Thursday, May 31, 2007

The good, the bad, and the just plain nutters.

The good: the NineMoons family on Cervantes has leveled up enough to move to Jezebel Glen.

Family status: Aurana [First Aid / Fortitudo] 30, Tuon [Hack and Slash] 29, Chimal [Psychokinesis] 29.
NineMoons starts Jezebel Glen

The bad: I don't have screenshots of the actual monsters to prove it, but people are telling me that this is happening not only in Tetra but also in Porto Bello, in Cervantes server.

Just what, I wonder, were the players who unleashed a Victor [Lv. 6x] in Tetra Golden Road Channel 2, AND a Thoroctomy [Lv. 100 WTF?] in Tetra Golden Road Channel 1, thinking? Good grief, if that's not griefing, I will never know what "griefing" IS.
NineMoons announces Tetra Golden Road problem

The just plain nutters: the NineMoons family on Cervantes has a little fun with poses.

This first pose is called, apparently, "An Error Gesture", or something.
NineMoons goofs off 01

And, yes, the classic V for Victory we all know, love, and most likely abuse.
NineMoons goofs off 02


Happy Vesak Day to all ^^

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Oh good grief.

If your blood boils at the sight of the server broadcast at the top of the screenshot - welcome to the side of the angels.

Please consider this my part of the effort to root out the insidious and game-spoiling plague that has beset it - the plague of the gold-farmers.

This particular screenshot was taken in Cervantes server, and boy, I had half a mind to hunt down that family, challenge them to PK, and attempt, at least, to beat down their collective keisters.

If you support the campaign against the gold-farmers in Granado Espada - give me a HELL YEAH.

EDITED TO ADD: I decided to take the screenshot out after coming across a neat comment in the forums that ran along the lines of "don't give the gold farmers any more advertising".

In any case, I think everyone's seen the ads over the past few days. And we should all keep pulling together to make sure these farmers are soon banished from our New World.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Finally back in the game....

And I really have to say, I love this community.

Over the past few days I have:

Finally made in-game contact with two people whom I've been exchanging emails and comments with (Alastor and Thoraine).

Inquired after Hrin's health (she says there's just a little cough left from the flu.)

Greeted Voyage on his birthday.

Ventured into Tetra Golden Road and, to my surprise, found out that I didn't need a key to enter the Antiquities Room!

NineMoons starts Tetra Golden Road
At the entrance to the Golden Road, with weapons at the ready.

NineMoons in Tetra Antiquities Room
Inside the Antiquities Room, about to shoot a Box. Starting to think it triggers the appearance of an Elite Visage Rouge and its entourage....


Items and observations:

- Guava restores 600 points of HP. I'm assuming there's a "Good" version, which restores 700 points.

- Orb of Fortitude / Fortification: Grants DEF + 5 for 30 seconds. Does not stack with either Orb of Intense or Orb of Resistance.

- Pineapple restores 50 points of SP.

- A locked "Gate of Avernus" in the Tetra Golden Road? "Avernus" was used as the name of the lake that was an entrance into the underworld in Virgil's Aeneid, and has become one of Hell's names. Is this where the Treasure Golem and Sorceress Cherlyn now make their lair?


Just finished off the weirdest room EVER in Tetra Catacombs: third to the last room, containing - when I got there - fellow Æphemeral member Rydralle, a huge mob, and BOTH Pollux and Seigmund.

@.@ Aieeeeeeeeeee!

So I tried to do some crowd control, but Chimal wasn't fast enough, and I quickly went down for the count. Luckily, another faction member, Dalmacus, saved our collective bacon by showing up, and finally, all three of us stood victorious.

Thanks for the awesome, guys!


4000+ HITS and still climbing!

Thank you all, so much!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

I'm back! ...For now.

I finished the first draft of that major article today, and to celebrate, I'm updating ^^

First off, some announcements:

The "Hall of Fame" Contest is described here. Go to this thread to submit your competition screenshots.

Granado Espada Philippines' Pioneers' Reconnaissance PvP Qualifying Tournaments is described here. For rules in detail, please refer to this page.

EDIT: The Philippines tournament has been cancelled until further notice.

And now, a few rambling comments on Pirates of the Caribbean now that the film trilogy has been completed. Don't worry, I'm aware that not everyone has seen At World's End yet so I will not be revealing spoilers.

I think that people who want to get a general idea of how Granado Espada feels like might want to refer to the adventures of Will Turner, Jack Sparrow, Elizabeth Swann, and company. In particular, I'm thinking of the fight scenes, though not including ship battles. There may be no magic as slung around by our favorite Wizards and Elementalists in the films, but Fighters and Musketeers see plenty of action, and there are even appearances by veteran Musketeers, who already have the Bayonet stance!

There is an awful lot of swordfighting and gunfighting action in the films, plus the appearances seem to be just about right. There are costumes by which Fighters can pretty much appear like the characters in the movies, such as Camisa de Soldado. The soldiers of the East India Trading Company look like Musketeers for the most part, even down to the hats. And at one point, Elizabeth Swann dons a dress that somewhat resembles the Elementalist's Le Blanc and Elite Robe of Leviathan!

Perhaps I might suggest creating in-game costumes that can make the characters look like, say, Captain Jack Sparrow?

Other than the outfits, though, there's the whole thing of the codes of honor that the cast clings to. From the Pirate Code to the personal definition of honor that Will holds to, there's really something there that seems to remind me of Granado Espada. After all, don't our pioneer families also hold to both cultural and personal rules of conduct?

