Interview: Developers Of NosTale Are Geared Up For Second Part Of ‘Secret of the Undercity’ Update

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NosTale - via Entwell Co.

NosTale is an incredible anime Action MMORPG developed by Entwell Co. and published by Gameforge. It is set in a highly detailed world and features action-packed combat and strategic gameplay. With a variety of classes to choose from, NosTale is all about thrilling action set in a sweet, colorful anime world. 

Apart from the action sequences, the game also features elements that allow players to engage with the world. For instance, you can tame and train different animals that will aid you in combat. It all starts with the strategic connection with the detailed world around NosTale to achieve an ideal MMORPG experience. To expand on these details, we interviewed Product Manager Nyoka and Game Designer Jophiel of the NosTale over email. 

world of NosTale
NosTale – via Entwell Co.

Introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your work on NosTale.

Nyoka: Hello there, and thanks for the interview. Players know me as Nyoka, and I’ve been working as a product manager on NosTale for a couple of years now. My role involves overseeing various aspects of the game’s development, including content updates, community engagement, and monetization strategies.

I also work closely with the developers to plan, prepare, and roll out content updates while leading teams at Gameforge to handle all topics related to NosTale, ranging from game design and development to customer support, art, marketing, and communications. 

Jophiel: Greetings. I’ve been known by the players as Jophiel for many years now, and I serve as a Game Designer for the online PC video game NosTale. It’s a pleasure to e-meet you.

My role revolves around shaping the gameplay mechanics, world-building, and overall player experience within the vibrant universe of NosTale in close collaboration with Entwell, the game developers.

The game features a highly vibrant and colorful world that fits with the Anime MMORPG genre. What was your inspiration behind this unique world and its characters for an MMORPG game?

Nyoka: The inspiration behind NosTale’s vibrant world and characters stems from a combination of classic anime aesthetics and the desire to create a visually appealing environment for players to explore. Entwell, the developer of NosTale and our amazing partner, aimed to capture the whimsical charm often found in anime while also infusing it with elements that resonate with MMORPG enthusiasts, such as unique character classes, varied professions, and a whole host of challenges to face off against to attain valuable loot and rewards.

NosTale - via Entwell Co.
NosTale – via Entwell Co.

What was your approach to balancing the pay-to-win aspects of the game? How does it welcome new players to the MMORPG genre?

Nyoka: Balancing aspects in any game is always a delicate task, and when it comes to Free-to-play titles, even more so to ensure fairness and engagement from our players in a way that is congruent and helpful per the preferences and behavior of our community. 

Our approach with NosTale has been to prioritize fair gameplay. Together with Entwell, we’ve implemented various systems such as in-game trading, progression rewards, and events that welcome new players and emphasize skill development.

In your opinion, what sets NosTale apart from other MMORPGs in the market, and what do you believe are its greatest strengths as a game?

Nyoka: What sets NosTale apart, besides its cute but deadly aesthetic, is its blend of nostalgia with evolving gameplay. While many MMORPGs focus solely on either nostalgia or innovation, NosTale manages to strike a balance between the two.

Its greatest strengths lie in its diverse character classes, engaging content, and a vibrant community-driven economy that has kept the experience fun and fresh for our users for more than a decade now.

NosTale - via Entwell Co.
NosTale – via Entwell Co.

There are mixed opinions on the game starting slow. What was the reason behind designing the start slow while keeping the original nostalgia experience alive?

Nyoka: Not every server is the same, and while the standard approach of starting the game slow was rooted in preserving the nostalgic experience while also allowing new players to ease into the game mechanics, we frequently provide opportunities such as our recent NosFire event servers, which grant players the opportunity to level up faster and harder before transferring these characters to a standard server within their same user account. 

So, while we wanted players to feel a sense of progression and accomplishment as they journey through NosTale’s world, rather than overwhelming them with complexity from the start, we are also constantly monitoring our community’s behavior and input in our ongoing discussions as partners with Entwell so that we can provide “catch up” opportunities like NosFire in a more punctual and versatile manner to welcome new players or allow others to catch up to their friends ahead of exciting new content updates, much as we are now as we gear up to launch to the second part of last year’s largest content update titled “Secrets of the Undercity.”

