Jade Dynasty Interview asks Product Manager about Ascension
Questions by Vincent Haoson, OnRPG Journalist
Answered by Andrew Brown, Product Manager for Jade Dynasty
Jade Dynasty is one of the recently introduced eastern martial-arts themed MMOs this year. The game has recently released a new patch titled, The Spear of Ascension which adds a whole new twist to the gameplay.
OnRPG got a chance to talk to Andrew Brown, Product Manager for Jade Dynasty. He has given us the heads up on how the game has been faring since its start of operation six months ago and what doors has The Spear of Ascension patch opened for Jade Dynasty Players.
OnRPG: It has been about half a year since the game has been operating, how has the game fared?
Jade Dynasty is doing great. We’re continuing to grow everyday with new players, and we’re learning every week from players and our own internal testing how to improve the game. I mean, we’re just barely six months out and we have a packed full expansion with a new race, new classes, flying combat-that’s really cool!
OnRPG: Has there any major problems you had to fix within the span of Jade Dynasty’s operation? How did you handle the problem?
We have had items that didn’t originally work how intended. Once we identified the problem, we evaluated how it was affecting the players and the gameworld, and made changes accordingly.
Ascension, the latest Expansion
The Spear of Ascension
OnRPG: You released a major patch called the Ascension recently, can you give the players a brief description of what it is?
In the original launch of Jade Dynasty, there were only humans and the five Factions. But through one man’s delving into the divine, he unlocked the secrets of immortality: ascension. Soon, humans of all Factions were exploring these secrets. The Immortal Gods were not happy about humans being in possession of this forbidden knowledge, so they have sent the demi-god race, the Athans, to put a stop to human ascension.
OnRPG: How can this patch affect a player’s experience in Jade Dynasty?
Well, we have the new race and two new Factions, so right away there is a whole new side of the story in Jade Dynasty to experience. How players interact with their world will also change, depending on whether they choose the human or Athan race. Since the Athans were sent to stop ascension by any means necessary, it has made the two races bitter enemies, and a human who wanders too far into an Athan area can be hunted and PK’d, even if they are on a PvE server. This racial tension adds a whole new layer to the JD experience.
OnRPG: What’s the overall in-game reaction to the new patch?
The response has been great! Our users had been hyped for the new race and factions for quite a while.
New Race in Jade Dynasty
OnRPG: Can you tell us a brief history of the development of this new patch?
This expansion was in development for about a year. A lot has changed in the game from gameplay to story, so extra time was taken to ensure a quality expansion. One great addition that is invisible for this expansion is the underlying architecture, which has been significantly enhanced to allow easier and faster content creation.
OnRPG: What were the factors the development team thought to include into the new patch?
The largest focus was developing the climax of the story and communicating that climax through gameplay. The story originally was about man trying to find the path to immortality. The expansion reveals they did indeed find this new power, but of course this angered the Gods. Now the Gods have sent the demigods down to the mortal realm to prevent man from accomplishing his goal.
OnRPG: Why did the development team decide to put the things that were included into the ascension patch?
Player feedback had a large impact. Being able to look at our timeline with features we want to implement and then comparing that to player feedback to decide priority is always a fun position to be in.
OnRPG: Can you give us an idea on how hard was the implementation of the new system additions into Jade Dynasty?
Like I mentioned before, our engine went through a large architectural change. The development team worked long days for a quite some time to put it all together under our time constraints. I think I owe them a few fancy dinners.
OnRPG: What was the overall end-goal of the Ascension patch?
Our end goal was to expand and improve the current Jade Dynasty world to it. We’ve roughly doubled the area available for players to explore. We’ve implemented, in addition to the new race and factions, flying combat, a pet system and transformation system. We even overhauled our user interface because of the feedback we received from our initial launch.
OnRPG: Did it meet your team’s expectations? How?
Our expansion launch was a little bumpy-the game reopening was delayed a few hours-but Ascension definitely met the team’s expectations. There was a ton to do before, and now there’s basically double that. We hope it’s met the player’s expectations as well.
Beautiful new areas
OnRPG: Can you give a little background about what Jade Dynasty is to players who have no idea what it is?
Jade Dynasty is a free-to-play MMO, set in a martial arts setting, and is the third title from Perfect World Entertainment. The underlying story is about man’s lust for immortality. You will adventure on a path trying to find this amazing power, or if you chose to play as a demigod, your goal is to prevent man from reaching his goal, restoring the balance.
OnRPG: How is this game different from the numerous MMORPGs out there right now?
We are the only game that we know of to have a legal bot in our game. Legal bot, you say, how is that possible? Every player in Jade Dynasty will come into possession of an item called an Esper very early on in the game. The Esper allows players to automate mob battles, and mitigate the grind that is present in every MMO.
OnRPG: What are the exclusive systems found in Jade Dynasty that you would never find in other MMOs?
Aside from our Esper system, we also have several other leveling tools for players that you won’t find anywhere else. There is Meditation, which allows players to rest and gain a small percentage of experience every minute he is meditating in a safe zone. It’s not a lot, but if you just want to take a break to chat with your guild-you’re still leveling. There is also Dreaming-this is an item that a player can use before they exit the game, and then have their character level while they are offline. Say you’re going out of town and won’t be able to log on for a week-your guild isn’t going to wait around for you. Dreaming keeps you leveling even when you can’t have your computer on.
New Pets in Ascension
OnRPG: What can you say is the game’s mark in the MMO scene?
Jade Dynasty goes to show that MMOs don’t have to be just for causal or just for hardcore players. It’s easy to dive in and get your feet wet with our leveling tools, but they don’t play for you, nor do they let you really ramp up and experience PvP or instances. It’s game for everyone.
OnRPG: After the Ascension patch what would be the next major patch the team is developing for Jade Dynasty?
I cannot reveal any information quite yet, but from what I’ve seen so far there are amazing things coming down the line!
OnRPG: What’s in store for Jade Dynasty in the remaining month of 2009?
We will be launching a new content update before Christmas which will include a fantastic Christmas event for all of our players to enjoy. I’ve also heard rumors of Snowman attacking the major cities in the game…but that’s just crazy talk.
OnRPG: Thank you for your time!
Woohoo! Thanks ðŸ˜€