Junior Chieftain

Design an interactive pet character for Vindictus(MMORPG)

Spring 2013

Duration: 2 months

Company: Nexon Korea

Project Overview

My Contribution          Designed an interactive pet character as a game designer

Project Size                Team of 3 for 2 months

                                   1 Senior programmer, 1 Artist, 1 Game designer

Game Title                  Vindictus

Genre                         Online Action MMORPG

Problem Space

The underlying problem of MMORPG is that it is hard to make a sustainable game. Many users consume the predetermined content quickly and then quit the game because it is boring and repetitive. Developers were trying to update a new dungeon every quarter but it was hard to follow up on the user's speed.

So, our team needed to develop a new feature to retain our heavy users

and to attract new users for boosting our game community in a short time. 

Design Brief

Design a new pet experience that allows every level of user to engage and encourages them to play the game repetitively with a new fun factor.

It should facilitate the sociability between the game players 

so that players can get belong to the game community.  

Design Process 
Competitive testing

In Vindictus, there was a basic pet character 'Gremlin' that can aid the player in the battle. It can automatically loot items, attack enemies and provide helpful buffs to the player. However, players didn't like this pet that much. 

Shortcomings:
 

1. It was not obvious that the pet attacks enemies in the battle because the pet didn't have clear attack motions due to the limitation of the model. 

2. It didn't match with the game world very well because the gremlin was one of the normal enemies that the player didn't like and its appearance was very different from the pet. 

3. It was hard to check the pet's status during the battle.

4. There was no special interaction with a pet that players expected, so the player didn't feel any differences with other buff items.  

Pet Gremlin

Enemy Gremlin

Interview & Personas

I conducted the semi-structured interview with a few players, and build three types of persona that represent different groups of players, reflecting their characteristics, needs, and concerns, which helps me further ideate my concept.

1/3
Opportunities
New interaction
Sociability
Battle Helper
Design Concept

Designing an interactive pet character inspired by the concept of Gnoll Chieftain, 

one of the most popular boss monsters in Vindictus,

to provide fun game experiences to players through highly engaging interactions.

The interactive pet helps players attack the monsters in the battle, and expresses their emotions

such as anger, hunger, and pleasure as well as it has the ability to dance with the player

to increase personal intimacy with players.  

Hi, I am the original Chieftain!
Key Functions
Battle skills
1. Horizontal Hammer Strike
This is a signature attack pattern of the original Chieftain, and I chose the same attack pattern to emphasize the connection between the original monster and the pet.
2. Giant Hammer
This skill doubles the size of the pet's hammer, dealing increased damage to the enemies. There was a problem that the pet's attack motion was not noticeable during the battle. To solve this problem I created this skill to show them clear attack motion and it is also very visually intuitive to explain the effect of this skill (Double damage).
Emotion skills
3. Angry
If the player didn't do any action for a while, the pet expresses anger in a cute way. It can encourage players to play more games, and I also thought that this angry motion can make this relationship more realistic.  
4. Hungry
Players have to feed the pet to fully use the pet's battle skill. But the previous pet didn't have a clear indicator to let the player know their status. To solve this problem I added hungry motion to express its status to players intuitively.
5. Sad
When players died in the battle, the pet starts crying next to the player. It can strengthen the relationship between players and pets.
Social skills
6. Dance with players
Every character in Vindictus has its own dance moves and it is very popular among players to dance before they go to the dungeon. I thought 'dance' is the key factor to boost the game community.
Storyboard

I created a storyboard to provide an additional context of players showing the interaction flows between players and pets.

Final Product

Junior Chieftain

Monetization Strategy
Impact

: Anyone who has zero experience in VR

Post-Mortem

: Anyone who has zero experience in VR