WarCry recently had the honor to sit down with Martin Tan, General Manager of ChangYou US. We spoke at length about Dragon Oath and its new expansion, Age of Destiny. Read more!Please introduce yourself and tell us your position on the ChangYou team.
Hi, I am Martin Tan, General Manager of ChangYou.com (US) Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of ChangYou.com Ltd., China's leading online game developer and operator.
You have released the first major content update to Dragon Oath, Age of Destiny. Can you give us a short history of Dragon Oath and where Age of Destiny fits into the story arc?
It all begins with an oath...
The crackling of flames and the shrieks of human anguish fill the night sky. Once upon a time, the village and the rest of the Middle Kingdom lived harmoniously. The country was filled with noble souls, powerful and benevolent dragons, and great warriors who possessed legendary artifacts and protected the citizens from harm. Unfortunately as time elapsed, the human vices of greed and selfishness eventually surfaced. With complacency paralyzing the good and the evil rising in power, China was plunged into war. And war, as they say, never changes.
As the death toll grew and the country became engulfed in turmoil, the need for heroes to rise up was greater than ever. A young man who watched his village burn to the ground embarked on his journey to fulfill his destiny and save his country. Along the way, he received training from the great Kung Fu Masters of the time, and gained skills and equipment to aid him in his quests. He traveled to the faraway lands of Su Zhou and Yan Tomb in search of the ancient artifacts and the Legendary Dragon who would bring peace back to the land. Throughout his journey however, he encountered dangerous enemies and powerful warlords who would stop at nothing to control the power for themselves. Against these hopeless odds, the young warrior had no chance to survive on his own...
And so the warrior shouted throughout the land, and his call echoed the cries of the citizens, who implored the remaining men and women of courage and honor to rise up. From that point on, more and more heroes emerged, joining each other in taking the Dragon Oath to battle the ever-growing evil. Though the warriors all came from different walks of life, they were bonded by the oath that they all took, to one day rescue the Legendary Dragon "Bladewind" and restore order to the land.
Together, they experienced many triumphs but also many defeats. And in this Age of Destiny, the citizens still call for brave souls to take up the quest and fulfill their destinies. You are immersed in this time, and only one question remains, will you answer the call?
What's new in Age of Destiny?
The expansion "Age of Destiny" contains so many new features that our players will be able to play for months and still be encountering new quests and items that they haven't seen before. We've updated older features such as the Pet Breeding system and the Master/Apprentice feature. Some of our most popular new features will be our new set of powerful Artifact Weapons, and of course our new flying Dragon Mount.
Please explain the new "Ancient Weapons" and their place in Age of Destiny.
The ancient Artifact Weapons are among the strongest that we've ever released, and players will feel a new sense of power while wielding these weapons. There are 4 different Artifact Weapons available to players: the Melting Falchion, the Traceless Sword, the Blue Silver Circle, and the Windstone Fan, each with their own properties and special abilities. In order to obtain them, you need to gather key materials during your quests and craft them into your desired level of Artifact.
Though these weapons are not game-breaking, they reward the players who work hard to get them, and make the game a lot more fun for everyone overall.
One last thing is that the new weapons won't be too difficult to get. There are a number of different quests that players can take part in to obtain an Artifact Weapon for themselves. We're not going to make players go through an endless grind to get them; the process itself will be fun and exciting, in the spirit of Dragon Oath.
What about the new flying dragon mount? How does a player score one?
We've been seeing flying dragons and beasts all over the media, in books like Harry Potter and movies like Avatar. It's only fitting that Dragon Oath brings in an even better, stronger Dragon to put the others to shame! =)
The dragon mount "Bladewind" is certainly one of the biggest (literally!) additions in the expansion. The Legendary Dragon is an enormous and extraordinary mount with razor sharp claws and a massive wingspan that produces dust storms in its wake while increasing the player's speed by 70%. Players who obtain this creature will certainly get other players' attention while flying across the map, and they can even take a companion along for the ride! It will drastically help players to level because of its incredible movement speed and the ability for it to carry two people.
Perhaps the best thing about the dragon mount though, is that you don't need to buy it! It's available to players through Lucky Bingo and Master/Apprentice relationship points. The mighty Bladewind can be captured in only two ways...pure luck or pure determination. In order to catch this elusive beast, you must seek out these rare items: the Claws of Bladewind, the Wings of Bladewind, and the Teeth of Bladewind. This is no simple task. You will need your friends and an unparalleled effort to do so. Or...you could be extraordinarily lucky, and Cissy Lau of Lou Yang may let you claim it from her game, Lucky Bingo.
What is an "instanced event"?
Instance events include some of our brand new quests and daily events happening all throughout the game. Players will be notified by an orange 'events' button that will appear in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Some of the new events include the Arena Chest and Trade Day events, as well as our brand new map areas that feature new quests, items, and bosses for players to take on. These are all things that will be sure to captivate players from the moment they log on to the new expansion.