I'm likely going to rewatch the entire film trilogy and update this post at some point, but I hope this already gives you something to think about with regards to the culture and feel of the game.

pirates-at world's end

Friday, May 25, 2007

A weekend off...

Don't worry if I don't update the blog over the weekend, or can't be PM'ed inside the game.

Yesterday I accepted a Granado Espada-related job, and I've got to write a fairly serious article on the game and the new features. My stated minimum is three thousand words on GE and only heaven knows how many screenshots and sidebars.

This article, should it be fit to print, will come out in the July print edition of Game! Magazine here in the Philippines.

So I'm sort of taking a weekend off from the game and from the blog to devote myself to the article, which is, after all, something that will encourage more people to come and explore our New World.

For the article, I created a NineMoons family on the non-PK Pachelbel server, consisting of Ryaneen the fighter, Ajimbura the musketeer, and Shizumi the scout.

[Not much of a story behind the names Ryaneen and Shizumi - I simply made them up from whole cloth ^^

As to Ajimbura - yes, this name is still from the Wheel of Time books.]

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Don't worry, I will keep my promises regarding the next posts, after the article is submitted that is. I'll be talking about the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and how they are related to the mythos of Granado Espada; I'll be discussing a couple of new quests, including the Yellow Key of Ferruccio [level 22 and up, from Box Researcher in the Port of Coimbra]; and I'll put up a mini-feature on the Auction System, as dealt with by the Market Manager.

Wish me luck on that article - I hope I can write it well and I hope it gets published.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Don't be discouraged by grinding and breaking weapons!

Because that's what makes it possible to have this:

The girl with the glowing gun

I'd had to grind for almost a whole week to get from level 20 to level 24, where I could trade in the glowing Katzbalgers for this glowing Handgun.

[I bought that glowing rod at Auction; I'm starting to really love that feature of the game. Hmm, new post idea.]

And along the way I've had my rear end kicked, hard, and several times, by both Dilos Latemn and Claude Baudez. I finished the former quest late into level 20; and I still haven't conquered the huge Cite de Reboldoeux man.

At this point in the game I think we'll keep the stances as they currently are: Aurana's First Aid and Fortitudo, Tuon's Freestyle Shot, and Chimal's Psychokinesis.

Now I'm deep in Tetra Catacombs and hoping to level up enough to defeat both Claude *and* Grace Bernelli [whose duel gave so, so much trouble during Closed Beta]. That, and finish the couple of quests I have pending at the Tetra Golden Road - which is, quite honestly, one of my favorite maps.

In the next posts: a discussion on new and mysterious quests, the Yellow Key of Ferruccio, and all about the Auction system.

Edited To Add: As I've just watched Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World's End, you can also expect some fun linkages between the world of Jack Sparrow and the world of Granado Espada!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Something nice happened to me last night....

...while I was attempting to level up my NineMoons girls in the Tetra Catacombs [or Underground Cemetery, the game refers to the map as both].

I saw a world broadcast by Harbin, the guy who started the original comprehensive stance guide in the Closed Beta forums, and wound up PM'ing him about when he was going to migrate that guide to the new forums.

Moments later I get an invitation to join a faction - for the first time! I never even got so much as a whiff in Closed Beta, and now this!

I was a bit wary and had no idea who the invitation was coming from, so initially I refused it.

Then Harbin PM'ed again and asked why I wasn't interested.

Aha! Enlightenment! Knowing now that the faction invitation came from him, I requested a resend, and clicked on "Yes".

So now I'm a proud member of the Æphemeral Faction w00t~!

Hopefully the faction will soon get a blog or a site or even just a set of forums, and then we ought to be set.

[Hello to the following faction members: Beardwald, Serenada, Pan, Dalmacus, and of course Harbin!]

Monday, May 21, 2007

A brief gripe, and an idea

Whenever I want to play Granado Espada, I have to dress up and take a stroll to an Internet cafe located very near my place.

I can't say enough about the owner, who spends an awful lot of time thinking about his shop. He's putting the place through an upgrade at present, bringing in a few new units to satisfy the excessive demand for the games that he installs. This owner makes a point of searching out and installing new games in his machines, including Granado Espada of course. It's all in the name of customer satisfaction, he says.

I wish that I had such glowing words for the clientele, though. Instead, all I'll say is, there's this particular game that's uber-popular in the shop now, and it causes some of the most horrific lag I've ever seen.

I can no longer count how many times my poor NineMoons girls were killed because of the lag induced by these customers and their mania for that game.

So, on to the idea that I had while suffering through another one of those interminable lag-induced dead spells:

What if I start writing fanfictions for Granado Espada, and put them up on this blog? I'd be talking about a few vignettes, one or two character studies, some really short stories, what we call drabbles just to challenge my conciseness skills, that kind of thing.

The characters, of course, would be drawn from my NineMoons families. I have four now, one on each server, and that makes for a fairly large pool of potential characters. The RNPCs and some of my friends would make cameos and help drive the plots. And the stories would be in the form of letters and documents created during the families' stay in the New World.

This would also be part of the mini-celebration I'm having at present, and a thank-you gift to everyone who's been kind enough to visit this blog and leave their comments.

What do you think?

New servers!

After today's maintenance, we bid two new worlds welcome:

Caravaggio - PK enabled

- PK *not* enabled

We welcome the new pioneers come to explore the New World of Granado Espada!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Picture post: new family screenshots

As promised, an update with recent screenshots.


From left to right, that's Aurana the scout, Tuon the fighter [notice the glowing swords and the Fanatic armor?], and Ravashi the elementalist.


My other NineMoons family, on the Carracci server. From left to right, Radhanon the wizard, Musenge the fighter, and Furyk the scout.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Bits and pieces of news re: Granado Espada, this blog, etc.

