What would be in your perfect world? In ours Dubya would never have decided to “help” Iraq (where nobody would ever have heard of Saddam Hussein), it would rain chocolate peanuts, and Ant & Dec would have followed through on a suicide pact many years ago.
None of which Perfect World Entertainment can help us with, sadly; but their Director of Marketing Jonathan Belliss was at least able to answer our questions about their MMOs.
CG: How did Forsaken World first come about?
Jonathan Belliss: Forsaken World is Perfect World’s longest game in development and we wanted to raise the ante in what it means to be a free-to-play MMO. While most of Perfect World’s games are developed within a year, Forsaken World has taken three years to develop. Specifically developed with the western audience in mind, Forsaken World combines the best elements of eastern and western MMOs.
CG: Why make this a free to play MMO? With microtransactions, does this make the title more profitable in the
Jonathan Belliss: Not all players are able to pay for a subscription to try a game. At Perfect World Entertainment, we strive to create high quality free-to-play MMOs to reach an international audience. In all our games, players will not have to purchase items to progress through the levels, but the microtransaction items give players an opportunity to customize their character and enhance their in-game experience.
CG: How do you strike a balance between a rich story and player – led gameplay?
Jonathan Belliss: Since we wanted the story to reflect in every aspect of the game and give players a heightened sense of ownership of their in-game experience, we created the Unique Server Progression system, which will allow players to develop the world they live in.
CG: With humans, elves, dwarves and so on running around in a fantasy setting, what measures are taken to avoid an overfamiliar and derivative experience?
Jonathan Belliss: In Forsaken World, the different races and classes allow players to customize their experience according to each individual’s play style. A human warrior versus an elf warrior will not only look different, but will also possess unique skills and talents. Even classes such as Warrior and Bard that are available across races will have slightly different skills accordingly. The dwarves in Forsaken World also stray away from traditional dwarves. We’ve given the dwarves in Forsaken World a steam punk feel and created the female dwarves with a cute appearance.
CG: How many MMOs are Perfect World currently managing? What are the advantages and disadvantages of
managing several at once?
Jonathan Belliss: As of today, Perfect World Entertainment has published eight titles, including Perfect World International and Battle of the Immortals. Forsaken World will become our ninth title and we are proud to have a hardworking and dedicated staff at Perfect World that enables us to manage several titles at once. Our Product Managers and Community Mangers are working daily to hear our players’ feedback and ensure that our games are running smoothly.
CG: What does an MMO need to do in order to survive in the overcrowded market?
Jonathan Belliss: Looking at the past few years, we have seen a significant growth in both size and quality of free-to-play games. There is still a negative stigma attached to the term free-to-play, however this has started to change with many of the big MMOs that were previously subscription based turning to the free-to-play model. At Perfect World, we are constantly open to players’ feedback in order to create new gaming experiences and raise the bar of what players should expect in free-to-play and MMORPGs.
CG: What is your most popular title, and why do you think this is?
Jonathan Belliss: Our most popular title is probably Perfect World International. Within the past two years, Perfect World International has become an international phenomenon expanding from two to seven servers to support over 50 million players from around the world.
CG: Why have you yet to move into console gaming?
Jonathan Belliss: We currently do not have any plans to move into console gaming, but perhaps in the future. We are always thinking of new ideas to grow our company.
CG: What are Perfect World’s plans for the future?
Jonathan Belliss:We are currently gearing up to release Legend of Martial Arts into closed beta in North America and we are always looking for new ways to improve as well as expand our games based on players’ feedback.
For more information on MMOs at the perfect price (i.e. free) visit http://www.perfectworld.com/