The staff at Ten Ton Hammer has been thoroughly impressed by the
gameplay we've seen in href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1303"
Online over the last few months. With an
incredibly solid and stable launch along with a myriad of content
updates already integrated into the game, Ten Ton Hammer bestowed style="font-style: italic;">Atlantica Online
with the top F2P game of 2008 award. Since MMOs never quit being
developed, updated, and upgraded, Ten Ton Hammer's Danny "Ralsu"
Gourley got in touch with Peter Kang, CEO of NDOORS Interactive, who
was gracious enough to answer all of our style="font-style: italic;">Atlantica Online
CEO of NDOORS Interactive
Succeeding in a Market that Does Not Embrace Free-to-Play Games
Ten Ton Hammer: The
Western market is still leery of games that use an item mall as the
revenue model. The chief concerns that I have noticed are finding an
enjoyable experience without have to spend more than the standard
$14.99 for most subscription games, being part of a large, mature, and
helpful community that will be policed by NDOORS, and receiving quality
customer service. Can you please address how style="font-style: italic;">Atlantica Online
will deal with these concerns?
What it comes down to is that we have to put together a fun game that
people want to play. It’s just that NDOORS Interactive is
committed to putting out high-quality games that happen to be
free-to-play. We think we’ve created an enjoyable experience
with Atlantica, judging by the response and the awards. But
what’s important to note is that anyone can enjoy all the
main features of Atlantica, from the turn-based combat and the
recruiting and managing of mercenaries to the guild dungeons and
crafting, without having to pay a dime. Non-paying players can
participate in every facet and level of the game and travel to all
parts of the Atlantica world that a paying player can.
Sure, we want people to use the item mall, but the things that will be
found there will only make the game more convenient or provide them
with an accessory that’s not essential to the game. Plus,
they have the flexibility to spend how much they want, whether
it’s less than $14.99, or perhaps more.
But regardless of how players use or don’t use the item mall,
we are committed to devoting resources to ensure a quality gaming
experience. We have a diligent crew of game masters working to keep
things in-game running smoothly. Plus, our designers and developers
continue to work on creating new content for future updates, which
there are many planned. Providing a fun game that evolves and grows
will ultimately lead to an even more active and helpful community.
Ten Ton Hammer: style="font-style: italic;">Atlantica Online
has had to open a few new servers and expand the limits on the servers
to accommodate more players. It seems the game is catching on well. Is
there one feature or service you would identity as the catalyst for the
would have to be the turn-based combat. The fact that Atlantica offers
something unique and fun with this type of action seems to be catching
on with people. Plus, we’ve received some great feedback from
players that we’re very thankful for, and the positive
reviews and the awards, we hope, will only help to spread the word that
Atlantica is a game worth trying. And on that note, thank you, Ralsu,
for naming Atlantica the best free-to-play game of 2008.
to the official launch of Atlantica Online was bigger than expected.
Ten Ton Hammer:
Subscription based games often set their sights on 100,000 or more
active subscribers to achieve a successful launch. Does style="font-style: italic;">Atlantica Online
have a similar metric, and can you tell us about your goals for the
number of players and the number of item mall customers?
can’t disclose specific numbers, but the response after the
official launch exceeded our expectations. Now we’re just
trying to keep that momentum going and grow our numbers. And of course
we’d like more of our players to take advantage of the item
mall, so we’re trying to make available cool, new products
like fashion accessories and mounts that might lead to them buying
stuff. But again, it’s merely an option to use the item mall,
not a requirement, for playing Atlantica.
Ten Ton Hammer: A recent
patch made it so that players level 30 and below must expend 50% Will
to send in-game mail to players not in their guild or friends list.
This means gold spammers get two emails at a time before having to
recharge Will. What else are you doing to stop gold spammers?
Peter: As I
mentioned earlier, we have an active group of game masters, and they
are trying to stay on top of the game, rooting out gold spammers and
other third-party nuisances. They are using some of the tools and
third-party programs that are available to block spammers. In addition,
we’re coming up with some exciting new techniques and tools
on our own to identify and disable spammers, which we can’t
go into much detail on here. But please know that keeping in-game
annoyances like gold spammers out of the game is very important to us
and a goal that we take very seriously.
Ten Ton Hammer: When style="font-style: italic;">Atlantica Online
introduced the Stamina system, there was quite an uproar in the
official forums. Some gamers saw it as a cheap way to force players to
buy Stamina potions in the item mall. Once this rumor was dispelled,
people began to complain that it was a mechanic designed to force
grouping and telling gamers how to play. Can you please describe how
Stamina works and why it’s really in the game for our readers?
