A few days ago, I posted about Age of Wulin (CN) selling Closed Beta keys in packages over in China. This move left many players frustrated, given that the martial arts MMO is highly anticipated and already seen a few delays. Despite the hiccups, the community was very supportive and continued to stand behind the developer, Snail Games.
With much fury vented on various gaming forums, Snail Games’ CEO Mr Shi Hai (below) has finally spoken out on the topic with 17173, one of the country’s top gaming website. Do note that the English server for Age of Wulin will be published by gPotato Europe (official website).
Q: How did the plan of selling Closed Beta keys happen? Why aren’t they given out free like other games’?
A: Actually, the whole process of selling CBT keys isn’t complicated. We thought of opening the game and let everyone try it out right after internal testing, but we realized the need to conduct a large scale testing first (CBT) before allowing everyone in. Age of Wulin is highly anticipated and it is not a polished product, hence we need to do the limited testing first with the masses. But how do we choose who to play and test the game for us?
Many people believe that Snail Games have the ability and strength to make Age of Wulin a success. When players’ level of expectation meets what we feel the game should receive, we need to know how many players will be willing to fork out for a Age of Wulin CBT key despite Snail Games being “nothing”. We believe these users are the ones who support us the most, and on our part we will provide them with the best we can offer. These players will also be part of the community to help us polish Age of Wulin.
Some people are calling us money suckers, which is normal and we are fine with it. Everyone views certain issues differently. We feel that we have done nothing wrong and in fact we are “enjoying” this process.
Q: We (17173) did a survey recently and 66% of the votes did not accept Snail Games putting the CBT keys for Age of Wulin on sale. What is your thought about this?
A: This Closed Beta phase is quite complete (features wise). If players are not willing to fork out for a CBT key, they are not helping the game’s cause. And when such players are given free entrance into the CBT phase, they will only lament and rant about certain things which are not doing as intended. As such, having a certain restriction is a good thing. If they do not want to cross this “barrier”, they can wait a few months to play when the game opens up to everyone.
Why must we follow what other games do? We do not feel that anything wrong is done here. We are only looking for loyal players who are willing to buy a CBT key despite knowing the risks of testing a non-perfect version of the game. There is actually not much problem with this thinking from our point of view.
Snail Games is no doubt a proud MMO development company, we did not have glorious results in the past but we are proud of the choices we made. Why? Snail Games believe we are acting based on a common cause for the benefit of everyone, we hope players understand this.
Q: Do you feel the 2 packages (priced at 149 and 249 Chinese Yuan) are overpriced?
A: I do not want to talk about some details behind the plan or make players feel that we are just selling the CBT keys outright. Here are some facts. Each of the package contains a 100 Chinese Yuan top-up card, a 30 Chinese Yuan monthly card and various collectibles.
From the way things are at now, there might be a small chance of having no character and data wipes when transiting from Closed Beta to Open Beta. In order to let players try out the content which requires payment, we are going to give some rewards to them during Open Beta including unique titles and in-game items.
If the players feel this is worth the amount required, they are welcome to try the game out. If not, they can wait till Open Beta starts. This plan has not hurt anyone, we are doing what we feel is right.
Q: You talked about having no data wipe from Closed Beta to Open Beta. Is this detail confirmed?
A: Sometimes, due to the scale of the testing, there are data wipes when moving on to the Open Beta phase. Although the chances of having a data wipe for Age of Wulin is low, nothing is confirmed at this moment.
Q: Will all features be available in Closed Beta?
A: Of course. For the first client, all basic features will be available for players. I can confirmed that this Closed Beta phase will last longer than 2 months. If anyone is displeased about this arrangement, I apologize on Snail Games’ behalf.
Q: How many packages are you expecting to be sold out? How much CCU are you aiming for to view the CBT phase as a success?
A: We expect a high number of sales for the CBT packages. I urge everyone to embrace Snail Games’ stand on this Closed Beta promotion. We didn’t have a highly successful title before and developing Age of Wulin is risky for us as well, but we have confidence. A company without a mainstay title in the past selling CBT keys is unheard of in China, hence we are doing it. For the 66% who opposed this idea, I encourage them to think through carefully, do not buy if you cannot afford, but buy if you really like the game.
I don’t think the CCU or number of players online will be a problem. Age of Wulin is a quality online game, and the gamers have already bought the keys as well, it will be hard for them not to be online. This is also one of the motives behind the sale of CBT keys.
Q: In the packages, there is the 100 Chinese Yuan top-up card which more or less confirms Age of Wulin having a cash item shop. But will the actual game be using another type of payment model in order for players to play?
A: We are unable to officially announce the actual payment model yet. Over the months, some fees will be reduced, some will be increased and some other prices will be tweaked after discussions with the community. We do not want players to see Snail Games as a money-only company.