Interview: Dofus, the MMORPG that dares to be different

Dofus is an MMORPG from French developers Ankama. It comes in a free-to-play version, and a premium which is much larger. Massively popular in France, it has beautiful cartoon art and an original fantasy setting (yes that is allowed, World of Warcraft!).

Of all the bigger MMORPGs, Dofus is one of the more unusual. We talked to English Content and Community Manager Izmar and Marketing Manager Ingrid about the game, follow up title Wakfu, and its adaption from French into English.

Dofus is very humorous. Was it difficult translating jokes into English? How did you deal with cultural references?

Localization is always a challenge, but our translation team has that great combination of cleverness and creativity that keeps the game text lively and relevant, just like the French version. The translators always try to maintain cultural references when it’s possible for our English-speaking players to enjoy. If the French contains a reference that simply can’t cross the language barrier for whatever reason, they’re not ashamed to draw on American, British, or Canadian sources to make the players smile.

The MMORPG market is really well developed these days; what do you think makes Dofus and Wakfu stand out?

There’s several things that I think Dofus and Wakfu do particularly well to stand out from the pack. Obviously, tactical, turn-based strategy is still a relatively untapped well for MMOs. It’s a more thoughtful twist on the usual MMO-type of combat, which normally relies on speed and mouse reflexes for success so there’s a lot of appeal for casual gamers. At the same time, character customization is incredibly deep and varied, so the hardcore RPG fan will find a wealth of possibilities to explore.

Then there’s visual style. Ankama’s game art has always had a strong, individual look that is personable and friendly to those accustomed to anime and western cartoons without being a straightforward imitation of either style. The use of 2-D vector animation instead of 3-D or pixel-based animations allows the graphics to be beautifully fluid without a major drain on computer performance.

Finally, there’s the platform. Using Flash and Adobe Air has made DOFUS easy to access for players on any operating system. It can be used easily on a laptop or a computer that’s not cutting edge, making it accessible to a much wider group of players.

When is Wakfu being released in the US?

There’s no official release date available at this time.

The classes in Dofus have bizarre names like Feca and Sram Xelor. How did you come up with them?

Some character class names have hidden meanings if read backwards. For example, Magician Xelor is a well known brand reversed. The name of the healer Eniripsa is aspirin read backwards, etc.

For me, it’s the bizarre sense of humor that makes Dofus special, and it’s really worth checking out if you’re looking for a new MMORPG experience. Head over to their website to download the client and get started.

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