So, here comes another question from ‘DoomeRZocktLive’: What’s your position on private servers and
what are you going to do about them? That’s a question I’ve had to answer many times in the past but I’m happy to talk about it again. My problem is that we’re often relatively powerless against private servers. They’re usually hosted abroad and know exactly how to disguise or hide their identities. It’s difficult for us to find a legal leg to stand on. For some time we’ve been concentrating on pulling the private servers’ marketing platform from under their feet. That means we’ve made sure that their videos and channels on YouTube and Twitch get banned, with the result that it hits them where it hurts. —It works.
—Indeed it does. I know that some people don’t take kindly to that. And I’ll be honest, I feel sorry since ultimately it means we’re destroying the work of YouTubers. We’ve heard that accusation many times. But the problem is that they need to come to terms with what they’re actually doing,
even if they are still fairly young. The fact is though that if you’re playing on illegal platforms you end up becoming liable yourself and ignorance isn’t any defence. Exactly. —That’s sadly the only way we can deal with it.
—Okay. Right, the next question comes from ‘Fifa_1982’: Have you considered setting up an old-school server? Yes, that’s a question that comes back time and again. There are loads of fans of the old-style Metin. Which is understandable, it’s the same with many games. We talked about it at length with Webzen during our last workshop together. The problem is that we would have to run and develop a second version of the game parallel to the main one. And Webzen is against that idea.
They want to run a single service platform and provide a single software solution. So we’d have to see how we go about it. We can certainly tweak things
in the settings and we already plan to launch some special servers,
but we’re still in the design and development phase. I can’t say a lot about what to expect,
but we do have some ideas on the go. But it won’t be a traditional old-school server. There isn’t much sense in doing that.
I mean, we haven’t been developing the game for nothing. Exactly, the game must go on. Right. And our changes have been well received
by most players. Taking that away from them again… Put it this way, it’s very difficult
to run two distinct versions of a game. We’re going to try to make things more interesting
with lightly modified game modes which should also appeal to our old-school players. But there won’t be a traditional old-school server? —No, sadly not in that form.
—Okay. Now for a different question: we were talking before
about the server merges. Is it possible to say yet when they will happen?
Will there be a Globetrotter Ticket for each server? We get the impression that people
are always talking about THE server merge. But we merge servers step by step. It’s a gradual process which
is simply part of our daily business. As servers get older and emptier,
they need to be merged so that there are always enough players. It’s a continuous process and always tricky because
we have to keep the technology up to speed. We’ve got a bunch of server merges on our
agenda for this year, so it’s certainly upcoming. I can’t name any specific dates, but I’d like
to get started with them as soon as possible. However, as I mentioned, we have another
project in the pipeline at the moment which currently has priority.
We’ll start with the merges hopefully very soon. Of course we’ll have Globetrotter Tickets again. But I’d like to err on the side of caution here. Transfers to new servers can be a fairly challenging issue. When high-level characters arrive on
new servers carrying pricey gear or tons of items in their bags,
it knocks things out of balance. In general, Globetrotter Tickets aren’t available
for new servers initially to make sure that the new low-level players remain amongst themselves
and you can’t just dive in and crash their party. That would ruin the economy and distort
the competition, things we want to avoid. So talking about the German community, e.g. Corvinia it wouldn’t make any sense to release
Globetrotter Tickets for that, right? —Exactly.
—But since Praios is still closed… I think that’s one of the most common questions
whether Praios will be open again after the merge? Yeah, that’s something we can happily talk about. I saw the issue of server merges cropped up
in the discussions about the channel reduction. We’re very happy to hear suggestions from our users. When they say it’s time to have Globetrotter Tickets,
then I wouldn’t see any problems with that. We are to some extent reliant on the community’s feedback. And I think that we’ll be able to act on that
after the channel reduction. Okay, super. Then the next question from ‘NequBackup’:
Is it possible to merge different countries together? Yes, that’s definitely possible. We’ve done so in the past for example integrating the former
Mexican server into the Spanish community. We also merged the Canadian server
with the US servers when it became emptier. We’ll do this again in the future,
that’s certainly on our roadmap. At the moment we’re considering to merge the US server. And we’re probably going to merge
Denmark and the Netherlands together and place these in the UK community
with an English-language version. The players have been requesting this for some time and that will probably be one of our next steps. But by UK you don’t mean the global UK server? Unfortunately not. We have
a true US server, plus a Global US server which is part of the UK community. However it’s hosted in the US to guarantee
decent pings for the players in North America. That means we couldn’t merge
that with the Global EU server as they are in different locations. We’re currently considering merging
the true US server with the Global US server, which already belongs to the UK community. Then we’d have a single server hosted in North America on which all North American players could play. Everyone else can play in the UK community, which we would basically like
to turn into a global community. But then we’d have the same problems
as if we released Globetrotter Tickets for Corvinia. The players on the old UK server already have
decent equipment, and they’d land on the new server putting everyone else at a disadvantage. Exactly right. Those are the kinds of things we have to consider,
depending on how old or new the servers are. We may simply change the schedule
accordingly and wait until the server has had a chance to develop and grow. But it’s essentially important how
each individual server progresses. Are there plans to make older dungeon runs
like Azrael or the Baroness more attractive in terms of the drop rewards? Yes, we’re aware of this issue, particularly
that the drops are no longer balanced. These dungeons have been developed over the years and things were always changed
with slightly different perspectives which is why they have developed slightly differently and aren’t really consistent any more. But we intend to change things and we already have some ideas for
how we can make things fairer and more even. Just one thing to add to that, which is that
we always ask ourselves the question: what is our aim? For us it’s always about making things fun.
