MuhanGame announced that they will start an OBT of a casual MMORPG ZzangOnline (http://zzangon.gamengame.com) later this year. ZzangOnline was developed by MuhanGame and is being served to world wide gamers through a GSP.
ZzangOnline has been conducting a CBT since the beginning of January. By feedback from users, ZzangOnline has been continuously improving the game features and environments. Now it's time to start an OBT. Today, we talked to Kyungseop Shim, team leader for overseas marketing of Muhangame about the service up to now and the future plans of ZzangOnline.
Briefly, what is 'ZzangOnline'?
ZzangOnline is a horizontal scroll casual MMORPG. It's an easy to play game. There are other similar games i.e. Dungeon & Fighter, Quest Play, Get Amped, and GemFighter, etc.
Unlike other existing casual games, ZzangOnline has 3D characters, instead of cartoon renderings. It has dynamic actions and a slow motion feature for battling enemies. The Battle zone is a PvP mode. Up to 4 are allowed to participate to clear quests.
Speaking of a 'battle zone', there are 'Sun' and 'Judgment' opposing to each other also in the game. Gamers are to occupy the 'battle zone' through battles in the system.
Was there any episode during developing ZzangOnline?
The targeted gamers of ZzangOnline are mostly the late 10s. So, our developers visited Internet PC game rooms to meet and monitor teenagers while developing the game, so that we could build the most attractive game for those targeted users.
Those 10 teenagers have been questioned about the action and features of the ZzangOnline, in addition to the graphics and/or skill components compared to other games which they have enjoyed playing. Although they are young, they had plenty of valuable opinions, more so than we expected.
What were some of the good and bad user feedback received during the CBT?
A good comment was that ZzangOnline looks like a 2000 renewal version of 'Dungeons and Dragons' which was the most popular game in the 1980s. On the other hand, some comments received stated that ZzangOnline was boring and nothing too special. We took that feedback and ensured that all our users would be thrilled with the new additions and features to the game.
The average playing time of ZzangOnline appeared to be around 1 hour, which is not short for a casual game. We believe that this time shows us the proof of users enjoying the game, even though it's a shorter playing time than other authentic MMORPGs. Furthermore, there are about 100 'circles' in the ZzangOnline community, which are very active.
What about the overseas marketing strategy of ZzangOnline?
Southeastern Asia has a similar culture to Korea and is familiar with a horizontal scroll game. However in America, most users are familiar with video games, not with horizontal scrolling. So, we are focusing first on the Asian market as a key area for our overseas marketing, before expanding into North America and Europe. Actually, we are currently dealing with some countries in Southeast Asia.
How about a strategy to overseas marketing through a GSP?
We started a CBT in January and it is still being conducted. We had a large update added in April, in which the battle zone in the PvP area was added, as well as quest contents. User Interfaces were updated too. In the morning, users from Europe usually enter through a GSP, as well as users from Brazil and other Spanish speaking users. The status of user's access looks stable.
We are currently serving the same contents in English as well as Korean, and are planning for an OBT of the game later this year.
Some users are worried of being reset through a GNG site. What is a solution?
In establishing a GNG policy for ZzangOnline, we may have to extend the contract for GSP once we have overseas service partners. In any event, we will announce it to users prior to this happening to ensure our users won't have to worry.
Lastly, can you explain the service schedule of ZzangOnline for the future?
As mentioned earlier, we are preparing to commercialize ZzangOnline later this year. We expect to start an OBT within the 2nd half of the year. In an OBT, we will focus on controlling character balances or game components, in addition to increasing the completion of the existing game features. There were some issues on game features and balances during a CBT and that's why we are more considered with getting rid of bugs as addressing all these issues when dealing with an OBT.