Aika Online Ashes of Betrayal Expansion Interview
Questions by Vincent Haoson, OnRPG Journalist
Answered by Christina Kelly, Community Manager, Aika
We here on OnRPG just got word that Aika Online released the game’s newest patch, Ashes of Betrayal. We were given the opportunity to talk to the people behind Aika Online to ask them about the game changes and about the things players may expect from this patch.
OnRPG: What was the development and preparation process like for Ashes of Betrayal?
It was intense and exciting! We worked very closely with our developers (HanbitSoft) to make sure the expansion content was localized and tested properly. Of course there was also a fair share of late nights and lots of pizza! Additionally, because there was so much content rolled into Ashes of Betrayal, we had to coordinate the testing ofover 100 quests, a new Temple to expand our Relic War PvP mode, a free buff system to encourage players to play in their nations’ PvP channels, and so much more. We also collaborated with the excellent Gala-Net marketing team to get the word out about the expansion and all of the events we had planned for it. And of course we were busy preparing events like the Race to Level 60, Naked Noobie Run, and our This Means WAR! drop event for in-game prizes.
OnRPG: What changes were implemented for Ashes of Betrayal? Have there been big revamps to Aika’s gameplay and interface? Why or why not?
We added a ton of new content and features to Aika with Ashes of Betrayal. Not only are there two new areas with 100+ quests and a raised level cap, but we’ve also added new class evolutions for all character classes with new skills, gear, and a stat point distribution system. Then, for our nation war PvP mode, we added a balancing mechanic called the Underdog Nation which gives free items to new and low-level players in the least populated nation to help them level up. We’ll rotate the Underdog Nation on a continual basis so that nation populations stay relatively even with each other, which will keep nation vs. nation warfare pretty exciting. Finally, we also introduced a free buff which is available only to players on the PvP channel (as opposed to the PvE channel, where you can’t engage in nation vs. nation PvP) to encourage more of the large-scale combat which sets Aika apart from other MMORPGs.
OnRPG: How big of an impact has Ashes of Betrayal caused so far? Why?
Ashes of Betrayal has had a major impact on the game, particularly for higher level players and active PvP-ers. The new Temple has changed the strategy of Relic War, since it’s located in a high level area and is more easily defensible than the other Temples. We’re also seeing the effects of the Underdog Nation system now, as new players have been attracted to the Underdog nation since its implementation. It’s been wonderful seeing this mechanic work as intended, and giving the Underdog a chance to contend in the PvP world.
We also believe the expansion has made the community more enthusiastic about conquering new challenges – not just mastering new skills or getting new equipment, but also in working with us, the Aika team, to balance game mechanics. It’s a very exciting time for everyone, and a particularly good opportunity for our team to increase our communication with players.
OnRPG: How does the Ashes of Betrayal storyline tie itself to the current storyline Aika has? Did you introduce a big twist in the player’s story in Aika?
As soon as you step foot into the world of Aika, you are given the role of an Aitan – a gifted human with exceptional skills, responsible for the safety and welfare of Lakia. Through the first fifty levels of the game, players are faced with the malicious entities known as the Zereca and the Dark Legion. “Ashes of Betrayal” reveals more treacherous details about the venomous Sinclair and his Dark Legion. The Aitan continue to learn more about Sinclair’s evil deeds while fighting for the good of Congress and Lakia.
OnRPG: What’s the most sought after new game feature for Ashes of Betrayal? Why do you think so?
Players were most excited about the class evolutions. The new skills, raised level cap, new gear, and stat point system all contribute to a dramatic change in the way players approached their characters. It’s always exciting to have new goals to work towards and new ways to dominate your opponents, and these features certainly appeal to our players. The new skills also have great animations and really interesting strategic uses, which gives everyone that extra motivation to level up and use their skill points. For instance, at level 59, the Templar (the evolution of the Paladin), can learn a skill called Blades of Aika which deals large amounts of damage to enemies within a 3-meter radius every second for at least 20 seconds. As the Templar mainly specialized in defensive and tanking powers pre-expansion, the addition of Blades of Aika means she can potentially become a serious damage dealer as well.