The most important thing is ensuring that it’s fun to be active in the game. We need to lay the foundations for that
by making sure every dungeon is interesting and entertaining, and that there’s a fair reward
at the end of it equal to the difficulty. —Which means making the drops equal to the dungeon level.
—Precisely. Ideally we would turn them into instances
and make them dependent on the level range. We’ve been discussing this with Webzen
for some time and made a few forays in that direction. But we’ll see how it goes. It wouldn’t be easy for Webzen to implement but that would be our wish. Okay. I’d say this is also a larger issue.
Spending time actively in the game feels almost pointless thanks to the Auto-Hunting,
the bots, standing around increasing your rank etc. —Is it possible to do something about that?
—Yes, we’re also aware of this issue. As I said, our focus is always on
making the game fun to spend time in. Anyone looking for a profitable activity,
I can’t promise very much. We know of course that many players
play Metin2 to earn something whether that be in the game or real money.
That’s a common phenomenon, we know. But we have no intentions to set everything up
purely to serve this kind of activity. For us the gaming aspect remains the main focus. Talking about Auto-Hunting and the like,
we also view them with a critical eye. That was an idea which came from Webzen
with the aim of reducing the use of bots. Since bots offer exactly these kinds of features
and the idea was to provide the players with some of these features ourselves. For me it was important that
there remained a free-to-play solution. Sure, one slimmed down in comparison to
the premium option, but which ultimately everyone can use. Auto-Hunting was designed by Webzen specifically
with low-level starting players in mind to enable them to reach a certain level more quickly. But after that point it was supposed be fairly
unprofitable. The system still needs some work. I don’t hesitate to admit it and we’re aware of it. I think we still need
to do something here, and we have a few ideas. One of those is to concentrate
Auto-Hunting on a single channel, for example. That would at least reduce the impact
on those players who want to move around freely. You wouldn’t always be confronted with such players.
But there are a number of possible solutions. That’s an area where we’re very glad to hear
your feedback. It’s your chance to contribute! If you have some ideas how we should deal with
the issue, we’d be happy to hear from you. Either here under the video or in our forums.
We’re always open to suggestions. So a level limit for Auto-Hunting
wouldn’t be out of the question? Theoretically that’s meant to be part of the system
that it isn’t worth using after a certain point. But yes, we could think about a much tougher limit. The feature isn’t so fundamental for us
that we couldn’t limit it. We just need to convince Webzen
that the idea has merit. We’re open to that. Of course, that won’t impact our fight
against other bots and hacks. —But we already talked about that.
—Exactly. The next question from ‘Naser’:
Are you going to adjust the monster card system? At the moment it takes way too long
just like the alchemy system before. There are no plans to adjust
the monster card system at the moment. It’s still relatively new, though that doesn’t mean
we won’t change anything in the future. But in our view we think that some of the rewards aren’t particularly appreciated by the users yet. It’s understandable, but using the transformation
system to turn into a monster, for example is a really powerful tool. That’s generally
unappreciated as a reward at the moment. Maybe it’s because we generally
shower the players with premium items. But there are things in places where if you want to have them,
you have to get them there. That’s at least part of the idea behind it. Some players start, see the progress and think:
‘Ah, that takes too long, I can’t be bothered.’ But if they continued, they’d see the eventual reward. Yeah, that’s our view at least. Both our in-house designers
and those at Webzen certainly had that concept. And they’re convinced it’s a decent solution. Back then we introduced the alchemy system
rather poorly, I must admit. We released the system prematurely,
which is why Webzen twice improved it later. And I’m still not much of a fan of it. That’s the kind of thing we want to avoid,
and I think we managed to find a better solution with the monster card system. The rewards may only be of interest to
a certain section of the gaming community. The others might disagree,
but then we have different systems with different rewards and target groups and I think everyone can find something to suit
their tastes and which they can have fun with. So basically, if you persist to the end, it’s worth it. It should do. We certainly believe so. The next question deals with the major events
like Easter, Halloween, Christmas. What’s the news there? Are they
going to be redesigned in the future? Yeah, we had this point
right at the beginning. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for years,
but always had to put off doing for other reasons. We have events that are a bit
long in the tooth now and many players have done them so often it eventually just gets stale. My intention is to rework one or
two seasonal events next year maybe introducing completely different mechanics.
I’ll just have to see if I can get Webzen on my side. That’s always more time-consuming
than if you use the basic mechanics. But I think it would be worth it. But I certainly hope that we can reconsider
how the event runs and what the players have to do as that embodies a lot of the appeal of the events. When we read discussions in the forums
about events, they usually only talk about the items and drop chances. Our aim of course isn’t to constantly shower the players with a cornucopia of premium items every time. We enjoy doing it of course,
and we like being generous. Everyone should get a chance to try these things out. But it shouldn’t be the sole motivation
for taking part in these events. Just coming back to Auto-Hunting,
I assume you’re looking to ensure that using Auto-Hunting for this shouldn’t be profitable? Yes, that’s a really important issue which
we would have to consider when redesigning the events. We know about its existence
and can plan mechanics around it. Either ones which wouldn’t be affected by it or
wouldn’t work with it. That would be the goal. It didn’t exist earlier, and that’s a really big issue. Designing games is complicated and the way
things interact can have dramatic effects. Without pointing the blame finger,
things get overlooked sometimes both by Webzen and by ourselves. Even when testing things, you don’t always catch everything.
But I think there’s a separate question about that. I’ll say a few more words about that then. But that’s an area where we’ll have to try to make
sure that we keep everything at the right level.