Elsword (Korean: 엘소드) is a free-to-play, 2.5D action MMORPG developed by the South Korean company KOG Studios. It features real-time action gameplay and includes both player vs. environment and player vs. playermodes. There are twelve playable characters within the game, each with unique backstories and distinct abilities. While playing the game is free, some items and costumes can be purchased through an in-game “Item Mall” using real currency. The game was originally made with the intention of being the spiritual successor to Grand Chase by upgrading the graphics from 2D to 2.5D.
Elsword features skill-based action gameplay combined with role-playing elements and community features typical of an MMORPG, such as guilds, chat, and item trading. Gameplay can be controlled using either a keyboard and mouse or a gamepad. It is based on arcade Beat ’em ups, and require the player to properly execute combos within the specific range of their character much akin to a fighting game, mixing the elements to provide a side-scrolling beat ’em up fighter.
In the world of Elsword, player are able to choose classes by choosing a character, each with their own backgrounds and characteristics. Each character is able to choose from three job paths, each with their own fighting mode and personalities.
As of August 2016, all classes can advance to the “Transcendence mode” where they gain two new passives, one active, and three special actives starting from level 70, and two additional skill slots. Transcendence is also considered as a third job advancement, despite being a same class.
While 1st Class, 2nd Class, and Transcendence mode are available to all countries and continents with the game server, Ain is the only character that does not have all three classes or modes available in Europe.
Different types of skills are automatically unlocked as a player levels up. The player can also choose skill traits for a skill (only Special Active, Active, and Buff), which grants additional buff like damage increase, mana usage decrease, and anti-mana break skill, with some cost, a sacrifice like cool down skill or mana usage increase.
Elsword’s skills except Passives and Hyper Actives are also divided into four types: Flexibility (Active skills), Tenacity (50~120MP), Strength (150~200MP), and Bravery (250~300MP).
Players traverse the land of Elrios, defeating enemies and leveling-up to unlock new job classes and skills. As players explore the world, they travel to ten unique regions, each containing a “hub” town and around six dungeons. In towns, players can receive quests from NPCs, purchase items, and interact with other players. Dungeons are instanced, offering co-op play for up to four players at a time. Some dungeons feature branching paths, light puzzle-solving, and interactive elements such as collapsing buildings. The game also features a number of special dungeons. Presently, there is a total of 80 different levels.
There are twelve different playable characters as of June 2017, each with three different job class paths (except Rose who has four) that can be chosen starting at level 15. Each job class path offers specialization in a different play style along with unique skills.
Player vs. player (PvP) takes place in a special sparring arena designed for different numbers of players. Up to eight players can brawl at the same time.Both “survival” (i.e. everyone vs. everyone) and “team” modes are available, with team battles supporting up to 4 vs. 4. Servers have the option to fight 1 vs. 1, 2 vs. 2, and 3 vs. 3 matches. In the Korean version of Elsword, 2 vs. 2 was removed due to its unpopularity. This option was also removed later in the North American and European version, but was re-installed on July 14, 2014 for the North American version and on July 30, 2014 for the European version.
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