Did you catch the Eternal Crusade livestream earlier today? If not, you missed the reveal of Belial, the new Space Marines leader and the Grand Master of the Deathwing. Which is kind of an impressive title, even if, like me, you have no clue what it means.
The reveal post outlines Belial's exalted history and also says that players will be able to vote on Eternal Crusade's fifth Space Marines sub-faction. Choices include the Raven Guard, Iron Hands, and Imperial Fists.
Are you willing to take a swirl of good news and bad news with your alpha? Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade fans have no choice, as Creative Director David Ghozland confirmed that the title has reduced its scope -- but that founders will be getting in sooner as a result.
Ghozland sums up the major development points as follows: "Nothing has been cut; it has been pushed at worst or adapted to our current constraints. Because of the choices we've made, founders will have access to the game sooner than expected. We will release features progressively and regularly starting from founders access until we deliver the entire promise and beyond."
The tech for true open-world conflict won't be in the game for launch, Ghozland said, but the team is working on splitting up the initial continent into around 120 locations for match-based warfare between dozens of players. Ultimately the goal is to expand from under 100 players per map to over 500.
The wheels in my head have been turning over non-combat mechanics in MMOs for a while now, perhaps because of the buzz surrounding Wander, the latest MMO to ditch combat entirely in favour of less violent interactive mechanics. I have to confess that I'm not a massive fan of thoughtless violence in my MMOs, so I tend to favour those with strong supportive mechanics that affect what I do outside of my usual mix of PvE combat. Characters in MMOs, for me at least, are an in-game reflection of the player, and I'd much rather rid the world of threats than kill other players in a frenzy without a plausible in-game reason.
I don't believe than an MMO absolutely requires combat, and I certainly feel that other game genres have much stronger combat mechanics than ours if that's what you're looking for. Titles that allow players to choose another path if they wish are ultimately much more rewarding, filling my time with various pursuits and labours that use excellent mechanics. The virtual world I inhabit feels much richer when I have a hand in its economic or socio-political development through these mechanics, which is exactly what keeps me enthralled with the genre. In this issue of MMO Mechanics, I'm going to unpack three ways in which MMOs employ non-combat mechanics to enrich the game's virtual world.
Nintendo's quriky new online paint-battle game Splatoon officially launched this week to very positive reviews. Monster-battling game Moonrise entered early access and promises Pokémon-like online arena battles. EA revealed that the recently announced Need for Speed reboot will require an internet connection to play. Star Citizen's devs accidentally leaked secret assets from the game's development, including hidden star systems and jump points on the game's map. And Path of Exile revised the release estimate of its upcoming expansion from late June to early July.
League of Legends released new champion Ekko this week as part of a huge balance patch and revived the old Hexakill featured game mode. Heroes of the Storm announced plans for its official launch, including a live show, game livestreams, and a week-long XP bonus for players. Elite: Dangerous detailed a ton of additional improvements and features coming in its upcoming Powerplay update. And as the prize pool for Dota 2's upcoming world championship tournament broke the $10,000,000 mark, two Korean teams decided to spend over $13,000 flying to Singapore to lower their latency and increase their chances of qualifying.
Read on for detailed breakdowns of the stories above and other news from the wider world of online gaming in this week's Not So Massively, and don't forget to subscribe to the RSS feed for weekly updates!
Do you have strong feelings about the Chaos Space Marines in Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade? If you're a fan, you probably do, seeing as how the entire Warhammer universe is full of strong feelings. But if your strong feelings are more of the "I want to play those guys" variety rather than the "cleanse and burn" variety, you'll want to take part in the current poll about the fifth playable faction of these corrupted defenders.
Each of the different groups has a different bent. Red Corsairs serve as a pirate fleet, harassing Imperial shipping lanes with their cruisers. Alpha Legion was secretive even before it moved to the side of Chaos, and its current operates involve planting deep-cover agents and insidiously corrupting. Last but not least, the Crimson Slaughter wants nothing more than to wipe out worlds and spread Warp-tainted atrocity. If you're a backer, check out your options and make your decision.
Just because Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade will be primarily a PvP title doesn't mean that it's going to section itself off in tiny little instances. On the contrary, Behaviour Interactive recorded a livestream recently in which the team discussed how it will create an open world over which players can fight and conquer.
