After some ups and downs this afternoon — everybody loves the “try again later” message, right? — Valve’s summer Steam sale is finally underway and stable. Here’s what we’re looking at in our corner of the gaming world.
My time with Neverwinter
is done, and it’s a game I find myself in an odd relationship with. It’d be fair to say that despite what some members of the audience expected, I never went into disliking the game; even when I was getting a little bit bored, I didn’t find myself desperately wanting to play something else just to be free of the scourge of the game itself. But at the same time… it never really got its hooks in me, either.
And some of that, I think, is that I’ve played it before.
I’m reluctant to say that every game Cryptic Studios makes is the same because every single one has very clear pieces that stand apart. Star Trek Online’s space combat, Neverwinter’s action combat, and Champions Online’s status as the last relic of a forgotten time. (Probably other things, too.) They’re not the same game. But they do all share the same gameplay loop, which is different… and despite my best efforts, there’s a certain point when all of that just winds up getting a wee bit tedious.
This week’s newest member of the SMITE
line-up is Cu Chulainn
, the Hound of Ulster. Cu is a rough-and-tumble melee warrior who boasts high crowd control and area DPS. Like the Hulk, you don’t want to get Cu Chulainn mad, because when that happens he goes berserk and sees his stats and abilities improve.
Whether you play this new hero or not, all players can enjoy the Code of Chivalry event that’s currently running. “By choosing good quests, your morality progress bar will lean to the side of good, but choosing bad quests will sway it to the side of evil! After completing 5 quests, your progress bar will determine your remaining four quests and which Osiris skin you unlock first — Noble Knight or Black Knight.”
Finally, for Father’s Day weekend SMITE is selling its dad champions for 50% off (and, presumably, getting each of them a tie).
If you thought I was enjoying my time with Neverwinter
as a whole, you would be right. I am
enjoying my time with the game as a whole, and while there are bits and pieces which don’t totally sell me, my initial impressions have been positive. Heck, even my impressions from the last week or so of play have been mostly
positive, with a lot of good experiences and a few which are…
Yeah, I could say “less good,” but I’m going to go with just plain “rage-inducing.”
Here’s the weird thing: At least one of the things which inspired a rage-spike from me was something I had been waiting for from the moment I started playing the game, and people who have read my work long enough probably know what that means. So join me as I find the item I dread more than any other in games by Cryptic, an item that appears in both of the other titles run by the studio that makes me start shuddering with rage every time I see it.
One of the largest and longest-running collectible card games is about to become a brand-new role-playing video game, courtesy of Cryptic Studios. Cryptic and Perfect World Entertainment announced today that it is ramping up development on a Magic: The Gathering MMORPG in partnership with Wizards of the Coast.
The untitled game is being made “from the ground up” for both PC and console as a top-tier release and is part of Wizards of the Coast’s Magic Digital Next initiative. According to the press release, the RPG will allow players to “fully immerse themselves in the Multiverse.”
“Everything from the graphics to the gameplay is being targeted for a truly unique AAA game,” said Cryptic CEO Stephen D’Angelo. “We’re thrilled to provide Magic fans with an opportunity to explore the game’s worlds and characters through an entirely new lens. Get ready to embark on a brand new journey.”
MMORPG fans know well the name Bill Roper: He’s the former Blizzard developer who went on to helm Flagship’s Hellgate: London and Cryptic’s Champions Online before landing the gig at Disney Interactive. Now, he’s moving on to Improbable and SpatialOS, the distributed computing platform that seems to pop up in our feeds constantly nowadays and is allegedly worth a billion bucks.
Roper told Gamasutra that he’d been interested in SpatialOS for a few years but became a convert during this past GDC before accepting the role of Chief Creative Officer. “The possibilities for not just massive worlds, but highly detailed and truly persistent worlds built on SpatialOS are exciting. I believe the games that will define AR and VR are yet to be realized, and the type of simulation that can be achieved with our platform can be an integral part of these new experiences,” he explains.
Improbable’s tech is being used as a base for multiple incoming MMOs, including Chronicles of Elyria and Worlds Adrift. Most recently, CEO Herman Narula revealed that his long-term goal is to “literally create other worlds” and rescue to MMO industry from what he called “nuclear winter.”
