You wanted answers, we've got answers! As soon as Funcom
sent us the press release and the FAQ about the launch
of Secret World Legends
and its effect on The Secret World
, we fired off some questions to get more details and some clarification. Game Director Romain Amiel
has now expounded on different aspects of both games for us, including the use of the Ability Wheel, changes to progression, Grandmaster status in both games, future development, and more. Here's what he had to say.
(Bad news spoiler: Your hopes of having continued content in The Secret World or a new graphics engine have the same lifespan as an Orochi agent.)
Join us in welcoming today Citadel Studios' Project Lead Derek Brinkmann from Legends of Aria (fka Shards Online) for an hour-long interview about the game's rebranding, new MMO focus, and upcoming alpha tests!
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
Listen to the show right now:
We've been speaking with NCsoft West
off the record this week, agitating for publicly printable answers on the Master X Master decision to implement City of Heroes characters
(to the loud outrage of disgruntled City of Heroes
players). But apparently we won't have to, as some of the answers have been published today.
Lorehound quotes NCsoft MXM Brand Manager Sean Orlikowski as saying that adding Statesman to the MOBA was his personal "passion project for the last two years."
"I saw it as a way to incorporate a character from a beloved title into our universe. Myself and the producer for MXM were both big fans of City of Heroes (I was more on the CoV side, myself) and we worked together to make sure we got his skills, look, and even his VO right since he’d only ever been voiced for a single sentence of a single trailer in the past. The bottom line for me was that nearly all of NCSOFT’s properties were being represented in the game; Aion, Blade & Soul, Lineage II, WildStar, Guild Wars 2, even Death Knight from the original Lineage MMO are in the game. I wanted the West to have proper representation, so we started brainstorming ideas for Western characters to add to Rytlock and Mondo Zax who were already in development. I made the argument for Statesman because the MXM universe offered a way he could be prominent again, and the rest is history."
DualShockers has a new interview out with Conan Exiles' Joel Bylos. It's from GDC, but it's still worth a look given that it includes info on this week's patch. For starters, expect to see the new decay system (it's been renamed as the "ruins system" now), the planned dye system, new weapons, and the promised thrall updates -- eventually, players can expect alchemists, engineers, sorcerers, and beastmasters as thralls. Don't expect mounts until summer, though. Crafters, a heads-up for you: Since crafting progression is getting a revamp, "players will get to repick all of their recipes."
The Purge is also a hot topic for future updates -- basically, it'll be a massive AI invasion with special thralls and an eye toward wrecking your server's best stuff. Can't let that happen, now can we.
Meanwhile, following player outcry over the excessive duping and exploiting going on there, Funcom has announced it will partially wipe the official servers.
Everyone loves expansions, right? Neverwinter's
latest expansion, Cloaked Ascendancy
, launched the last week of February
, giving players the opportunity to delve in and enjoy the new areas and stories for the last few weeks. That is, PC players have that opportunity; fans who prefer to partake via consoles have to wait extra time for each update and expansion to pass certification by the respective console makers before they can release. And waiting is never very fun.
Thankfully, this wait is just about over: Cloaked Ascendancy will land on the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 on Tuesday, April 11th. In less than a month, all Neverwinter players (of the appropriate level) will have the chance to experience all the new stuff that the expansion offers, from the the new zone to the new story line to the new skirmish.
If that still seems a bit too far away, we've got something to help tide you over: I sat down with Thomas Foss, Lead Designer, to talk more about the expansion. We discussed the inspiration behind it to his favorite parts of it. He might have even shared an Easter egg or two!
I admit to my weakness: Despite years and years of games using it again and again, I still enjoy the simple gameplay benefits of jumping between ledges. I like parkour. Admittedly, I like it in a purely academic sense, as my actual vertical mobility is somewhere between "no" and "hell no," but I like games that allow you to dash hither and yon, springing from wall to wall, running along things, all of that fun stuff.
The pre-alpha build of MMORPG sandbox Chronicles of Elyria on display at PAX East did not feature that. It featured parkour that was more on the level of God of War's process of mantling ledges, jumping between them, and so forth. Still, that's a welcome change from the fact that far too many MMOs don't even grant you that degree of mobility. Even in games that encourage you to move about with jumping puzzles and the like, how many MMOs allow you to actually use your hands to grasp a ladder?
It would be fair to say that Final Fantasy XIV
fans treat Naoki Yoshida
like a rock star, and he carries himself like one: not with unnecessary swagger but with the smooth confidence of someone who has a lot going on beneath the surface and knows exactly what he's doing. This is part of why it's always a joy to interview him, as few other developers can (or will) provide such thorough answers to even the most incidental questions.
Obviously, sitting with Yoshida meant that I had to ask him a fair number of questions about Stormblood and what's coming with the expansion, but I also had to ask about the last patches of Heavensward and quality-of-life improvements. So there's a lot to chew on, some of which has been rumored before now, some of which has not, and all of which is highly relevant before the game's community Q&A panel takes place at PAX later today.
Even successful online games like World of Tanks
can be subject to critical mistakes and community backlash. Talking to Polygon
CEO Victor Kislyi
admitted that arrogance and a Russian-centric team contributed to a near-disaster with its Rubicon update a few years back. Additionally, the studio mandate to carbon-copy World of Tanks'
format ended up hurting the development of World of Warships
and World of Warplanes
Kislyi said that once the studio owned up to its faults and identified the key problems, it began to make changes. The studio started hiring more international employees and paid better attention to what its community was saying. "This took years for us as a company to come to this understanding of this necessity [of this change], and to make it," he said.
The big focus for 2017, Kislyi said, was to shore up World of Tanks and make it into a better game overall. Wargaming is also allowing Warships and Warplanes more leniency to develop according to their individual strengths and unique properties.
Yup, it's true. It was a sad day when Emily Taylor confirmed that she was indeed leaving Daybreak. When John Smedley's tweet popped up outing Taylor's move to Canada, I was in the middle of chatting with friends and fellow EverQuest II players. We were stunned. We know that the industry can be fickle, but Taylor had been a staple on the EQII scene. Known as "Domino," she'd been in integral part of the Norrath crafting scene; she was responsible for penning many of the crafting signature quest lines as well as developing other parts of crafting, events, and housing. She was also well admired and appreciated by the community. Her loss would really be felt.
When we first read that tweet, our thoughts went to, oh no, what happened? followed very quickly by what's going to happen? After the rough time Daybreak has had since the split from Sony (multiple layoffs, game closures galore, and clandestine management changes along with staff resignations), we understandably wondered if we were witnessing a step toward impeding disaster -- a sentiment shared by other fans of the franchise. The uncertainty of the news was laid to rest when Taylor herself announced that yes, she was leaving. She informed players that her move was of a personal nature (she wants to shovel more snow?!) instead of any thing related to the studio. She also assured us that there were plenty of devs at Daybreak still working on the games -- moreso, in fact, than when the name changed.
Love it or hate it, No Man's Sky was the buzz around the video game water cooler last year. And while the space exploration title received major backlash following its shaky launch, creater Sean Murray said that last November's Foundations update propelled the game to a million players (in some way, shape, or form).
In an interview from GDC, Murray performed a post-mortem on the game's launch, saying that the team only expected about 14,000 players on day one -- and became quickly overwhelmed when a half million explorers showed up to party. He noted that the relatively small team (nine employees) and the fact that the game started to run out of money during development were factors in the difficult release.
Meanwhile, Murray is focused on developing even more procedural generation for all of its projects: "Making really neat, weird engine decisions, and letting them dictate a cascade of problems: It's cool for me to be able to stand up and say to talented people like yourselves, we're looking for that kind of thing."
If you were annoyed by the apparent subsumption of World of Warcraft art and lore panels by other games' e-sports at last year's BlizzCon, prepare to keep on being annoyed: A new interview on PCGamesN suggests that Blizzard is very much not giving up on e-sports for WoW.
In fact, Blizzard E-Sports Director Kim Phan told the publication that the studio sees "an opportunity" in renewed attention on the 2004 MMO and its competitive raiding scene, which as PCGamesN points out seems a belated reaction, given how many raiding guilds have already signed off from the current meta over the grind.
How might Blizz approach this? Says Phan,
"We've been doing the live raid races for a long time, just to see which team can do it better - that's still competitive. It's not your traditional eSports where it's two teams head to head, the dungeon races is another one. Even though you're not going head to head with another player, I think that's exciting to see. [...] We have experimented last year and we're going to continue to experiment this year. Now, whether or not we make it a big program with prize money and all of that stuff - I don't think that's the only thing that defines eSports anymore. For me, eSports is just being able to watch to see who the best is at something."
Were you scratching your head over last week's announcement that H1Z1 would be bringing its upcoming PvP tournament to the CW network? We were too, which is why this interview with Daybreak makes for fascinating reading. So how did that TV deal happen?
Apparently CW has prided itself on being the first broadcast network to take an interest in e-sports, joining ESPN and TBS in showing live video game matches to interested viewers. H1Z1: King of the Kill Executive Producer Chris Wynn said that the deal happened because of Daybreak's connections with the pro team Echo Fox and the interesting twist that this winner-takes-all tournament will provide.
"We have a unique opportunity to do something with King of the Kill that no one else can do," Wynn said, "and that’s putting on a tournament with 15 teams of five players each all competing at the same time. It’s not a ladder-style knockout like in traditional sports. All these guys will get into one game, in one match, and all compete simultaneously. This unique experience is what appealed to the different partners."
Last week, Massively OP's Larry Everett attended a press event for Elder Scrolls Online's Morrowind chapter and brought back a veritable guar-load of information about the brand-new Warden class, the storyline and setting of the campaign, the 4v4v4 PvP battlegrounds, and even a new gameplay trailer. We've rounded up everything here in one place!