Sword of the New World: Jon-Enee Merriex Dev Journal
Jon-Enee Merriex, a Game Master for K2 Network's Sword of the New World, stops by to give us this developer journal highlighting the game's "Multi-Character Control" feature.
Currently in MMO games you get one character to explore a world with, Sword of the New World gives you the ability to take control of up to three at a time. And unlike some single-player non-MMO games that allow you to do this, in SotNW you are always controlling all three characters. They live and die by your own hand.
What does Multi-Character Control allow a player to do?
MCC allows a player to take control of three different characters at once. The player becomes responsible for leveling all three characters, including upgrading their skills, stances and equipment. MCC also delivers amazing gameplay variety. If you want to be a healer, you can do that. If you want to be a tank, you can do just that. If you want to become a damage dealer, you can do that, too. If you want to be more balanced with a little bit of everything, you have that opportunity as well.
The best part of MCC though has to be that no matter what, you are never really locked into any specific job or function. And, you don't have to spend tons of time or gold heading back to a class trainer to change your build. Instead. you can just head back to your family's quarters and change your characters. In internal testing, if there is a group of us and we're all playing on our solo builds, it usually takes less than a minute to determine what classes to bring and completely regroup for squad play.
How does MCC work with Sword of the New World?
Using MCC is pretty simple. When you log into the game you will be asked to select 3 characters from your family's quarters. Once that is done, you can enter the game world and begin advancing your characters.
Movement is point and click. Click on the ground where you want your characters to move and they will move there. To attack, control + click an area on the ground and your characters will automatically kill everything on their way to the selected location. You can also select one monster by left clicking and all three characters will focus fire on that one monster until it is dead. To pick up loot dropped from defeated monsters, you can just control + shift + click an area and your team will collect all the loot assigned to you on their way to the selected location.
To use your character's skills, you may click the icons on the hotbar at the bottom of the screen or you can just hit one of the corresponding hotkeys. As the game progresses, it will become apparent that you will need to control one or more characters independently of the others. The game allows you to do that as well using the F9 key to toggle between "Select All" and "Individual" mode. "Select All" mode allows you to control all 3 characters at once while "Individual" mode will allow you to control 1, 2 or all 3 characters independently of the others.
What is the benefit of MCC with respect to party play?
While MCC seeks to lessen the pains of finding a squad, playing in a squad is still a very important and extremely fun aspect of the game. The biggest benefit of MCC with respect to party play involves teaming up with other players in order to take on more difficult monsters, which means better loot and more experience for all.
What are the various AI modes?
MCC excels at scaling to the user. If you are a new user, various AI modes will take control of extraneous actions (such as auto targeting, auto attacking and looting). If you are an experienced player, you will want to be able to control who is being attacked and how. MCC's AI allows you to take greater control over combat as well. Most users will find a happy medium between the two styles and will most likely settle on something somewhere in between.
Is the player in charge of all three characters or do some of the characters act/react on their own?
You are always in charge to one degree or another, but sometimes you can set your characters to act/react according to the orders you give them. In general, you will have your characters on some sort of auto attack. Much like in any other game, auto attack requires only limited player interaction. You can also have the character auto target and auto attack. You can even have the characters auto target when you select their spells and skills to be cast. This all may sound like the player does very little but in reality battles are sometimes so fast paced that by the time you select your spell and select the area, the monster is dead... or you are. So the AI helps out a lot in those instances. It also allows you to focus on ALL 3 characters by not having to select individual targets all the time.
What is one of the biggest benefits to having your own three-person team?
You will never have to wait for a healer. I think that is one of the best parts of SotNW. No matter what game you have played before, everyone knows the horrors of waiting to find a healer or leveling a healer solo. In SotNW, that is a thing of the past. You don't have to worry about finding a healer because most of the players will have at least one.
In addition to never waiting on a healer, having 3 characters breaks open the possibilities for customization immensely. You no longer have to choose to be only a healer, a dps'er or a tank. You can now specialize in one, do them all, or mix and match. And if you add the amazing stance system to MCC, you can really begin to appreciate how revolutionary SotNW truly is, though stances would be a topic for another post!