Archeage CBT5 is available for Korea & China

It is expected that not only Korean, but also Chinese gamers will have chance to join the next generation MMORPG Archeage CBT5. Tencent announced they are going to provide Chinese version of client software for CBT5 at the press conference in Beijing.. Tencent is the major online game publisher in China who is responsible for Archeage publishing in China.

Jake Song said “I think it is important to have Chinese users’ opinions. We will add Chinese style shoes, maps and events for CBT5.” He emphasized that the main ideology of Archeage is ‘Change’. The original novel for Archeage called “Firs and a hawk” will be published in Chinese as well.

Archeage’s 4th CBT was closed on the 11th of March. XL Games introduced the original continent and siege warfare system for the first time and added various PvE, PvP contents.

However, XL Games did not announce when CBT5 will be.

You can watch the latest Archeage teaser and additional images here

Tencent becomes the worldwide publisher for SURA Online

Tencent, the top online game publisher in China, acquires the worldwide distribution right for SURA Online. Tencent announces it at the press conference in Beijing, China. SURA Online, developed by NSE Entertainment in Korea, is Asian style fantasy action RPG that has very fast attack and defense system like we have seen at martial arts movies.

Players could choose the one of three races and have 6 different classes. 1:1 PvP in SURA Online resembles 1vs1 fighting games like Tekken from Namco. The combat emphasizes psychological aspects as well as using various combo attacks. 2:2, 3:3 PvP are different from 1:1. Players should cooperate with teammates to win.

Steven Ma, Vice President of Tencent Games, said “Best resources of China and Korea have been combined through SURA Online and become stuck together. The contract has important strategic meanings for Tencent to advance into the world online game market. We enter into the global market including Europe, North America etc with SURA Online.”

We expect Tencent Korea would publish SURA Online in Korea as well.

Report for Archeage CBT4 and upcoming CBT5

Archeage closed its 95days 4th Korean CBT on the 11th of March and was held the meeting with invited CBT4 users and press. Jake Song greeted the audience and said the team thinks the decision they decided to have 95 days CBT was good because they fixed many issues during the test period.

Things prepared for 4th CBT

XLGames added 3 new regions, 4 seas, an original continent, the new race ‘Hariharan’, improving the shape of Ferre race for the 4th CBT. In addition, various animations for characters and monsters was improved as well.

Log-in stage has been modified to figure out the specialties of each class much easily. New monsters, vehicles, furniture, and the accessories are bonuses. Option menu has been improved, too.

Things have been added during the test period

Self-defense and Footprint system have been added. Footprint system is if someone steals woods, his footprint would be remained to report. Footprint system was not in the development schedule, but the team decided to have one because users plant trees far away from their houses a lot. Kraken and Pirate system was added, too.

Fortification and siege warfare was added later. Both are still long to perfect them, the team found many obstacles to improve.

Seonyukmari(It is original Korean words and might be translated as The end of the west) and The land of peace was added as new regions because users has complained the lack of regions for leveling up. The sign of the break was also added. It is a kind of an in-game event that monsters attacking the world.

Some oceanic items such as a diving helmet and Refloat system was added, too. Quests for the late level 30 characters added to make users leveling easier.

Aution house was added for the last to observe users’ preferable items.

There has been an item called the bomb of liquor barrel for fun, but it was deleted because some pirate users threw it to where the wedding ceremony was held and killed all users who were attended.

Fix all issues as much as the team could handle

During the 95 days of the 4th CBT period, about 2,000 feedbacks were received and most has been solved. Complains about the family system that Jake Song created were handed over to him to resolve.

What can we expect for the 5th CBT?

XL Games said they will fix all bugs they have now and improve a several things such as downloading speed for the client software, a connecting error, and more optimization. Instant dungeons will be coming too.

A house will become more like a place where users are living. Furniture items will be classified into several categories. There will be furniture for interior, furniture for upskilling, and furniture for boasting of user’s skill.

NCsoft Announced Lineage Eternal!

NCsoft GStar Premiere event is held today for press, prior to GStar2011. They brought up two of their best MMORPG franchises – Guild War and Lineage. While Guild War 2 has been presented at various game events, there is almost no information at all for the new series from Lineage. NCsoft finally revealed!

