Here’s the stuff we’d never heard of before we covered it for the first time here. You wanted bleeding edge… here it is! [Follow this category’s RSS feed]
Destiny 2 was announced yesterday… or teased, more accurately. The point is that it’s definitely coming, and Destiny players being who they are, there’s already a lot of rumors bouncing around and careful analysis going down. For example, just that teaser image has prompted analysis suggesting that the Last City is in flames and will no longer exist in the sequel. That’d be a pretty significant change to the lore of that gameworld right away.
Rumors are also buzzing from datamining and retailer pre-orders; some European retailers are already offering pre-orders, including German retailer Instant Games taking pre-orders for the game’s PC version. Is there going to be a PC version? We don’t know yet, but it’s definitely possible, and it’s a rumor that’s been around more or less since the sequel was first hinted at. So there’s a city in flames and a new platform getting added to the mix; that should be enough to fuel speculation until another lone image gets revealed.
It’s been a good year so far for Funcom with the success of Conan Exiles and the impending relaunch of The Secret World. CEO Rui Casais recently sat down to an interview discussing both the Nordic development scene for video games and the specific future of Funcom, including the company’s focus on the Conan IP. Casais points out that it’s not really a focus born of recent entertainment trends; rather, it’s just that a lot of Funcom’s staff knows the Conan lore in great detail, and it’s a setting that lends itself to a wide variety of game styles.
As for MMORPGs specifically, he says,
“There are still many players enjoying this space and we continue to invest in it as is proven by our relaunch of The Secret World coming this spring. We do see that some players have gotten a bit of fatigue from the very large time commitment that these games tend to require and are moving on to our online social gaming experiences, and we plan to create some of those experiences as well, just like we’re doing with Conan Exiles.”
Of course, Destiny 2 was already official for anybody who could read an investor call transcript. But now it’s officially official, as Bungie slipped a logo into its Twitter feed early this afternoon.
It’s been a very long time since StarCraft was first released. By this point, the original game is just part of the landscape, and the gameplay itself has aged pretty well. The game has not, however; it was never really designed for modern systems, and the graphics look like a blurry mess between story cutscenes that are literally talking heads on monitors. It’s the sort of game that’s ripe for an upgrade with a delicate touch, something that doesn’t touch the actual game but adjusts the metaphorical wrapper. You know, like what Blizzard announced for StarCraft: Remastered.
No changes will be made to the actual gameplay, game balance, or so forth of StarCraft with this release; however, the developers are promising modern matchmaking and Blizzard app integration along with redone graphics (complete with the ability to zoom in and out), re-recorded audio and music, and new comic book-style scenes between missions to tell the story more organically. If you’ve never really moved on from the game, this is unambiguously good news; you can put your long-in-the-tooth Brood War CD away and still get all of the same actual gameplay.
Source: Blizzard press release
One of the things that I find neat about games like Rend, Crowfall, and Chronicles of Elyria is that all of these games are by their very nature meant to be short-term affairs. The game only lasts so long. In some cases it’s a scheduled thing, in other cases it’s more an organic result, but all of them wind up in an end state. Nothing lasts forever, and eventually it’s time to count the victor and move on.
This isn’t actually a new idea in the MMO space, of course; A Tale in the Desert has been run using this structure for quite some time, The Matrix Online was in part based on the idea that every bit of the story would only last for so long, and progression servers like the ones EverQuest runs are meant to slowly catch up to the present until, well, they’re caught up. But it’s definitely reaching the point of being a full-on trend for these games in development to be time-limited.
What’s nifty about this approach is that no one gets to stay on top forever, and it gives a certain point to start and stop without missing out on things. Of course, that also means it’s easier to just stop playing after a certain point without feeling as if you’re missing things, turning the game into shorter-term play by its very design. What do you think? Do you like the idea of limited-time MMOs?
Planet Nomads is one of those gorgeous sci-fi multiplayer survival sandboxes that’s been kicking around on our Make My MMO list for so long that I’d almost forgotten about it. Not anymore!
“After the 2+ years of caring, cuddling and upbringing, Planet Nomads has finally grown up tall enough to get out there and fight for its future,” studio Craneballs (best name ever) says, as the actual “survival” update has this week arrived in the game’s alpha, and the early access is now slated for April 18th.
The game originally pulled in $140,000 in Kickstarter funding in early 2016 — no mean feat the past few years. Another game for our new survival sandbox column, eh?
While the player character is working hard to do the heavy lifting of finding a new home in Mass Effect: Andromeda, players support the single-player game by gathering supplies and rewards in the multiplayer component. The first special multiplayer event is already here, tasking players with taking part in the APEX missions to find missing scouts in the hopes of uncovering valuable Krogan assistance. That means a new limited-time map through Monday.
