Asda Story interview: Jiwoo Park, Producer of Asda

Questions by Rick Charbs (Jammart), Onrpg writer

Answered by Jiwoo Park, Asda Story Producer

Recently, Onrpg has been pleased to have held an interview with Jiwoo Park, Asda Story’s producer. This MMORPG is known for its twist on social interaction, mainly with their Soul Mate system. There are many perks from taking advantage of this system, such as faster leveling: “Soulmates are able to level far faster than a single player, and have a great deal more versatility with their characters’ abilities while being a part of a Soulmate bond”, said Jiwoo Park. This interview also includes some information on the coming PvP system of the game; be sure to read on to find out!

Onrpg: With Valentine’s Day just passed, what events did you hold during this holiday of love? How did they go?

Jiwoo Park: This Valentine’s Day we wanted to get some more interaction going in the player community between users that have been around since our very first Beta and the ones that just started last week. To this end we had a fairly large Gift Exchange Event where our mid to high level players were given a good amount of items that could only be used by the lower level players, and in exchange they got some rewards for giving them out through our Title competition that we have which ranks players for their in-game achievements. We also had some updates with our new Pet System, where players had to collect Valentine’s Day Love tokens to get access to special holiday themed pets which give their characters stat bonuses among a few others.

Onrpg: The Soulmate system is one of the factors that set Asda Story apart from other MMOs. Could you explain this interesting system to us?

Jiwoo Park: The Soulmate system is an in-game function unique to Asda Story which allows players to pair up with the characters on another user’s account and gain various powers and benefits that they would otherwise not have access to. The most basic of which is that as they play alongside one another’s characters they gain greatly increased amounts of experience and all-around higher stats than they normally would. As they continue to play together they are able to gain Soulmate levels which unlock increasingly powerful skills including resurrection abilities, improved damage, very strong healing abilities, and even the power to summon and teleport to one another anywhere in the game. Soulmates are also able to have one of the pair log off when they need to go offline, and while the other is still able to play they can collect extra experience which may be split between them when the first player can log back in at a later time. Soulmates are able to level far faster than a single player, and have a great deal more versatility with their characters’ abilities while being a part of a Soulmate bond.

Onrpg: What makes the soul mate system of such importance to the game?

Jiwoo Park: The Soulmate system creates a number of beneficial effects not only to the game’s overall community atmosphere, but to individual players’ experiences with the game as well. Friends and guildmates are able to help each other progress through the content at a reasonably close pace, even if they have differing amounts of time available to play or experience with MMOs. A more experienced player as a Soulmate is able to mentor a less experienced player through the game using their unique shared abilities to assist them in combat and stay in closer communication than is usually possible with Clans and in-game friends. These more tightly knit pairings allows for the game’s community to form parties and Clans that know each other’s in-game strengths, weaknesses, and play-styles more fully than they would in most other games; providing a greater degree of strategy and teamwork to play as well.

Onrpg: What other events and activities do you regularly host in Asda Story?

Jiwoo Park: Our GMs host daily events in the game, and one of our players’ favorites is the GM Summon Event in which our staff will summon gigantic Boss-monsters to duke it out with the army of players that assemble against them for the rare items on their drop lists. In addition to their daily events, our GMs are more than happy to stop and answer any questions or address concerns that the average player may bring up as well. We also have frequent bonus event periods for general MMO staples such as drop rates and experience, on top of numerous holiday events and special contests we hold to give our players something back for their support. On Halloween and Thanksgiving for instance we had Frankenstein’s Monsters and Giant Turkeys roaming around the game that had some great prizes players could get by going after them. We’re always looking to create some fun new events that our players aren’t expecting, and to do collaborative or promotional events with MMO communities to show them how proud we are of our content and exactly what we have to offer for their time spent in-game.

Onrpg: How community oriented is this MMORPG? Is partying encouraged, or is soloing popular?

Jiwoo Park: We definitely try to take into account all MMORPG playing styles with Asda Story. It’s entirely possible to solo all the way to the level cap if that’s the user’s personal preferences; however we absolutely encourage players to create a strong community in the game. Our upcoming PVP systems are going to have some very fast-paced and exciting team-oriented combat with certain options only available to those belonging to Guilds, but there will be room for solo players to participate in all of the free for all PK’ing in various regions of the game-world that they could ask for. Generally collaboration between players results in their getting access to the more difficult and harder to reach areas of a game but we’re quite confident in our ability to allow the player to enjoy themselves regardless of exactly how they prefer to progress through the content, whether by themselves or with a group of friends.

Onrpg: What are some of the different enemies within the game? How are they unique?

Jiwoo Park: Asda Story’s monsters are some of our best examples of the game’s unique art style, and the more unique bosses serve as the set-pieces for a number of our Instant Dungeons and Elite Field Maps. Some of the monsters are dozens of times the size of the player-characters and provide a more epic feel to these encounters. Each one has their own list of special abilities and a backstory that progresses the storyline of the quests as the player continues to level and approaches even stronger opponents in the areas ahead. We are particularly proud of the Chess and Fairy Tail thematics that the monsters in the game possess which draw from literary works covering everything from the Wonderland series to ancient mythology.

Onrpg: What are “Instant Dungeons”? Are they a popular activity in Asda?

Jiwoo Park: Instant Dungeons provide a private area for players to access some important aspects of the games storyline, as well as offering an area with unique weapon sets and items that can be found nowhere else in-game. The Dungeons are quite popular with our players and provide more difficult content for them to progress through, while encapsulating them in an area where they can play uninterrupted and for as long as they choose with respawning enemies which allow for continuous play as long as they choose.

Onrpg: Could you please give us a brief explanation of the Sowel System?

