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Aika (AIKA)
Hanbit Soft | Official Site
MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 12/31/10)  | Pub:T3fun
PVP:Yes | Distribution:Download | Retail Price:Free | Pay Type:Free | Monthly Fee:Free
System Req: PC | Out of date info? Let us know!

Five Nations Interview

By Garrett Fuller on April 21, 2010 | Interviews | Comments

Five Nations Interview

Garrett Fuller recently spoke with Aika's Community Manager about the unique five nation approach that the game takes to their PvP. You can also read about each of the five nations individually, here.

MMORPG.com:

Tell us the history behind the five nations in the game?

Christina Kelly:

Aika's five nations are the keystones of our massive PvP. They're politically autonomous entities with separate populations, and the web of alliances and rivalries between them is a large part of what makes Aika's PvP - and, really, the game as a whole - so compelling. The nations are five separate but identical instances of the world of the game - imagine if different countries on Earth had the same geography, major cities, landmarks, and so on but their own collective identities, military leadership, and domestic intrigue.

We decided from the start to give each nation a distinct personality-based description, one that's also reflected in each nation's name and flag, in the hopes that players and guilds would find something that resonated with them and fostered a sense of pride and community (see below). New players can try out life in different nations as they please, and then starting at level 10 they are encouraged to apply for citizenship in a particular nation, which then becomes the one that all characters on their account are bound to upon login. Choosing a nation is a distinct rite of passage in Aika, since you can't join a guild or participate in any of the major PvP systems until you have a nationality. Additionally, acquiring citizenship status opens up another social world within the Aika community where players can find friends and feel at home. On the Aika website there are forums for each nation, where citizens or would-be citizens discuss the latest relic raids or the actions of the ruling regime, participate in guild recruitment, and generally find common ground as people who share a specific environment within the game.

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MMORPG.com:

What made you go with five factions? Some may think that is too many.

Christina Kelly:

Since gPotato is the publisher and not the developer and the five nation system is an integral part of Aika's game mechanics, we weren't in a position to change the number of factions. We wouldn't want to, anyway, because having five nations actually works out really well. A big part of what makes Aika a very exciting game is the drama that plays out between the different nations in terms of alliances - only two nations may be in any one alliance (up to two alliances can exist at one time), and, therefore, with five nations there are many more possible configurations of allies and rivals than with three or four. National alliance is a powerful mechanic with many benefits for the parties involved, which is why the issue of alliance permutations is significant. It's also crucial that the number of factions be odd, so that there's always at least one nation which is not in an alliance and as such introduces an element of instability into the mix. Free agents are great for stirring things up.


Screenshot

MMORPG.com:

Have you seen any trends in Beta with players being drawn to a particular nation?

Christina Kelly:

Players tend to rush to join the nations with the greatest populations and/or the largest number of relics. Relics are sacred objects which grant permanent buffs to all of a nation's citizens once they are safely housed in one of the nation's Temples. These buffs may include a boost to players' HP/MP, basic stats, XP gain rate, etc., and their effects stack. Feonir tends to have the largest population as well as a large number of relics, and attracts many players because of its reputation as a powerhouse from the closed betas. Alethius and Lenaria are also notable for their population size and relic counts.

All this being said, there's more to the story of a successful nation than just full servers and Temples. The benefits of joining a nation which has many relics is self-evident, but new players might not realize how often relics change hands due to frequent raiding. Additionally, crowded questing areas can be misleading because alliances between nations allow citizens to teleport back and forth and PvE in allied territory. Instead of judging nations only via sheer numbers of people and relics present at a given time, we want to encourage players to explore the communities of the different nations to find the one that suits them the best. If you want to roleplay a nation's "personality," that's a great way to approach the decision, or check out what people are discussing on Shout or in the nation's board on the Aika forums. The guild scene is also important for a nation's visibility and draw, since strong guilds which can rise to national leadership are crucial for a nation's morale and military organization.

MMORPG.com:

How can the nations interact? Is it only through PvP?

Christina Kelly:

Nations mainly interact through PvP and the national alliance system. In Relic War and Altar War players fight against each other in nation vs. nation groups to further their home nations' goals, while in Battlegrounds players of different nations can team up and fight in scrimmages for personal glory. On a less combative note, as mentioned before, nations can form alliances with each other (2 nations only per alliance). Citizens of allied nations can band together for PvP and PvE-related purposes - they can group up in parties or raids for questing and dungeon crawls, they can use allied nations' personal shops and auction house, and forced PvP is disabled between them, allowing them to fight side by side.

These and other benefits mean that alliances are highly desirable arrangements, ensuring that there's at least one alliance active at any given time and permitting citizens of different nationalities the opportunity to collaborate in Aika. Alliances can only be created through mutual agreement between the Lord Marshals - the title given to the guildmaster of the foremost guild in the nation and who wield an enormous amount of power in-game. Interactions on the national level are player-controlled to an extent not often found in other MMORPGs.

MMORPG.com:

Do you see future enhancements to the nations once the game is launched?

Christina Kelly:

As the publishers of Aika Online, we (the gPotato Aika team) would like to run some nation-specific events in the future to highlight each nation's community and increase awareness of the nation system. Aika's developer (JoyImpact/HanbitSoft) is working on some interesting new incentives to rally armies and invade other nations, but I'm not at liberty to comment on what exactly they might be. Rest assured that Relic War and Altar War are not the end of the story when it comes to nation vs. nation PvP mechanics.

MMORPG.com:

What are you using to give players a sense of pride in their nation?

Christina Kelly:

The nation descriptions, flags, names, and forums combined with the in-game nation-based mechanics have already gone a long way towards giving many players a sense of national identity and pride. We already have some very active guilds and guild leaders maneuvering to take charge of their nations' affairs, and the different ways in which these power struggles develop within each nation make each nation's community distinctive. We'll be concocting new ways in- and out-of-game to get people more excited about their nations, but we also trust the game itself to instigate the kind of patriotism and competitive spirit which will fuel the Aika PvP experience. It's actually pretty inspiring to see the national loyalty and passionate commitment which many players already demonstrate in Aika. The whole team is very optimistic about the nation system and the fun everyone will have when we run nation-based events.


Screenshot

MMORPG.com:

Any final thoughts you would like to share about the five nations?

Christina Kelly:

It's all about being part of a community of gamers - sharing the joys of victory as well as the agony of defeat with people you can relate to on some level. We want to encourage that sense of commonality as much as possible because it really fits with the kind of game Aika is, and because it brings out the best in people who love MMOs. That's part of the reason why we've invested significant amounts of time and effort into supporting the nation system and encouraging each nation to develop its own identity. So, I invite everyone who's been itching to play an awesome new MMORPG with a great crowd of players to come try us out, since we not only have our big Aika community but five distinct and proud sub-communities to welcome you!

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