Interview: Swordsman's "Sandbox in a Themepark"
With the launch of Swordsman's latest expansion "Gilded Wasteland," I figured it was time to get some more information about this title as I honestly knew very little about personally. I was a bit confused though as I expected more of a "sandbox" style than I saw right off the bat.
That's not to say that I didn't like what I saw, I just wasn't expecting to see more of a themepark style of gameplay at the onset.
Curious, I recently chatted with Wayne Song, Assistant Product Manager for Swordsman in China, to dig more into the themepark and sandbox elements of Swordsman.
Magicman (MM): Starting off in Swordsman, it sometime feels (at earlier levels) that the combat maybe isn’t as in-depth as fans of this genre would like. Does this open up and become more in depth and customizable as you level?
Wayne Song (WS): Swordsman’s combat system focuses more on its competitive nature and each of the school’s unique features, so as a new acolyte you’re supposed to learn from your masters and grow. But we’re always trying to add more content to the game. There are lots of skills available for every school, and after reaching certain levels, players can learn Lost Arts, and other mysterious skills that players can create a unique skillset from. In the future, we’ll add more interesting content in the combat system, including more customization content.
MM: Fans of Wuxia MMO games usually look for major sandbox elements in their games. From my very initial play through of Swordsman, the beginning levels seem very “theme park” in nature. I realize that most of this may be as a “tutorial” to learn the systems, but when and how does the game really open up to players looking for that sandbox aspect?
WS: The reason that the content of beginning levels are very “theme park” in nature is we created this game based on the background of Swordsman’s novel. At the early stage, we need to closely follow this theme to make players feel the Wuxia world that was created by Louis Cha, the novel writer. We’re actually thinking about add more new content in the future, making the theme more open and more popular.
MM: How does exploration feature in Swordsman’s gameplay? Will I find myself just wandering around looking for cool things off the beaten path as I progress?
WS: We add the exploration content in quests. Like there is a level 17 quest in the map of Harmony City Outskirts, named “Adept on the Tower.” Players can only find this quest by talking with an NPC, and analyzing what NPC said, and there is no sign about this quest in other places. A special achievement will be granted when completing this quest.
There are other content which has the exploration element, and hope US players will enjoy it. Once you break past the narrative missions there is a lot to explore.
MM: I haven’t made it to this point yet personally, but I heard you can solve crimes and even dig into murder mysteries. Can you tell us more about this aspect of play?
WS: After joining the Mercenary Band guild, players can receive daily detective quests from Major Advisor - Crime Unit in the guild base. By collecting the clues in the crime scene, players needs to deduce the truth behind it. Not many MMOs have murder mystery investigations! Besides that, guild members can receive Jianghu news from daily guild events and quests. They can turn them in to the NPC in guild base, and activate major game events by deducing this news. The rewards are good. Have fun!
MM: What would you say Swordsman offers to fans of this genre that your competitors don’t from a game play perspective?
WS: First, in combat system, players can create the unique skillsets as they wish. The mutual-constraint among skills greatly improve the combat strategy, as it needs players’ PK techniques. Besides that, the movement skills like Dash and Sprint add more strategy to combat, even allowing players to cast skills in air.
The Appearance Customization system offers great room for players to make unique characters in game, and there are lots of fashions, especially the dyeable fashions, that players can dress up the characters as they wish.
With the storyline, combat system, and the guild content, etc., Swordsman gives players a very natural feeling about the Wuxia World.
MM: With the launch of the Gilded Wasteland expansion, has the dev team found new ways to satisfy both the theme park crown and the sandbox crowed? What additions would you like to see in future expansions to continue this growth?
WS: Gilded Wasteland added lots of content on the aspect of the “theme park” experience, like the new level cap and quests. But we also really value the “free and open” game experience, trying our best to offer more options to players. For example, in future updates, we’ll add new character models for players’ characters, offering new cross-server battlegrounds for players who like to be the most powerful one on all servers. Also, new character options, more choices of gear, and more interesting gameplay content are not far away.
Our thanks to Wayne Song for taking time to chat with us!
About the Author
Mike “Magicman” Byrne has been a part of the MMOBomb family for years and serves as the site’s current Editor-in-Chief. His love for MMOs and gaming in general has led him to covering games for numerous websites including Gamebreaker TV and XIV Nation where he proudly displays his fanboy flag for FFXIV:ARR.
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