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From Ragnarok To The New World: An Interview With Hak Kyu Kim
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From Ragnarok To The New World: An Interview With Hak Kyu Kim

August 6, 2007 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

Some users resist microtransactions – how do you feel about them?

HK: Microtransactions may not work very well for single-plater RPGs, but from an MMO stand point it should simply be viewed as another type of content option available to help maximize game play experience.

Actually I mean more from a model of paying for items, which may potentially allow users to buy their way into the top.

HK: The life cycle of an MMO is much longer than a typical packaged game. While a traditional games may only be played for a couple of months, an MMO takes several months just to reach its peak, and even at that point the game still evolves with new challenges and updated content to keep players going. This is where the item sales model makes sense.

When a typical game is played for such a long period of time, we are dealing with all sorts of people with different backgrounds and needs. What they want from their MMO is also very different. The item sales model is designed in such a way that it will allow us to be flexible and respond to all of those different needs.

In terms of keeping the game fair, that’s a game balance issue that requires another discussion. But to keep it short, any new item or service that we offer goes through a careful analysis to make sure it doesn’t affect the overall game balance.

Gravity's popular Korean MMO Ragnarok Online

Do you think there could be other ways to allow players to advance in MMOs without spending time and money?

HK: I it can be different depending on your goals. While some people like going out and collecting more money and leveling up, this game also involves a unique political system that requires you to move your way up through building relationships with other players and gaining their respect.

Another goal that people may aspire to achieve and master is their ability to control their keyboard during PvP battles. After spending a certain amount of time and money, everyone starts to reach a similar level with a similar set of skills; however, in order for you to be good in a battle situation, your ability to control your keyboard can make the difference in winning.

Yeah that’s where more of your RTS skills come in to play, I suppose. Now I’m curious about your political system. How does that work?

HK: The Political System patch has already been launched in Korea. We're very excited about it, and one thing for sure is that this system will add another exciting layer to make the game more enjoyable. For the Western market, we’re still working to finalize the details on how this system will be updated. But in Korea, you have various factions and guilds, and they can be voted into power and gain certain benefits.

Is it something that could potentially be used in the field of education to help students learn about politics?

HK: It’s too early to say if it'll be that useful.

How important do you think it is for MMOs to exist on consoles?

HK: I've always been very interested in bringing my games to consoles. Due to the differences with respect to the tools that are currently available in consoles, it’s been difficult to pursue. With an MMO, the keyboard is used to play the game and to chat and to do other stuff, but in a console that’s not possible and that makes a huge difference.

Also, MMOs are played on a PC and therefore you sit close to your screen and are able to read smaller fonts and browse through smaller objects. But with consoles, you use a TV and therefore you sit farther from the screen. Adjusting for those kinds of differences would require us to redesign the whole game. Issues like those are definitely not easy to overcome.

Would you ever be interested in making small games again?

HK: I’m still very passionate about making more MMOs.

Any last words?

HK: I’m very honored and excited to introduce my game to the U.S. market and I’m expecting great results!

Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

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