Wakfu Interview: What Makes Wakfu Unique?

Questions by Mohammed Afzal (MageMoa), Onrpg Journalist
Answered by Camille Chafer

Wakfu is a game created by Ankama Games, the creators of Dofus. The game is by far one of the most unique games in the gaming industry. Despite the many similarities with Dofus, Wakfu cannot be seen as the sequel of Dofus. Wakfu is a completely independent game with many features that we have not seen in any other MMORPG. The question that comes into our mind is: What are the differences between Dofus and Wakfu and what makes Wakfu so different, so unique? We of Onrpg had been given the chance to interview Camille Chafer, lead developer and producer of Wakfu.

Please be aware that the game is still in development and that anything said below may change!

Onrpg: Could you introduce yourself, please?
Hello, I am Camille Chafer, co-director of ANKAMA with Anthony Roux and Emmanuel Darras, who I met at a telecommunications school, ENIC, now called TELECOM LILLE 1. In 2001, we created ANKAMA, a company that designed websites before launching Ankama Games in 2003, Ankama Editions in 2005, which publishes Dofus manga, and Ankama Animations in 2007, which is developing Wakfu Tv series (http://www.serie.wakfu.com/). I was also the lead developer on DOFUS and am now the producer and lead developer of Wakfu.

Onrpg: What was the reason for developing a “new version of DOFUS”?
Wakfu is not a new version of DOFUS but a different game which takes place in the same universe as DOFUS.  Just a thousand years later.

That said, a new version of DOFUS, DOFUS 2.0, will be released at the end of the year.  The graphic have been completely redone and more than 2,000 animations and 10,000 maps have been redrawn. Thanks to the new Action script 3 codes, the game will also run faster and much more fluidly and will offer new experiences with a lot of additional quests.


Onrpg: Are there any special features that only Wakfu has?
Even though DOFUS and Wakfu are based on the same universe, the games will be different. Wakfu is a multidirectional scrolling game whereas DOFUS has a map-by-map scrolling system.  The xp system is also a bit different from the one in DOFUS: in addition to the usual xp system, Wakfu has an xp-as-you-cast system. In other words, the more you use a spell, the more powerful it becomes.

The main idea behind Wakfu was to give real autonomy to players and make them responsible for their actions (and their consequences) in the world.  It is the concept of the Wakfu, a subtle balance between destruction and creation, life and death. In fact, players really have to get involved with their environment and with their friends in order to make the game evolve in the way they want. They can for example create democratically elected governments that shall rule people for the best… or the worst.

One of the new features is the Dimensional Satchel: a fully customizable bag that can be used to create your own safe room to store your rare items, or for selling stuff to other players even when you’re disconnected.  You’re lost in the middle of an unpleasant forest with a broken blade and a trash can for a shield? Well, because the Dimensional Satchel can be used as a workshop, finding a fellow blacksmith will do the trick! 

Wakfu House

Onrpg: There are many dynamic challenges in Wakfu. Could you describe them for us?
The dynamic challenges in Wakfu have been disabled for the time being. We’d rather concentrate on what is essential to the game, combat, tactics etc. What I can tell you is that dynamic challenges should be added to the game later. There will be a way of entertaining players with funny little games, like in Rayman: Raving Rabbids for example. But for the moment there won’t be any.

Onrpg: Many players think that the classes are unbalanced in Wakfu. What is your opinion about this?
Indeed, we rebalanced the classes in Wakfu and we are still doing it. We are aware that a good balance between classes is one of the key things that makes combat between players interesting and we will keep working on that in the future, just as we do on DOFUS.

Onrpg: Can characters be transferred from DOFUS to Wakfu? Why (not)?
No, there won’t be a way to transfer your character from DOFUS to Wakfu because characters don’t evolve the same way: the xp systems are not the same so it wouldn’t be fair if people could just transfer their characters between the two games. We are thinking more along the lines of a cooperation between DOFUS and Wakfu players for special instances we are designing: class spells will be complementary in DOFUS and Wakfu for these instances.

Onrpg: I’ve read on your website about the Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Wakfu. Could you tell us a bit more about it?
Indeed. Wakfu is a tactical MMORPG and not a hack and slash game so it is important that monsters act in an intelligent way. Strengthened by our experience with DOFUS, the AI will be quite evolved and monsters will have their own strategy to take players down. They will also react in a different way depending on the strategy of the players themselves.

There’s also the ecology which will have a real place among the gameplay. For example, cut down trees or burned forests won’t grow back by themselves: it will be the players’ responsibility to manage them and to take care (or not) of their environment.

Wakfu doesn’t work like other MMORPGs with monster respawn systems. This means that killed monsters, just like harvested corn, won’t magically reappear.  Monsters have to reproduce in order to survive. As a matter of fact, there will be a distinction between males and females. It will be up to players to regulate monster populations by sparing females or stopping hunting for a few days during the breeding season and things like that.

