Saturday, March 31, 2007

Reasons why I love GE: part the second

I always, always have fun going to Cite de Reboldoeux. And it's not just necessity, as that's where most families begin their pioneer journey; or nostalgia; or because the fancy-dress and -armor shop is there [hello, Andre Janzur].

Nope, I keep coming back to the first town because standing near the exit to the Queen's Garden is my most favorite RNPC in the whole game.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Panfilo de Narvaez.

And here are the reasons why this guy might just be the first NPC I fangirl just as hard as the regular storyline characters.

1. He's a cook.
I love everything to do with food, and there are some people who work in the food industry whom I might as well be in love with. Noted celebrities like Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, the late and great Julia Child, the formidable Jacques's a fairly long list and these people have one thing in common: they are all seriously in love with food.

Panfilo shows that same passion, and the following items, I hope, will make that clear.

2. He has a blue-checked apron.
Out of all the fashion quirks in the game, from Andre's white outfit to M'Boma's hair to what seems to be the permanent shiner on Claude's face, Panfilo's blue-checked apron is the one that never fails to draw a smile from me.

3. He has sensible, wonderful dialogue.
Try clicking on him when he has no pending quests, and more likely than not he's going to say something like this:

"Have you eaten yet? You shouldn't go exploring on an empty stomach!"

Not only does this snippet of dialogue show me that the man cares about my characters' well-being, it also kind of makes me wish he would actually offer them something free to eat. Some kind of game exploit that would be! Free food and sweets for everyone!

4. He's a funny guy.
What does he do while he's helping you complete quests for other people? He sings these crazy little cooking ditties!

And if he's not singing, he comes up with something like this:

"...For I am Narvaez. Panfilo, de Narvaez."

James Bond never, never had it so accidentally funny.

5. He cooks in order to make people happy.
When you start doing quests with him, he tells you that that's pretty much his avowed purpose in life. And it's that same passion for which he's apparently become renowned throughout the New World - because even the proud Absinian M'Boma is already aware of his reputation for creating good food for all.

6. He helps other characters.
There are at least two characters in the game who owe him some part of their happiness - the aforementioned M'Boma, who for his first quest with you commissions a dish of Percha Inzella [octopus legs]; and Andre Janzur, who receives a plate of Pure White Food [carbonara] after his momentary madness over Dilos Lantemn.

7. He insists on quality.
Panfilo makes your family work for the food he makes! He knows where to get the best of everything, from pasta and cheese to Boar's Meat and Octopus Legs, and he does not hesitate to have someone get the ingredients for him.

Think of it this way: your family gets a crash course in food prep a la GE, pumps up its Experience, and even gains Reputation a lot more quickly!

8. He has a funky stance.
When you finally do get him to swear allegiance to your family, Panfilo brings a memorable stance along with him: Fire guard, which requires the most unusual combination of a proper sword AND a Bracelet of Fire!

Gives you a reason to stockpile the good ones you find on your hunts, doesn't it?

And that's why I'll be more than willing to save space in my Barracks for this cool, interesting RNPC!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

GE V. 2.0 news, straight from the source

This article was forwarded by a contact at IP Interactive; it was edited only for HTML and readability.



IP Interactive releases Granado Espada 2.0, announces Open Beta

New Maps, new items, faction colony wars, Item crafting and more will be introduced in GE version 2.0.

Manila, March 12 - IP Interactive, a subsidiary of communications and IT company, IPVG, has announced the release of Granado Espada 2.0, the newest patch of Hakkyu Kim’s newest 3D MMOPRG.

Granado Espada is set in a detailed fantastic game world that reflects the 17th century and New World colonial exploration where technological tools of that period fuse with magic and wizardry. The result is a completely unique, immersive virtual world, filled with post Renaissance ingenuity, Baroque artistry and otherworldly wonders.

Granado Espada went on Closed Open Beta Testing last February and the reaction has been overwhelming. Players numbering in the tens of thousands participated in the GE Closed Beta Testing.

“The Philippines represents the second biggest number of sign-ups for Granado Espada [during the closed beta test], and we’re only second to the United States,” remarks Annaise Fragante, IP Interactive Project Manager. “Our signups account for half of Asia as well,” she adds.