Aika PVP Battle
OnRPG: The update’s storyline seems to be pretty action packed, how will this affect Aika’s current PvP system? Will there be big changes to it? Why or why not?
The PvP system is largely separate from the PvE storyline – we like to think of the PvP as the serious end-game content and the PvE as a source of comic relief and relaxation. That being said, one of the new areas in the expansion, Ashwood, contains a new Temple for storing the sacred relics which are the focus of our nation vs. nation Relic Wars. This means that each nation will have four Temples, each in a different area of the map, to place and protect their relics. The different Temples have different geographic features which influence their defensibility and each nation must use money from its treasury to maintain Temple defenses. Therefore, this addition makes Relic War much more complex for players, particularly the leaders of each of the nations.
OnRPG: How vast are the new maps? How many dungeons will you be including in the expansion?
The new maps include more than 100 new quests for players to participate in. Players can expect to meet several new, engaging NPCs and dozens of new MOBs that bring even more flavor to the world of Aika! Although there will be new people to meet and even more monsters to kill, players can also expect to see familiar faces along the way. You didn’t think that stint in Tabazra Desert was the last you’d see of the flamboyant Captain Coco, did you?
OnRPG: How will the new maps and dungeons tie-in with the expansion storyline?
“Ashes of Betrayal” unveils the story of a civilization at war. As players enter the new world, it seems that the half-human, half-bird race of the Kynari have ruthlessly turned against one another. It turns out, however, that Sinclair and the Dark Legion are responsible for planting evil seeds in the once-tranquil Darkrane Forest. Aitan are now faced with the challenge of bringing peace back to the forest!
Combat in Aika
OnRPG: Can you provide more info regarding the new job classes that are open to players 51 and up?
Sure! At level 50, every class can go on an advancement quest to reach a new evolution for their character once they hit level 51. Class advancement is the only way to level up after 50 – you can’t stay as your original class form and still unlock all the new upgrades. The first and second class form names are below:
Original Form – Evolution Form:
Warrior – Conqueror
Paladin – Templar
Rifleman – Sniper
Dual Gunner – Pistoleer
Warlock – Arcanist
Cleric – Saint
OnRPG: How powerful are the new job classes that will be included in the expansion? How will these job classes enhance the Aika Online gaming experience?
The new forms are very powerful and introduce more flexibility into stat customization. After level 50, players are given a certain number of stat points every time they level up. These points can be distributed among the different stats which previously did not change as you leveled up (Strength, Agility, Intelligence, Constitution and Luck). The different attributes are each important to different classes – Strength and Constitution for the Warrior, Agility for the Dual Gunner, and so on. Between stat point distribution and gear enhancement/customization, players can create characters which are unique and more closely reflect the player’s playing style. Each class can also learn 3 new skills between level 51 and level 60 – two active skills and 1 passive. These new skills introduce much more complexity into the balance of the game. High level players need to carefully consider the way the new skills complement or enhance the old ones, and their importance in PvP vs. PvE.
OnRPG: With the new stat point system in place, does it mean that new characters created during the expansion will have more stats to allocate compared to pre-expansion characters? Or will there be an implemented system to prevent this from happening?
No. Stat points are only available from level 51 onwards. New characters cannot add or reallocate stat points.
OnRPG: Were there any game balance issues after the expansion was released? How did you deal with the problem?
There were some game balance issues from the expansion, and we’re currently working with the developers and considering feedback from the community to adjust them. The leveling curve changes drastically from 50-60 compared to 1-49, so we’re implementing a new quest chain and running events to help players level up. From valuable player feedback, we also discovered that the new temple is much more balanced with 3 relic slots instead of 5. We’ve also been closely monitoring the Underdog Nation and other new mechanics’ effects to make sure they don’t upset the balance of the game.