Interview - Getting to Know Xhodon More
Questions by Vincent Haoson, OnRPG Journalist
Answered by Dennis Reimer, CEO Trollgames
Xhodon is a browser game run by German game publishing company bigpoint.com. With the game already out for more than a year we here at OnRPG knock on their door and see how the game is doing and what's in-store for the players in the near future.
OnRPG: Xhodon has been running for more than a year, how has the game fared so far? Are you satisfied with how the game turned out since its release?
We started the German version of Xhodon in fall 2008. We are still surprised how many people like to play a game, which once used to be not more than a small hobby project. One year later the first English game world was released. It attracted many new players. A few months ago the second English game world started quite successful. And soon the first English World is going to be restarted with many more new features.
OnRPG: Xhodon takes on a game genre that has been infiltrated by tons of web browser games, what do you think is Xhodon's edge against them?
There are some features which make Xhodon a different gaming experience. One of the most important things about Xhodon: one can play the game without attacking other players, since there are a lot of creeps you can fight with. There are plenty of ways to play the game, its complex - but not hard to learn the basics. Furthermore Xhodon is all about community. People got dozens of options to get in touch, and really play together.
OnRPG: What's the defining feature that identifies Xhodon among the other browser based MMOGs out?
An extraordinary feature is our league system. The highscore is divided in different leagues, like sport leagues. The better your score is, the higher your rank in your league. You compete only with rivals at the same level, but you can interact with every player. At the end of a certain term, e.g. two weeks, the winners of every league get awards and powerful items. That system is a constant motivation to the players, apart from usual aims, like getting better troops or developing your palace (base).
OnRPG: The game uses a very dramatic introduction for new players, is that part of the charm of Xhodon?
Well, Xhodon intends to stimulate the fantasy of the players. We attach great importance to nicely drawn pictures and ingame graphics. The intro goes in line with that. Xhodon is lively and colorful. That counts for the game design and the inhabitants of the game world - our players.
OnRPG: Would you say that's Xhodon's more PvP oriented?
There is no general answer to this. Our playerbase consists of people, who prefer PvP fights as well as many, who mainly want to fight against NPCs. We always tried to fulfill the needs of both factions. There are different game worlds with varying game configurations. Some are more PvP oriented others not. With our recently started "World of the Fairies" (German world) we reached the next level in our endeavor to combine PvP and PvE oriented players in one game. There will be a new English game world soon with the same configuration.
OnRPG: This is the first time I saw a chat box integrated into a browser-based MMOG's interface does this mean Xhodon also all promotes socialization for players?
As mentioned above Xhodon is about socializing. There are many community features such as the ingame chat with general channels, a rpg channel and guild channels. Every player is represented by a profile in the game. You can put personal data there and it shows all awards one has obtained by being a successful player. There is even a guestbook on this profile, which can be used for personal greetings or posting funny pictures. At the other hand the game itself allows the players to cooperate and really play together. With so called "War Camps" you can combine the forces of several players to create a powerful army. Thus, you fight together against stronger players or monsters (creeps), you couldn't defeat alone.
To sum it up, Xhodon is the perfect way to meet new people. We have several reports of players becoming friends or even getting married. Some of those couples already have babies! ;)
OnRPG: Xhodon seems to be using a lot of mythical creatures based on established lore, where did you base the creatures found on the game from?
Well, we are blessed with a lot of imagination. We are fantasy fans ourselves and created an own fantasy universe. We were inspired by several fantasy novels and movies. Xhodon is a mix, not a copy of an existing fantasy universe. It is remarkable that a big amount of the myths about the different creatures where developed by the players, not by us.
OnRPG: Can you elaborate on the Mad Eye system of Xhodon? Is it any different from the map systems found on other browser based MMOGs?
Concerning the map and the way to use it, Xhodon is somewhat special. Through the Mad Eye a mage can see the whole realm of Xhodon. The higher one develops that building the more of the map is revealed. Using the Mad Eye you give orders to your war heros, the commanders of your troops. You can send them wherever you want. Unlike in other strategy games you have access to the whole game world and are able to reach every other player within a few hours. Furthermore heros can as well stay somewhere on the map. They don't have to come back immediatly. There are many strategic options resulting from this. You can waylay an enemy hero, for instance, and attack him by surprise. You can run away from an enemy or travel through the world to summon other heros and create a powerful war camp.
OnRPG: Is the in-game premium store more for convenience for players or is it important for a complete Xhodon gaming experience?
