After a brief teaser at ChinaJoy 2012 talking to the Chinese media, XLGAMES is now preparing for ArcheAge Closed Beta 5 in Korea. A media conference was held as the date draws closer to 16th August, with ArcheAge’s development staff answering various questions.
Having gone through over 6 years of development and 4 beta phases, with the previous one lasting 95 days, what new content will be for testing this time? Note that not all information is translated, and may not be 100% accurate. Original article from Inven Korea.
Q: What is the main objective of Closed Beta 5?
A: The main objective is still to make sure the game client is stable and running properly.
Q: Can you tell us the schedule for Closed Beta 5?
A: Closed Beta 5 will begin from 16th August and last till 31st August, with all PC rooms in Korea having access a day earlier. For those players who have yet to gain access to Closed Beta 5, they may try the game out at these PC rooms.
Q: Will Closed Beta 5 be extended, similar to what happened with Closed Beta 4?
A: It is possible, but we do not have plans for that now.
Q: Despite the game being in the Korean language, China players are invited to join in. Will there be a separate server for them?
A: No, all players will be in the same servers. About 500 China players are invited to join Closed Beta 5. Actually, there was quite a number of China and overseas players in ArcheAge since Closed Beta 4. We also placed an announcement, urging players from these regions to experience ArcheAge together during their timezones.
Through observation, we do acknowledge there were some communication problems during Closed Beta 4 for the foreign players, but most of them are very patient in seeking out guidance and even joining the Korean gamers on expeditions and other activities. We do not foresee this as a problem in Closed Beta 5.
Q: Has Open Beta been confirmed?
A: Open Beta has been scheduled within this year.
Q: An estimated 130,000 players will be entering ArcheAge in Closed Beta 5. Will there be a problem for the servers and any are any precautions taken?
A: We will be opening 3 servers initially, and observe how the situation goes.
Q: Players were talking about ArcheAge being unoptimized. Has this problem been resolved?
A: From what we know, the current game client will run smoothly on at least the “high” settings on normal computers in the country (Korea).
Q: There were also complaints about the quality of screenshots in ArcheAge.
A: Yes, in Closed Beta 4, players were telling us about the poor quality of screenshots. We certainly made adjustments, and hopefully players will like the images taken this time. There weren’t any options to customize how screenshots were taken, and now these options will be in Closed Beta 5.
Q: Has the download time of the client been shortened?
A: Yes, we optimized the download process as well, along with the client’s stability.
Q: How big is the Closed Beta 5 client?
A: We are still in the process of tweaking the client, hence the file size is not confirmed yet. We are definitely trying to lower the file size. This process will still carry on until before Open Beta is to launch.
Q: What is the game mastering procedure like in Closed Beta 5?
A: Like in previous phases, we will not be involved with any player disputes. Players were questioning why are we silently in the dark, but this will be the philosophy we will be sticking to. It certainly is controversial if we should be directly take an active role, but we do not want to strip players of their rights of how they want to play their game. We will remain low profile, and this will be of the best interest for everyone.
Q: What differences are there between Closed Beta 4 and 5?
A: In Closed Beta 4, we have already introduced many new features. In Closed Beta 5, we will continue to add new content and also better guidelines/ tooltips to help all players have a better experience.
Q: After ArcheAge was rated as 19+, will there be any new elements which will reflect this rating?
A: After opening the game client this time, there will be a guide about this rating (violence, sexual content, drug info). 1 of the reasons ArcheAge was given this rating is due to the in-game ability to steal from other players’ bag-pack. This act of stealing from others is listed as a 19+ feature. There was also a feature which gives players buff after drinking beer, which is drug-related.
There aren’t actually any adult content showing off nudity in ArcheAge. In the original novel, there is a place call “City of Dreams”, a gorgeous city with various adult entertainment spots. We did not go into context, just giving a brief introduction and have no plans to expand into full details in the game.
Q: Will the new instanced dungeons be dropping exclusive equipment?
A: Yes, they will. In terms of equipment, there will now be level restrictions allocated. The new equipment dropped from dungeons will be better than the ones obtained from quests (same for crafted equipment, stronger than quest ones). We encourage players to try challenge the more difficult dungeons, instead of running the same easy ones 50 or 100 times. If players choose to do so, repeating the dungeon in a continuous fashion will increase drop rating.
Q: About the equipment level restriction, does it mean all equipment in the game will have the same feature?
A: All equipment will have level restrictions, but we are looking to lower or do away with this restriction beyond level 40. In our internal testings, we found out that our staff are more used to this level restriction placed on equipment. Before this, they were not able to differentiate if what they have in the bag pack or the ones equipped are better. We believe this will provide players with a clearer view of choice as well.
Q: The repair function was edited towards the latter stage of Closed Beta 4. Will it remain the same for Closed Beta 5?
A: For a small fee, repairs can be done immediately now.
Q: Will castle siege be available in Closed Beta 5?
A: Given that Closed Beta 5 is planned only for 2 weeks, it is not possible to hold a castle siege. Castle siege requires many players to level up, conquer a territory, gather materials and build the castle. Adding in siege will just confuse and stress players out. That is not our main focus point either, hence it will not be in. We will still allow players to build castles. Closed Beta 5 is also the final preparation before Open Beta.