With GE 2.0, players will be able to do more and explore more of this incredibly detailed virtual world.

GE 2.0 boasts over 150 new maps, 300 new quests, and almost 1000 new items, as well as some great features like item crafting, Faction Colony War, and an in-game auction house. The user and chat interface has been streamlined as well to meet player requests for a smoother and more intuitive playing experience.

The patch has over 100 new maps, including the barren Katovic Snowfield and three raid dungeons among others. Over 300 new quests were added, including mini quests, mission rooms, and quests that can be picked up in combat zones, giving players a more exciting gaming experience.

GE 2.0 has the following new features:

Baron Mode - Players can engage in PK against other gamers and gain attack bonuses when they execute successful PK attacks.

Auction House – Incorporates an auction house where players can trade items and Vis (the game’s currency) with one another.

Faction Colony Wars - Factions (the GE term for guilds) can actually declare war on one another and wage extreme battles for territorial and political control at Faction Colony Manager sites found in major map sections. Because each player has three characters under MCC (Multi Character Control), the Faction Colony Wars almost mirror a multiplayer RTS (Real Time Strategy) in their magnitude.

New Items – There are over 1000 new items available for GE 2.0. There are treasure chests found in dungeons and combat maps as well as an item mall where players can exchange marketing or event materials for rare items.

Item Crafting - Players will now be able to use the raw items they gather (such as iron and coal) to create their own items.

More Recruitable NPCs (RNPCs) - Diego the Carpenter and Catherine the Marionette are among the new RNPCs in version 2.0.

IP Interactive Product Manager Ivee Feria notes that gamers can expect more from the open beta of GE 2.0 in terms of Player-versus-Monster (PvM); Player-versus-Player (PvP); and Guild-versus-Guild (GvG, but in this case, it's FvF--Faction-versus-Faction).

“In line with the Colony Wars, I am expecting a strong Philippine GE community, big factions, and tight alliances,” says Feria. “During Pre-OBT though, I am hoping that the gamers would be keen on bugs and errors in the game and report them to make the game better,” she adds.

GE 2.0 Open Beta Test will be unveiled in April. At this time, player accounts will not be wiped out so as to enjoy the beefed up features, gameplay and overall experience.

*About IPVG*

IPVG is publicly listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange and engaged in the information technology and communications space. IPVG owns three operating subsidiaries engaged in information technology and telecommunications, on-line gaming, and business process outsourcing.

For more information go to

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Game! articles: 1/?

Granado Espada history primer.

This is the first of my articles for Granado Espada with Game! Magazine online, under the collective name of "Letters from Granado Espada".

It's about the in-game history and backstory of the game.

I'll update here whenever I post a new article, maybe once a week or so.

In my next post here, look out for some musings regarding the RNPCs, and some new GE information.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

It's time to make a stand.

Before anything else, I want you to watch the video I've embedded here. You might have already seen it before, at an end-of-Closed-Beta party, or elsewhere on the Internet, or even from the official website.

Start watching carefully from 03:13 to 02:20.

And when you're done watching the video, take a deep breath, and think about it.

Granado Espada has just turned into a truly interactive MMORPG.

What you've just seen is the beginning of a major storyline event: upon reaching level 52, players can now choose whether to support the Republicans or the Royalists. And the choice will have a significant impact on the future of the GE story line and development.


"Your choice will decide the fate of the new continent."

The two factions to choose from are:

The Royalists

Led by Princess Gabriella, the de facto representative of Vespanolan power, and daughter of Queen Esperanza. We first see her in the video as she arrives in Granado Espada, at what I'm assuming are the docks in Coimbra, reviewing regiments and receiving homage.

While we do see her slapping the man with the ponytail in the video, and know that she calls him "stupid", we're still missing the context for her anger.

Judging from history, though, it's easy to guess what her objective is: she wants Granado Espada to remain a tributary state to her mother's kingdom, and may be looking forward to ruling over the New World herself. She's a princess, after all, and as long as we don't see any other members of the Vespanolan royal family, it's probably safe to assume that she is the heir to Queen Esperanza's throne. Therefore, she comes partly to represent her country's interests in Granado Espada, and may also have come partly to prepare herself to rule it.

