Q&A Gstar 2010

le par Sylvain
L'équipe Bloodlust de NCsoft a répondu aux questions du site coréen thisisgame.com lors du Gstar qui se déroule actuellement. Le forum Dojo en fait une traduction en anglais :

As the game system was revealed, bots and repetitive gameplay became a worry. How do you plan to deal with this concern?

Jae-Hyun Bae: Bots are a result of repetitive play. Bots happen because the player goes through boring repetitive gameplay and they don't feel like doing it. I assure you, Blade & Soul will never run out of content to make the players feel bored while they play. Also, this title will not be a repetitive grindfest game.

The game seemed focused on Story, how much content are you preparing?

Jae-Hyun Bae: The G-Star version will have a huge intro story, other than that we are currently working on scenarios for each server and each continent within the game. The story you experience from the intro will continue on through to the end. The small tale of vengeance you experience through the intro will go a long way to lead you into a much bigger story arc.

Blade & Soul uses the auto targeting system, so who you face is who you target?

Sung-Jin Hwang: It was a system we chose to focus on strategy and action. If you want to properly target your enemy, get moving! It depends on if you can keep this up or not, which will lead to different strategies. We expect players to watch for the monster's movements and play and react accordingly. We are working to make the most optimal interface for that such playstyle.

Jae-Hyun Bae
: Many people could get the impression that auto targeting could be too easy or require less control, but that is not true. As you can see in the party play demo it is definitely not easy. When there are multiple enemies or when there is a monster you want to hit but there is an obstacle in the way you'd have to move.

For example you have to knock back or knock down the obstacle to advance. If someone was willing to go with a really complex maneuver and more in-depth movement, then that is still possible. Mass PvP will be significantly different in Blade & Soul compared to other games for these reasons.

Focusing on a target is difficult. If you wanted to focus down an enemy healer or tank but the enemies make a formation to shield away the tank and healer from you then it will not be possible to still attack them with the people in your way. Movement and formation along with control are key element in this game.

How are the roles split during party play?

Sung-Jin Hwang: There aren't set roles for any characters, of course depending on your class you can choose to take roles.

In standard MMORPG, a healer would not heal while they are leveling up, but would be forced to heal during a party play. It was a good thing if someone enjoyed certain roles but in many cases people felt pressured into only one role. The players would then get bored and quit.

Blade & Soul does have certain classes that can heal while leveling up but damage dealing classes can heal as well. Basically all classes are hybrids as they can all do what they want during different situations.

Jae-Hyun Bae
: The unconscious system( Chi meditation) was developed to leap a hurdle in field party play. When you die during party play, even when you are resurrected you would end up pulling aggro. However, in Blade & Soul's resurrection system, once you get out of the unconscious state you will be out of harm's way before you get back up on your feet. We tried many things to get rid of the everyday roles as Tank, Healer and Damage dealer. They actually didn't disappear, they are just present in a different form.

So, because of the Chi Meditation there is no death? Also KFM's submissions, can they be used on non-humanoid monsters?

Sung-Jin Kang: We wanted to explain death in a system. The 'Chi Meditation' system was implemented to stop the player from being excluded in the battle and keep the battle flowing. Things like submissions, well, to put in some realism, monsters like slimes won't be affected by submissions.

Controls are fluid and the story telling is excellent, but all stories must come to an end. So what would be the end game content?

Jae-Hyun Bae: This was an expected question. First off, there is no Castle Siege(laugh). When we were developing Lineage, we had a reason to put in Castle Sieges but right now we are questioning whether or not we need it. There are currently many games with Castle Siege aspects but I personally think there aren't any games out there that fully utilize the potential of the system. We will have end game content for sure but right now since this is an RPG we are focusing on growth and leveling.

Will fast running and high jumping be all there is for the Qing Gong experience?

Sung-Jin Hwang: The Qing Gong you'll experience in G-Star will be fast running and high jumps, also the gliding from high places. The start of all Qing Gong was fast running.

We first wanted to see what kind of affect those things would have. There is a saying "A master doesn't go around, they just jump over it." We can say this with confidence that what you see in G-star is not the end of Qing Gong and there is still more to come.

Blade & Soul focuses on the importance of Control, but what about items? Which is more important? Control or Items?

Sung-Jin Hwang: We put much attention in to importance of Control and items. The players who lack control will have to manage their weakness by the character's growth. Whether it be armor, weapons or something else that aids them in their controls.

The Masters will have to know how to create a synergy effect. The controls will come as the players train or practice. Stuff like aerial combos or submissions are very true to reality. For example, if you put an enemy up in the air, you can grab them from the air or step on them and get a mounting position. Also if your ally gets grabbed by an enemy, you can use Force Fist to push away at the enemy and save your ally.

You said the controls are easy, is this to get casual gamers in to the game? Also, what is some of the World Lore that reflects on Eastern culture?

