Sword of the New World:
Exclusive Developer Diary #3

Questions by Cody
“Micajah” Bye

Answers by Phil Maurer,
Operations Team Lead, and Jon-Enee Merriex, Senior Game Master

Next week, Sword
of the New World: Granado Espada
will open
its doors to the press and a few lucky members of the public. Dubbed
the V.I.P. beta, this event will last just ten days but is open to any
interested member of the press. We should see a lot of information
coming out during those ten days. Until then, however, Ten Ton Hammer
has received our third developer diary straight from the SotNW

This developer diary focuses on the stances and skills that
are going to be available in Sword of the New World. Phil Maurer,
Operations Team Lead, and Jon-Enee Merriex, Senior Game Master, join us
again to answer a few questions we raised about the use of stances and
skills within Sword of the New World.

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alt="A family takes on Dios Lantem"
title="A family takes on Dios Lantem" name="photo_j"
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Each class will have their own unique skill that is
available in all stances.

You have a selection of sample stances on the website, how many total
stances will players be seeing in the game?

style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(0, 0, 153);">Phil style="color: rgb(0, 0, 153);">:  It is hard to say
exactly how many stances we will have at launch.  We are still
figuring out a few of the balance issues on the Unique Player
Characters that gamers can earn in Sword of the New World. The Fighter
has over 12 stances right now, which all have different skills and
abilities.  The Scout on the other hand has the fewest at five
stances.  Three are unarmed stances based on different support
roles.   The two damage dealing stances are pretty
wicked and offer some pretty interesting trade offs for when you do not
want to use your Scout in a support role.

style="font-weight: bold;">Jon:  I
guess now would be a good time to introduce class specific skills, Each
of the five basic classes all have a unique skill that is available in
all stances.  The Fighter gets “Provoke”,
an agro management skill to pull monsters to him.  The Scout
on the other hand has the ability to heal in all stances, but will only
auto heal in two of the stances.

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alt="2 Musketeers attack" title="2 Musketeers attack"
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Even though these characters are both Musketeers, their
skill sets could be very different.

Are stances integral to success in Sword of the New World? Or are they
just a form of alternate advancement for characters that are looking
for a different sort of play-style from their characters?

style="font-weight: bold;">Jon: I will take a
page from Phil and answer this with a profound,
“Yes!”  From watching our testers play the
game, we have seen the stances used to personalize the characters to
match their play style. The fighter is so diverse that heavy
specialization in one stance will provide a much different character
then someone that specialized in another stance, or spread out leveling
across different stances.

style="font-weight: bold;">Phil:  One
of the great things about Sword is once you hit level 100, there are
still things to do.  You can go forward and start leveling
other stances.  A character that has maxed out multiple
stances will be more powerful in the PvP aspects of the game than a
character that only has access to one stance or has multiple lower
ranked stances.

Is the term “stance” just a variation of the MMO
term, “skill’? There are a decent number of
skill-based game systems out there…how does the Sword of the
New World system differ from those?

style="font-weight: bold;">Phil:  I
think that this may be one of the things that people are confused about
with Sword.  Each stance has skills within it.  As
you level the stance you can access more skills and have the ability to
put points into each skill making it even more powerful.

style="font-weight: bold;">Jon:  Sword
isn’t about just using your skills.  It is about
creating a family that melds the strengths and weaknesses into one
cohesive fighting unit.  Some games tend to force you towards
one role for your character and that is all you can do for the life of
a character.  Healing classes, are an example of
this.  No one really wants to play them as they are so hard to
level up, but they are in huge demand at all times for
support.  Sword breaks away from that. YOU get to create your
perfectly balanced characters by using the stance system and placing
points into the individual skills to increase the effectiveness of the
skills that you use.

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alt="A squad makes their way through the Tetra Ruins"
title="A squad makes their way through the Tetra Ruins"
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Instead of designing a balanced character, players will
need to build balanced families.

style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(0, 0, 153);">Phil style="color: rgb(0, 0, 153);">:  Fear my
“Earth Tremor!”

style="font-weight: bold;">Jon: 
“Deep Straight” FTW!

style="font-weight: bold;">Phil: 
Honestly, I think the two skills we just mentioned are a great example
of this; both of us currently are playing Fighters in our family using
the “Back Guard” stance.  I tend to prefer
the “Earth Tremor” skill because I like the AoE
knock back ability especially in PvP, although it does have great uses
during crowd control.

style="font-weight: bold;">Jon:  I
prefer Deep Straight because I like to focus on one character in PvP,
and “Deep Straight” does huge amounts of damage to
a single target.  This allows me to more effectively damage
bosses and remove the single character in PvP quicker.

style="font-weight: bold;">Phil:  Like
I said, it comes down to play style, neither of us has a better build
then the other…just different. And that is just with our
Fighters.  Don’t get me started on how my
Elementalist is better then his Musketeer.

style="font-weight: bold;">Jon: Whatever. I
remember our duel from last time (Jon won in a 3 out of 5 match). Want
to try that again?

all seriousness, I cannot wait until launch and see what the players
will come up with. I know I cannot wait to see the arguments on the
forums as to what is the best.  I think we will see some great
emergent gameplay in how players try to maximize this system, and how
quickly people come up with counters.

style="font-weight: bold;">Phil:  I
love the meta-game.

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alt="The City of Auch" title="The City of Auch"
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Players will always have new things to achieve and see
in SotNW.

How did the concept of stances first come about? Were your developers
looking for a way to add even more depth to the impressive amount that
you’ve already included?

style="font-weight: bold;">Jon:  I
talked to Hak Kyu Kim about this.  He said that they wanted a
new mechanic that no one had really done before.  He also
wanted a system that always gave people something to work towards.

style="font-weight: bold;">Phil: In other
MMO’s your skills are based on your level.  In Sword
they are based off of what you use the most.  Your character
will meld to you, and reflect you.  You skills are not tied to
your level like they are in most games.  This is not to say
that a level 50 with a maxed out stance will own a level 100, far from
it, but the skills and stances become much more powerful the more that
you use them.

style="font-weight: bold;">Jon: 
Another aspect of this is that you may find that you do not really like
the stance you are using or you realize that with the new Unique Player
Character you added, the stance and associated skillset have become
redundant.  So instead of forgetting the character and
throwing away all the time you have invested, just move to a new stance
that would better benefit your family.

Thanks for your time, and I hope we hear more from you guys soon!

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016