impressions

Impressions of Project Gorgon from an Asheron’s Call player

It’s finally time for me talk about Project Gorgon as a released product. As you might have guessed, I was avoiding the game prior to launch. I’ve spoken out against early access a lot and have realized that, at this point in my gaming/career, playing games I’m passionate too early can be a threat to both work and play. I wanted a relationship with PG, but I didn’t want to rush into anything pre-release. I wanted it as complete as possible.

MJ’s streamed it a bunch of times, including the day before launch. Eliot’s comments from his pre-release CMA feel spot on still post-release. However, as the resident old-man Asheron’s Call fan with a review copy, I think I can add a few comments about how Project Gorgon compares to AC1&2, plus how developer Eric Heimburg’s infused PG in AC-esque ways.

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VR-based ARK Park has patched in free locomotion and better tutorials

How’s virtual reality dino land ARK Park doing since its early access launch one month ago? Magic 8 Ball says reply hazy. Steam’s aggregated review score is currently “mixed,” with even even positive reviews admitting the game lacks content and scope, which lines up neatly with our own impressions of the game.

Snail (apparently rightly) believes one of the game’s major problems is the movement system, and it’s just addressed that with what it’s calling a “major update,” which is already being received well by the community.

“One of the biggest issues is locomotion. You wanted free movement so here it is! Our dev team has been working hard on the movement system and now you have the option to choose between teleportation and free locomotion.”

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Global Chat: Giving Project Gorgon a try

With Project Gorgon now out on Steam early access, many first-time visitors to this strange game are feeling out the world and its systems. So what are they discovering?

Tales of the Aggronaut said that he was “hooked” when he put in a good weekend: “Part of the charm of this game is that it plops you into the game with no real warning or advisement about what you should be doing.”

“There’s never any doubting the sheer personality evident in every aspect of the game,” recommended Inventory Full. “The enthusiasm and good nature of the tiny development team sweeps all cynicism away.”

Project Gorgon not your cup of tea? Join us after the break for blog essays on Second Life, RIFT Prime, Shroud of the Avatar, and even Dungeons & Dragons!

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The Game Archaeologist: Lineage

If we judged MMOs by their numbers alone — and I’m not suggesting we do so — then the original Lineage would be the crowing rooster strutting about the hen house. It’s also been one of those games that I’ve always intellectually acknowledged was a huge hit for some reason but never gave much attention. I think it’s because, contrary to many western MMOs, Lineage is primarily an Asian phenomenon. That doesn’t mean it should be shunned, of course, but just that it may be difficult to understand when you’re on the outside of it.

So let’s back up the memory truck to September 1998, when a then-fledgling NCsoft rolled out a Diablo-style isometric MMO and struck virtual gold in South Korea. At the time, gaming rooms were becoming a huge thing in the country. A recession had hit, giving people a lot of time with nothing to do, and the government was rapidly expanding the broadband network. In the face of this perfect storm, titles like StarCraft and Lineage became overnight household fixtures — and remained so for decades to come.

Even if you haven’t played Lineage and you don’t know anyone who does, trust me: Millions and millions of players have. As former Senior Producer Chris Mahnken once said, “Lineage keeps going because it’s just plain fun.”

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Conan Exiles begins the countdown to launch with a new trailer

Fourteen months after hitting early access, Funcom is getting ready to launch Conan Exiles for real. Ahead of the May 8th release, the studio has posted up a brand-new teaser trailer to kick off the countdown. It’s just over 24 days, if you’re wondering or bad at math.

“Besides being the first time it’s available on PlayStation 4, the launch of Conan Exiles brings with it a massive expansion of the game world, game-changing new features such as monster invasions known as the purge and an entirely new action-oriented combat system, as well as many other major additions that truly makes this the ultimate vision of Conan Exiles. If you were ever on the fence, or you are just discovering it for the first time, May 8th is the time to join the adventure.”

MOP’s MJ got hands-on with the launch build earlier this month; you can check out her impressions right here! There’s a clipping issue in one of the screenshots – gold star if you find it!

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Choose My Adventure: Getting started in Ultima Online

The interesting thing about this installment of Choose My Adventure is that it’s probably the only time I could ever do this particular title. Not because it’s going away anytime soon, by all indications, but because there’s little to no way that you can actually talk about Ultima Online in the present.

If you don’t know anything about Ultima Online, it behooves you to do some research. This is really the origin point of MMOs as a whole, the game upon which all other graphical MMOs were based in no small part. You can quibble as much as you want about whether or not something else might have been a little bit further along or deserves a bigger nod, but at the end of the day it’s not an argument that actually matters. This is the starting point.

Which means discussing it at all can, at times, feel rather silly.

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Trion declares RIFT Prime a ‘massive success’ with ‘thousands’ of subbing players

You’d hardly expect an MMO company to send along a press release declaring its game a failure, right? Indeed, Trion’s PR this morning argues that RIFT’s Prime progression server was a “rousing success,” noting that in its first month, “thousands” of gamers have given it a try (and therefore, subbed or resubbed to the 2011 MMORPG).

“Thousands of players have jumped into the new server, taking in all of the excitement and classic RIFT content on offer,” Trion says. “In the first month of the availability of Vigil, the RIFT Prime server, players completed more than five million quests and tens of thousands of dungeons. The server’s active population has stayed high since its deployment last month, and the first days of the server saw hundreds of players teaming up to conquer some of its biggest challenges in record numbers.”

In fact, players set a record in RIFT: “A dynamic event in Silverwood on day one had the most participants of any event in RIFT history,” according to Producer Amanda Fry.