The Republicans

Led by Simon Ayende, the man with the cane and the feathers on his coat.

When he appears in the video, he is making a speech in the City of Auch to a number of assembled families, in which he emphasizes that Granado Espada is a new world. It's no longer part of Orpesia, and perhaps he means to imply that the people of GE don't have to remain under that old world's hegemony.

With his similarly brief time in the spotlight, we don't know right now what Ayende's motives are. Perhaps he means to rule Granado Espada himself? Perhaps he wants Granado Espada to become a democracy? We've no idea. All we know is that he means to break the New World free from Vespanolan power and influence, and to become, most possibly, self-ruling. In short, he wants independence.

While I'll wait just as eagerly for the details and background on this storyline development, maybe you'll indulge me as I tell you which faction I'm likely going to be supporting once I hit that magic level 52.

I'm going to join the Republicans.

There's just something to be said for joining the underdogs. Look how many times it's worked: David vs. Goliath, the 300 Spartans vs. the Persian hordes, the Rebel Alliance vs. the Empire. It's been played out here in the Philippines, in the United States, in Spain [on which Vespanola is based], and in many of the great conflicts of history.

In an in-game sense, I'm joining the Republicans partly because of what Grace Bernelli says just before you acquire her Character Card.

After you defeat the second of the Treasure Golems AND its controller, the Sorceress Cherlyn, Bernelli tells you her story, that she was originally an intelligence officer from the country of Brestia. She goes on to say that after her country's defeat in the Three-Year War Vespanola didn't exactly treat Brestia graciously, and that that kingdom had sinister plans for the New World. Bernelli refers to Cherlyn's very presence in Granado Espada as part of a plot originating from Vespanola, and that she was determined to ferret out the truth.

Most importantly, though, she tells you something similar to what Ayende is saying in the video. It goes something like this:

"When I came here to Granado Espada I became a citizen of Granado Espada. We're all equal here."

[That's not an exact quote, but rather the gist of her feelings.]

I guess that would just be me and my preference for independence becoming my own family's philosophy.

I never thought I'd ever find myself looking forward to the faction wars in Granado Espada, but this storyline event is making me think that I should start training for PvP, too.

[Anybody who's played a lot of, say, Legend of the Five Rings, The Matrix Online, and that sort of storyline-driven game? I would really love to hear your take on this.]

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The first guide: Quests, 5/5 [Notes]

As promised, here is the first of my GE guides. Because it's fairly long, I'm going to split it into five entries.

The information in this post is valid for the Closed Beta version. I will make necessary revisions come version 2.0.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4


Notes on the types of quest:

On occasion you'll be given a quest that can fulfill two objectives at once. In this case, each kill can get you both a quest item, and one more point towards the completion of a hunt mission. For example:

Idge's Fanatic Armor: it's recommended you take the Fanatic hunt mission along with this one, as each kill gets you closer to your goal of 100 Fanatic kills, and allows you to complete the set of quest items she assigns you.

Najib Sharif's Blazing Rubies quest. That item, as mentioned earlier, drops from Rufus Reapers; you can take the Rufus Reaper hunt mission in conjunction. This is especially recommended because not all Rufus Reapers drop Blazing Rubies, and while you're waiting to get your 10, you could be well on your way to completing the needed 50 kills for the hunt mission.

The first guide: Quests, 4/5

As promised, here is the first of my GE guides. Because it's fairly long, I'm going to split it into five entries.

The information in this post is valid for the Closed Beta version. I will make necessary revisions come version 2.0.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 5


4. "Bring-Me" Quest

In these quests, an NPC hands you an item, which you must take to another NPC, who may be in the same town or in another one entirely. You may or may not have to bring the item back to the original NPC, but you will have to report back to him or her to get the quest reward. Also known as the "Fed-Ex" type of quest, as your family essentially couriers items between NPCs, usually traveling between towns in the process.

Examples: the very first quest you do in the game - Najib Sharif's Box. You simply get the box from Najib, take it to Vera down the street, listen to what she says, and return to Najib.

Diego the Carpenter's Posting Advertisements quest is of this type, as well: you take two posters from him and put one up on the Notice Board in Cite de Reboldoeux, and the other on the Notice Board in the Port of Coimbra. Then you go back to him for your reward.

