|October 18, 2007|
|Knight Online - Interview with Kevin Crawford|
By Jason Van Horn
What sword and sorcery fantasy fan out there didn't cut their teeth on the
fantasy genre by reading the adventures of King Arthur and his Knights of the
Round Table? Many a child has grown up knowing the feel of a twig in their hand
and pretending it's a sword, imagining they too are one of King Arthur's
knights, slaying dreadful beasts and dragons left and right. Though King Arthur
is nowhere to be seen, with Knight Online you finally get the chance to more
fully realize your dream, as you get the chance to explore a wide-open MMORPG,
all with the goal of being the most gallant knight there ever was. We got to
chat with Kevin Crawford about Knight Online and to find out whether Arthur,
Lancelot, and all the others have someone else to fear in challenging for the
throne of supreme knight.
Kevin: No problem! My name is Kevin Crawford aka Tanoruk and my position here on the Knight Online Team is Community Liaison. I am in charge of managing projects that deal with production on the website and on the forums as well as managing the moderators of the official Knight Online forums.
Jason: Regarding the game, could you give us an overview of the game world as well as a brief overview of the storyline?
Kevin: Knight Online has a deep story behind the creation of Carnac, the world in which you will explore. At its core, the game is about the never-ending war between the El Morad and Karus. The main battles which are called the Lunar Wars are waged in different areas named the Ronark Land and Ardream. These are huge battlefields that players can engage in large-scale Player versus Player combat! Knight Online players earn weapons, armor and other special gear for their character by completing quests or fighting monsters throughout the world. There are different events outside of the Lunar Wars that players can participate in such as the Castle Siege War, the Border Defense Wars, and the Juraid Mountain Raid! These events occur at different times throughout the week and offer special rewards to those players that participate in them!
Jason: You just released your largest expansion path with Moradon: The Resurrection. For those not familiar, could you explain what exactly Moradon is and why it is ultimately at the center of this new expansion? How has Moradon been changed for this new expansion, since The Resurrection must play an important part in it?
Kevin: Moradon is a very important part of Knight Online as it is the
only area in the game where players from El Morad and Karus throw up their white
flags for peace and can merchant or trade with one another. Moradon is also the
starting area for all new players and will be their home from level 1 through
level 35. This castle area was rebuilt for the expansion due to the goddess
Akara laying waste to the old castle in order to defeat the powerful Ronark, the
El Moradian mage that became a god obsessed with power. Moradon has experienced
a massive facelift in this expansion and has new features such as the flag posts
that dawn the logo of the server’s top clans, the new battle arena, the pet farm
and a much larger hunting area for players to level up in!
Jason: Looking at the list of features and ideas implemented into Moradon: The Resurrection, it looks absolutely huge and bustling over. How long has the expansion been in the works and how did you go about figuring out what inclusions should be in the expansion?
Kevin: Each expansion is a culmination of projects created over a period of time. “Moradon: The Resurrection” took approximately 7 months to complete and release to the public. Each feature that was developed in that 7 month period was included into the expansion unless it negatively affected gameplay or balance in Knight Online.
Jason: You're introducing a new pet system with the expansion, which is a bit varied and different than other MMORPGs. Can you explain the process of getting your egg, what is required to make it hatch, and then how is it able to transform from one monster to the next? For the monster transformations, does this occur at specific level ups or some other method?
Kevin: In Moradon, there is a new NPC named [Familiar Tamer] Kate.
Kate has a quest you will need to complete in order to get your pet egg and a
Familiar Summon Scroll. Similar to using the Magic Anvil in Moradon, players
will place the egg in a window, create a name, and the end product is your pet,
a brand new “Caul”! The pet will gain experience and level up like your
character and they will be able to transform into different creatures at
different pet levels (level 40 and 50). To transform their pets, players will
have to user Familiar Transformation scrolls that are dropped from monsters
Jason: How many pet transformations are there and can you go over some of the different ones there are?
Kevin: There are a few different transformations for each pet transformation level (40 and 50) and range from Dust Orcs to high level Eslant monsters! We don’t want to give all of them away as our players haven’t discovered them yet. Shhhhhh… it’s a secret!
Jason: It sounds like the pets are going to be used for more than just tanks to help you fight. Can you go over the other ways in which your pet will help you throughout the game, such as improving stats and being able to gather fallen treasure?
Kevin: Your pets level up along with you and gain new abilities that can add buffs to your character such as Defense Power increases and Health Point increases. They also have the ability to collect items and money dropped from defeated enemies if the player obtains this special ability item. Lastly, they just look cool, especially when transformed!
Jason: You're also introducing a new Knight System with various ranks. What's the purpose of the Knight System? Is it more an honor of prestige than anything else, or will there be perks or benefits besides having a new rank name to go with your clan?
Kevin: More than anything else, reaching the rank of Royal Knight is a
great achievement for your clan. To reach this zenith of knighthood, the clan
must complete a few arduous tasks as well as gaining the necessary Clan Points
which are obtained through defeating other players in Player versus Player
combat. The major perk to increasing your Knight Rank is the wide array of capes
that become available to your clan. Players can wear their capes proudly as they
are able to imprint their clan’s logo on the back of them so players can
identify them as one of the more powerful and feared on the server!
Jason: While we're speaking about clans, they seem to have got a lot of the attention with the expansion. For example, there's a new communication feature and clan point distribution system. What do these two specifically bring to the game in terms of functionality and what do they add to the gameplay mechanics if anything?
