Article published on Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
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I was lucky enough to land an interview with Changyou’s Associate Producer for Zentia. In this interview, David Markowitz lets us know more about Changyou’s newest MMORPG Zentia!

Q: Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your position at Changyou (US).

I’m David Markowitz, the Associate Producer for Zentia. I’m in charge of scheduling and keeping track of most of the game development. Probably the one thing I do the most is communicating with all of the different teams to keep everyone aware of what’s going on.

Q: First of all, I would like to congratulate you and your staff on successfully launching (US) this year. You have already published 3 new game titles for the US market in just a few months of operation. Can you tell us a little about Changyou’s history, goals and vision for those who are new to Changyou?

Thank you! ChangYou headquarters is in Beijing, China and is a large subsidiary of Sohu. ChangYou has offices worldwide, and ours in the U.S. The company as a whole strives to make MMORPGs that are fun, attractive and user friendly. We are seeing exponential growth worldwide.

Q: Your newest game, Zentia Online is different from most MMORPGs I have seen coming from Asia. I don’t know how to describe the theme or world of Zentia. It’s not an anime is it? How would you describe it to your players?
Ha, yes, it is a bit difficult to describe because it’s so unique. It’s not quite anime, though it does have some qualities similar to some manga/anime like the cartoonish style characters and monsters. However, we like to think of the style as being more like a twisted fairytale. A reporter from a gaming site once said the characters are like a cross between the old Warner Bros. cartoon characters like Bugs Bunny and something from Tim Burton (the director of Beetlegeuse, Edward Scissorhands, Batman, etc.). I think that’s a pretty good assessment. But what’s really appealing about the game is that in addition to having a lighthearted charm, it also provides players with great hardcore features like huge raids, PVP battles, and an extensive pet and mount system!

Q: Tell us a little about the features and highlights of Zentia.

Well, as I mentioned at the end of the last question, Zentia has some great features that will appeal to both casual and hardcore players alike. For example, more than half of the monsters in the game can be captured to become your pet or mount. Pets provide stat bonuses and are used for autopathing to allow you to easily travel from one place to another or find a specific NPC. They also like to chat a lot and often make some hilarious comments about your fighting prowess. The mounts in the game are pretty amazing. Some are just for travel while others can be used in combat (even PVP combat), and many of them provide stat bonuses and can hold multiple players. There’s a dragon mount that can hold up to 10 players at once!

Then there’s the Heavenly Test, a community wide extensive system of quests and tasks culminating in a huge raid. The reason for the test is that there’s a level barrier at level 40 and every 20 levels thereafter. Players must come together to pass this test in order to unlock the next content. It’s quite an accomplishment for the players when the barrier has been broken, and as such, they receive special buff-granting titles as a reward.

Q: Changyou has stated that it specializes in the F2P (free-to-play) model on its website. Besides being free-to-play, what do you think is most important to running a successful game?

There are many components to running a successful Free-2-Play game. For a game to be successful, it needs two things: gameplay and community. You need a game that is fun and attractive to players through easy to learn gameplay while engaging. Community is also a big part; no matter how big and great a game is…without community/players support then the game will fail.

Q: Is there anything else coming up this year? Any new game titles or will we have to wait for next year?

Heh heh, I’d love to be able to divulge what’s going on behind the scenes, but I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait and see. I can tell you we do have some other projects in the works.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add or let our readers know?

Open Beta has begun! Lots of new content, especially for high level players, some of which is also very appropriate for Halloween. Speaking of which, we also have some great events planned for Halloween – some great tricks and treats for new players and veterans alike. So come join the fun!