Bring-me quests often happen in tandem with other quest types. The best example I know: after you get Panfilo de Narvaez some Strange Water from a font in Al Quelt Moreza [item search quest], he asks you to take the bottle to Andre Janzur ["bring-me" - or, in this case, "take-to-him" - quest]. Andre drinks the Strange Water and immediately goes nuts, triggering an instanced mission in which you have to subdue the fashion designer.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The first guide: Quests, 3/5

As promised, here is the first of my GE guides. Because it's fairly long, I'm going to split it into five entries.

The information in this post is valid for the Closed Beta version. I will make necessary revisions come version 2.0.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 4
Part 5


3. Hunt Mission

In the world of GE, there are places that are so infested with monsters that the local militia cannot possibly kill them all, and must recruit families to assist them in hunting down the monsters. Families who accept the hunt missions are asked to kill a certain, usually round [ex. 10, 100, 300], number of a specific kind of monster, and are rewarded with an Amber, or a means of summoning one of the monsters that they killed.

[There are sneaky uses for such Ambers and I will discuss them in a future post.]

In general, hunt missions are handed out by guards in the towns. They're pretty easy to spot, as they often come in twos, and their names follow a specific format: [Name of Dungeon] Punitive Force. As you might have guessed, the hunt mission monsters are most often found in the dungeons.

Talk to both guards, as they each have different sets of hunt missions.

One of the exceptions to this convention is the single soldier standing in the Queen's Garden. The hunt missions she gives out take place only in the Stone Pit, near which she's stationed, and are intended for level 1 [and up] characters.

You can choose which hunt missions to take, and you can have up to five hunt missions going on at one time.

Hunt missions are located in dungeons, for the most part, for one single reason: leveling. You need to hunt anything from 100-300 of the beasties at a time [true for Al Quelt Moreza and Tetra Ruins], and since you're in a dungeon, you're also killing other mobs - so the missions simply help you in grabbing more experience for both your levels and your stances.

We interrupt the quest guide for a quick WHOA broadcast...

For your viewing pleasure:

Granado Espada Version 2.0 Official Trailer

Go, watch, enjoy, make evil plans.

After completing my quests guide, I'll tell you which faction I'll be supporting, and why.

The first guide: Quests, 2/5

As promised, here is the first of my GE guides. Because it's fairly long, I'm going to split it into five entries.

The information in this post is valid for the Closed Beta version. I will make necessary revisions come version 2.0.

Part 1
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5


2. Item Quest
This is the familiar "resource-gathering" type of quest. A LOT of the NPCs give out this kind of quest, usually as one part or another of the series of missions you do for each. Now, in other games this nearly always means killing monsters for specific drops, but GE makes it a little bit different.

When doing this kind of quest in GE the game actually streamlines some of it for you. If you kill a monster carrying a quest item, the item goes directly into your inventory - you never have to worry about whether you actually picked the item up or not. Also, the game keeps a running tally for you, and informs you when you've picked up enough of the quest items. Convenient, isn't it?

Types of item quest

- Kill monsters for their drops. This is pretty much self-explanatory.

Generally, for item quests at levels 1-20ish, the monsters drop the quest item/s automatically. Take for example Andre Janzur's first quest for you, which involves you bringing him 5 Green Mandradora tentacles. To get those 5 tentacles, you need to kill exactly 5 Green Mandradoras. It's a simple 1:1 monster/item correspondence.

After level 30, however, that correspondence goes straight out the window. In Najib Sharif's Blazing Rubies quest, for example, you need 10 of those rare jewels, but you may have to kill almost 20 Rufus Reapers to get them. You don't automatically get the drops.

- Grocery list. An NPC gives you a list of items to get, which, lucky you, you only need cash for, as you simply have to buy them from various shops. The best example, of course, is Gracielo's initial quest, in which he asks you for Ferruccio Bread, Ferruccio Milk, and Chocolate - all of which you can buy from NPCs.

If you still have the initial handout of Ferruccio Bread and Milk from the tutorial, then you can simply give him one of each; otherwise, you can pick up supplies from the girl behind Ramiro at the Queen's Garden in Cite de Reboldoeux. The Chocolate is sold by Lisa Lynway of the Sea Elephant Cafe in the Port of Coimbra.

