This past summer, ARK: Survival Evolved finally officially launched, ending its stint as an early access game just three days before PAX West, then promptly announced its second expansion on the first day of the convention. There wasn’t even a week between launch and the second expansion’s unveiling, and there will be fewer than two months between the two launches; Aberration is scheduled to launch in October.
While at PAX, I sat down with Studio Wildcard Senior Producer Navin Supphapholsiri, who thanked fans for supporting the game: “We really appreciate the support for the past two years. Just to see how far we’ve come along, it’s all thanks to the community.” Then we talked about the launch, about Aberration, and about the team’s focus going forward.
While the full Hi-Rez portfolio wasn’t in attendance at PAX West, Hand of the Gods was on-hand with a fan tournament as well as machines to introduce folks to the game. Devs were also available to discuss this tactical SMITE spinoff. I sat down with Lead designer Scott Lussier and Executive Producer and VP of Design Scott Zier to talk about the game’s name, its progress, the reception at the convention, and plans going forward.
In fact, one of the tidbits Lussier shared is that the Japanese pantheon is next on the list after Hindu is released later this month.
Although much of the RIFT
demo at PAX West
focused on showing off the Celestial Storm update
, it was another aspect that captured my attention. While I was speaking with Senior Design Director Simon Ffinch as we toured around the Celestial lands (in god mode once Ffinch discovered he took a level 11 into the level 100 area!) and watching players participate in a zone event, I learned the stories behind a number of Easter eggs peppered throughout the game. Games will always do new content and updates, but how many honor their fans by adding them into the game?
You don’t have to be a massive MMO studio to have a big showing at PAX West – Intrepid Studios proved that. The indie studio developing Ashes of Creation had a large booth with a giant TV broadcasting videos, hands-on demos for players to see what the game is about, a merchandise counter (which appeared to be doing good business), plenty of devs on hand to answer questions, and a full panel to discuss the game’s progress and plans to a large audience. And Founder and Creative Director Steven Sharif was on hand the whole time to talk about his game with everyone who came by. As he told me, “That’s our job here today, to expose more people to [AoC’s] potential.” He wants players to know that it isn’t about promises without delivery
Between a demo and a couple of interviews, I had the opportunity to chat with Sharif about the game a few different times. We talked about classes, crowdfunding, and character customization. I also got to team up with a group and run through a short PvE adventure narrated by a dev, testing out skills and exploring a few features. Then I delved into a PvP match. And yes, we also discussed the red hat controversy.
PAX West 2017 has come and gone, and though MJ is still feverishly working on her last few articles, we wanted to pause a moment to reflect on everything we’ve seen and read and recapped so far. So for today’s Massively Overthinking, I asked our writers to tackle three topics from an MMO player’s perspective: the biggest surprise of the show, the most disappointing bit, and the games that grabbed them and won’t let go.
This past weekend at PAX West, Ashes of Creation made sure to drop a few announcement bombs on its community that showed up to check out and support the game. The biggest of these, of course, was the dating of the “Alpha Zero” test for this December 15th.
But is that test and date pushing it too much for this team? Apparently not, according to Intrepid Studios. The team showed up for an hour-long panel to discuss the MMO’s development, and said that preparing the PAX West demo proved that they had the pace and know-how to get a more robust version of the game ready for later this year.
There’s a lot to take in with the panel, so we’ve got that for you after the break. As a bonus, why not check out some PvE gameplay focused on taking in Ashes of Creation? You didn’t need to do anything else productive today!
We have to admit that after years of MMOs being downgraded on the exhibit floor of PAX, it’s great to see some titles getting a nice showing this year at PAX West. One of the biggest exhibits, as a matter of fact, was Ashes of Creation, which constructed a giant portal and set up demo stations for the public to experience.
“It was really important for us to come to PAX and show the community the amount of work that’s being put into Ashes of Creation,” yelled Intrepid Studios CEO Steven Sharif over the din of the crowd.
With so much money and effort being put into this PAX showing, it makes sense that the team wants to squeeze as much mileage out of it as possible. To wit, it has documented each day of the game at the show, which you can watch after the break, then stay tuned for more as PAX wraps up today!
