In lockbox vernacular, there’s usually something called a “chase” item. This is the ultra-rare, ultra-desirable reward that just about no one will ever see unless an obscene amount of money is spent on tons of lockboxes. Neverwinter
is making a big production about its latest chase item, a Celestial Stag mount, in not one
but two new blog posts
on the subject.
Made out of stars and dashed hopes, the Celestial Stage is among the fastest mounts in the game and offers a huge bonus to regen and recovery while raining the heavens down on its enemies. The May 2nd lockbox will also have a (tiny) chance of paying out an artifact that summons the spirits of the nine founders of the city to attack foes.
In other Neverwinter news, Cryptic has partnered with game rewards site Uproar to feature its fantasy MMO as one of the titles in which players can earn free goodies. There’s allegedly a “free gift” for Neverwinter that can be claimed by players who sign up to the service.
The first I ever heard of Lord of the Rings Online
was flipping through the pages of some gaming magazine back in early 2007. At the time, I was neck-deep in World of Warcraft
and wasn’t really looking around for other MMO distractions, but something about the article caught my eye.
It wasn’t the use of the Lord of the Rings book franchise, which I had respected but wasn’t exactly the most rabid fan in the world. It was a mention of an online fantasy world that hewed to a low magic setting, where dazzling spell effects and typical classes weren’t the order of the day. Instead, the article poured over how much LOTRO was trying to hew to a more realistic and believable setting (albeit one in a fictional fantasy universe), and that made it stand out to me in a sea of upcoming MMORPGs.
Months later, I was in the two-week head start, experiencing Middle-earth in a brand-new way apart from the books or Peter Jackson films. Going through the Shire in those first few days was tranquil and deeply thrilling, as if I knew that this was the start of something special. Ten years later, and I know that my gut feeling was correct. While not a perfect game, LOTRO has nevertheless grown into a wide-ranging and impressive virtual world that still has so much to offer even in this modern age.
We already knew Ashes of Creation was going to run a Kickstarter for funding, but as of this afternoon, we have a date: May 1st. And the devs put out way more in its update today than a save-the-date note; there’s also a huge trailer and infodump that rounds out our knowledge of the game’s node system, specifically as it pertains to the player cities known as Metropolises.
“The Metropolis is effectively the culmination of the Node system – it’s the biggest thing that players can bring into being, and the final level of civilization’s development on this forgotten world,” says Intrepid Studios. “The Metropolis requires a large amount of resources to develop and maintain, and because of how Nodes relate to one another, there can be no more than five in existence at any time. […] Each Node can be developed into one of four categories: Scientific, Economic, Militaristic, and Divine. The Economic ones are ruled by Oligarchies, while Scientific ones are ruled by democratically chosen leaders. Military nodes are run by those with the mettle and might to prove their worth, and the Divine are run by the players who seek to help others and dedicate their time and effort to that city.”
Check out the blog post on the official site, point your eyeballs at the brand-new trailer and metropolis images down below, and get your wallets ready.
Yesterday, Lord of the Rings Online
kicked off its momentous 10th Anniversary celebration
with fireworks, dragon kites, and a brand-new series of scavenger hunts that will run through mid-summer.
These scavenger hunts are very involved and time-intensive, involving a lot of criss-crossing Middle-earth on a nostalgia tour to end all nostalgia tours. While they’re mostly straight-forward, requiring players to travel to certain locations and perform certain actions, the sheer number of activities and scavenger hunt cards (30 cards in all) mean that there’s no shame in looking for some help.
Enter the Department of Strategery, a fan blog that has put together two well-done quest guides for the first six scavenger hunt cards (Year One and Year Two). The author not only outlines where to go for each but also provides a map of the world so that you can plan your tour in the most efficient manner possible. Cheers!
In a small planned surprise, Frostkeep sent out a wave of unannounced pre-alpha invites for Rend this week. The studio says that the additional testers will prove most helpful as work continues to get the survival sandbox ready for early access. More waves will be coming soon, so don’t feel shy about signing up.
The team went on to pen a dev blog about its skill system, which sounds fairly similar to other games out there. There are no limitations as to how many skills you can work on, so go nuts. Leveled-up skills lead to better efficiency as well as unlocked crafting recipes and helpful perks.
As in most survival sandboxes, you’re going to start out at the bottom rung of the gathering ladder, punching trees for their wood and also because they deserve it. Y’know, it only now occurs to us how poorly these so-called “survival” games actually prepare players for a real-world survival situation.
OK, so “minimum viable product” is pretty much the worst thing an MMO dev can say about her game. But how about “minimum viable powers”? That’s the descriptor for the philosophy underpinning Crowfall’s power development, a new dev blog by ArtCraft Design Lead Thomas “Blixtev” Blair explains today.
“We have been building each archetype with what we think would be a ‘minimum viable power’ kit for that archetype to be useful and fun in combat,” he says. “We are leaving ourselves room on the powers tray for the player to eventually slot additional combat powers (i.e., the ones that the player will acquire via disciplines, advantages or class promotions). In other words, don’t freak out about anything at this stage.”
As his chief example, he uses the Fae Assassin, a “stealthy, quick-attacking, stabby-stab type that utilizes poisons and has positional-based attacks,” to assure backers that the team didn’t accidentally forget about stealth and illuminate the game’s wing and poison mechanics. There’s also a dive into the Sin’s UI, which demos passive and active skills, the power bar, and modes like stealth. Definitely worth a look if you’re the type of gamer who prefers stabbing from the shadows (or, y’know, running away from people like that).
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard MMORPG gamers say they love everything about the weird and wonderful sandbox of Project Gorgon… except for the dated placeholder graphics. Welp, that’s what the last couple of crowdfunding rounds were meant to fix, and today we’re getting a fresh look at improved textures and models in the alpha.
