The first beta for Nexon America’s Dungeon Fighter Online recently ended and like most betas it was an opportunity for the game production team to gauge what trends were developing and the players’ reaction. Dungeon Fighter Online is a 2D scrolling action MMORPG which recalls the arcade history of gaming in setting and art style. Though wildly popular in Asia, with more than two million users playing at once when combining the Chinese, Japanese and Korean services, the Nexon America team was most interested in how the U.S. players would take to the game. Once the beta ended on Aug. 3, the team sifted through stacks of data and discovered a few interesting things:
1. Guns, guns, guns.
No surprise, but American players love their guns so the Gunner character class was the most popular class played during the beta. We think the popularity of the Gunner is well deserved because if you don’t feel your heart swell when grabbing your Gatling gun and pouring a fountain of bullets into a pack of monsters, then you need to check with your mortician. Along with guns, the Gunner is an inventive class with loads of unique skills you might not expect to find in a traditional RPG environment... I mean, when you’re faced with a horde of pesky goblins, the sword seems like such a blasé weapon when you’ve got lasers and bombs and robotic helpers. Gunners also get an initial close combat skill -- an up close and personal knee to the midsection -- so they have something special for the enemies who survive their ranged barrage.
2. Holy warriors FTW
The Priest character class struck a chord with North American players; it seems like this character may be much more popular here than it is in Korea. It is not so much about religion, but I think that using a cross to smash demons back to hell plucks at a primal urge in each of us. Who doesn’t want to be the avenging angel?
3. Content is king
Never underestimate the players’ appetite for content. We put in a level cap of 40 for the beta test. While players didn’t hit it, it was quite impressive how much content some of the players consumed. It’s a good thing that we already have an amazing amount of great content for players post its initial launch. We were also happy to see that many testers jumped immediately into the PvP Arena, even at lower levels.
4. Looks like an arcade game, plays like an RPG– really.
We have been talking a lot about the arcade fighting style of the game but the data we received from the closed beta served as a proof point that Dungeon Fighter Online is played like (and also at its core) an MMORPG. We saw user play patterns that would correlate to MapleStory, including a lengthy average play time. It’s a good thing that DFO will be free-to-play, otherwise we’re talking about a lot of quarters if this was solely on an arcade machine!
5. Old school appearance brings old school players
This game appears to attract the core Nexon player and one who is slightly older. Typically, the average Nexon user is 13-17 but we also had an equally large number of the players in the closed beta who are 18-20 and older. We expected this game to resonate with old arcade players but it also has legs with the college crowd as well.