If by chance you’ve ever run a blog about literally anything, you surely know about scrapers – those jerks who use scripts to steal your stuff in full and put it on their site to make easy money. The really clever ones use scripts to also change some of the words around so that it’s not as easy to get caught. Most of these scripts aren’t very good and just use word swaps, so they sound like somebody who barely speaks English grabbed a thesaurus and waved it around in the air.
Enter Owne Tech, a scraper site you’ve probably never heard of. Yesterday, when Camelot Unchained’s huge news hit the internet, this site apparently scraped VentureBeat’s piece on it and… well, the garbled version is actually hilarious.
“The previous writer of Mythic Leisure’s The Darkish Age of Camelot is again with a brand new recreation, and he has raised $7.five million for the net fable recreation dubbed Camelot Unchained,” the piece declares. “Jacobs was once the lead clothier and founder at Mythic. […] He left EA in 2009, and began the brand new corporate, Town State Leisure, in 2011. Via 2013, he had found out what he sought after to do. His Town State Leisure raised $four.five million in a Kickstarter crowdfunding marketing campaign, and his staff went to paintings on Camelot Unchained.”
The whole saga of development for Bless Online has been a lot of false starts and half-launches (the short version is that the game had its publisher pull out and then it was hastily decided to self-publish), so fans still waiting for news and a playable version of the game are probably unpleasantly familiar with being promised that the game is coming very soon. Really, we mean it. The latest post on the game from the development team contains an interview with director Jae-hoon Jeon, who promises that the game is coming to Steam early access as soon as possible. While he fears that the trial and error process might lead to some hurt feelings, the important thing is getting player feedback about the game’s new directions and refinement.
Most of the work for overhauling the game has started with a complete rework of the game’s combat system to make skills feel more impactful, introducing skill combos and adding in the first pass of skill customization mechanics. The goal is to keep individual fights feeling more interesting, and by extension making moment-to-moment and repeated gameplay experiences from becoming boring. Understandable goals, although you’ll have to wait until the game is actually in early access to see how it all plays out.
It is true that the Hi-Rez Expo has wrapped up for 2018, and we’ll need to wait another 12 months to attend the next one. (Folks should be over the effects of the after party by then!) There’s just something awesome about getting to gather with tons of fans in one place as well speaking with devs face-to-face. Every year has been cool, but this year has something a little extra: Founder and CEO Erez Goren attended and mingled, answering questions and sharing his love for gaming.
Goren hasn’t given many public interviews in years, but between the dev roundtable with President Stew Chisam and bumping into him on the show floor and chatting with him individually, I got to learn a number of fun facts about the philosophy and workings of the studio from the tip top man himself. And it is true, everything did come from Global Agenda!
Chronicles of Elyria’s latest dev blog is out, and it’s more than just a recap of 2017 and look ahead to 2018, although it has that too: It makes the announcement that the game will no longer be utilizing SpatialOS.
“In January of 2017 we began the long process of taking what was mostly an offline, single-player game – designed primarily to validate user experience and gameplay feel – and turn it into a MEOW [Multiplayer Evolving Online World],” says Soulbound Studios. That meant integration with SpatialOS and Unreal Engine 4. But as development progressed, Soulbound explains, it ran into game elements (non spatial systems) that didn’t quite fit the architecture. What’s more, Soulbound argues, the studio was concerned that the game’s large size would make SpatialOS too expensive for it (and therefore for players) long-term.
“Of course, we brought our concerns to Improbable, and over the last eight months they’ve done a fantastic job working with us to try and bring the price down. Unfortunately, it remains an expensive solution for us. To make sure we were prepared, we began looking for alternative technology that could fill any gaps left behind if we were unable to use SpatialOS for any reason.”
After a few days of playing Bot Smashers at Hi-Rez Expo 2018 this past weekend, I sat down and talked shop with Rory Newbrough, Bot Smashers Design Director, to get a few more details on the upcoming game. I discovered where the idea came from, and learned more about what to expect in its released form.
What I didn’t learn was that the newly announced game had an MMO version hiding in the wings. Yes, I said that. I think I would totally live in a gaming world of the bots from here. They all have such personality, and they are pretty pleasing to the eye. One of them already has a cloak! The idea just oozes fun. I could see the gruff Topsy trying to maintain order, while the ever-flailing Smashbot runs panicked from life’s crazy stuff. And those Rangerbots? They’ll band together like little green army men to get stuff done. Sadly for me, the mobile game is not an MMO – only a 1v1 battle arena. Maybe someday it could be. (Hey, leave me with my unlikely hopes!) Until that pipe dream can find a thread of reality, here’s what you can expect from the actual mobile game.
Hi-Rez Expo 2018 ended this weekend, which means my opportunity to play the studio’s new 1v1 mobile game Bot Smashers has also ended. And that makes me sad. Like last year’s SMITE Rivals (RIP) that I loved so much, the only place to play was the expo show floor. No expo floor means no playing. Now I must wait for a general release to battle some more bots — and right now there is no set time.
What exactly is Bot Smashers, you ask, and why did it enchant me so much? Well that’s exactly what I am going to share with you. Then we can wait on the game together! Hopefully the wait won’t be too terribly long; Rory Newbrough, Bot Smashers GM and design director, noted that the studio hopes to get testing for the game started in the spring, then follow with a soft launch soon after.
