Exclusive Interview with Perfect World's Hao Lu
Following the launch of Perfect World International's latest content update Imperial Fury, we have asked Perfect World's product manager Hao Lu a few questions, regarding the latest Imperial Fury update, and Perfect World International MMORPG in general. Continue reading for this exclusive interview.
Exclusive Interview with Perfect World's product manager Hao Lu
Perfect World International has received its latest content update, Imperial Fury last week of May and we thought it was about time to ask our questions about the update and the game in general. What had inspired the developers about the Chinese mythology, what were the challenges in localization, how Perfect World's games compete with each other and more about the Imperial Fury update...
Answers by Hao Lu, Product Manager for PWI
1. Why a Chinese setting? What about that period of mythology inspired you?
That’s a great question. The Chinese mythology, which PWI’s setting is based on, begins with the creation of everything, providing the development team with a lot of freedom when it comes to crafting a world full of brave heroes, vast environments, and areas with amazing architecture.
On a similar note, players will notice a lot of quests with “Buddhist Enlightenment” themes. Completing these quests not only makes them more physically powerful, but also more spiritually powerful. As players become aware of Harmony, Principle, Discord, Coalescene, Vacuity, and so on, they’ll gain new levels of what we call “Spiritual Cultivation,” unlocking powerful abilities.
Of course, PWI’s setting also lets the development team work on awesome mythological beings, like the Nine-tailed Fox, Blazing Phoenix, or Ancient Sea Dragon.
2. How was localizing the game difficult, did much change from the original Chinese release?
The first Mandarin to English translation was actually done by a Beijing-based localization team made up of both Americans and Chinese members with expert language proficiency. These folks worked very hard to maintain the spirit of PWI’s Eastern origin while making it accessible to Western audiences. Although it was a tremendous undertaking, we’re very confident and happy that the localized North American version remains very true to the original text.
3. Many people would call PWI a World of Warcraft clone. How does it set itself apart from the competition?
For starters, I would point to PWI’s large scale PvP Territory Wars. These weekly 80v80 faction battles carry great importance for players and can take hours to complete. In PWI, guilds are called “factions” and these factions can actually take over and own territories on the World Map, which offer weekly income as well as other useful perks. Over a period of months, factions can also take on the challenge of holding as many territories as they can for the chance to earn even greater rewards.
That being said, success in Territory Wars requires a high level of coordination between members of a faction, skill, and dedication. Players really need to band together and prepare for these battles before they can even hope to reap the rewards of victory, which makes these regular PvP events all the more epic.
4. How does Perfect World set itself apart from other MMORPGs in the Perfect World catalogue? Do your own games compete against each other?
In terms of how PWI stands out from other Perfect World Entertainment titles, PWI has its unique Chinese mythology setting and vast PvP system. Also, it’s the only title I’m aware of that lets you be a panda!
One great thing about Perfect World Entertainment is the diversity of its titles in the online game space. So while one player may be riding a Nine-tailed fox into an 80v80 player battle in PWI, another may be exploring the galaxy in Star Trek Online, living the life of a super hero in Champions Online, or clearing dungeons and stacking combos in the MMO brawler, Rusty Hearts. Head to www.perfectworld.com, and I’m sure you’ll find something of interest.
5. What advantages does the free-to-play model have for Perfect World as opposed to the subscription model?
The main advantage is that anyone can download and play PWI or any Perfect World Entertainment title right now, for free. There’s no charge for a boxed copy of the game and no monthly subscription. In short, the free-to-play model has a much lower barrier of entry for anyone interested in playing one of our games and allows us to provide the best online gaming experience to our community.
6. How do you feel Perfect World will need to evolve to stay enjoyable over the coming years?
It’s true that all MMOs need to continue to evolve in order to remain relevant. That’s why we launched the PWI: Imperial Fury update. Players had been asking for more end-game content. We listened—and that’s what we delivered with the recent update.
We’re always looking at ways we can continue to streamline the experience for both new players and longtime veterans. This means listening to player feedback, offering more content for high-level players, and making sure that there is always something fun and exciting to discover in PWI with things like daily events, for example.
7. How does Imperial Fury expand on the gameplay introduced in Perfect World?
That’s one reason why we’re so excited about the PWI: Imperial Fury update. With these more challenging versions of some of the most beloved instances in PWI, we had the chance to go beyond the typical tank-and-spank boss fight that’s become so common in the genre. So groups will find themselves in situations where they are be fighting alongside powerful NPCs, using the environment, or engaging in critical timed events.
These new and more challenging boss encounters will require very careful teamwork in order to succeed, which we hope makes the rewards especially satisfying.
8. How long will it take for the average player to get through everything the expansion offers?
I’d just like to clarify that this is a content update—not an expansion. That being said, this content update went so far beyond our usual updates, we thought it deserved a special name. I can say that the meat of this update is meant for our most loyal and longtime players. How long players spend tackling the new content in PWI: Imperial Fury will vary depending on skill, group composition, and teamwork. Even the most dedicated players should find PWI: Imperial Fury’s new instances and dungeons challenging for quite some time.
9. How much has the fan's complaints (or compliments) had an effect on development for Imperial Fury?
It’s less about complaints and compliments, and more about listening, keeping an open dialogue, and taking that feedback to make PWI as enjoyable as possible.
Lunar Glade and Warsong City have always been fan favorites for their boss fights. But at the same time, many players felt like the rewards for clearing these instances were lacking. By increasing the challenge of the clearing these dungeons and the rewards, we wanted to give players a reason to return to these two instances.
10. Have you seen players returning since the release of the expansion?
Definitely. We’ve witnessed the return of many high-level players looking to take on the latest challenges in PWI: Imperial Fury. Part of it has got to do with bragging rights. Players are very excited to take on these tougher bosses and to see how they fare.
But for me, the most satisfying thing about the update, is to see old friends that may have taken a break from PWI, reunite. PWI has always been a game where players forge strong social connections in-game, on our forums, through Facebook groups, and Factions. So seeing all these PWI veterans return and seeing them grouping with their old friends is a truly beautiful thing.
So that's it. Perfect World International is one of the better MMORPGs as you can read in our PWI review too. Many thanks to Mr. Hao Lu for chatting with us!