PWI Imperial Fury Interview
Questions by Darren Henderson (DizzyPW), OnRPG Editor-in-Chief
Answers by Hao Lu, Product Manager
February 2012 saw the launch of PWI’s Descent update. As a former cleric from Lost City server, the Descent patch seemed to answer the requests of many players complaining about the monopolistic nature of the old territory war system by turning it into more of a seasonal objective rather than ongoing (and snowballing) conquest. Now that the territory war system is on the up and up, PWI seems to be focusing on improving end-game options yet again with the launch of Imperial Fury. I had a chance to discuss this upcoming expansion with Perfect World International Product Manager, Hao Lu.
OnRPG: Hello! Please introduce yourself and tell us about your position on the PWE team!
Hey there! Thanks for having me. I know a lot of our players visit OnRPG, so it’s a great opportunity to be able to speak with you. I’m Hao Lu, Product Manager for Perfect World International. Basically, I’m tasked with overseeing everything PWI related in order to ensure that players get the best gaming experience possible. This includes tasks like day-to-day game operation as well as coming up with new initiatives that we hope players will enjoy.
OnRPG: One of my gripes with Perfect World back in the day was that there were so many options for PvE but the rewards for doing some instances weren’t up to par with the rewards of doing others. Lunar Glade and Warsong City are two prime examples of this. How will this update get players back into these awesome instances?
Lunar Glade and Warsong City have long been considered two of the most enjoyable dungeons in PWI, but as you said, some players didn’t feel that the rewards were worth the effort necessary to run them. So our developers did something pretty clever; they took these two high-potential, low-use dungeons and gave players a new reason to revisit them. By ramping up the difficulty of the bosses and making them drop materials to upgrade the best gear in the game, they’ve transformed these two dungeons into true end-game content. While fewer players will be able to clear these exceptionally challenging instances, we think that’s far better than having two highly-accessible dungeons that players have little incentive to complete.
OnRPG: So the changes to these dungeons are exclusive to PWI? What led up to this decision?
That’s correct, and there were two major reasons for it. First of all, our player-base is extremely passionate and vocal, and their desire for more end-game content is something that we’ve always been diligent about relaying to our developers. The second reason is of a more practical nature. Our players are simply further along than other regions’ players in terms of the power of their gear. Many of our players have reached the end of their tier-set, whether it’s Rank 9 or Nirvana gear – and players needed a new goal to strive towards.
OnRPG: Another instance being looked at is Phoenix Valley. This was initially released around a year ago and is now being retrofitted to give level 100+ players a challenge. What are your plans for it?
Phoenix Valley is a unique instance in that it really only serves a single purpose: gaining EXP. Therefore, it seemed only natural to extend this opportunity to level 100+ players, as this level range was known to lack time-effective ways to gain experience.
OnRPG: For us old-timers not in the loop, can you go over the Prestige System and the new ways you are allowing players to accumulate Prestige with this update?
The Prestige System was introduced with this year’s PWI: Descent expansion. As players explore the new high-level zone of Morai, they’ll come across three ideologically distinct “Orders”. As players complete tasks for each respective Order, they’ll gain prestige, which grants access to a variety of gear, skills, and mounts unique to that Order.
This latest update adds Prestige Badges to the mix. These badges can be equipped to accelerate the rate of Prestige growth as players perform the Orders’ tasks, so much of the Morai content should be more accessible now.
OnRPG: Last time I checked the Bounty Hunter quest system had become a staple activity for players seeking to quickly level up. What new bosses and instances do you intend to add to the system?
It’s true. In terms of the popularity of Bounty Hunter quest system, PWI has changed little – most players take it as their mandatory daily objective. However, with the PWI: Imperial Fury update, we’ve added the Seat of Torment and Abbadon areas to the mix. In addition, the developers went ahead and changed some boss mechanics to make them a little more… interesting. We would advise players to approach these challenging encounters cautiously.
OnRPG: The Advanced Endless Universe dungeon offers some pretty hefty rewards for completion. What kind of challenges can players expect to face in order to overcome this trial?
The name of the game is teamwork. With The Trials update at the end of last year, players found themselves facing incredible challenges, the likes of which had never been seen before in PWI. Instance mechanics strayed far beyond the standard tank ‘n spank they’d grown accustomed to. So expect a ton of new instance mechanics, like battling alongside powerful NPCs, timed events, and interacting with the environment to name a few. Advanced Endless Universe seeks to take that feeling from The Trials and scale it down from a 100-player to intense 8-player content.
OnRPG: PWI is known for having some of the most brutal end-game dungeons in a F2P MMO. Knowing what you are jumping into is often half the battle in defeating these challenges. How should players prepare for Advanced Endless Universe when each time they may be faced with 1 of 3 challenges?
A trustworthy squad and a determined spirit are paramount to finding success in Advanced Endless Universe. While the NPCs within the instance do give guidance, it’s going to take nearly everyone multiple tries before they get it down to the point where it becomes a daily run. That being said, running a few of The Trials (added last year) should help prepare players for what’s in store in PWI: Imperial Fury.
OnRPG: Although this is mostly a PvE focused update, you are bringing in some upgrades to PvP protection and the targeting system. What kind of changes can we expect to see?
The upgrades should definitely be appreciated by the PvPers out there. Players have often pointed to the capability of neutral players (i.e. neither squad-mates nor flagged for PVP) to cast “positive” spells on them when they don’t necessarily want to be buffed.
You might think, “Well, what’s wrong with getting a free buff?” But the truth is that not all buffs are desired at every moment. One example was a spell that made the targeted player invulnerable for a few seconds, but also forced them to be paralyzed for the duration. We’ve been paying attention to reports of players using that spell to grief, so the fact that they’ll be able to keep neutral players from buffing them should be a welcome change. As for the targeting, we’ve tweaked the system so that tab-targeting prioritizes enemy players over random roaming monsters, so getting ambushed while questing should be less painful from now on.
OnRPG: PWI really seems to be coming together as a complete package with these last two updates. Are there any areas you feel the game could use further improvement on? Perhaps that might be touched in future updates?
One area I’d like to focus on is in small-scale team PvP. Territory Wars, our system of massive weekly 80v80 battles remains extremely popular, but what about those players who desire a smaller, squad-based, sanctioned fight?
Player feedback is very important to us, so we’re currently in talks with some of our community’s most passionate PvPers to help us come up with ideas for new community events to help tackle this issue. We also hope to continue innovating within the game as we have with The Trials and Advanced Endless Universe to continue bringing our players fun, fresh new content.
OnRPG: Thanks for your time!
Thank you Darren! I’d like to invite both new and veteran players to find out more about PWI and the latest Imperial Fury update at the official game site.