Thursday, September 3, 2009

Life After the Party Part 2/4

A long overview/review in four parts; part two.

Images in order from top to bottom. Top, a novice Granado Espada family of Scout, Musketeer, and Fighter outside a town; second, a mid-level team of Scout, Fighter, and Wizard in a dungeon; third, a squad (group of families) in combat against enemy mobs; bottom, another squad fighting a raid boss.

Designed by Kim Hakkyu, Granado Espada (known in North America as Sword of the New World) invited players to explore an alternate-universe reality, with a backstory mirroring the real Age of Exploration (15th to 19th centuries) and countries with similar names to actual nations. Players were invited to set sail from an Old World toward a New, forming "pioneer families" and conquering new lands.

The genius of the concept lay in the emphasis on the pioneer family. To bring that experience to life, the game was designed so that a single player could control up to three characters at once. Unique gameplay features made it possible for a player to either micromanage each of the three characters, or take control of one primary character while the other two followed AI commands.

In addition to making it possible for a single player to control a three-man basic adventuring party, GE also took a cue from the Final Fantasy titles, and allowed the recruiting of additional characters encountered throughout the storyline. Thus, the range of characters available for use expanded from the game's five stock classes to a wide range of other characters, each with his or her own specializations.

With GE already pioneering the MMORPG field in terms of one-player-multiple-characters gameplay, it was only a matter of time before other companies followed its lead. In 2007, another Korean gaming developer, nDOORS Corporation, took up the challenge, putting together the concept of its flagship title, the fantasy MMORPG Atlantica Online.

Part 1
Part 3

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