Stamina system assigns players a 120 Stamina points each day, with one
point being deducted each time they fight a monster. Once a player runs
out of Stamina points, then his or her ability to gain experience and
acquire items is reduced.
The intention of the system is what you touch on: to encourage players
to group, for players to interact with each other. Whether
it’s fighting in the Free Leagues, partying to battle a
difficult monster in a dungeon, or mentoring new players, we want
players working with each other, or fighting each other, as part of the
I’ll disagree with the characterization that we’re
telling gamers how to play. Rather, the Stamina system fosters new
options for players to choose from. They can fight in the Free Leagues
and recharge Stamina points. But if they’re not interested in
the Free Leagues, or are intent in just not engaging other players,
that’s fine, and they’ll have other ways to
regenerate Stamina points.
We really want to stress a sense of community for the game, where
players are actively engaging one another. This helps foster a mature
and helpful community. And having this kind of active community is what
will keep players involved, and continuing to play the game.
system has received some criticism from players.
Ten Ton Hammer: Not too
long ago, Atlantica
Online offered Stamina regeneration of 1 Stamina per 10
minutes not in combat for all players. What brought about this change,
and how does that fit into the philosophy behind Stamina you describe
anticipated that some people wouldn’t be happy with the
Stamina system, Still, we always had planned to take some of the
feedback players gave us during closed beta to modify it. Finding other
ways for players to recharge their Stamina was part of that feedback,
and the one Stamina point per 10 minutes reflects our
players’ input. In addition, we changed the system so that
players could still gain experience and loot items even when they
don’t have any Stamina points, since that was a frequent
Ten Ton Hammer: When the
update came to give players the ability to use Auto-Move without a
license, several people asked why the gift wasn’t permanent
teleport licenses. Why is that a bad option?
felt Auto-Move was the more useful function. It takes players exactly
to where they need to go, whether it’s to a certain place or
to a specific NPC. If you don’t know which NPC to talk to for
a quest, for example, teleportation can’t help you. Sure, it
can take some time to get wherever you need to go with Auto-Move, but
overall, Auto-Move is more crucial in providing a smooth, streamlined
gaming experience for players.
Plus, teleporting from town to town is already available, through the
travel agency, and players can teleport to Rome whenever they need to.
The only distinct benefit of teleportation is that it shortens the time
it takes to travel to dungeons.
the Satisfaction Guarantee
Ten Ton Hammer: style="font-style: italic;">Atlantica Online
offers a href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?t=36890"
target="_blank">Satisfaction Guarantee style="font-weight: bold;"> that states that players who
reach the halfway point (level 50) and don’t like the game
can sell their characters to you for $20. How did this idea come about?
the game was being produced, there was a lot of confidence around the
office that people would like Atlantica. So with this promotion, the
plan was for us, in effect, to put our money where our mouth is. The
NDOORS parent company in Korea first tried the program during the open
beta of the Korean version, and then again in the summer. And it proved
to be a successful promotion there, with just a small number of people
wanting their money back. So we repeated it here with the U.S.-based
servers, and the response was similar. Out of the thousands of new
players who started the game during the promotion period, just a small
handful of people requested the refund.
Ten Ton Hammer: Some of
our readers fear the Satisfaction Guarantee this will allow gold
farmers to make a profit from you and hurt the game overall. How to you
respond to that concern?
established some strict rules for the Satisfaction Guarantee program,
to try to ensure that it was truly just a single individual
dissatisfied with the game, and not gold farmers or other cheats. And I
think the small number of people who tried to take advantage of the
program indicates that what we set up worked out in the end.
aging will be introduced in an update in the future.
nywlanas: Players in the
Open Beta enjoyed periodic gifts from the GMs, usually treasure maps.
Quite often, the treasure chests that spawn from these maps only
contain potions or other items easily obtained from random battles. Is
there any chance to have rare crafting items and a higher chance to get
a mount added to the loot tables for the chests?
are a few ways to get high-value items. For instance, players could get
a mount by gambling an equipment box with the NPC Gambler de Mere in
Rome’s Bazaar. And there will be more events in the future
like the recently completed Christmas event where players can receive
rare items like jewels. So the opportunities are out there, but we also
must be discreet, so that certain rare items stay rare, and are not too
Pugla: In your first
interview, you mentioned that mercenaries could age and that new
mercenaries could be descended for previous ones. Are these features
still in the game?
aging of mercenaries has not yet been introduced into the game, but
will be added in an update in the future. It’s a feature we
think will add to the game’s strategic quality, since a
mercenary’s aging will be another factor to manage and take
into account when going into battle. And it adds yet another real-world
element into Atlantica, giving the game another detail that players
could connect with.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Atlantica Online Game Page.