Questions prepared by Chris Scarbrough, Onrpg writer
Answered by Ice Han, Product Manager, Zu Online Team, IGG Inc.
Onrpg: Zu Online was released in December 2007. What were your expectations with regard to the game’s development and the player basis? Were your expectations met, or even exceeded?
Zu Online: We are glad to say that Zu Online has received a lot of attention and support from players since its debut. The game has developed very quickly too, which has enriched the gameplay a great deal and has also made the game better and better with each new update. Well, we’ve been very satisfied with the development progress as well as the player base we’ve developed. Nevertheless, we expect Zu Online to continue to get better and for players to keep joining us.
Onrpg: What inspired you to go the route of cell shaded graphics, which give Zu Online such a unique and cartoonish look?
Zu Online: In contrast to other 3D games, Zu Online’s cell shaded graphics are especially unique. Why did we choose this route? Because we believe the graphics highlight the drawing skill and the pure Chinese wash painting style very clearly.
Onrpg: Can you comment on the creation of an enemy or NPC that you’re particularly fond of? For example, was there a particular type of enemy, NPC or look that you wanted to create just for Zu Online?
Zu Online: Sure, all the NPCs in Zu Online have some basis in Chinese mythology. So, they all have unique backgrounds and personality. For example, Whitebrow, a master of Good magic, the Brute Marshal, who was beheaded but still tries his best to guard his master, Widow Yee, who has imprisoned many talented inner cultivators in the Magic Thread Cave, and many more… The various NPCs have all managed to create a magical and diverse world for players to enjoy. I believe choosing one would be a disservice to the others, as they all have an interesting story they’d like to tell.
Onrpg: The new Zu Online Version 1.8.01 is coming soon. Players can now level up to 259 and explore new zones. What can they expect from these great new changes?
Zu Online: It is really very exciting. In the new version, we have added a lot of new content. Besides raising the level cap and the two new zones, there are the star levels for the equipment system, the salary system and the pet combination system also. Additionally, many new cool items have been added, such as the metamorphic fashion items, Costume-Female Summoner and Costume-Sun Warrior.
In this new version, The level cap will be raised to 259 in the upcoming expansion. As a result, players will encounter greater challenges and have a more exciting gaming experience in the version. New quests, zones, monsters, spells, talents, items, pets and other features will also be added as the level cap increases. Also, players will enjoy a lot in the new zones and new instance. The players who reach level 190 can challenge the new super bosses in Frozen Sea and protect Secret Ruler to maintain justice. In addition, currently, there are various fashions, including weird Armor, Xmas Costume, Q head, Metamorphic Fashions, etc. for each class. Well, in the new version, new fashions will be added such as Panda-Q head, Bridegroom-Q head, Bride-Q head, and so on will be added to it. In a word, ?players can expect much more than their imagine from these great new changes.
Onrpg: There are many changes announced for Version 1.8.01, which are the biggest changes, and which are the most fun?
Zu Online: Well, the biggest changes are probably the new systems, such as the star levels for the equipment system and the pet combination system by which players can become stronger and stronger. Another one is salary system. They can get weekly salary in it. I do believe all of these are what players longer for. As for the most fun changes, I believe the new instance and the new zones won’t disappoint anyone. In the new instance, players can challenge high-level bosses like Stony Devil, Broadsword Lord and Broadaxe Lord
Onrpg: Concerning PvP, players sometimes feel that after so long, PvP becomes less appealing. Are there any plans to adjust the PvP system or add new features?
Zu Online: Yes, sure. We have been working hard to improve clan balance in order to make PvP more fun. We have been working to adjust PvP system too. For example, we have taken releasing an exclusive zone for PvP into consideration.
Onrpg: With hackers targeting MMORPGs more and more often, are you concerned this will become a problem for your website and for your players?
Zu Online: To be frank, we have always done everything possible to prevent hackers and third party programs from infiltrating our games, but there will always be a few bad apples out there trying to ruin it for everyone. Of course, we will continue to keep a close eye out for these people and we hope that our players will be proactive in taking every precaution they can to prevent these sorts of things from happening.
Onrpg: What was your motivation to change the prices of CT Commercial Travel and how do you see this function in the future?
Zu Online: Originally, we designed CT with the aim of helping players earn money quickly. But some players found it’s not quick or easy to earn money from CT and this defeated the whole purpose of the system. That’s why we’ve made adjustments to try and improve CT again and again, even offering Golden Strikers for free. So, with the change we’ve made, players don’t have to worry about losing their own money anymore and they can get a lot more money from CT than before.
Onrpg: Are there any plans to add additional character customization or classes?
Zu Online: Hum…as for the new class, it is really a good idea. We thought of it. But we will not add new class in near future. Just because most players are satisfied with the current 5 classes and these classes are indeed popular. Every class have their own spotlight. Swordsmen specialize in sword fighting skills and have mastered the ability to separate their spirit from their body. Beautiful and intelligent Bead Fairies are good at healing others and casting other beneficial effects. Sun Warriors can scare any tough monster away just by flexing their strong muscles. Cool and beautiful Moonmaidens always kill their enemy with amazing speed. Summoners specialize in summoning and controlling minions. Players enjoy different fun from different class. However, maybe in future, we will add some. We are doing our utmost to make players can get more freshness in Zu Online.
Onrpg: Some people feel the gap between experience rewards for killing enemies and experience rewards for doing quests is too high at lower levels. Are there any plans to fix or change this?
Zu Online: Hmm…A major difference between Zu Online and other MMORPGs is that quests reward much more experience than the killing of enemies. For one thing, we feel that the story is an integral part of the game. Good vs Evil and the battle for supremacy of the immortal world are not things to be taken lightly. However, this doesn’t mean players cannot level quickly just from slaying monsters. Actually, players can even level faster by slaying monsters than doing quests alone if they get a full group together for the fights. In fact, we received a lot of players’ suggestions before we determined the numerical value of experience granted from quests and monsters. So, I think each type of players can find fun from the design.
Onrpg: The recent decision to merge the servers Holy&Desert and Ghost, has many players concerned due to the five character limit. Can you tell us a little more about that choice?
Zu Online: Well, the server merger is aimed at increasing the number of players in the server at one time, which means a more diverse server environment and better gameplay. This is especially true for things that require a group of players, such as Area Occupation, the Monster Slaying Contest, Pets’ Adventures, and so on. As for the five character limit, I think it will satisfy most players’ needs because there are only five classes available in Zu Online now. Surely, some may suffer some losses from it. That’s why we decided to compensate all the players for the server merger. For example, we will give out Cursed Stones for free and raise the exchange rate between Gold and Silver.
Onrpg: Do you have any plans for a special Christmas event? Can you give us a small preview of what to expect?
Zu Online: Of course, we know that Christmas is the most important holiday of the year for many Western countries, and we would like to help our players enjoy a fun and special Christmas holiday in Zu Online . Actually, we have planned several Christmas events for them. They are still being developed, but they should be ready soon. Maybe Xmas Letter Card and Xmas Stockings will the held during Christmas. Just may be. The one thing I can tell you firmly is that every player who joins the event will get big surprise and much fun. So, please key eyes on our latest notices at our official site.
Onrpg: What can we expect to see in the future for Zu Online?
Zu Online: First of all, let me say thanks to those who have ever supported Zu Online. Secondly, we promise we will keep surveying players’ suggestions and improving Zu Online again and again. At last, thank you for your interest in the game and your interview.
For screenshots of Zu Online, please visit the Zu Online Screenshot Gallery.