This is important; balancing for new and inexperienced players only produces a game that doesn’t have the depth needed for long-term play, while balancing solely for veterans creates a game that’s impenetrable for newcomers. So how do you make a game that’s fun for people getting into the genre for the first time as well as people who eat, sleep, jungle, and repeat? Check out the video below (courtesy of Gamasutra) for one possible answer.
I think I can speak for most of our staff in saying that in November when Funcom first promised a “major upgrade to both retention and acquisition mechanics and content of the game to counter the declining revenues” in The Secret World, no one expected this.
Ditto in February, when Funcom said it was going “relaunch to broaden the appeal of the game through [a] redesigned new player experience, major improvements to gameplay including combat, [the] introduction of new retention systems such as daily rewards, [and] adjustments to the business model, including allowing access to the story content for free” — people murmured “NGE,” but no one even considered that the studio would dump MMO players overboard in pursuit of ARPG fans.
But in retrospect, the cagey language and lack of actual updates in the game were right there all along, as was the casual maintenance-moding of Anarchy Online and Age of Conan.
For this week’s Overthinking, I’ve asked our staff to consider Funcom’s plans here — not the rumors and leaks but the set-in-stone plans — and reflect on what they say about the studio, the game, and the genre on the whole. What do you think about Secret World Legends?
It’s been a busy time for Chronicles of Elyria as the development team has worked on putting together a portion of the game to show off for GDC and PAX East. If you’ve missed the recent developments, the game’s official newsletter is the place to get caught up on everything from the addition of female models into the game to the presentation offered to crowds in a Boston auditorium. (You can also catch that below the break, if you’d prefer.)
The studio is also planning a live Q&A session streamed online on March 29th, so if you’re eager to find out more about surviving in the game world you may want to tune in. (It contains more valuable information than just “don’t let your health bar empty,” presumably.) There’s also more information planned on the prologue area showed off at PAX East in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled if you’re wondering what specifically makes this dank abandoned mine more interesting.
When I add news to our newsroom for our reporters to pick up, I often add links that just say “such-and-such a game exists” — because just existing is what’s new, or at least new to us. Today, we had three of those, and I’m combining them all for this quick look at three MMOs and orbiting games that you’ve probably never heard of: Age of Rivals, Lothgar Online, and Little War Online.
Lothgar Online (Asylumsoft) launched yesterday. Let me warn you upfront: If you aren’t into retro pixel graphics and hardcore gameplay, you probably won’t like this MMO. The devs, who are also the folks behind the similarly styled Elderlands, call it an “Online RPG built in a classic style, paying homage to 1980s RPGs,” and yes, that means PvP, corpse looting, and attunement in addition to a giant world, guilds, skills, and questing. On the other hand? There’s no cash shop either. Old school isn’t always a bad thing! (via Reddit)
Back at GDC, AdventureQuest 3D whipped up a special in-game sword for folks who stopped by the booth: the GDC Blade. But as Artix’s reps told me, the studio felt bad that regular players — who couldn’t attend GDC — weren’t able to pick up the blade.
That all changes today, as the studio has granted Massively OP 1000 codes for these exclusive swords for our readers! Click the Mo button below (and prove you’re not a robot) to grab one of these keys!
DualShockers has a new interview out with Conan Exiles’ Joel Bylos. It’s from GDC, but it’s still worth a look given that it includes info on this week’s patch. For starters, expect to see the new decay system (it’s been renamed as the “ruins system” now), the planned dye system, new weapons, and the promised thrall updates — eventually, players can expect alchemists, engineers, sorcerers, and beastmasters as thralls. Don’t expect mounts until summer, though. Crafters, a heads-up for you: Since crafting progression is getting a revamp, “players will get to repick all of their recipes.”
The Purge is also a hot topic for future updates — basically, it’ll be a massive AI invasion with special thralls and an eye toward wrecking your server’s best stuff. Can’t let that happen, now can we.
Meanwhile, following player outcry over the excessive duping and exploiting going on there, Funcom has announced it will partially wipe the official servers.
“We owe it to the players and, I think, to the world to do something like that. […] What I don’t want to do is be like, ‘Okay, team, next character, whatever you do, has to be lesbian.’ I don’t think we’ll end up with something good there…. From the beginning, it has to be the character’s identity. I’m sure we’ll do it at some point. I don’t know which character or when it will happen.”
