Today we have the chance to learn some things about Tale of Pirates, from IGG, the company importing this MMO to American shores. This Asian-import is in Open Beta in advance of potential launch in a few weeks.
Answers by I.G.G.
Questions by AiuaX
WarCry: First of all, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to speak with us. It’s always a pleasure to sit and chat with the talent behind upcoming titles, and it looks like we’ve got quite a bit to discuss. We’re here today to talk about your upcoming North American release of Tales of Pirates (ToP). Why don’t you briefly share with us a little bit of its history and tell us the general premise of the game?
IGG: Stemming back to the olden Europeans seafaring times, the game combines the main theme of piracy with the immense history very well. The use of leading technology creates an entirely magical world where players reside in. Experience the mystery of the endless seas, feel the romantic and interesting life of a pirate. It is the one and only unique world for pirates to be in!
WarCry: Tell us a little bit about the various classes and professions in the game. Are there enough diverse professions to satisfy gamers with different play styles?
IGG: In Tales of Pirates, each character has a variety of classes they can specialize in. When players reach level 9, they can talk to the respective NPCs to start the quest to select their basic class. When they reach level 40, they can specialize further into their basic class by doing another quest. There are ten classes in all: Swordsman, Hunter, Herbalist, Explorer, Crusader, Champion, Cleric, Seal Master, Sharpshooter and Voyager.
By the above mentioned class system, profession system and various characters in game, I am sure that our game can satisfy different players’ demand.
WarCry: How do players advance in the world of ToP and what can they accomplish? As they gain experience, do they also have opportunities to gain fame, fortune, own impressive ships of their own and wage sea battles?
IGG: Top run on a level based system assisted by a skill system. Like most of the game, players will gain experience by fighting against the monsters. They will get points when they level up, which can be used to strengthen their basic ability. When the players reach level 10 and had chosen their profession, there are able to learn skill which will help them a lot in game. These skills include fascinating attacking skills and production skills.
The present version does not have a fame system. However in our later version, a fame system will be available which allows players to gain their fame by being the drillmaster of the newbie players. Moreover, the fame system will bring players lots of additional good.
WarCry: How is combat handled in Tales of Pirates? You’ve said there will be both land and sea combat, but how do these systems work? Also, will there be opportunities for groups of players to band together in the name of piracy and wage war together?
IGG: Combat system compose a large part of Tales of Pirate and is carried out at both land and sea. For the sea battle system, it’s a newly designed system which allows a great number of players to be involved. Voyagers dominate the sea combat because it has great number of powerful sea attack skills.
Of course players can be banded together to launch a battle. This will be realized in later version of TOP which is named as the Island Battle System. This system is still under development and will come to the audience very soon.
WarCry: Voyage Century, another pirate-themed game you’ve developed and localized, seems to share a lot in common with Tales of Pirates. Are you touting ToP as a sequel to Voyage Century? What features set Tales of Pirates apart from your earlier game? What makes it special?
IGG: We don’t agree that TOP is as the sequel of VCO. In fact, they are two completely different games both in style and soul. VCO is set at the 16th world and aims to give the audience a real life experience that the traders, voyagers and warriors had in the 16th century. However, TOP is a fantastic game set in a fictitious continent with a cute cartoon style which features a different cartoon style graphics with huge mission system and storyline as a massive multiplayer online game.
WarCry: You mention on your website that ToP is entirely free to play and always will be. This is surely good news for gamers. How do free MMOs like yours make enough of a profit to keep the servers running and fuel new developments? Are there in-game enhancements or premium accounts players can opt for if they want to enjoy more of what ToP has to offer?
IGG: It’s sure that online game companies need to gain profit to keep the servers running well and provide good service for players, but we IGG have our own profit policy. TOP is a completely free game, we welcome and it’s our pleasure to invite players to enjoy our game for free. For players who would like a better game experience and who want to enjoy more, we have various helpful items in our item mall for them to choose.
We also have various classes of premium accounts from which player can gain lots of advantage, such as double experience, for players to choose.
WarCry: I’ve read a bit about the Island Development System and it seems like an interesting idea to get players involved in building their own little world. Can you go into some greater details? What is this system and what can you do with it?
IGG: Thank you very much for your close attention to our game and our website. The Island Development System is still under development, I can not tell what it will like when it’s released. But I am sure it will be an interesting part of our game and, in your word, it will enable players to build their own little world. More details of this system please pay attention to our website http://www.talesofpirates.com/
WarCry: From what I’ve heard, Tales of Pirates (ToP) has already enjoyed great success in Southeast Asia over the past few years. Often times, though, Asian MMOs and North American MMOs greatly differ in their gameplay and focus. Do you feel ToP will enjoy the same success here in the west as it did in Asia? How confident are you that North America will embrace it?
IGG: ToP is a really success production without errors in-game, so IGG brings the latest version to North American audience. It means no more different so far, however, the expansion for North American edition is coming and the game spotlight events are suit for all North American audience undoubtedly.
As regard to whether TOP will achieve same success in North American as it did in Southeast Asia, I have the full confidence. This is because we have years of experience in marketing online game in North American and we know quite well what the gamers’ taste is. We are sure that the pirate themed and cartoon style featured Tales of Pirates will win gamers’ heart in North America.
WarCry: I always like to ask developers and publishers alike what feature they’re most passionate about regarding their game. What do you feel makes Tales of Pirates stand out from the crowd? What will keep people coming back for more?
IGG: Firstly, I need to say this game – TOP is aim at North American audience edition, which means different policy from another Asian local English version MMOGs. Secondly, some of MMORPG currently get grand medieval or fantastic graphics, however Tales of Pirates have a different cartoon style graphics with huge mission system and storyline as a massive multiplayer online game. Also, I think the most attractive thing is people can start this game so quickly and easily without complicated issue. There is not a MMORPG can be fit all taste of players, but ToP will find own way in 2007, it should be a red-blooded product on the market.
WarCry: Finally, where do you think the future lies for both Tales of Pirates and IGG? Will you continue to build upon the current platform and create more content and community?
IGG: As an online game operator. We aim to make our games stand top among the other MMORPGs in North America and we are striving to provide our best service to our customers and become the best online game operators. Regarding to our future development, there is no doubt that we will bring more high quality game to North America audience.
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