Players who undertake the “Drack’s Missing Scouts” mission will land at Firebase Paradox, featuring powerful Remnant artifacts being sought by the Kett for players to obtain. There’s also a new character and weapon available in item packs. The Krogan Gladiator is a biotic with a penchant for her hammer, and the Ruzad shotgun is a slow-firing heavy-impact shotgun that may as well be the poster firearm for Krogan military philosophy. Check out the trailer just below, and see if it enhances your first weekend of scouring the Heleus Cluster for a new home.
Welcome to The Survivalist! Ya’ll might have noticed that I have gravitated a bit from my happy home of deep, immersive virtual worlds (possible due to the lack of them!) and have been tinkering about and enjoying time in various survival games. This isn’t as odd as you might think! One thing I love about sandbox worlds is the ability for your actions to matter in terms of shaping the world and carving out your place in it. Survival games have been allowing me just that with opportunities to build the world, from the society on it to structures in it to the even the physical world itself. And decisions definitely matter, bringing satisfaction and reward or disappointment and destruction.
I’m not alone in this appreciation of the survival genre, either. Many MMO gamers have joined mainstreamers by flocking to it lately as seen by the explosion of the available games. Those of you not on board yet might be wonder just what is so alluring about a genre that has many elements of MMOs but on smaller — and oft times privately managed — scale. As the weeks and months wear on, The Survivalist is going to explore all the nooks and crannies of the survival sandbox genre (and likely die many, many times in the process!), but today, we’re going to look at what players can jump into to test their survival skills. So here’s a guide to many options in the newest genre to take over our gaming sphere.
Ever been playing Guild Wars 2 and thought to yourself, wouldn’t I rather be playing a card game? UK-based designer and developer Luke Dowding has just the game for you. He’s put together Guild Wars 2: Heroes of the Mists, a 200-card collectible card game.
“The objective of the card game is to defeat the opponent’s Hero. Each Hero will start with 80 Health and the first person to receive 80 Damage to their Hero loses,” Dowding explains. “Players will build a deck of 40 cards each, 10 of those cards will be predetermined by the Profession you chose called Skill cards. The remaining 30 cards will be Minion cards and it will be up to the players to select and build a deck they think will bring them victory. Every turn players will use Endurance to summon Minion or Skill cards to damage the enemy Minions or the Hero.”
When I add news to our newsroom for our reporters to pick up, I often add links that just say “such-and-such a game exists” — because just existing is what’s new, or at least new to us. Today, we had three of those, and I’m combining them all for this quick look at three MMOs and orbiting games that you’ve probably never heard of: Age of Rivals, Lothgar Online, and Little War Online.
Lothgar Online (Asylumsoft) launched yesterday. Let me warn you upfront: If you aren’t into retro pixel graphics and hardcore gameplay, you probably won’t like this MMO. The devs, who are also the folks behind the similarly styled Elderlands, call it an “Online RPG built in a classic style, paying homage to 1980s RPGs,” and yes, that means PvP, corpse looting, and attunement in addition to a giant world, guilds, skills, and questing. On the other hand? There’s no cash shop either. Old school isn’t always a bad thing! (via Reddit)
If you are the sort that has ever looked at online game design and thought to yourself, “I could do so much better,” then it’s time to put your boasts to the test by checking out MyWorld. This software allows players to whip up their own action-RPG levels and then connect them with others to make a near-infinite sprawling patchwork quilt of worlds.
“At the heart of MyWorld is the ability to link worlds together, construct multiple level games and adventure through them with friends,” a press statement said. “Via portals, game makers and game players can cross over into worlds created by other users and play the action RPG they’ve made to be discovered. Any game level can be linked to any other level and can be easily chained together to create a unique experience.”
The software is currently 25% off at Steam. Get your first look at MyWorld after the break!
If you’ve somehow missed it in every single discussion of Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen’s design philosophy, the game is very much a throwback to the older days of MMOs. Of course, back in those older days you would have to go to four or five different sites to find out about the materials for a simple crafting recipe, and there was no assurance that all of those sites would be providing the same information. The new Pantheon wiki should be much easier to look at for any needed information.
Due to the early state of the game the wiki is still on the lighter side, but it already outlines what we know about the game’s classes, races, and mechanics. Plus, it’s a wiki, so you know that updates are going to be pretty easy to come by. Check out the whole thing, whether you’re looking for information right now or just want to bookmark it for future use.
I don’t really like survival games, typically — I understand why a lot of people do like them, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t care for them myself, for a whole forest of reasons. To make a survival game that I want to play, you have to really come at the genre from a side angle, which can be hard to do while retaining the things that people like about the genre.
At this early juncture, I can’t say that Rend (official site) will do all of that. But I can say that the groundwork is in place for something that might be worth getting excited about.
I was incredibly fortunate to be granted one of the first meetings with Frostkeep Studios and a first look at Rend itself, in a conspiratorial PAX meeting on the second floor of a fish restaurant on the Boston piers. It felt a bit as if I were being shown something that should not be seen, some artifact of great power that had been hidden away from prying eyes. Perhaps that’s as it should be.