NosTale has always been a nostalgic experience for most players, but it has grown over the years with new content added regularly. What are your thoughts on where the game stands now, and what are the plans for the future?

Jophiel: NosTale has evolved significantly over the years, thanks to regular content updates and community feedback. Our players mean a lot to us, and Entwell is not just a fun partner to work with, but they are also highly devoted to providing great user experiences for our players.

With such a vast multitude of players around the world, this can be very challenging, but oftentimes equally as fun in our quest to deliver quality content for our community at what we hope is a decent and enjoyable pace.

Nyoka: Currently, we’re focusing on refining existing features, expanding the game world, and introducing new challenges for players to overcome. Our plans for the future involve continued support for the game, including additional content updates and various events to keep the experience fresh and fun. We are also exploring other fun elements to expand upon for our players, including enhancing NosTale’s PvP. 

Jophiel: This includes not just catch-up servers such as the aforementioned NosFire but also smaller events that pop up on an annual basis, in addition to larger content updates that bring along new stories and challenges.

These tend to happen once or twice a year, depending on the size, but as they tend to be rather massive with elements such as new class options, new dungeons, new raids, and fresh content, we sometimes prefer to divide them into halves in order to optimize the user experience and player engagement over time.

Action-Packed Combat
NosTale – via Entwell Co.

Over the last few updates, the game heavily focused on adding new content. Are there any plans to enhance the graphics and visual aspects of NosTale to enhance immersion and convey a more serious tone to the game's battles and challenges?

Jophiel: The evolution of cosmetics within NosTale has been ongoing. From the simplest decorations to the intricate animations of specialist cards and wings, there’s a discernible improvement from when these features were initially introduced. While these enhancements may not revolutionize gameplay, they undoubtedly enrich the overall experience over time.

Nyoka: What truly distinguishes NosTale is its vibrant and enchanting aesthetic, reminiscent of classic anime, which immediately immerses players in its fantastical realm. The vivid landscapes and whimsical character designs establish an atmosphere that’s both welcoming and captivating for players of all ages and genders. It’s a game that appeals not only to families but also fosters communal enjoyment among friends.

We deeply admire the world that Entwell has crafted here. In essence, NosTale’s visuals are not merely distinctive—they’re integral to its identity, evoking both nostalgia and a sense of excitement for new adventures. While subtle enhancements can certainly elevate the experience, drastic changes feel unnecessary when the current visuals already contribute so significantly to the game’s enduring charm.

Gameforge has acknowledged the possibility of server merges, pending further monitoring of server activity. How do you think server merges will impact the game's community and gameplay environment?

Nyoka: Our team has been monitoring server activity and has acknowledged the possibility of server merges when and if they become necessary or beneficial for our user experience. Server merges, while a sensitive topic, can benefit the community by fostering a more active player base and improving matchmaking.

Nonetheless, they must be done in a manner that makes sense and timing always plays a crucial role in ensuring this is something positive for the community.

NosTale - via Entwell Co.
NosTale – via Entwell Co.

What were the major challenges involved during the development of NosTale?

For more than 16  years now, balancing the game’s 40+ different playable character classes, known as Specialist Cards, is one of the major challenges.

Each class has unique abilities and attributes, making it a complex task to ensure that all specialists are balanced and provide a fair and enjoyable gameplay experience for all players. Their feedback and frequent testing help us ensure with the developers that things remain balanced, dynamic, and fun.

Anything else you would like to share with the readers?

Nyoka: Yes! We’d really like to thank our dedicated community for their support and feedback, which have shaped the evolution of NosTale. Their voices help us better understand who and when we do certain things and when changing something is necessary and beneficial. Please keep your feedback coming! 

Jophiel: We’re committed to delivering an immersive experience for players old and new, and we are very excited to share with you some of the newest content coming just in time for Summer. Stay tuned for more!

NosTale is a free-to-play Action MMORPG, developed by Entwell Co. and published by Gameforge. The game was released on September 18, 2017 for PC.

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