I wasn’t sure what to post for Part 2 after Part 1, so I thought I should post this recent interview with the developer, Eyedentity Games.This is not an interview by me, but by Korean premier gaming website, This Is Game. I am here only to translate! With the recent mega update in the Korean test servers, much things were added which you can read briefly about here. The interview mainly touched on the difficulties the development team faced over the past year, current status and the future. Note that not all questions were translated, some information might be lost in translation. Thank you.
Dragon Nest is Eyedentity Games’ maiden MMORPG and debut title and was released in Korea early last year. However, the game faced several major bugs, including experience bugs, item bugs, balancing issues and more which caused players to leave in droves. Using the lessons learnt, Eyedentity Games is determined to fight the negatives and initiate a full revival this time round. Answering the questions are the Product Director (PD) and Team Leader (TL) for Dragon Nest KR.
Q: Dragon Nest (KR) has just reached its first anniversary. What thoughts do you have looking back at the past 12 months?
PD: We felt that problems found in the game were not solved fast enough by us. One reason might be Eyedentity Games being a new kid on the block, with development skills but not product management expertise. This caused players to leave the game, something we can only look at without a plan.
Hence, we gave in alot during the past year and strived to make the game a better one, using experiences from the lessons taught to us. Dragon Nest’s major revival will begin with the Lotus Marsh update, followed by the game’s overseas expansion.
TL: Dragon Nest got much attention from the industry in the beginning and expectations were high. However, the lack of proper product management caused the game to be “pulled back”. This error caused much disappointment with many people.
However, we have learnt much from the past year, and we are looking to improvise the game and solve major issues at the fastest time possible, hoping players will give us their support and forgiveness for the past mistakes.
Q: Has Dragon Nest so far met the objectives set when it was first launched?
PD: Being Eyedentity Games’ maiden project, we hoped that players will pay much attention to it and come to love the game. But in terms of product management, the results were not ideal with some disappointments.
It can be said that the main reason for players to leave in big numbers was the experience bug which wasn’t fix for some time and the lack of proper management. At the launch of the level 40 cap, we also faced much problems with the new equipments, items and skills.
Having learnt our lesson, the Lotus Marsh update, which will increase the level cap to 50, will not be facing such issues and disappoint players again.
Q: Dragon Nest is now servicing in 4 other countries (China, Taiwan, Japan and..?). How is the status of these servers currently?
PD: Currently, the status of the overseas servers is quite promising. For now, all overseas servers will have the same content as the Korean one, but we have specialists communicating with each individual overseas publishers for feedback.
However, Korean players might have doubts since the local server is the one getting all the updates first, leading to thoughts that it is actually a “test server” for overseas servers. This is not the case, we are a Korean company and are Korean citizens, everything will be prioritized for local gamers first. We seek players’ understanding towards this issue.
Q: Dragon Nest is very popular overseas currently, with Eyedentity Games being bought by Shanda Games as well. Will there be any changes to overseas servers’ update content and schedule?
PD: There won’t be any issues to this. We still provide customized items, like the Kimono costume for the Japanese server. We won’t sell it in the Korean cash shop, simply because it won’t sell well.
Q: What is the current age range for players in Dragon Nest?
TL: At the start, the license we applied for was “Suitable for kids age 12 and above”. However, the majority of gamers now belong to the 20~ years old range. And to our surprise, there are actually more female gamers than male gamers now.
Q: The Sea Dragon update was added last year in December. How were the players’ reactions?
PD: When it was first launched, many players tried the challenge even though the level cap was still at 40. The instance was made easier recently with the difficulty level being adjusted and the release of level 50 content (test server currently).
Q: Many players are complaining about some of the game’s content, including the farming system and PvP arena, with a huge decrease of usage for these features. Are there any plans to refresh them?
PD: We originally scheduled for the farming system to be updated in January, but due to major content updates coming as well, we had to delay the project.
We will be increasing the value of farming products, the profits players can earn from selling them and hope that it will encourage players to return to their farms.
Initially, we planned to have a mega farm map which will hold 200 players with some other new features. But due to technical difficulties, the project was shelved.
However, we have all the tools needed now, and the farming system will hence be upgraded in upcoming expansions and patches.
Q: Players are very unhappy about balancing issues for some classes. How are you treating these complains?
PD: To be honest, solving balancing issues will take a longer time than most expect. There are still some issues now with regards to skills in PvE, PvP, the new 2nd job advancement which are not fixed. Balancing issues will always be there and there will be no perfect solutions to them.
We received much feedback from players in the test server recently, and we will still be using these as the template for us to evaluate and fix balancing issues.
Q: After the current Lotus Marsh update, with the level cap being increased, what are some of the other major changes made to the game?
PD: This is the 2nd level cap increment since May last year. One of the major changes will be the dropping of gold and items. Now, gold will no longer drop from instances, but rather earned from using the farming system. Players will earn as long as they are actively farming, fishing and cooking using farmed products. There will be better crafting items available as well from farms.
We also decreased the price for several procedures, item stats and more, making this a major revolution for Dragon Nest. We are still assessing players’ feedback with regards to all these implementations.
Q: There will be a new town in the update, when will players get to see it?
PD: The new town will debut some time in April, we hope players will wait patiently for its appearance.
Q: Are there any preparations for a surge in the number of new players?
PD: There are many new users playing Dragon Nest on a daily basis. Even if wrong decisions in the past caused players to leave, we are always listening to players’ feedback to improve the game and welcome new players as positively as possible.
Q: Can you briefly introduce to us the new 2nd advancements?
PD: Players will be able to advance to a new class at level 45. The new advanced classes requires players to concentrate on only 1 particular set of skill tree, hence players must make a decision before job advancing.
Q: The Assassin (?!) and Hunter classes were frequently mentioned but players have yet to see any progress. What are the plans for these new 1st advancement classes?
PD: We wanted to update the game with these classes, but we had to push them back due to the upcoming new beginner class, “Academic” (tentative name) which will provide players with a new gaming experience.
Q: What sort of class is the “Academic” like?
PD: This class will be able to choose from Alchemist or Technician at the 1st job advancement. For now, Technician will be able to summon cannons. We tried to implement a ninja-liked class for the 1st job advancement, but the idea was rejected. Currently, we feel that Alchemist and Technician plays too similar as each other, hence we will be tweaking them further.
Q: Please tell us more about future plans for Dragon Nest.
PD: Level cap will now be increased every 6 months. However, depending on situation, this timeline will be decreased accordingly. The next level increment will happen during the upcoming winter period.
Q: Can the content update frequency be increased?
PD: The game was always updated, and the number of team members remained the same since the game commercialized last year at 100. From this year on, we will maintain development speed, create new modes, maps, classes and more.
Q: What are the aims and objectives for Dragon Nest this year?
PD: Last year, Dragon Nest broke the limitations of the typical MMORPG stereotype as a full action MMORPG, We are preparing much content updates this year, so please stay tuned.
TL: Dragon Nest has just reached its 1st anniversary, we are confident we will get better results compared to last year. Of course, my biggest aim is to bring in a large crowd of new players with this current update.