Sung-Jin Hwang: To say some classes are easy is saying decision making is important and easy. Less pressure and easy control. Basically, some combos are easy to pull off. Art Director Hyung-Tae Kim constantly tried to counter attack during the demo and he sometimes succeeded and sometimes failed. You don't have to be sad because you failed, you can choose to do easier things to still get joy out of it.

Bum-Joon Lee
: We tried very hard to capture the Eastern World within the game. We took deep consideration with Hyung-Tae Kim's Art in regards to the world, weapons and items along with the language used in game. We all took that into consideration during the level design. The basic plot of the one Jae-Hyung Bae created is about self revenge.

Revenge is very common in the Moo-Hyup novels and we tried to create a very Moo-Hyup like world. Many people take part in schools or clans and even the monsters create clans. We used this knowledge while we made the scenario and quest-lines. We wanted to avoid some of the hard myth type of stuff which could result in people having hard time understanding the complete story.

Since this is an MMORPG, you would have to provide some kind of system for the community to work with. What system do you have in mind?

Jae-Hyun Bae: We have the School(Guild, Clan) system. Many players play together and meet, then gather. We have an in-game system to support these things. However, how you play is still more relevant than creating an organization. The community will get involved not only with the system but also the storyline.

Story and settings will be completely different as you'll experience. For example if the story is driven by some myth from ancient times, the story won't have a direct relationship with you. They tell you to become a hero but you are out there killing boars or orcs. Blade & Soul will focus on YOUR story and the things to come for you in the future.

Many worry that this game will become item centric.

Jae-Hyun Bae: We want to change the whole concept of items. Moo-Hyup, the Eastern Fantasy starts with 'Not wearing armor'. Many games themed off Eastern Fantasy still take the form of the Western RPG system where items are very important. We wanted to avoid these things. Clothes will not be about stats but it will be about honor and achievement.

Do you have how the roles will be played out during Dungeon play?

Jae-Hyun Bae: Tank / Healer / DPS roles can be important but it is also the source of evil. If we follow this basic formula and design a dungeon around that, it will get in our way to trying something new. What if the tank is suppose to hold on to the mob but the DPS knocks it back? We took those factors into deep consideration.

Managing aggro and buffing along with DPS, if we take all of that in to consideration, we can't make a new game. These were already done starting from Everquest to many other games. What's the point of making the game cater to only the casual audiences? If you want that kind of gameplay then you can go play that game. We wanted to break the common frames of Tank / Healer / DPS roles and we took that as a first priority.

Many players are sure that since this is NCSoft's game there will be item enchanting involved.

Sung-Jin Hwang: We have a little inside joke going on about whether or not to put in or take out item enchanting, but we will be implementing the system in a different way. Of course there won't be such a system where the chance to succeed is so low that actual cash comes in to play to acquire those items.

We know Hyung-Tae Kim's art style takes certain areas of the body and really makes them pop, but that's hard to come by in the game itself.

Hyung-Tae Kim: There are many people who like my art, but also many who hate it. I tried my best to make the art seem more approachable to broader audiences. But as you play the game, you'll be able to still become like the Hyung-Tae Kim art style.

In the G-Star Demo we could find this system called Bo-Pe. What is it?

Sung-Jin Hwang: Bo-Pe is Blade & Soul's unique item method. There's this thing called Pal-Gwae and this is also part of the system. Almost all item ideas were given by Jae-Hyun Bae. It could be the same as equipping past items but we have our own little perk. We are currently in a testing phase so it is hard to reveal all the details.

Will there be arenas and such for PVP?

Jae-Hyun Bae: We are currently gathering ideas, and we are aware it is an essential system. You might not have noticed but combat in Blade & Soul is a complex one. We have a lot of console fighting game elements implemented. There is a constant battle between, blocking, counter attacking, hitting and grappling.

Also we wanted to get the concept of buffs and debuffs out the window. We wanted to put away the movement impairing debuff, lowering defenses and buffing your HP. Instead we wanted to add realism and put in knock downs, tripping and a groggy state and mix it all together. Because of that, the skills are very powerful and in some cases learning a new skill will be more powerful than acquiring a new item.

For example, when you successfully counter attack, the enemy goes into a short stun period. Later on when you learn a skill the counter attack becomes an instant cast instead of having a cast time. Skills that cause groggy state can be followed by a skill that puts the enemy up in the air and then following that with other skills and so on which means the depth of PVP will be deeper. When we PvP in the office there sometimes is a moment where what you did in that one frame ends up winning you the battle, kind of like fighting games. The PvP in this game will focus on control and strategy along with some mind games.

As we further develop this game, we create many in-depth systems and we think we will need a pvp system like an arena. We wanted to create a game that's easy to pick up and play but hard to master. To give you a dramatic example, you can just mash the R button to take an enemy down. However, it will depend on how efficiently you use skills and control. It all comes down to efficiency in control.
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