By Eric "Piestro" Cleaver

Lead Designer Akil "Lyndro" Hooper

With the announcement of Game Update 63: SKYSHRINE, players have been speculating on the details. In the interest of answering some questions that were on players' minds, I sat down with Lead Designer Akil "Lyndro" Hooper to ask a few questions about general design related topics for GU 63. We'll continue to get into the meat of this game update in the coming weeks with specific subjects like Tradeskilling and more.

[Piestro] I've been looking over lists of items included with this Game Update, it's a lot! How does it feel for you personally that GU 63 has gone to test?

[AH] I'm feeling good. We have a good bit of fun and interesting content going into this update, and we have a nice long time with the update on Test Server to respond to any issues and fix bugs.

[Piestro] The big thing that jumps out in my mind is the level increase. This is a little different than how we've released new levels before. What was the reasoning on the design side?

[AH] There were a few reasons. The biggest was that it opens up a lot of content to our players, aside from all the new content that we're putting in with this Game Update, the extra levels will give more access to more content for more people. We also wanted to introduce the new Prestige System (more on this below), and we needed levels in order to do that. As we increase levels past 92 in the future, we're planning on expanding the Prestige System, growing the trees and giving you more points to spend as you earn more levels, right now 2 levels and 10 points to spend gave us a firm base to build upon.

[Piestro] Is the level increase just for adventure levels, or are crafting levels going to be increasing as well?

[AH] Both Adventure and Crafting levels will be increasing.

[Piestro] Let's talk a bit more about the Prestige System. This is something brand new, and from the talk around the office, people are quite excited. What can you tell us?

[AH] We're considering all the adventure levels past 90 as "Prestige Levels." Each level is going to take more time than you are used to in order to complete and you're going to have to meet minimum AA level requirements in order to start earning experience past 90, but you're going to earn Prestige Points at every 20% (Every other "mini-ding"). Prestige Points are going to go into a new pool and be spent in a new tab. The Prestige Tab is split down two branches that we hope complement some of the different ways that players like to play the various classes in the game.

[Piestro] What message do you have for players while we wait for April 17 and the launch of GU 63?

[AH] We would love our players to play through the new content on Test Copy. We're looking forward to hearing the feedback and I'm excited to be able to offer so much great stuff as part of a Game Update for all players that own Velious. Please copy your character to Test Copy and let us know what you think: send us feedback, bugs, post on the forums, we're anticipating your input.

[Piestro] Thanks Lyndro!