Granado Espada, known as Sword of the New World: Granado Espada in North America, is a Korean fantasy MMORPG developed by IMC Games Co.,Ltd., and published in North America by K2 Network. It launched in the summer of 2007. Granado Espada won the 2006 Korean awards for Best Graphics and Game of the Year, with features previously unseen in an MMORPG (such as the ability for players to control multiple characters at the same time). Granado Espada features a unique art style based on the Baroque period of Europe, differing from the standard “swords and sorcery” fantasy themes of the genre.
The first English version of the game began Open Beta Testing on May 17 2007. Publisher K2_network announced in January 2007 that they would be bringing Granado Espada to the North American and European markets in Summer 2007 under the title of Sword of the New World.. The game was originally released under a pay-to-play model. On August 21 2007, Sword of the New World became free-to-play.
On the 10 August 2007, IAHGames, which the game is licensed to in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam, announced its business model for Granado Espada. Subsequently they informed players that on August 30 2007, the game would become commercial. IAHGames gave players a 90-day free trial if they achieved Level 20 by that time. New players have a free five-day trial period and after which, they are required to pay. On December 05, 2007, as with its versions in other countries, the game became free-to-play.
Granado Espada distinguishes itself from many modern-day MMORPGs with a Multiple Character Control, or MCC, system. Rather than playing one character at a time, or using multiple clients, players control a party of up to three characters , making gameplay similar to a real-time strategy game. All characters are assumed to be from the same family and are selected from the barracks one sees upon login.
There are various modes which control the party's actions:
Defend: Characters attack (and chase) any enemies who get close to them. (Healers auto-heal teammates.)
Hold: Similar to defend, but characters don't move.
Harvest: Characters pick up all items and loot while moving to a selected location.
Assault: Characters fight all opponents (resp. heal) while moving to a selected location.
Further, there are two ways to give orders:
Party: Orders are given to all characters.
Individual: Orders are given only to the selected character.
Dungeons in Granado Espada are interspersed between towns and generally composed of three to five levels with successively more difficult mobs.
Boxes and barrels are a unique feature of dungeons - and part of the anti-AFK features of the game.
They randomly spawn throughout the dungeon, and if destroyed they release a group of monsters to
fight the players.
Al Quelt Moreza and the Tetra Ruins - the first two dungeon's - final levels end with main quest storyline Mission Room for a single player, or a room in which a boss mob may be challenged by teams of players. Missions are instances, wherein players get their own "instance" of a specific map just for themselves, thus there can be several players attempting to kill a boss in a dungeon, each within their own instances.
There are Waypoints or (player chosen) save locations that players may teleport to by using a warp scroll. Five locations may be saved initially. Up to five more waypoint locations may be purchased from the Bazarre (Cash shop.)
Teleporters also exist to teleport you to fixed areas in the game, for a small fee. A new player is able to visit the three main towns (Rebodeaux, Port of Coimbra and Auch) from the beginning, and is not required to make exploration trips to find them. Both zone maps and a global map is provided to help players navigate through the game.
Quests are an important part of the game, though the quantity and quality varies at different levels. They provide some rewards such as "Vis" (the game's currency), experience cards, polishers, equipment or RNPC (playable NPC) cards. Various NPCs throughout the towns and in some dungeon locations may be spoken with to initiate quests, which, like in traditional MMORPG format, usually consist of killing a number of monsters and/or obtaining their drops.
Granado Espada has a main quest line that extends to the highest levels and zones: Bahamar Swamp and the Frozen Fields of the north. Access to the Ice Wizards Tower - currently the hardest area in the game - is only gained by performing the main quest line through to the frozen fields.
RNPC is short for Recruitable Non-Player Character. Andre, Claude, Jack and Idge are examples of this class of character. They give you a number of quests to perform. When you complete them all, they offer to join your family as a playable character. You receive their card, and then may create that person once, - and only if you have space in your barracks - and play them.
Polishers are a recent addition to the game. They are given as quest rewards and are turned in for powerful weapons and armour designed to help a player gain levels. Enchanting these 'Ancestral Items' with enchant chips is guaranteed to give four or five very good bonuses within set ranges. In addition, all ancestral items at levels 1, 20, 40 and 60 have the bases stats of items 20 levels higher.
One feature of stances is that stances which have the same equipment requirements can be swapped on the fly using the F5-F8 keys (alternatively, using the number keys 4-7). The musketeer's Standing Shot and Kneeling Shot stances are examples of this, as well as the fighter's Back Guard and High Guard stances.
However, stances are limited in that only particular stances may be used with a certain equipment type, e.g., a fighter wanting to use the Roof Guard stance would have to use a Great Sword, rather than a sword and shield. A stance is usable only when it is learned; unlearned stances are greyed-out and unavailable for use.
Critical reaction to the North American release has been mixed. IGN's GameStats lists an average rating for the game at 6.8 , which is also the listed industry average for all games at the site. Game Rankings has the game listed at a similar figure of 70%. Gamespot gave a rating of 4.0 (out of 10.0) citing "tedious quests and little payoff". IGN expressed similar concerns, noting the familiar grind between many other Korean MMOs. "You know, it's frustrating because as much as you want to like this game, unless Korean is your preferred flavor of MMO, you probably just won't."
X play on G4 gave it a 4 out of 5; Reviewer Adam Sessler was pleased, noting that out of all the free MMORPGs this one was worth playing, saying it was refreshing to have a setting other than a fantasy world, and citing the unique gameplay mechanic of the MCC system. PC Gamer magazine, also gave it a positive review, giving the game a 90% out of 100% rating, saying it "offered a fresh feel through small improvements and one substantial innovation" compared to other Korean MMOs.