interviews

E3 2017: How Wargaming is bringing accessibility to Total War: Arena (without dumbing it down)

Following up on its original Steam release by Creative Assembly, Wargaming semi-recently decided to help publish Total War: Arena and present it at E3 2017. It makes a lot of sense, as both companies primarily focus on historical war games and pride themselves on trying to keep things accurate. It’s personally not my favorite genre of games, but I did enjoy history class and always liked when students told me they played these kinds of games because it at least got them interested in their past (though Asian dramas were also a popular “edutainment” option among my students). That being said, I was actually surprised by the process Creative Assembly used in its research — and with Wargaming’s help, tried to gamify it.

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Watch Secret World Legends’ official launch trailer

If you’re a The Secret World fan who hadn’t already given Secret Worlds Legends a shot — and given this weekend’s exploits and downtime, we wouldn’t blame you — today is your day to get in there, as the first of the game’s two planned formal launches begins today. (The second, on Steam, is later this summer on July 31st.) Do note that this version of the game is indeed free-to-play.

Funcom has released a new trailer to go with the launch; we’ve tucked that down below. If you’re still on the fence, consider both Larry’s and MJ’s very different first impressions of the game to push you over.

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E3 2017: Fortnite is Crowfall for PvE fans

The other day when I made a rare venture out of my E3 coverage den, my slightly younger brother asked, “Hey, did you hear about a game called Fortnite?” 

Now, my brother doesn’t explore gaming like he used to. His MMO days are behind him. He wasn’t even aware of Super Mario Odyssey, so his asking about Fortnite was far from expected, especially since I’d learned something I think a lot of MassivelyOP readers will want to hear: The game is sounding a lot like Crowfall for PvE zombie fans.

So yeah, li’l bro, I heard about Fortnite. I even sat down with Fortnite’s Executive Producer Zak Phelps from Epic Games and talked to him during E3 2017 about “monsters,” survival games, and getting PvE fans in there.

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The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind soundtrack is now available digitally

Did you enjoy the music of The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind? Then there’s good news, because you can now fill your ears with it wherever you go. The soundtrack is available via Spotify, Amazon, iTunes, and Google Music, so no matter what your preferred platform may be, you can make it the day-to-day soundtrack of your life. Be warned that you may get some funny looks if you spend an entire business meeting playing it, assuming you’re someone who has high-powered business meetings.

The official site also has an interview with composer Brad Derrick, who talks about the challenges involved in making sure the soundtrack was new and distinct while still reminding players of the history behind the game’s title and lore. Derrick marks the title theme as the hardest part to compose (since it’s the iconic song for the whole expansion), while also seeing the transition of one theme into another depending on player activities to be vital to making a good soundtrack. Check out the full interview if you’re curious about how the tracks got made.

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E3 2017: Why MMO players should be paying attention to Elite Dangerous

I sat down with Elite Dangerous Senior Designer Sandy Sammarco again at E3 2017, and while the information I’ve got in terms of game info may be a bit old hat for hardcore Elite players, I want to be clear on something: MMO players should take note of how Frontier is doing community eventsEven if you aren’t interested in the game itself, the design strategies and execution are things that are reminding this jaded MMO-enthusiast about what got me into the MMO genre in the first place. I don’t really do space sims, and haven’t touched my VR for months (though I could probably hop on normal PC or PS4 versions), but my time with Sammarco has gotten me closer to hitting the “buy” button on the game.

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E3 2017: ARK Survival Evolved on scope creep, Xbox One X, and leaving early access

So ARK: Survival Evolved is going to be the first big survival sandbox not named Minecraft or Don’t Starve to not only make it to launch but to get there from Early Access development. Leaving EA is something we rarely see, which is why readers may notice I’m quite critical of games that ask for your money, sell you an incomplete game, and then spend years defending their EA status while continually making money on an unfinished project. To hear that a company once known for making paid DLC for an unreleased game is willing to shake the security blanket that is Early Access fills me with joy and a little trepidation.

Normally, this is where I’d tell you I’ve written up the interview, which is still true. However, as this was in a small group setting, not only do we have a writeup, there’s also a YouTube video for the few of you who have thirty minutes to wade through the (mostly) raw interview. You’ll see ARK’s Community Manager Cedric Burkes in person, hear daring press try to ask hard-hitting questions, and cringe as my terrible hat hair makes a quick appearance at about the 27-minute mark.

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Secret World Legends’ headstart launches today

Pack up your stuff, The Secret World fans: It’s movin’ day, at least if you don’t care about playing on Steam, as Secret Worlds Legends’ headstart period for veteran The Secret World players and beta testers begins today.

