Exclusive: Upcoming MMORPG Astellia Online deep-dives its skill systems

    
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We’ve been keeping an eye on Korean-born Astellia for several years now as the full-scale MMORPG has trekked through development. As revealed in January, while Nexon is publishing the game in its home region, Barunson E&A – also the majority owner of the studio behind the game, Studio 8 – is publishing it in the west this summer. It’ll be a buy-to-play title, with plans to dodge pay-to-win and feature PvE, PvP, raids, crafting, and even un-gender-locked classes (contrary to the Korean version). The studio’s even acknowledged that import MMOs have become a “smash-and-grab” – and it’s specifically not doing that.

Today we’ve got an exclusive dev blog from Barunson all about the game’s skill system, a hybrid design that caters to old-school MMO players – with a twist.

Dive Into the Astellia Skill Systems

MMORPGs are a staple of the Online Game Genre, and at the core of each MMO is the combat system. In Astellia we have adopted the classic Tab Target Combat System along with class-based skill sets, as these hold truest to the Classic MMORPG Experience. However, we are always seeking out new ways for innovation and refinement, to this end we have structured five elements of depth to each users combat experience.

Skill Point System

The Skill Point System allows users to customize each skill of their character in unique ways based on the skills effect(s) / operation. As an example, the Warrior’s Shield Slam can be modified to have an increased stun duration or have a reduced cooldown based on your preferences. At first glance this may not seem like a major transformation, but when you take into consideration that each skill can be adapted to suit your needs, the end result is a unique combat experience specifically tailored to your preferences.

Active Dodging

Astellia does not offer “Action Combat”, but this does not mean we have ignored other combat styles. In fact through reviewing such systems, we have been able to add a layer of responsive combat content, in the form of Active Dodging. By double tapping the directional keys players are able to swiftly dodge out of incoming attacks, reposition themselves on the battlefield quickly, or intercept incoming enemies before they reach the rest of your group.

Astel Combo Skills

Between five classes and over thirty different Astels, players have a large selection to choose from when it comes to group composition. Many of which have special combination skills that are activated in response to player skills. As an example, the Assassin class has a backstab attack that quickly teleports the player to their intended target, with Seika (An Assassin Astel) summoned, she will join the player in the sneak attack. Drastically increasing the overall damage output. Each class has specific Astels they combo well with, each combo adding more complexity and diversity to the combat system.

Skill Sequence System

Many games have a rigid skill system that is very linear, others rely on complex macros to make custom actions. In Astellia we have taken a more streamlined approach to how players build their rotations & skill combinations. Within each action bar, is a built-in function for creating skill sequences. By clicking on an action slot, users are able to quickly and easily build their own combos or sequences, to suit their playstyle. As an example Warriors will often combo their Defensive Cool Down(s) with an AoE Taunt, in order to seamlessly provide a defensive boost while they gather aggro on all hostile creatures in the area.

Animation Canceling

Last, but definitely not least we are excited to share a small update from the future development. Based on player feedback we have collected at this early stage, we have wanted to drastically reduce the amount of animation locking players experience in combat. Our current plan, although still in development, is to allow for Active Dodging to interrupt these skills. The goal is to promote a more fluid and responsive combat system for Astellia. Of course, this is still in development, and it will need to be tested, but we are excited to continue polishing and refining our systems based on your feedback.

The Classic Combat System, combined with these five points make up the heart of Astellia Combat and we are confident if given the chance, each player will be able to find the right balance for their personal experience. That being said we will continue to review, refine, and polish this system, as well as all other systems in the game as we work to bring Astellia to the West. Stay tuned to our »Home Page« for more updates, and if you have not joined the Fan Made, Community Driven Astellia Discord you can check it out Here.

Safe Travels Astellians,
– The Astellia Team

We’d like to thank Barunson E&A for sharing this sneak-peek with our readers! If you’re angling for more, definitely check out some of our past coverage of the game, including our detailed interview with the studio from January.

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butterpanda888
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butterpanda888

I’m actually really excited for this game. Seems cool.

Vexia
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Vexia

I watched a somewhat-older video on Astellia (IIRC it was the Korean version), and I can happily imagine that all of these changes are going to be nothing but good for the game. Kudos to Barunson E&A for recognizing what needed to be done!

Veldara
Reader
Veldara

I like what the team is doing with the game, the card system is not something you see very often on an mmo, at least at this level so I’m really cheering them on to carve out a solid space in the market. It’s going to be tough though, the game looks extremely generic and a little dated at first glance and this year looks to be FFXIV’s big moment to possibly take the crown in the mmo space so a lot of eyes are gonna be on that game.

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Trimethicon

I’m a Magic the Gathering, TCG card collector, geek, so I love the card system aspect too. I think the game has a certain art style to it, I don’t think it looks dated, I’m no longer impressed with super graphics engines in MMOs, especially if when you get 20 ppl on the screen and your framerate nosedives, give me stylistic graphics.

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Akagi

I hope it doesn’t have that disgusting Loli race that most Asian games love to include.

Reader
Trimethicon

@MassivelyOP – do we have a NA release date?

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Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

Seems like good stuff even if that skill menu is pretty generic looking. The devs are still making the right moves from what I’m seeing (dropping info early etc. is always good!) so I’ll continue to be cautiously optimistic about it.

