Over the course of the last few years, the ideas of ‘Remaster’, ‘Remake’ and ‘Classic’ versions have been a growing trend in the gaming industry. In 2019 alone, there was a massive revival of old titles, recycled with a few HD adjustments to send another wave of money flying towards the developers and publishers of such classics.
With FlyFF, on the other hand, we have been hearing for many years now that everything was better in the old days. Whether a ‘Classic’ version of FlyFF would fill up the servers again in the long run is our topic for this edition of the column.
‘Remakes’ and ‘Classic’ versions are part of a trend
2018 and 2019 are seemingly the years of the ‘remakes’. Developer studios are throwing their shining classics from old console generations onto current systems. Even some MMORPGs are hopping on-board the hype train. Jagex Games Ltd. for example released an ‘old school’ version of Rune Scape. Industry giant Blizzard took the chance as well and released ‘World of Warcraft Classic’ about a month ago.
It was the release of WoW Classic in particular which made the voices inside the FlyFF community rise again.
FlyFF players and nostalgia
Even before the current massive retro trend started, voices asking for an old-school version of FlyFF were raised once in a while. Asking FlyFF veterans, one would usually get one and the same answer: FlyFF v7 was the best version and made players have the best time. But could it be that the players’ nostalgia goggles are a bit too thick?
We can only speak from personal experience on this matter. Although we, too, think that v7 was the best time to be had in FlyFF, we are uncertain whether this concept would still work today.
The WoW Classic bug has bitten us as well. As old veterans of the genre, it spoke to us and reminded us of old and great times. But reality now is much different than it was back then. We are all about 15 years older and have reached a different chapter in our lives, with different perspectives and priorities. Although we do like the concept of the Classic version, we doubt we would be able to muster up as much free time as we were able to 15 years ago.
Many people want to believe that, to bring back the same old feelings, all that needs to be done is to provide the same product as it was back then. That, however, is a fallacy. The personal circumstances of that time play a huge role as well.
The difference between FlyFF then and now
Looking at World of Warcraft, the difference between today’s version and the past Vanilla version are blatantly obvious. Over the past 15 years, an amount of new content has amassed which is huge enough to knock anybody’s socks off in comparison to the Classic version. But what about FlyFF?
Effectively, the differences would not be that huge. Admittedly, FlyFF did get new world areas, premium areas and dungeons over the years, but do those really have that much of an impact on the current state of play? The biggest difference – as to be expected with a free-to-play MMORPG – would be the possibilities present to upgrade your equipment: weapon piercing, awakenings, Blessing of Goddess, Baruna upgrades and so on.
To that effect, the question of whether a Classic version would be necessary in FlyFF’s case should be raised. Instead of the premium areas, leveling can be done in the openly accessible areas of Madrigal, awakenings and other extended upgrades can be left out. Looking at the story alone, not much has changed since v7 anyways. What exactly would a Classic version be good for, then?
What FlyFF players are really missing
Following our assessments up to this point, the necessity of a FlyFF Classic version is being called into question. As a typical Asia-grinder, the quality of life changes are probably one of the reasons why the game is able to barely survive on the western market even today.
But actually, there are a few things which have found their end with v7 and are dearly missed. Among them is the old PK system, which turned FlyFF into a bounty hunter simulation. We look back fondly on this time and this feature.
Furthermore, we believe that the simplicity is missed as well. A level-cap of 120, upgrading weapons, armour parts and elements capped at +10, no accessory upgrades, no awakenings, no Baruna weapons, no piercing weapons and shields, no fusion weapons; the list goes on.
Life in FlyFF was simple back then, but lacking in variety.
Would FlyFF Classic even be possibly from a technical standpoint?
As romantic as the theory may look through nostalgia-tinted glasses, the question of whether a Classic version of FlyFF would be doable technically needs to be asked. A while back, this topic was discussed once again on the German Discord server. FlyFF Moderator Amenofus uttered some concerns regarding the technical realization of a Classic version.
The points he has touched upon stand to reason. Furthermore, it is unknown whether the developer Gala Lab has archived the old source code. After all, the old version from the year 2007 has to be adapted to the technical standards of today… right?
Filipino publisher unknowingly released a Classic Version of FlyFF
In the year 2014, the former publisher ‘Level Up Games’ terminated the service for the Filipino version of FlyFF. Just last year, publisher PlayPark took to the stage and managed to relaunch the Filipino FlyFF servers.
Although we can only speculate here, we believe that PlayPark purposely asked the developer to leave out a few features at the start of the Filipino version, so that they would be able to regularly provide new – already known to us – content for their version.
Presumably, no older version of FlyFF was released in this case. Primarily, the current version was taken and adapted, as in current features were simply removed. These features would be added back into the game as ‘new’ content over time. Unknowingly, PlayPark created the spirit of a FlyFF Classic version, even if it was not planned that way.
Would the FlyFF PlayPark version work for us?
The example of publisher PlayPark shows that – at least in theory – a kind of Classic version of FlyFF without extremely high effort would be possible. However, would this really work for us?
It would grant us a ‘simplified’ version of FlyFF, reminiscent of past times. However, that opens up a new set of problems. Would the players today really want to give up on all of the quality of life features? No Buff Pang, no Rental Pang, no premium areas, no Q-Amps, no tanking, to power-boosting.
Players seem to be lacking the patience to level up their characters even today. Most of them only level their characters if an EXP event is active, and even then, not without Q-Amps. Otherwise, ‘it does not pay off’, as is often heard when players are begging for new EXP events. And now, these players want the old FlyFF feeling to return? Complete, with all the hardcore grinding sessions and much more? It just does not seem convincing to us.
Also, a FlyFF Classic version would primarily bear disadvantages for the publisher. With classic free-to-play MMORPGs, most of the revenue is made by offering options to upgrade your equipment. As stated previously, a Classic version would not include many options to do so and a lot of protection scrolls and similar things would have to disappear from the Cash Shop. As a profit-oriented publisher, I would not see a reason to tackle such a project.
We, too, remember the old v7 FlyFF times well and celebrated them. We just do not believe that FlyFF would work well today in its past version. We do miss the old PK system; the extremely drawn-out and monotonous leveling on the other hand, we do not miss.
MMORPGs are on descending branch anyway and the zenith of Asian grinding MMOs has long been passed in the western world. For this reason, we do not believe that a v7 Classic version of FlyFF would work in the long run.
We believe this topic to be heavily debated, so we would love to hear your stance. Do you think a Classic version could repopulate the FlyFF servers permanently? Could you do without EXP scrolls, tanking, power-boosting and premium areas? Feel free to leave us a comment!