Galaxy Online Interview: Game Updates And More
Questions by Vincent Haoson, OnRPG Journalist
Answered by Sean Xie, Galaxy Online Project Manager
We here at OnRPG got the opportunity to talk to the people behind Galaxy Online, a space themed MMO and guess what? They’re developing a second Galaxy Online game! More information on this new game in the interview below.
OnRPG: Hello and thank you for giving us the opportunity to talk with you guys. It’s been more than a year since you launched your first ever self-designed game. How has Galaxy Online been faring so far?
Hello, thank you for your interviewing. As IGG’s first simulation game, Galaxy Online has been a great success. Since its debut in the first quarter of 2009, Galaxy Online has attracted more than 1 million players.
OnRPG: Are you satisfied with the lengths the game has gone since the start of its operations back in 2009? Why do you think so?
Yes, we are very satisfied. In contrast with RPGs, balance issues are even more important in simulation games. Since the debut, we’ve adjusted numerical values many times to improve balance. At first, players were usually tentative about taking part in battles. Now we often see groups of players working together to prepare for large-scale faction warfare. Players have become more and more experienced as Galaxy Online has become better and better, which we’re happy to see.
OnRPG: IGG has been handling a lot of online games prior to Galaxy Online. Can you say that the experience you gained from handling other games help shape the game to what it is now? Can you give us examples where this was applied?
Galaxy Online does not have many things in common with traditional MMOs. Nevertheless, our experience in handling RPGs has taught us a lot about how to improve both customer service and the gaming environment. In addition to learning from past experiences, we’re always exploring new ways to make improvements to Galaxy Online.
OnRPG: What were the changes made in the game since we last interviewed you guys in October 2009?
There have been many changes in Galaxy Online since last October. As a science fiction game, the ship hulls and science aspects are probably the features that players are most excited about in Galaxy Online. Since last October, we’ve added dozens of new hulls to the game. When designing new hulls, we naturally take into account players’ suggestions but also draw inspiration from the latest technological advances to make the game feel even more real. We think this provides the players with a better gaming environment. We’ve also added 10 new commanders. When designing commanders we put a lot of focus on balance issues, since a powerful commander can have a big impact on the game. So far, the additional hulls and commanders have satisfied most players.
OnRPG: How big has the game’s player community grown since the start of operations? Are you satisfied with the numbers you are seeing? Why do you say so?
A total of 1 million players have activated Galaxy Online accounts, and about 500,000 accounts are in use playing Galaxy Online. We’re definitely satisfied with these numbers considering the dominance that RPGs presently have in the market, but we would like to see them continue to improve.
OnRPG: How active and vibrant is the community compared to before? Would you say that the current game community is pretty welcoming especially to new players? Why?
Our community is always pretty active, and this is due in large part to the energy that new players bring when they join it. The nature of the game means that new players are usually busy laying the foundation of their Empire, so there is more for them to do. Also, GO puts a lot of emphasis on team play, so when there is a mix of newer and veteran players, we see how the veteran players really embrace their role and help guide and teach the newer players. Communities aren’t born from a template; they need to grow organically and that’s something you can’t simply decide you want. It’s something you have to foster and build. We do that by deliberately mixing the newer players with the veterans, and through our various events and activities. With GO, building a thriving community has been a main focus from day one and we’re proud of what it has grown into.
OnRPG: You’ve just recently opened a new server, Neptune last July 14, what does this mean in terms of player turnout and registration?
The opening of the new server didn’t have much impact on player registration at all. The previous two servers had been available for more than 3 months, and many players told us they wanted a new server where they could have a fresh start. That is partly why we opened the Neptune server on July 14. Most Galaxy Online players are very experienced, so a new server levels the playing field for veterans and new players alike. We firmly believe in the importance of offering new servers to provide the best possible gaming experience.
OnRPG: This leads to the next question, what would then be the whole point of merging the Libra and Orion servers when in fact you’ve already planned out the opening of the Neptune server?
By merging the two servers, we can shake up the deadlock between the factions. It also gives veterans more potential allies and rivals with which to interact. Combining the servers offers players new challenges and opportunities, which we feel makes for a better overall gaming experience.
OnRPG: Are there plans on increasing the number of game features for Galaxy Online? Or will you retain the current game setup and hold out on any updates till the right time comes?
We won’t be introducing new features to Galaxy Online because our dev team is currently focused on the development of Galaxy Online II, a new game based on Galaxy Online. The graphics and art style of Galaxy Online II will be quite different from Galaxy Online. We’ve given players several styles of artwork to choose from. Additionally, Galaxy Online II will be available on Facebook and players won’t need to download a client to play it. The features in Galaxy Online II will also differ from those in Galaxy Online. In the new game, we want to make sure players have a better gaming experience in the early phases than they had in Galaxy Online. At the beginning players won’t need focus on building their home galaxy like in Galaxy Online. While developing Galaxy Online II, we’ve been doing a lot of research into science and technology. We’re incorporating a lot of cutting-edge technology in Galaxy Online II to give players a heightened sense of reality. We’re expecting Galaxy Online II to be available on Facebook in about 3 months.
OnRPG: What would then be the right time for Galaxy Online to have any game feature or even game system updates? Why?
As mentioned above we are now focused on developing Galaxy Online II and won’t be updating Galaxy Online in the near future. Since its debut, we’ve received a lot of suggestions and feedback from players. Based on what we learned, we decided the best way to accomplish what we wanted to do was to develop a brand new game. Galaxy Online II will be very different from Galaxy Online, but it will retain the most important features of Galaxy Online, such as the warship design system, commander system, and other favorites.
OnRPG: Do you find it hard to keep churning out events for a game like Galaxy Online? Why do you think so?
It can be hard at times to keep churning out events for a simulation game like Galaxy Online, our development and project teams have tirelessly worked to introduce lots of fun activities. Among them, the trans-version battles and pirate counterattack events are especially popular among players. For sheer scale, the trans-version battle is hands down one of our most ambitious events. Our original concept was to find some way to get the English version players to compete against the Chinese version players. Looking back on it now, it seems like a no-brainer to pit these two distinct GO communities, which have virtually no contact otherwise, against each other in an epic competition. It was a true test of differing styles and approaches, and something that we really enjoyed watching. We’ve held the competition twice, with each side taking the top prize once. The pirate counterattack event is only available in the English version, but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming one of our most popular events ever. The concept is simple: each weekend, some computer-controlled pirates launch an attack on random 5-star player galaxies. Players must then fend off these invaders or lose control of their galaxy. The random nature of the attacks and the tough fights the pirates put up lends it a realistic dynamic that is hard to replicate, and one the players seem to enjoy immensely.
OnRPG: How have you kept the player interest for this long?
I think the features are what have kept our players interested for so long. Galaxy Online has plenty of interesting and entertaining features that keep the gameplay fun. Our corps and factions system encourages cooperative play, which also helps keep players engaged.
OnRPG: What’s your plan for players in the succeeding months ahead?
We will be holding various events to keep things fresh, and we’re constantly working to improve customer service, but our main focus will be the development of Galaxy Online II so we can launch it as soon as possible.
OnRPG: Would IGG create a new game like Galaxy Online in the future? Why or why not?
That’s what Galaxy Online II is all about. It’s based on Galaxy Online, but is also a brand new game that we think our existing fans will be really excited to play when it goes live.
OnRPG: Thank you for the time, but before we end, may we know what’s in store for Galaxy Online players in the weeks ahead?
We will be revealing more information about Galaxy Online II soon. We’re looking forward to welcoming new players to the game and we hope everyone will feel that Galaxy Online II was worth the wait when they finally get a chance to blast off on new adventures.