There are always going to be differences in opinion about what should be done with an IP based upon a franchise. That's just natural. The same core universe could be used to make a sprawling sandbox with weak combat but a robust non-combat market and profession system, or it could be used to make a combat-focused experience that focuses on energetic fights, nifty story moments, and little else. In both cases, even if you don't like the end result, you can understand exactly why the IP was used for this.
Our column today is not about those games. No, this is about games that completely failed to make use of their licenses to IPs, produced totles that did not in any way logically follow from the license that was given, or otherwise took pure gold and turned it into something... less than gold. There's room to debate whether some of these IPs would ever make good MMOs, but boy, the uses we have were pretty bad.
Open beta for Ghost in the Shell: First Assault: Stand Alone Complex Online kicked off earlier this summer as a free-to-play title on Steam. If you haven't gotten a chance to check it out, how about now -- with a pack full of bonuses in tow?
Nexon and Neople have granted Massively OP 10 starter pack keys to give away to our readers. The starter packs include two bonus character unlock coupons, 500k GP, 10 each of 100% GP and 100% XP boosters, a 200 minute chipset pack, and three each of the Rapid Reload, Rapid Swap, Rapid Aim x3, Agile Reload, Agile Strafe, and Agile Step buffs.
Please note that only people in the declared supported regions will be able to use these keys, so please read Nexon's full list of approved countries to make sure you're eligible. Likewise, you must have a Steam account to unlock these particular keys for play.
Read on to enter to win!
Let's make something clear: Shroud of the Avatar has not launched, it's just handled its final server wipe and will now be persistent moving forward. Which is different from launch because the developers say so. It was a pretty big deal when it happened, considering that the developers also ran a big telethon at the same time. There's also a land "rush" of sorts, but if you didn't buy in at a big tier ages ago, it'll probably be a while before you need to worry about that.
Elsewhere in the beta world, there was... well, testing. You know.
This is just a sampling of stuff that's in testing, of course; there are more titles in the list we keep down below. If something dropped in a cash shop without letting us know or surreptitiously changed test phases, please, do let us know about it down in the comments.
Online shooter Ghost in the Shell: First Assault: Stand Alone Complex Online is going to take home this year's award for most unwieldy title for sure. In the meantime, it's launching into open beta this very day on Steam and off. It's free-to-play, note, with microtransactions, so it's not going to cost you anything but bandwidth and time to try.
Publisher Nexon says that it's launching a new patch today in conjunction with the beta. Called "Up Close and Personal; Hand of Destiny," it introduces exclusive character Kuro and a prototype map akin to the Ghost Assault mode coming in a future update. Nexon also mentions it's tackled a number of issues with the game since its early access launch late last year, including a skill and weapon rebalance, several new maps, and improved UI. Check out the trailer below!
The doors are open for Das Tal's summer test, and the result has been good and bad. Good because a lot of people want to play, naturally, but bad because there have been some server issues and associated bugs. The team is hard at work on making sure players can jump in and enjoy the game, with a small patch just released to improve server performance. That's what tests are all about, after all.
Other beta news? Sure, we'll share that with you. Because we're nice.
Oh, and we've also packed plenty more games just below if you just want an idea of what's in testing right now. If something opened up a cash shop unexpectedly, please do let us know. You'll be invited to our birthday parties that we'll cancel at the last minute.
Whom will you play in Ghost in the Shell Online? This week, the game is making the case for white-haired Maven, a talented special ops soldier with a handy therm-optic barrier that obscures sight and protects her team from the enemy. Maven is the most recent addition to the game's early access program.
According to her description, "Maven is an expert on guerilla warfare and topography, stemming from her time in the South American military. She first came to Chief Aramaki's attention during an operation in which she single-handedly held off an insurgent attack after her entire squad was killed. Since then, she has been working for Section 9, where she has proven both resourceful and deadly. However, her troubled past is never far away. She has vowed to destroy the rebel group that ravaged her country and killed her family."
You can watch Maven's spotlight video after the jump.
There's a new operative in town for Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - First Assault Online (or just Ghost in the Shell Online if you're into the whole brevity thing). The latest update to the early access shooter brings Maven into the playable character roster. Maven can deploy barriers to prevent enemies from seeing what's on the other side, although the barriers can be destroyed.
