We find out a bit more on the latest massively multiplayer online game to make its way to the West from South Korea.
There’s no doubting the appeal and influence of massively multiplayer online games nowadays in the West, but in terms of numbers, we’re still a long way behind South Korea. World of Warcraft may boast 8 million subscribers, but Ragnarok Online has 25 million worldwide.
That game’s creator, Hakkyu Kim, has since created a new title, which is soon to be published in the US and Europe by K2 Network. Sword of the New World (Granado Espada in South Korea) is set in 17th-century Europe and is based on historical events surrounding the exploration of the Americas. To find out more about the title and what we can expect in terms of gameplay, we took some time out with Grantley Day, vice president of product development at K2 Network.
GameSpot UK: Asian MMOs rarely find mainstream success in Europe. Why do you think Sword of the New World Vis will buck this trend?
Grantley Day:Sword of the New World Vis’s multicharacter control, which is a concept familiar to hardcore gamers who love titles like Neverwinter Nights 2, will help players appreciate how revolutionary the title is, and we believe this will be one of the key factors that will help Sword of the New World Vis: Granado Espada buck this trend. Second is the visual appeal. Often Asian MMOs lack the finesse of western MMOs; however, Sword of the New World Vis is an amazing-looking title, and players will notice this the minute they enter the world.
GSUK: Who are you aiming Sword of the New World Vis at? Players of other MMOs or people who haven’t yet been bitten by the MMO bug?
GD: Sword of the New World Vis is aimed squarely at people who are familiar with MMOs. The pace of the title is fast, the diversity is massive, and the skill required to play starts easy and ramps up as you get more acclimatised to the concept of playing a team of characters with the multicharacter control. No doubt there will be people who haven’t yet been bitten; however, we don’t believe it’s our target market.
GSUK: How does cooperative play work in Sword of the New World Vis, given the multiple character control system?
GD: The cooperative play is similar to many other MMOs. You form parties, groups, guilds, and even factions; the advantage is that you don’t need to try to find a specific needed class, such as a healer, because most players will have a healer inside their family already. In addition, many of the dungeons and bosses require a party to defeat them, so grouping is still an important aspect of the game.
GSUK: What are the options in the game for crafting? And is there anything in the crafting system for Sword of the New World Vis that makes the game stand out?
GD: Sword of the New World has a strong crafting element within the game. For example, players can upgrade their favourite weapon with special enchantments during their levelling to allow them to keep the weapon useful much longer than it normally would be. Monsters drop a lot of crafting materials, such as different types of ore, and these materials are also used for creating traps, turrets, fences, and a variety of other equipment useful for player-versus-environment play, as well as player-versus-player play.
GSUK: Tell us a bit about the barracks system.
GD: The barracks or “quarters” as they are known in Sword of the New World Vis is a place for your family to reside. You start with the ability to hold five family members in your quarters, and as you progress through the game, this increases to the maximum of 36. When you enter Sword, you are asked to select three members of your family from the quarters for your day’s adventures.
GSUK: What can you tell us about the non-player character classes? How they will affect gameplay?
GD: Within Sword of the New World Vis, there is the concept of UPCs or unique-player classes. For example, the game contains the traditional fighter (and variants), wizard (and variants), healer-type classes (although our game’s healer is actually quite unique), and these classes have stances that represent their classes. An example of this is the wizard class, which has magical-type stances and forgoes the ability to use a sword or shield. Another example would be the fighter who has stances that allow him to use a sword, sword and shield, sword and dagger, or sword and gun; each combination of weapon has its own stance.
Sword of the New World’s UPCs have a unique combination of stances and access to special stances not found within the traditional classes. For example, a UPC might have access to the fighter’s sword and shield stance but will also having access to the wizard’s elemental protection stance. A UPC might also have his or her own specific stance, like an encounter shot, which is a special stance for using a bayonet and gives the UPC access to a weapon that can shoot (ranged class) and impale (fighter class).