TLBB Europe Interview: Going Full Steam Ahead
Questions by: Vincent Haoson
Answered by: Michael Doroszuk (Community Manager)
Tian Long Ba Bu has just gone Open Beta and things seem to be going full steam ahead for the game. Wehad an opportunity to talk to the people at Changyou and here’s what they have to say about the game’s current status.
OnRPG: The game has just finished your Limited Open Beta, how has the initial reaction of the players been during this stage?
We’re really pleased with the reactions so far. Our Limited Open Beta came just after our CBT which was really positive for us in terms of player numbers and feedback. The community has grown at a steady pace and we’ve seen our PCU numbers rise massively here in Europe.
OnRPG: Why did you decide to go with a Limited Open Beta Rather than a full blown OBT like most games?
Our OBT was the climax of a campaign we’d been working on beforehand which included the build-up of the LOB. The Limited Open Beta allowed us to offer players who were involved from the CBT limited access to the game along with exclusive event prizes both inside the game and outside of it. This proved very successful for us, the existing players and the newer players who wanted to find out more about TLBB.
OnRPG: The normal practice in importing games (especially from east to west) is that the title gets an overhaul. Why did you decide to stick with Tian Long Ba Bu?
In China, the book this game was based on is called Ti?n Lóng B? Bù- Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils – a famous martial arts novel written by a well-respected writer called Louis Cha. The book later spawned into several movies and television series and is a well-known story amongst Chinese communities. We didn’t want to shy away from the books authenticity and so decided to keep the name.
OnRPG: What sets TLBB apart from the rest of the martial arts themed games out there?
TLBB has a very loyal following. Not only are players enticed by the storyline, but it represents their journey of discovery among Chinese culture which is very accurately portrayed in this MMO. As a F2P game with key features such as more than 70 mounts and 100 pets, there are always in-game events taking place to keep players active such as the ‘World Competition’, ‘Chess Challenge’ and ‘Lucky Bingo’ to name just a few. Another key feature of TLBB is that the instances ‘scale’ themselves to the characters level at the time of battle – which allows players to fight bosses at the appropriate level.
OnRPG: What do you think is the game’s defining feature that will make players say this is the game for them?
One of the great things about TLBB is that it’s a genuine Chinese MMO that has a beautifully rendered scenery and awesome game play. The 9 unique classes that players have to choose from prove popular among players both here in Europe and in China. The community amongst the game is fantastic, the ‘scaled instances’ are very unique and we have a number of innovative in-game events and festival events taking place all year round. All these elements combine to help make it a popular game.
OnRPG: Can you tell us which of the game features you are looking forward to releasing? Why?
The game has gone through a huge amount of testing before it was released here in Europe and has gone through a smooth transition here. A main feature of TLBB is that we installed a SkyBox giving players access to the entire scenery in the game – something that never used to be there. The European version of the game was the first to have this installed. Having successfully released the game here in Europe we are now looking forward to a number of top titles to come from China as they’ve done well there with the players. There will be localization plans in place for the future of these games too.
OnRPG: One of the issues when importing games from east to west is the culture western players have to understand when playing eastern-themed MMOs. Have there been any problems with TLBB and introducing it to the western market?
This isn’t actually a problem we’ve encountered. The European communities have been open to the game and really like the way it’s portrayed in our MMO. The fact that the game delivers complete playability for our users is the main thing for us. As our American counterparts found out, the game is very much liked by the western communities. Here in Europe (although a different market to the US) we’re finding the user numbers increasing on a daily basis and so thankfully this hasn’t been an issue for ChangYou in this part of the world.
OnRPG: TLBB has a wide library of skills players can use aside from the combat skills. How important are they in the TLBB experience? Will everyone have access to the skills or are they exclusive for certain classes?
The great thing about TLBB is that players have the option of choosing the class/skill that suits them best. After a certain level, players are given the option to learn their chosen class. There are nine classes in total – Assassin, Beggars Alliance, Lotus Order, Minstrel, Pyromancer, Royalty, Shaolin, Taoist and Voodoo. The game is highly focused around the classes and is a huge part of the players’ gaming experience. The skills they can learn along the way will help develop their characters and of course excel in the martial arts world.
OnRPG: TLBB also has the gathering skill as an added skill feature. How important are the gathering skills for players in TLBB?
This is actually another one of the cool features of the game, players can harvest crops, learn to fish and mine and serves as an added incentive in TLBB. If players want to explore, there’s always something to do other than battle or complete quests. These gathering skills come in handy when players want to make their own weapons, trade with other players and improve their knowledge of TLBB. It’s an important detail of this game.
OnRPG: Can you elaborate on the double experience points system in TLBB?
Each week players are given 5 hours worth of double XP, which can be turned on and off as they wish. In each of the three major cities (Da Li, Luo Yang and Su Zhou), there is an NPC marked as ‘Efficiency’ on the map, speaking to this NPC allows the user to start and stop their double XP time.
There are also double XP balls that players can acquire, which give them an additional hour of XP time. Double XP in TLBB is best used when grouping with other players to do a raid or event (such as the Chess Challenge).
OnRPG: You guys have mentioned that getting married in TLBB entitles players to a couple specific skills. Can you give us an idea of what kind of skills players can get?
When a couple get married, they can then learn a few skills which they can use with their spouse when questing, these include a healing skill for HP, a healing skill for both HP and MP, a skill that adds stamina increasing the couples strength and a teleportation skill which will instantly move a player to their spouse in the same scene. All these skills are lost if the couple ever decide to get a divorce!
OnRPG: Can you elaborate on the Wealth Card system that’s in place in TLBB? Can players get more than one wealth card? Is it purchasable in the item mall?
The wealth card code is a reward we give to the players for various things, currently the only way to get a wealth card code is by activating a security e-mail address in the account management. When doing so players are automatically sent a code to their email. In the past we’ve given away wealth codes via advertising campaigns and events.
A character will only need one wealth code, once a player gets the code, all they need to do is to speak to an NPC in TLBB and then again at set levels, where they will receive rewards.
OnRPG: What are the things in store for players during the OBT?
We have a lot in store for the Open Beta, as well as our yearly festival events – please see link on Onrpg (linked to the Festival Events release I sent through) – our community team regularly offer in-game prizes and incentives for forum users and registered players. Our forum has seen a lot more activity and players are sharing more views, opinions and tips on a daily basis than ever. Our Facebook and Twitter pages have also been busy recently so we will be updating them with the most recent news and information. Hopefully we will be looking to localize the game in Europe as well as an expansion pack later on down the line for TLBB.
OnRPG: What are the events in store for players in the months ahead?
With our Open Beta now underway, we have some exciting times ahead of us. The ChangYou (EU) team is growing as well as the number of registered users in TLBB. We will be looking to launch an expansion pack as well as a variety of events both inside and outside of the game. In the meantime, players can sign up for the game and receive all the latest updates from the newsletters, this way they won’t miss out on anything!
OnRPG: Thank you for your time!