C9: Webzen Editor’s Awards Recap
By Darren Henderson (DizzyPW), OnRPG Editor-in-Chief
One thing I will say is the OnRPG community is an inquisitive bunch. Many of you guys have played on the Korean version of Continent of the Ninth Seal and are no doubt more experienced than me on the game so getting your questions answered from the devs is no easy feat. They stayed tight lipped on most subjects but were still willing to let a bit slide. In this article I’ll be going over the three newly revealed classes that global players will be getting their hands on in this month’s beta test as well as all the little tid bits of knowledge they graciously gave us at their Korean HQ interview.
Real Gamers Control Their Character By Sticking their Tongue Out
The Demo: New Classes and Ultimate Fury
So first off, the big reveal! We got hands on with the Berserker, Shadow, and Reaperess and I have to say the difference between playing a level 2x character and playing a high level character in this game is night and day. For starters the Berserker is exactly what it sounds like. These warriors throw defense to the wayside in exchange for the highest dps of the warrior classes and the ability to chain combinations like no other. We were offered a demo in which three top C9 players demonstrating PvP combos and the Berserker could easily jungle foes for 5x to 6x hits consistently. Wow is the only word that comes to mind describing this.
I spent the majority of my time with the Shadow as I wanted to shake things up after spending most of the VIP test on my Shaman. To describe Shadows in one sentence I would say they are aerial rogues specialized in 1 on 1 combat. They specialize in various poison buffs they apply to their weapon as well as movement buffs to gain a mobility advantage in battle and then just go about picking their slower foes apart before they can ever launch an offensive strike against you. Especially helpful in comboing is the Shadow’s ability to sort of control their descent in the air with mini-double jumps. Thus it becomes possible to start a combo, knock the foe down, scoop them off the ground and into the air, jump into the air and knock them down, hit them back up before they hit the ground, then follow them into the air and finish with a devastating blow sending them back to the ground again. Yes it’s as cool as it sounds when you actually get the perfect timing and cooldown coordination to make it work. The downside though is they lose the range advantage most hunter classes have, which can be incredibly risky when joining into a crowded brawl in team battles. Many times I found myself instantly comboed down from full HP by a joint effort from a Berserker and Reaperess with no way of retaliating because they caught me with my buffs down.
Christian of Gaming Climax Trolling us by Constantly going low HP and Hiding Behind 2 GM Guards
Now the Reaperess, besides having an awkward name, is at its core an awkward class that requires a lot of skill to become good with. This is because unlike the low level Shaman I played earlier this year, the Reaperess is a goddess with the scythe and can swing her weapon around as if it was a tooth pick. From what I picked up in the demo, she basically uses magic defensively to create an opening where she can strike first, and then CCs and disables the opponent while opening up on them with a wicked fast attack speed. With proper support she can be a serious threat even with less than 10% of her HP remaining because you’ll never get an opening to finish her off in melee range.
Besides these three new classes, they also introduced something that I couldn’t be happier to see in the game. In the first VIP test if you built up your Fury Bar you could enter into a super saiyan style fury mode in which your attacks hit harder and your movement speed shot through the roof. This was cool and all but for how difficult it was to build this bar up (I’d sometimes run an entire dungeon and only get the thing 75% of the way) it felt like too little reward for too much effort. Well now the problem has been resolved with the Ultimate Fury Skill!
The Ultimate Fury Skill is unique to each class, and offers a supreme combo attack that really makes the fury mode valuable. It’s difficult to describe exactly what you do on each class when activating it, but basically you explode in some kind of anime inspired ultimate combo that devastates anything and everything unfortunate enough to get caught in your way. Some of the classes requiring you to activate each part of the attack individually while others like the Shadow just swing and swipe at anything in front of them while you direct the direction of the devastation until the duration ends. It definitely spices up the PvE in this game and is just another reason why the end-game of C9 is starting to look so satisfactory.
OnRPG Viewer Questions
Now that we’ve got the demo out of the way we can focus on trying to answer the various questions our viewers posed prior to the trip. I do apologize for some of the unfinished answers but as gamers you know how the community can be when devs let info slip that ends up not making it into the final version and everyone freaks out. So let’s get started with the Witch Blade!
For those not in the know (like me), the Witchblade is described as a class that specializes in dynamic jerky movement that throws off the rhythm of their opponents to try to gain an advantage in opening offensively. Essentially they are an acrobatic rogue with some mid-range magic attacks and magic melee enhancements. Unfortunately this class will not be available in the next beta test nor do they have an official launch window for her in the global version so we’ll have to bide our time and wait till Webzen and Cloud 9 Studios deems her ready for launch on this side of the Pacific.