“Sun’s out, guns out,” a PWE press blast quipped today — all because the MMO studio is kicking off a ton of summer events across its range of games, including some of the more relatively obscure ones.
, for example, the titular city will be festooned in glitter for the 4th anniversary Protector’s Jubilee. Jubilee unicorns were mentioned
. That’s June 20-27, while July will see the summer festival with feasts, contests, and snail mounts.
There are games that simply do not hold up past the demo, and frankly I’ve played a lot of those in Boston. Usually those are non-MMOs that promise big but don’t wind up delivering; I was excited about Rock Band Blitz
, but it didn’t really pan out as being as fun as a standalone game compared to a quick demo station. So I was aware that however much I liked Neverwinter
from demo kiosks, it was entirely possible that sitting down to play the actual game would be something of a disappointment.
But it wasn’t. Made you look.
Far from being less than it had seemed when I tried out the demos, I quite enjoyed my first week of time spent in Neverwinter. Not that it’s going to tear me away from all other games forever, but it’s a fun experience with plenty of things to hook you into the gameplay quickly without forcing you to dive headfirst into lore in order to find your commitment to the story.
Oh boy, Neverwinter
! I am legitimately excited about this cycle’s Choose My Adventure
pick, in no small part because the only reason I have not yet played Neverwinter
in any serious capacity is because I am an idiot. Or cursed with more enthusiasm than with actual free time. It’s kind of a fifty-fifty split, here.
See, I still remember first seeing Neverwinter in person at PAX East one of these years. (All of the PAX Easts kind of blur together in a mess of overcrowded convention halls, Boston weather, and occasional hotel stays.) I have more or less no attachment to the original games in the franchise, and frankly it looked like it was going to be pretty great. I was really looking forward to playing it myself.
Instead, I think I just played a lot of other games and never actually even installed it. I’m sure I had my reasons. I’m not sure they were good reasons, though.
isn’t the only MMO taking advantage of the launch of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 this weekend. Or maybe it’s May the Fourth that’s got Champions Online
agog. I’m going with the former this time based on the look and the tease
“Guardians! Your galaxy needs you! Having the right gear will ensure neither you, nor your favorite worlds, go boom. Get them now at 20% off! Dress the part, or get powered up. (Soundtracks sold separately!)”
There are plenty of sci-fi flavored costume parts and powers on sale through May 11th, plus Cryptic and PWE are running the Nightmare Invasion event, a Hideouts sale, and a sale on… ghost hair?
DC Universe Online, you’re next, right?
If you haven’t picked up Champions Online as a free player, you might not know that the game restricts unfettered character creation for F2P. Instead, freeloaders are restricted to pre-built archetypes that don’t allow for the fun of mix-and-matching your own vision.
That is, unless you either subscribe or purchase a “freeform” slot unlock for your account. A freeform slot grants the full privileges of slapping your own build together to see how it functions. And while these slots are usually pretty pricey (around $50), right now Champions Online is holding a half-off sale on freeform slots, bringing the tag down to 2,500 zen (around $25).
The sale is running from today through next Thursday. Also, conspiracy theory, is this sale capitalizing on City of Heroes’ anniversary this week? Hmm…
Over the last week or so, ZeniMax Online Studios opened up parts of The Elder Scrolls Online’s Morrowind test servers to the press and public, allowing us to hop in and take a long and unfettered look at the developing expansion. In fact, that’s why I shied away from saying anything about the Elder Scrolls Online patch notes controversy — I’ve been buried in the real thing all week. Although I can now talk about the negative, I can also finally talk about the positive bits Morrowind has to offer.
I want to be fair about my analysis of ZOS’ depiction of the island of Vvardenfell and the Dark Elf culture, so I will have to put aside some of my nostalgic feels and take the experience for what it is: a solid entertaining MMORPG with a handful of flaws. I’m not going to pull any punches, but I should let you know that I really like this next chapter for ESO.
I’m not going to give everything away, but there is an interesting story involving a god, a priest, and a giant crab.
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
This week we have stories and videos from EVE Online, Wurm Online, Gloria Victis, Brawl of Ages, TERA, World of Warships, H1Z1, Champions Online, Portal Knights, Final Fantasy XI, Aion, Wakfu, and The Black Death, all waiting for you after the break!