Answered by Aleister D D Gilgrim, Ntreev USA Inc
Interview by Brian Perry Jr., Senior Editor Onrpg.com
Onrpg: Can you tell us a bit about Grand Chase?
Grand Chase is at its very core, an all-out-action title. It’s all about the combat, and that is really where Grand Chase excels. Obviously though, just having a robust combat system is not really enough to make a game with real staying power nor is it enough to give replay value. Grand Chase offers more than just straight PVP options that can be found in other titles, with the PVP there is also a very detailed and incredibly well designed Dungeon System. What this does is add the best of both competitive and cooperative gameplay types where players can either duke it out against one another or work together to clear large, lavish dungeons and tackle final bosses. In both instances, the combat is key, and Grand Chase is an action title, so it’s not just point and click and wait for pre-animated fighting to take place between or players or in-game mobs, instead it becomes a game of skill, timing, finesse and strategy. And all of this is wrapped up in a beautiful and vibrant 3D fantasy world with great characters and an engrossing backstory and world.
Onrpg: What sorts of characters are you able to play as?
This is a great question actually, because Grand Chase is set up a bit differently than most online games, and especially RPGs (of which Grand Chase shares many elements with), in the game every player begins, right off the bat, with access to all three of the starting characters at the same time, and they are free to choose and alter between all the characters in their roster with each and every dungeon, or PVP bout and level and progress them individually as they see fit. When players start they will be able to use Arme the mage, Lire the archer, or Elesis the warrior. Later on, as players progress through the game they will be able to both unlock new playable characters to add to their existing roster and progress all of the characters in their roster to new jobs which opens the way for new skills, attacks and the like. It is important to note that the character roster is not limited, every player can unlock all of the playable characters if they choose, it just takes a bit of effort and skill to do it. The new characters and new jobs bring new character types into the mix as well as new attacks, abilities, weapon types and playing styles. Whether you like to be a tank, play it from a distance, indulge in magical carnage or be fast and deadly there is definitely a character to match your taste.
Onrpg: How many game modes are there?
There are two main types of game modes that being PVP, and PVE (the Dungeon System). Within these basic categories there are further modes, for instance in the PVP mode, there are Survival, and Team matches etc. And then you have the Dungeon System where not only can players take on every single Dungeon solo or groups up to four, but each Dungeon has three varying levels of difficulty and complexity. Combine this with special missions and quests and the Dungeon System really begins to take on a much deeper shape than the more traditional ‘dungeon runner’ that I think we’re all used to. Aside from those basic categories, we will also be adding mini-games and even a non-combat based map where players will be able to hang out and show-off their characters and chat with one another within the same game-world setting as the rest of Grand Chase.
Onrpg: What is the ultimate goal of the game?
Since it is a combat-centric action title I think it might be easy to simply dismiss the goal as nothing deeper than topping the PVP ranks. And really, that is certainly a great goal, and I would strongly encourage every player who thinks that they have the skill that it takes to go out there and prove it in the dizzying head to head competition available. But at the same time, I think that the Dungeon System, the game world itself and its backstory and setting itself offers the ultimate goal. After all, Grand Chase has a real storyline which is not only revealed with the progress of the players through each stage and Dungeon, but it offers a specific solidarity to the world. There is evil to fight, and really what’s the point of hyping a large epic struggle without the opportunity to actually go toe-to-toe with the big baddy at the end? So, PVP and personal ranking are certainly goals for the game, but progressing through the story and working to save the very land of Bermesiah (where the game is set) and defeat the evil that threatens it is really the ultimate goal.
Onrpg: What will the focus of content updates be?
The updates will cover the regular things that we might think of for online games, with some special attention to maintaining the game balance for the combat. In addition to this will be new Dungeons, new mobs, new Bosses, items, weapons, accessories, pets, skills, characters and more. Basically, updates will be content focused, packing new modes, features and most of all in-game content into the game itself every single time.
Onrpg: Will this game be free to play with an item mall or will it be using another business model?
