As you may or may not know, Sword of the New World: Granado Espada has recently gone free to play. After only a month of retail, K2 network decided that a monthly fee was not the way to go, and changed to a full micro transaction. this is really a missed opportunity, had the game been advertised as free to play from the very beginning, the game would have probably caught a lot more interest.
Now if you look around on different forums and boards, you will find a lot of "K2 network bashing". K2 network scams, has bad servers, bans posters on forums and will claim your first born child. Now after having played SotNW back in beta and retail, I found out that most of that is not true. But today I found out that K2 network made its first big mistake with Sword of the New World.
Sword of the New World is not really a social game, thats probably because there is really is no reason to socialize. I personally blame this on the lack of grouping content. There is a serious lack of group based dungeons and areas in the game. If the game had some more group focused environments in the game, players have more reason to socialize with each other. Another reason is the competive nature of the game. When you see another player walk into your hunting spot, you don't think "Ohhh, how nice, another player..maybe I should group with him?"No, you think "That bastard is taking MY mobs damnit". There are 3 things you can do. Live with it, Move to another channel (Similar to Everquest 2) or beat the living crap out of him in pvp.
K2 network noticed that the community was pretty quiet, so they decided to live things up a bit.
They thought it was a good idea to close 2 channels and jam all players in one single channel in order to socialize with each other and to establish new friendships. (Really, I'm not kidding: http://forum.swordofthenewworld.com/index.php?showtopic=9508)
Sword of the New world has a very linear world. there are a lot of maps, but each map is really small.There is only one map for each set of levels (Say, map 1 = lvl 1 - 5, map 2 = lvl 5 - 10, etc). thats right, only one. thats why the game has 3 different channels in other versions.
The reason the game is so fast paced is because there are so many monsters to kill due to the high spawn rate. the "goal" is to kill mobs as many mobs as possible with different skills and abilities. Its the fast paced gameplay that makes the game fun. But in order to keep that fast paced action, every player needs enough mobs to kill, If there are not enough mobs to kill, the pace will go down significantly. Because everyone is jammed in one channel, there simply aren't enough mobs to kill.
But as if that wasn't bad enough, K2 network made this change at the same time as the game went from pay to play to free to play. So not only is everyone stuck in one channel, there is also a huge wave of new players joining the world. And to finish the chaos, a whole load of chinese farmer bots made its way to the new world.
Yeah, I'm sure that will establish a whole lot of friendships Mr SotNW producer.
So the result is that the fast paced action is simply gone. whats left is an auto - attack afk grind fest because there is no reason to use skills. there are simply not enough monsters, its to crowded.
I mean, seriously, what were they thinking? The fact that this is done at the same time with the recent free to play change is just a horrible idea.
According to K2 network: "Also, we have currently reduced the number of channels per world to 1. This is so that we can closely monitor and encourage the growth of the in-game community."
I honnestly don't understand why you need to jam everyone in one spot to closely monitor the growth of the community, and I'm sure this change didn't help encourage the growth of the in - game community at all.
Its like K2 network is looking through pink coloured glasses.
What K2 network wants: "Oh joy! I just started playing this wonderfull new game, and oh look, the world is so populated! I can't wait to make all kinds of new friends and donate my entire paycheck to K2 network!"
What they get:"What the hell!? This place is freaking crowded, I lag like hell and I get kill stealed from left and right. you know what, fuck this, I'm out of here"