With the announcement for Perfect World International’s (PWI) Eclipse expansion a few days ago, I had the chance to speak with Lead Developer Wei Zhang (name presented in English format) about the new race and two new classes being added. Take a look at how the new classes came about and how they’ll shape future PWI content.
Magicman (MM): Can you introduce yourself to our readers and tell them a bit about what you do daily on Perfect World International (PWI)?
Wei Zhang (WZ): Hi everyone, I am the lead developer of PWI. Typically, my responsibilities include the collecting, processing and feedback of information about everything related to the game. The information can be the current status of the game or the status of development and operations. By analyzing and processing this information, we produce better plans that improve our game. I do these tasks with a lot of support from my team.
MM: With the Eclipse expansion, PWI gains a new race with two new exclusive classes. Can you walk us through the lore behind the race and why Duskblades and Stormbringers, the new classes, are unique to this race?
WZ: The background of the Nightshade race is set to be the guardians of the Divine Child, who is already an existing character in our game, important but not yet elaborated on. This new race is a nice supplement to support and expand the storyline of PWI. Duskblades and Stormbringers were inspired by the worshipping of the moon, which is a common totem in human history. We found that this was a perfect fit with their roles as the guardians of the Divine Child. They are all empowered by the moon. They look like humans, but behave and fight differently from humans, faster yet still stout.
MM: The new classes kind of remind me of some classes in other PWE titles. Were they inspired from other titles at all?
WZ: Indeed. The two main mentalities, “moon worshipping” and “special weapons and combat styles”, are inspired by other PWE games. They fight like no other class in PWI, and if you’ve played Swordsman, you’ll notice these classes share some of the fluid combat options as in Swordsman.
MM: Can you tell us about how the Duskblade and Stormbringer classes play? I heard they were a bit more “action-like” than previous classes because of an update made to PWI’s engine. What does this mean for players?
WZ: Some notable features include Duskblade’s QTE (Editor’s Note: “Quick Time Events”)and Stormbringer’s cast-while-moving mechanism. They all ask for more control play styles. For our players, more controls mean more options to gain combat advantages, as well as better visual and sensational impact.
MM: With the new classes playing a bit differently then, was it harder to balance them compared to the other classes available in PWI?
WZ: New control designs did bring some advantages to the new classes, but they are not overwhelming. We have run a lot of comparison and tests on our stats system, so we can keep a dynamic balance between different classes. The new control style can also compel our old users to consider more about their own play strategy and control intensity.
MM: Are there any changes planned for existing classes in the future because of this engine update?
WZ: There will be changes in the future, which may be centralized around the optimizations of character models, animations, and control.
MM: What does this change in style mean for future updates? Will the new, faster class style be the direction of PWI going forward? How do these classes transform gameplay going forward?
WZ: We will go on with the optimization of our engine. The more “action-like” design is just a small step. Whether we will go further down this path? We are not sure until we have enough information to make a decision.
MM: Which class do you prefer when you have some time to play and why?
WZ: Stormbringer, because it presents a unique Hit & Run combat style, which is fast-tempo and that thrills me.
Thank you to Wei Zhang for spending some time catching us up on the new Eclipse expansion.