Last month I played through the latest MMORPG from Nexon, V4, a cross-platform free-to-play fantasy MMORPG set in the vibrant open world of Syllunas. You can read my review for the game here. I thought it was a fantastic MMORPG for mobiles, though I felt the autoplay feature on PC took away a lot of the actual playing of the game for me. So much so that I missed a lot of the game’s epic story. I was able to read summaries of the main quests in the quest log, but I wanted to know the philosophy behind the autoplay system, and what better way to do that than ask the developers directly. Here’s a recent Q&A I did with the V4 MMORPG development team.
Q: What makes V4 stand out among the sea of MMORPGs on the market today?
A: V4 pushes the limits of what has been previously thought possible for MMORPGs on mobile by using cutting edge interserver technology which allows for players on both mobile and PC to experience the open world phenomenon. Where it really differentiates itself is within the confines of the game’s story allowing us to introduce Western audiences to a dense story and rich environment to explore the vibrant open-world layout of Syllunas.
Q: How big is the development team and how long did it take to develop the game to the current build?
A: The team gradually grew as development progressed, but ultimately, over the course of 2 years, our studio had 100 people by the time V4 initially launched in Korea nearly a year ago.
Q: I’ve only played the mobile version and it features an auto-play system that quite literally does everything for me. Is this feature on the PC version too? Can you please explain the philosophy behind this mechanism that requires very little actual playing by the player?
A: Auto-play lets players experience the battles and lore within Syllunas. It is a feature that is also available on PC allowing for more character improvement in a way that makes the experience more enjoyable.
Each game has a different reason for implementing this feature. Players have a lot of options for how to spend their free time. Thus, the value of that time is a lot higher than before.
We decided to implement auto-battle for V4 because we thought grinding for levels time consuming. There are other areas we’d like our players to focus their time in-game, such as joining PvP battles with guild mates or immersing themselves in the story.
Allowing players to switch between auto and manual at any time allows them to decide how much of the gameplay they control and lets each player experience the game in a way that’s most fun for them.
Basically, auto-play is there to help players develop their characters. How players decide to control their characters in important moments like boss and PvP battles can determine victory or defeat.
Q: What was the most challenging feature of V4 to implement?
A: That would be Halidom Rush. It’s a mode where players go to other servers to secure halidoms. Because it requires players to move between servers to interact with one another, we had to take a different approach from how we would normally prepare content, such as setting up numerous servers and having repeated testing.
Q: What has been the most rewarding part of developing and now releasing V4 to the players worldwide?
A: The most rewarding part has definitely been seeing players across the world interact across different servers as they form guilds, go on raids, and play with friends. We look forward to creating more content that players can enjoy for years to come!
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
A: We want to thank our players for all the support. We will continue to listen to player feedback on ways to improve their experience.
The developer’s explanation of the autoplay system makes complete sense. Over the years of playing many MMORPG’s, one of the biggest negatives against the genre is the spread of levels and character abilities between you and the mates you play with. With many MMO’s, the game doesn’t really start coming into it’s own until you hit “end game”, and in some cases that can take months, and even years for me depending on the game and time contraints. So to have the ability for the game to autoplay or rather autolevel your character legitimately is a great equaliser.
I say legitimately because in days gone by, there are services out there who would level your character to max, for a real money fee, and it was an underworld activity back then. It is still frowned upon today and against the EULA of most MMORPG’s, but over the years games have tried to help players stay playing together either by introducing a “sidekick” system like City of Heroes, or having the PvE zones level scaled to the player so higher level players can help their lower level mates without a detriment or risk to the lowest level in the group. Autoplay certainly has it’s advantages, but for me it came at the cost of missing out on a lot of the story that the developers would have spent months or years crafting.
Time will tell though if autoplay is featured in more MMO’s in the near future. V4 is definitely one of the better games I’ve played on mobiles and probably the best mobile MMORPG to date for me. For more information about V4, head over to the official website or follow the game updates on Twitter.
Written by: @ChrisJInglis