Interviews Category

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

GDC 2018: A look at Funcom’s Mutant Year Zero Road to Eden

I didn’t play it, but I can’t be the only one who thought of the original tabletop when Funcom announced Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden. Well, if you haven’t heard yet, surprise! It’s based on the same IP.

However, I have some bad news, MMO fans: Apparently while there was a plan for Mutant Year Zero to have a multiplayer option, it got the axe. Good news, though: Developer and “First Lady” from The Bearded Ladies (the developers behind the game) David Skarin said nothing is stopping them from adding it in after launch. Normally CGI trailers without gameplay make the press side of me roll my eyes, but I have to admit that, after seeing some actual gameplay, I’d probably enjoy some hands-on time with the title.

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GDC 2018: Making sense of battle royale MMO Mavericks with Automaton Games

So as you may know, I’m an MMORPG guy – not really a battle royale guy. There are some cool ideas for people who like the combat of survival games turned up to 11, but that’s not my thing. I like community building, crafting, negotiating, and generally using my words to avoid direct combat. So when Automaton games announced Mavericks and said it’d be adding MMO elements to the battle royale genre, I got a bit excited. However, after having some hands-on time with the game and talking to Automaton Games’ CEO James Thompson at this year’s GDC, I’ve come to the realization that it’s much more for the battle royale crowd than the MMO crowd, and this will be especially true at launch.

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GDC 2018: Funcom’s Tor Egil Andersen on Conan Exiles’ early access, launch, and beyond

My initial impressions of Conan Exiles, written just about a year ago, weren’t exactly glowing. While I know not every game I play needs to appeal to me, so much of the genre just felt like a repetition of what we’d already seen countless times before: a survival game in early access filled with bugs, naked people killing each other, and nothing that really made living in the game world feel worth it. Character progression felt bland, building was significantly harder than destruction, and the guild recruitment button on day one resulted in axing people in the face.

But that was a year ago. MJ has covered in-depth what the game’s done right since then, but even I’ve noticed just how much Funcom’s done to bolster the title. It made buildings more difficult to destroy. More emotes came in. More PvE content. Climbing. New zones. And then the launch announcement about a year after EA, with February’s honest look at the game’s future. Promising that no EA features that come later will be behind a pay wall is quite refreshing.

Still, I had some questions I wanted to pose to Community Manager Tor Egil Andersen at GDC 2018, so let’s get to them.

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GDC 2018: The Legends of Aria devs talk closed beta, gankbox PvP, and the MMORPG genre

One thing I love about GDC compared to other conventions I cover is how many actual developers I get to talk to, especially without PR and Marketing handlers. Everyone has his or her job, I understand that, but my job as press it to cut through those two departments to get what the actual product is. Nothing helps that more than understanding the thoughts behind design decisions, and that can rarely come from people who aren’t keyboard deep in code and design docs.

My talk with Citadel Studios’ Founder and CEO Derek “Supreem” Brinkmann and Lead Designer Jeffrey “Miphon” Edwards felt like the right kind of interview for just that. I’m not someone who backed their project, and I’m not sure if Legends of Aria (formerly Shards Online) is my type of game, but after checking it out for myself, I feel like the game is in capable hands.

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GDC 2018: Hands-on with Trion’s ‘reimagined’ Defiance 2050

Before my GDC interview with Producer Matt “Destromathe” Pettit last week, I was really frustrated with the news about Defiance 2050. I wasn’t a huge fan of the first Defiancebut mostly out of lack of experience; I liked the transmedia idea, and when that died, so did my interest. When Trion announced 2050, I couldn’t join in the excitement. The details were scant and PR-y. I wasn’t even happy with the questions we got back. When I was told I’d get an interview with Pettit at a “party,” I was worried it might mean I’d need a stiff drink to accept what I was being invited to see. In short, I expected 2050 to be a cash grab.

But now I wish Trion had put in its announcement everything Pettit told me. I feel much better about what Trion’s doing now that I’ve seen the product, and I didn’t even drink anything beforehand!

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A sneak peek of South Africa in Secret World Legends’ Season 2

The things I do for you! You know that story is everything to me, and in order to bring you more information, I allowed myself to be partially spoiled on Secret World Legends’ start of the long-awaited Season 2. If you know nothing of what’s ahead and are trying to stay totally pure of any information other than it launches on April 4th, then go ahead and leave now. Right now. That was your warning. Because I was just on a pretty detailed (but not completely spoilerific) tour of the upcoming content release with Game Director Romain Amiel and Community Manager Andy Benditt. And I am going to share some of it with you. Don’t worry, though – I’ve got your back. I’ve made it so incredibly obvious the different levels of spoilers — from nothing to lots — so if you get spoiled, you will have only yourself to blame.

If you already know where we are heading and want to learn details about non-story stuff that is pertinent to the expansion, I’ve got a whole section ahead for you. You can stop before any of the story spoilers happen. For those who want to go ahead and get even more of the juicy tidbits of the story, I’ve got a whole big bite of it for you, including screenshots. But even you don’t get to know everything!

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GDC 2018: In the crow’s nest with Ship of Heroes’ CEO Casey McGeever

Let me be upfront: I’ve never gotten into a superhero MMO. I love comics; outside of work, it’s probably the only fiction I willingly read these days. It’s just the people I play with never got into hero MMOs, even when some of us finally tried DC Universe Online.

But I read all about them. And I know you superhero MMORPG players have been kicked around.

Heroic Games President and CEO Casey McGeever’s passionate about the need for the genre because of that, and that’s precisely why MMO Ship of Heroes was conceived. We’ve got superheroes everywhere these days, but as hot as the Avengers are, we’re largely given steaming piles of brown from their gaming-ignorant parent companies. So I sat down with McGeever to talk MMOs, tech, and a ship full of heroes during GDC 2018.

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Shroud of the Avatar: Partying with Portalarium, countering pay-to-win, and the state of the game

The day is finally arriving: Shroud of the Avatar is formally launching next week. It’s been a long journey. The path to this new old-school MMO started back on Kickstarter on March 8th, 2013. Now, five years almost to the day, SOTA is emerging. On March 27th, release #52 will be the official launch of episode 1. And fans didn’t have to wait until the end of the month to celebrate; Portalarium hosted a launch party this past week in Austin, Texas.

Besides hanging out with devs and fans at the shindig, I visited the studio’s offices for a tour and interview with Richard Garriott and Starr Long. There, I got to see memorabilia from the very beginnings of Garriott’s game-making career as well as a sneak peek of the events that will occur at SOTA’s launch. After that, it was celebration time at the awesome From Pong to Pokemon exhibit at the The Bullock Texas State History Museum (which happened to have a display of some of Garriott’s early gaming goodies!)

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Bless Online interview: On soft launch, monetization, classes – and no lockboxes

Earlier today, we posted up Bless Online’s new trailer and big news: That’s it’s launching on Steam early access as a buy-to-play title this coming May. As part of the announcement, Neowiz agreed to answer a few of our most pressing questions about the infodump. Read on for more about the game’s planned monetization, what constitutes early access, and the state of PvP servers.

MassivelyOP: Can you disambiguate a bit for us here – is Bless’ early access more like a paid beta with wipes or a true soft launch? When exactly should regular gamers be jumping in if they do not want to help test, and how much testing and server wiping is going to go on?

Neowiz: Bless Online’s early access period on Steam is closer to a soft launch. There won’t be any wipes once it begins. While we’ll be listening closely and gathering feedback on how to improve Bless for the full launch, those who aren’t interested in focusing on testing will still be able and welcome to jump in and enjoy the game in its early access form.

