Shaiya Online: An Interview with Producer Joshua Sell

Questions by Cody “Micajah” Bye, Managing Editor

by Cody “Micajah” Bye, Managing Editor
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by Joshua Sell, Producer of Shaiya Online

Compared to our Korean counterparts, the MMOG market in North America
is fairly stagnant. With only a few MMOGs released a year, we don't
receive the awe-inspiring number of products that the Koreans get to
try out every 12 months. That's been changing, however, as more and
more publishers are bringing Korean MMOGs to North America, and the
latest of those products is Shaiya Online. To learn more about the
product, Ten Ton Hammer's Cody "Micajah" Bye asked a number of
questions to Joshua Sell, Shaiya's North American producer, who
answered with a eagerness only displayed by those developers who love
their game. Take a look - you won't be disappointed!

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Characters posing for
the picture.

Ten Ton Hammer: To start,
where was Shaiya originally developed? When was the title first
released to MMO gamers and how many expansions are there currently?

style="font-weight: bold;">Joshua Sell: Shaiya
was developed by a Korean company called SonoV.  The title was
opened to players commercially in December of 2007.

There is one expansion already applied to the game and we are releasing
a second expansion this month.  A third expansion is already
being prepared for release.  All expansions and updates are
completely free!

Ten Ton Hammer: For those
gamers that aren’t familiar with Shaiya, how many races and
classes are in the game? Can you give a brief description of them?

style="font-weight: bold;">Joshua: Well,
I’ll first start off with the two factions: 
Alliance of Light and Union of Fury.  It’s fairly
obvious, but these are essentially the good guys vs. the bad guys.

Within the Alliance of Light are the Elves and Humans.  The
races of the Alliance of Light are further broken down by character
classes.  Humans can be a Fighter, Defender, or
Priest.  Elves can be Ranger, Archer, or Mage.

The Union of Fury also has two races.  These are the Vail and
Nordein.  Vail may be Pagan, Oracle, or Assassin. 
Nordein may be a Warrior, Guardian, or Hunter.

When it comes down to it, some classes are nearly identical clones.

Fighter/Warrior:  The damage-dealing, up-close melee
berserker.  You don’t want to get close to these

Defender/Guardian:  The defensive tank of Shaiya. 
Defenders and Guardians can take a beating and provoke monsters into
attacking them.

Hunter/Archer:  This is the ranged melee class of
Shaiya.  Hunters and Archers wield axes, javelins, and bows
and rely on staying as far from their opponents as possible while
dishing out as much damage as possible.

Assassin/Ranger:  Stealth, deception, and cunning. 
Assassins and Rangers hide themselves from the enemy, ensuring the
first strike and surprise tactics.

Priest/Oracle:  Priests and Oracles heal and resurrect other
players.  They are the lifeblood of any successful party.

Mage/Pagan:  Mages and Pagans use ranged magical attacks to
dish out damage and destroy the enemy.

Ten Ton Hammer: Over the
past few years, a number of imported massively multiplayer games have
hit North American shores without being appropriately localized first.
How much emphasis have you put on the localization and translation of
Shaiya, and what should gamers expect when they first enter the game?

style="font-weight: bold;">Joshua: We have put
forth a lot of effort and dedicated resources to localizing over 1,000
quests, hundreds of skills, thousands of items, and more. 
When you step into Shaiya you’ll notice a completely
different level of quality when compared to all other free to play
games out there.

Ten Ton Hammer: On the
official website for Shaiya, it’s mentioned that there are
Easy, Normal, Hard, and Ultimate mode characters in the game.
What’s the difference between the four difficulty settings?
How does it affect the gameplay?

style="font-weight: bold;">Joshua: Excellent
question!  This is one of the big mechanics of the game that
differentiate Shaiya from all other MMOGs.  The different
modes provide a unique experience within the world of Shaiya. 
Each difficulty increase provides more stats, new special skills, and
access to better quality equipment at the cost of slower leveling.

Easy mode will allow a casual player to reach the maximum level of 60
within a week or two; however they stop gaining special skills at
fairly low levels.

You must reach level 50 in Normal mode, which generally takes 2-3 weeks
for the average player, to unlock the Hard mode.  You must
reach level 50 in Hard mode to unlock the Ultimate difficulty mode.