One of the leading lights in the Philippine Internet community, Janette Toral, is hosting a writing project on her Reflective Thinking blog, in which the objective is to find "new and emerging blogs...making an impact [on] its readers in 2007."

The rules of the writing project are here.

Today, I found out that this blog has been nominated for the first week of the search!

Yes, I'm on this list!

I managed to find the person who nominated this blog, and it is none other than Stephanie Caragos of Cagayan de Oro, also in the Philippines.

NineMoons family: a possible influential blog!

I sent Stephanie my thanks, and now it's your turn: show her some love by visiting her blog - and perhaps I might ask you to continue nominating this blog for that search?

Cheers to Stephanie and to you, my readers~!


The NineMoons family is hereby proud to announce that we have notched up over 2000 unique page views!

Thank you for your support and for keeping up with the blog - I hope I can keep writing up to your standards, and I hope my blog helps you enjoy Granado Espada just that wee bit more!

*bows thankfully*


In response to a request from my fellow Granado Espada player D.Jac:

Suggestion GE Model Figures?

If anyone is interested in having either IMC or IAH market something as shiny as figurines of the Granado Espada PCs and RNPCs, please head on over to that thread and put in your 2 vis's worth.


On an in-game note, however, some sad news.

The experiment, unfortunately, has failed.

I've decided that I will no longer continue with the idea of building a scout-wizard-elementalist team, as there are too many areas in which the spawn rate is insanely high, and while they need to level in those areas, they can't last long enough to make it worthwhile.

So it's back to the scout-fighter-magic user team; I think I'll put the elementalist in this one, as I already know how it feels like to have a wizard.

Now I'm leveling Tuon, the Hack & Slash fighter, with Aurana the scout for back-up, until she makes it to around level 20. And I must upload a picture of Tuon soon because she has glowing weapons!


I've created an all-male NineMoons family on the Carracci server; the members are Musenge, the fighter; Radhanon, the wizard; and Furyk, the scout. I will most likely attempt to have Musenge wield either a spear or a two-handed sword, for a change; and keep Radhanon and Furyk with the same builds as their female counterparts.

That Spartan look is starting to appeal to me, and all the more convenient that this is an all-guys team we're talking about....

Friday, May 18, 2007

Notes from the Port of Coimbra and thereabouts

Yes, this means that I finally finished all of the Al Quelt Moreza quests. If there's any business I left behind in Cite de Reboldoeux, that would be the duel with Claude Baudez, the after-level 36 quest for Najib Sharif, and that unusual Hengestones quest from the Office of Pioneering Support, which I won't be able to take until I can deal with Grace Bernelli [and that will be in about 10 more levels].


Current status

Server: Cervantes
Members: Aurana, First Aid+Fortitudo Scout [tanker] / Chimal, Psychokinesis Wizard / Ravashi, Fire Elementalist
Level: 22-all
Location: Port of Coimbra, en route to Tetra Hill


Notes and observations

- Orb of Intensity. It grants the family members a 5% plus to ATK; the effect lasts for 30 seconds.

It does not stack with the Orb of Resistance.

- Finally found the drop that restores SP: the familiar and favorite Black Tea, which restores 25 SP a pop.

- Tetra Hill monsters used to drop Avocadoes as the next-level HP restorer after Mangoes
. This drop has now been renamed to Coconut, and it restores 400 HP a pop.

It also has a "Good" version, which restores 500 HP.

- Warp Scrolls can now be purchased from the Leonardo Expreso guy - finally!

- I picked up something odd in Al Quelt Moreza Arcade called "Mana Stone". No idea how much it restores or how it is used. Thinking it might be a component for item crafting.

- The Phobitans on the Tetra maps drop an item called Cabosse, which is still different from the Cabosse 99% dropped by the Jack Frost monsters. Anyone know what the purpose of these drops are, other than as stuff to sell to NPC merchants?

- As of this writing, I've been on two maps that hold an "Enigmatic stone pillar", which emits "mysterious power". This is likely to be a quest. I've found one at Cathari Falls, and another at the Tetra Hill.

- Speaking of places: on the map of the Port of Coimbra there's a name marked in orange as "Pegadilla". I went there, but there's actually nothing in that location. Possible bug?


More notes in the next few days, so please watch out for them.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

New Community Managers, and a special treat for Pinoy players

News from Regional Community Manager Hrin:

New Community Managers revealed!

Singapore players, sCM RohNaga is the man for you to find for your concerns.

For Malaysia, it's mCM Selwyn you'll want to talk to.

In the Philippines, pCM Veya can help you.

I'll update with links to their blogs, should they be revealed; and I'll try to find out who the Community Managers for the other SEA countries will be.


Philippine players of GE: the local site is UP!

Show them some love by bookmarking the site and by e-mailing the admin. Here's hoping they have more fun updates very soon.


Now back to the leveling. ^^

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

This just in: Day 2 of the 2-day advance pass into POBT

Just got kicked from the server because of the quick maintenance that they announced in the game, so I'm posting some of my observations and notes on the new client so far.

Yar, here be spoilers, or you can think of them as getting a leg up on the game.

- One of, if not THE, biggest complaints so far is that the NPC who was selling the warp scrolls has VANISHED! In his place stands a doppelganger who calls himself "Leonardo Expreso", and who only grants access to the Item Vault.


Because, you see, I'm having lots of problems with the "Kill the 3 Dilos Latemns" quest, and the problems are compounded by having to run through Al Quelt Moreza Nartex *and* Parsonage every single freaking time I respawn after failing the mission. My family acquires "tails" of 30-50 monsters! Someone start selling warp scrolls, quick!!!

