Granado Espada - Overview

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After I wrote the Might and Magic X blog post I was thinking in maybe writing something else, but I was unsure of what. I thought in maybe how about some thoughts on the Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris? Which is quickly turning in my GOTY, but I need to play it more was I might need more time to reflect on some stuff, while I also wait to see how patchs and expansions will push the game.

Since one of my earlier blog post about the Warhammer online MMO, I though maybe in how about Granado Espada?

Why? While I did play a lot of MMOs, of them, there was one which I keep trying to return, often bouncing back and forth, and it was Granado Espada.

At first sound like a great idea, because I played a lot of it and even had stored lots of screenshots, which unlikely happened during the Might and Magic article, where due an HD failure I lost a lot of stuff, I still have mountains of screenshots well safe. More, I have a can try to say about the game, specially with the frustration due some weird design issues and hitting a wall in the game progress.

But, you see… while I was writing the first drafts an idea pop up: how about one last return? Just to pick some screenshots I might need and maybe refresh my memory.

Now if you look for Granado Espada you will find two of them (but there is more), one was the version I did originally play, which is in the hands of T3Fun and the other is hold by IMCGames and it’s often more know as Granado Espada SEA (as is meant for SEA region, but it is open to everybody).

It was this moment I thought of how about instead of trying to play again the T3Fun version, how about to start fresh on the IMCGames version? So that what I did and that how this article which was meant to be a single piece, might be several (ok, at best maybe two or three at best).

Because replaying the game in the SEA version (for making things simple I will call it IMCGame version) did a lot more that refresh my memories, it also allowed me to see what changed overtime and a lot changed. Meaning that even realized that my original draft might include outdated information. Also replaying give me two more things: One I can compare both versions and also I can get a better hold of the game story and plot (not that I could really understand it, because it all over the place).

So this first part will be mostly a short explanation overview about what is Granado Espada, the plot and setting and the main features, the next posts I will explore in more depth the plot, visuals (which I need a whole part for) and game itself.

So, let’s begin! But first:

What is Granado Espada anyway?

Granado Espada, is a Korean MMO published by Hanbisoft, from the same creator of Ragnarok Online, Hakkyu Kim, released around 2006 (worldwide only in 2007).

There is, or there were, several versions of the game around. Right now you mostly like run in either the T3Fun version, which originally was under K2 Network hands, which was responsible by the distribution in NA(during this period the game was subscription based, also the name was change to Sword of the New World), which later changed name to Gamerfirst (also here the game become free to play), it was during this period that I first played it. Later in 2012 the game change hands again going now for T3Fun. Somewhere during this confusion, the game name return to be called Granado Espada.

Now the one which replaying, like I said earlier, it is the SEA version under IMCGames.

Before I explain the setting I need to explain some of the game most unique features:

Character Selection screen (Ignore the wings, they are back costume stuff which give you some bonus)
Character Selection screen (Ignore the wings, they are back costume stuff which give you some bonus)

Instead of creating a character, you create a “Family” which will be a collection of your characters, some of them which you can create (often called “stock” characters) based in four classes: Fighters, Musketeers, Scouts, Elementalists and Wizards. There isn’t much customization, you can only choose between two type of faces and name.

Now the other part of your list of characters will be NPCs which you recruit (often called RNPC, which stand for Recruitable Non Player Character). Most of them came from quests but a few ones, which came from events or the game shop.

Of them you make a party of three characters, a feature which the game call “MCC” (Multiple Character Control) which you play kind like an RTS, by either giving direct command to each one in real time or setting a “behavior”, such as “attack everybody around you”, “collect stuff in the ground”.

In a certain way, this is a game you can and mostly like will, AFK it — Just throwing your characters somewhere and setting them to auto attack. You can even alt-tab the game and do something else! You might notice the game advertise this as feature main feature. Oh, in case you wonder you can also auto collect loot, but this requires a pet which requires food, that can either obtained in game or in the premium shop.

Characters have “stances” which is a set of skills they can use, depend on of their equipped weapon (also, a weapon can have several stances available, like a sword could be wield in different ways), Stock Characters have a huge selection of this, while RNPCs often have a small selection, but it made of unique stances. They improve their stances by using weapons, the better they get, the more skills they unlock.

Something which I skipped is a short explanation about the stock characters:

  • Scouts: Healers, Support and maybe DPS, but more important is the healing, since they can auto heal.
  • Fighters: Not much different from what you expect here, they are more close quarter fighters, but they do have instances which they use pistols.
  • Musketeer: Long range and DPS.
  • Warlock: Magic users with focus in area of effect spells.
  • Wizards: Magic users with focus on buff and debuffs spells.

