Dofus Touch Interview: Is this global relaunch worth a second look?

Dofus Touch Interview: Is this global relaunch worth a second look?
  • An MMORPG that you don't need a group to play
  • Embrace your inner craftsman without fear
  • What does the future hold for Ankama?

As a young, yet still inconveniently tall, teenager I was massively into Ankama games, Dofus more than anything. I remember after high school rushing home to log back on my Ecaflip to once again trust my battles to RNGesus. They were good days, and with the global rerelease of Dofus Touch, the good times roll again.

With any release, you have to wonder just what actually has changed, and how will things be different this time. Valid concern, and luckily I recently had the opportunity to speak with two members of the Dofus Touch team to ask a few questions and see just what exactly this new lease of life holds.

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Please could you introduce yourselves and your role on Dofus Touch?

Yawn: My name is Samy Guinet-Arrio; our players know me as [Yawn]. I’ve been working on DOFUS Touch since 2017. I’m the lead Game and Level Designer for the project. As lead Game and Level designer, my role is to define the vision for the future of the game in terms of content, features and player objectives; I also federate the other designers around a consistent production pipeline.

In terms of production, my main activities are system design (that is, defining the rules and mechanics for new content ideas), balancing classes and monsters, and monitoring the in-game economy.

Wyze: Hello, I'm Valérian, also known as [Wyze] in the community. I’m Editorial Manager for the DOFUS Touch project, as well as the Wakfu game. To sum up my work; it involves organizing various communication elements so that our players have the best possible experience while playing our game!

Since Dofus Touch is being branded as an MMORPG, what does future support look like for this title? Will there be events, future story expansions, or new dungeons?

Y: We usually release 3 to 4 major updates with new content every year. The next update will focus on the end-game content with a new area and dungeon, plus the addition of new super-rare loot to obtain in already existing content. We try to focus on different kinds of players from one update to another. Last year and the beginning of 2024 were really focused on the early game and on PvP, so this year should bring really refreshing content for more advanced players. On top of all this, our Community Managers put on regular events for our player communities.

W: All of them! DOFUS Touch is a mobile game that benefits from Ankama's experience with other games, and the passion that the team puts into it. As we all are, and used to be, DOFUS players, that's why we are so close to our community. So we’ll be doing a lot of community events for the community on top of what the game designers are working on.

Play with others Obviously, playing with others is a huge part of MMORPGs. However, some players do prefer a solo experience. Is Dofus Touch completely playable for those who want to go it alone, or will there be a time when you will need to team up for tougher content?

Y: Most of us started playing MMORPGs a while ago when playing in large groups was mandatory to complete the content. Despite a bit of nostalgia for that time, we don’t want to force players to play in groups if they don’t want to, so we try to adapt the content so it can be done solo while giving players as many tools as possible to interact with others when they want to do so, with features such as group search, guilds, alliances or even a directory of artisan. Some content will still require groups to be completed of course, but most quest progression is designed to be accessible in solo.

One of the most beautiful parts of the game is that you can progress or get rich (in-game) with a wide range of different activities, and almost everything can be traded with other players. This means that if you don’t like some specific content, someone else will and you can buy those resources from them, while selling the output of your own activities, the ones that you enjoy doing.

W: This is even more true for a mobile MMORPG! And it's totally the case. We know we need to satisfy two player types: those who play short sessions alone whenever they have some free time, and players who play for long hours with their friends and guild. So DOFUS Touch content is working towards being fun for both types of players.

Availible Classes Ankama has used the same suite of classes across their games, but how difficult was it, and how did you approach, rebalancing these for an MMORPG to make each class viable endgame?

Y: Classes are not tied to highly specific, specialized gameplay in the Ankama universe. Instead, they belong to the lore and we try to respect that, of course. But if we want to make the Cra (archer class) shoot arrows at short range, we can!

With 21 initial spells per class, and additional spells you can get along the way, each class has a wide range of options, some stronger in PvE and others in PvP. The biggest challenge was to make every class fun and viable when playing solo, especially healers. We had to find new ways to support your team or heal them while taking part in the battle at the same time.

Class balance is always a super exciting challenge, to be honest, and we’re always looking forward to the next balancing patch to bring ideas to life. The other thing we really try to take care of is more device-oriented. By that, I mean how easy it is to play on a small device. I can’t tell how many super fun ideas we’ve had to drop because they were way too hard to play on mobile, like the Eliotrope portals on the PC version that let you teleport the effects of your spells across the map.

W: The essence of each class is similar across our different games, but they are used differently from one game to another. We base our balancing and class revamps on player experience and data we get from them. When a spell is unpopular, we try to improve it, but we always take the players into consideration, through our discord server for example, but Reddit and other platforms are also useful.

Late Inventory Speaking of endgame, what can the elite players expect after finishing the story?

Y: First off, on the narrative side, the story in DOFUS Touch is nowhere near over, and we already have more ideas for what will be coming after that when it’s done! In addition to the narrative itself, there are various activities in PvE and PvP for the endgame. For PvP players, you can grind the Kolossium ladder in 3vs3 matches or 1vs1 matches on your server, and you can also take part in larger inter-server tournaments every year with the elite players from each community.