Good news, Ascent: Infinite Realm! The future of Kakao’s international plans and possible acquisition of western development studios hinges upon your success! Not that the publisher behind Black Desert is hurting for cash or anything; no, it’s a simple matter of seeing whether or not lightning can strike twice. The international success of the latter title was considered a surprise, but if A:IR exceeds expectations, a recent interview with CEO Min Kim suggests that the publisher may look into more western development studios to purchase.
Of course, this is not something that the company expects to know for some time, as A:IR is not expected to have a full release until 2019, but the suggestion of the future is still there. The current belief is that quality sells internationally, compared to the prevailing Korean notion that breaking into other markets is difficult at best. If you’d like to see more products bankrolled by Kakao, then, you may want to keep a close eye on A:IR’s performance as it moves into beta testing.
As much as the battle royale-flavored Battlegrounds is big news, it wasn’t the only Paladins news at Hi-Rez Expo 2018. We also learned that there is a new champion, a new map, and more coming to the shooter. But there is always more to learn about news than an announcement provides. That’s one of the things that makes the expo great: the opportunity to talk face-to-face with devs about the game. And that’s exactly what I did!
I spoke with Art Director Thomas Holt and Lead Designer Garrett Martini about Paladins, its upcoming changes, and the lore and story of the game. I also had the chance to try my hand at the mobile take on the game, Paladins Strike, that we heard about at PAX West. Read on for an inside look from the event!
Paladins got not one but four announcements at this year’s Hi-Rez Expo. There’s a brand-new team death match mode coming as well as new battle cat mounts and a unique new champion. And then there was the biggest news revealing the upcoming Paladins: Battlegrounds.
But announcements only gloss the surface of things, so I sat down with devs to discuss the new modes. Todd Harris, Hi-Rez COO and Paladins Producer, and Erez Goren, Founder and CEO, shared details and answered questions on Team Deathmatch and Paladins: Battlegrounds. I also got to settle in and play a few matches of Battlegrounds. Here’s what I learned in the interviews and my hands-on.
With a couple of months to go before its official launch, Shroud of the Avatar has more than a few challenges to overcome to deliver a solid, full-fledged game that appeals to a crowd outside of the small-yet-loyal community that has been financially floating this title for years now. But challenges are what Richard Garriott is all about, and the video game creator is not shy about sharing his long history of overcoming these in the industry.
In a recent Ars Technica interview, Garriott shared his war stories about the creation of Ultima Online and the surprises that the community whipped up along the way. The story he tells here focuses on the automated virtual ecology that was made for the sandbox. This carefully fine-tuned system was destroyed virtually overnight when player hordes came into the game and slaughtered everything.
Out of this (failed) experiment came a funny story and some useful lessons that the team used to shape MMO sandboxes thereafter. Check it out after the break!
Well, 2017 was interesting. It’s not often that your favorite game starts off as one game at the beginning of the year and then ends as another game — all while still being the same game. Sure, updates and expansions make changes, but major overhauls aren’t as common. And setting aside the original and remaking it even less so! But that happened with The Secret World
, which morphed mid-year into Secret World Legends
. It’s the same game, but not. Confused? Even if you’ve been following the game(s) semi-regularly, it’s easy to forget or miss a few details. And if you are new to it all, no one would blame you for not being in the know as to what all has transpired.
In 2016’s year-end retrospective, I noted, “Not going anywhere is better than going away!” We didn’t know how prophetic that statement would be for TSW. For 2017, I can follow that up with, “Going where it did is better than going away!” This past year was obviously a big one for the Secret World IP. It’s also been rough, stressful, and ultimately rewarding. Here’s a look back at it.
One of my favorite things to do every year is drill down the top articles on the site for our readers. I don’t mean the most controversial, the most fun, the most important, or the most commented-on; I mean the single articles that actually brought in the most hits. And what I find most interesting is that most “popular” aren’t always the ones we expect! As we’ve noted before, a well-timed link from a major website – Reddit, Fark, or a game dev – can elevate an entire month. (That’s why we’re so grateful when our fans share our work across social networks!)
Just remember that the list favors posts made early in the year (and in some cases, evergreen articles from earlier years) as later pieces haven’t had as much time to percolate, so when you do see big articles from December on a list like this, that means a popular post indeed!
Welcome along to a rather festive retrospective in which I sum up 2017 for both Guild Wars 2
and Flameseeker Chronicles
! A large glass of buck’s fizz
and a good helping of homemade Christmas cake have fuelled the writing of this article, though I didn’t need cheery holiday snacks to brighten my Boxing Day morning when I had so many articles to look back on and a huge amount of excellent gaming memories to reflect on. Once the festive season is over, I’ll write up my predictions for 2018 and will revisit my 2016 crop to see if I was in any way accurate, but for now I wanted to reflect back on a year well done.
In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll revisit the milestones that made it a great year for GW2 and the content spawned from them, hopefully finishing my reminiscing with a solid picture of how the year refined the game and what direction ArenaNet might take in 2018. This will be a useful rundown for those of you who might have missed some entries along the way and wish to get to the good bits while enjoying any festive time off you have. Enjoy my musings and have a very happy holiday season!