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Hands-on with Conan Exiles’ launch build: Farming, frolicking in the swamp, and other feature fun

The early access days of Conan Exiles are coming to a close. In less than a month, the survival sandbox will launch. At that time players will get to explore two new regions, experience the new combat, farm, dive into two new dungeons, worship a new god, and summon her avatar on the live servers. But luckily for me, I didn’t have to wait! I joined Creative Director Joel Bylos in the game for few hours of hands-on experience with the new features, then got to keep playing for the evening.

After a farming demonstration and a quick tour of the volcano, I got to witness a Purge, watch the brand-new starter cinematic, wander around the swamp and climb into treehouses, participate in a siege, look over the new attributes and perks, parade around in new armor, and test out the new combat with all the weapon types. My impressions in a nutshell? Most of the additions really up the fun factor and improve the game (the jury is still out on the eating-to-heal mechanic). I’m pretty excited for these features to go live, and not just because I want to build a treehouse base! While there I can’t offer an elaborate play-by-play of everything I experienced during this lengthy play session, I do have additional details for those who want more than one nutshell’s worth of impression.
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GDC 2018: Hands-on with Elder Scrolls Online’s Summerset and a chat with ZeniMax’s Rich Lambert

Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset was announced during GDC 2018, which may or may not have surprised you, depending on how many spoilers you’d already seen. As I still haven’t gotten back into ESO, I didn’t mind the spoilers; I knew I was going to talk to the game’s Creative Director, Rich Lambert, so I’d need to be prepared. After consulting a bit with Larry and discussing how hard to push the anti-elf agenda, I was released into the wild… but had that information gagged until today.

Perhaps that was for good reason, though, as not only did I get some hands-on time with Summerset, but ZeniMax provided us with capture cards so we could show you what we saw and did. It’s very much an early look. Yes, there are elves, but also mind traps and a new tutorial for those just entering Tamriel. It’s just hard to say much more, though, since the demo felt like it was aimed more at press/streamers completely unfamiliar with ESO. Don’t worry, lorehounds, I know enough to help you avoid spoilers (so maybe avoid the first 10 minutes of the video).

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Project Gorgon warns alpha users that their free ride is ending

For a very long time now — we are talking years, here — Project Gorgon has operated a free public alpha to anyone who wanted to enjoy the game and test it out. But now with the launch of the title on Steam early access this month, that free ride is about to come to a close.

The team sent out notices on Twitter that it will be deactivating the standalone alpha client “in the near future.” This doesn’t mean the end of those players’ accounts; by purchasing the Steam version, a former alpha tester can link accounts and carry over his or her characters to the early access client.

Project Gorgon is charging $40 for its buy-to-play MMO. The title has accumulated over 100 reviews on Steam so far and remained in the “very positive” range of impressions.

Source: Twitter

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GDC 2018: Funcom’s Tor Egil Andersen on Conan Exiles’ early access, launch, and beyond

My initial impressions of Conan Exiles, written just about a year ago, weren’t exactly glowing. While I know not every game I play needs to appeal to me, so much of the genre just felt like a repetition of what we’d already seen countless times before: a survival game in early access filled with bugs, naked people killing each other, and nothing that really made living in the game world feel worth it. Character progression felt bland, building was significantly harder than destruction, and the guild recruitment button on day one resulted in axing people in the face.

But that was a year ago. MJ has covered in-depth what the game’s done right since then, but even I’ve noticed just how much Funcom’s done to bolster the title. It made buildings more difficult to destroy. More emotes came in. More PvE content. Climbing. New zones. And then the launch announcement about a year after EA, with February’s honest look at the game’s future. Promising that no EA features that come later will be behind a pay wall is quite refreshing.

Still, I had some questions I wanted to pose to Community Manager Tor Egil Andersen at GDC 2018, so let’s get to them.

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A sneak peek of South Africa in Secret World Legends’ Season 2

The things I do for you! You know that story is everything to me, and in order to bring you more information, I allowed myself to be partially spoiled on Secret World Legends’ start of the long-awaited Season 2. If you know nothing of what’s ahead and are trying to stay totally pure of any information other than it launches on April 4th, then go ahead and leave now. Right now. That was your warning. Because I was just on a pretty detailed (but not completely spoilerific) tour of the upcoming content release with Game Director Romain Amiel and Community Manager Andy Benditt. And I am going to share some of it with you. Don’t worry, though – I’ve got your back. I’ve made it so incredibly obvious the different levels of spoilers — from nothing to lots — so if you get spoiled, you will have only yourself to blame.

If you already know where we are heading and want to learn details about non-story stuff that is pertinent to the expansion, I’ve got a whole section ahead for you. You can stop before any of the story spoilers happen. For those who want to go ahead and get even more of the juicy tidbits of the story, I’ve got a whole big bite of it for you, including screenshots. But even you don’t get to know everything!

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First impressions of the newly launched ARK Park

By the time you read this dear reader, I’ll already be dead… dead tired, that is, from running around the Game Developer’s Conference talking to developers from such companies as Snail Games about upcoming games like ARK Park. Ahead of my meeting about the game, I was granted a review copy so I could get some time in with the real thing before my interview and end of the media embargo. As my Oculus Rift set-up isn’t exactly travel-friendly, and I can be prone to motion sickness, I only had enough time to jump into the game for a few scant hours. It was an interesting experience, since the game wasn’t simultaneously available to the public, and that meant I was probably missing out on the critical social factor for my impressions. Nevertheless, I think they’re worth hashing out. Let’s dig in.

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