- Item search. An NPC asks you to find some items on particular maps, and to bring the items back to him or her. The prime example would be Idge's Old Armor quest - you have to find the Old Armor in some rocks at the feet of the Ferruccio Espada statue in Ferruccio Junction.

Lisa Lynway also has the same type of quest - the first thing she asks you to do is to pick an avocado from the tree in King's Garden.

To get Adelina Esperanza's card, she tells you to investigate three skeletons, one on each of the three Porto Bello levels. You simply collect their skulls and take them back to Adelina - and she joins your family afterwards.

Some item quests combine the types, such as Panfilo de Narvaez's Pure White Food quest. You can buy the pasta, milk and cheese from NPCs [and Panfilo tells you exactly where to go], but you need to hunt for the boar meat in Cathari Junction.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The first guide: Quests, 1/5

As promised, here is the first of my GE guides. Because it's fairly long, I'm going to split it into five entries.

The information in this post is valid for the Closed Beta version. I will make necessary revisions come version 2.0.

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5


By now everyone's been on many of the quests in the world of Granado Espada. We all know how that works: go up to an NPC or RNPC, find out what they need, heed their directions, and report back afterwards with results.

Usually there's a prize or two up for grabs: EXP Cards, and/or higher-level items [like Idge's Fanatic Armor and Najib Sharif's Barkir Rifle]. Or, if you're really lucky and have tried to build up a rapport with the RNPC you're questing for, you'll be able to pick up his or her Character Card, which means you can create them as a member of your family.

BUT before you can get to that lucky point, you of course have to do everything they ask of you. And that means going through the various types of quests with your family.

Now, quests in GE generally fall into four categories:

1. Instanced Mission

2. Item Quest

3. Hunt Mission

4. "Bring-Me" Quest


1. Instanced Mission
This type of quest is also known as a "Mission Room". In this kind of quest, your family gets to go into its own 'room' or copy of the mission. You will see no other families in the room except yours. If you were in a squad [in a party with other players] going into the mission, each family will be split up into its own instance of the mission. This prevents the thorny issue of Kill Stealing [KS] from ever coming up, but, of course, the drawback is that you will also lose whatever help you hoped to get from your friends.

These missions are nearly always accessed by talking to NPCs. Sometimes, clicking on the appropriate dialogue option - like "Let's fight!" or "I'll help you." - will instantly trigger the mission. You'll be warped into the instance immediately after the dialogue ends. Be sure you have enough potions, buff items, orbs, and bullets before taking the option - you can quit the dialogue and stock up, then return to the NPC to re-trigger the quest.

On other occasions, the NPCs will instead give you a key to the mission room, and you need to get to the correct location and use the key before being warped into the instance. This is true for the Key you receive from Domingo in Cite de Reboldoeux, which opens the third room in Al Quelt Moreza dungeon; and the access granted by Grace Bernelli for the Tetra Golden Road [third room in Tetra Ruins dungeon].

How do you know that you're currently in an instanced mission?

- There is a gray information box on the left-hand side of your screen; it contains the following information:

* The mission timer. All instanced missions are timed; the length of the mission can be anywhere from 2 to 15 minutes.
* The health of your home base, which may or may not be blank. I'll explain why in a bit.
* The name of your family.

- There is a specific piece of music playing: "Close Encounter". This music is the same for all instanced missions, and it is used only in the instanced missions. You'll be able to find the title by pressing Alt-J, to bring up the Jukebox; or by simply looking at the field of your screen above the box for movement and attack commands.

- Your zone map [Alt-Z] will show a blue square, and one or more red squares. The blue square is your family's spawning point. It's also the base you need to defend if it's that kind of mission.

The red squares are your opponents' spawning point/s. If it's a defense mission, they are only there as a reference. If it's not, you need to go to those red points and kill what's there.

Types of instanced missions

- Boss hunt. These instanced missions involve killing the final boss of a dungeon, such as Dilos Lantemn and his demon controllers in Al Quelt Moreza; or the two Treasure Golems and the Sorceress Cherlyn in Tetra Ruins. [I haven't been to the other dungeons, so I don't know the names of their bosses.]