If and when it does happen, Street says, it’ll likely be in “storytelling outside the game.”
Did someone say story? AQ3D recently released its big Ashfall update, the game’s first big story-driven saga, and you know Massively OP’s MJ is all about the story! She’s excited to pop into the new dragon-filled lands of lava and explore. Even better, she’s bringing Artix along as a guide (or as someone to get her killed — you never know with him). Join us live at 3:00 p.m. for a fun time exploring and chatting about the game. Maybe Artix will have some GDC stories to share!
What: AdventureQuest 3D
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, March 14th, 2016
Love it or hate it, No Man’s Sky was the buzz around the video game water cooler last year. And while the space exploration title received major backlash following its shaky launch, creater Sean Murray said that last November’s Foundations update propelled the game to a million players (in some way, shape, or form).
In an interview from GDC, Murray performed a post-mortem on the game’s launch, saying that the team only expected about 14,000 players on day one — and became quickly overwhelmed when a half million explorers showed up to party. He noted that the relatively small team (nine employees) and the fact that the game started to run out of money during development were factors in the difficult release.
Meanwhile, Murray is focused on developing even more procedural generation for all of its projects: “Making really neat, weird engine decisions, and letting them dictate a cascade of problems: It’s cool for me to be able to stand up and say to talented people like yourselves, we’re looking for that kind of thing.”
It’s full speed ahead for Conan Exiles development this year, with no plans to slow down the game’s pace over the next several months. Funcom has released a video from the GDC show floor detailing the game’s development plans for the next year or so. The bad news is that it’s not a quick video, clocking in at just a bit below 15 minutes with the bustling sounds of a convention in the background. The good news, of course, is that it is a thorough video.
Players can look forward to seeing small updates to the game every one to two weeks, with larger mechanical updates coming along every few months. The first major update will include siege warfare and all of its associated frills, while the second update includes NPC armies attacking player structures to provide something of an endgame scenario. Check out the whole video just below for more looks into the future of the game.
Though it’s fun for the broader industry, GDC has been a bit of a dud for our genre for years now. If you’re willing to expand your horizons past pure MMORPGs, however, there’s plenty of juice. Exhibit A: Funcom’s Conan Exiles presence at the show. PC Gamer has a report out today on Funcom’s plans for the game, including the clothing and armor dye system (coming this month), mounts and taming, PvE purge events stuffed with iconic Conan NPCs, better thrall micro-management, a lush foresty biome (bring your warmer clothes!), trebuchets that hurl rocks and dead bodies, and a new sewer dungeon.
Funcom’s Joel Bylos even sneaked in a dig on unspecified games that launch early access and linger there indefinitely while charging for DLC. Conan, of course, has vowed to launch by this time next year and has promised to avoid paid DLC during early access.
Massively OP will be meeting with Funcom at this weekend’s PAX East, so stay tuned for more, and in the meantime, check out the videos below.
Senior Product Manager Tatsuo Nomura referred to it as one while speaking with Polygon. Nomura also mentions that that when it launches, trading “won’t be through the internet,” and that while online trading might be seen by some as a way to potentially help rural players, the developers’ goal is more about potential distribution for regional Pokemon (such as North American Tauros or South American Heracross). You’ll need to be in close proximity to your trading partner, though don’t expect it until at least later this year, as the company is worried it may kill the game. The team is trying to improve the gameplay experience for rurals still, but no specifics were given.
Perhaps this is partially why company president John Hanke discussed the gym situation with Wired, and yes, Hanke mentions attempts to combat spoofers. Translations note that an overhaul of the gym system is the team’s “next step,” wanting to get more people into the gym scene and to have gyms focus on teamwork. Supposedly, legendaries will also be available later this year, as will player vs. player battles.
That wasn’t just idle talk; Kakao announced this morning that Black Desert developer Pearl Abyss is indeed using YEBIS tech to buff the MMORPG’s graphics as part of a “full-scale graphic remastering.” Says PA,
“This video is only a small part of what we’re working on. We are constantly trying our best to provide users with a better visual experience in keeping with the evolution of hardware. Players will be able to venture through Black Desert with enhanced graphics later this year.”
Check out the comparisons below!