It has been two months since Kakao Games and Bluehole hosted the first closed beta test before the NA / EU launch of the Korean MMORPG Elyon. I personally appreciated what I saw during the first closed beta test, spend as much time as possible over the extended weekend trying out different classes and the like. Like many CBT1 attendees, I had a few outstanding questions, so when we were asked here in the MMORPG if we had any questions for Kakao Games and Bluehole, I was ready to ask questions about CBT1 and the next one. CBT2. Jim Lacorte, Project Manager, Kakao Games Europe took some time to answer our questions, giving us some of the results of CBT1 and what we can expect from CBT2 when it does.
MMORPG: Like many other beta tests, and full releases for that matter, there were some issues when Elyon’s servers opened for CBT1. Did the team identify the root cause of the problems and what did they do to alleviate the CBT2 problems?
Jim, Kakao Games: There were certainly problems, especially on the first day. We actually started noticing issues on the launcher for a while before the opening time of CBT1, which we attributed to the natural increase in traffic as the big time approached, but when the time was up. clock passed: 00, the launcher was not responsive at all. The whole situation was a surprise at first, as we made sure to expand our infrastructure enough to accommodate the CBT1 player base; in the heat of the moment, we started adding even more web server instances, while investigating why our existing infrastructure was not keeping up. In the end, this was just a poorly configured software level setting, and after fixing it we saw a big decrease in overall response time. A small mistake with a big impact – and if anything, we’re glad we made it during a beta phase!
MMORPG: As you had time to go through the data from CBT1, was there a difference between the preferences of KR players and NA / EU players that really stood out to you? Most popular class? Leveling speed? Were players focusing more on PvE or PvP content? Was there anything else the team found surprising?
Jim, Kakao Games: The version we were on during CBT1 was a localized copy of the Korean service in January, so progress and content consumption was relatively similar given that it was a short testing period.
One interesting point the data has shown us is the imbalance between the two factions (Vulpin in blue and Ontari in red) – whether to join friends, follow their guild, or because they are fans of AMD, the People’s preference weighed heavily on Ontari (and yes, the last reason is taken from actual survey responses). We’ve given this a lot of thought internally, and while we believe that outright excluding people from a faction isn’t the right way to go, we’re looking for less intrusive adjustments that will hopefully make them feel less intrusive. somewhat more uniform figures.
MMORPG: You already mentioned that CBT2 will use an iteration of Elyon that is much closer to the current internal version. What changes or additions can players who have participated in CBT1 expect when they log into CBT2?
Jim, Kakao Games: CBT2 will be based on an early June version of the Korean service, so there is a lot to do; our community team will do short review articles that you can find on our site. Along with the global content updates, we’ll also be making some EUNA-specific adjustments, some of which are inspired by the feedback we received during CBT1.
One of the biggest changes is in the market. The price of each item will now be dynamically adjusted based on its market demand, and the available +/- price range in which an item can be listed will be capped to combat market manipulation. It’s a system we’ve never tested on a large scale before, so we look forward to your feedback in CBT2.
Battlegrounds will now be available 24/7 – if this works during CBT2, we’ll apply it on release as well. Dimensional portals will still only be available at set times, however.
The ability to scale UI and move some UI elements will be implemented, and we will also deal with slow loading complaints – for CBT2 we will mitigate file compression, which will result in an increase in client size of approximately 10 GB, for an increase in upload speed of approximately 35%.
MMORPG: CBT1 took place over a long weekend. Will CBT2 follow a similar timeline, or will you give players a longer period to explore Elyon this time around?
Jim, Kakao Games: We’re looking at a similar timeline for CBT2 – our intention with the betas is to collect feedback on the main parts of the game and test our infrastructure, so we’re keeping it short.
MMORPG: Will players have to start at level 1 or will there be level ups available?
Jim, Kakao Games: Players will start at level 1, although similarly to CBT1, we will be giving away items via daily login rewards to speed up progress a bit.
MMORPG: I know many players are concerned about whether there will be any cash shop changes between the KR and NA / EU versions of Elyon. Will we finally have the chance to see the CBT2 cash shop?
Jim, Kakao Games: Yes, the cash shop will be previewed in CBT2, as well as free rubies (paid currency) so you can try out the products. We’ve been working with developers for a long time to figure out how to implement the tweaks we want, and we’re close to finalizing the behavior of paid products in our release. We will be publishing a standalone article in the coming weeks that will give you more information, we look forward to hearing your thoughts.
MMORPG: When can we pre-order Elyon? Will there be multiple levels available for purchase?
Jim, Kakao Games: Preorders will open later this month. There will indeed be several levels available, and among the rewards you can expect exclusive weapons, armor and a cute knight cat!
MMORPG: Will pre-orders be the only way to get a CBT2 code or will you still have other ways to access CBT2?
Jim, Kakao Games: Pre-ordering will give you guaranteed access to CBT2, but our teams will also be hosting lots of key giveaways and events to give everyone a chance to participate. As with CBT1, there will be a short application process open to everyone, but this time applicants will be chosen at random.
MMORPG: After launch, do you expect NA / EU servers to lag behind KR servers in terms of content, or will they ultimately be on the same release cycle?
Jim, Kakao Games: Our objective is to operate on a global construction in terms of content. At launch, we will naturally be a little late (one or two months), but we aim to catch up as quickly as possible.
MMORPG: Speaking of launch, is Elyon still on track for a 2021 release?
Jim, Kakao Games: Yes. Elyon will launch this fall. I think this is also a good opportunity to answer a frequently asked question regarding platform availability – Elyon will be available through our Kakao Games platform and Steam to the output !
Good, you have it now. Kakao Games and Bluehole are working hard to get the CBT2 client ready, and while we still haven’t got a firm date, it looks like we can still look forward to our next chance to test Elyon in August. Along with the market shifts focused on combating price manipulation, we’ll finally get a first look at the NAEU cash shop, something Kakao must achieve for Elyon to thrive in the West. These aren’t the only changes we can check out in August, with changes like 24/7 battlegrounds and an adjustable user interface tested based on player feedback.
What did you think of Elyon’s first closed beta? Are you considering getting a Founders Pack to ensure access to the next test in August, or do you still have some questions you need to answer before you’re ready to sign up?