Interview: Astellia deep-dives its dungeon systems and Western tweaks

    
22

Incoming buy-to-play MMORPG Astellia has been a whirlwind in 2019 as Nexon and Barunson EA have prepared the game for release in the west: So far, we’ve heard about its anti-P2W policy, beta plans, buy-to-play model, skill systems, character creation, and crafting. Today, the studios have released a detailed dev blog on the game’s dungeons, which are being tweaked a bit for the western launch. There are “more than a dozen” coming for western players with both solo and group formats so that everyone can at least play through the story. Barunson’s also adjusting the dungeon ticket system currently in the Korean open beta; western gamers won’t be able to buy these for cash, instead earning them through dailies and loyalty.

We had a chance to chat with the team to ask about dungeons ahead of the release of this dev blog – read on for their thoughts!

MassivelyOP: You’re making sure that most dungeons have both solo and multiplayer variants, right – but not all? What’s the deciding factor in blocking something off for multiplayer only?

Barunson: Currently, there is no dungeon that is solo only, meaning that no content is blocked from multiplayer experience. Our goal here is to make content accessible to as many players as possible, the various dungeon modes are a reflection of this intent.

I would really love to hear the developers expound on why they are going with this solo-possible dungeon design. I agree with them; I have so much side-eye for games that lock story behind raids, for example. But I know there are a lot of people out there who think solo players should never have access to the same stuff, even if it’s far less of the same stuff – there’s a lot of elitism out there. How do the devs justify their decision against a community that values exclusivity?

Locking content behind such mechanism seems counter-intuitive to us, our objective is to provide our players with a game that they enjoy playing, and to achieve that we provide them with as much content as we can. Solo dungeons not only cater to players who prefer to run their dungeons alone, but it can also serve as a proving ground where they learn and master the tactics needed to clear the dungeon efficiently, which is something the elitists should appreciate as it leads to more skilled players in the game.

When it comes to the solo dungeons, are you concerned that players will cleave to a certain character archetype/build to get through it? Or will the dungeon adapt to the type of character entering?

Not at all, changing classes will not be necessary for solo dungeons; instead, players need to consider which Astels they will use. As an example when clearing trash I prefer to focus on Astels with burst damage and crowd control so I can move through them quickly, but once I get to the boss I tend to use a tank and/or healer to give me the combat endurance I need to finish the fight.

I’m wondering whether the team actually has reason to think loot table transparency will make a difference. I’m not against the idea; it’ll be nice to see the studio doing it rather than having to rely on player reports and wikis. I’m just seeing a situation in which either all of the loot tables wind up the same, else people won’t do the ones with weak tables, or the devs manually push us to underutilized dungeons by tweaking those tables. What’s the intention here?

The intention is actually just as you have explained it, players always rely on third party websites for this type of information, this proves there is a demand for it; however, no one can provide it more clearly and accurately than we can. As far as merging the tables, we have no intention of doing this, instead, we have the ability to shuffle the loot around as we see fit, this way we can ensure a varied dungeon experience for players and use the data from those dungeons to more clearly see what players are working towards. Empirical data like this helps us in many ways, from determining which dungeons are most popular, which loot is the most sought after, and all of that will simply help us produce better content as we move forward.

I’m impressed that the team is making sure dungeon tickets in the west aren’t monetized as they are in Korea. But in that case, why have them at all? Why does the team believe it’s necessary to gate dungeon entry at all? Do you think the ticket system could be abused in any way – I’m thinking of the potential for people to refuse to spend tickets on a dungeon group that doesn’t have exactly the right meta setup.

We have opted to keep the system as a way to encourage players to return to the main game world outside of dungeons, even if it is only to do missions earning more dungeon tickets. We have noted in many MMOs there is a limiting factor of how many dungeons can be run in an hour, or day, or even weekly raid lockouts, for use dungeon tickets work in a similar way. I can see what you mean about a player refusing to risk their dungeon tickets on a sub-optimal party, however, in my experience players with that mentality would drop the group at the first sign of difficulty or human error regardless of the ticket system. With that scenario in mind, we would do better to focus on a way to promote a better group building system so that like-minded players can find one another and enjoy the game as they see fit.

As always, we’d like to thank Barunson EA for the detailed answers to our questions! You can learn more about the game on its official website.

22
LEAVE A COMMENT

Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
Ashfyn Ninegold

Their take on solo dungeons strikes me as exactly right. It’s something I wish more MMOs designers would consider. I often will avoid dungeons in games because I haven’t experienced the fight and don’t know what to expect from my class. As long as I’ve played MMOs, I’ve wished for a solo option for dungeons.

laelgon
Reader
laelgon

Unreal Engine 3
Sexualized children
Gender-locked classes
Dated Tab targeting and click to move controls

The 4 horsemen of the Korean MMOpocalypse.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
Ashfyn Ninegold

I like tab targeting as it’s easier for me to play a game that has it. Click to move is also okay. I have no problem with it in Path of Exile, which has more challenging combat. And being a Korean game it has the ever-present auto pathing.

What puts this game in the maybe column are the race- and gender-locked classes and the preponderance of lolis–sexualized children.

I’d like to hear if they are considering unlocking races or genders for their western launch.

Reader
ReizoGames

Here is the pax panel that goes in depth about the game

To answer your question, yes the plan is to unlock genders for the game. They said by launch they hope to have 2 unlocked and the rest will come shortly after. They will also provide a free appearance change to everyone when they do this.

Reader
Dug From The Earth

The 4 key things to release a game with zero innovation!

Lets not forget… the hidden 5th. Horrible optimization, which this game suffers immensely from!

