anthem

The Daily Grind: How do you feel about Destiny 2 six weeks post-launch?

Destiny 2’s Curse of Osiris has already been out a few days and… it’s not exactly lighting the world on fire. Core fanboys aren’t happy and are advising folks to just hold their wallets until Bungie gets its house in order. I’m down to just one guildie obsessively playing. And the hype? The hype for Destiny 1 was a surge that carried for months. D2 hype seems to have fizzled out.

All of that was in my mind already with MOP Patron Roger dropped the perfect topic in my inbox. “I’ve been more in pen and paper games recently than MMOs, but I have been playing something that gives me that MMO feel: Destiny 2.” he writes. “Have any of you guys played it yet? If so, how do you feel if MMOs and massive-coop-online games met closer in the middle?”

For starters, I am digging “massively co-op”! So let’s tackle Roger’s query and mine together. How do you feel about Destiny 2 six weeks post-launch? Were you one of those folks who said, “PC or bust,” and are you still PCing? What happened to the hype? Where did Bungie go wrong? And above all else, do you think Destiny 2 is that perfect midpoint between MMORPG and co-op shooter? Will it have an impact on the way the genre is developed moving forward, or will that be left to future games like Anthem?

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Jukebox Heroes: Kritika Online’s soundtrack

It’s kind of a sad commentary on 2017 that Kritika Online is one of the most significant MMORPGs to launch during the calendar year. No real disrespect to Kritika meant, just saying that in past years we might not have even noticed such a release. It’s been a meagre year for new launches, is what I meant.

Still, this odd but plucky import got the backing of En Masse (TERA) and managed to carve out a small niche to operate in the west. Instead of presenting itself as a generic or cutesy MMO, Kritika Online decided to embrace a hair metal aesthetic to match its over-the-top combat style. It’s loud, brash, and frantic — and its music complements that direction.

While there are a couple of Kritika tracks that I did enjoy a lot during my review of the soundtrack, there weren’t as many standout pieces as I had hoped. I would imagine that listening to what amounts to nonstop boss battle music would get a little old after a while, but perhaps this game is meant for small but intense play sessions. Let’s give it a listen today!

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Warframe doubled its concurrency record with Plains of Eidolon to become second top-played F2P on Steam

Four year-old Warframe’s done it again: set a new concurrency record, and not even for the first time, as it busted past its concurrency records following The War Within last year and Octavia’s Anthem last spring.

“With the Plains of Eidolon expansion, Warframe hit an all-time peak of 121,377 concurrent players on Steam, nearly double its previous record of 69,526 CCU peak in March 2017 with Octavia’s Anthem, making it the second highest peak CCU for a free-to-play game currently on Steam. Warframe Plains of Eidolon rocketed to the top five of SteamCharts, racking up 40,145,054 hours played (as of this writing) by enthusiastic Tenno.”

The update hasn’t even landed on console yet, so that number will only go up, even if all we can see is the Steam stats, which Digital Extremes notes puts the game in second place for playtime in F2P games (that’s still accurate as of this morning). Interestingly, the press release says the game still counts “more than 30 million registered users,” not that far off from the almost 31 million registered users counted in March of this year, which at the time was an increase of five million players since 2016.

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The Daily Grind: Do you think EA is pivoting into a Star Wars pseudo-MMO?

Yesterday’s surprise revelation that EA was canning Visceral Games and “pivoting” the design of its in-progress Star Wars linear adventure RPG clearly struck a nerve around here, as we received a flood of mail about it (thanks guys!), and not because that game was an MMO but because of how EA justified the closure.

“It has become clear that to deliver an experience that players will want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come, we needed to pivot the design,” EA VP Patrick Soderlund said. “Importantly, we are shifting the game to be a broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency, leaning into the capabilities of our Frostbite engine and reimagining central elements of the game to give players a Star Wars adventure of greater depth and breadth to explore.”

If you read between the lines, the “market” has apparently told EA to scrap a single-player RPG in favor of something more persistent, more marketable, and very likely more multiplayer, especially since Soderlund name-dropped Anthem’s engine and then mentioned how Battlefront II “fuels [its] live service” in the franchise.

What do you think? Are we looking at another Star Wars pseudo-MMO in a few more years? And maybe more importantly, do you think EA’s implication that return-worthy – presumably connected, online games – are the only games worth building right now? Read more

BioWare confirms eventual beta for Anthem, advises patience

Maybe in this era of unpredictable development cycles, early access, and soft launches, the confirmation that a game will actually get a beta test is noteworthy. So in case you were, for whatever reason, doubting that BioWare’s upcoming multiplayer Anthem would leapfrog over beta and deprive you of a testing experience, worry no longer.

Game Director Jonathan Warner emerged on Twitter this week to stoke fans for the project and encourage them to be patient. “It’s been an intense couple of months,” he posted on September 26th. “The world continues to grow and develop.”

In response to players asking about beta testing and when they will see more of the game, Warner dropped a few tidbits. “Yeah we’ll have a beta,” he writes to one fan. Then, to another: “Remember, we are still a distance out. Too soon for details but will provide more when the time is right.”

Source: Twitter via VG247

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Mass Effect: Andromeda ends single-player support, forges on with multiplayer updates

It’s the end of the line for Mass Effect: Andromeda, as BioWare announced this past weekend that it had no further plans to develop single-player content for its sci-fi RPG. Fortunately, several projects to expand the game’s multiplayer aspect are still in the works.