For example, if governors decide to specialize in a certain type of agriculture, which is not liked by the nearby monsters, it may cause some difficulties. Monsters may grow stronger, which may be unpleasant if it happens in a low level area, or they will just migrate to a more peaceful place.

If a player decides to slice into pieces every Lil’boar they meet, the monster will first of all call for help.  If the massacre carries on, the player might encounter the chief big boar who won’t be too happy with the unmerciful slaughter of its offspring …

Wakfu Castle

Onrpg: The economy of the game is completely player based. Why did you decide to do this?
It came from the same desire the game was made of: autonomy. We think that players will balance themselves between the available professions in order to make the world’s economy progress. In fact it’s a little bit tricky because they won’t always be able to do what they want. If everybody wants to become a blacksmith, the selling prices will be very low because of the competition between players, and there will be a lack of something else … just like in the real life. So, some people may change their jobs or just move to another island which lacks blacksmiths.

The goal is quite simple: make money to evolve in the world, climb the social ladder of Wakfu’s world, bribe electors in order to be elected governor… or anything you want.

Onrpg: Wakfu offers its players many different professions. Could you sum them up and tell us more about their place in the community of Wakfu?
There are twelve basic professions divided in two complementary categories: harvesting and crafting. Every profession will be useful and indispensable to the others. So if you are sword smith, you may need special potions for some recipes and have to get in touch with an alchemist and vice versa. It is a way to develop exchanges between players.

The professions available are as follows:

The harvesting professions:
– the Miner, whose goal is to collect metals and find gems and other precious stones.
– the Lumberjack, who will not only fell trees, but who will also be able to collect the fruits growing on them.
– the Fisherman, who… fishes
– the Hunter, who will be able to skin animals to collect leather, wool, or fangs. He will also be able to collect resources from live animals (like getting milk)
– the Farmer, who will have the goal of planting, harvesting and cutting plants. He’ll get the seeds, the vegetables, or even the fibers that can be used to make clothes.
– the Herbalist will be specialized in leaves and flowers. He won’t know how to grow wheat, but he’ll be an ace when it comes to finding four-leaved clovers.

The crafting jobs:
– the Smith will be the specialist in metalworking. Whether your spade needs a new head so you can do your gardening, or a sword that needs sharpening, he’ll be there to help.

– the Jeweler will know how to take your precious metals, rare gems, and produce quality jewelry if he’s gifted. Some will even be able to create runes and other magic artifacts that weapon makers will then be able to use to improve the quality of their production.

– the Carver/Woodsman. He’s the partner of the smith, but specialized in wood. If a handle is required to go with the spade’s head made by the smith, he’s the one who will carve it. You want a new bow or simply a new display to show your trophies in your Satchel? He should be able to help you.

– the Tailor will be the specialist of fibers, whether animal or vegetable. Give him a long leather string, a belt buckle, and like MacGyver he will use his magic to create… a belt! ‘Isn’t it nice?

– the Cook will know how to prepare every sort of dish that you might need. In need of a little bit of energy or a little boost before your next dungeon? Look for a cook to help you.

– the Alchemist is to the cook what the spellbook is to a normal book: the same thing with a pinch of magic added. At the alchemist’s, don’t look for strawberry pies, you’ll be disappointed. However if you are looking for a slightly miraculous potion or simply a brew to change your color, you’ll have to deal with him.

These are only the basic professions: there will be a specialization system that will enable new creations. A smith can for example, specialize in swords or armor.

Of course like in real life, some creations need more than one profession: for example, in order to craft a bow you’ll need to team up a wood carver and a tailor.

Onrpg: What are the benefits of subscribing?
For the time being we’re concentrating on the game itself. We are also thinking of new ways to gather players and to secure their loyalty. We don’t know yet what the subscribing system will be and what benefits it will offer.

Onrpg: Why have you decided to completely change the looks of the classes?
Because, after a thousand years, things have had time to evolve and so have the people! It was to be expected if we wanted to be consistent with the story.

Onrpg: Why do the monsters in Wakfu have mating families?
We wanted the game to have a strong and complex ecosystem. For that we just took a closer look at what surrounds us all: nature. Animals and plants are all divided into families and we just took our inspiration from real life. It was a way for us to do something that will be consistent in a world as vast as Wakfu will be.

Onrpg: What new events can we expect in 2009?
Maybe an official release?

Onrpg: Will there be unique classes that only Wakfu has?
There will indeed be a new class in Wakfu. When DOFUS was released there were only 10 classes and we are at twelve now. It will work the same way for Wakfu.

Onrpg: What can we expect in the future for Wakfu?
We can expect amusing dynamic challenges along with a stronger political system that will enhance the gameplay. We also want to include more battles between players with high scale wars, or the possibility of invading other islands. Wakfu will also have a lot of nice mounts, a post system for sending stuff to your friends and more surprises to come!

Onrpg: Would you like to mention anything else?
Wait and see, it will be worth it!

Onrpg: Thank you for your time!

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