MegaTen Online Interview: New Insights

Questions by Jeffrey Kerkdijk (Hyarume), Onrpg writer and the Onrpg community
Answered by Spencer Chi, Producer of MegaTen at Aeria Games
Onrpg has had the chance to ask some questions to Spencer Chi, producer of MegaTen Online at Aeria games. Megaten is the new game based off the Shin Megami Tensei series, which is known for their popular RPGs, and this new MMORPG is expected to reach plenty of fans and tons of new audiences. Will there be PvP in the future? And how about a crafting system? Read on to find out how our questions are answered!
Onrpg: How is MegaTen doing at the moment, after its recent release?
MegaTen is one of the fastest growing games in the MMORPG industry.  We had a good head start with the devoted Shin Megami Tensei and Persona fans that migrated from their beloved consoles to their PCs to see if the MMO lived up to the hype, and now our players are telling each other about our game, and we have been building up a rather large and fun-loving community.
Onrpg: What makes MegaTen so different from most MMORPGs?
The highlight of MegaTen lies within the Demons and Demon fusing.  Many MMORPGs have rudimentary pet systems, but the one in MegaTen is by far the most advanced.  The Demons are just as strong as the player characters, and they each have their own set of unique skills.  Plus, you can fuse multiple Demons together and form a totally new breed.  The player gets to choose which skills to inherit from the originals adding to the over all level of customization and lasting appeal.
In addition, many players will take notice of the style of the game.  Unlike most other MMORPGs, MegaTen doesn’t take place in a medieval universe.  It’s taking place in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo.  The clothing you can equip has defensive properties, but the fashion is that of modern day Japan.  The player characters are distinctly human—Japanese looking teenagers, to be more exact.  The gear/weapons you can obtain ranges from revolvers and katana blades to really obscure weapons like anime-style swords that are bigger than your entire body and weird corkscrew-like drills.  You really have to see it for yourself.
Onrpg: According to you, what motivates players to play MegaTen?
The MegaTen franchise made the transition from console game to a PC based MMO game.  There is a very deep storyline that pulls players in.  Unlike a console game, we have players running around in the game world from all over the real, physical world.  It’s very easy to team up and make friends in the game, and that is a core aspect of MegaTen’s gameplay design.
Onrpg: Will there be any Player versus Player content in the future? If so, how would it work and would it be different from the PvP in most of the other MMORPGs on the market?
Yes!  We are going to bring PvP to MegaTen.  It’s something a lot of players have requested.  To stay in the cooperative spirit of MegaTen, battle will be team-based. 
In other games, you know immediately what the player will do simply based on your class and his class.  In MegaTen, PvP will have a stronger strategy element compared with other MMORPGs.  Players have the choice of quickly changing their playing style depending on which Demon they’re using. 
There will be more than one PvP mode to choose from.  Stay on the look out for our future announcements on this.
Onrpg: We have noticed that the running speed is slower compared to the Japanese version of the game; can you explain a bit more about that?
The version on our servers is a couple updates behind the Japanese version.  This is because it takes some time to translate the new content to English and test it out before we release it.  In the updates, you’ll see new demons, items, weapons and slight changes to balance gameplay.  We’ll get all the content that the Japanese server gets.  Even though they released it ahead of us, we’re almost caught up in respect to content.
For players who want to move around faster, you can get a mountable Demon at level 20.  Then you can just click a spot on your mini-map, and your Demon will automatically carry you there at a faster pace than walking speed permits.
Of course, you also have the option of acquiring or purchasing items that teleport you around like the Traesto Stone or Ariadne’s Thread.
Onrpg: Are there any plans for Player Housing in the future or similar features?
Player housing is an interesting feature, but it’s not on the horizon right now.  As it stands right now, we’ve got a lot on our wish list, and the developer has been very cooperative in supporting us.
Onrpg: Is there any community involvement when it comes to events?
Our community is the most important thing to us.  Very often, we have our network of Game Sages (player volunteers) come up with cool event ideas, and we try them out.  In our forums, players can suggest events to run, and we are as accommodating as possible.  When we hear a good idea, we will see it through.
Onrpg: How do you keep players interested while playing the game?
We’ve seen that, in MegaTen, players discover what interests them the most and focus primarily on that.  For some, it’s the quests and storyline, for some it’s customizing their character in stylish outfits, some people are all about collecting and fusing all the demons.  The competitive players try to get the fastest times in the dungeon runs. It really is a rather diverse group of gamers.
On top of that, we offer daily events run by our Game Master and Game Sage teams. 
Onrpg: What future content is there planned for MegaTen, any new features or more areas to visit?
We are implementing a major update that’s being translated right now that will introduce new Demons, quests given to you by your Demons on a daily basis, and a Demon rebirth feature that allows you start your Demon’s skill set over into a different area. 
Onrpg: What do you like the most about MegaTen?
For me, it’s Demon Fusing.  I like going out and negotiating with a bunch of Demons, then bringing them all back to town to see what new Demons I can make with the different combinations.  It’s really cool to see one you haven’t seen before.
Onrpg: Will there be a crafting system?
Actually, MegaTen already features a crafting system!  A lot of players may not know about it since it comes later in the game though.  My advice is talk to the Masterly Dwarf NPC in Shinjuku Babel.
Onrpg: What makes MegaTen different from the console “Shin Megami Tensei” series? And what does it have in common?
For starters, you can bump into real people.  If you have difficulty completing a quest, instead of reading about it in an online FAQ or calling a friend, you can have a person help you in-game.  You pick the specializations that interest you, and then you team with other people who round out your party.  If you need an item and can’t find it yourself, you can make friends who will trade with you. 
The immersive storyline, the style, and the Demons will be familiar with fans of the Shin Megami Tensei series.  The combat attack system feels a bit more like a blend between console action and PC MMORPG fighting.  Battles happen in real-time so reflex is important, but strategy is also a big part of it.
Players are often surprised at the level of quality you can find in a Free to Play MMORPG.  In Asia, this is already a very big industry, so first-class developers like Cave make games at the same level of quality as you’d find in a retail boxed game.  Aeria brings those games to the North American and European markets.
Onrpg: Will there be any end-game content and can you reveal a bit about this?
We don’t have a defined end-game at the moment. You’ll see regularly added expansions to the game, so it’s really just beginning to grow.  MegaTen is a game you can play for months.  Plus, it’s free; there are no subscription or download costs.  If you want to support the game by buying an item in our Item Mall, we very much appreciate that, so we can continue to deliver quality content through updates, new quests and of course, new Demons.  All players can access all the features and quests without having to pay a dime.

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