The update also adds a new deathmatch map, the Port, which serves as a smaller skirmish area for teams to face off. Several new weapons are also added as well, along with the first iteration of the Ghost Screen to display your post-battle performance. It's a pretty substantial update to the game, and the future promises further improvements and newer maps for players.
Say this one ten times fast: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - First Assault Online is live today on Steam's early access platform. The EA packs run from $4.99 to $29.99, though there's a steep price cut for the middle tiers right now.
Nexon and Neople consider this phase a beta and have asked for feedback; they've also addressed why such an iconic IP has been turned into an online shooter:
With such a wealth of great content covered in Stand Alone Complex, picking a genre was no easy feat. However, while watching the series we were particularly excited by Episode 24 of Season One, in which the wrongfully accused team at Section 9 are tested to their limits, forced to take on an opposing Special Ops team in order to clear their names. This episode really made us imagine what it would be like to fight together as a perfectly synchronized team like Section 9, which helped us decide to bring that fantasy to life in a tactical team based shooter.
The future is coming to you a little sooner than expected. Ghost in the Shell Online, the shooter based on the cybernetic police squad anime, is launching an early access program on Monday, December 14th through both Steam and the Nexon launcher.
This early access is considered to be the beta phase of Ghost in the Shell Online's development. There are two ways to gain access: either by applying for a beta key and getting lucky or purchasing one of the new early access packs for a guaranteed spot. The packs range from $5 to $30 and contain extras such as an exclusive weapon skin, in-game currency, and character unlock coupons.
The developers recently took some time to answer several questions from the community, although they waffled on the topic of possible solo and PvE content.
Source: Nexon press release
Game soundtracks like this are the reason why I scrounge outside of the well-known MMOs for hidden gems. As I've often said before, the quality (or popularity) of a game and its soundtrack aren't always equal. So while Ragnarok 2 might not be the MMO on everyone's lips these days, its soundtrack is certainly worthy of being poured into our ears.
While the original Ragnarok Online's score is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition for me, the sequel is a treasure trove of delightful tracks and energetic melodies. Ragnarok 2's score was composed by Yoko Kanno, who is well-known for her works in many anime projects including Ghost in the Shell and Cowboy Bebop. She's also had her fingers in Continent of the Ninth (C9), which now puts that game's score on my to-listen list.
Whether you've played Ragnarok 2 or not, I hope you join me for this brief tour through its musical highlights!
The nominees for this year's most ridiculously long game title are as follows: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - First Assault Online. Actually that's it, there's just one nominee, because who in their right mind slaps a game with such a lengthy moniker?
Nexon does, apparently, and it wants you to know that GitS:SAC-FAO (sorry, I'm not typing all that crap again) is coming to Steam. I have no idea when it's coming to Steam, because Nexon's press release fails to mention that bit of info. I suppose you can add it to your wishlist and be notified later, though.
GitS:SAC-FAO players will join Section 9, an elite force of cybernetically enhanced badasses who fight terrorists on the "neon-drenched streets of a futuristic Japan."
Nexon's attempt at a Ghost in the Shell online shooter is now taking closed beta signups. First Assault, which the firm bills as a tactical team-based shooter, allows gamers to play as super soldiers fighting terrorists on the streets of the famous Japanese cyberpunk IP.
Characters may be customized with body augmentations, weapon attachments, and enhanced abilities. The game also features something called SkillSync, which allows players to share cyber-abilities with nearby teammates while engaging in combat.
You can watch the latest trailer after the break.
After reading through Nexon's financial report for Q1 2015, one can imagine the company skipping along while whistling a merry tune. Yes, it's generally good news for the MMO publisher, as Nexon's revenues are up 9% year-over-year and looking strong almost across the entire board. While revenue was down in Japan, it rose higher in North America during this period.
The company attributes its performance to rebounding titles (such as Dungeon & Fighter), the launch of DomiNations (an empire builder), and the Lunar New Year period. Nexon's primary source of revenue is from PC games although its mobile division is accounting for around 16% of income. It's also noteworthy just how much Nexon depends on Asia for its revenue: China (44%), Korea (39%), and Japan (11%) account for a vast majority, while North America, Europe, and other markets make up only a paltry 6%.