I just got a picture of people just jumping up and down in town endlessly. Heh. But, will achievements offer any benefits, or will it work more like a "gamerscore" of sorts?
It's actually going to be both. In game, you can view each other's achievements and see what they have accomplished. There's a score associated with your achievements, so you can compare scores. Down the line, you will be able to exchange those points for rewards, like weapons, armor, special pets, or special potions.
So, Ascension. The character "rebirth," so to speak. Can you define what exactly Ascension will offer players?
Ascension is taking your character beyond the mortal limits. Your character will die, rebirth, and restart back at level 15. Your starting stats will be drastically different from a normal person, you will be more powerful, and you'll have access to four new trees of skills. If a level 100 ascended player fought a traditional level 150, the level 100 ascended player would win.
How does a player unlock ascension?
There are two requirements. First, each server needs to have 300 players to become level 135 or higher. Once that's accomplished, a new NPC will appear and offer players a short quest to become ascended.
I also saw you'll be offering more "social features." Jade Dynasty never felt like a very social game, as things like invigorate and offline experience keeps players soloing and apart from one another. What is the social status of the game right now?
Right now it's really centered around your alliance or your guild. It's working with your guild to beat endgame objectives like bosses or dungeons, or going out and perhaps doing our fort siege, which is our alliance versus alliance battleground. Or, of course, our individual battlegrounds if you don't have a guild or alliance.
We really acknowledge that we want more things for our players to do as groups. We're adding new instances in the expansion, which I call "puzzle instances." For example, in one instance you have to defeat a swarm of enemies in one room, and then solve a small puzzle like standing on a certain spot while another player throws a switch to open the door to the next room.
Players will have to start thinking and working together to complete these instances. Plus, these instances will offer drops that let players purchase really nice armor.
Another thing we have is our daily events that bring people together. However, they only bring people together and don't make players work together, like fishing. Our new daily events in the expansion will bring players together and force them to work together to overcome obstacles.
Now, as Jade Dynasty is not a North American project, how much control does Perfect World Entertainment and the NA community have over the westernization of the game?
Pretty much anything we want to change, we can get changed. One of the major changes we made to the game was the addition of cooldowns to the health and mana battery items in the games. In the Chinese versions, you can keep clicking the item and keep getting healed, and we thought that was a little ridiculous.
Actually, Skyblade combat was an idea that came from the American community. The fact that the American market was excited about it made the Chinese community and the developers excited about it. It was a low priority feature until the American market brought it up.. Congrats to the American market for pushing that one.
One of the things the developers always say to me is that if we have any ideas for daily events or holiday events to please offer them. Their players absolutely love them because they're so much different from the events that the development team comes up with.
Wow! Well thanks for all of the Jade Dynasty insights Andrew, and we're looking forward to the expansion on Thursday!