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Jade Dynasty Interviews: Vengeance Expansion Interview

By Guest Writer on August 27, 2010

“The free-to-play space has become much more competitive, leading to much higher quality titles”

There is a stigma long associated with free-to-play games that just doesn’t hold true anymore. It used to be that the games were easy, lacked graphical depth, the gameplay was simplistic and they were – to flip about a phrase – worth exactly what was being paid to play them.

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Companies like Perfect Worlds have gone a long way to dispel that image, offering up games that boast solid graphics, strong mechanics and entertaining game play. The game does have a micro-transaction system in place, but also offers a decent amount of free content.

With the release of the Vengeance expansion in July, it seemed like a good time to catch up with the folks behind the game to chat about where the game has been, what the dev team has learned in the relatively short time it’s been around, the perception of F2P titles in general and what players can expect from the latest installment in the game.

MMORPG went looking for answers and Andrew Brown, the product manager for Jade Dynasty, took the time to supply them for us.

MMORPG.com:

Jade Dynasty was released in 2009. What stigma associated with F2P titles have you had to overcome, and what have you learned about the game and how it relates to its community since its launch?

Andrew Brown:

One of the stigmas associated with free-to-play titles is that they are poor quality and although this may have been true to early titles, free-to-play games have come a long way since then. The free-to-play space has become much more competitive, leading to much higher quality titles, all good things for players and we’ve seen many MMOs go from pay-to-play to a free-to-play model.

MMORPG.com:

Aside from the two new demi-god factions that Vengeance is bringing to the title, what else is new that will have an immediate impact on the game?

Andrew Brown:

The other big feature in Jade Dynasty Vengeance is the introduction of Territory Wars, which will allow player alliances to battle against one another for control of territories in the world of Jade Dynasty. Alliances will gain various benefits from controlling areas and this is the first time that players will be able to experience an ongoing, war system, which will vary from server to server.

MMORPG.com:

There are stark differences in the way the way is played in Asian cultures and in Western cultures. What do you feel are the biggest elements that have to be adjusted between the two games to appeal to both sides of the ocean?

Andrew Brown:

One of the biggest differences that we’ve found is what players view as additional content. In many Asian countries, grind is considered as an added form of content, but does not translate well when you bring that to a western audience. We’ve been conscious to make sure that our games appeal to western players on both a localization and gameplay level.

MMORPG.com:

You are releasing the game with German and French versions. How hard is it to rewrite a game in a different language, how much time does it take and are there any subtle differences in the translated versions of the game?

Andrew Brown:

We are fortunate enough to have a whole localization team based in our newly established European office in Amsterdam that is dedicated to translate Jade Dynasty in both German and French. The localization team includes native speakers, allowing us to not only translate the language, but also ensure that the game makes sense culturally.

MMORPG.com:

What was the impetus behind the Vengeance expansion?

Andrew Brown:

We are constantly looking for new ways to improve our games including Jade Dynasty and the introduction of the two new factions for the Athan race will help continue the ongoing story of the epic struggle between humans and the immortals. The introduction of Territory Wars is also something that many players have been asking for.

MMORPG.com:

What elements do you take into consideration when first thinking about an expansion?

Andrew Brown:

There are many elements that we take into consideration when thinking about an expansion including how we can move the game forward as well what players might want. We work closely with our developers to ensure that expansions have something for everyone to look forward to.

MMORPG.com:

A martial arts MMO is tricky to pull of because of the frenetic physical action that takes place within the combat sphere. How hard is it to pull off that animation, multiply by the number of players onscreen in the MMO world and still maintain a steady framerate?

Andrew Brown:

The fact that Jade Dynasty was initially developed for Asian marketplaces is a positive point especially when dealing with issues regarding graphic performance of process-intensive elements. Due to the makeup of such audiences the game was developed with a wide range of systems in mind from bare bones rigs to full blown workhorses. The game is able to successfully provide the required level of immersion detail regardless of system’s strength.

MMORPG.com:

If you had to pick one or two things, what do you like the most about the Vengeance expansion?

Andrew Brown:

My favorite things are the two new factions that we’re introducing for the Athan race. A lot of players have been excited about the Rayan faction, that have the ability to clone themselves to deal twice as much damage to an enemy or another player. With Athan reinforcements, we’re really looking forward to seeing what players do with the Territory Wars system and see what happens with the epic struggle between humans and the immortals.

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