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MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 10/30/08)  | Pub:Valofe
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Localization and Balance

Atlantica Online Developer Journals - By Guest Writer on May 19, 2009

Localization and Balance
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The Viking stands, towering over his opponent. A mere Monk, he is less than half the Viking's size, but he stands his ground, resolutely holding the front line. With a feral yell, the Viking swings his massive axe down on the Monk's head. Again and again he strikes, the heft of his mighty blows apparent as he throws his entire body into the attack. He takes a step back, grin on his as he observes his handiwork.

And there the Monk stands, hardly a scratch on him. As his allies' spells slam into the Viking's surprised form, he smiles to himself. "I hope you pass away peacefully."

Not too long ago, such a scene as this existed in Atlantica Online. For a short period, the pendulum of PvP balance swung in favor of magic-heavy strategy. While there are very few mercenaries who lack viable spell options, there were strategies that involved the liberal application of brute force to destroy their enemies. This has actually been a dominant strategy, but to maintain a level of balance, the development team has been tinkering away.

Atlantica Online is blessed with a team of developers who genuinely care about their work. In Korea, Atlantica's home market, balance patches are a regular occurrence. When they think something is too powerful or too weak, they move quickly to try to fix it. Ironically enough, this dedication to game balance makes our localization process a little more quirky. Since Korean Atlantica Online receives many patches that only affect balance, we'll tend to use the latest mechanics to give our own audience the most balanced version of the game possible. However, due to the time it takes for translation, it's not practical for us to patch as frequently. By and large, we can only patch for client updates and critical bug fixes.

Herein lies the crux of the issue: if there's ever an unforeseen problem with balance (in this case, a decrease in physical damage), the development team can fix it within a week while we may have to wait a little longer to release a fully localized patch.

Game balance has been restored, and while physical damage-based teams aren't as powerful as they were before, they are once again at a fair balance with other strategies. Communication between the localization team and the development team in Korea are stronger than ever as we track every balance change, ensuring that Atlantica Online will continue to support a wide variety of tactics and play styles. We're putting more and more care into testing game mechanics and leaving no stone unturned when it comes to changes that might significantly affect our player's experiences.

In the end, everything we do comes down to making Atlantica Online the best game it can possibly be. It can't just be fun and exciting; it has to go the extra step by being fair and balanced every step of the way. Each tactic must have its place, and none must have the higher ground. A strategic game of Atlantica's caliber deserves nothing less, and towards this standard we will continue to strive.

And for those of our readers who feel sorry for our Viking friend above, worry not. If you must worry, worry instead for any Monks foolish enough to stand in the way of his axe.