Jiwoo Park: The Sowel System is another unique feature of the game which allows for infinite variation in the combination of weapons and socketable materials which provide the stats on in-game items. Users are able to take the items they want and apply the defense, strength, etc. they choose by placing special items called Sowels inside of them. The Sowel items may be continuously switched out or placed into different gear entirely to carry over the bonuses they prefer onto the gear they want to wear. The system allows them to combine items with the in-game look a player likes or thinks fits their character with the stats that their character needs to access the higher level content, and basically allows them not to have to choose function over form or vice-versa.

Onrpg: Does Asda Story have a PVP system?

Jiwoo Park: We’re nearing the final stages of development with the game’s PVP systems at this time, and they’ll be ready to be implemented into the live client with a Q1 launch this year. Our end-game focus is going to be fairly PVP-centric with Clans at the middle of it. Clans will be able to join together to form “Camps”, which will serve as the larger organizations for PVP warfare. We’ll be including Clan and Camp-created structures which players will be able to build on their own, as well as siege warfare revolving around taking over and destroying the structures of other Clans and Camps. There will also be free for all PK areas as well as Party and Clan based fighting. We’re quite excited to see exactly how the player-community will be able to take the content and develop their own in-game alliances and factions as the system progresses.

Onrpg: Why have you decided to host Asda Story? What do you like about it the most?

Jiwoo Park: We decided to host Asda Story because we believe there is a specific niche it is able to fill in the online game industry that the majority of its competitors cannot. It combines the attractive aspect of being completely free to download and play as much and for as long as a user wants to, with a game of high enough quality content that we feel it can rightly hold its own in the same space as games that would otherwise require a subscription fee in order to design and keep running. We basically decided to host Asda Story because we’re confident enough in its continued succeed, and the progress we’ve made with the game in regards to both content and community since its release has more than backed up that confidence.

Onrpg: What types of items can one purchase in your item mall?

Jiwoo Park: The items available for purchase in the game’s item mall are generally items of convenience or character customization as opposed to ones which might potentially create a gap between paying and non-paying users. We understand the importance of allowing a free game to remain free and not require a player to buy something just to stay on-par with those who decide to do so. There are a number of items that simply allow a player to customize their appearance with special costumes and hairstyles. We include items like vehicles, armor, and weapons with unique appearances that also have stats which are balanced with those that may be found in-game through running Dungeons and other unique content. Items that let you teleport to your friends, increase the amount of weight you can carry or storage space if they collect more items than most players, or gain extra experience if a player doesn’t have a lot of time to play helps them keep up with their guildmates that do. The item mall allows players to have access to the character customization and personalization options they want while making certain to maintain a distinct balance in the game play of Asda Story for our community as a whole.

Onrpg: How user friendly is Asda Story?

Jiwoo Park: We take a good deal of pride in the extent of Asda Story’s ease of access and its ability to be understood and enjoyed by even those who are entering the world of MMO’s for their very first time. There is a comprehensive guide within the game itself which leads a player through everything from how to move their character to what exactly a quest is and how to complete one. At the same time we don’t force more experienced users to go through each and every step they may already know from years of play, and the guides are able to jump them along and get them the unique information they need to know about the game without wasting their time otherwise. We’ve also taken care to make the UI, the in-game systems, and functions such as Crafting as readily accessible and easily used as possible. Our in-game coordinate and a unique inter-map auto run system allows players to travel long distances across the game world to arrive exactly where they intended to be, and the quest and NPC dialogue explains clearly and succinctly where they need to go and what they need to do next when they get there. The overall design intention of the game is to keep it fun at all times, and allow players to enjoy themselves while they play without forcing them to jump through unnecessary hoops or frustrate them with a design interface they need to struggle through.

Onrpg: If you could rate the combat system on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the most effective), what would you rate Asda Story?

Jiwoo Park: To be honest I would currently rate our combat system at around 8 if you don’t consider the PVP content we’re developing right now. There is going to be a fairly large amount of new combat system features and functions getting integrated, updated, and balanced alongside the release of PVP; though right now our mob AI and the sizable amount of player abilities and specializations are working pretty well together in PVE, and are complementing each other very nicely in those aspects. Once PVP is released I’m anticipating our players are going to be combining the different classes and skills available in our combat system in ways that we didn’t expect in the development process.

Onrpg: What is your favorite character class, and why?

Jiwoo Park: I would have to say my class of choice right now is our melee Warrior, specializing in one-handed swords and shields specifically. It was the first class I tried when we first started up Alpha testing at the very beginning, and it’s the one I currently play as my private, personal character. I like their durability and crowd control in PVE, and in PVP they’re starting to look like they can do a lot of anti-player crowd control as well. Personally I can’t get enough of PVP in MMO’s, and crowd control is a pretty important aspect of that to stop enemy casting and healing, which helps break opposing groups down when they can’t get off what abilities they need to in order to keep themselves up. Our balancing team is quite good however, so I’m really looking forward to watching how our players are going to take the classes and work them into effective teams comprised of different class combinations.

Onrpg: What can we expect to see in the future in terms of items and updates?

Jiwoo Park: We’re continuously adding in new content to the game as we work on getting in new systems and functions which we think players will enjoy, and addressing their concerns regarding existing material to improve their overall experience with Asda Story. We’ve recently added in comprehensive Crafting functions and a unique Pet System to the game, both of which we’re going to keep creating additional content for as we progress in the development cycle. Higher level content in general is definitely in the works as well: with an increased level cap, new maps, and expanded job-class systems coming in the near future. To coincide with the content expansion, we’ll be including some exciting new vehicles, high level items, and powerful new abilities throughout the game-world; eventually including siege-weapons for Camp-based PVP with player-created structures. We’re very proud of how far the game has come content-wise in the past few months, and we’re looking forward to taking the success of the game even farther as we head into the future.

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