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Vindictus : Paradise of Oblivion interview [INVEN]

Q : Could you give a brief introduction on the new episode ‘Paradise of Oblivion’?

The teaser we showed before was for the prologue of Paradise of Oblivion which will be released on November the 13th. The actual episode will be updated on December.

Many people have been talking about what’s to come after Season 2 as Season 3 but we’re internally referring to the update groupings as chapters. 

Each chapters will consist of 4 episodes and each episode will have one raid battle, story battles, and normal battles for farming. Although the volume of each episode decreased, we are aiming to update a episode every three months. We’re currently aiming to have the next episodes updated on April and July next year.

Paradise of Oblivion is chapter 1 which will finally continue where the story left off after Season 1, episode 10. The max level will be raised to 90 and there will be changes to the gear and skill system.

The prologue for Paradise of Oblivion is intended to serve as a introduction to episode 1 and will also come with Lann’s adjustments. Character adjustments are planned to go on until April.

Q : How will the combat in Paradise of Oblivion be different?

The theme for chapter 1 will be expedition and travel. Expeditions are similar to setting sail on the docks but will be done on a ground route instead. This will lead to some changes to Cholhen and Rochest docks.

We’ve been aiming to go back to our roots with combat so the maps will be in linear form like in Season 1. When we say linear, it doesn’t mean that the players will travel in a straight line but we mean to say that players won’t be backtracking like they did in Season 2.

Also, in order to make the relation between each map more visible, we made the terrain between maps and what can be seen beyond to reflect the change between them. For example, if the previous map was a forest and the next is a lake then you will be able to see the lake as you reach the end of the forest.

As a result the maps players can come upon will not be random as it is in Season 1 but we’ve added some variables within each map.

Maps will consist of 5 areas and will take less time compared to Season 2. We can’t give an exact estimate as we’re still working on the maps but you can expect each combat to take between 20 to 30 minutes.

We’ve been attempting different things with Season 2 and it had its ups and downs. The bad part about it was that it put too much of a strain on the players so we decided to lighten that burden in order to emphasize the travel element and thus opted for linear progression.

This only applies for normal battles and raid battles will be like Season 2 raids where you face the boss right from the start.

Combat was a big issue for us. Personally, we still see Mabinogi Heroes as a leading title in online action gaming and have put our focus on going back to these roots and improve the quality of action.

And not just with slaying the monsters in front of you but by adding interesting combat elements. For example you could have archers attacking from above where the players will have to move between cover to approach them, fighting on top of rafts, climbing on top of gigantic boss monsters and more.

The AI had to be changed a lot for these changes and way monsters show up will no longer be as if they appeared from thin air but will present themselves in various manners such as swinging down from treetops. 

While this diverts from the topic, you will be able to chop off body parts of the new monsters. We’ve been working on the heavy impact of combat that was felt in the past.

Also objects that can be broken are called props but there weren’t many props in Season 2. But the number of props will be greatly increased starting from this chapter.

These props won’t have a huge effect on combat. It’s difficult to balance around the use of these props so we haven’t made situations where their use is mandatory.

Q: How will the gear system be changed?

The previous method for crafting gear was centered around gathering key mats that were really rare but the mats from the new chapter will be very easy to obtain.

But each mat will have random stats applied to them and you will have to gather several mats with good stats to craft high quality gear so obtaining high quality gear will take time.

This method will prevent situations where players can’t even craft any gear at all due to scarcity of mats but in turn make it take long to craft gear with good stats.

The lowest quality level 90 gear will have stats that are on par or worse than level 80 gear and the highest quality will be on par with gear that is 10 levels higher than average quality gear.

Our goal is to prevent situations where players aren’t even able to join raids due to lack of gear and make it so that they can progressively improve their gear through participating in combat.

Gear abilities which can help players in certain aspects like mining, movement, attack, and defense will be added as well. Gear ability will only be available on gear crafted with highest quality mats.

The changes for the crafting system only applies for the gears added with the new chapter and will no effect existing gears.

Q: What changes will be done with skills?

A new customization system will be added. You will have various options such as decreasing cooldown, SP cost, and stamina cost.

This will be done with customization mats that can be obtained during battle which NPCs will use to customize your skills. These mats will be easy to obtain as well but will have rarer variations like gear mats.

The existing AP based system for learning skills will remain the same.

Q : Are there any other changes not mentioned?

Hot springs will be added to towns which will act as important community hubs and also provide buffs. We’re preparing it to be a more significant element for the community compared to campfires.

The raised level cap to 90 also calls the need for quicker leveling. This will be done not only with the EXP curve but also by increasing the droprate for level 60 gear. For example, Thor will drop level 60 gear frequently making it easy to deck out in level 60 gear quickly.

Level 80 gear mats will be available for purchase with seals of bravery and the price for existing seal mats will be adjusted along with the max number of seals obtainable daily.

Q: Many are curious of the story for Paradise of Oblivion

Chapter 1: Paradise of Oblivion will show the world after the advent of paradise. In the story it was described as a place where aging, hunger, and pain doesn’t exist and the chapter will handle on how this world will look when pulled to the real world. Chapter 1 will be centered around how this changes the daily lives of people and how they adjust to it.

The players are the cause of all this and the few who remember what happened and is looking for like-minded individuals as companions.

A new important NPC will be introduced named Meer who will first appear as an enemy but will eventually become an NPC ally after several difficulties.

Staying true to the title Mabinogi 'Heroes’, the focus of the story will be on the player instead of it being on Keaghan and Tieve in Season 1 or Allysse and Milo in Season 2.