Q: Without castle siege, what other features will players be able to enjoy in Closed Beta 5?
A: Despite not having castle siege and battlegrounds, there are still tons of new content added upon the Closed Beta 4 client. Many more quests are added, the housing features are expanded, and we are unsure if players will be able to experience all these in 2 weeks.
Q: Following the increase of materials needed to build houses and ships, the time to craft is also extended by a significant amount. Are any adjustments done?
A: Actually, there isn’t much change in this aspect, the amount of material required remains the same. It is just the raw ingredients needed to craft these material which will see some changes. For example, it will take 300 raw wood to craft 1 bundled wood, which was 100 raw wood before. We also fixed the situation where newly planted trees are available for chopping right after the server reboots. Even though the duration of tree growth is extended, players will now be able to obtain 8-10 raw wood, with wild roadside trees giving 6-7 as well.
Q: Is it true teleportation is adjusted, with new aqua content added as well?
A: In Closed Beta 4, players may use teleport portals an unlimited amount of time. Now, players will have to obtain a rare stone item before able to activate any portals. We did not add in much new aqua content as it is not the time to do so yet. We did add in a new trade system, and we expect the number of sea transportation trips to increase.
Q: Talking about the new trade system, how will player earn a profit from it?
A: We added in a new craft-able item category call “specialties”. These items can be sold to various trading NPCs (not between players) to earn a “handsome profit”. To earn more, players will have to carry these specialties and proceed to further places to sell them. The sale price will be even higher if players travel to further regions using ships (traveling to same destination on land will yield lesser). In Closed Beta 4, players were questioning how high level monsters are dropping too many good items and too much gold. Hence, this specialties system will be another way for players to earn some keep. However, note that players will only receive special “trade currency” (not soft currency), which can then be used to buy items such as housing and ship blueprints.
Q: Do introduce to us the new instanced dungeons.
A: There will be 3 new instances. The first dungeon will be for players around level 20 and located in the Eastern region. The other 2 will be for players around level 30. There aren’t many changes to these 3 new instances, and similar to the current ones, will be hard to solo. These new instances will introduce an interactive environment, such as activating switches to open doors, using a pail of water to put out fire cause by mobs etc.
Q: What about the dungeons after level 30?
A: Other than the 3 new dungeons, there will be 2 new undiscovered zones (1 mentioned below) as well following the level 46 quests. Closed Beta 5 will feature about 250 hours of content, and those players who are just into leveling will not be able to fully enjoy the game content.
Q: Can you tell us more about the new zones?
A: There will certainly be new quests, new fields for hunting and new bosses.
Q: Will the NPC, Orchidna, make an appearance in Closed beta 5?
A: No, she will have to wait till next year or even the year after to make an appearance. She is a very important character in the lore, hence she was just teased in the trailer. Players will still find content which will trace back to her in quests, and it will be inappropriate for her to appear during the current storyline.
Q: Will there be changes for the storyline quests in Closed Beta 5?
A: Yes, there will be major changes. The quest UI has been changed and rewards given out will be better. (Note: There is something about the Ferres race using a device to understand certain quests better, I am not really sure what that means.)
Q: In the latest trailer, interactions with various home furniture were shown. What do these actions really do?
A: Players now can rest by either sitting on chairs or lying on bed. There will be couches supporting 3 players, cabinet drawers can be opened and fireplaces can be lit up. The basic features of housing are also very important. If players want to craft, a craft point must be placed in the house, for farming a piece of empty land, and even an alchemy desk to craft buff potions. A new family title system is also introduced, where players can name who are brothers, sisters etc.
Q: Is there any major new content in Closed Beta 5?
A: We added a new location call “Horizon Isle”, which exists as an instanced area. Players will see both eastern and western designed buildings on the island, with many ships docked at the harbor and various new mounts for sale. Players can think of this place as a giant shopping mall, if they see a house they like, they can immediately buy it or even test-drive a pre-made ship before buying. Of course, there are the mentioned specialties and trade systems, and also a new player court system.
Q: How does the player court system works?
A: When a player’s PK rating hits 50, a bounty will be automatically be issued to capture him. Once killed, he will be sent to jail (means he will be free until being killed by someone else). However, he may also seek for a trial and be judged by a court. If found to be innocent (what?!), he will be released without being jailed. Players will form the jury panel, with those who are level 30 and above will be eligible. Whenever a jury panel is needed, a mail will be sent to all these players.
The first 5 to accept will form the panel, with the ability to affect the sentence duration as well. For now, there are no rewards for being a jury, which may change in the future. The development team is looking to a bribing system as well for the jury panel. A player who becomes a pirate and is killed in PvP will be sent to the gallows (jail) unconditionally.
Q: Are there any other new features?
A: Yes, we have improved on the character customization functions. Players can now create even more looks and be unique from the other players. There also also various new gliding/flying equipment, as well as land mounts. Players may also learn the other faction’s language through interacting with study materials such as books to increase their knowledge.