Interviews Category

We ask tough questions. Whether the devs answer them truthfully — or at all — is on them! [Follow this category’s RSS feed]

Checking out RIFT 4.2: Celestial Storm

Summertime does seem to be ripe territory for MMORPGs to release sizable content updates in the hopes of keeping players occupied and luring back in the bored and nomadic in the larger community.

Making a pitch for your attention today is RIFT, which has just released the latest segment of its Prophecy of Ahnket expansion cycle with Patch 4.2: Celestial Storm. As players head into the newest endgame zone of the MMO, what will they discover?

A few words on that: Beauty. Challenge. Epic feuds. Rewards. And a crapton to do.

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MMORPG veteran Richard Garriott decries ‘space tourist’ label

If you haven’t figured it out, Shroud of the Avatar and Ultima Online’s Richard Garriott is on a press tour lately for his new memoir, Explore/Create, in which he talks about his interesting life of video game development, adventuring, and even space travel.

As part of that tour, Garriott penned a piece for NBC news in which he goes more in depth about his stint as an astronaut that was sent up to the International Space Station in 2008. While the game designer paid a large sum of money for the privilege of the space flight, he pushed back hard against any suggestion that he was nothing more than a tourist.

“Please don’t call me a ‘space tourist,'” he wrote. “I was not a tourist. I got the same training NASA (and Russian) astronauts get. In orbit, I worked hard to complete those experiments both to offset the high cost of my flight and, more important, to build the businesses that will take me (and you) back to space and ultimately help humanity escape the cradle of our existence.”

Source: NBC News

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 127: EVE walks no more

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree recount the odd history of Walking in Stations, debate the Mordor pre-order, tackle a trio of MMO updates, talk with ARK’s soundtrack composer, and more!

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:

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Elite Dangerous’ David Braben on communities, MMOs, F2P, and the space game genre

Elite Dangerous’ David Braben has a big spread in Rolling Stone’s Glixel blog this week, and it’s a fun read as he zips around discussing Trappist-1, Roman slavery, Star Wars, ant society, Shakespeare, Ursula Le Guin, computer science jobs, and the future of humanity. It’s a whirlwind, but he does eventually get around to talking about Elite itself, admitting that while the game will never achieve “perfection,” it’s “definitely approaching” his ideal space game, as “accurate as we can possibly make it.”

“When we first greenlit Elite: Dangerous, there were no other major space games since Freelancer,” he says. “Now, there are dozens. So, I think we’ve succeeded. We’ve brought the genre back to life. And we’ve proven there’s quite a lot of demand for this sort of game. Yes, it’s niche, but it’s quite a big niche. And we’ve got [Star Citizen’s] Chris Roberts coming along now, and so many other games that look interesting. No Man’s Sky, even.”

He also argues that free-to-play is a “challenge” to online communities and instancing in MMOs.

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Secret World Legends: ‘We plan to continue producing new story content for years to come’

In a combination of review and interview, Gamasutra’s Katherine Cross took a new look at Secret World Legends to see what had changed with the reboot. Generally, she found it agreeable, giving special praise to the new combat controls.

Of even more interest to fans are quotes from Executive Producer Scott Junior, who explained the need for a second change to get the game out to a larger audience. “Accessibility” is the watchword of the day, as Funcom hopes that players initially turned off by The Secret World’s combat and controls might find the reboot more approachable. So far, the player response and game performance has made the team “incredibly happy.”

“This game has a lot more to give,” Junior promised. “With the F2P model of Secret World Legends, we plan to continue producing new story content for years to come.”

Source: Gamasutra

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Pantheon’s Brad McQuaid on ‘vertical interdependence,’ WoW killers, and attracting nontraditional MMO players

Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen’s July newsletter is one of its better ones, featuring a Q&A with Visionary Realms’ Brad McQuaid himself. A few highlights:

  • McQuaid is touting vertical interdependence, the idea that lowbies and highbies in a game have something to offer each other and can even play on some level together “in a way that’s not exploitative, but still meaningful.”
  • Community is at the core of his game’s value system; it sounds as if he believes large communities erode that small-town feel and make relationships too easy to shirk, and consequently, Pantheon’s servers will be sized to be both “lively” and the kind of place where everybody knows your name (and takes into account your bad reputation).
  • He even weighs in on the purported shift from group-centric gameplay to solo gameplay, pinning it on the mass-market appeal of World of Warcraft and the subsequent industry me-toos. “These mega-expensive attempts to create a WoW killer did indeed harm the MMO gamespace and MMO developers,” he writes. “The player who is really focused on community, challenge and long-term investment has been orphaned.”

