I forget which of our blogger friends pointed me towards Granado Espada, but it does not matter because it does not excite me. It does, however, have some interesting ideas, some of which may be worth pondering further. The basic gameplay is Diablo: click to move, execute some powers, get loot and level up. The fee structure is Korean: free to play with built-in RMT.
There are three significant variations in gameplay. First, it is small-unit Diablo, in which you control three characters. You walk in with your own tank, healer, and damage. Second, it uses a RTS-style auto-attack, so that your characters will attack, heal, and even self-rez without further guidance. Your participation is needed only for special abilities, moving them around, and picking up loot. You might think this would lead to AFK hunting, which leads us to the third point: AFK hunting is explicitly allowed.
That’s right, you can leave your guys leveling overnight. You quickly get used to walking through an area where a dozen trios are attacking whatever comes within reach. Enemies respawn, so the fight comes to you. If your characters can survive in an area indefinitely, they can stay there indefinitely. You are forbidden from making a bot that picks up your loot, but you can get all your levels in your sleep if you like.
I presume that the disincentive is their “Baron” non-consensual PvP system. Once you are past a certain point, anyone else can turn your PvP flag on, at the cost of turning on their own. If you are AFK and someone wants you out of that spot, we pit intelligent pilot against an AI that cannot use special abilities. I do not recall if there are significant consequences to losing; I was not interested enough to look into it, especially in a RMT game. For bonus fun, the PvP flag is unidirectional: any character can attack any flagged character, although you cannot heal them. If someone flags your teammate, you can join in the fight against the enemy, and you will not be flagged. (I assume there is a limit to keep you from just flagging everyone at once.)
Another interesting feature is that you develop a family of characters. They all have the same last name, and you can put any member of your family in your squad. There is also a shared inventory, which helps when you want your family to share items and quest rewards. You expand your family by buying slots with in-game currency. You acquire in-game currency by buying it from the developers or hunting (and mostly selling stuff, since coin drops were small as far as I played). Your family levels up by leveling characters and through “fame” quest rewards.
The quests are dull. Some of them lead to interesting fights.
The game is beautiful. The graphics are an ethereal painting of the Elizabethan era (or whatever they called that time in Spain). You head into combat in your poofy white dress, remaining angelically clean as the undead fall around you. Maybe I should call it a lightly anime take on the Elizabethan era. Your options are limited to pre-set costumes, and yes the ladies have outfits that show lots of digital flesh. I did not find the graphics terribly dynamic or engaging, but they are pretty.
The music is great. I should see about getting MP3s from some of the zones. The chanting in the heretical church is a particularly high note in the early game.
I will surely look at it again, but I don’t see a future for myself in this game. RMT and PvP mix poorly to my taste, although I think I set myself up on a server without the Baron PvP system. The characters fight without my attention and level while I am AFK — why would I need to play the game?
As far as I know, that “naked patch/bug” thing was a hoax.