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Massively goes toe to toe with Jade Dynasty's Andrew Brown


Jade Dynasty. The game that plays itself. We ran an op-ed on it a while back and even got some impressions on the game from E3, looking into the game that offers all players the special ability to run a bot to play the game and lets players gain experience while offline.

Needless to say, we were interested in the game thanks to, what some would say, are odd choices in game design. However, we were recently lucky enough to sit down with Andrew Brown, the project manager for Jade Dynasty, and put him to the test. Why should MMOers try out Jade Dynasty?

Well, Andrew took our hard questions and sent us back some awesome answers. He didn't shy away from our question barrage. If you were looking for some answers for why Jade Dynasty took the game design path it did, or why they believe their decisions will ultimately help the many players of their game, then look no further than this interview. And what's this new immortality ability and "hardcore PvP" server that Andrew has mentioned? You're just going to have to follow after the break and find out!

Jade Dynasty
is, of course, the localized version of the Chinese MMORPG Zhu Xian. Why did Perfect World Entertainment choose to bring Zhu Xian to America?

Not only was Zhu Xian wildly popular in China, it also has many aspects that we thought would adapt well to Western audiences. Almost all of the in-game systems will be familiar to MMO players, except for our esper system, or the bot. We believe that by introducing the normally illegal element of botting into the game really kills the grind. If you are a more casual user who can only spend an hour here or there on an MMO, why not spend it doing something useful like an event or battleground, then setup the bot and proceed with your social life!

Jade Dynasty's mechanics are very different from your standard free to play MMO mechanics. Some might even call them overpowered. How are you working to make the game balanced between those who want to actively play and those who want to bot the game? Are those types distinctions even being made?

Well, in terms of the esper (or the bot), it isn't a free ride. The bar will deplete with use after level 90, so then it becomes much more strategic to decide when and where it would be best used. The esper's bot function is a tool, not a way to play the game. For example, the esper is not going to turn in quests for you-which give much more experience than pure grinding, nor is it going to go to NPC Tanis Ka to enable the double experience charm. We feel there are enough blocks in place to keep the esper from becoming overpowered and muscling out those who don't wish to use it.

Considering that the usual flesh of an MMO is the combat and "level grind" to max level, it seems Jade Dynasty has removed that attraction by inserting the many ways players can gain experience by either not playing the game or AFKing the game. With that in mind, what do you believe is the main reason to play Jade Dynasty, if it's not the leveling?

There are many reasons to play Jade Dynasty, none having to do with "the grind" associated with MMOs. Like most MMOs, there's the community aspect. For Jade Dynasty, some players might be interested in the story -- it is a major cultural phenomenon in China. There are instances scattered throughout the game and currently 6 battlegrounds that players can part-take in. Once you have your class skills down and are ready for something more, try out the fort sieges which are the alliance (guild) vs alliance battles. These battles can have 225 players vs 225 players! It's basically an attack/defend map in which the Alliance that owns the map is defending against an invading Alliance. There are many benefits for owning the fort, like new daily quests, better success chance when refining (upgrading) your gear and cheaper NPC items. The winning alliance owns the fort until someone takes it from them.

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