Kung Fu cowboy pack? What on earth is that? :)
Haha, the KFC pack! Not to be confused with Kentucky Fried Chicken, this pack is one of the most valuable additions for players. It contains over $77 worth of items, and is given to all players for free. Upon receiving the pack, players can take it to the Wealth Herald, Guileless Du, in Da Li. Then after reaching certain levels, players can return to the Wealth Herald to collect different, powerful items that will surely help players as they pursue Kung Fu supremacy! Editor: Get one from warcry.com now!
Explain the pet breeding system please.
The pet breeding system has been made better than ever. As always, there will be many pets in the world of Dragon Oath that you can capture and tame, and each of them will have their own unique personalities, traits, and abilities. In Age of Destiny, a new area has been added to Pet Island, called Pet Hill. In it, players will find several higher level pets, such as an elephant, a rhinoceros, a ferret, a wild unicorn, and even a dinosaur!
The breeding system allows players to breed their pets with their friends' pets in order to create even more powerful pets. The higher the level the pet is, the longer the breeding process will be, but the greater the rewards as well! Breeding can lead to a huge variety of pets that have powerful combinations of skills and can help their masters win many battles.
Please give us a thumbnail sketch of the new zones.
The list of new features is HUGE. Would you consider Age of Destiny a true expansion or more of a content addition? Why?
We believe that any good expansion will contain a lot of brand new content, and we pursued this philosophy with Age of Destiny. In terms of the expansion side, we've added more to the plot of Dragon Oath by allowing players to further explore the story in the new quests and the interactions with the new characters and enemies. To help you in your quests, we've added new content and features that will allow players to get stronger and move faster so that they can explore all that the land has to offer. Also, the expansion adds features that players wanted to see in Dragon Oath, thus improving upon the first experience.
Have any new items been added to the mall?
There will be quite a few new items in the Token Shop including a Dragon Turtle mount, new relics for all 9 classes and special skill books among other things. This will definitely be our best round of Token Shop items so far.
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?
What makes Dragon Oath so special is a combination of different factors. For gamers who are new to Free to Play games, or MMOs in general, the intuitive interface of Dragon Oath is extremely helpful, and the first few quests in the game are tailored to teaching players the basics and helping them get the hang of the gameplay. After players have learned how to play the game, there are enormous amounts of different features and quests that the player can choose from, as well as a huge online community to interact with.
What sets Dragon Oath apart from other MMOs though, is the amount of freedom of choice that players get, the various systems in which players can form alliances with each other, and the famous martial arts storyline that it is based on. Players are literally immersed in one of the most famous fantasy worlds of all time, and in it they can choose to do what they want. If you find that you like to grind, there are many places in the open world that you can constantly train in to get experience. If you enjoy challenging powerful bosses and questing, you can do so and still level up quickly with our various features that let players gain experience quickly. Most importantly, the world of Dragon Oath encourages cooperative gameplay with features such as Master/Disciple, Kinships, Marriage, and more. In fact, some quests even require that players work together in order to complete the tasks.
As a developer, why should a player try out Dragon Oath?
Out of the considerable amount of games I've seen, Dragon Oath has by far the most exciting in-game world. It seems like there are an endless amount of new events that players are constantly notified about, and players always get to make the choice as to what events they attend or where they want to go in the game. Also, features such as auto-pathing and peddling allow users to be efficient with their time and still help their character progress.
In the expansion, we've added in many new items and features to an already impressive list, so that Dragon Oath players always have something new to collect and do. On top of that, we are constantly making new in-game events for different occasions, and the next one we have coming up is the Valentine's Day event. Players will appreciate the amount of support and attention that the development team gives to the game and its users.
As a player (you DO play, right?), why would you tell someone to try out Dragon Oath?
I do play Dragon Oath, and every time I log on I'm excited to see what new events there are for the day and also how my guild's city is doing. For anyone who's looking for a fun game, Dragon Oath delivers on almost every aspect of the gaming experience, especially the social networking part. Guilds can design their own emblems and form alliances and declare war on other guilds. Guilds can even earn enough gold to purchase their own city in the game! On top of all of this, there are so many other ways to build a community in the game with other players, and this keeps the game interesting all the time.
What would your fan base say is the best, most unique thing about Dragon Oath?
Our fans are always praising the game's many features, and it would be hard for them or us to decide on one thing that is the best or most unique aspect of DO. In terms of uniqueness, Dragon Oath is the only major MMO that incorporates such a large-scale pet system. Players truly appreciate the opportunity to capture pets with different features that fit their own personality. Some players enjoy finding the cutest pets available, whereas others train their pets for combat purposes.
Many fans believe that the best thing about Dragon Oath is the fact that they can assume so many different roles. Whether they want to be a hunter, gatherer, PVP specialist, achievement addict, or a traditional quester, they will not be disappointed and will even be joined by others who have the same goals, and they will all be able to join a social system that goes beyond a traditional 'friends list.'
Please add anything else you wish.
Thank you for the interview! Hope it helps you and all the potential players out there. The expansion just went live today, and we hope to see you all on! For more information about Dragon Oath: Age of Destiny, check out the expansion's mini site: http://do.us.changyou.com/expansion/index.shtml
WarCry thanks Mr. Tan and the ChangYou team for this interview! Be sure to grab YOUR KUNG FU COWBOY PACK FROM WARCRY!