Kevin: Without a great community or clan/guild systems, MMORPG’s do not exist. The Knight Online Team identified certain features that could help foster positive player relations and also build a stronger clan system. The new Clan Notice keeps the entire clan connected even when all members are not online by allowing messages to be posted for all clan members to see when they login. The Clan Point distribution system allows members to allot a certain amount of Nation Points to the total Clan Points or they will be able to automatically contribute a percentage of each Nation Point gain they earn while in the clan. This way, the clan leader can be sure that each member is contributing and each player can feel like they are doing their part to help the clan in its progress toward the next rank.
Jason: You've changed up some of the class skills with the expansion, a move that always seems to divide players no matter the game. Can you talk to us about why these skills were changed and how these changes will affect the characters? Have you noticed any fan outcry or support, either wanting you to not fool around with their class or either to give them more attention and change as much as you're willing?
Kevin: These skills were changed in order to balance gameplay. We increased the damage output on certain Assassin abilities, gave a little more diversity to mage staff enchants. There haven’t been too many complaints about the changes so we are happy little clams!
Jason: What was the need to change the class skills in the first place? Obviously they were intended to be how they were since their introduction, but why change them now?
Kevin: Like any MMORPG, Knight Online evolves and requires minor
tweaking to attempt to perfect gameplay for our community. The developers felt
that these changes could help the balance of Knight Online so we threw them into
the mix. If there is a massive outcry of negativity regarding changes we have
made, we investigate and make modifications as necessary.
Jason: You've included some new event dungeons and wars to the game. Can you talk to us a little about them and what players can expect in terms of gameplay, scenery, monsters, etc.?
Kevin: In this new expansion, we have added the middle and high level
Border Defense Wars and the Juraid Mountain Raid that occur daily. The objective
of the Border Defense Wars is to score more points than the other team by
destroying different monuments while engaged in PvP combat. The objective of the
Juraid Mountain Raid is to work as a team to defeat the monsters in each room as
quickly as possible in order to advance to the final room. The monsters in this
new event are completely new to the expansion and look amazing!
Jason: With all of the focus on clans, ranking systems, and new war situations, it seems like a lot more time was invested in the PvP aspect of the game? For those players who may not like the PvP is there anything along the PvE lines or something that's really going to call out to them to being a really worthwhile feature?
Kevin: The main focus of Knight Online is to provide truly epic PvP battles. That being said, we wanted to also incorporate some PvE and PvP elements into the new high level Juraid Mountain Raid events. We combined monster hunting and player hunting in one event… what could be better!
Jason: The new content also seems geared more towards high-end level players than the relative noobs just getting started or those more casual players who just don't have the time to level us their characters quickly? Is the expansion going to offer anything to those newer characters just starting out?
Kevin: We actually tried to cater to both “n00b” players and “l33t” players in the expansion. By forcing new players to remain within the Moradon area until level 35, they are forced to learn about partying, clans, and functionality before we let them loose on their Nation’s city (El Morad or Luferson). This better equips them for their adventures ahead because let’s face it, getting “pwnt” constantly is no fun. The hunting area is much larger in Moradon than in the previous version as well.
Jason: The training dummies seem to be a bit of an odd inclusion in the expansion. How did the idea for the dummies come up and what purpose will they serve in the game?
Kevin: In the higher levels of Knight Online, skill plays a huge part in your battle for supremacy and as you’ve probably heard before, “practice makes perfect”. These new training dummies allow players to test their skills, damage output, and advanced fighting techniques. There are 3 different levels of training dummies (level 30, level 60, and level 80) as well as 2 types, fixed and moving. The different levels will help you figure out what kind of damage you could inflict on players of that level and the moving dummies will give you a more realistic target for you to test your advanced techniques such as, “sliding”.
Jason: Besides the dummies, the fortuneteller also stands out as one of the weirdest inclusions to the expansion. Thinking back to past RPGs specifically, fortunetellers have never been anything more than a little bit of extra dialogue or perhaps giving a clue to a quest I'm working on. Are the fortunetellers really going to serve a purpose outside of this more traditional nature?
Kevin: At this time, the purpose of the Fortune Teller is nothing more than a fun tangent from the normal Knight Online story. Players are only allowed to access it once a day and chances are they will receive a different fortune each time. Think of it as a trip to your favorite Asian restaurant and cracking open that delicious cookie at the end of your meal. You are always are curious what it’s going to say!
Jason: Is there anything else you'd like to say about Knight Online, Moradon: The Resurrection, or upcoming events, plans, or expansions coming down the pipeline?
Kevin: The Knight Online Team is always looking to develop new content for our devoted Knight Online community! As the Community Liaison, I monitor the feedback and suggestion sections on the official Knight Online forums daily and forward ideas from the community to Production to try to have some of them implemented in future patches. We plan to release other expansions for Knight Online down the road and we will continue to tweak the current system until we feel that it is exactly where we want it to be.
We wish all of our current and future players happy hunting and we’ll see them in the Knight Online World!
Brave sir or madam, we hope that Kevin has wetted your appetite and that dreams of shining armor and holy swords permeate through your entire being. If you've ever dreamed of wanting to be your own knight, it looks like you wouldn't find a better place to start than with Knight Online. So ready your armor into place and unsheathe your sword, for evil is afoot and only a brave knight like yourself stands in its way. You can find out more about Knight Online at http://www.knightonlineworld.com/.
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