Players will reestablish relations with NPCs who have lost their memory, some will learn the truth from the player and cooperate with them, and there will also be new NPCs as well.

Since Season 2 was set at the same time period as Season 1 the ending for it was set like Season 1 where everyone loses their memory but the new chapter is not restricted to this gimmick and thus will not end with memory loss again.

Q: How will episode 1 look like?

Chapter 1 episode 1 will be set in the Wooden Elf Forest. It used to be a beautiful place but has been corrupted by something and is withering with its mutated Wooden Elfs appearing as enemies. The Wooden Elfs will look a lot different from what is expected of elfs. Their corruption has caused them to have bark like skin lined with roots instead of veins.

A new area for gathering party members and access to wagons have been added with the change to Cholhen and Rochest docks. 

The way starting from the road to Rochest will display green fields and forests which become more desolate in the deeper areas in order to give a feeling of embarking on an expedition.

We’ve put a lot of effort in to the episodes for the Paradise of Oblivion chapter. Even if we were to increase the amount of content the effort put in to quantity had low return compared to how fast the players consumed it so we’ve concentrated more on quality for this chapter.

And not just quality as an abstract concept but with specific goals like better cut scenes and new in-game presentation methods. We also made sure to include story elements that will act as a nod towards the players and their memory of Season 1’s story since it’s been a long time the story has continued since the end of Season 1.

Chapter 1 stories can be accessed by players who are above level 75 and have finished the main stories for Season 1 and 2. Battles will require players to be above level 75 and level 80 players will have access to all contents.

Q: What characteristics will the bosses of Paradise of Oblivion have?

Season 2 had mostly large boss monsters which naturally made their attack range long and made it a hassle to observe their motions. We’ve decided to break away from this pattern and go back to our original heavy action concept.

What we were aiming for was to reproduce the rush of combat players felt when they saw Gnoll Chieftain swing his hammer. Of course the skill of players have vastly changed since Gnoll Chieftain but the concept will still remain the same. If a weapon is held on the side it means a horizontal swipe is in bound and lifting a weapon over head will mean that the boss will bring it down in a vertical swing. So in short it means that we will be bringing back the combat pace of observing boss movement to avoid attacks.

So the actions of a boss monster before an attack will make more sense in conjunction with the attack motion that follows.

But this doesn’t mean that we won’t be doing large boss monsters but we will be expressing the imposing presence of a huge boss by having players climb atop it and with other methods. We are aiming for a variety of boss sizes for Chapter 1. So if Season 2 had mostly large bosses, Chapter 1 will have boss sizes from those that are similar with Zecalion and up to those who are huge enough for the players to climb upon.

Q: What can we expect from the first raid boss?

The first raid boss of chapter 1 will be the Wooden Elf Queen of episode 1. As a queen her corruption will have advanced far less compared to her subjects so she still retains her grace and beauty.

Players will engage her in the sanctuary of the forest where the corruption has yet to reach. It is a stunning area filled with blooming flowers but the area around it is rotten and desolate with shriveled roots.

We wanted to make the Queen a pretty raid boss as the corruption on the Elf Queen hasn’t progressed much but not as pretty as Iset. The elfs will have patterns that are related with the environment such as the flowers around the Queen growing and joining the battle.

The Wooden Elf Queen is bigger than Iset and if we were to include her wings she would be roughly around the same size as Zecalion. Her body won’t be as big as Zecalion since we’re going with a delicate female figure with her design direction.

Q: Will there be any new characters?

We are aware that there is a lot of interest on the April Fool’s character Haeggi [young male caster] and agree that the game needs more INT characters.

But there is currently no plans for releasing any new character or second weapons for new characters up till April and we will be working on character balance up to that point.

The Lann adjustment coming November 13th is part of this process and the next in line is Fiona and Evie. Other characters will be handled as well.

It would be ideal if we can make adjustments to the whole roster quickly but since that isn’t possible we will be doing this one character at a time until next spring.

We’ve been considering toning down Hurk and one way we will do this is by making Weapon Damage potions no longer available as mission rewards. This decision was not only based on Hurk but also on the fact that the potion effected character balance too much and that it benefited Hurk too much. With this we will at least be able to remove the gap that was further lengthened by Hurk’s use of Weapon Damage potions.

Overall we felt that Weapon Damage potions had the risk of breaking the balance between characters and crippling the gear system.

Q: Can you give us more details on the character adjustments?

While we are working on the adjustments of old characters like Lann, Fiona, and Evie we don’t believe that their smash damage is vastly weak compared to new characters such as Hurk, Lynn, and Arisha.

But the newer characters have little dps loss during combat which is causing the gap. So we will be adjusting the damage of old characters but we will also be working on decreasing dps loss.

We are aware that Lann is a character cherished by many players and have updated both spear and sword Lann in a way to make them more powerful yet still retain their original play style.

New skills and mechanics for decreasing dps loss have been added so that Lann can rain down quick attacks like the dual wielder he is.

With the addition of new skills the AP cap for characters will change as well but the new skills won’t require too much AP since it’s difficult to balance large AP consumption rates for all characters at once.

As long as we are on the topic of characters I would also like to mention the model upgrades for Lann and Fiona which many people have been curious about. It was difficult to set a date for this since character appearance is more of a fan-service than core content but this time we have a set date and have made a lot of progress.

The internal reaction to what we currently have done with Fiona is very positive but we can’t say much about Lann at the moment because his model is still being worked on. Since many players already have become attached to how their Lanns and Fionas look we won’t make any drastic changes that will their core features.

Our goal is to make them look better but at the same time make it difficult to pin point exactly how they’ve been changed.