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Sword of the New World: Interview with Phil Maurer

In this first in a series of articles, Phil Maurer, the Operations Team Lead for the upcoming MMORPG, Sword of the New World joins Garrett Fuller to answer his questions.

Interview with Phil Maurer

Granado Espada has had tremendous success in the Asian Market. Can you tell us the reaction you have had from players in the U.S.?

Phil Maurer:

So far our focus groups have shown incredibly positive response to Sword of the New World. The game play is fast and fun, and the graphics make people want to keep exploring to see what is in the next area. In fact we have had some problems with how much fun the game is. We are currently doing in house testing and more then a few of our support staff was staying up late playing sword and not sleeping, we ended up having to place limits on some accounts.


How do you feel the game will translate into the North American market?

Phil Maurer:

I feel that there will be no problems translating Sword to the Western Market, it has all the things that we expect as players from American or a European developer, such as we have a huge quest system, trading houses, diversity of classes, and depth in game play. In addition Korean Developers place great emphasis on PvP, and this game has a huge PvP system that will offer something to every type of player. What we do not have from the Korean side is the dreaded grind, that Korean titles are often associated with. In Sword the level progression is similar to other MMO's released over the past few years in the American market.

Why was the choice made to add the title "Sword of the New World" to the game?

Phil Maurer:

We decided to go with a new name to differentiate our version from the currently existing versions of the title that are offered in other markets. We will have additional content as well as a more involved storyline and expanded quest system from the other versions of the game.

The Victorian theme in the game is certainly a different step for MMO genres. How did you come to using a Victorian style in the game?

Phil Maurer:

I was speaking with Hakkyu Kim the developer of this game at a press event, and he told me that while he was visiting London on a press demo for a previous title, and was struck by the architecture of the area and decided that he wanted to build a game around that look.

Can you tell us about the Families in the game? How do players set up and use their Family to accomplish quests?

Phil Maurer:

When you first log into the game after creating your account, you will be prompted to choose a Family name. From that point on all characters you create carry that as their last name.

What type of engine was used on the graphics? The look of the game is very colorful and crisp.

Phil Maurer:

It is a proprietary engine that IMC developed for the game. The engine scales very well on low end systems, the system requirements are actually surprisingly low for the quality of the graphics.

In the game players can adventure with a three person team. How does this balance out and work in the PvE environment?

Phil Maurer:

Actually the game is based on always having control of three characters, and is very well balanced. With the stance system in the game, and the fact that these level up with use, you characters become strong to fit your game style. So even if you have 3 players with identical classes at the max level they will play very different as they most likely chose to use different stances. So far no stance or set of characters seems over powered. You may be able to deal lots of Damage with 3 elementalists in your group, but you will not be able to heal tank or use crowd control.

Will there be a plan at some point to link East and West server so players can interact?

Phil Maurer:

Not at this time, as we have adjusted many things in the game and they have somewhat different content. In the future who knows what might happen, we listen to our player base and try to add things that they want.

What other plans are there for Granado Espada in the future? Give us some insight into the next several months.

Phil Maurer:

This is hard to answer as we have a lot of ideas in development and we are waiting to see what the players want so we can roll out the features that are really going to improve the experience of our players. The motto of K2 Network is "Gamers First" we listen to our player base and add in features and web assests to meet the needs of our players. I can say we have some surprises set up in terms of events for the players that we are currently keeping under wraps. There is one other thing I can tell you, on our website we plan to offer a clan and player social networking site that players will be able to manage and facilitate communications between clan members easily and privately.