Next up is the battle arenas. Quite a few people in the global test playing outside of the United States in places like the eastern Canadian provinces complained quite a bit about lag in the PvP arenas. Dealing with lag in a global version is quite a bit more of a challenge than it is to host a game in a small country like South Korea with some of the world’s best Internet infrastructure. However ensuring a smooth gameplay experience for the widest audience possible is key to C9 Global’s success and so this lag issue is a huge concern and top priority for the team right now. They are still tweaking their servers to get full maximization out of their use and intend to open more in various parts of the world in the future as the game begins to be localized for non-English countries. A short term solution they are working on though is showing ping rates of players attempting to join PvP channels so that you can attempt to connect with someone on par with yourself.
On the note of trying to even out the playing field, Webzen is looking into an elo type system to allow players to take on others of their own skill level. Since the closer to end-game you get, the higher the skill variation between players becomes, this is likely a must have feature that won’t be neglected. In addition they were considering offering a handicap style system similar to Soul Calibur to let you play against friends of different skill levels and still have a fun time all around. New maps are also being developed for the Asian versions of the game that we can expect to see in the Global version soon after launch.
Another hot topic among our viewers was the GMs in beta teasing the concept of more open world elements. The developers confirmed that true open world technology is currently beyond the scope of their custom engine but this limiting factor was not going to deter them from developing round-about ways of giving their players the feel of an open world environment within an instanced title. Their only example of this right now is the intrusion system but they seem confident that more systems like it are on the way.
Some support-type players may be felt left out in C9 due to the lack of a true healing class. When I asked them about this design philosophy they said they were trying to capture the true essence of a console action title and to do that they felt everyone should be some type of DPS character. This way there aren’t limitations on party composition and everyone is responsible for watching out for their own ass on the battlefield.
I also asked the devs about their cash shop and if they intended to introduce something similar to Rusty Hearts in which they sell gender variations of the existing classes. They assured me that this is definitely a possibility but due to the nature of their complex character customization system it isn’t as easy to do and will require quite some effort. They are shelving the idea for now and focusing on refining the last 4 classes to introduce into the game but may revisit this idea in the future. Of course the wants of the community are a top concern to both Cloud 9 Studios and Webzen so if the audience shows enough of an interest in this feature, it may be given higher priority!
One of our overly knowledgeable community members (*cough Viney1 cough*) was curious about the pet system and if they would be testing it in global first or the Korean version. They confirmed that they haven’t finalized plans of where or when they were going to test it as it’s still very much in the theory crafting stage. What they are expecting to see with it is pets based on various animals. The biggest problem they are experiencing in development right now is finding the right balance of impact the pets have on actual gameplay so as to not make them feel useless but not make the game too easy as a result of introducing them into the game. That’s all they were allowed to say on the subject as they laughed about Webzen’s marketing team potentially busting into the room to block them from answering more about it.
To answer the question about the stamina system, they strongly agreed that its current form is not well accepted by the Global community and needs to go. However in terms of what might replace it they haven’t come to a final conclusion yet. Though they mentioned their aim with the title is to offer much more excitement and enjoyment in shorter bursts of time than most MMORPGs so that players could hop in between breaks at work or during short bursts of free time and still walk away happy rather than wasting time grinding monsters and not really receiving anything tangible for their efforts like a lot of MMORPGs tend to do.
As far as plans for the cash shop they made it clear that selling power and unfair advantages would kill a game as competitively PvP focused as theirs. As such the primary source of revenue will be coming from costumes, exp bonuses, and skill resets.
One last bit of information they were excited to share is that they have no plans of wiping character data during the next beta test. For those complaining about the game’s commercial launch being too far off, you can at least be happy knowing that your progress from now on will carry on into the future. They’re also extremely excited about their upcoming championship tournament at E3 and hope players give it their all to qualify so they can visit LA and meet the Webzen group in person. And speaking from experience… a trip to E3 is one of the best prizes a game company can give out! Especially if you get one of those exhibitor passes so you can walk around like a VIP.
That concludes the coverage of everything C9 related at the Webzen HQ event. I think the only request I haven’t fulfilled now is Phenoca’s want for pictures of Korea. No worries though. I have a huge batch of them and will post them first thing in the morning so be sure to check it out!