“This particular iteration of Serbule is focusing on three things: the textures and models in Serbule city (some of which are already live), the terrain (the grasses, trees, and so on), and the sky,” says Elder Game in its blog post today. “Graphics work always seems to take vastly longer than I hope it will. Part of that is because it needs to be tested on lots of hardware — and we don’t have a full set of testing hardware, so we also have to try to ‘simulate’ low-end machines, which requires some development work. But it’s coming along, slowly but surely. Here’s a few screenshots. They’re a couple days old, and the game already looks a bit different from these, but it will give you an idea of where we are in the process.”
Check out the whole dev post for an explanation of each shot (especially that nighttime image). The tiny team has also been hard at work on crafting skills too, in particular brewing. But I can’t stop looking at those skies.
Let’s be honest: When you jump into a dungeon in an MMO, are you ever that concerned with the reasons for doing so past “shiny lewts ahead?” Usually it’s some bad guy who needs putting down for some reason or the other, but how about fighting for the most noble reason of all, peace?
Revelation Online’s newest dungeon, The Grand Bulwark, is the ugly fallout of a peace process that’s taking place between the game’s humans and the Northern Wolves Tribes. According to a lore blog explaining the instance, while the tribes are finally willing to sue for peace, a radical faction has splintered off and holed itself up in a fortress. If peace is to happen, players need to go in and clean house.
The Grand Bulwark comes in two varieties: the five-player slaughter mode and a 10-player raid. “No matter which mode you prefer, it is up to you to put this endless cycle of death to an end by any means necessary!” the team said.
Just a week ago, Niantic told Pokemon Go players that “all new cooperative social gameplay experiences” were on the way, which led to speculation — backed up by datamining — that the content was gym raids. Now a Japanese blog has an interview out appearing to confirm that rumor.
K-Tai Watch spoke to Niantic’s Yoshiji Kawashima and Kenji Suka, who confirmed that a “huge” event “unlike anything we’ve seen so far” is coming this summer, complete with brand-new mechanics to support it. Pokemon Go Hub, which translated the interview from Japanese to English, says that “PvP, Trading and Raids are in development, but the release dates for these features are not yet finalised” and reiterated that “Niantic confirmed that cooperative gameplay is coming this spring.”
“I hope you are looking forward to this huge event this summer,” Kawashima is quoted as saying (translated to English). “Please look forward to it. Engineers are working hard now so that new functions can be implemented.”
Endgamers are getting lots of love in Neverwinter’s
Shroud of Souls campaign. That’s the takeaway from today’s PWE
dev blog, which covers the new “featured quest” en route for endgame players, underpinning the storyline of the content.
“The quest begins with the appearance of a strange shadowy tower in the skies above the skies of the River District of Neverwinter,” the dev blog says, setting the stage. “Wraiths now creep around the back alleys and shadows, draining the life of anyone unfortunate enough to wander nearby.”
Rewards for the quest include “a unique chest piece draped in the dark essence of a powerful necromancer that lets the weak survive when their foes do not” as well as a Netherese Arcanist companion.
Start small, grow wide: This is the class philosophy in the upcoming survival sandbox Rend. While there are only four classes in the game, players will be able to quickly differentiate themselves from others as they level up and make important decisions about how to develop their characters.
In today’s dev blog, the team outlines how the class system will work. Players will choose a mix-and-match pairing between a primary and secondary class, with each combo offering a different experience and set of tools than the others. Then players can earn and spend talent points to flesh out those roles.
“One of our main goals when designing these classes was to give an actual choice to the player. Each class has a benefit and a drawback, sometimes in the same talent tier,” Frostkeep said.
When the Shroud of Souls campaign
launches for Neverwinter
in May, people in guilds will be treated to a special type of event called Stronghold Marauders, a new dev blog
on the official site explains today.
“The Stronghold Marauders event pits guilds against hordes of enemies in order to protect reward caches spread around the exterior of the guild’s stronghold,” Senior Content Designer Charles Gray writes. “Fighting will increase in ferocity with each wave of enemies sent to steal your rewards and enemies will occasionally bring a few surprises to catch unobservant guilds off-guard. Every five waves, there’s a brief respite in the attacks when guilds can elect to take their rewards and retreat into their stronghold, or they can signal for more carts to come and add additional rewards. However, additional rewards also result in yet tougher enemies being enticed to come and attempt to steal not only the new rewards, but the existing ones as well.”
Naturally, there are nice rewards for guilds and guild members who participate, including 600 influence once per week. Unguilded peeps, looks like you’re outta luck.
Remember last week when SuperData published a report on virtual reality, predicting a “steep rise” in VR adoption as we roll toward 2020? Competing analysis firm Newzoo is a bit more reserved and focuses more on the existing market rather than the future one. In its recent blog piece, it points to mobile VR being the current arena of growth opportunity, echoing SuperData’s point that the Samsung Gear has outsold everything else and dangling the idea that an Apple VR system might disrupt the market and bring in wider adoption.
“There are several factors that will contribute to the mass adoption of mobile VR, including improvement in the quality of the VR experience offered by relatively affordable mobile VR devices such as Google Cardboard, overcoming compatibility issues, and a boost in content that caters to people’s great variety of interests,” Newzoo says. “Additionally, the business model needs to be a good match. An example of this, coming from sports, that could potentially spark the mass market breakthrough for VR: the NBA wraps up its live VR experience in their subscription model. Not offering a single purchase option is a missed opportunity and limits uptake. Another factor at play is the fact that many people have their first VR experience with someone else’s device. The need to own a personal headset is not yet big enough to justify the purchase. ”