[I'll even take bootleg warp scrolls I'm that desperate. Kidding!]

- The new combat tutorial is actually a lot more fun than the old "Kill 5 Crate Octopi" thing on the pioneer ship; you actually get to run around and practice all of the combat modes on that whole lot of Cite de Reboldoeux soldiers parading around between the instructors and the entrance/exit guard.

- You now get your starting arsenal from Sir Lyndon of the Office of Pioneering Support in Reboldoeux, when you used to get them from Captain Ricardo.

It is still highly recommended to go through this tutorial, because hey, free weapons - what's not to like?

- Also in Reboldoeux [and I assume in the other towns]: you now buy your Stance Books from "Master Rooms". Inside are the five character classes, all level 100, and all saying they are "Master [Occupation]", and wanting to hep your family gain immense power.

Have to assume you go here to change to Veteran status and access the Veteran stances, as well.

- New merchant NPCs include: the blacksmith [sells recipes for crafting weapons and armor for your RNPCs] in Reboldoeux, and the cloth merchant in Coimbra [crafting clothes and leather armor, I guess]. The regular merchants now also have the "Crafting" option in their dialogue boxes.

- During these two days my family has had a more or less permanent buff placed on it. It's called "Family's Protection". At first, its effect adds 1% to your max HP; and then it seems to level up as well, because at present it grants the NineMoons family +2% max HP.

And by more or less permanent, I mean, it's gone when you die, and it's back when you respawn.

- There are now "Ferruccio's Red Boxes" strewn around the landscape of the New World. You can only open them once. When you do, you're granted a choice of what weaponry to get from it: melee, ranged, or magical.

I repeat: you can only open them the once.

The boxes in Queen's Junction and inside Al Quelt Moreza both grant Rank 1 weapons; I've gotten a Broad Sword and a Bracelet of Wind from them.

- Hunt missions can now be cancelled!

And there's a new type of, ahem, NPC that grants Hunt missions. They're stone "Pioneering Memorials" placed at the beginning of dungeon floors and in open areas, like the King's Garden near the Port of Coimbra. You can choose to hunt mobs that are appropriate to your level, and you need to hunt a whole lot more than the numbers called for in the standard Hunt missions given out by "Punitive Force" guards.

Example: the "Pioneering Memorial" in Al Quelt Moreza Parsonage allows you to hunt Zealots and Heretics; you'll need 250 Zealots or 150 Heretics.

Each Hunt completed grants ONE Exp Card.

There's also the "Tombstone" placed in Al Quelt Moreza Parsonage. It says that a devil named "Siegmund" is haunting the rooms of the dungeon, and it must be hunted down. You need to collect the "Area Vouchers" it drops, present them to the Tombstone at the end of the hunt, and hope you get a good prize, as it offers a random choice of the following: 1 ring [with options], 3 level-20 Exp Cards, or 6 level-10 Exp Cards.

Warning: there's a typo in that mission briefing. The tombstone says there are 16 tokens. Actually, there are 22.

- There are no more drops that restore a fixed number of SP [like the Black Tea in Al Quelt Moreza]. Instead, you get two kinds of HP-restoring drops: the regular version, and the "Good" version, which restore a higher, but still fixed, amount of HP.

At least this was true for the Mangoes in Al Quelt Moreza.

Also, monsters now drop "Orbs of Resistance". Pick them up, and your family gains a boost to resistances. The ones in Al Quelt Moreza grant +5 to Resistance.


Kinda bummed that it's taking me this long to finish the Dilos Latemn mission.

[I finished it at level 18 during CBT. Now I'm level 20 and I still haven't killed them!]

The three Dilos ghosts respawn every time you restart the mission. So even if you kill 1 or 2 of them, if you fail the mission, the ones you killed spawn again.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Finally! NineMoons family interviews RCM Hrin!

Guess who was here in the Philippines really recently?

Yup, none other than our beloved Regional GE Community Manager Danielle Hrin Kuek! And in addition to her hectic days of meetings with the folks at IP-Interactive and e-Games, a brief appearance at the Dom1nation event, and a quick tour of Fort Santiago in Manila, she was able to squeeze in dinner and an interview with the NineMoons family.

We met up on April 30 at the Recipes by Cafe Metro restaurant, which is located on the second level of Greenbelt 3 in Ayala Center, Makati. Present at the interview were Hrin, her friend Cheryl, Granado Espada Philippines Brand Manager Ivee Feria, me, and my partner.

(FYI: Cheryl is the Community Manager of Hellgate: London, another hotly-anticipated MMORPG that will also be released by IAH Games!)

Even before the interview began, just as we were waiting on our food to arrive, Hrin was asking us for feedback and reactions concerning the CBT experience here in the Philippines, and for some insight into the local community. We told her how much GE was being anticipated around these parts.

Over the meal, we talked about shopping for fruits (Hrin and Cheryl had greatly enjoyed the mangoes - good thing they came here right in the middle of their season!) and other souvenirs (the Singaporean pair had been bargain-hunting in SM Makati, and we suggested they try finding the nearest branch of the Kultura stores), and how the general gaming situation in the Philippines was like - mostly the other MMORPGs that were expected to arrive within the year.

After dinner and dessert, it was time to get down to business, and while yours truly got out her pen and paper, Hrin pulled out her laptop, and my partner grabbed our digital camera, all ready for the showdown.

Interview with Hrin-photo 01

From left to right, that's me, then Hrin, then Cheryl, then Ivee.

Q: Please give us your full name?
A: Danielle Hrin Kuek.

