Elsword, the anime side-scrolling MMO from KOG Games began to completely reboot its characters last month. The results are massive changes to each character and job in the MMO, an ambitious undertaking from the small team in charge of the title.
Since the beginning of July, Elsword has slowly been rebooting each character in the game - there are 13 total to get through. Recently they just released the third installment of the RE:BOOT, releasing changes to Aisha, Raven, Add, and Laby. We had the chance to talk about the RE:BOOT as well as Elsword as a whole last week with GM Rush and GM Moshup.
A bit of background: Elsword is centered around a crystal, the El, which all of the world derives its life energy from. Magic is also derived from the El. The El itself fractures, causing a lot of chaos in the world. Everything in Elsword is tied to the El itself. How and what caused the fracture is what starts the "El Search Party," lead by titular character Elsword. You go through the world trying to figure out what caused this shattering, leading you on many branching stories. Eight years later and the story is still going strong with the condition of the El Crystal still very much at its core.
Along the way the team has added characters and dungeons to the game, but the RE:BOOT is meant to get all 13 characters, each with 3 jobs each, up to snuff with the most recent characters in the game. This undertaking isn't being done lightly, the team is well aware of the challenges but is eager to meet them head on.
"The RE:BOOT is affecting every character in the game," Danny Noss, AKA GM Moshup told MMORPG over a call last week. "It affects every job class in the game, every attack in the game, ever skill in the game - It's a big reboot. You'll go on our forums and some players will say "It's not even a real reboot, all they're doing is taking away some skills and adding others." The the nightmare known as"reality" hit our players hard when the first RE:BOOT hit."
Since the RE:BOOT is changing everything in the game, the Elsword team had to tackle this in waves. The first wave was Elsword, Rena and Eve. The second was Aral, Elesis and Ain. This latest RE:BOOT had four characters affected: Aisha, Raven, Add and Laby. Finally the fourth phase will be Rose, Chung and Lu/Ciel.
"As we released characters, they've been created independent of each other," Moshup continued. "That's going back and being changed. With a lot of MMOs you will always see players complain about the "power creep." What this reboot did was take every character and put them on the same playing field."
This means stats are normalized across the board, meaning that there is is no longer an advantage to rolling one of the newer characters over an older toon, and so on. Additionally, skills thought to be game breaking since only one player had them, such as the escape skill Andromeda, will be added across the board to every character, meaning each character will have a similar skill.
Each job is being overhauled in addition to the characters themselves, meaning players who have been long-standing in the community will need to relearn and adjust how to play their favorite toons again.
"All of the character job paths were then looked at: Are they physical or are they magical? Previously they used to have a hodgepodge, like even some of the magical characters had physical attacks. They didn't eliminate that completely, but what they did was take all of the relevant, targeted skills and aspected them towards whether the job was now either physical or magical."
The team even went so far as to revamp the priority of every attack in Elsword, meaning that characters will handle dramatically differently, especially in PvP. Priority is a huge deal in determining whether an attack will hit a character, especially in hectic roles. It's a bit like studying frame data in a fighting game - knowing what moves for which character are plus frames against each matchup.
"Let's say both of our characters jumped in the air at the same time and we both swung our swords at the same time. Priority would get credit for the hit, while the lower priority would take the flinch. All of the priorities for each character had been re-established. We have a player, named SSLG Hero, who plays the Elsword Knight Emperor one the best PVP players in the game. He thought, like many in our community, that after the RE:BOOT he was going to go in and just destroy everybody.
That did not happen. They were thinking that all of these characters were going to stay as-is, didn't understand how priority worked, didn't understand what the normalization of stats was going to do to the characters - did not understand just how much depth this reboot went into with re-establishing every character in the game."
With the third RE:BOOT in the rear view mirror, the team is working on the fourth and final RE:BOOT to hit the game. In the meantime, the team at KOG know that it might be daunting for newer players who want to join in the side-scrolling action, but don't want to have to go through 8 years of story content to catch up to where the game is at today. With many MMOs, new expansions usually have an item you can buy that will auto level you the old level cap. However, those have the disadvantage of those players not really knowing how to play their respective characters. Elsword is doing things differently.
Through August 27th, players can create a new character and have them go through an expedited version of the game, leveling from 1 to level 99 in just about two hours. Along the way you'll train your job, gain gear respective to your job and level and at the end you'll be rewarded with one of the best weapons in the game for your class. Plus, you'll have a working understand of how to play your character when you start queuing up for max-level dungeons. While you can only do this for one character per account, it's definitely worth jumping into if you're itching to start Elsword
The RE:BOOT is one of the more ambitious game updates to date, with virtually every aspect of Elsword being worked on in some way. It's ambitious, but necessary to bring the characters and jobs into the modern day life of Elsword. As the studio balances moving forward, RE:BOOT feels as though it's a good starting place to build upon for years to come.