- Mini-boss/es hunt. The NPC who gave the quest will often tell you why you have to kill these guys.

- "Home" defense. In this kind of instanced mission, your family needs to defend a specific area, usually marked by the blue square on your zone map. You should stay put at the spawn point, and simply wait for the mobs to come in. The information box will tell you how much HP your home base has left.

- Duel an NPC. When trying to get RNPC Character Cards this is often the last step before securing the card. If you defeat the RNPC [and the minions], you'll get his or her card.

Exception [so far]: Grace Bernelli - this is the FIRST quest you do with her. You'll get her card after taking out the final bosses of Tetra Ruins.

In some instanced missions, there will be other NPCs in the mission room with you, who will aid either you, or your opponent/s.

For example, in the last Dilos Lantemn mission room [the final boss of Al Quelt Moreza], Dilos himself will be assisting you - and he'll even bring his own mobs to help out.

On the other hand, there is the M'Boma duel, where he is backed up by Claude Baudez.

Loss conditions

You lose an instanced mission if any one of the following happens:

- You run out of time before accomplishing your mission objectives.

- Your entire family is killed.

- Your home base's HP goes down to 0.

If this happens, simply re-equip and go back to the RNPC or location to re-enter the instanced mission.

You can redo instanced missions as many times as you need to, until you finally win.

Monday, March 19, 2007

News from the official website

According to the official GE website:

Tentatively, Pre-Open Beta Testing (POBT) will begin on 17th May 2007.

So sign up now for your account, folks~!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

And when I logged out for the last time... were the last stats for my family.

- Fighter, Level 45
- stance: Heaven or Hell, Level 14. [I think.] No skills mastered.
- weapons: +4 Knight's Sword [with pluses] and +4 Golden Maiden pistol [store-bought]
- armor: Hard-Leather Armor, Fencer's Hat

- Wizard, Level 45
- stance: Psychokinesis, Level 21. [I had no idea that was possible - however, I did not gain skill points for reaching that level.] Mastered both Earthquake and Apocalypse.
- weapons: +4 Unicorn Rod
- armor: Respiked Squamatate, Opera Hat

- Scout, Level 46
- stances: First Aid, Level 17 / Fortitudo, Level 17. [I can't remember what I did with his skill points but I'm pretty positive they're a mess.]
- armor: Hard-Leather Armor, Ivory Homburg

I quit early because I wanted to work on this blog and the posts that I'll be putting up between now and the opening of Pre-Open Beta. As I mentioned in the previous entry, I'll be writing up some guides and some advice about the game, as well as some random fun and trivia - for example, in a future post I'll be talking about my favorite NPC.

I've even got permission from Community Manager Hrin to conduct an interview with her - and I will be sure to post that for your fannish pleasure.

Speaking of POBT: you can now sign up for an account at the IAH Games Passport page.

The beauty of this passport system is that it purports to be just the one account for GE, plus future game releases such as Hellgate: London. One-stop account management, anyone?

See you all in POBT - and until then, stay glued to this blog for your GE fix :)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

GE CBT Philippines finale party: a report

I was at Gamefrog in Metrowalk Ortigas earlier for one of the CBT finale parties.

They put on the free play at around 1:30 and within minutes of sitting down, I found myself surrounded by a quick influx of gamers. Haha, what wonders the words "free play" can work on addicted gamers.

I wasn't able to participate in the Stupendous Race, but boy, was It's Raining Fortune more fun than a barrel of monkeys. I should've brought my Wizard to that one because everyone else was spamming AoEs like there was no tomorrow, but I was trying to level that big dumbo Gracielo so I could accomplish his pending quest [the one where he is currently getting his butt handed to him by three hulking savages, and all because he thinks he can take them on one-handed].

My family wound up getting killed at some point, because, yeah, Elite Scarlet Claws in Porto Bello. There were so, so many of them that I had to take my hands off the keyboard in order to point and laugh hysterically.

I hope someone sends me their screenshots or videos - a crowd of monsters in a small place is no mean feat, no small joke, and a whole lot of fun.

[So hello to GM Corsys who was spawning those mobs - I hope you know I appreciate what you did, because I haven't laughed that hard at a PC screen for a while.]

