Zodiac Online Interview: How Is Your Kung Fu?
Questions by Vincent Haoson, OnRPG Journalist
Answered by GM Blackout
With its open beta stage just a few hours away, we here on OnRPG got a chance to talk with GM Blackout on the current status of Zodiac Online's test operations especially after going through a lot of closed beta stages.
OnRPG: Thank you for having this interview with us. Could you introduce yourself, please?
It's my pleasure. I'm GM Blackout, also the Media Relations Officer for Zodiac Online.
OnRPG: Without any new or updates coming from your site, we'd like to know if the game is still in its final closed beta stage? If it is how is the game faring now? (alternative question-if its not when will OBT begin?)
The game is still in its final closed beta phase. It's getting better every day, now the server is going to be over crowded. I think it's time to launch Open-beta along with another new server. Open-beta will open on PST 00:00 Feb. 10th.
OnRPG: Has the game's current status reached your expectations on how it will be welcomed? Why or why not?
I'm very glad to tell you that yes the game's current status has reached our expectations, the population on the Closed-beta server has not stopped growing up until now. But anyway this is only a temporary achievement; it's not the time for us to become overly proud. In the coming Open-beta, we'll set many new goals for ourselves to reach. I think if some day our game is well-known by almost all game fans, then that will be the right time for us to celebrate.
Busy market in Zodiac Online
OnRPG: Zodiac Online seems to be heavenly inspired by the Chinese zodiac-what other things that people don't usually know about in the Chinese zodiac that you incorporated into the game?
Zodiac Signs are 12 animal signs representing 12 years in a cycle. In China, every person has a sign, the sign goes with their birth year. Sometimes the zodiac signs are used as signs in Chinese horoscopes, people may divine their luck or fate on their love, career or friendship.
OnRPG: How deeply ingrained is the Chinese zodiac and the Chinese horoscope culture in the game systems in Zodiac Online? Why go to such lengths?
Players in Zodiac Online play as a zodiac envoy from the heaven that are about to be sent to the mortal world. Players can choose a character from the 24 characters of 12 zodiac signs (12 males and 12 females). In some days, the characters of a certain zodiac sign will be lucky (having a bigger success chance than usual in many events that has a success rate) and others will be unfortunate. This is called the Zodiac System. Besides, in the beginning of the game, all players will receive a zodiac pet from a quest. The pet, of course, is the animal of his/her zodiac sign. But don't worry, the pets can be traded so you still can get any pet you want. As you can see, the zodiac signs are involved in the game but it never restricts players too much. We think this is the best way.
Creating a new character
OnRPG: Do you think this theme can appeal to the western culture especially to those who have no idea about the Chinese zodiacs or even Chinese culture for that matter? Why do you think so?
Since many western cultural elements can attract eastern people a lot, we don't worry about this. We're sure the reverse is as valid a theory! Generally speaking, unknown things may arouse people's curiosity more easily, especially the zodiac signs which are very interesting and entertaining.
OnRPG: What do you think is Zodiac Online's edge against the numerous MMORPGs out there right now?
It's not a real-time game like most of the other MMOs you can find nowadays but a turn-based one instead. You don't have to decide what to do in battles in a hurry. So I think most players even those who don't have any experience on playing games can handle this game easily. Also there're many interesting features like the marriage system and video chat function. And you can hold a Chinese style wedding ceremony with your in-game fated love and even video-chat with him/her to see the real face. That sounds very interesting, doesn't it?
OnRPG: What do you think is the game's main attraction for players both in the east and the west?
The game has colorful graphics and cute cartoon characters; you know this appeals to everybody. This is just on the surface of the game that attracts all players. Furthermore, the game has a complex but exciting growing equipment system without wasting lower level equipments when your level goes up; and a very big pet taming/evolving system. Do you know that the pets in Zodiac Online have their own skills, stat points and even their own equipment? I don't think it's a common feature among all MMOs nowadays. It's hard to say what the main attraction is, because there're too many big attractions.
OnRPG: One of the game's unique system is the fate system-how integrated is this fate system to the Zodiac Online's overall gameplay?
This system informs you of the compatibility between you and the person running by. This is a clue for you to find out your fated friends, opponents and even your pre-life love. This system does not affect the gameplay much, but it's a nice, fun feature..
