Questions by Mohammed Afzal (MageMoa), OnRPG Journalist
Answered by Craig Beers, Product Manager for Ether Saga Online
Ether Saga is a bright, flashy game from the creators of Perfect World. The foreign version of the game, KDXY, is one of the most popular games of Perfect World Entertainment. Ether Saga is a game that mainly focuses on its pet feature and it is based on the four classic novels of the Chinese literature (Journey to the West). Practically every player has his/her own pet with many abilities for hours of fun! But how did all of this start and what can we expect in the near future? We of Onrpg had been given the chance to interview Craig Beers, Product Manager for Ether Saga Online.
Onrpg: Could you introduce yourself, please?
Hi, I’m Craig Beers, the Product Manager for Ether Saga Online at Perfect World Entertainment.
Onrpg: Could you give us a summary of the storyline of Ether Saga?
Ether Saga is a prequel to the Chinese literary classic “Journey to the West.” A series of calamities have thrown the heavens into chaos, and the three races of Earth must undertake a task in hopes of being asked to join the fabled journey.
Onrpg: Does the storyline affect the actually gameplay? Is it connected with the quests of the game?
The storyline is definitely connected with the quests. There are three races in the game; the Ren, Shenzu and Yaoh, and each race has its own set of Story Quests to follow. According to the storyline, each race received a specific holy task from the Gods. Players will meet the characters from the novel, and will even meet an NPC named after the author.
Onrpg: The classes of the game do not seem unique. Is there something that distinguishes them from the classes of other games?
The classes are most definitely different from each other. They all fill different roles and use different equipment. There is also customization between two players of the same class. While every character has access to the same base class skills as another character of the same class, Ethyr skills and nascent skills can differ between the two. Ethyr skills can be equipped like gear. Once equipped, they will provide players with a special skill. Players can equip up to four ethyrs, and they can be swapped out with other ethyrs in your inventory at any time. Nascent skills are described in a question below.
Onrpg: What exactly is the Affinity feature?
As players level, they will receive elemental affinity points. Each affinity will provide a boost in certain statistics-an affinity point in Unda (Water) will add +20 HP, for example. Affinities will also improve spells associated with that particular affinity. With the affinities, a player can design their character to suit their exact play style. So while the base classes may be similar to other games, the customization possible for a character build allows for unique builds and unique play styles.
Onrpg: Can you marry in the game? Is it free? Could you tell us more about it?
Yes, players can marry in-game. We’ve seen some pretty elaborate weddings! Players can purchase a Wedding Set from Heaven’s Repository, which includes the wedding outfit, shoes and a wedding license.
Onrpg: Do you personally think that the Cash Shop is a must for the players of the game?
Absolutely not-our cash shop is 100% for customization and convenience. There are no items where players can buy their way to the top. Keeping the gameplay equal for both cash shop and non-cash shop users is very important to us.
In fact, players are able to obtain cash shop items without spending a single dime. A player can trade the cash shop items to other players. An alternate method is Etherbuck trade. The Pokari Broker will allow players to trade the in-game currency (gold) into Cash Shop currency (Etherbucks). The exchange rate is set by the players, so the broker acts as a middleman where players can make offers and buy respective currencies.
Onrpg: The game is very easy to understand and there are many guides for new players. This could be a little bit annoying for the more experienced MMO players. Is there a way to avoid these guides and tutorials?
For the “?” circle that pops up in the middle of the screen with the guide, all you need to do is open a guide once, select the “do not show this again” box, and it won’t appear again.
Onrpg: The game’s main feature is its pet feature. Could you tell us more about it?
All classes in the game can use pets, and players begin the game with a pet. Pets gain levels and new abilities to assist players in combat. Pets are also used in the monster dominance system. There are nine different monster types in the game. Each type is strong against another type, but weaker against another, so there is a paper-rock-scissors style advantage system in the game. You can summon different pets depending on which monster you are fighting to defeat it more efficiently.
With more than 100 pets to tame, there is definitely a Pokemon-like aspect to the game where you want to collect them all. And the best part is that a pet’s stats are randomized, so there’s not one single pet that trumps them all. Therefore, you find a wide variety of pets in town since players choose a pet to fit personal taste rather than stats.
Onrpg: Do pets have their own skills, attributes and abilities?
There are four types of pets: fierce (melee), cautious (caster), bright (healing), and normal (jack-of-all-trades), each with their own skills that can either complement a player’s own skills or fill in gaps in the player’s abilities. For example, Mystics could choose a healing pet to boost their healing ability, or they could choose a melee pet with high HP to tank mobs while they attack with spells.
Onrpg: What is the function of the “Transform” feature?
Transformation is another way that players can take part in the monster dominance system. With transformation cards, players can become that monster, taking on its monster type as well as some stat boosts. It’s also a fun way to change your appearance in the game.
Onrpg: Could you describe the Alliance feature for us?
The Alliance system is a network of Clans. Players can join Clans, which in turn can form and lead an Alliance. Players can take on clan and Alliance-only quests, and higher-level Alliances can confer extra benefits in the game (such as the ability to do the upcoming raid instance twice per day instead of once). Another advantage of an Alliance is an even bigger pool of allies and players to rely on.
Onrpg: What are Nascent skills?
Nascent skills are four skills that a player unlocks at level 10, 30, 50 and 80. They are determined by the birth date chosen during character creation. A little forethought into what kind of class you’d like to play can result in a few extra complimentary skills. For example, the skill Dirty Trick will give a player +10% to Critcast for 10 seconds or until successful-which would be most useful for a Conjurer.
Onrpg: What kind of events are currently held on Ether Saga?
We have both auto-events and GM run events. Our scripted, auto-events include the very popular Pokari Invasion, where waves of random monsters appear in the center of the city. We also run weekly GM events, which can be anything from in-game scavenger hunts to offline art and design contests.
Onrpg: What kind of updates for Ether Saga can we expect in the future?
We have a pretty major update coming up in the next couple weeks-we’ll be raising our level cap, adding more elite monsters and a world boss, as well as adding new raids for Alliances. There is a lot of content players have asking for that is coming soon, so please stay tuned!
Onrpg: Can we expect more games from the same engine as Ether Saga in the future?
Our latest game, Jade Dynasty, also runs on our Angelica engine.
Onrpg: Is there anything else you would like to mention?
Ether Saga Online has been growing tremendously since our closed beta-we’re adding new content constantly, and always listening to our players’ input. And since our game is free to register, free to download and free to play, why not give it a try?
Onrpg: Thank you for your time!