know who started it, but we sure as hell know expansions aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. There are about as many reasons for this as there are to hate the fact that they exist. Hopefully though, after really thinking about the issue, gamers will come to realize why expansion packs are necessary in the world of MMORPGs.
  First, what makes MMORPG expansions so special? Well, for one, an MMORPG isn’t your typical single player adventure. After you’re done with a single player game, it’s really your choice whether or not you liked the story and want to continue it by purchasing an expansion. In an MMORPG though, it’s not the same. The online game is as much about the story and the adventure as it is the social interactions. Once you engross yourself in an MMORPG universe, chances are you’ll have made a group of friends who will rely on each other in the game. This creates a unique social constraint and pressure for players to consider. What happens when all of your friends are downloading the new expansion and waiting for you to get it so that they can continue questing? It becomes really difficult to say no.
  The main reason for expansions is, of course, to expand the in-game universe! No matter how much you enjoyed the original game, you’re bound to get bored of repeating the same events over and over. Once you hit the level cap and get the best items, there’s very little incentive to continue playing. Expansions continue the story and add new items, quests, and features. They often spruce up the graphics and look of the game as well, which is always a welcome bonus. In addition, well-made expansion packs address gameplay features that players may have complained about in previous versions of the game. To sum it all up, expansions give everyone a reason to continue playing, and to enjoy the game even more than before.
  This all sounds great right? You can’t really argue against these goals, but there are concerns with expansions as well. The primary concern of course, is cost. Nobody really likes to have to pay for something that they feel should have been included in their initial purchase. I’m not going to sit here and argue with players about whether or not this concern is justified, but it is definitely an issue on most gamers’ minds. Another issue with expansions is the fact that they make certain items in the original game dated and rather useless. This is a valid concern, since you might have started the original game a while after it was released and just obtained a rare weapon, only to find that the next day an expansion pack comes out where the most common NPC drops an item that is nearly as powerful as the one you just earned. Lastly, players who are ready to join an MMORPG near the release of an expansion often decide to hold off on making an account, so that they can purchase the expansion set that includes the original game and the new expansion for a reduced cost. This of course, means others have to wait for more players to join their MMO world.
  Here at ChangYou, we recently celebrated our first successful expansion to our flagship game Dragon Oath. Being a F2P game, we still have the same responsibilities as all other popular MMORPGs, which is to foster the continued interest of our players and to give them new content as often as possible. Our expansion, titled Age of Destiny, does all that and more, with a huge list of new artifact weapons, dragon mounts, new quests, and fantastic new maps. However, as an F2P MMORPG, we have a few advantages over other games in the area of expansion. For instance, although we reward players with a brand new item pack for downloading the expansion, old players get the same items the first time they log on after the expansion’s launch date. In this way, nobody is discouraged from joining the game regardless of when they decide to make an account. Another example of how we differ is the fact that, although we are introducing a new set of weapons, the overall power structure and in-game economy has been carefully balanced so that there won’t be any huge shifts with any of the new items introduced in the expansion. Lastly, and most importantly, our expansion is 100% free. True to the goal of an expansion pack, we are releasing the new content solely to encourage players to continue playing and enjoying the game that they already love. For more information about Age of Destiny, check out the expansion’s mini site!

 

What Has Happened to WoW in China and what we can learn from the incident

Posted by changyou Monday March 1 2010 at 1:29PM
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  You might be asking yourself why we're talking about WoW on a blog for Dragon Oath. The fact of the matter is nobody can deny WoW's universal success. This success means that many other MMOs, Dragon Oath included, are affected by decisions made regarding World of Warcraft. I'm willing to bet that most of you, even if you don't play WoW yourself, have heard about or tuned into news on the subject of WoW's recent troubles in the Chinese market. It certainly hasn't been smooth sailing for the world's most-subscribed MMORPG.
  While WoW has had trouble with localization and Chinese governmental regulation, we're dealing with a different problem here in America. It seems worthwhile to me to devote an entry to discussing the implications of WoW's regulatory fiasco in China and why it touches upon Dragon Oath's situation in America.
  For the few of you who still aren't sure about what I'm talking about, I'm going to give a quick walkthrough of Blizzard's troubles in China. Blizzard's foray into the Chinese gaming market all started when they launched World of Warcraft in China on June 6, 2005. At the time, they partnered with local Chinese MMO developer and operator The9. This developer choice was very sound at the time, as The9 had an excellent reputation in the Chinese gaming industry and would give Blizzard a foot in the door.
For years, Blizzard's game thrived in China, where it made up the majority of an Asian gaming market that held 50% of WoW's total players. In doing so, issues of translations and satisfying governmental censors had to be addressed, as well as practical problems. Many players in China did not own personal computers. For this, Blizzard introduced a pay-per-minute system and decided to forego the traditional monthly subscription model.
  This success ran for several years. Blizzard introduced the first expansion, Burning Crusade, in 2007. It wasn't really until 2008, when Blizzard launched the second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, that the Chinese government really began to give them problems. For you see, the new expansion touched on some taboo themes of death, spirits, and the undead. The Chinese government saw this and deemed the game unfit to be released, causing the release date of this expansion to be pushed back more and more. The gamers were getting fed up, and Blizzard had to deal with it one way or another. And so on June 7, 2009, Blizzard's contract with The9 expired, and Blizzard decided to take their game to a new developer company, NetEase. Unfortunately for Blizzard and for gamers everywhere, things were about to take a turn for the worse.
  At the time of the transition, NetEase was not ready to launch its own game servers yet, and players were asked to wait an indefinite period of time for the new servers to go up. Not only was the technical aspect interfering with gaming, but the Chinese government was also not quick to approve the return of WoW, especially since the content that had met with disapproval had not been addressed or changed. It wasn't until this month that NetEase has been approved to relaunch World of Warcraft in China. Just in time, since Blizzard is due to announce the fourth expansion soon...
  And that is, in a nutshell, what World of Warcraft fans in China have been dealing with for several months now. While it's easy to heap copious amounts of blame on the Chinese government, it may be more appropriate to step back and really analyze the situation. This is the same government that has had to enact laws on gold farming to stop literal gaming sweatshops. This is also the government that can't control IP violations to save their lives. The proliferation of piracy highly discourages game publishers to release piratable software in China, which means that the entire gaming population flocks to the MMORPG as their gaming outlet. With so much of society's attention absorbed through gaming, it's natural for a government to want to regulate, and it's not easy to correctly judge a regulation as an outside observer.
  As for Dragon Oath? We here at ChangYou.com(US) are certainly lucky to be entering a market that is relatively free of content restriction. What we've come to discover though, is that instead of the government issuing mandated regulations, here the users give developers implicit orders for what they want to see in their games. Localization has definitely been one of the biggest issues we've had to tackle, and that is where every developer who is expanding into a foreign market can learn from the recent events that happened in the World of Warcraft.