The hardest difficulty mode, Ultimate, results in such a powerful
character that there is actually a possibility for
perma-death.  If you die in Ultimate mode you only have 2
options to prevent perma-death:  have another player resurrect
you within 3 minutes or purchase an item from the item mall that
prevents character deletion.  Ultimate mode is not for the
impatient or weak at heart; not many make it to this mode.

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A poster of the Dark
and Light godesses.

Ten Ton Hammer: In your
game, what sort of guild activities are there? Are raids a common
occurrence? Are there any major siege battles that players can engage

style="font-weight: bold;">Joshua: Guilds are
the backbone of the community, but are not a necessity to
advance.  Aeria’s game masters provide events that
Guilds can participate in, generally including PvP tournaments and
community building exercises.

Our upcoming expansion will also add in a Guild house and Guild
rankings.  These rankings may rate a guild on how fast they
cleared a certain dungeon or how good their PvP team is, but certainly
isn’t something a guild must participate in if the members
just want to be a close-knit group of friends to hang out and chat with.

There aren’t exactly sieges in Shaiya, but players may affect
the game through battlegrounds.  These battlegrounds determine
which faction has access to certain maps and which faction has the
blessing from their Goddess.  Only one faction may have the
full blessing at a time.  The Goddess blessing provides the
winning faction with several advantages that actually improve a
character’s ability to fight, enchant, level up, and more.

Ten Ton Hammer: Is Shaiya
an MMOG focused on PvE or PvP? Or both? What sort of PvP options are
available in the game?

style="font-weight: bold;">Joshua: Shaiya is a
PvP game at heart with underlying PvE character advancement through
items, experience, and more.  The two factions, Alliance of
Light and Union of Fury, are at constant war.  The faction
Goddesses show their support through their blessings, which actually
affect a character’s abilities depending on how well the
player’s faction is doing at the time.

There are many forms of PvP in Shaiya.  These range from
open-world PvP within certain zones to level restricted battlegrounds
to certain maps that are only unlocked through achieving favor from
your faction’s Goddess!  

You may also find our rankings leaderboard, which includes the number
of kills, a kill to death ratio, player levels, and more, on the Shaiya
website here:

Ten Ton Hammer: What sort
of items does Shaiya have in its item mall? Do you sell items like
weapons, armor, XP enhancements, or healing potions?

style="font-weight: bold;">Joshua: We sell all
of the above, though we do keep things under control.  We
won’t sell you a max level character equipped the best gear,
but we’ll sell you items that help you gain experience
somewhat faster or give you a chance to purchase a moderate quality

We respect the accomplishments that players can achieve within the game
and try to maintain the same level of rarity for items that is normally
supported by the game mechanics.

Ten Ton Hammer: Does
Shaiya support in-game events for the players? Do you have any events
coming up soon?

style="font-weight: bold;">Joshua: Shaiya has
several in-game events.  Our game masters try to run 4 or more
events per week!  In these events players can win some great
in-game items or change the course of the Goddess Blessings to help
their own faction more.  Events range from Guild tournaments
or massive PvP battles to challenges against the greatest monsters in
the land.

Not only that, but we have some more long-term events occasionally
where players may win Wiis, iPods, or huge prizes for their game

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Shaiya is apparently
one of the better free to play games on the market.

Ten Ton Hammer: In your
opinion, what sets Shaiya apart from the rest of the free to play
MMORPGs on the market? What makes your game unique?

style="font-weight: bold;">Joshua: There are a
few things that separate Shaiya from all other free to play MMORPGs out

Number one is quality.  PC Gamer has gone as far to say that
Shaiya is comparable to subscription based games such as
Lineage.  Free to play does not mean low quality,
it’s simply a different business model used to support the

Not only is the quality of the game top-notch, but so is the
community.  While faction-based rivalry is good, it sometimes
creates ill feelings towards the other factions beyond the game
avatar.  The community in Shaiya is excellent because
there’s almost always someone around that is willing to help,
people are active, and guilds are thriving.

Ten Ton Hammer: Finally,
is there anything else you can tell the Ten Ton Hammer readers and
Shaiya fans?.

style="font-weight: bold;">Joshua: I know there
are a lot of skeptics of the free to play gaming market… I
was one of them.  I’ve really had my eyes opened to
the quality, balance, support, and updates that these games are truly
capable of.  The free to play gaming marking is growing
quickly because the quality of the product is there to support
it.  If you’ve never tried a free to play game now
is a great time to try out Shaiya and get your feet wet.

Just ask anyone that has played Shaiya before and you’re sure
to hear some great things!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Shaiya Game Page.

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