The e-Games people held their prize draw a few minutes after It's Raining Fortune - they gave away caps, t-shirts, and 5 2-day preview passes to POBT. I won a shirt [yay!] but wasn't lucky enough to win a pass [aww!]. In the meantime, the other players were sporting GE buttons and toting rolled-up posters, all from the same e-Games people.

After four hours of free leveling courtesy of the great people at Gamefrog and e-Games, here are my stats:

Family: NineMoons
Members: Tuon, fighter / Musenge, Gracielo / Furyk, scout
Levels: 42 / 41 / 42

Well, at least when I ditched Radhanon [the Wizard] he had already gotten his God skills - I was able to have him
master both Earthquake and Apocalypse. Yay!

Next time, though, I'm seriously going to get myself an Elementalist. Just to see what the difference is - and also because I have a soft spot for girls who wield the elemental power of fire.

According to the e-Games people, the Philippine players can begin registering for the next phase tomorrow - that's March 18 - so if I were you I'd wake up early and sign up quick.

In the next post:
A quick recap of my last days playing GE, and, hopefully, the first of the quasi-instructional bits.

I stand corrected. GE in the Philippines will be distributed and managed by e-Games's sister company, IP-Interactive.

Thanks to the helpful anonymous commenter - and, yeah, girls rule.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Pinoy family names in GE

[I don't own any of the copyrighted names and titles listed in this article!

With apologies to all the families I name-dropped in this post...hey, at least we're preserving the names for posterity, right?

Also, there's a thread at the forums that actually lists all of the Filipino players' family names, which is fun and entertaining to read.]

Everyone knows that the first thing you need to do after logging in to GE for the very first time is to register a family name.

And family names, in my experience, carry more information than that unique surname. It's pretty easy to figure out the Pinoy families in GE.

While grinding in the Tetra Ruins, I once found myself right next to a fighter-scout-elementalist family with the unlikely surname of "Sardines" - the first names were "Ligo", "Mega" and "555" [popular brands of that canned fish in the Philippines].

I saw a server broadcast that was sent out by the family "Matapang", and had to smile at the appropriate-ness of the name. That word means "brave" - certainly a desirable quality in the pioneers of the New World.

At one point I was helped by a family bearing the surname "Flavor"; one of its members was named "Cookies and Cream" [with special characters - can't remember the sequence]. That happens to be a very popular taste here, figuring in everything from ice cream to powdered-milk candies to pearl shakes.

And then, there was the really memorable family that passed me in the Tetra Catacombs: the Sotto family, consisting of "Thito", "Vhic", and "Vhicente". I laughed for several minutes after they ran by, and not just for the strange Pinoy tendency to put random "h"'s in personal names - that family was named for three fairly famous showbiz brothers, all of whom were comedians at one point or another.


Another factoid you can pick up from a family name: if the name comes from a popular something, like anime or comic books or other video games, you can be pretty sure the player likes that particular popular something.

Don't believe me? I saw a "Valentine" family run past once - led not by a saint but by a fighter with the first name of Vincent.

I've seen several "Kurosaki" and "Ichigo" families - often with special characters added for the "uniqueness" factor.

And I do believe I've run into at least one "Potter" family - with "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" coming, and the fifth movie soon to hit theaters, expect a rash of Hogwarts-type names in the coming phases.


[SPOILER for those who haven't read the book yet.]

In my own case, my family name belongs to the second group of possible indicators - my family name indicates one of my fandoms.

Just before I started playing, I was rereading Knife of Dreams, the 11th book in Robert Jordan's fantasy series The Wheel of Time, for the umpteenth time - and so, for better or worse, I wound up giving my characters the family name "NineMoons".

Within the series, "Daughter of the Nine Moons" is a fairly high noble / imperial title, held by the heiress to the throne of one of the featured nations; its current bearer is a "small, dark woman" named Tuon Kore Athaem Paendrag. Within the book she's described as being skilled in both hand-to-hand and armed combat, and has even figured in at least one wrestling match.

Tuon's mother, an Empress, was murdered at some point, clearing the way for Tuon to ascend her throne; she was named Radhanan.

And the leader of Tuon's bodyguard is named Furyk, a man with a high position in their army and who is utterly devoted to his charge.