Q: And your current designation?
A: I'm the Community Manager for the Southeast Asian version of Granado Espada, and I work at IAHGames, the operator for the region.

Q: And currently there's just the one of you managing the international community of Granado Espada?
A: Yes, for now, there's just me. But there are plans that there will eventually be a Community Manager for each of the countries in which IAHgames distributes its games.

Q: Okay, I have a question about the Community Service events that you're regularly doing in Singapore: was that something that had previously been done in kGE or in jGE? Or did it start with sGE?
A: Well actually, there is a pretty interesting story behind this. Before coming to work as a Community Manager at IAH I had already been volunteering at Katong Special School for special children in Singapore.

After becoming a CM I began to have less time to help out since the timings they needed volunteers clashed with my work hours, but I really wanted to keep it up since I had grown very attached to those kids.

Then I got a call in March from one of the teachers asking for my help because she was really shorthanded and desperately needed volunteers. I had intended to take leave for that day and then a thought crossed my mind - Since I loved those kids and since I was growing so very attached to the GE community, why not combine those two loves together?

So I sent an email out to my Level 100 bosses proposing this as an official Granado Espada event. Much to my delight, they were extremely supportive of this initiative and even offered a budget for a casual meal with the gamers after the event. That is why I love working for IAHgames. Things here are so dynamic and open to new ideas. Coming to work feels more like my university days where I am hanging out with friends and we are working on projects together. Yes, we work hard but we also joke around and have fun while we are at it.

And no, I am not paid to say all these! LOL. It comes from the heart, really.

The Community Service events have been well-received and we are now looking into doing them on a monthly basis - and quite possibly to widen their scope and scale in the future.

As for having Community Service events in the other countries where IAHgames has a presence, it will be up to the individual Community Managers for each country to decide whether or not they wish to implement it. After all, it is voluntary.

(More details here.)

Q: An MMORPG in the Philippines has a rewards program for students who get high grades in school and also play hard enough to get high levels in the game. They also allow parents to limit their children's game time. Any plans to implement similar programs for GE?
A: We leave such decisions up to our distributors in each country. It will be up to them to propose and to implement such programs, as they will know what is best for their respective cultures.

Q: How is the process of localization for sGE coming along?
A: Well, the localization for the Version 2.0 client is pretty much finished, but a new patch has just come in, and that's about 10,000-12,000 more lines of text to localize right now. Our localization staff are actually doing 12-hour shifts to keep up, and we're very fortunate to have a meticulous and dedicated Localization Manager, DG to keep them going.

For the NPCs in the game the goal of localization is to bring out their personalities in the best way possible. We did a lot of background research such as looking into the history of the era, et cetera - in order to meet that goal.

I've was at some of the voiceover recording sessions at the studio and it's really a lot like directing a play - different ways of saying a line, different emotions. We kept repeating the process with the voice actors and actresses until we obtained the best ‘voice’ that we felt was most appropriate for the background story and personality of the NPC.

Q: What is your take on the strategy adopted by Sword of the New World (announced payment system before calling for Closed Beta testers)? And how different will the contents of GE and SOTNW be?
A: We were trying to get as much feedback and opinions from the GE community as possible during the CBT period before deciding on our business model, which is why we have not released any payment system announcement yet. Currently, we are fine-tuning the final details of our business model and we will announce our decision shortly. Be patient guys!

As to content, for our version of Granado Espada, IAHgames is making a great effort to stay true to the original version of the game designer Kim Hakkyu. It is his dream game after all.

Q: What are the plans for the launch of Granado Espada in Singapore? In the Philippines?
A: In Singapore we'll be holding a MEGA “Granado Espada RAID party” event at Zouk Club on June 16.
During the daytime, there will be events such as PvP duels, where the players choose from a series of pre-made characters and select items from provided sets, and then fight it out; quests brought to life, where people can go to different places within the venue and follow directions at each point to proceed to the next one; as well as both GE and anime cosplay. We are going to have costumes tailored, and we are going to hire models to cosplay those costumes. Oh yes! There are even plans to have some of the monsters from GE custom made for the event.

At night, there will be a dance party, and we're booking famous DJ Marco V. (18th DJ in the world) to spin for us.

Ivee Feria answers:
A: The POBT launch here in the Philippines will be done in line with the Singapore launch; and of course the OBT and commercial launches will have bigger events.

One thing I can tell you now, though, is that we'll be sending Philippine players to Singapore to compete in PvP duels.


Q: During CBT, how many hours did you spend playing GE? And how many hours spent on community concerns?
A: I played much more actively during nights, after work. I have 2 PCs: one for the game, because I was trying to get to level 60 to don on that oh-so-hot Torsche Dress for my elementalist and the oh-even-hotter French Maid costume for my wizard. The other PC was for work.

Hmmmm actually I don’t compartmentalize playing GE and addressing community concerns or work. GE has become more like a lifestyle to me. The community’s concerns are my concerns as well because I am a part of the community. I am more than just a community manager, I am a GE gamer. And I am a GE gamer at heart 24/7, which means I am constantly in touch with members of the community just about every waking moment, whether it is online or in real life. ;)

I'm addicted to both the game and to its community, especially when I'm meeting the players in real life.

Q: What do you do when you feel like you need a break from Granado Espada?
A: I hang out on the forums! Haha… Seriously, though, a balance in life is important, or rather, a balance in worlds is important – That of the balance between the real world and the virtual world. Shopping is my ultimate therapy and hanging out with my friends or the GE gamers is a pleasant distraction.