Yes, just like Ntreev USA’s other title, Trickster Online Revolution, the game is completely and utterly free to play, and free to download. And just like Trickster, Grand Chase will offer a Shop feature where new items, equipment, weapons, accessories, pets, skills and the like can be purchased. In Grand Chase items can be purchased with in-game currency and real world money as well as with particular items that are attained only by completing certain tasks or missions, or defeating particular Bosses. The interesting thing for Grand Chase’s Shop is that it will use the same Ntreev Cash Points that Trickster Online Revolution uses, which means that players who wish to play both games and purchase the items within either game that require Ntreev Cash Points will be able to spend them and use them however they wish between the titles. In fact, it’s important to keep in mind that players who already have a Trickster Online Revolution account are ready and set to start playing Grand Chase without any extra work, or the creation of a new account.
Onrpg: Why did Ntreev USA decide to publish this title?
Right off, Grand Chase is simply a great game. We were looking for a title that would complement our existing online RPG in Trickster, and we were very lucky to discover an action title designed from the ground floor to be an online game. Since we already have an RPG, and further an RPG that we really believe in and are quite proud of, we really didn’t want to take the easy road and find another RPG to slop onto the gaming world. True, it’s an obviously tried and true formula, just look at how many online RPGs there are, both good ones and bad ones, there are tons, and possibly it’s getting to the point where there are just too many for players to sift through and get to the really great titles out there. This is a sad state to be sure, and it seems that more and more titles are just being thrown into the mix, but it’s like overwhelming everyone who loves chocolate with nothing but varying versions of the same type of chocolate bar. After a while people need to try something else, or their going to get sick of it, no matter how much they deeply and truly love chocolate. The same is true for online games, and with this recent deluge, I think the timing could not be better for introducing something a bit new. The fact that Grand Chase is a brilliantly designed and executed game coupled with its fresh take on the online gaming genre makes it a perfect candidate. We thought it was time to offer online gamers something different, something new, its identifiable with elements that they already know and love, but it has more than a few cool tricks up its sleeve.
Onrpg: What sorts of things can we expect to see in the item mall?
Customization of all of the characters in Grand Chase is done through equipment, meaning armor, weapons, accessories and fashion items. These items not only drastically change the appearance of the character in question but they directly affect the stats and abilities that they have in-game. Therefore, equipment of this type will obviously be in the Shop system, but other things will be included as well such as pets (which also affect stats and abilities and fight along side the character), new skills, special missions, special quests and a couple extra surprises that we’ll be talking about when it gets a bit closer to their release. Basically, everything that a player could possibly need for their character or their entire character roster can be found in the in-game Shop, and remember that items can be purchased in a variety of ways and not just with Ntreev Cash Points.
Onrpg: What is NTreev’s opinion on these companies that are working with publishers to allow RMT (Realm Money Transactions), thus giving a part of the profits of these sales to the publisher?”
Regardless of the profits that the publishers may possibly receive from these companies and their transactions, the very act of RMTs disrupt and serve to sever, hinder and corrupt both game balance and actual game communities in online gaming. On the surface, the fact that some publishers are choosing to officially endorse this practice and partner themselves with companies that will assist players in the real-money-transactions for digital property (which they don’t own) makes it seem as if it’s putting some sort of power into the players’ hands. But when you really look at what this type of system really does and means, with consideration of the copyrights for the software, the accounts themselves and all related information, it’s more than a little suspect. At worst, it shows a complete disregard for the player communities themselves as the sheer idea of ‘profit’ is obviously taking center stage in the decision to implement such allowances and practices, and game balance and the relationships of players within a set game community are chucked out the window for a chance at the all mighty dollar.
Onrpg: What is your favorite character to play in Grand Chase and why?
That’s actually a tough one, and I don’t mean that in any trite way. In the original three characters that are available, I actually go against my usual preference (which would be Elesis the warrior) and I’ve developed a great affinity for Arme the mage. Honest, I am not usually a lover of magic type characters in either fighting games or more traditional online RPGs, but Grand Chase’s Arme really just clicks with me. I started with Elesis at first, and she was very easy for me to pick up, she’s fast, she’s powerful and very straightforward, but once I gave Arme a chance I really saw how big a role strategy plays in the game play. It’s not about button mashing, Grand Chase is a fast-paced action brawler, but you need finesse, timing and skill, and I think Arme really pushed me to sharpen those skills; she made me look at the game and the game play in a new way. And now that I’ve crossed over to the ‘other’ side, I really don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner.