After covering the development of Ubisoft’s The Division since 2013, I finally got my hands on the game itself — and its PvP — at this year’s E3. It’s not exactly a true MMO, but it’s got online co-op,
tablet-assisted play, and an “end of the world” setting free of zombies, all of which should translate to hype. [Apparently that tablet app has been canceled as confirmed earlier today.] New details on the Dark Zone may have scared some people off, but my interest was piqued.
For my part, I’m a big fan of organic, open-world PvP; instanced PvP doesn’t do much for me unless it’s about more than just accruing points or climbing ranks or even loot. Unfortunately, the Ubisoft PR rep at E3 began the demo by telling the participants our objective was to kill the other teams in a 3v3v3 “match.” Up until that point, I hadn’t realized that Dark Zone was being billed as an arena for loot gain. In fact, the official description of the demo implied a much more free-form experience.
While Heroes of the Storm just released, Blizzard is not resting on its laurels. The Eternal Conflict is coming, first on the public test realm June 23rd, then in a hoped-for release on June 30th, but the overall push will last a few months.
This expansion has had a quick cadence, especially after Technical Director Alan Dabiri and Senior Artist Phill Gonzales admit that the game’s basically been released in all but name for awhile now. I spoke to the pair at this year’s E3 2015. Read on!
Just a heads-up: If you have friends who play Final Fantasy XIV
, you may not be seeing them at all today. That’s because early access has begun
for the Heavensward
expansion, which will go on to officially launch June 23rd.
The patch notes for the expansion are up and cover the incredibly long list of additions, changes, and features. Heavensward adds several new zones to the game, increases the job cap to 60, introduces the Au Ra playable race, and throws in a trio of new classes. Oh, and there might be something about flying.
The last few years around convention time, I took a moment in The Daily Grind to ponder whether E3 had become irrelevant for MMO gamers in particular. This year, I can’t even ask that question with a straight face. While the con wasn’t swarming with true MMOs, the MMO announcements circling the expo were huge. Star Wars: The Old Republic is doing what to its storyline and factions? Guild Wars 2’s expansion is prepurchasable at what price? EVE: Valkyrie hasn’t been abandoned yet? (I kid, I kid.) Never mind that there’s an expansion on the way for Final Fantasy XIV, a patch for World of Warcraft next week, Blade & Soul en route and a F2P relaunch for WildStar, and oh yeah, Elder Scrolls Online console launch anyone? Almost every major MMO player showed up with something big this week.
But what was the biggest? What was the MMO highlight of E3? Bonus question: What was the highlight of E3 overall?
The dust hasn’t even settled from H1Z1’s recent base-building update, and already Producer Steve George has revealed to us at E3 2015 another great construction-related feature that will be hitting in the coming weeks. What could be better than the watchtowers and foundation expansions that were just added to the game? How about a way to easily store, manage, and use the resources to make said towers! George introduced the concept of construction boxes, a secure container with a special interface that can be dropped at a construction site and used to build the the walls, doors, and other components neccessary for a base. These boxes go well beyond the current storage containers and will streamline and improve the constructon process.
I first saw MMOTCG HEX
at E3 2013 at the same time the Kickstarter was revealed to the public, which was actually after it had been cancelled during its initial development. I was immediately impressed with the idea, but not always the execution. Why put PvP in first? Where’s the unique PvE? Where are the guilds? I sympathize with befuddled players: We hear a vision, we like it, and we want to see it too. We just have trouble visualizing the path there and sometimes get impatient.
At E3 2015, I have seen HEX anew. HEX Entertainment CEO and President Cory Jones summed up the bizarre development process:
“HEX is unique. I had to roll out features as they come. Most big companies have enough money to say, ‘No no, we’ll wait till the cake’s baked, and then we’ll put it out.’ I’ve had to go, ‘Oh, this part’s baked; I’ll peel this off and serve it. Here’s some frosting on the side!’ I’ve had to piecemeal you this cake, which is not a good way to serve cake.”
