Hands up: Any Massively OP readers play the crap out of Command & Conquer back in the day? In the ’90s, Westwood Studios was a legend for that series (and how awesome was Red Alert? Here’s the Hell March theme for your Thursday listening pleasure) before the studio was purchased by EA and shuttered.
Well, one of the co-founders of Westwood, Louis Castle, is being given another chance at widespread glory. Castle was recently hired by Amazon Game Studios Seattle to head up the company’s sci-fi multiplayer title Crucible.
Castle told Games Industry that he’s thrilled to get to work on a brand-new IP: “I don’t know too many game developers who would prefer to pursue licensed IP over the chance to create something. The new IP problem space is wide open and the possibilities are endless. I’ve personally had about equal amounts of success in both adapting and building IP.”
Online ARPG Grim Dawn has a new NPC on the way this year that’ll change how players interact with gear, specifically cosmetic gear: The Illusionist NPC.
“For a modest fee, the Illusionist will transform your gear to look like any other item of the same category,” says Crate. “Using proprietary Illusionist mind-meld technology, any item you discover will automatically have its appearance stored. In fact, the first time you launch the expansion, every item you have in your inventory and stash will be automatically added to start your collection. That’s a lot of different looks! To facilitate your soon to be growing collection, we have created a brand new UI that stores and previews all of your appearances, accessible at any Illusionist.”
The rules are pretty similar to rules in other MMOs and ARPGs, including the fact that the Illusionst doesn’t work for free, and you can’t turn a greatsword into a dirk.
The game formally emerged from early access a year ago, having been deemed “feature complete” at the end of 2015, having been successfully Kickstarted to the tune of a half a million bucks back in 2012. Since then, it’s pumped out seven content updates, including the Crucible DLC, and has plans for its first big expansion — including the Illusionist — by this coming summer.
Grim Dawn’s latest “Grim Misadventures” featurette is a recap of its progress through 2016 in the leadup to its first birthday coming up in February. Crate put out seven content updates last year — which even I’d forgotten about — counting up survival mode, extensive modding tools, the Hidden Path storyline, the Crucible DLC, new legendary gear, the Fall of Valbury roguelike dungeon, supporter upgrades, and tech improvements.
2017 already looks promising for the ARPG, as its first formal expansion is on the way.
“Grim Dawn’s first expansion is sure to be a treat. Along with a new chapter of the story, an increased level cap and two new masteries come new Devotion constellations to unveil with an increased Devotion cap, several new features, hundreds of new unique items and monster infrequents [as well as] new dungeons and environments to explore, and dangerous new foes and bosses to conquer.”
As we step closer to the launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic
‘s next expansion, BioWare
spills more and more information about the content we will soon see on the live servers. We’ve talked about the Command Ranks
and new endgame gearing process, but there is certainly more to what Knights of the Eternal Throne
will offer, some of that being group-focused content. However, I question whether it is the content we are looking for. Is the addition of Uprisings too little too late, not what we are looking for at all, or just right?
I don’t know that I’m going to have the answers we’re looking for in this article today, but I do hope to post the right questions to give us food for thought. Despite the negative trend in public opinion toward SWTOR‘s upcoming content, I would like to pose some of the positives that they are bringing to the table and discuss how it’s possible the developers could swing the game around.
As I said, I don’t know that I have all the answers, but let’s dive into what we know.
Those ex-ArenaNet folks won’t be going to waste at Amazon Game Studios after all: One of the three games the company is working on is indeed an MMORPG sandbox game called New World, and it sounds goddamn epic.
Multiplayer ARPG Grim Dawn is getting fresh DLC later this month. Tomorrow, in fact. Called The Crucible, the DLC
“[…] introduces a challenging new arena survival mode to Crate Entertainment’s Action RPG Grim Dawn. Enter the Crucible, a harsh battleground filled with waves of Grim Dawn’s deadliest fiends. There you will engage in magnificent combat for the amusement of the Crucible’s mysterious overlord, Lokarr. But he is not a cruel master: endure his trials and be rewarded with vast wealth; fail, and know only his scorn. Featuring multiple arenas, 150 challenging waves of enemies and all new mechanics, the Crucible offers a great new way to enjoy Grim Dawn’s visceral combat and vast character customization options.”
“Crucible isn’t the end of the road for Grim Dawn, not by a long shot,” Crate told players last week. “On the horizon, just beyond the Crucible, we are looking to introduce new high-level unique items to spice up your loot hunt. We will also be taking a look at high level Epic sets, which currently don’t quite live up to their intent as stepping stones to Legendary items.”
In all the time that I’ve been writing about EVE Online
, one of the most common recurring comments is that the game badly needs some compelling avatar-based gameplay. Many people have been compelled to try EVE
over the years after hearing some crazy story of a record-breaking heist or massive ship battle only to be put off that you spend all of your time trapped inside a spaceship (or an escape pod if you run into trouble). CCP has even been teasing us with the idea
of getting out of our ships and walking around inside stations since as far back as Fanfest 2006, but the feature never fully materialised.
Originally called Ambulation and later renamed to Walking in Stations, EVE‘s avatar gameplay represented a massive technical challenge of a scale that the studio had never tackled before. The feature was reportedly partially developed and then scrapped several times over the years, with grand plans periodically emerging for things like player-owned social bars, gambling minigames, and holographic war rooms. When the feature finally landed in 2011’s Incarna expansion, it didn’t live up to expectations, and the backlash from its ludicrous microtransaction prices and the perception of wasted developer time had serious repercussions for CCP’s bottom line. Development on avatar-based gameplay ceased at that point, but nearly five years on I’m beginning to think that now would be the perfect time to revisit it.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at the reasons that avatar gameplay failed in EVE the first time and why I think now may be a good time to pick it back up again.
If you’re one of the many Destiny players hoping to see more of the planet Mercury, you may be in luck. Destiny was reportedly supposed to have more content on the planet Mercury, but in the end it got only limited content through the Trials of Osiris event. Anyone who achieves a perfect score of nine wins to zero losses in the Trials of Osiris will also be sent to a secret area on Mercury called The Lighthouse with some exclusive loot, but that’s as far as our exploration of the closest planet to the sun can go.
Tom Phillips over at Eurogamer has put together a rather convincing argument that the game’s upcoming sequel may heavily feature Mercury and quests given by the character Osiris. The argument is based on clues recently deposited in the main Destiny database and an old Reddit post (now deleted) containing other information that has since turned out to be true. A Mercury-based event called The Dawning is expected to hit the game in the next few weeks to reveal, and Destiny‘s sequel will reportedly be released around September this year.
Destiny’s 2.0 update is heading our way next week on September 8th, and Bungie is busy getting players ready for the major changes to come with the game’s second year. A new weekly update post from the studio contains a handy checklist of what the patch will hold and what players should (and should not) be doing between now and then.
As part of the anticipation for The Taken King, Bungie is also hosting a free Crucible preview event for all players from September 8th through the 14th, whether or not those players have pre-ordered the DLC. During the event, players can try out a couple of additional game modes and the new Crucible maps, although the forthcoming subclasses and specials will be locked until The Taken King releases.
The Taken King will go live on September 15th. You can check out the Crucible preview event trailer after the break!