Spotlight On - Sword of the New World Progress Report
We catch up with this strategy-focused, free-to-play online role-playing game at GDC 2010.
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Hey, look! It's a bunch of games in San Francisco's storied Moscone Convention Center. It must be the 2010 Game Developers Conference, where games like Sword of the New World are being shown to the press. The game was originally launched in the US back in 2007 as a free-to-play game that offered the unusual ability to create not only a single character to play, but also an actual adventuring party of three different characters to customize, train, and lead through the game's classical era-fantasy world. Over time, the game has received regular updates by way of biannual expansion packs. As a matter of fact, the game was just updated with its 13th expansion, "Echoes of an Empire, volume 2," which has made numerous additions to the basic game. This includes two new player character classes, two new pets, three new armor sets, a new raid instance, and a larger character roster (previously, you could have only 32 characters; now you can have 64).
However, the big push in Sword of the New World is on a new system called "political PVP," which will let you "run for office" by becoming the leader of one of the game's factions. Because the game has 24 colonies that can be captured, the faction that conquers and controls the most colonies at one time is considered to be in control of the realm. It can also make the almighty executive decision of levying realm-wide taxes.
In addition, the game is continuously being developed with new content, including the aforementioned new raid instance, which includes the mighty "Helena" as a boss character. Don't let her glamorous blonde curls fool you--she's a dangerous opponent, but if you defeat her, you'll have the option to either finish her off or recruit her as one of your 64 characters, where she'll offer her services as a fire-and-ice sorceress with a monstrous pet. In the meantime, the game continues to offer in-game items for purchase with real-world money. These offer convenience (in the form of temporary enhanced experience gains and item drop rates) or character customization (in the form of clothing), rather than actual power.
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