And so my family was formed: the de facto team leader Tuon [female fighter], psychokinetic support unit Radhanon [male wizard], and healer / buffer expert Furyk [male scout].

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A quick post... which I will also post the URL of the PhotoBucket album that contains my GE screenshots.

Click here.

The pictures appear in pretty much chronological order.


Reasons why I love GE: first in a series

I always wear good headphones when I'm playing GE. Always.

Venturing into new maps and new dungeons...the thrill level is matched by the experience of listening to new and always engaging music.

Each dungeon has its own set of appropriately menacing / onward-ho! music - and one can't help but keep pushing into new territory, because the beat makes you want to keep going.

Plus, this ain't no music game, but you always know what's playing, because of that nifty little insert in the lower left of the UI that flashes the title of the currently playing track and the person/s who composed it.

My favorite track so far: Nangman Trance. I was pulling an extended stretch in the Tetra Catacombs and every time this track came on I was always torn between wanting to dance a crazy tango, and banging my head.

It makes me want to wish I could create an actual dance sequence within the game. I say, the female Wizard at least ought to be taught how to dance - that dress of hers just SCREAMS for it.

I usually wound up with a mean bout of headbanging, with breaks to camp in a roomful of mobs.

Never mind the odd looks I kept getting from the other punters in the shop where I play. The music is mesmerizing.

I kind of want to download the entire soundtrack [hey, Hrin boss-lady, is that actually going to be possible???], put it on at a party, and watch as people dance to it. Hey, if it worked for remixes of the Final Fantasy soundtrack, it should damn bloody well work for Granado Espada. A soundtrack THAT good deserves multiple listeners over multiple occasions.

I can't help but feel that when GE goes into wider release, people will want to play the game not only for the visuals and MCC, but also for the sounds.

I would actually go so far as to recommend shopowners put the GE soundtrack on their speakers - and turn it up to eleven. I might almost guarantee you'll have people wanting to play GE after they give the soundtrack a listen, decide they like it, and ask where it came from.

The regulars at the shop where I play make a habit of borrowing my headphones from time to time, because they feel their watching isn't complete without the addictive music.

My hat's off to SoundTEMP, Osamu Kubota, S. F. A., Kim Junsung, and everyone else who created the music for Granado Espada.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

With six days left in Closed Beta... I am, posting about my experiences while testing the new MMORPG from Hakkyu Kim and IAHGames: Granado Espada.

Currently in various stages of beta testing across Asia, as I understand it, the game will also be eventually released in the US under the name Sword of the New World: Granado Espada.

If you want to know about the game, let me quickly direct you to the official homepage:

I'm here mostly to document the last two weeks, during which I have pretty much obsessively played the game, often for 4-5 hours at a time per day.


Basic information:
in-game family name: NineMoons
server: Cervantes
family composition: Tuon [female], fighter / Radhanon [male], wizard / Furyk [male] scout
levels reached: 36 / 36 / 36
current location: Tetra Ruins - Catacombs


family - in Granado Espada, one player can control up to three characters at a time. These characters are grouped as a 'family' of pioneers / explorers in a new world called, you guessed it, Granado Espada.

fighter, wizard, scout: three of the five character occupations that are initially available to the player. The other two are musketeer and elementalist [also known as warlock in other Asian versions of the game]. Fighters are the main melee characters; wizards have access to both offensive and defensive magic [and the latter fall under the 'buff' category]; scouts can either fight or - the more common choice - heal. Both musketeers and elementalists are ranged fighters, the main difference being that musketeers use bullets and elementalists wield fire, ice, lightning or wind powers.


There, that is it for my introduction. Over the next few days, as the Singapore Closed Beta phase winds down, I'll be talking more about what's happened to me inside the game - from talking about how I got in to how I inadvertently missed out on some of the player-organized events.

I'm also currently working on a guide, the contents of which will discuss all quests undertaken in the first 30 levels. I'll be posting that guide here in sections, and all comments, corrections, and additions will be most welcome.

For some screenshots I've taken - mostly of my family - I've got an account at PhotoBucket. My account name there's jadefox_1982.

Till the next post - be nice and level up as hard as you can, folks.