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]
The situation with Asta is an unusual one – it’s an import, but it certainly failed to find its audience within its native land, as the game’s Korean version shut down in July. A recent interview with the title’s assistant producer makes it clear that Webzen is still excited about bringing the game over despite that fact, noting that it’s not unusual for games to not find their audience in one region while becoming popular elsewhere.
So why would Asta be popular here? Well, according to the same interview, it features customizable talent trees, content for several playstyles, and deeper customization features such as attribute enhancements. And it looks pretty, to boot. The developers are committed to providing more content in the game as time goes on, so the real question is simply whether or not the title will find its audience this time around.
I wanted to like Rebel Galaxy more than I do. That’s not to say it’s a bad game at all; on the contrary it fills the mission of this column rather nicely, which is to provide me with a temporary escape from the maddening MMO genre as I continue my neverending and seemingly futile quest for an adequate Star Wars Galaxies replacement.
Rebel Galaxy just isn’t the game that it could be, at least in my opinion.
Let’s just put our cards on the table: The Park is not the single-player offering that The Secret World fans have been clamoring for since more or less the dawn of the game. But I think that’s honestly a good thing. In fact, I’ll say that the connection to The Secret World is probably the least positive aspect of The Park.
I don’t say that as someone who dislikes The Secret World; quite the opposite. I’m not an active player in any of Funcom‘s games, but I’d still consider myself a fan insofar as the company does put together interesting projects with lots of nifty bits around the edges that I can appreciate. There was never a setting in which I was not going to buy a copy of The Park because I want it to do well. But the bits of horror surrounding Atlantic Island park, those nods to the greater overarching plot of the MMO – those are diversions from the central horror, which is wholly self-contained and far more open-ended.
Because it’s a story about loss. And about the lies we tell ourselves as adults.
I know I promised you an entry that focused on the changes to the in-game economy as my next installment to the Heart of Thorns launch diary, but a juicy post went live last night on the Guild Wars 2 website that I couldn’t possibly postpone commenting on, so I’ve put my economy entry on hold while I take a look at the iterative development process that drives the expansion. Within a week, we’ve seen several tweaks to the mechanics that were introduced with the expansion, and the latest news is that the ArenaNet team has again addressed player complaints with an iterative development approach. In this launch diary entry, I’ll take a look at the team’s iterative approach and highlight precisely why this is a fantastic way forward for the game.
Another point I’d like to note before I talk about the topic at hand is that I’m now in the original Massively Overpowered [MVOP] guild and am looking for company. Any reader can join us by popping his or her account name in the comments below or in an email, or alternatively you can message me in-game by contacting Tinabeans.8064. Please note that I’m on a free secondary account, so I can’t reply to your in-game mail or whispers unless we’re mutual friends: Don’t panic if I don’t write back!
I’ve had the whole weekend with Heart of Thorns now, and I’m progressing very nicely in both the story and masteries. I’ve still yet to unlock an elite specialization, but I’m not actively chasing Hero Points at this stage because I’m putting so much effort into event chaining, furthering my personal story, and grinding experience. There’s so much to do that I know it’ll take me weeks and weeks to feel on top of things again, which is the perfect way to feel when a new expansion has just launched.
Many people have concerns with how Guild Wars 2‘s first expansion’s progression is structured, though, so I’m dedicating this launch diary entry to dissecting the mastery system and discussing if there are ways in which we can contextualise the system and also minimise those complaints.
I’ve now put a solid day of playtime into Heart of Thorns, so I decided that it was finally time for the first of my launch diaries. There’s so much to talk about and many features or elements deserve a separate post to fully discuss, but I wanted to get started with the immediate things noted during the first few hours of play. All in all, I think the Guild Wars 2 team should be very proud right now as they recover from the launch day madness. While there are certain big decisions in terms of direction that have upset both me and the bulk of the fanbase (cough cough the death of dungeons, which I’ll take a separate diary entry for), I’m most definitely enjoying the expansion so far.
See below for my short list of the good, the bad, and the janky that I’ve experienced during my first foray into the heart of the jungle, complete with a packed screenshot gallery at the end.
Do you often find yourself bemoaning the carebear environment of current MMOs and missing the “good old days” of unrelenting player killing across virtual worlds? Then one new Russian title might be your savior: Sphere 3: Enchanted World.
The latest in the Sphere series, which stretches back to 2000, Sphere 3 presents widespread PvP, an “unforgiving but fair” PK system, and castle sieges. But it’s not only about PvP, as the game also offers over 1,000 quests, nine classes, four races, and a huge storyline.
Sphere 3 is currently aiming at an open beta test this fall and has been greenlit on Steam. “This autumn you can find out yourself what hardcore Russian PvP means!” Nikita Online said.
Civil War reenactors might have a new type of outlet if a current Kickstarter project has anything to say about it.
A game that’s been in development for three years, War of Rights is aiming to create a multiplayer-only simulation of the Maryland campaign of 1862. Players will take on the role of infantry, artillery, and calvary as they fight around accurately historical locations. The game will initially release with four maps created in Cryengine.
The crowdfunding project is striving to raise nearly $107,000. If all goes well, the devs say that an alpha test could be coming within the next six months. You can check out the Kickstarter video after the jump.
Decisions, decisions. When you are invited to a special sneak peek of The Park, the upcoming single-player game based on The Secret World’s own Atlantic Island Amusement Park, guided by Joel Bylos, the very guy who created said park, it is hard to say no! On one hand, you really want to be completely surprised by every little detail when you get to play the horror game for yourself. On the other, you get to pick the brains of the man behind that amazing park and learn all sorts of juicy behind-the-scenes tidbits that aren’t available during a personal playthrough. In the end, it wasn’t much of a choice: Talking with Bylos totally won out. The result? I learned the origin story of The Park, tasted the atmosphere, and experienced a few fun moments in the game. Now I am even more excited to play it than before!
Thankfully, Bylos promised to not reveal many spoilers (though one accidentally popped in), and I in turn will avoid them here as much as possible. Instead, I’ll focus on the story behind the story, the goals of this thriller, and the possibility of more projects in the future.
After a couple of delays over the past few months, Sword Coast Legends is now live on Steam and officially celebrating launch with a lengthy list of patch notes. The star of the launch patch is the release of 35 brand-new interior locations and nine over-world tiles. “It was decided to make these locations unavailable during Head Start Five to prevent players from spoiling elements of the Sword Coast Legends campaign,” wrote the devs. There were also tweaks for companions, module editing, and graphics settings, plus numerous bug fixes.
We’ve included the launch trailer and new screenshots below along with our own video of the game from our recent playthrough with the devs — that should give you a good idea of how it plays and whether it’s worth your money!
Elite Lord of Alliance, or ELOA if you’d prefer, has begun its initial beta test. Webzen sent out a press release earlier today that touts the hack-and-slash game’s “triple battle stance system.” The system apparently allows players of each class to switch between three stances in real time and thus make use of 24 skills per stance to solve a variety of solo, group, and PvP problems.
If you’re intrigued, you should probably sign up on the Webzen site and see it for yourself. The firm says that it is also giving away prizes related to a login event, a bug catching event, and a guide creation event.
You can catch a character creation video after the break.
Players of The Secret World already know the history of the eponymous amusement park in The Park, but there’s a world of difference between going in there with the powers of a bee or just waltzing in as an unsuspecting young mother. A new video from Funcom shows off some of what players can expect from the game as well as discusses its overall design goals.
If you’re hoping for The Park to be an epic RPG set in the midst of The Secret World‘s setting, you’ll be disappointed, as the game will play out over a couple of hours and will very much be focused on psychological horror rather than fighting monsters. If that piques your interest, check out the full video for a preview of the game and what horrors await in the dark corners of the eponymous park.
While ex-Daybreak CEO John Smedley isn’t quite ready to reveal what his new game company is all about, he did post a couple of pages about his new office while saying that yesterday was the first day for the team to assemble in the space.
“And so it begins,” Smedley posted on Facebook. “Not ready to talk about the details yet but our new space is sweet! Today was day one. Of course the internet doesn’t come till Wednesday. So we mostly setup and had our first design meeting. I love the journey of making the game. Can’t wait to talk about it!”
John Smedley left Daybreak in July after over two decades at its (and SOE’s) helm and announced that he was starting up a new company in August. Got any speculation about the next step for this industry legend?