Elsword, produced by KOG and serviced by NEXON, had to suffer a hard time no more than 1 year ago.
Elsword called attention to the users as a new action game inspired by Grandchase from KOG. However, Elsword loses user’s anticipation after the Open Beta service on December 27th, 2007. Industries would say Elsword was a failed game.
Surprisingly Elsword would come back within a year with 13,000 CCU on December, 27th, 2008, same exact day the Elsword started the service. What had happened within that year? I had interviewed with the Elsword producing team at KOG and the publishing PM team from NEXON to find out their efforts and future plans./ ThisIsGame Hyun Nam-il
The interview was proceeded through a video meeting with KOG in Daegu and NEXON in Seoul.
KOG producing team : Kim Chang-ho(left in the screen) , Lee Dong-shin(right in the screen) and NEXON: Lee Jung-bae(left), Rho Jung-hwan(right)
TIG> Elsword announced that you hit the record of 13,000 CCU last December, 27th. Can you describe the current situation?
NEXON Publising PM Team: Elsword recorded up to 13,000 CCU last December. To tell you the truth, this record is no joke and is still increasing until now. Recently, Elsword struggled for a while because the winter vacation was ended but they are going to rise up again when the new update comes which is the Season 2 and the job change quest by the new character Eve.
KOG Producing team: One encouragement to us is that the rate of selling volume by connected users are also keep increasing. We’re thinking this means the user’s loyalty is also growing.
TIG> Are there special reasons to achieve this good performance?
KOG: No, There is no reason for this dramatic increase of the user numbers. As you know Elsword didn’t really get a good response from the users in the beggining. But we kept trying to update big events in every quarter and small updates every months.
TIG> So you mean you could get this amazing results from continuous efforts without giving up.
KOG: I would say so. After open beta, we were so depressed and spent a hard time. But we were not disappointed by the performance and tried again and again with patience for more than a year.
Also, publisher NEXON trusted and cooperated with us aggressively. We think this good performance was made by efforts and cooperation of two partners.
NEXON: We met lots of various producing teams so far. Many others were depressed and haunted in failure when they hadn’t done well at the first time in open beta. Then the update naturally brings a bad result to the game and causes faillure in the end.
By contrast, KOG and Elsword producing team constantly tried for 1 year. And we could find many problems which couldn’t be figured out in the past. Though there are a lot of obstacles, we made an effort to focus on one goal is to make a good game for a long period of time.
KOG Producing team ( Kim Chang-ho, Lee Dong-shin)
NEXON Publishing PM team ( Lee Jung-bae, Rho Jung-hwan)
TIG> What do you think the reason for the struggle from open beta in the beginning?
KOG: We’re thinking several reasons. The biggest problem was user’s adaption. Actually, Elsword is very distinct compare to other games structurally. This game has horizontal direction scroll, 3D graphic with cubic line and fast pattern action.
But it was very hard to make the beginners adapt due to lack of consideration with convenient guide. So, we reinforced the guide by correcting the map and gave an adjust to the balance for that past year.
NEXON: Actually Elsword had a high barrier to beginners in the early period. Not only to make a character but also to enjoy the game. So we invested a lot of time to solve these problems. ‘Experience ID’, can play the game without registering their ID, was one of the solutions and finally we could satisfy the performances.
What else did you make for an effort in the past year?
The update strategy was to make more fun and valuable game. In concrete explanation, we reinforced the RPG enjoyment to add enjoyable contents, various system and etc to help understand to young teenagers.
All casual games experienced the difficulty in ‘continious contents’ and Elsword also spent tough time in the early period because of this reason we tried to intensify the factors of RPG fun even though we targeted the user’s ages higher. From this result, Elsword was just a common casual action game in the past. Now we think Elsword is closer to MORPG.
TIG> Then, does the user age actually increased for real?
Indeed, It is true that the age of users are growing up. Compared with open beta in the beginning, rates of 20’s and 30’s were increased. Still teenagers for majority of the users but we can honestly say because we managed various updates, Elsword could fully make the game for 20’s and 30’s users.
Especially, Elsword emphasized on the graphic like cartoon. Would there be any changes in graphic pattern later on?
The graphic design like comic book is the most outstanding characteristic for our game.
We will keep making the concept continuously as it is now. Surely we will show the advanced quality and scale.
If you consider the former game was a comic book for primary school students, this comic book will change for older people. we are always considering the graphic quality that makes people actually feel and sense with their own body, smog effect for instence.
TIG> Elsword updated Season 2 in December I guess your producing team have a plan for the next big update.
KOG: Yes. We are preparing to plan for a new big update in the first quarter. As we mentioned Elsword always updates a big one every quarters so far and have done small updates continuously. We will be keep on doing this in the future.
Opening of Square will be the biggest change in the first quarter. The users needed the time to adapt due to community space. Square and Town, was separated. That’s why we will show New version of Square that two spaces combined in the new comming update.
TIG> Do you have any plan to show a new character like the Eve shown in Season 2?
KOG: We don’t have any plan to add a new character in this first quarter so far. Elsword are ready to show lots of stories. And new characters will be added one by one according to progress of the new stories.
TIG> In long term view, what is your producing strategy in 2009?
KOG: The goal in 2009 is to make real ‘Action MORPG’ game by reinforcing the RPG factors and community system. So the first update that square and town being combined will be going under this goal since the community system is a key factor in online RPG. Because square was the obstacle of smooth communication at community, we are eager to overcome this problem and thinking continuous updates.
Now Elsword is separated with square and town.
TIG> Winter vacation was ended and new semester was started. Do you have special plan in marketing or business?
NEXON: As new semester begins, we will manage various new semester events by concept meeting. We are preparing school uniform items, avatar and etc. Also, we are planning many kinds of events and promotion that every users can enjoy and we hope to get much attention and expectation to these plans.
TIG> Finally, please give a message to users who are interested in Elsword.
Elsword has newly, speedy and fantastic action. Even though we had a lot of mistakes that RPG factor was weakened due to revealing too much action. Also, it is hard to the beginners when enjoying the game. But now we are proud of the present Elsword that we have updated many new factors and reinforced various areas. So people looking for an RPG game with some action to go with or my old buddy users can come along and visit us once again.
NEXON: Elsword can give you an impression of being simple and easy to play for kids or teenagers. However, if you play the game, you will realize that this is not true. You would rather call it a ‘high quality action game with easy playing’. So we really hope that various users could enjoy and have much interests in Elsword.