There are several features you can use the premium currency "Runes" for. Some of them are for convenience, others boost you directly. You can buy Runes using real money, but you also get it by playing the game. Runes are being rewarded for solving quests, for defeating creeps, for developing guild structures, for inviting new players and by exchanging Pearls with other players. Active players can earn a lot of runes to spend for the several premium features without paying money.
OnRPG: Do the premium items in Xhodon affect the game balance in anyway?
Certain premium features do. They grant bonuses for resource production or increase the combat power of your troops. But as stated above, everybody can use this features, since one gets Runes by playing the game, not only by buying them with money. We believe it is important, that also people not willing to pay big bucks have fun playing our games without handicaps.
OnRPG: How has the player support of the game fared in the its more than one year of operation? Are players open to giving ideas and suggestions to the game?
We try to offer a player support of high quality. There are different teams responsible for moderating the chat, the board and to help players in case of bugs or questions. There are different ways to get in contact with the staff. You can send mail, write an ingame message or try to reach somebody in the live chat. Normally all requests can be answered and solved quickly. There will be an ingame supportlink soon. Using that, players can open support tickets directly from the game interface.
OnRPG: How many artifacts are out in the game right now? Where did you get the idea for the artifacts the game has?
Artifacts are one of Xhodons special features found in nearly no other strategy browser game. It's kind of a capture the flag mode. As mentioned, the highscore of Xhodon is divided into leagues, where players of the same level compete with each other. Every league has its own set of artifacts. Artifacts are magical stones which grant special bonuses to the player, who hold one as well as to the guild he belongs to. Artifacts can only be conquered by players of the same league. So far there are 3 different artifacts per league in the game giving bonuses on the production of different resources. Before the end of the year a new English game server will start at xhodon.com. One of the new features will be an artifact called "Drakon Splinter". It boosts the combat strength of the mage, who possesses it and thus is the most powerful artifact of all four.
OnRPG: How huge is the game's armory? Will you be adding more weapons and equipment in the future?
So far players can collect and trade more than 3200 different items. Items like weapons and armor add bonuses to resource production, combat strength etc. The game server called "Dwarf World" and the new "Troll World", which soon will be released are servers with unlimited lifetime. After a few months we will implement stronger creeps, which drop new items when defeated. With that additional content Xhodon will be fun for years!
OnRPG: How engaging is the game's battle system and how is it different from other MMOGs?
Important about the battle system is the mentioned freedom in movement. You can send your heros wherever you want, whenever you want. That makes a huge difference in gameplay compared to other games. Usually you give an order and wait hours till it's carried out. You are not able to change anything about the order, not knowing what your troops will confront when the battle finally takes place. Xhodon is completely different in that.
There are two different kinds of troops in Xhodon. One type does high damage, the other type has high life power. Battle creatures vary in speed. You can form fast armies to intercept enemy heroes or decide for slow but powerful units to minimize your losses in battle. Apart from that every unit has several strengths and weaknesses. It's an advanced stone-paper-scissors system. All that leaves many room for strategic decisions and there are different ways to play successful.
There is one more thing to mention: We tried to create a game for players, who don't like the hardcore PvP games in which you can lose everything and see the work of months wiped out within a few hours. Therefore you can't conquer enemy's palaces (bases) in Xhodon. In line with this mentality goes another feature called the "Shaman Hut". If two heros fight against each other only a part of the fallen troops is lost forever. The rest can be resurrected in the Shaman Hut by paying some resources. Players rarely come to the point of despair and are never forced to start over new from the very beginning.
OnRPG: What's in store for Xhodon players for the remainder of the year?
I told you about the improved game configuration we created for the recently released German game world.
As soon as the final battle in the English "World of Trolls" is over, the server is reset. It starts with the new configuration and a lot of new features.
The long-desired "Potions" are finally there. These magical elixirs are brewed from ingredients you collect from creeps. They boost your mage in a way similar to items and artifacts.
Another new feature is a building you construct and improve together with your guild. The "Altar" is used to sacrifice gold to honor the "Felúndin" (gods of Xhodon). In exchange they bless you once a day and give you runes (premium currency) and ingredients. Also new: you can get runes by killing creeps.
The new artifact "Drakon Splinter" waits to be conquered by the players. There are major changes of the importance of the resource production buildings.
To sum it up the new World of Trolls offers a highly improved gaming experience for Xhodon fans and new players as well.
There will be further announcements as soon as the date for the launch of the new Troll World is set. Everyone who registers an account within 3 days after launch will receive 100 runes for free to be among the first right from the beginning!