“Our last update, 1.10, was the final update for Mass Effect: Andromeda. There are no planned future patches for single-player or in-game story content,” BioWare posted on the game’s site. “In the coming weeks, our multiplayer team will provide details of their ongoing support and upcoming content, including new multiplayer missions, character kits, and what’s in store for N7 Day.”

Andromeda failed to live up to the high studio and fan expectations, netting mixed reviews and a 72% Metacritic score following its March 2017 release. With work being done on other projects, such as Star Wars: The Old Republic and the upcoming multiplayer Anthem, BioWare may be looking to reallocate team members to needed departments.

Source: Andromeda via PC Gamer

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Xbox One X announces ‘select enhanced titles’ that include many online games

At its pre-Gamescom press conference this Sunday, Microsoft revealed more about its upcoming Xbox One X and its glorious 4K gaming capabilities. As part of the conference, the company listed several games that would benefit from the enhanced performance and power of the console when it arrives this November.

MMO players should take note, because this list contains many games in our sphere of interest. The select enhanced titles include BioWare’s Anthem, ARK: Survival Evolved, Astroneer, Black Desert, Conan Exiles, Dark and Light, Diablo III, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile, Portal Knights, Roblox, Sea of Thieves, SMITE, State of Decay 2, The Crew 2, Elder Scrolls Online, The Division, Warframe, and World of Tanks.

The Xbox One X boasts six teraflops of processing power, 4K Ultra Blu-Ray, and 12GB GDDR5 graphics memory, and will retail for $500. Interested players can pre-order the Project Scropio edition right now for as long as supplies last.

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Massively Overthinking: Is the popularity of small-scale co-op games hurting MMORPGs?

Gamasutra has an unusual piece from an Ubisoft developer this week arguing that co-op gameplay is the industry’s rising midcore trend, one that he believes will ultimately outstrip team competitive games. “It’s all about all the big data and stats that are finally available and can be mined,” author Andrii Goncharuk says, “and no surprise that it’s showing that players who played co-op mode have much more play hours, and players who played co-op with friends have even more play hours.”

He may be right, though first you’d have to believe co-op ever went anywhere to begin with (and console players would probably tell you nope!). But as I read the article, I couldn’t help but see MMOs in most of the arguments he’s making about what makes co-op games sticky, and yet MMOs are being edged out all the same. And while I don’t like to think of the MMO genre’s space in the industry as a zero-sum situation, the reality is that when people tire of MMORPG baggage but still want social play, co-op is exactly the sort of game they retreat to.

For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I asked our writers to reflect on the rise of co-op PvE games outside the MMO label. Do we play them? Do we prefer them, and when? How can we learn from them? Is the popularity of smaller-scale co-op hurting MMORPGs?

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Anthem lead gameplay designer Corey Gaspur passes away

The official BioWare blog announced last night that Anthem lead gameplay designer Corey Gaspur has passed away. Gaspur had been a staple of the studio for most of the last decade, known best to our audience for his work on Dragon Age: Origins, the Mass Effect series, and of course Anthem, the last of which was only just recently revealed at E3 and already has MMO and multiplayer fans champing at the bit.

The studio didn’t elaborate on the circumstances of his death, but as VG247 points out, BioWare employees have intimated it was sudden and unexpected.

Our heartfelt condolences to all of his family, friends, and colleagues.

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BioWare’s Anthem’s fourth pillar is obviously corn

Move over, Hearthstone’s Ice Cream Citadel: BioWare is currently promoting Anthem by way of a massive corn maze and I am not even making that up.

“In a world saturated with banners and billboards, getting the message out about our new game, Anthem, is more important than ever. Rather than taking a conventional approach, we’ve chosen a field as our medium. What better way to celebrate the growth of a new game than through corn, which also grows?”

The “shared-world action RPG” was announced at E3 earlier this summer and looks freaking spectacular. We don’t really get why they’re going with corn, but, “I mean, it’s a fucking 50-foot exosuit,” as BioWare’s Amanda Klesko put it, so let’s just go with it.

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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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Anthem is the start of a ’10-year journey’ for EA and BioWare

At this point, when a game studio says it has a 10-year plan for its online game, do you believe it?

Perhaps unintentionally echoing Bungie just a few years prior, EA’s Patrick Söderlund told the Xbox crew at E3 that BioWare is indeed anticipating a decade-long run for its newly announced mutliplayer online action RPG Anthem.

“It’s a game that we’ve been working on for almost four years now, and it’s a game that […] once we launch it next year will be the start of, I think, maybe a 10-year journey for us.”

So, who’s putting money on Anthem 2 in 2021?

The EA interview segment begins at the 1:39:27 mark for those who want to hear the whole thing.

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Betawatch: E3 2017 brings launch dates, new titles, and delays (June 16, 2017)

Oh, E3, always a magical time full of promises when some aren’t meant to be kept, some are meant to be kept but won’t be, and some actually will happen. Have fun guessing which is which!

Among the more pertinent announcements from this year’s convention are ARK: Survival Evolved launching on August 8th, Sea of Thieves delaying launch until 2018, and Destiny 2 launching early September and late October depending on platform. We’ve also got the new game Anthem on its way for 2018 and Monster Hunter World headed for consoles and PC, which is all cool.

Oh, and let’s not forget the announcements of Skull and Bones and The Crew 2. Or the Lawbreakers beta starting June 28th while launch is set for August 8th. Jeez. Is there even room for more beta news? Yes, but just a little.

Whew! Some title density in there, almost mirroring that of the list down below. You can still read the list, though, and if we missed something or a game has slipped into a new test phase, you can let us know in the comments.

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