by Cody
“Micajah” Bye

In the realm of free-to-play games, no publisher is more respected than
K2 Networks. With a full stable of well-localized games and an
adherence to the free-to-play model, K2 Networks epitomizes most of the
things we look for in a free-to-play publisher; they have a variety of
free-to-play games in multiple genres, all of the games are translated
and localized well, and they work hard to crack down on gold farmers
and spammers. Really, it’s all anyone can ask from the
free-to-play provider.

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title="AGDC Pictures 018"> src="/image/view/11741/preview"

Phil and Cody give
the thumbs up!

One of the more recent games to fall into the K2 fold is style="font-style: italic;">Red Stone, a
top-down-view fantasy-based MMOG that’s trying to bring in
players that fell in love with games like style="font-style: italic;">Diablo, Baldur’s Gate,
or Fallout.
It’s reminiscent of an older style of gameplay, but it still
functions according to the precepts set by modern day MMOGs.
an interesting premise and one that could work for K2.

Since we’ve spent so much time at Ten Ton Hammer discussing style="font-style: italic;">Sword of the New World
and what that game has brought to the Western market, I decided it was
time to take a look at a different K2 game coming out. style="font-style: italic;">Red Stone
was my target, and I sat down with K2’s Phil Maurer to learn
I could about the game. With all the hub-bub of a conference going on
around us, we found a quiet spot in the press room and talked, in
general, about what Red
was all about.

Red Stone
is a low
system specification MMORPG that went into open beta about two weeks
ago [as of the time of the interview],” Maurer said.
“It’s free-to-play like all our other games and
support an item store. We may throw in some other goodies to help
people out that will be available in the item shop.”

At this point, I interjected and asked Phil what sort of items would be
available in the store, whether there’d be anything that
greatly enhance a player’s ability to advance in the game.
“There won’t be a +5 Sword of
Troll-Slaying,” Phil
said. “There’s nothing that you can buy that will
make you
that much better than anyone else. There are temporary buffs and things
like that; they may give you a slight edge, but nothing extreme.
Definitely nothing game breaking.”

Getting back to the play of the game, I asked Phil to continue on our
first line of thought. “It’s kind of a throw back
to retro
gaming,” Phil said. “It’s a third person,
style of game, meaning you look down on the player character and his
environment. It’s a huge quest-driven game with a lot of
but strangely no grind. Sometimes you see 100 levels listed for players
to advance on, and it’s quite difficult to get to the top. In style="font-style: italic;"> Red Stone, we
simply have an insanely big quest system that’s been
integrated into the game.”

Personally, I know Phil’s a big gamer, so I asked him just
much fun he’d had playing the game. “It’s
honestly a
lot of fun,” he answered. “I didn’t
believe how many
quests there were until I actually played the game. The graphics
aren’t along the same lines as a next-gen console platform,
there still is a lot of detail put into the game. You don’t
repeating textures or tile work that often, so it doesn’t
from the gameplay that much. It’s really just this cool, fun
throwback sort of game.”

“It’s a lot like taking one of your older RPGs,
like Diablo,
and putting it into an MMOG type environment,” Phil said.

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title="Bustin' up some training dummies"> sabprocessed="1"

A shot of some Red
Stone action.

General gameplay may be all well and good, but I know that the Ten Ton
Hammer readers are really interested in the nitty gritty. What are the
character classes like and what will draw people to the title?
“The character classes are very interesting,” Phil
“It revolves around shape-changing, so you’ll
always have
two different forms available to you. It’s really engrossing,
especially when you throw the story into the mix.”

It seems like story is the big draw for players these days, and I asked
Phil what the story in the game was really about.
“It’s a
lot like the Usual
Phil answered. “It’s a very involved set of quests,
story-driven. There are a lot of quests for players to explore, and
it’s definitely very engrossing.”

To me, it’s always interesting to find out where games
come from – or at least which markets they are the most
in. “Red Stone
is really
big in Japan,” Phil said. “There’s just a
bunch of
really new and interesting things that we’re doing in the
that nobody’s every done before. I don’t know
been said, so I don’t want to reveal anything, but
really cool.”

With the standard information and a general preview of style="font-style: italic;">Red Stone finished
up, I wanted to see if K2 had any sort of plans for the upcoming months
concerning their upcoming products or anything that they might want to
announce for their community.  “K2 has some really
interesting thing coming along that we’re going to be
very shortly,” Phil said. “We are going to continue
free-to-play and we’re going to push that on all of our

But what about Sword of
the New World
? Why was that game initially not
free-to-play like all the rest? “ style="font-style: italic;">Sword of the New World
was a hybrid, and we wanted to try that out to see how it
worked,” Phil said. “In the dissection of it, we
may have
done it differently, but we certainly didn’t intend to go
that path originally. I promise that that was not our plan to begin

“It really came down to a lot of discussion with our user
and some things we were seeing on our side,” he added.
figured out we could make money doing it the other way, so we made the
switch. It’s been going really well.”

Thanks again to Phil Maurer for taking the time to sit down and chat
with us! We had a great conversation and even had a couple of drinks
after the lights had gone down in Austin. K2 Networks is growing, and I
can’t help but see great things for the leader of the
free-to-play gaming market!

Ten Ton Hammer is your
unofficial site for href=""> style="font-style: italic;">Red Stone
and style="font-style: italic;">Sword of the New World
news and articles!

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’07 coverage!

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016