Q: Are there any plans to implement any of the following: national costumes in the item mall, pet system, guild houses?
A: National costumes - you can probably try making the suggestion in the forums, and if enough people agree with the idea, we can take it to the developers and ask about it.

Pet system - yes, there will be pets in future versions of GE. Development plans are in the making. From what I understand, the pets will be cosmetic only (i.e. no skills to help the player's family).

Instead of guild houses, guilds (termed as ‘faction’ in GE) will battle for control of territories in Colony Wars. If they manage to conquer that territory (map), their faction name will be marked on the world map. Whenever the members of that faction are in that certain map, they will get attack bonuses etc.

I was just chatting with the IMC guys (Hakkyu Kim’s Team) recently and they were telling me that there is a house for the 2 opposing political parties – Royalists and Republicans. Members of each political party can gather in that house.

Q: More of a concern than a question: is anyone planning to do anything about the now-confusing meanings of the word "faction" as it is used in the game? Because in Version 2.0, "faction" can refer to a guild of players, or it can refer to either of the two political groups that players can join, Royalists or Republicans.
A: Oh, the Royalists or Republicans are referred to as political party instead.

Q: During the Closed Beta, what were your favorite quests? And what did you do about the crates in the dungeons - hit them, or avoid them?
A: In terms of the fun that I had while doing them, my favorite quests would be Andre Janzur's, because the funny stuff he says just cracks me up. I also loved Catherine the Summoner's quest, because I found her story to be so hauntingly melancholic, yet beautiful in the same breath. If she had a theme song, I would say it would have to be ‘Aria De Coimbra’ from the GE soundtrack. Both give that same wistful sadness and melancholy to it. The storyline is touching as well. A father’s love for his daughter, which drove him to want to immortalize her forever in the form of a puppet. That intensity, almost to the point of insanity is something I can deeply empathize with. Torsche’s mansion is an intriguing place. YOU HAVE TO EXPLORE IT INSIDE OUT! The aura of that place and the quests in there are all so interesting and intriguing. Dr Torsche FTW! Interview with Hrin-photo 02

From left to right: Cheryl, Hrin, me, and my partner.

Q:What are your favorite foods, drinks, and kinds of music?
A: Hawaiian pizza, orange juice, and primarily hip-hop and R&B. But the kind of music I listen to really depends on my mood.

Q: If Hrin were a cute animal, she would be a:
A: A bunny! I used to keep pet rabbits, but they kept multiplying, and in the end we had to give them all away. Bunnies are still my favorite animal though.

Q: Your mottoes in real life and in Granado Espada:
A: In real life, my favorite quote is:

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear. - Ambrose Redmoon

(Quote source is here.)

In GE, it's:

Don't just play GE - LIVE GE.

Q: Best memories of the Philippines?
A: Going to Fort Santiago. When I got there I felt like I was looking at a real-life Port of Coimbra.

Also, the good impressions I got from the Filipino GE community. They're all so appreciative and friendly, and geared more towards community than competition. The female gamers are so sweet and polite. They keep calling me “Miss Hrin” even though I told them it was okay to call me “Hrin”. The male gamers are sooooo charming. Gee… some of the things they have “whispered” to me in-game have really made me blush! :p

Q: Favorite player character? (Note: As everyone who answered this question was female, all the answers are male characters.)
A: Musketeer in Striform outfit. That’s hawt.

Ivee answers:
A: Fighter, whatever the armor he's wearing.

NineMoons answers:
A: Wizard in Clara mago outfit.

Temporarily ducking out of the game to bring you this update...

After all the drama and hullaballoo surrounding the supposed-to-open-at-12n-but-started-at-3pm beginning of today's Pre-Pre-Open Beta Test Phase, here I am to bring you some news on my current doings in the world of Granado Espada.

...Oops, the secret is out. Yes, I was able to receive a 2-day advance pass from Hrin. When I post up the interview I did with her, I'll tell the whole story of how that happened.

Remember this blog post? In it I said I was planning to create four characters right off the bat - fighter, scout, wizard, elementalist - and that my current ultimate goal was to create a team of scout-wizard-elementalist.

In search of that goal, this is the first team I put together as soon as I logged in.

POBT team 01

From left to right, Ravashi, the fire elementalist;
Tuon, the fighter; and Aurana, the scout. They're all about level 8 or so, as you can tell from the hats.

[That's the basic Hat from Andre Janzur's shop, which changes appearance according to the character that's wearing it. It can be used by characters at level 8.]

When I got them all up to level 12, I switched Ravashi out for her wizard sister, Chimal.

POBT team 02

That's Chimal on the left, with her own hat.

[Yes, I'm frivolous. Sue me. I want my girls to be stylin'!]

Once I got Chimal up to level 13, I decided to test my crazy idea of scout-wiz-ele - and of all the silly things I could do, I sent them all straight to Al Quelt Moreza for some insane questing fun.

POBT team 03

Here they are on the way to defeating Ramiro, and from there, on to AQM to face off, eventually, against Dilos Lantemn.

In fact, I'm posting now because they all got snuffed about a quarter of the way in. Oops, I forgot to kite the mobs out to the corridor - my bad....


As usual, here I get to explain where all the names came from.

SPOILERS AHOY if you haven't read the book yet - let the reader beware.

In Knife of Dreams, Book 11 of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time fantasy series, Tuon [the Daughter of the Nine Moons] name-drops three of her sisters: Aurana, who is younger than she is; and Ravashi and Chimal, who are both older.

Aurana is also a bit too young to be involved in the intrigues of their Imperial Family; but Ravashi and Chimal have already both attempted to have Tuon killed on at least one occasion.

It just amused me to have all four sisters in a family whose name they have all aspired to, but which only Tuon bears: Nine Moons.


