After over six years in development, Astellia is finally making its way westward and Barunson E&A is prepping for a summer 2019 release. We had the chance to chat with the team about Astellia to find out about its features and what sets it apart from the competition.
MMORPG: What is the basic premise for Astellia?
Barunson E&A: The world is in crisis as the balance of dark & light are threatened by a group known as the Karza. The Karza seek to corrupt all that there is, the player finds themselves as one of the few individuals who can control the Astels, beings born of stars, blessed by Norden to save the world.
MMORPG: How long has the game been in development?
Barunson E&A: 6 Years Total, we recently just went through Open Beta in Korea, and we will be launching in he NA/EU this year.
MMORPG: Astellia was originally supposed to be published a year ago in NA. What caused the delay?
Barunson E&A: Throughout the testing phases in Korea player feedback was collected and heavily reviewed. Based on this feedback the game needed to go through multiple phases of revision to be ready for release. We wanted to ensure we took the time necessary to prepare Astellia for the public.
MMORPG: What improvements / changes / additions have you made to the game since then?
Barunson E&A: That is an extensive list, the world map has shifted, classes have been refined, more end game content has been added, and more. Some specific examples of this are updates to the combat system; Astellia is Tab Target, but users wanted a more engaging combat experience so we worked to reduce the Global Cooldowns, Limit Animation Locking, and added quick dodging mechanics to make the combat more engaging. The Astells were heavily reviewed and we worked to make each more unique, with specific roles, skills, and more in-depth systems to customize & improve them.
MMORPG: What sets Astellia apart from other similar games?
Barunson E&A: At its roots Astellia is a classic MMO with a twist, and the twist is the Astel system. The Astels give players freedom over their own experience. The Astels are as varied as the core classes themselves. From healers, damage dealers, buffers, paper cannons, it all exists and the players' journey through the game with the Astels at all times.
MMORPG: Will a cash shop be present? If so, what kind of items will you be selling?
Barunson E&A: A cash shop will be present yes, however we are selling cosmetic items. We know it’s a common worry for players when an Eastern MMO is brought to the West that it’ll have rampant P2W. We have a different mindset, we want players to ‘Play to Win’, and what I mean by that all items you would usually see on a P2W cash shop will instead be available for currency acquired through playtime, a loyalty system, or other in-game mechanics.
MMORPG: How will you support the game post release?
Barunson E&A: We have a team of experienced MMO publishers that have worked to set up an infrastructure to support Astellia. We want to provide the best support we can for both growing the community and in-game issues.
As for the ongoing development of Astellia, while we can’t give too many details, Astellia has a long and bright future for content. This isn’t a game that’s been launched in several regions already, and it’s not one we’re merely “publishing” in the West. We are the same as the studio in Korea, even though we’re here in Irvine. We’re part of the same team, and have a ton of plans for new content, new Astels, new dungeons, new stories, new everything. We’re just getting started.
MMORPG: What is your current timeline for release?
Barunson E&A: Our team is working hard to launch Astellia this summer. Stay tuned for more information in the coming days.Rest assured, you won’t have to wait long to get your hands on beta tests and the fully launched product.
MMORPG: What do you believe are the features that will most appeal to western players?
Barunson E&A: The Astel system allows players to do and be what they want, which is what we think is going to appeal to players the most. We wanted to create a game where it had that “holy trinity” of classes, but also with a twist that gave players more freedom.
Astellia also features what is called “Avalon” this is a designated place for PvP to happen. Avalon is a persistent PvP map where three factions compete for control of recourse, monsters, and other objectives. Each Avalon campaign is a week long, and is designed to allow both large scale combat but also allow for small teams to contribute, and play a meaningful role in the warfare. We want both PvE and PvP players to find a place in Astellia and we do this by giving players a designated place to PvP. This way the PvPers have a large open world area to fight and the PvErs are not forced to experience that, everyone gets to choose.
And of course, we’re emphasizing our Play to Win strategy, as opposed to what’s often considered “Pay 2 Win” about MMOs. See below for what we mean.
MMORPG: Is Astellia a theme park or sandbox title?
Barunson E&A: Astellia is definitely a Theme Park game, from the beginning we have believed a level of structure and planned content flow will allow us to make a more engaging and vibrant experience for players, supporting this ideal Astellia has been designed from the ground up to include content of all types so players have the freedom to play our game with the content you personally enjoy.
MMORPG: What are the main PvE features? And PvP?
Barunson E&A: Dungeons come in a variety of formats; Solo, Group, and Legendary, each with scaling rewards based on performance. We also have a PVE Arena, similar to horde mode, where players can defend a crystal from increasingly difficult waves of monsters, earning greater rewards for the longer they last.
We have the standard PVP Arena Scene, group and solo, but beyond this we have a persistent Tri-Faction Map where players vie for dominance each week called Avalon.
MMORPG: Anything else you'd like to add?
Barunson E&A: Astellia pays tribute to the classic MMORPGs that originally brought us into the industry. We are committed to bringing back that feeling, where games are played for fun, with skills gained from that time invested. We can’t wait to let you all play it later this year.