We’ve also got competitive PvE players covered with Ascension Island, massive dungeon-like content with scoring mechanics to get a chance to win rare resources, exclusive titles and ornaments, and a showcase interview on our website with the best interserver teams for each season. One of the players has won so many times that he even has his own NPC in the game now! We also have crafters covered since each update brings new items to craft so they never ran out of business either.

W: The adventure of an MMORPG is partly about the story, but mostly about what you will experience with the different people you will meet. And also... by pampering your character because we all want the best version of ourselves!

PvP Combat For competitive players, can you tell us more about the guild combat? What does this entail, and will there be future tournaments hosted?

Y: Tournaments and guild combat are two separate things. We have two main kinds of official tournaments. One is called the All-Star Touch, where you have to qualify with your own character and equipment, and the other is called the Abyssal Joust where you have free access to every item and class in the game to show your skills.

The guild and alliances battle is more focused on in-game benefits as you can control some areas of the game to get resources when any other players fight in the area. The fights are also in a slightly different format with 4vs4 or 4vs5 fights for guild battles and a King of the Hill system for alliances.

For solo players, there is also the faction battle, called alignment, between two big cities: Bonta and Brakmar. The fights are wild PvP content where you can fight from 1vs1 to 4vs4 (and they do not have to be fair fights!) and rise in the ranks of your city’s honor system. Basically, all together with the 1vs1 and 3vs3 arena fights in the Kolossium, Dofus Touch offers a lot of different options!

W: We have competitive modes for PvP players and for PvE players. For PvP, we offer modes in 1v1 and 3v3, but also regularly organise tournaments and a major tournament, the World Championship, which takes place every year! And for PvE, we have different seasons of Ascension Island where the most strategic players ascend the floors in the most optimized way possible.

Gathering It is always fun to do your own crafting and gathering in MMORPGs, with Dofus Touch having a huge 22 available, excluding the Smithmagus specialisations. Some companies do make their crafters redundant by outclassing the items in their elite boss drops. What steps were taken to keep Dofus Touch crafting classes relevant to the late-game content?

Y: While some items can be obtained through monster fights as a rare drop, most of the top items can be obtained only through crafting with resources accessible through various content, both PvP and PvE. This way, crafting will always be the best way to stay on top. We have legendary items that you can only get by defeating monsters, but they don’t replace other items, they can be used as an optimization and specialization lever in addition, without competing with craftsmen’s work.

W: In DOFUS Touch, you loot exclusive resources from monsters and dungeon bosses, which are useful for crafting items. So you need to have good friends (or be one yourself) who are artisans to craft all the items in the game!

With most MMORPGs demanding a subscription to play, Dofus Touch has taken the free-to-play route, and there don’t appear to be any broken shop items to boot. What prompted that decision?

Y: Like all developers, I imagine, our main goal is to share our game and passion with players, and we felt that asking for a subscription on a mobile would be a high hurdle, when many great games are released every day. We were confident enough to think that once players have seen what the game has to offer, they will be likely to support us by getting their hands on cosmetic packs or Bonus Packs (optional subscriptions) to get more in-game comfort.

Hard currency can still help to get items, but you can only buy them from another player so using hard currency to get items will always benefit the global game economy, as you cannot buy an item or resources that was not created by someone else in the first place. We always try to have the smoothest possible experience for players whether they want to pay or not, so we strive to avoid FOMO (i.e. Fear Of Missing Out) content or limit it as much as possible. We strongly believe that frustrating players is not a smart way to turn a profit and keep players happy over the long term.

W: As mentioned earlier, we are players first and foremost, so we spend long hours in meetings to find the best balance that will make the project profitable without seeing what we wouldn't want to see in the game as players. That's why you'll rarely find mechanics that force you to log in every day or other such ideas.

Building With Dofus Touch being relaunched, have there been any internal rumblings about reviving WAKFU Raiders or developing another mobile iteration of WAKFU?

Y: I wish I knew! I really enjoyed my time on Wakfu Raiders before I worked here, trying to reverse-engineer the formulas to get the best possible teams.

W: It’s not our current list. Our current focus is on the Dofus brand, with its 20th anniversary this year and the Unity version releasing EOY, as well as Waven’s launch coming soon.

Ankama seems to be experiencing something of a global resurgence with Dofus Touch on mobile, Wakfu series 4 coming to Netflix, and Waven bubbling along on PC. What is next for the company and its Dofus universe?

Y: Ankama always has projects running or about to release, whether animated series like Wakfu, movies like Princess Dragon (released in 2021), boardgames, PC or mobile games, manga, or more. Some projects bring more attention than others, but don’t be fooled. Ankama’s teams never sleep and always have something in the works for you.

W: We are lucky to be a creative company, always with ideas and the desire to take our universe even further, and make it available worldwide for everyone to enjoy. DOFUS Unity will be a big milestone this year as we will also relaunch it with a port to Unity, improved UI, performances… Our Wakfu MMORPG also had great success a few months ago with the launch of a new mono-account server, gathering hundreds of thousands of players, mainly from France and Latam. We also have a significant English community in Wakfu, and we want to get the word about how much Wakfu has evolved since its initial launch.

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Shaun Walton
Shaun Walton
Shaun is the lead contributor on AppSpy and 148Apps, but sometimes pops up on Pocket Gamer just to mix things up a little bit.