In the next posts, watch out for some observations regarding the all new version 2.0.9x, and hopefully as well I can finally put up the long-awaited interview with Regional CM Hrin.

Now I'm going back to get my improbable team into AQM, and let's see how long before they all snuff it *this* time....


EDIT: The interview is up.

Also, maxed-out Quake and Fireball ftw.

POBT team 04

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Putting it together: NineMoons's Pre-Open Beta Test FAQ

Please pay attention - there will be a quiz at the end.

No, I'm only kidding - but I *will* be including something extra for you.

In the meantime, please read the following carefully, and heed what is being said.

Q. How do I sign up for a GE account?
A. Sign up here
for an IAH Games Passport.

This link is also found in the sidebar Official Sites, and at the official GE site.

Q. How do I get the game client?
A. You need to download a completely new client, called the POBT Client or the Version 2.0 client.

You can no longer use your CBT client, if you had one. There is no patch from CBT to POBT - you need to get the POBT client.

Direct downloaders: get the client from the main servers and mirrors listed here.

Torrenters: please refer to this forum thread posted by original seeder Tsubaki.

Read his entire post first before attempting the download. Pay attention to his FAQ, too.

Q. How do I activate the game?
A. Follow the instructions in this news article.

Q. What do I need to know about the POBT?
A. Hrin puts it together in this news article posted at the official website.

The gist, though, includes the following:

- POBT officially opens on 17 May 2007 - Thursday - 1200 (GMT +8). That's 12 noon Singapore time on Thursday, 17 May. No one can log in to the game until then.

If you won a 2-day advance pass, though, you can log in starting 15 May 2007 - Tuesday - 1200 (GMT +8). [Lucky you!]

The winners of the pass will be receiving emails from IAH Games on 13 May [that's today], and they'll need to follow the instructions contained in the emails very carefully.

- As earlier stated: there is NO patch from CBT Client to POBT Client. See the second question above for details on obtaining the POBT client.

- There will be NO IP bans. So all international players are welcome to play.

- The question of F2P vs. P2P has NOT been settled yet. When IAH Games has come to its decision regarding this, there will be an announcement on the official website and in the official forums.

In the meantime, the POBT phase is free to play.

- According to the distributors, installers will be made available after the POBT launch. Again, they will announce when the installers will become available.

In the Philippines, the game client will be released in CD format.

In Malaysia and Singapore, the game client will be released in DVD format.

- Cervantes server has the Baron Mode turned ON. In ordinary terms: PK is ALLOWED, although you have to be in Baron Mode to PK.

- On the other hand, Carracci server has the Baron Mode turned OFF. In ordinary terms: PK is NOT ALLOWED. Carracci is the "carebear" server.

- Both servers WILL be hosting the Colony Wars, and a tentative schedule has been drawn up and included in this article.

It bears repeating: please read the above carefully, and heed what is being said.

If there are any more questions:

- Leave a comment here, and I will do my best to answer them.

- Leave a comment at Hrin's blog.

- Read the news at the official site.

- Search the official forums first. If your question does not seem to be answered there, then post it.


Here's the something extra, as promised.

This trailer for version 2.2 was originally linked on the forums by Pyronin.

So head over to this thread
and show him some love.

This video comes with a title: Witches of Balanar.

If you can't see it on this page, click here.

Sorry it hasn't been translated into English yet. I'll hunt around for a more understandable version
when it comes out.

This is what I can figure out from watching it, though: the titular witches of the video might be a new set of bosses or mobs that the pioneer families can fight. There's likely to be a new dungeon, too - the Witches' lair.

The witch stirring the cauldron at the end is actually an NPC that the characters can interact with, and who can give them missions and quests. You can even get a version of her pointy hat for your female wizard, if you're lucky.

Princess Gabriella and Simon Ayende react to news of the witches, and only they know what they'll have the members of their groups do....

Grace Bernelli's nemesis, Sorceress Cherlyn [the final boss of the Tetra Ruins dungeon], makes a comeback....

New NPCs include Karjalainen, who fights with a Bracelet of Ice and a rapier - therefore making her the opposite number of Panfilo de Narvaez [who fights with a Bracelet of Fire and any sword or sabre].

Viki, the kid with the dog as big as he is, reminds me so much of Nelo from the tearjerker story and anime Dog of Flanders. But he's not to be underestimated - he seems to be a scout, and there's that part of the video where he seems to be summoning that huge rock elemental....

[That all-kid team of Ramiro, Tiburcio and Viki might be worth putting together.]

Jack the Engineer, Diego / Yeganeh, and Selden, the original Construction guys, get a female counterpart: the new RNPC Angie.


Everybody take a deep breath - 17 May is just around the corner, and it's almost time for the New World to open up before us once again....

And to the lucky ones who won the 2-day advance pass, and will venture into Granado Espada on Tuesday - we wish you bon voyage and the best of luck!

News for the coming week

In this latest blog post, Hrin gives us the lowdown on some of the most important issues being discussed in preparation for the start of the Pre-Open Beta Test phase next week: the two servers, the necessity of the download, and the exact time for the start of POBT. She also discusses some rumors - IP bans, F2P vs. P2P, installation CDs / DVDs - and gives the tentative schedule for the much-awaited Colony Wars.

And, here's a new Granado Espada site, with new wallpapers. I think that the best part of that site, though, is the fact that you can listen to the in-game music while browsing its features!

Until we can play, or until the music is offered in the official site's downloads section - I hope the music will tide you over until then.


I've finished my own download of the POBT client and have installed it on my machine.

