Posted Wed, Jun 06, 2007 by Cody Bye
Free-to-play games are experiencing a tremendous surge of activity, with Asian developers jumping on the lack of AAA titles from the North American and European companies to push their own games on the Western continents. By partnering with publishers like gpotato.com, Codemasters, igg.com, Acclaim and games&games.com, Korean developers are making a killing by exporting their games to the West. However, many of these publishers aren’t taking the time necessary to prepare these games for the Western market, and they are washing up on the North American and European shores with shoddily translated text and horribly unlocalized gameplay.
A company that’s looking to change this habit is K2 Network. Instead of simply porting the game to the States with a flawed word here and there, K2 Network has been wholly localizing the game, adding more to character creation, storyline, and adding all sorts of new material.
When Ten Ton Hammer was given the opportunity to preview Sword of the New World: Granado Espada, we graciously accepted and have provided you with an in-depth preview and some un-cut screenshots for a better view of what your screen will look like in-game.
The MCC system is a crucial element of SotNW.
Before the details of the game are laid out in this preview, it’s important that the readers understand a critical element of the Sword of the New World formula. When he was creating the game, Hak Kyu Kim wanted to give players more choices than what was currently being offered by Eastern and Western MMOs alike. Taking this into account, Kim and his team at imcGames created the Multi-Character Control (MCC) system, an interface that allows you to control three separate characters and unique characters at once.
Why did Kim create a system like this? In his developer diary that is featured on Ten Ton Hammer, Kim answers this question in his own words:
“What inspired the development of the MCC system is I wanted to deliver what most MMOs were lacking, which is the opportunity to party play.
When the user wants to party play in the game, they will have to open several clients to create different characters in one game and play with all of the characters together. So, the original RPG party play problem is solved because users would be required to form a team with different character roles.”
The MCC system is inherent in almost every aspect of the Sword of the New World and it is an integral part of the gameplay. Only with this fact in mind can you grasp the essence of SotNW.
Character creation allows you to create a whole handful of characters, like this female Wizard.
When you start the game, you’re presented with a character creation screen that echoes the rest of the gameplay you’ll find in Sword of the New World, similar, but strikingly different. Instead of being in a neutral environment of some kind, your character is actually standing in your family’s “house”. Your house will serve as an out-of-world storage point for all of your characters. You can select them from here and choose which area you’d like to start from.
Like many Asian MMORPGs, Sword of the New World initially had a very limited character creation process. While Asian gamers tend to be more concerned with achieving unique looks through in-game items or cosmetic improvements, the Western culture wants to look cool immediately and part of the localization process in SotNW was enhancing this area of the game.
After playing an Australian version of the client (that wasn’t published by K2), I can only agree with their decision to enhance the character creation process. The only choices in the original version were your character class and your gender. That’s it. Anything more than this is an improvement and K2 Networks has been ardently trying to improve on this area of the game.
Traveling in SotNW is always treacherous.
With or without that improvement, you still feel quite content after creating your characters. Even without a unique face or clothing type, you aren’t stuck with only one character to play with. You have a whole family made up of men, women, musketeers, fighters, and more. This makes a world of difference.
In most other MMORPGs, you rely upon your singular character to provide you with a sense of uniqueness in the game. Sword of the New World takes that concept and turns it on its head. Rather than create one character “persona”, you create a “family” where all of your characters are branded with your selected surname. For example, if you select the name “Longrunner”, all of your characters will have the Longrunner surname (Micajah Longrunner, Ethec Longrunner, Boomjack Longrunner, etc.). To a degree, this takes away some of the sting you might feel in any other game. Just change out a character if you’re getting tired of your selected group.
Once you’ve generated your characters (and you can make quite a large number), you then must select three members of your family to go into the game world. This decision is as hard or easy as you want it to be, but you’ll probably find your favorite combination of characters rather quickly as you determine which class does the most damage, heals the best, and can take the most punishment.
The classes are broken down as follows: Fighter, Wizard, Scout, Musketeer, and Elementalist. While some of the classes fall into particular MMORPG molds (the Fighter is still the toughest character in the game) they also break those molds to some extent by employing the stance system.