Protector’s Jubilee starts anew in Neverwinter
today to celebrate the game’s two-year anniversary. The returning festival gives players new quests and skirmishes to conquer in exchange for festival rewards. What’s interesting about this year’s event is that it is the first time that the Jubilee has gone live on the Xbox One
in addition to the PC.
During the festival, players can save up special currency to exchange for fun rewards such as a traveling entertainer, a juggling emote, an armored horse mount, flashy cosmetic outfits, and even a new throne featuring Boo, the space hamster.
Protector’s Jubilee begins today, June 18th, and will continue for a week until June 25th.
What exactly is Ion, the new sci-fi sandbox being developed by Dean Hall in collaboration with virtual world firm Improbable? We still don’t really know, though Hall did drop a few cryptic hints in a recent interview on the PC Gaming Show.
“It’s not Star Citizen, it’s not Elite, it’s not EVE,” he said, before elaborating about a third-person isometric setup akin to Diablo. “We’re sketching together regions and letting players have their own regions. It’s a 3D environment, but it’s not true isometric. There’s an offset camera,” he explained.
I’m more an MMORPG player than a Dungeons & Dragons tabletop gamer, but I’m familiar enough with D&D to be intrigued by the addition of a third online game in the franchise to the market. Still, I wasn’t sure what to expect from my Dungeons & Dragons: Sword Coast Legends demo at E3 this year. We have two other D&D MMOs, and Neverwinter already has a way to let players build dungeons for other people to play and enjoy in the form of the Foundry. How could SCL be different?
By now you are no doubt familiar with the guild halls arriving in Guild Wars 2‘s Heart of Thorns expansion. What you probably didn’t expect is that the expansion is available for purchase as of tonight and is already stirring up controversy for its $49.99 standard rate that comes along with a copy of the base game whether you’ve already got it or not. The deluxe version will run $74.99 and come with an extra character slot and several cosmetic goodies, while the ultimate edition runs $99.99 and is just like the deluxe set only with 4000 gems in addition to the fluff. All editions grant access to weekend beta events slated for the game, and many of the in-game goodies will be unlocked on accounts now instead of when the expansion launches.
But earlier today, ArenaNet wanted to dish on the guild halls coming to the game, and it was worth the flight to LA! I sat down with ArenaNet Game Designer Link Hughes, Design Lead Crystin Cox, and PvP Test Lead Jessica Boettiger here at E3 2015 to get a look at and talk all about guild housing. Here’s the scoop (and a video, too!).
Ascent: The Space Game is holding its first major election. This isn’t just any player election, mind you, but it’s one that will determine the loftily titled President of the Galaxy. Developer Fluffy Kitten Studios says that the president will be “given a direct line to the development team” and will therefore be able to “influence the very foundation of the universe as it is built.”
The election deadline is June 20th and the newly elected president will serve a six-month term. The two most viable candidates are Prolapser, a veteran with over 1,300 hours of “flight time,” according to Fluffy Kitten’s press release. His only serious challenger is Waervyn, who is riding a wave of popularity thanks to his social media campaigning and his YouTube tutorials.
So, hey, remember that rumor about Destiny launching The Taken King on September 15th of this year? There’s a new trailer out from the wilds of this year’s E3, and yes, that’s all entirely true. We could just call this year’s convention “all rumors are true” and sound pretty convincing at this point.
Oh, you’d like to actually see the trailer? Sure thing; we can arrange for that just down below. If you’ve read the rumor, you probably know what to expect, but it’s still nice to actually see it on the screen. The trailer also announces a compiled edition for the title containing the base game, The Taken King, and the intervening updates.
Rare announced a new piratey thing called Sea of Thieves at today’s Microsoft E3 event. It’s an Xbox One
exclusive and Windows 10 title with sailing ships, buried treasure, and stylized graphics that was described as the firm’s “most ambitious title to date.”
The reveal trailer featured players running to and fro with MMO-style nametags floating above their heads, but the size and scope of the game remain something of a mystery. You can catch the trailer after the cut.