The main landmass in Eternal Crusade will be a 16-square kilometer continent divided up into well over a hundred contestable areas. The game will create dynamically generated battles when players move into a zone based on how many participants are involved. By defeating two small outposts, a faction can then assault a stronghold, and if that's conquered, then the winning side claims domination over that region.
For the full details of this system and more from the devs' own lips, you can watch the team's latest livestream after the jump.
The dream to create a PvP-centric game on a single global megaserver might be just that -- a dream.
Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade Senior Producer Nathan Richardson said that current tech can't support such a server, hence why his game will be divided up into regional shards: "Whatever the technology we have, what partners we chose and hardware we deploy, changing the speed of light is a bit out of our reach. As a shooter, latency is important and we simply can't work around that. [...] It's sad, but sometimes when dreams have to be turned into reality, tough decisions have to be made."
Eternal Crusade seems to have a retention problem with its employees, as Lead Level Designer Steven Lumpkin just became the latest of a series of devs who have left the project this year.
Lumpkin announced that he is leaving Behaviour Interactive for another game studio: "In a week, I will be departing my role as Lead Level Designer on Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade. I feel gratified to have worked with this team for the past two years, and they're well positioned to deliver a strong founder's access. I look forward to battling alongside you all when it gets into our hands later this year."
When he departs, Lumpkin will join the ranks of fellow ex-Eternal Crusade developers Studio Head Miguel Caron and Lead Programmer Patrick Balthazar, both of whom have left in the past few months.
, official forums
The melee combat in Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade has gone through several revisions, and it's going to go through several more. The latest State of the Crusade letter to fans makes it clear that the development goal is to make sure that the melee combat - which makes up a good 50% of the game's combat - is smooth, responsive, and awesome to play. Anything less, according to the letter, is a disservice to the players and the fans.
The letter also discusses the game's microtransaction store, noting that it is meant to be 100% optional and that the game should be fun without using it, but at the same time it should have things that players want to buy so that the developers can keep developing the game. Two big founder packs in the store are being removed soon since they were meant as limited-time items that weren't removed after that limited time, but a new pack will be filling the slot; you can read all the details in the full letter.
[Source: State of the Crusade III
We've all known trolls who love to dwell in dank forum posts and shadowy comment sections, ready to spread ill will and spark flame wars just to see the world burn. But what if a tool could be devised to identify such miscreants before they could do much damage?
That is one possibility that has arisen from a new Cornell University project in which researchers studied online communities (including IGN) and created an algorithm that can predict which posters had the highest likelihood of being banned in the future. The algorithm isn't perfect (it misclassifies one out of five users), but the team claims that it is able to spot a troll in as few as 10 posts.
Warhammer 40k: Eternal Crusade has revealed the leader of the game's Orks, to the extent that the Orks can really have a leader, and he certainly looks the part. He's the usual combination of soccer hooligan with automatic weaponry and exotic technology that defines the franchise, and all. Pretty much what you'd expect.
Want a chance to determine what other Orks are playable in the game? The vote for the fifth sub-faction starts on April 15th and ends on May 7th. Choices include the Blood Axes, whom other Orks despise for using tricks like "retreating willingly" and "trading with other races sometimes," and the Snakebites, who tend to be more about sticking to the old ways and hunkering down in familiar spots.
[Source: Ork leader reveal
Changes have been afoot over at Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade, and new Senior Producer Nathan Richardsson posted a second State of the Crusade post to explain why the team is shifting some of its focus away from previously stated plans.
Richardsson said that the new main goal of the team is "focus and development velocity." One of the changes that came with this re-prioritizing included the cancellation of the early game access modules, which he said were a "blocker" that diverted team attention and resources away from what truly matters.
Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade Senior Producer Nathan Richardsson posted a State of the Crusade letter today, saying that the team is moving forward with "a rapidly advancing schedule."
Richardsson revealed that the team has been quiet lately because it's been reviewing its plans and isn't quite ready to discuss specifics (it's noteworthy that he did mention "expansion" as one of the forbidden topics). However, Richardsson did point at "autumn 2015" as a target for early access and clarified that fans will need to be paying founders to get into the multi-month alpha and beta tests.
[Source: State of the Crusade