Funcom’s said the headstart hasn’t technically begun just yet — we still don’t know when the flag will drop — but that preloading is underway. [Update: Expect it live at 2 p.m. EDT per Funcom’s latest tweet nope, live at 4 p.m. EDT per Funcom’s latest-latest tweet.]

The studio outlined its legacy transfer system last night; your accounts should already be linked (don’t go making a fresh account) and allow you to reclaim and transfer your patron time, lifetime sub status, cosmetics, mounts, and other bits and bobs. You’ve got until August to take advantage of all that.

Stay tuned for Larry’s impressions and MJ’s stream later today, and in the meantime, check out our roundup of guides, interviews, and news leading up to today.

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E3 2017: Path of Exile’s Jonathan Rogers on the Fall of Oriath and markets beyond

Despite the recent release of Path of Exile’s Fall of Oriath’s recent beta release, Grinding Gear Games sent Technical Director Jonathan Rogers out to E3 2017 to chat with press about the game’s incoming expansion. If you’re looking for some sweet, sweet data-crunching from the test server, you’ll be disappointed, as Rogers mentions the team shipped him off before he could see how the freshly launched test was going, but he still brought some interesting information.

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LOTRO to reveal Mordor expansion and start beta testing this week

By the week’s end, Lord of the Rings Online players should know a lot more about the game’s coming Mordor expansion — and even have an opportunity to play it.

In an interview yesterday with Dadi’s LOTRO Guides, CM Jerry “Cordovan” Snook said that the team is preparing a big reveal today for the expansion that should include the name and some key details. Additionally, the first beta preview is set to go live on the Bullroarer test server by this weekend. This test won’t be the full expansion, as the team wants to hold back the epic story and some other major content as to not spoil surprises.

Snook confirmed that there will be a level cap increase with Mordor (although he wouldn’t say what it is) and that the virtue cap will increase by one. The expansion is still on track for release in late summer 2017, with a follow-up patch that will add in group content (such as the new raid).

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The Chicago Pokemon Go Fest was sold out in less than a minute

Following the huge reveal of Pokemon Go’s summer content plans — detailed in yesterday’s massive overview and interview by MOP’s Andrew Ross — Niantic followed through on its plan to shutdown all gyms for renovation. Yes, we’re still talking about virtual space here. The gyms will play host to the game’s new gym battle system, which basically brings PvP into the MMOARG and can culminate in epic raid boss fights.

Meanwhile, if you weren’t one of the lucky few who snapped up Pokemon Go Fest tickets for the event in Chicago within the first few seconds of the sale going live, well, there’s always Ebay. As I type this, scalpers are selling tickets on the auction platform for over $300 apiece (they’re selling, too; one is going for $340 at the moment). Maybe a better system for vending tickets might be in order for the next event, yeah?

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E3 2017: Final Fantasy XIV’s Naoki Yoshida on Stormblood, design, and themeparks

Since there were so many early access issues with Stormblood, I figured I’d try to give you Final Fantasy XIV players a little something to chew on while Square-Enix smooths out the rough edges and handles today’s launch. Building on Massively OP’s Eliot Lefebvre’s recent interview with Naoki Yoshida/”Yoshi-P” at May’s Final Fantasy XIV event, we sat down again with him for a chat at this year’s E3. And while I haven’t personally spent nearly as much time in the game as a vet like Eliot, I’d heard that Yoshida was very much a gamer’s developer, so I was looking forward to talking with him about not just the game, but game design.

He did not disappoint.

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Anthem is the start of a ’10-year journey’ for EA and BioWare

At this point, when a game studio says it has a 10-year plan for its online game, do you believe it?

Perhaps unintentionally echoing Bungie just a few years prior, EA’s Patrick Söderlund told the Xbox crew at E3 that BioWare is indeed anticipating a decade-long run for its newly announced mutliplayer online action RPG Anthem.

“It’s a game that we’ve been working on for almost four years now, and it’s a game that […] once we launch it next year will be the start of, I think, maybe a 10-year journey for us.”

So, who’s putting money on Anthem 2 in 2021?

The EA interview segment begins at the 1:39:27 mark for those who want to hear the whole thing.

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E3 2017: Elder Scrolls Online’s Matt Firor on Morrowind, nostalgia, and PvP

The Elder Scrolls Online released its first expansion, Morrowind, shortly before E3 2017. MMOs rarely come up with mainstream media, but with Morrowind’s nostalgia power, I heard the name mentioned a few times off the showroom floor. While I’d heard of Morrowind, of course, I didn’t personally get on the Elder Scrolls train until Skyrim — it’s been one of those games making “best of” lists for as long as I could remember. However, some of the things I’d read about the upcoming expansion gave me pause, so I brought them up with ZeniMax Game Director Matt Firor during our conversation at E3.

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