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WarCry: Could you please start out by introducing yourself?

My name is Sang and I am the Assistant Game Operations Manager at Ntreev USA. It’s a pleasure to be doing this interview. As far as my in-game identity is concerned… that’s classified. 🙂 I oversee and work on many aspects of Trickster Online.

WC: Trickster Online Revolution is the upgraded version to the original Trickster Online – what does it have over the original?

For Trickster Online Revolution, we looked carefully into how we could make the game more player-friendly. Trickster Online is a vast game with many intricate systems and was designed to offer a variety of play styles for the many types of gamers out there. So for Revolution, it was important to improve the game interface, as well as upgrade the low level areas so players could get to know the game without worrying about ‘studying’ the game. We also added lower level items that are easier to acquire and included more user friendly tutorials, NPCs and quests that help point the beginners in the right direction. Breaking into a new MMORPG can be a daunting task for new players and these improvements to the beginning areas were designed to give them a head start.

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As an RPG, Trickster Online Revolution is an ever-expanding fantasy world. Since we first launched our ‘Revolution’ patch, we have “re-balanced” many parts of the Trickster Online world by adding new systems, items, character skills and a myriad of quests. Even as we speak, we are currently developing our 8th Revolution patch.

We always try to incorporate as many improvements as we can. We have a great deal of content in the pipeline ready to be introduced throughout the year. We’re excited about what’s coming up.

WC: What makes Trickster unique when compared to all the other free-to-play MMORPGs out there? If I’m new to the MMO scene, why should I play Trickster?

The first thing that makes Trickster unique is the wide variety of options when it comes to game play. New players will appreciate the option to choose how they want to level up and gain new items. We have the exciting quests and battles you would expect to find in an MMORPG as well as an exclusive “drilling system”, which is a sort of treasure hunt that involves literally drilling in the ground throughout the world. By drilling, players can dig up items and gain experience without ever having to engage in combat. Trickster also offers a couple of mini-games where players can earn items and experience. It has the Card Game which is similar to any real life trading card game, where players challenge each other to card duels. The cards are collected in-game and players receive experience for playing. We also have the Gacha system, based on the Japanese “gachapon” vending machines, where players bet tokens in a game of chance in order to win items.

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The second thing that makes Trickster unique is the dedication of the Ntreev USA team. Our GMs are extremely active on a day-to-day basis with the players. They participate regularly in the forums, chat with players in-game, and host events on an almost weekly basis. Our development team is also dedicated and always working to keeping Trickster Online fun and fresh. We patch in new content every two weeks, so the environment and game play are always changing.

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WC: Trickster was originally a Korean game that was localized for Western audiences. How much of the ongoing development of the game is done in-house, like for live events? Or is it all made overseas and then localized?

Although Trickster Online was originally created in Korea, Ntreev USA has worked hard to make sure the content is relevant to US audiences. When we localized the game, we updated many of the cultural references in the game so that they would make sense to US players. We also create custom content in-house for the US market. For example, during Halloween last year, we created a special pet which was phenomenally popular with US players.

All our live events are hosted in the US by our GMs. Every week, we host the “O/X Quiz”, a fun trivia event where players can win rewards for special in-game items.

WC: How have you found that Western MMOgamers’ taste differs from Eastern players? For instance, Western gamers are more used to larger MMO “expansions” than constant smaller updates – does this affect how you run the game at all?

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We’ve found some difference in preferences and styles to some degree. We do our best to deliver new in-game content on a bi-weekly basis. Our players regularly ask about what’s coming up in the “next” patch. Even if we don’t finish updating until 3 or 4am, we have players who will wait up all night just to be the first to test out the items, quests and new content.

Many of our Trickster players are accustomed to having frequent updates, but we try to keep our patches as big as possible. In terms of ‘big’ expansions, we try to roll out major content at least every 3 to 4 months.

WC: The level cap for Trickster is advertised as a whopping 400 – that’s a pretty big number! How long would it take for the average Trickster player to reach the highest level?

This is a very hard question to answer, as it depends on the player. We’ve had one player reach level 400. I believe it took that player about two years of hard work, which tells you how challenging it can be. On average though, it may take more than two years. We have heard in other regions where Trickster is hosted that a few players have reached the coveted level 400 in less than 2 years. 🙂

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WC: One common criticism of free-to-play MMORPGs (especially ones developed in Asia) is that they’re very “grind-heavy.” What does Trickster offer to get around this stereotype?

There are many ways to level up in Trickster so players aren’t restricted to one method of gaining experience. Of course, there is the “regular” method of leveling up which involves completing traditional fantasy-style quests or slaying monsters. But Trickster offers other ways to gain experience, including Drilling (an original casual-style, in-game mechanic), quests that can only be completed by being in a party, and various events which offer additional ways to level up. We also offer items that can boost your experience gain as well. To top it all off, there are several exclusive dungeons and areas that can reward players with higher experience gains as well as rare items.

We are also very proud of our in-game Card Battle system. It’s a comprehensive “game within a game” concept. Players can collect, trade, and win cards in a number of ways. To enter a Trickster Card Battle game, all you have to do is engage another Trickster player, right-click on a player that you’d like to play with, select the Card Battle option, and then have at it. It’s an excellent way to gain experience too. Many of our players hold tournaments regularly and show off their new card collections.

The best part is that all of the above can be done for free.

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WC: Can you elaborate on the “Drill System”? Can I get to level 400 by Drilling alone? Why a drill, and not, say… a shovel? Are drills just that much cooler?

Theoretically, you could get to level 400 by just drilling. But we offer such a wide range of opportunities for players to gain experience and level up in Trickster that just drilling your way to level 400 would mean you would be missing out on a lot that the game has to offer.

The “Drill” itself was picked for a number of reasons. The drilling action is visually more appealing than shoveling or digging by hand. Also, it is far more manageable to control things like drill depth, drill types, and the action of actually controlling the drill itself. We’ve also added a number of other elements to the drills and terrain types to spice things up.

WC: Is there anything else you’d like to touch upon that we haven’t asked about today?

We have so much content lined up for new and veteran players alike in 2009. Anytime is a great time to start playing Trickster. If you’ve always wanted to try a fantasy-style MMO game, Trickster Online Revolution is a great place to hang out and meet players from around the world. We hope you take a moment to visit the site, download the game for free and try it out. Some of the best things in life are free, and so is Trickster. 🙂

WC: Thank you for your time!

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