The one thing I’m not a big fan of is animation canceling via the dodging (which is a slightly confusing other matter, but whatever), but that’s more because I’m a lazy old man and I ain’t got time for all those fancy tricks anymore. But as long as that’s not needed for casual play, and I doubt it will be, /whatever, I’ll just putter along like a scrub.

Reader
Trimethicon

I’m an old man too ;-). But what I don’t understand is, if you’re in the middle of a long combat animation, don’t you want to be able to break out of it? In WoW, or most MMOs, I could move or jump and stop casting. I prefer that, rather then being made to be glued to the ground and eat a spell or an AoE.

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cursedseishi

I’ll admit I’ve not really kept up or read much of the game here…

But I’d question why Animation Cancelling has to be tied to dodging? And it mentions cancelling skills… That only works if a skill has some cast time to commit to its damage, otherwise everything is (basically) instant. I hit button A, it either casts, channels, or just does something.

Sure, let me roll out of a cast or channeled spell (though most every game allows movement out of that), but the instant? The only truly ‘locked’ skills I’ve ever experienced have been my Jumps in FF14 as a dragoon. Maybe it’s just poor wording on their part, but this here:

Our current plan, although still in development, is to allow for Active Dodging to interrupt these skills

Reads like the skill itself is being cancelled to dodge… So say I use a Jump skill as Dragoon, and I used their ‘dodge’, it cancels the jump attack itself just to move… Which, when you typically see ‘Animation Cancelling’ used for gaming its less about cancelling out an attack and more so canceling out the animation while still getting the attack out. Like short hop to air-attack, followed by landing and immediately being able to launch a ground attack. You get the attack from the air in, but the recovery frames associated with said air attack is removed/reduced by landing and allowing you to move immediately.

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tiltowait

Right, I consider animation canceling cheating the system. Where your fireball is supposed to take 3 seconds to cast, but by using some weird skill combination you can make the fireball cast in less time and fire out of your characters butt instead of her hands.

When it exists in a game, it is required for any sort of pvp, because it allows a much higher damage output. What I hope they are talking about should be called skill canceling (I hope) where the skill never goes off if canceled.

I figure animation canceling is present in as many games as it is because it’s difficult to remove, and some people like having an advantage they can call skill (where it’s really just knowledge of undocumented bugs/’features’).

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cursedseishi

For an MMO? Definitely. And that’s why regardless of anything else, you’ll typically see global cooldowns implemented in online games. In FF14, even if a Summoner has an instant-cast attack, the GCD prevents it from being utilized like a machinegun where the spell is fired as fast as you can hit the button. It’s not a major issue in MMOs though since so many are either purely action-adjacent or target based… Far as I’ve seen that is.

I don’t mind animation cancelling done right. Fighting games like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, or character action titles like Devil May Cry (JACKPOT! tonight) utilize it as part of the skill ceiling. It’s by no means a mandatory trick and you don’t need to know it to simply play those games. Which is why I said “typically in gaming”.

Far as I’ve been able to tell, only a few MMOs really have some form of ‘cancelling’ an animation that also works in that manner. And its most likely unintended because those said games are trying to play themselves off as action-based titles.

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tiltowait

BDO, Archeage, Blade and Soul, maybe Tera are the ones I can think of off the top of my head that have animation canceling. In all of them animation canceling is strongly defended by some of the player base as a valid play style.

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IronSalamander8 .

I’ll keep an eye on this one, at least a bit. I don’t know much about this one yet but we shall see how it turns out. Besides WAR RoR, I haven’t been playing any other MMOs lately (I play Astroneer solo), as I let my FF14 account die. Hopefully turns out better than Mess, I mean Bless Online. :P

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Mykal Quinn

While the game does seem really cool, I’m definitely going to need an active dodge button (I double tap directions all the time with regular movement and don’t want to be accidentally dodging) and do NOT want to have animation cancelling to be part of my rotation.

Still gunna play it anyway, but probably won’t get to endgame.

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Arsin Halfmoon

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo I’m definitely going to give this game a shot. It’s also probably going to save the MMO genre. Probably.

Reader
Trimethicon

I read that they were looking to go to UE4, but felt that it would take too long to convert over. I also read that they are pushing UE3 to its max limit. Which I kind of like, I hate when new MMOs come out and most of the gamers PCs can’t even run the game, i.e. BDO was a slideshow for me, pop-ups, I stopped playing after 15 mins, sure it looked great in screenshots, but I could not get that same quality without getting 10-15 fps.

Antiseptic
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Antiseptic

If pushing UE3 to its limits means the same B&S and Bless like 0-10 FPS stutter in main hubs when there are more than 10 people in the area, then yes, Astellia will behave exactly like that since this is how the game client runs in the current Korean version (and I doubt they will rewrite the client from scratch to better optimize it for the NA/EU version). Even PC Tera’s older UE3 build (like from 2007-8 compared to the 2013 and later revisions used in A:IR, Astellia, B&S, Bless Online) doesn’t have this god awful level of FPS drops in the main hub areas (the console versions do stutter lock like that though). And Bluehole is normally the barometer for piss poor optimization of their UE3 titles.

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Baemir

Sadly Astellia doesn’t run very well at all, according to youtubers. I’m afraid performance is going to be one of the main issues with the game, just like with Bless. The game itself does sound good though.