Give orders in combat
OnRPG: Zodiac Online also has a pet system-is this game's pet system more important to the player's overall gameplay or can players just forgo the pets and play their characters without one? Why?
Trust me the pet system in Zodiac Online is great. Like I've said, pets can have their own skills, stat points and equipments. So they're not only pets but also your good partners. Players can control every move of their pets, so if you have a pet, you can do 2 things in a turn in battles instead of only 1 all by yourself without a pet. I'm very sure that the pets play a very important part in Zodiac Online, you can't handle the game without one. Besides, the pets can evolve into generation 2 pets at level 30, and evolve into generation 3 pets at level 60. You even have a chance to get an advanced or rare gene. 3 pet. These kinds of gene. 3 pets will be very powerful and attractive. I'm sure other players will envy you a lot if you have a rare one.
OnRPG: How integrated are pets to Zodiac Online's gameplay?
Pets can help players to fight with mobs in battles and heal players. Actually they're just like good partners that always stand in front of you to protect you. Also you can set a pet booth to sell stuff in cities and villages when you need to go out. You don't need to stay near the booth to look after it.
The Pet Panel and Talents
OnRPG: Upon character creation you are asked to choose what aptitude your character has-how is this connected to Zodiac Online's gameplay?
Different aptitudes have different advantages and penalties. For example if a player chooses the D&H aptitude, he/she will get more Defense and Hit Points after gaining a level at a price of getting less Hit Rate and Magical Attack. Obviously this aptitude is designed for tanks. And the M&M aptitude stands for Magical Attack and Magical Defense, it is a mage/healer type. You'll gain more Magical Attack and Magical Defense but less Hit Points and Physical Defense. As you can see, aptitudes are class-oriented but never a real restriction. You can choose D&H aptitude but learn healing skills to be a steely healer. Everything's up to you, everyone can use their imaginations to create their own build-ups.
OnRPG: What does it mean that there is no class limitation in Zodiac Online? Can you be more detailed on how aptitude is connected with this?
In Zodiac Online we only have aptitudes which are class-oriented but not real class limitations. In other games if you choose to be a warrior then maybe you can never cast a spell, also mages will never have high defense and high hit points. But in Zodiac Online the situation is totally different. Aptitude choices, skill choices and stat point allocations are free and independent. Like I've said above, players can choose a D&H aptitude which is designed for tanks, but learn healing skills. Such a healer has a relatively high physical defense and hit points at a price of having less healing effects and magical defense. Comparing with common healers with M&M aptitude, this healer will be strong against a physical attacker but may be a little weak against mages. Maybe you can say in Zodiac Online we have unlimited numbers of different classes. Your combination goes with your imagination. Besides, when you're tired of your current build-up, you just need to reset your stat points and skills to create a totally new character in another "Class" instead of making another new character and re-gaining the levels again.
OnRPG: Can you explain to us the Horoscope system in the game? Is this connected to the actual horoscope in real life or is it all just within the game's borders?
This system is not open yet, but I still can tell something about it. I think the horoscope system is only within the game's borders since the horoscopes are done basing on your chosen zodiac sign and something else. The horoscope will be weekly, if a player has a very good fortune (Rank A) in this week he will receive a very good gift sent by the system after a thanks to the Fairy of Wish. Different things will happen to players at different fortune ranks.
OnRPG: Will you be including new features to the game once the game goes into commercial release? Why or why not?
I can't say too much about how the game will be in its commercial release, because we're still planning and designing new things. All we're supposed to do right now is to bring our players a successful Open-beta. I think I can answer this question well when the commercial release comes.
Of course: cute valentine's day events!
OnRPG: What's in store for Zodiac Online in the weeks ahead?
The biggest coming feature is the Character Marriage System. If a player find his/her fated love (maybe the one he/she loved in pre-life?) and they want to stay together in the game, they can marry each other. However, the marriage won't go very smoothly because, there're many demons in the mortal world in the game, demons never believe in faithful love, they only like cute girls. Some demon may try to take the bride away from the groom, so players will be asked dash to across through a maze and defeat the demon to complete their marriage. That will be the time for the groom to show the bride how true his love is. After the demon is beaten up, players can hold a Chinese style wedding ceremony. Besides, in Open-beta we'll set the maximum available level from 60 to 70, followed by many new elements like new quests, new mobs, new maps, new equipments etc.
OnRPG: Thank you for your time!
Not a problem. You're welcome to chat with us any time!