On 16 May, Korean developer IMC Games implemented one of the largest game update for the global server of Tree of Savior. The update did not seem to introduce much new content, but rather focused on overhauling and tweaking game systems. MMO Culture talks to IMC Games on how all these came about, and what the community feels about the changes.
Q: Could you briefly tell us what the recent major update was about? Players might be expecting tons of new maps, new classes, new monsters, and more, but it doesn’t seem to be the case.
A: We did add new Hunting Grounds and new items to Tree of Savior with this update, but the focus was on revamping a lot of the game’s systems. Things like the formulas used to calculate skill factors, the effects of your character’s stats, the efficacy of equipment items and a lot of other basic game elements were all revised to a pretty significant degree.
We discussed the details of this overhaul at the Developer’s Blog in our official website (https://treeofsavior.com/page/news/view.php?n=920), so go check it out if you’re interested.
Q: Why the decision to release such an update? And how long has this update been in the works?
A: The way Tree of Savior combat formulas were designed previously made it so that some classes weren’t able to fully enjoy or take advantage of high-level contents. Canonically strong character builds would have it too easy, while your average character would struggle to even hunt for quest monsters. With the new changes in the combat formulas and stat calculations, along with the readjusted item factors and monster stats, we wanted to allow a wider range of characters with diverse builds to be able to play and have fun in the game.
For the future, we also have plans to update field bosses, Team Battle League matches and guild war contents to further up the quality of the combat component in Tree of Savior.
Q: How much of these changes are based on community feedback? Could you let us know the process of how community feedback reach the development team?
A: Some of the more specific aspects of the changes were based on the opinions of players, whereas basic combat calculations were reformulated largely taking in account the feedback from our own developers.
The process of applying feedback from the community to the game often starts with monitoring our official channels and the players in-game via the GMs, who relay the feedback to the developers. We can use that as a lead to research game logs before testing and applying any changes. After the changes are applied and players have had the chance to interact with them, we consider additional feedback to further tweak any details that may require some readjustment.
Q: Are all these changes exclusive to the global server? Or are they in-sync with the Korean and Japanese servers?
A: There are a few small differences between each region where Tree of Savior is serviced, but considering how the recent balance overhaul transformed such core aspects of the game, we thought it was only right to apply the same changes equally across all versions. This means that the big updates we applied to our Steam servers are in-sync with what we currently have in kTOS.
Q: Is there any specific group of players which will benefit most from this update? Does it affect new players playing Tree of Savior for the first time?
A: Most of the changes we made were focused on improving high-level gameplay, so we expect players in Rank 8 (level 280 and above) to feel the biggest difference, especially when it comes to clearing quests and farming solo. The new combat formulas also made things relatively easier for lower-level characters, however, so former and first-time players will find less obstacles to creating and maintaining viable characters compared to veteran players when they first started TOS.
Q: It has been 2 weeks since the update happened. How is the community reacting to all the major changes?
A: After the big rebalancing patch we’ve received some very positive reactions from players at the forums, Reddit, Facebook, in-game and all the channels where we monitor community activities. We were extremely glad to see the many players who made their return to Tree of Savior after the combat rework, and the many more who first started playing during this period.
There are still a few rough edges we need to polish regarding inter-class balance; that’s something we want to continue improving in the future.
Q: Which part of the update does the team feel can still be further improved?
A: At its core, the big combat patch wasn’t a content update, so we feel like that’s where we should head next. Specifically, we want to work on updating high-level contents, adding new classes and adjusting the setting of PvP contents in a way that feels more reasonable and convenient. Creating an environment where we can develop those contents and make them work was, in fact, one of the reasons why we started by rebalancing the basic combat components.
Q: If a former player returns to the game now, will he or she be confused with all the changes?
A: Well, considering the degree to which we reworked a lot of the game’s most essential systems, we do think it’s inevitable for a new player to feel a little confused by the changes. You might want to have a look at what other players are discussing at our official forums or the TOS subreddit and maybe ask for some advice there.
Q: What is IMC Games working on now for Tree of Savior, both short-term and long-term?
A: As we mentioned earlier, one goal of the recent changes was to allow us to update and create new content that the game can immediately adapt to. Following up on the combat reformulations, we want to work on complementing contents that rely on player-to-player interaction, which we feel are an integral part of MMORPGs on which Tree of Savior can still fall a little short. Most of all, we want to develop TOS into a game that players can take part in and enjoy for a long time.
Q: Could you tell us why former players should return to the game now, and why new players should give Tree of Savior a try after the recent update?
A: Many of the aspects where Tree of Savior was lacking, namely optimization, stability and bugs, have improved significantly. Also, besides the recent combat improvements, we’re providing special events to help new and returning players settle in, a free DLC which can be claimed by any TOS player, and a bunch of other interesting contents.
Plus, with the recent wave of new and returning players, we believe those in lower levels will be coming in at the right time to socialize and meet new friends in the community.