Rising Tide is the newest and largest expansion to Perfect World International. WarCry had a chance to sit down with PWI’s product manager, Jon Bellis, for a closer look at Rising Tide. Read on!

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Please introduce yourself and tell us your position on the PWI team.

I’m Jon Belliss, and I’m the Product Manager for Perfect World International.

You have just released the latest expansion, Rising Tide. Can you give us a short history of PWI and where Rising Tide fits into the story arc?

The Tideborn have existed alongside the other inhabitants of Perfect World, but were contained by a large and powerful magical barrier. The story behind why they originally went into hiding, and why they are now reemerging will be a major part of player questing and story to uncover.

How many races will PWI have now that the expansion is live?

With the Tideborn, it will take the total race count up to four. To recap, we have the Humans, the Winged Elves, the Untamed and the Tideborn.

When was the decision made to include a new race, the Tideborn?

The decision to add a new race to PWI was made years ago. The technical foundation for the addition of this race has been long in the making. We’re extremely proud to see all of this work finally come to fruition.

How would you best describe the Tideborn?

A secretive, aquatic race with skills that Perfect World didn’t even know existed. They are a race that is deeply integrated with the ocean itself, and have been torn by war and internal conflict for many years.

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How many classes does PWI feature now?

We now have eight classes. The class breakdown is:

  • Humans: Blademaster and Wizard
  • Winged Elf: Archer and Cleric
  • Untamed: Barbarian and Venomancer
  • Tideborn: Assassin and Psychic

What about the two new classes, the Assassin and the Psychic? How do they fit into the scheme of the game?

In terms of the standard class archetypes for an MMORPG, the assassin will resemble a rogue class with stealth abilities and unparalleled damage. The Psychic is a magic based classed, focusing on buffs and debuffs. Both will be a great addition for grouping, and soloing. I think the Psychic especially will be a fun class to solo for the strategic player, as most of their skills depend on your ability to predict the movements and actions of your target.

Give us a thumbnail sketch of the three new island zones.

There are three new main islands in the Rising Tide expansion. One island contains most of the low level content for young new Tideborn characters. The second island features the new city and quest hub, Raging Tide. The third island is largely centered around high level content and the new public quest system.

Read on for more information about the new zones, the new quest system and what makes PWI the game to play.

The list of new features is HUGE. Would you consider Rising Tide a true expansion or more of a content addition? Why?

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Rising Tide is a true expansion, in every sense of the word. When we want to release content, we don’t hesitate-during this past Summer we released a new dungeon called Warsong City rather than waiting for our next expansion. To us, an expansion updates and changes the way players are going to interact with the game.

You have quests for married ‘toons. How do those work?

The couples quests are special quests for players who are married in-game. Our couples quests are based on Chinese love stories, and will be a fun and different way for players to level and explore PWI. The primary draw of these quests other than experience is the rare rewards players can attain. These include a rare white panther mount, as well as an all-class non-combat pet modeled after an evil assassin.

What are public quests?

The public quests are open to any player to work toward the quest objectives, whether they are in a group together or not. Quest progress will be shared by everyone who accepts the quest, and everyone can influence the total quest progress-some people can even work against you, if they choose to. This system lets players directly influence their game world. The best part of the public quest system is the rewards. As players contribute and complete public quests, they receive tokens. Players can save these tokens and trade them in for various prizes like rare pets and mounts, similar to the couples quest system.

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What are daily quests?

Daily quests are available to all players (starting at level 30) and can be completed at once per day for experience and rewards. We have both low and high level daily quests to accommodate all our players.

One of the things that many players just starting to explore “Free to Play” games want and need to know is what makes a game special and if it fits into any particular niche. If a potential player asked you these questions, how would you respond?

Perfect World International is all about customization. When you start a character, you can customize your avatar to look like yourself, your friend, even movie stars if you want. It’s pretty crazy how specific you can get with the space between your character’s eyes and eyebrow, for one small example. So if you want a game with high class customization options and quality MMORPG game play mechanics, PWI is your game. The second primary draw to PWI is probably the hardcore PvP. The Territory Wars system allows guilds to compete for ownership of the actual game world. This is one of the primary end-game draws for most of our users.

As a developer, why should a player try out PWI?

PWI runs on our own proprietary Angelica engine, and it has been designed in such a way that it can scale to almost any system. Don’t have a great machine? That’s okay, you can lower the specs and PWI will still run great. But if you have a really baller machine, your game is going to look amazing. We’ve even made upgrades in this expansion-the lighting and draw distances have been overhauled and made even better. PWI also features some of the most extravagant skill/spell animations you’ll see in an MMO. Any particle artists should definitely take a look at what PWI’s art team has done with skills in-game.

As a player, why would you tell someone to try out PWI?

The only way to understand what your users want (both in terms of content development and cash shop purchases) is be a user yourself. The one line that I have the most success with is, “Yo, you can be a panda warrior, and ride on a panda, for free.” The most common response I see to that is, “Word?”

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What would your fan base say is the best, most unique thing about PWI?

I think our fans are really obsessed with the customization in PWI. Whether it be character creation, in-game fashion/mounts, or most importantly, the way you play the game. Players have so many choices in terms of how to build their character and what skills to specialize in. PWI is the most hardcore, yet customizable free to play experience you will ever embark on.

Please add anything else you wish.

Huge thanks to all of the players of PWI. Without your support, we wouldn’t be the behemoth free to play title that we are today. To those who haven’t tried PWI yet: “Yo, you can be a panda warrior, and ride on a panda, for free.”

WORD!

WarCry will take a look at Rising Tide in the coming weeks so stay tuned! Thanks to Jon and the PWI team for their participation!

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