MMORPG.com: I cannot tell you how long our readers have been waiting to hear about where and when ArcheAge was going to land in the US. First and foremost: Why Trion? What makes them the right fit for ArcheAge?
Jake Song: XLGAMES has been looking for the right publisher to service ArcheAge in the West for quite a long time. The reason we decided to work with Trion Worlds is because we felt that it is a company setting new standards for gaming, by embracing original, high-quality IPs on a dynamic connected platform. We were also impressed with Trion’s track record as they have consistently delivered against an unwavering vision; we are confident partnering with Trion will help ArcheAge become a successful game that satisfies audiences in both East and West.
MMORPG.com: What are the key ingredients towards bringing ArcheAge to the west, in your eyes?
Jake Song: We started developing ArcheAge with global service in mind. During my stay with NCsoft, I worked a couple of years out of the LA and Austin office with American colleagues. I had a chance to experience the North American market first hand as well as work with American developers.
What we are aiming in ArcheAge is to let the players feel the true fun of MMORPG by forming a community like real life by interacting with other players, whether it be conflict or cooperation. The motto of ArcheAge is ‘A world made by you!’ I think the Western game players are excited about and looking forward to such aspects of ArcheAge.
MMORPG.com: Lineage, to this day, is one of the greatest MMOs ever created (in my book). What lessons did you learn from that game to help design AA?
Jake Song: After Lineage, the MMORPG genre improved and expanded with new kinds of MMORPGs being introduced to the market. We are pursuing a sandbox type of game, but also working on combining valuable lessons we’ve learned from previously released MMORPGs; such as providing user-friendly guides or guided experience for beginners, safe zones and contents for those players who wish it and not forcing party-play and etc. But I also firmly believe that player driven contents is what makes the game more exciting and alive and will expand the lifecycle of the game as was proven by lots of games including Lineage.
MMORPG.com: As we’ve seen from some of the beta tests in Korea, the beginning of ArcheAge is a more guided, traditional experience with quests, a story, and other such trappings. Then the game opens up and allows players to go out and make their own place in the world. Why design ArcheAge this way?
Jake Song: To let players to enjoy the various contents of ArcheAge, we thought we needed to show some kind of a guideline of what content ArcheAge provides. MMORPG beginners may wander in the vast ArcheAge world and get lost and not know what to do. So the early plays of ArcheAge works as some kind of a tutorial, a guided experience that helps the newcomer become familiar with the world. At around level 30, after experiencing the various activities or contents that ArcheAge has to offer, the user can take a more active stance in setting goals and how to enjoy the true fun of ArcheAge.
MMORPG.com: In your own words, can you explain how the character progression works? That’s one of the areas we’re really intrigued about: this classless system.
Jake Song: There are 10 abilities in ArcheAge and each player can combine 3 out of 10. That makes 120 unique classes. In ArcheAge, even if you are in the same class, players can choose the skills they want to learn, and I think this would give originality to each character.
A Character will level up, but the chosen abilities have their own level too. If the player changes his/her mind and changes certain ability before reaching character’s highest level, the changed ability level will be low but can be improved by earning XPs through activities such as hunting.
MMORPG.com: One last question: when will we hear about an English beta? Inquiring minds want to know!
Jake Song: That is something that we are working on with Trion and will let you know soon!
Interested users can sign up for updates on the impending Western release over at ArcheAgeGame.com.