Of all the loading screens, my favorite is the one where the background is the interior of the Grandice Arcade, in the City of Auch.


*rubs hands frantically together*

*itching to play....*

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A teaser for the future of GE

With the Pre-Open Beta test phase starting either Tuesday next week [for those with the 2-day advance pass] or Thursday next week [for everybody], I thought it might be time to drop in a few nice screenshots from future versions of Granado Espada for everyone to enjoy.

GE fighter as Spartan

This first screenshot comes from a teaser thread for version 2.0, started by SilverCrimz.

[Check out the Guides, FAQs, and Walkthroughs sidebar for his massively popular armors guide.]

New costumes in v.2.2

These pictures are from this thread, where Tsubaki announces that kGE will be releasing v.2.2 on 15 May, on the same day as those in the sGE POBT with the advance pass start.

Way to whet our appetites for this game and its future iterations, guys! Cheers to you both!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Plans for next week, anyone?

If you've been reading the forums then you'll know that Plans on Opening Day is one of the more popular threads [although you will now have to find it on the second page].

A day ago I finally decided to chime in with my 2 vis's worth and gave something like the following as my reply:

Get my family name and my characters' names. I really want to continue playing the NineMoons family.

Form my team. As it is, I'm setting myself up for a couple of headaches because right at the start I'll be creating four characters in my family: a scout, an elementalist, a wizard, and a fighter. [They're all going to be female.]

Now, why am I doing this? Well, I figure I'll always need a tank. And I really can't leave home without a trusty scout for auto-healing. But I would really like to have a scout-elementalist-wizard team at some point, perhaps after level 60. So I figure I'll have the fighter tank each of the magic-users in turn, maybe every five or ten levels or so, until I can have my wizard obtain the Levitation stance and until my elementalist can get the Lord of Elementalist stance and bracelets.

So don't be surprised if you should see my characters change from time to time, as I've got a temporary alt-character setup working right now.

Yes, I'm going to have a fire-based elementalist, and yes, the first thing I'll do with my wizard is max out her Earthquake and Apocalypse skills.

And my fighter will wind up being a Heaven or Hell user, and my scout will be a healer/buffer all the way.


Download progress: 58% when I stopped this morning. With the number of seeders now nudging 10 [at least for my downloads], I expect to have this finished by the end of the week.


Interview updates: Almost there, guys, I hope to have it posted before Monday next week. Sorry for the delay, but it's just a part of these things.


And what are YOUR plans for the start of POBT?

Saturday, May 5, 2007

A little help, right here: waiting on the POBT client

Download mirrors for the POBT client are up!

See those additional links for each of the six parts of the installer? That means there are now quite a few more places from where you can try to download your very own copy of the Granado Espada Pre-Open Beta, Version 2.0 client.

Someone asked me a couple of nights ago why the phase is called "Pre-Open Beta". Community Manager Hrin explained that it's because everyone in the POBT phase will also serve as bug testers for Version 2.0. So it's sort of like the stress tests / bug reporting from the CBT - except that at the end of POBT, there will be no account wipes.

POBT is then a mish-mash of the bug reports from CBT and the non-wipe features of a true Open Beta phase.


As for my own progress in downloading, I started last night - and I should probably say right here that I owe Tsubaki a drink, should I ever get around to meeting him. I'm downloading the client via one of the torrents he announced at the forums.

Current progress: 13% or so. Too bad I can't do the download 24/7 because I share my connection - or I would probably have a higher completion percentage to report.

All you people downloading the torrent - don't forget to seed it ^^ [/PSA]

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Game! articles: third time's the charm.

To borrow the line from CM Hrin: Don't just play GE - *live* GE.

In the third of my Granado Espada articles for Game! Magazine Online, I discuss three of the major themes that involve both the nuts-and-bolts gameplay of Granado Espada, and the nitty-gritty of its fascinating story.

Do leave your comments, both here and at the article itself.

I can't wait for POBT!

Good luck to everyone at these links...

Here are the primary download sites for the Pre-Open Beta client of Granado Espada.

Hopefully, all of those links are working right now.

Hopefully, too, the mirrors will be coming up so that more people can download the zip files more easily.

Hopefully, some of the stalwart few who've already completed their downloads would be generous enough to mirror their files in torrent format.

And hopefully - we all see each other very soon within the New World that is Granado Espada.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Teaser: pictures from my interview of CM Hrin

I was lucky enough to be granted an interview by sGE Community Manager Hrin on 30 April 2007, on the next-to-last day of her business trip to the Philippines. She had been in meetings all day with the local licensee, and we met for dinner and the Q&A afterwards.

The interview was conducted at Recipes by Cafe Metro, a restaurant in Greenbelt 3 in Ayala Center in Makati City; present were CM Hrin, her friend Cheryl, Granado Espada Brand Manager [Philippines] Ivee Feria, yours truly, and my partner.

I'll be releasing the interview very soon - for now, though, please enjoy these pictures taken during and after the interview!

Interview with Hrin-photo 01

Getting ready to eat dinner at Recipes. From left to right, that's me, then Hrin, then Cheryl, then Ivee.

Interview with Hrin-photo 02

We took this next picture at the foyer of the cinemas at Greenbelt 3, where the chandeliers were pretty but the light was somewhat odd for pictures. This time, from left to right: Cheryl, Hrin, me, and my partner.

Interview with Hrin-Hrin's boots

And finally, this one is for you, Tsubaki: the obligatory "Hrin's boots" picture. [I was told, however, that these boots are different from the ones that you snapped during your interview.]

Watch this space for the action-packed interview!


P.S. Good luck to everyone attempting to download the POBT client ^^