The More the Merrier
by Cody “Micajah” Bye
When dealing with MMOGs, people often consider certain aspects of these games to be the “traditional” way of doing things. The use of hotkeys, the idea of a customizable character, even some of the targeting methods have very embedded backgrounds. To many people in the industry, the idea of doing anything different is absolute nonsense. When many North American gamers first played Guild Wars, they were appalled to find that the acceptable way to move in the game was via point-and-click responses, not the common WASD method found in many of the other MMOGs of the day. Yet Guild Wars went on to sell over a million copies of their game, with more being sold every day.
Sword of the New World features an amazing stylistic approach based on old Baroque architecture.
But the stigma of the “original” way to do things continues to hang over the majority of MMOGs like a cloud of smog, blotting out any hope of a new ray of enlightenment making its way inside. Every once in awhile, however, a new idea breaks through that hideous cloud cover and blazes a new trail for other MMOG developers to follow. Sword of the New World: Granado Espada, developed by famed Ragnarok developer Hak Kyu Kim and published by Western importer K2 Networks, has landed like a meteor in the middle of the MMOG marketplace and has caught the attention of a fair amount of adventurous MMOG players.
Journeying to a New World
According to the developer log he gave exclusively to Ten Ton Hammer, Hak Kyu Kim first devised of Sword of the New World: Granado Espada (titled just Granado Espada in Korea) when he was traveling through Europe. After viewing the architecture and famous landmarks of the Western world, Kim proceeded develop a game that would not only be visually different, but would stand out from the pack in terms of gameplay as well.
What Kim devised was a world similar to America, where individuals are fleeing a land for the new world – Granado Espada – and you begin your tale as a hero in this world. Instead of the common high fantasy theme of many MMOGs, Sword of the New World (commonly abbreviated “Sword”) takes place in a world that is very Baroque in its artistic style.
In Sword, you'll create a team of three characters that you'll control, rather than one avatar.
Perhaps the most drastic difference in Hak Kyu Kim’s game, however, is encountered before you even step foot in the game world. As you begin your game, you’ll notice that instead of a common character selection screen, Sword has you create your characters in a “barracks”, which is part of your family’s mansion. When you first enter Sword, you’re asked to give your “family name” – or a surname in other words. Once that has been established, you proceed to create characters. Initially, your barracks can only hold four characters. For those of you familiar to the standard gameplay of MMOGs, that may seem like plenty of character slots to begin with.
In Sword of the New World, however, you are in control of more than one character at once. You’ll be controlling three. Utilizing an original and novel concept, Hak Kyu Kim developed the Multi-Character Control system that allows players to manipulate three individual characters at one time using a variety of mouse and keyboard maneuvers. Instead of developing just one character as your personal avatar, you can opt to create and control three at once.