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GDC 2018: Rend is looking to ‘WoW’ the survival genre

I’m already old and bitter when it comes to survival games. I’ve killed zombies, dinosaurs, infected bears, maybe even infected dinosaurs, and people. Lots of people. Even for food, and I don’t mean apples. I’ve been been forced to hand over my clothes in the freezing cold, drowned myself to escape imprisonment, and endured beaches full of dead, starved naked men on a PvE server that was unable to provide food for its citizens. It’s been the worst parts of The Walking Dead when I’ve been looking for the “It’s going to be OK!” moments. All this during what’s largely proven to be an unending “Early Access” period.

To say I’m critical of the survival genre at this point may be an understatement. By all accounts, someone might think I hate them, and they’d be half right. I hate most of what I’ve played. There’s cool stuff, but it’s like finding a $1 bill in what you hope was a pool of mud. It’s cool, but not really something you want to do a lot of. You mostly want the good stuff. Frostkeep’s upcoming survival MMO, Rend… well, it’s hard to not get excited, but my time talking to the developers actually gave me some faith for the future.

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GDC 2018: Hearthstone’s Witchwood goes monster hunting

Massively OP is at GDC 2018 this year, and like Hearthstone, we’re kicking things off with a bang: with monster hunting! No, not the dino-esque kind Matt and I have been doing, but the kind Gilneas are doing in HS‘s upcoming expansion, The Witchwood. I got to sit down and talk with Lead Mission Designer Dave Kosak and Associate Designer Dean Ayala about the new expansion, RNG, and more.

What the Witchwood brings

First, the best part: Just logging in after Witchwood launches grants you not only three free packs, but a random legendary card as well. In fact, we’ve seen a few new cards and card mechanics in the past week or so. The Rush mechanic, essentially Charge without letting creatures attack players on their first turn, isn’t exactly new, and I was told it wouldn’t be retroactively added to any cards, including the warrior move “Charge,” which essentially just adds Rush to a creature. Echo is kind of cool, allowing the player to cast an Echo card as many times as they can afford that turn. And then there are the Worgen cards, which switch their attack and HP each turn add some flexibility to your decks depending on what you need. The latter two feel more interesting for an old CCG fan like yours truly since those are the kinds of things that are hard to do in a physical CCG.

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Preview: Trove’s Heroes expansion is super – and launching on March 27

If you were ever of the opinion that one thing the voxel world Trove needed was a superhero, then you are getting your wish! The upcoming Vanguardian class is very much your classic superhero — or villain! But what is a hero without a city to protect and foes to protect it from? The Heroes expansion offers all of that and more. I got to hang out with Senior Producer James Karras and animator Ted Sanger as they flew through the neon world of Luminopolis on a new Vanguardian. This new superhero-themed class might just be the very class to finally pull me away from my Dracolyte (which is ironic, since this update is also when the Dracolyte finally gets some buffed-up love!).

As it turns out, this expansion is also more about a story. And you know me — I love story! That makes me even more excited to get into this expansion for myself. If you are also looking forward playing this class, touring the new city, or just collecting the many new allies, you’ll be able to join me when Heroes launches on March 27th. Until then, we’ll all have to settle for living it vicariously.

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Guild Wars 2: The first forum chat covers boss difficulty, instance chaining, and season rewards

ArenaNet is trying something new for Guild Wars 2 this season: In addition to its episodic AMAs on Reddit, it’s opened up a temporary Q&A forum on the new content. It’s certainly a lot easier to read and find replies! Most of the topics since yesterday revolve around lore, and as I’m trying to avoid spoilers myself, I won’t subject you to them, but there are some more general ones that aren’t just AMA repeats that I can draw your attention to.

  • Players didn’t make much headway with ArenaNet in the ongoing complaints about the difficulty of the solo story bosses.
  • Planning for this episode began in November of 2016, to give you an idea of how long these things percolate.
  • The studio agrees some of the instance chaining in this episode goes on for too long. (It was done for story purposes.)
  • Will the personal story ever be developed again? “It’s something we consider often,” Jessica Price says, but it’s probably not happening, given the number of races, personalities, and backgrounds would need to be taken into account (1800 combos before personal story choices).

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