A couple of days ago I came across a petition, it says, “Forbid Level Up! Games to publish Tree of Savior in Brazil/South America”. I got curious, so I did some research on the parties involved. I managed to contact the petition organizer, Fernando Marques who was kind enough to let me know what is going on in Brazil.
Before we dive into the interview, let us briefly introduce the accused. Level Up! Games is a company owned by Tencent, a huge Chinese media company. Level Up! Games currently is the largest online game publisher in The Philippines. Their business stretches across India, Brazil and South America, they publish approximately 30 games in Brazil. Apparently, it has gained quite a bad rep among Brazilians.
Interview with Petition Organizer, Fernando Marques
Q1: Good day Fernando, would you like to introduce yourself before we get started?
Hello, I am Fernando Marques. I have been playing Ragnarok Online since open beta. I am currently studying to enter Architecture University. I love to draw, collecting oriental weapons, playing MMORPGs and my Nintendo 3DS. I am usually “The Strategist” in my party, and I love to play with tanky classes.
Q2: I see that you are very much against Level Up! Games Brazil to host Tree of Savior. Can you tell me more about it?
I started Ragnarok Online with Level Up! Games since open beta and I watched RO become worse every year thanks to bot users and the excessive cash-based gameplay. In bRO, the gap between a regular player and a donator is so huge that there are even exclusive maps for cash players. Personally, I would rather P2P monthly than having to buy my leveling area.
Playing in Level Up! Games published games is like you are deep down in the abyss. The only way to get to the top is by cheating (botting) or tossing your money at the game. In addition, all of their games such as Grand Chase, Combat Arms, Perfect World are highly cash-based. If it wasn’t for Smite, Level Up! Games would have definitely been closed down in Brazil. None of their games have a decent amount of players anymore and the Game Masters (GM) don’t even care about hackers and bot users.
Q3: So how many players are there in bRO currently?
Including bots and merchants, there are approximately around 3k-4k players. We may have around 1.5k minus all the bots. In War of Emperium (WoE), you only have about six guilds with only like 20-30 members each. There are so few players in WoE that I don’t even need to raise defenses and prepare guild mates anymore. Only 150-300 players participate in WoE in bRO now.
Q4: I heard that bRO has one of the weirdest way to obtain MVP cards. Will you tell us more about it?
Do you know that MVP in bRO do not drop cards anymore? You can only get them via Cash Events. We have a special version of the MVP Cards, called Sealed [MVP Name] Card. It gives around half stats/bonuses and it is easier to obtain this card via donation.
Q5: So have you donate to the company before to gain these advantages?
Yes, 4-5 years ago, mostly because I wanted to get stronger without cheating and I don’t have a lot of free time. When I heard of Tree of Savior in December 2013, I quit playing bRO. Now I only play the game casually.
Q6: I’d like to know more about your petition. Tell me more about your petition. What are you trying to achieve and where are you right now?
Our petition is about forbidding Level Up! Games to launch Tree of Savior in our country because of its bad administration. We are looking for the highest amount of signatures to join us our case, because we believe that IMC Games wants to provide high quality MMORPG and they would not let a publisher ruin it. Currently, we have collected approximately 450 signatures from out of 600 members in our Tree of Savior group! But we are still aiming for a higher amount, so we could have a bigger impact.
Q7: I see that your target is about 500 signatures. Once you have achieved 500 signatures, what are you going to do?
Oh, no! The website automatically establishes the target of 500 signatures. We are aiming for somewhere close to 2000 signatures. When we achieve such numbers, we intend to contact IMC Games about our case, providing more details in case they need it, and hopefully, make them join our case.
Q8: Were there any news or tips regarding Level Up! Games publishing Tree of Savior in Brazil?
Well, we started the petition to prevent Level Up! Games to publish Tree of Savior. However, a couple days after we start the petition, a famous YouTuber rumored that a company would publish the game in Brazil (but did not specify which company). He also mentioned many times in the video that he was expecting the game to have good support and unlikely to be P2W, which are the characteristics of Level Up! Games. But we are not going to take that risk.