The biggest announcement from NCsoft is Lineage Eternal – the next generation MMORPG as well as the newest of Lineage series. The teaser movie was revealed, but they did not allow recording it. You need to visit GStar2011 to watch it through Art Theater at NCsoft’s booth. Otherwise, you need to wait until it is available to all.

Lineage Eternal provides quarter view type full 3D graphics like Diablo3 from Blizzard Entertainment, but it is much realistic than Diablo3. It has also large scale siege warfare since siege warfare is almost like a trademark for Lineage series.

Did I tell you that the new game is non-targeting action MMORPG? Lineage Eternal provides more action than before as well. Especially drag skills, which follow your mouse’s moving trace and smart view system, allow you to feel more you are actually in specific situations.

[Jake Song] The Evolving World of MMORPG

One of keynote speeches from Korea Games Conference 2009. KGC 2009 was held at COEX in Seoul from October 7 to 9 and top executives from Ndoors, NHN, AMD, Crytek also shared their knowledge in online gaming.

Amongst keynote speakers, Jake Song, a founder of XL Games, discussed the evolving world of MMORPG.

Jake is a legendary developer behind blockbuster games likes of ‘Kingdom of the Wind’ and ‘Lineage,’ whose accumulated revenue exceeded 1 trillion Won (US$ 769 million). He’s currently working on a new MMORPG called X2 (working title) at XL Games.


The Evolving World of MMORPG

Jake Song took WOW as an example of current trends in the MMORPG world- quite predictable and tamed like Hollywood movies.? In order to overcome this limitation, developers have to take users’ participation and creativity into account.

■ ‘90s MMOPRG: Virtual world with lots of freedom

First of all, I want to start with saying that this is my personal opinion which can be right and sometimes dead wrong.

To give you an idea, the 1st generation of MMORPG includes Ultima Online and Lineage in 1997 and EverQuest, Lineage 2, Dark Age of Carmelot can be categorized as the 2nd generation. Now we have World of Warcraft and Aion.

Ultima Online paved the way to modern MMORPG as introducing the make-believe virtual world with a liberal dose of freedom, which produced reckless PK and auto program as byproducts.

Lineage also created a series of problems; reckless PK, monopolizing hunting grounds by few clans, secondary markets outside of the game.

It was all about trial and error for the 1st generation games.

■ 2nd generation games: A hands-on approach to solving problem

That’s when the 2nd generation games likes of EverQuest, Lineage 2, Dark Age of Camelot came in. EverQuest, the first 3D MMORPG, introduced raid system that multiple users hunt monsters together, and non-tradable items. Dark Age of Camelot employed RVR system as expanding from PVP.

Throughout development of variety contents from the developer’s side, blockbuster games like World of Warcraft and Aion solved lots of problems.

In case of WOW, they took entertainment aspect of the game more seriously than virtualization. Non-tradable items kept users from creating a secondary market and no PVP within clan rule reduced reckless PK. Introducing an instanced dungeon solved monopolizing hunting grounds problem.

Emphasizing the entertainment aspect brought out good things from games but it also has a side effect- entertainment and convenience made players overlook unreasonable situations. For example, boss monster that you killed several hours ago got spawned.

Instanced dungeons brought out a fun part like riding attractions at theme park with your friends. You ride one and move on to another.

■ Bring Out Freedom Again

As Instanced dungeon gained its popularity, the whole world of MMORPG became an entrance lobby to instanced dungeons. In my opinion, today’s MMORPG is like theme park ? guaranteed fun with limited choices.

Players became passive consumers. Rather than actively seeking contents like the 1st generation games, they just follow game developer’s lead within confinement. They can’t build a castle or house within this confined world. Hence the predictable and tame MMORPG world.

■ Future MMORPG

I believe the next generation of MMORPG will redirect to the previous trends- freedom and creativity. You can get that predictable fun from other entertainment forms.

This will be possible to integrate background, relations, and user-created contents. For example, the background can be changed according to season, time of the day, weather and so on. And you can cut down trees to build a house or a castle.

Let’s say a pond can be created when the meteor strikes was placed during a battle last week. And you can hire or date a NPC, who normally just sells items or offers a quest in today’s games.

Unpredictable fun should be implemented in MMORPG. We need to work on addressing problems rather than put a band-aid on them. On top of its sophistication, the future MMORPG incorporates a way to give users back freedom and creativity.