I might also explain briefly the difference between the versions, because while both are sort the same with a couple differences that I could notice:

  • Events: Each version might have different events going on.
  • Visual/Costumes: On T3Fun version character visual could change either by equipping certain armor or costumes; on the IMCGames, only costumes change visual.
  • Market (aka Auction House): For some reason in the IMCGame you can only gain access to the Market very late in the game, while T3Fun is available soon as you start playing (maybe).
  • Naming Conventions: And this is where things get weird, overall names of the character and place look the same, but for whatever reason, certain places and character have complete different names. As example, there is an island in the game called Bahia in the T3Fun version which for some reason is called Gigante on the IMCGames. Another strange case is Feng Ling (T3FUN) a RNPC which on the IMCGame version is called Soso. There is a detective RNPC, which the name changed a lot, right now is Gertudes (T3FUN) but once I think in some server he was called Jean Pierre, but at least right now on IMCGames he is called Grutudes...

A World of Adventurers… and endless confusion and weird tones.

Before we start, just some disclaimers:

  • The game translation is far from good in any version and I don’t know the original text, so a lot of stuff can get lost.
  • Like many MMOs stuff is often add, retconned or change as time passes and it hard to figure what was meant to be originally or not.
  • This part is an overview, I will try my best to explain more in detail in the next parts.
  • Like I said earlier, I did hit a wall during previous attempts to play, so there is stuff which I don’t know yet, because I haven’t reached or have access.

The setting for the game was fairly unique for its time (2006) and for a MMO, begin a fantasy world during the sort the equivalent of the navigations period (and a bit beyond it) however several events play in a very different way and a lot of stuff simple didn’t happen or maybe even existed at all. I did found an interview with Hakkyu Kim on Gamesutra (https://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/129932/from_ragnarok_to_the_new_world_an_.php), which sort give us what maybe was the original vision for the game:

So for Sword of the New World, how did you come up with such a distinctive style? It seems very different from any of your titles before?
HK: I personally really like Europe. And when I first visited London for the ECTS conference, I was deeply impressed by all the beautiful architecture and the environment and I thought to myself, “I want to bring that to life on the screen.” That’s how everything started for this game. And another thought that I had was this: “I want to own that city.”

The setup is: Ferrucio Espada and Gilberto Granada from Oporuto (think fantasy Portugal) find a continent they didn’t know, which end being called Granado Espada. However, Vespanola (fantasy Spain) invade Oporuto and take over. Like I said is fantasy world which is sort inspired by our world but things unfold in a very different way, as example: Vespanola defeat Bristia (fantasy England) in a sort inverse scenario of the defeat of the Invincible Armada.

Now while this setup and foundation suggest a very straightforward fantasy world based on our world, as time passes (and expansions were added) and layer were added in the plot and theme, the setting tries to build it own identity and deviate itself more and even create it own twists as the analogies fall a bit behind.

As I mention the navigations and the setup you might think this is a game about colonialism, and the answer is yes and maybe not really. Because the whole colonization theme is kind dropped out really yearly on, serving mostly as the main background for the game first arc, which involves more stopping several people from the Orpesia exploiting the new world for the own goals. From there the game suddenly is no longer about going to the new world but going back to the old world as most expansions are set there. The first story arc of the game is about facing Viscount Montoro and the Ten Vespanolan Nobles, from there the next arc suddenly about what going in Bristia which is under Vespanolan occupation. Later arcs appear to be about stuff in Orpesia, from visiting the game equivalent to the Vatican (Armonia) and later the game stand in for France (Illier).

Ania (RNPC form Errac) explains a lot of the world background
Ania (RNPC form Errac) explains a lot of the world background

I know that you might be also wondering of there is natives? Yeah, and they are sort doing well and also are very important to the main plot, as they are sort the only ones really aware of what going on, to a point where while people in Orpesia didn't know about them, they know about Orpesia! In fact, they know so well that they are aware of its politics.

The game does have equivalent for other region of the worlds, such as Errac (A sort of Mayan/Aztec civilization, which two very important RNPC came from, also when you find Errac, is when they explain a lot of the game background), Abissinia (I think is meant to be north Africa, also two important RNPC came), Targa (I guess is meant to be the Ottoman Empire, again RNPC came from there) and Korea, Siam, Japan and China (you find RNPC from all this regions too). The game dialogues and lore sort suggest everyone is very friendly to everybody (most times).

This happen during the Bahamar part of the story.
This happen during the Bahamar part of the story.

Several dungeons you visit in the game in the new world are stuff build by pioneers, such as: Torche´s Mansion, Joaquin Prision, Al Quera Moss (which despite the name was meant to be sort of cathedral).

Even when you visit stuff which is meant to be something already there, is often very fantasy like with no real equivalent, like the Castillia Mines, which have some out of place greek ruins vibes, there is something about a civilizatiton of peaceful giants which the antagonists maybe destroyed (I don´t remember the details right now) or the Witches of Bahamar, which are fantasy like witches (the quest where you meet them, is all about one npc begin manipulated in to confront them only to realize his error, as they criticize him and the whole colonization stuff). Important note, there is something about Altria, which I haven´t reached yet, so I can´t tell.

The enemies are go from dinousaurs, monsters to undead and so on.

I hope this enough to give a overview of the game, next… well I plan to write maybe about the game music and visuals, two areas where the game shines a lot. Later, depending on how I progress in the game I try my best to write about some highlights of it plot and about its mechanics.

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