“A new and exclusive information for you, here’s the deal: I know that a company that is well-known for bringing MMO Games into Brazil and translate them (into Portuguese), will bring in Tree of Savior and Black Desert for sure.” – Marcelo (YouTube guy)
Q9: Are you getting any resistance from Brazilians regarding the petition?
Only a few Brazilians are against our case. Most of them work at the company (Level Up! Games) and some are players who have donated too much. There are newer players who do not get the point, but after reading the petition and listening to veteran gamers, they mostly support our case.
Q10: The petition forbids Level Up! Games due of bad administration as stated in the petition. Can you explain to us in detail how bad is bad administration?
All of Level Up! Games’ games are filled with hackers, bot users and cheaters, and they do not seem to take action against them. Not even their in game staff seems to care, which is sad. Their games are highly cash dependent, promoting imbalances to the community and taking away the fun of playing games, where you can only pay to win.
Q11: Besides Level Up! Games, are there any other better publishers (who takes care of players) in Brazil?
Sadly, no. Aeria Games is a little better than Level Up! Games. However, they do not have a big community and Tree of Savior would probably not be popular if Aeria Games publishes it. Combined with their bad support, they would probably end up shutting down their servers.
Q12: What do the Brazilians want? An international server or a regional server?
Considering that Brazil is a somewhat ignorant about eSports, I highly doubt that we are getting a high-level (proper) publisher anytime soon. So we are aiming for a server managed by IMC Games because they will probably provide good administration and if paired with a good game, it will be a gamer’s paradise.
Also in an International server, interacting with the whole world is not only fun, it is also challenging and a wonderful experience when you can learn about other cultures. We are also working on the Brazilian players’ re-education, to change the mindset of the “toxic players” through our Facebook group.
Q13: What are your thoughts on cheating players (Bots/Pay to win) and how do you plan to re-educate the toxic players?
Well, I do understand them. Most of them give excuses like “I don’t have time for that” and “There are no consequences, so why not?”, but what they do not understand is that their actions are unethical and not moral.
As for re-education, firstly, we introduce them into a community where the most active users are good players, not only in terms of ability but also have good heart and good will. The friendly environment will affect how they behave themselves, since being rude to someone would look stupid and unnecessary. Also, keeping them occupied with different topics about the games, about MMORPGs in general, makes them less bored, and therefore, they have less reasons to “troll”.
We also talk a lot about Tree of Savior being highly focused on party gameplay. This makes them think twice before disrespecting other members, because this person could be his party member in the future. Therefore, it is important to keep a good relationship with them. Since Tree of Savior is a new game, everyone is a rookie, so there isn’t all of this fight between veterans and newcomers (which really helps).
Q14: If you are to put in the shoes of the publishers, how will you manage Tree of Savior or other MMORPGs?
Even though I would love to make it F2P, it will be more realistic to go for a B2P model (like Diablo III) or P2P (like Final Fantasy XIV). This way, we could have a Cash Shop limited to costume items, which will not unbalance the game.
Plus, most of B2P and P2P games tend to have a fewer cheaters and trolls/toxic players. Because if you were banned, you would lose all of the money that you have spent throughout your journey inside the game.
Q15: What about cheaters? How will you manage them?
Once there are enough evidences to suggest a player who is cheating, I will ban the account and block the IP of the cheater. This is because there is no guarantee that the player will stop if they get one account blocked. In bRO we are used to seeing nine bots per computer/IP, which means, banning one of these bots wouldn’t be a big deal, but banning the IP would. Of course, there should be a way to unblock the IP via support when the player has cleared his conscience.
Q16: Alright, I think we are nearing the end of the interview. How can the petition supporters contact you?
The easiest way to contact me is via Facebook, because i keep it open the whole day, even when I am not at home. Our Facebook group is the Tree of Savior Brasil Group (Brazil in Portuguese is Brasil).
How to Sign the Petition?
Anyone can sign the petition (Brazilians or non-Brazilians). If you have the similar thoughts and experiences with Fernando Marques regarding Level Up! Games, just visit the Change.org’s Forbid Level Up! Games petition and put in your details to support them. You can also support this petition by sharing this article to your friends using the share buttons below.
In the comment section, let us know about your experiences with Level Up! Games and tell us whether you prefer an international server or a regional server.