Reader
ReizoGames

I played the KR version for many months. The optimization was extremely smooth for me except in a few highly populated areas (the pvp map avalon and the central town) where you would experience some FPS drops. I honestly have absolutely no idea what on earth he did to his game in order to get it to run that horrible. I get that the game content/style may not be for everyone but please don’t base the optimization of the game off his video as that is absolutely not what 99% of us experience on the discord that play the KR version.

Reader
Dug From The Earth

After Bless Online, ill remain skeptical until i see reviews on the epic store

oh wait….

Reader
ReizoGames

Haha trust me, I completely get the skepticism. I was burned by Bless as well which is why I chose to try out the KR version to make sure I even wanted to play this when it came to NA. I personally enjoy the game, I like the dungeons and the astel system the game offers. Is it something ground breaking? No. But it definitely provides content I enjoyed and a system I found fun. It was enjoyable having astels to switch around and use on a team (especially since I main healer). Some will say the game is subpar/underwhelming while you have people like me who enjoy it. Personally I’m happy there will be another MMO option to choose from since there haven’t been many and I’m pretty burned out on the popular ones. So a new MMO releasing here is always welcome in my opinion. I just say wait and test it out for yourself. I have more hope for Astellia than I ever did for Bless since this one isn’t making grand claims of fully changing the combat, etc… This one is working on core systems and changes to suit an NA audience more. Maybe I’m just optimistic but I enjoyed the game and it reassures me seeing Wes (the producer behind NA version) chatting in discord.

Reader
Venomlicious

I watch this yesterday and it’s exactly what I expected. Korean mmo games never let me down. I have heard the same thing from other people that have played it that Bless Online is better. We all know what a shit show that was.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Paragon Lost

While I liked what I just read in the interview I’m not sure I’m going to be a fan due to the little girl stuff in this video play footage I found from Steparu. Combined with some serious sideboob/large breast stuff going on with the Archer and some cut scenes kinda makes me huh. :/

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

We have opted to keep the system as a way to encourage players to return to the main game world outside of dungeons, even if it is only to do missions earning more dungeon tickets.

That’s…actually a damn good answer. Like, I can’t argue with that. They don’t want folks just chain running dungeons, but they also don’t want to hard-block folks, so they provide an option that achieves their goals for how they want players to engage with the game while also allowing players a way to grind more dungeons if they’re interested.

I continue to be impressed with these cats, they keep saying all the right things in these interviews. Now I’m just hoping they can activate and deliver on all of them.

joxul
Reader
joxul

Still waiting on optimization news, because if it’s like the korean version then this game is dead like bless.

Reader
Venomlicious

Unreal 3 dx9 so its the same as Bless Online. To be honest the game was dead 3 years ago in Korea so that’s why we are getting it here

Reader
Venomlicious

There are over 30 Astels combat pets. You can summon one out, permanently.. and they have their own unique appearance, their own unique abilities, stats.. they can be upgraded, equipped, enhanced. It also has enhancement systems, punishing RNG, gender locks, pointless grinds.. etc. Astellia has all that..

It also has dungeon tickets or the Astel system essentially being an entire mobile games gacha system, injected into a game. It’s set up for aggressive monetizing and would require some incredibly large changes to reward and progression structure.

In the end it’s just one more Korean P2W game that will die in 2 months top and more money will be wasted on hope.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

It’s set up for aggressive monetizing and would require some incredibly large changes to reward and progression structure.

So…did you read the interview? Because they specifically addressed how this is being changed for the west >.>

Reader
Venomlicious

Why would I waste my time reading what some Korean company has written about how they will not make something P2W. There are reviews from people that have played the Korean version and how yet again people will eat dog shit if someone tells them it’s a Baby Ruth. Ill save you time with your next reply. But that’s the Korean version not NA. I laugh at everyone that uses this since the start of chucking Korean games over the fence to suck the North American gamers dry with their 10 year old titles that have all but dried up in their region.

Here is a cold fact for you. It’s a Korean Unreal 3 game with every p2w aspect that BDO, Archage, and the rest have. It’s published by Nexon and we all know how honest these guys are.

A fool and their money are easily parted.

Reader
Venomlicious

Just a little more info. The 3 devs have no control over what Nexon wants to do with the game. I gave them an extra dev because he’s the one with broken English translating the game.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

I laugh at everyone that uses this since the start of chucking Korean games over the fence to suck the North American gamers dry with their 10 year old titles that have all but dried up in their region.

Alternatively, let’s believe them for now and wait to see what happens at launch. If they lied, we can call them on that. If they were honest, we can celebrate that.

Trust me, I have no love for Nexon and largely have sworn off ever giving them money due to their bullshit. But I’m open to them being able to change and to Bronson being able to make changes to the NA/EU version that differ from the Korean version.

Reader
Venomlicious

It’s not just Nexon it is every last game from Korea. They all say the same thing and it is 100% lies. What they see as P2W and what we see is not the same thing. They also know that the whales in the US spend 10s of thousands of dollars just to think they are better then everyone else.

Every last game they give us is something developed 10 years ago in unreal3 and are dead in their region. There is more content in their cash shops then in their game. I will give it that BDO was a new developed game and boy did they put the screws to us on that one.

The best game to come from any of these companies was Archage and it could have been a gold mine but the greed could not be stopped.

I’m in the same boat where I just want something new to play but I can say that it will not come from Korea no matter how good it looks or sounds. Actions speak louder then words and I have not and will not see any in my lifetime.

Reader
ReizoGames

Except the the NA version isn’t being published nor run by Nexon. It is being self published by Barunson E&A. Nexon will have nothing to do with the NA version.