(Source) At yesterday’s annual Nexon Developers Conference (NDC), the creator of NCsoft’s Lineage and founder of XL Games, Mr Jake Song, talked about the thought process he had in creating the company’s maiden online title, ArcheAge. Please note that this is just a small summary of the whole speech. Mr Song said that after playing Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, he felt that his earlier titles (Lineage and The Kingdom of the Winds) were nothing compared to the record-breaking MMORPG. However, he was convinced that World of Warcraft is not the ending point for MMORPGs, hence he started working on ArcheAge.
|↑ Mr Jake Song at Nexon Developers Conference (NDC) 2011|
The most important and significant feature of MMORPGs will be the word “massively”. A few thousand players having fun in the same game world is one of the biggest selling point of online games. However, online games over the years used various restrictive methods to cover up their system flaws, including items and currency binding to characters, using PvE maps to heavily restrict PvP and spamming of instance dungeons to prevent players from kill stealing. All these eroded the basic foundations of what an online game was meant to be.
|↑ Mr Jake Song (right) was in the same college as Nexon’s founder Mr Kim Jung-Ju (left),|
|↑ Spending quality time brainstorming.|
MMORPGs and console games should be different, but nowadays both are getting too similar as each other. There shouldn’t be a fixed system where players are ordered to party up and clear an instance, it should be through meeting new players by chance and thus go on adventures together. This particular “free” and unpredictable system is what makes a MMORPG.
|↑ Mr Jake Song met Mr Richard Garriott years ago after creating Lineage.|
Majority of online games nowadays use the questing system as a guide for players to understand the game. While it is necessary, it should not become a game’s main focus. If questing, storyline, characters and lore becomes a game’s main features, the game will not last long as the developers do not have the time and resources to catch up with players’ consumption of in-game content. As such, the number of players will dwindle and shortening the title’s lifespan.
|↑ Years of researching finally came to fruition as Mr Jake Song started on Project X2 (ArcheAge).|
|↑ Icons representing some main features: Housing, tree climbing, naval warfare and siege.|
In order for a MMORPG to have an extended run, the main features should be developed right at the start. For ArcheAge, some of the core features include house building system, naval warfare (ship construction) and castle siege. He stressed that the core features are the most important elements which will determine a game’s longevity.