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.