The newsletter also includes a peek into the game’s AI design as well as a bit on the challenge on just how to “explain to all of the other gamers what kind of game Pantheon will be” — in other words, how to reach out to non-MMORPG players, including the “younger players who are gravitating to [Visionary Realms’] type of game”:

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TennoCon 2017: Warframe’s Plains of Eidolon is the first step toward a true MMORPG

Do you think you know what Warframe is? Can you define the game? Well toss that out the window because the new expansion is going to change things quite a bit. Plains of Eidolon, announced tonight at the end of TennoCon 2017, is taking the shooter in a new direction by opening the world up and fleshing the universe out, creating new ways to experience the game. If you haven’t tried Warframe yet thinking the game isn’t for you, this summer will definitely be the time to jump in and give it a spin.

Can the new expansion really be that game-changing? Yes. I sat with devs as they played through a live demo earlier this afternoon, and what I saw really takes Warframe in a new direction. (I also really liked it!) Plains of Eidolon adds a whole new dimension of player freedom. It brings a more MMORPG feel into the game — makes it more of a real world. Instead of just taking missions and teleporting to small instances, players will have the chance to explore the Warframe universe in open landscapes and meet the races they’ve been protecting for the last four years. Game Director Steve Sinclair told me that while it isn’t an open world, this is a first step in that direction, incorporating elements such as NPCs, open adventure areas, and day/night cycles that influence the gameplay. Of course, the expansion will also include a new Warframe, new weapons, and plenty of new story. Read on for a preview and the brand-new trailer!

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Pokémon Go celebrates its anniversary with a hat-wearing Pikachu

It is genuinely hard to believe that it has been a year already since Pokémon Go took the world by storm (and dominated the headlines for a good portion of July 2016, too). Now that the game has simmered down somewhat and established itself, it can take a few moments to celebrate its birthday.

To mark the occasion, a special Pikachu is running around the place (perhaps in your neighborhood!) wearing Ash’s baseball cap. It makes us wonder what Pikachu did to Ash, but in the meanwhile, you’ll be able to acquire this limited-time pokemon until July 24th. To date, over 125 billion pokemon have been caught by players worldwide.

In an interview with The Verge, Niantic CEO John Hanke said that the game’s enormous success initially worked against its continued development: “We lost probably six months on our schedule because of the success of the game. Really all the way through November and December [2016], from launch onward we were rebuilding and rewiring infrastructure just to keep the game running at the scale that we were running at.”

Check out our report card of the game’s first year if you haven’t read it already! Or heck, read it again even if you did!

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World of Warcraft’s Argus will transport you around the galaxy

The flood of information concerning World of Warcraft’s Patch 7.3 and Argus continues to wash over the community as testing proceeds, starting with a new Ion Hazzikostas interview that revealed many interesting facts about the MMO’s future direction.

As a decimated “husk” of a world, Argus was better suited to the end of the Legion than its own expansion, Hazzikostas explained. He did note that players won’t just be going around a dead landscape, as invasion points will offer adventurers the opportunity to leap around the galaxy to other planets to help counter Legion incursions (and yes, some of these places already have been datamined).

“It is our most ambitious expansion in a lot of ways,” Hazzikostas said. “We’re taking you to a whole new world and trying to tell a story on a grander scale than we have in the past.”

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 124: Shroud of the Avatar’s Richard Garriott and Starr Long

On this special bonus episode, Justin catches up with Richard Garriott and Starr Long about Ultima Online’s spiritual successor, Shroud of the Avatar. How is this project shaping up now that it’s nearing launch? Listen and find out!

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:

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Anthem compares itself to Star Wars and Marvel movies

When BioWare’s newest IP finally arrives on your computer screen next year, don’t expect a hard sci-fi approach in the vein of Mass Effect but rather something with more general, blockbuster appeal.

“[Anthem] is in a genre we call science-fantasy,” said BioWare General Manager Aaryn Flynn in an interview with CBC, “very much like Star Wars, very much like the Marvel Universe, where you see a lot of amazing things happening, but we don’t worry too much about why they’re happening, or how they’re happening, the science of it.”

Flynn said that he hopes families will enjoy playing Anthem together as a cooperative experience. “This game is much more about having fun in a game world that is lush and exotic and sucks you right in,” he said. Anthem is the first new IP for BioWare since 2009.

Source: CBC, VG247

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 123: Ashes of Creation’s Steven Sharif

On this week’s show, Justin sits down with Ashes of Creation’s Steven Sharif to talk about the game’s successful Kickstarter, handling a wild community, and the next steps for this up-and-coming sandbox MMORPG.

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:

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E3 2017: How Wargaming is bringing accessibility to Total War: Arena (without dumbing it down)

Following up on its original Steam release by Creative Assembly, Wargaming semi-recently decided to help publish Total War: Arena and present it at E3 2017. It makes a lot of sense, as both companies primarily focus on historical war games and pride themselves on trying to keep things accurate. It’s personally not my favorite genre of games, but I did enjoy history class and always liked when students told me they played these kinds of games because it at least got them interested in their past (though Asian dramas were also a popular “edutainment” option among my students). That being said, I was actually surprised by the process Creative Assembly used in its research — and with Wargaming’s help, tried to gamify it.

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