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MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 2010)  | Ltd.
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Interviews: Introductory Interview

By Jon Wood on August 13, 2009

Can you give us an idea of what Dragon Oath is all about?

Dragon Oath General Manager:

Dragon Oath is a free to play Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMORPG) set in ancient China during the time of the Song Dynasty in 960 AD. The main storyline of Dragon Oath is based upon the mythology of the eight races of non-human deities described in Buddhist cosmology. According to Buddhism, these Demi-Gods exist on a higher plane of existence than mortals, and yet they are still bound by their passions and desires to the Samsara, the cycle of reincarnation. While the Demi-Gods themselves are not the primary focus in the game, the story's main characters are modeled after the deity races, exhibiting many of their qualities, both divine and mortal.

The entire game play of Dragon Oath including missions, features and systems follow this storyline. This will enable players to develop their own personalized experiences with the storyline of Dragon Oath.


What makes Dragon Oath stand out amongst its MMO peers?

Dragon Oath General Manager:

There are several features that differentiate Dragon Oath from other Free-to-Play MMORPGs. The main is its large emphasis on teamwork and community. Dragon Oath is primarily a community-focused and a community-oriented game. The basic platform including all features, systems and content promote community. It is very difficult to follow missions, go up levels and complete quests by playing alone. Most of quests are built and designed for players to "group-up" in order to gain the maximum benefits whenever they finish their tasks. There are many in-game mechanisms that helps players find virtual friends or partners to team up. The harmonious combination of the basic community-focused game platform along with dynamic mechanisms that assist players in pairing up makes the game much for fun and enjoyable. There is no "I" in Dragon Oath. There is only "Us."

Secondly, Dragon Oath offers 24/7 automatic ongoing events. There are and will be many special in-game events established and operated by the operation team of Dragon Oath, however there are over 70 automated In-Game events happening every minute of the game. Therefore, while playing the game, the players will always be participating in events (whenever they wish to).

Third, there are 9 classes that players can choose from; Pyromancer, Lotus Order, Royalty, Minstrel, Taoist, Voodoo, Assassin, Beggars Alliance and Shaolin. The interesting factor about all of these classes is that the types of weapons or equipments that each class offers are unique and different. After players choose their characters at level 10, they will have to face different missions and will have to raise and learn different skills that stand clearly against each other. This diversity among each class makes Dragon Oath very exciting and dynamic.

Last, Dragon Oath has very unique pet system. With up to 70 kinds of pets, each having their own character and personality that shows when their master is being attacked, players will never truly feel alone at the battlefield. The main and the most important aspect about the pet system of Dragon Oath is the way of breeding and training pets, and characteristics of 70 available pets that differ depending on the methods of breeding and training

How will the game's item shop work?

Dragon Oath General Manager:

I believe it is a little too early to mention about the Item Shop, but I will release some information about it now. Players can choose from approximately 600 virtual items for sale in-game to enhance their experience and help them advance to higher levels of play. The major categories of virtual items include gems, pets, fashion items, magic medicine, animals for riding, hierograms, skill books, fireworks and other entertaining and useful articles. It is not mandatory for players to purchase any In-Game items. Please note that players can enjoy Dragon Oath without purchasing anything; however many of the offered items will greatly help players and make it more exciting and fun.

Was the game released in another market? How long ago?

Dragon Oath General Manager:

Dragon Oath (also known as Tian Long Ba Bu, or TLBB) was launched in May 2007 in China. The concurrent users reached approximately 400,000 within the first month of its launch. Peak concurrent users for the game were approximately 875,000 in the first quarter of 2009. Dragon Oath is now being operated in Vietnam, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan and Singapore as well under the title "TLBB." Our European office is now preparing to launch in Europe under the same title.

Dragon Oath is undergoing Pre-Closed Beta for the American and Australian Market, and its Closed Beta is scheduled to start on September 10th.


What, in your opinion, make Dragon Oath a good candidate for the Western market?

Dragon Oath General Manager:


As mentioned above, the community-oriented game play, features/systems and the entire game platform will be the biggest attraction for the Western players. It is a well known fact that the western players do not appreciate grinding games. In addition, many Free-to-Play MMORPGs from Asia are mostly single-play oriented and grinding game play with limited quests and storylines.

However, Dragon Oath is clearly does not follow this mode. It is not possible to play alone. Dragon Oath provides players with many internal mechanisms to foster virtual relationships within the game - the entire game play follows the storyline, 24/7 on-going events with 9 different and very distinct classes with different stories and missions for each class.

Graphics and good visual trailers are not going to make players stay in the game. Simply cool looking characters will not make players stay in the game. Only the great game content and the depth of the game which will make players stay in the game. I can proudly say that Dragon Oath has it all.

Is there a concern that domestically made MMOs moving into the F2P market will reduce the audience for imported games?

Dragon Oath General Manager:

It is true that Free-to-Play MMORPG market in the US is becoming very competitive as time goes, but it does not change what players want from the game. A great deal of time and effort has been spent to study the western market and the player's preferences. After the feedback from the pre closed beta players, we feel confident about the game quality of Dragon Oath. We are hoping to that Dragon Oath will lure its players into playing more and more...

If the game has previously been released in other markets, what is the purpose of a closed beta phase other than promotion?

Dragon Oath General Manager:

The popularity of TLBB is very high in Asia, and it seems many MMORPG players already have heard of its title and popularity in Asia. However, this does not mean anything to us. Asian players are different than the Western players.

We are leaving no stones unturned and have postponed Closed Beta of Dragon Oath and decided to run "Pre" Closed Beta first. Most of other Free-to-Play MMORPG titles go straight to the Closed Beta after internal localization and Alpha Testing. However, we are adopting a different method. We want a complete localization, and in order to achieve it, it is necessary to invite certain number of the western players to try out and provide us with feedback so that we can make the final modifications and adjustments.

What other test phases do you have planned before launch?

Dragon Oath General Manager:

After 1st localization process, we had Closed Alpha with 100 participants from mid-May until at the end of June. At this moment, Dragon Oath is undergoing Pre-Closed Beta, which started on July 9th. Closed Beta will begin on September 10th for about a month.

When will players be able to play a launch version of the game?

Dragon Oath General Manager:

The launch version will be ready sometime beginning of October of this year, when we begin Open Beta. However, we are trying to finalize the entire localization during the current Pre-Closed Beta testing.

We highly recommend players to join Dragon Oath from Closed Beta phase as we are not planning to delete any data even after we move to Open Beta phase.