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Been rather busy of late, but I have had a little time to play around with a few things, and one of those things was the game Sword of the New World (Granado Espada).  Haven’t gotten exceptionally far into it (and doubt I’ll go all that much further, to be honest), but I’ve already noticed a few design elements that caught my interest.

One big element that I’ve been exploring a bit is the very different “style” to the combat mechanic.  To me, it is reminiscent of Diablo: lots of relatively fragile enemies coming at you in large groups, one or two shots to kill, but there are so many that it can be fairly easy to be overwhelmed.  The pace is exceptionally fast and furious, as opposed to many of the MMOs I am more familiar with at least.

The characters generally auto-attack fairly effectively, leaving the player free to try to arrange for the use of special abilities to maximum effect, things like AoE attacks (Earthquake is my current favorite), shielding buffs, and so on.  You play 3 characters at once, each of which can have a half-dozen or so active special attacks/abilities at a time, so despite a seeming dearth of options per character, overall it works out fairly well.

Some things I’ve noted: there isn’t a lot of inter-player communication, despite the heavy reliance on auto-attacking.  I don’t know if that changes at higher levels, of course.  I suspect part of that might be simply a matter of being a little less than secure when under nearly constant attack. 

There is a small but noticeable amount of cooperation that occurs… I’ve never seen a single complaint about “kill-stealing”, despite a lot of co-locating to deal with particularly heavy waves of opponents.  Presumably this is at least partially a matter of knowing that many more targets are only seconds away from appearing, at most…

A tight grouping mechanic is not strongly encouraged as far as I’ve noticed, although certain “boss” monsters/encounters have gotten me an invite or two on occasion.

I happened to have a chance to be part of what was possibly a special event (not sure how infrequent it actually is) yesterday, where literal hordes (1000s?) of creatures were unleashed on several zones in succession near the low level city, and players were encouraged to “fight off the invasion”.  The sheer volume of creatures and players was such that even at lowest settings on a machine that can run Vanguard reasonably well, it was basically a slide show.  (Being level 20 against level 40+ foes meant I didn’t accomplish much either… except to add to both the lag and piles of dead characters.)

The combat itself is very flashy… opponents literally fly backward from a killing blow, lots of sound and fury with each attack.  It can be entertaining (in small doses) to just run into a large group of mobs, sit back, and watch the carnage unfold.

Overall, an interesting if somewhat frustrating game… the setting is actually one I’d be interested in exploring, a rather engaging treatment of the early colonization of the Americas so far.  Various translation issues, lack of clear direction on various subsystems like crafting and auctions, very small and constrained city instances, and somewhat abrupt transitions to and from timed instance quests are starting to take their toll on my patience, however… and the combat, while it was entertaining for a bit, is starting to get a bit boring as well.

I do like the music, tho.  And the costumes.

Damianov Family of Granado Espada

The Damianov family: Myridian, Demetria, and Christopher.

(I wonder exactly how silly I’d look in that Marksman outfit.  I saw a coat very much like that at the Renaissance festival on Saturday… 🙂 )

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