During the Ashes of Creation panel at PAX West, Founder and Creative Director Steven Sharif announced the exact date of the upcoming Alpha 0: Come December 15th, 2017, some players will be able to dive in and begin testing the gameplay. Con attendees have been able to get a tiny taste of both the PvE and PvP content in the game.
Sharif also offered more reveals. Although his appearance as a special guest did not work out, Bear McCreary will compose the game’s score. McCreary is known for work on a number of movies, shows like Battlestar Galactica, Agents of Shield, 10 Clover Lane, Defiance, Caprica, and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
Also, in response to an audience member question, the name of the world was finally made public: Players will live their AoC lives on Verra.
Massively OP’s MJ Guthrie is at PAX West (formerly known as PAX Prime, a much catchier name if you ask me!) for us this weekend as it kicks off today, accompanied by a huge roster of stuff to see, from Ashes of Creation and Ship of Heroes to Chronicles of Elyria and Dual Universe — and a dozen more. She might get to eat lunch, but she will definitely not get to sit down!
The good news is that the con is gearing up for a much better showing for MMORPGs than we’ve had in the past two or three years, something that ought to fill you with cheer. On the other hand, what I’d like above all else is to be getting major MMORPG announcements — new AAAs, new expansions — in addition to these solid in-progress games that actually have the PR prowess and cash to show up (which is good too!). It’s a changing landscape out there, folks!
What PAX West announcement would blow you away? What would you most want to see? And of the games in attendance, what do you most want us to see and ask about for you?
If you can’t make the Ashes of Creation demo and panel at this weekend’s PAX West, don’t fret: You can still check out the game’s current state in its new pre-alpha tutorial video, almost 10 minutes of narrated in-game footage, including combat (and it’s looking pretty good, especially for a pre-alpha!). There’s a run-down of the quartet of classes that were previewed earlier this week too.
There’s more. “We are proud to announce that our Alpha Zero will begin December 15th, 2017,” the studio posts excitedly. (I say excitedly because there are two exclamation points.) “This Alpha Zero is only available to registered members on our website through weekly drawings.”
We’ll be at PAX this weekend to check the game out in person; for now, the video’s below.
With Ashes of Creation preparing for a major presence at PAX West this weekend, the team is bringing with it scads of reveals and demo stations for visitors to experience. One of the big news drops of the show has been shared in advance: details on the skillsets of each of the four classes.
Posters for the rather unimaginatively named classes will be shared at the show and contain a list of several skills that each will be able to perform. For example, the Cleric can drop a totem to damage enemies and turn that into group healing, while the Ranger can use her tracking abilities to hunt specific foes.
The team was bubbling with excitement on Discord over the show: “We are in the final moments of preparing the largest single release of information and gameplay ever seen of the game at PAX West. As well as announcing several key dates and features, with additional developers and other key information this weekend.”
We’ll be getting our hands on this game and talking with the developers at the show, so stay tuned!
The growing Ashes of Creation community is abuzz over the team’s recent livestream in which the MMO’s combat system and UI was shown in greater depth than anything seen so far. Viewers noted how smooth the animations and transitions are in combat, and the team said that all of the four current archetypes have these up and running.
Other news tidbits from the stream include word of water raids, character power (which is balanced between gear, inherent stats, and skill stats), skins and concept art for new creatures and items, and a deeper look at the PvP arena that the team constructed.
Ashes of Creation will be going all-out to get the public’s attention at PAX West in early September, with daily streams, a massive booth, PvE and PvP demos, and even a panel called “Making MMOs Great Again.”
There’s a lot to digest, so take small bites and chew on that information thoroughly after the break! If you prefer to read, the game’s wiki has a great point-by-point rundown of the news from the stream.
A few weeks back, we reported on the City of Heroes-themed panel coming to PAX West in Seattle at the beginning of September. With the release of the PAX schedule on Friday, we can confirm that it is indeed happening on Sunday, September 3rd, at 8 p.m. in the Cat theater, with reps from City of Titans and Ship of Heroes [update: and Valiance Online] in attendance.
“When the venerable MMORPG City of Heroes shut down in 2012, it gave rise to several projects often called spiritual successors. Each of these efforts took the same inspiration, yet have developed very different titles. Join Casey McGeever of Heroic Games, Chad Dulac of Silver Helm and Nathaniel Downes of Missing Worlds Media for a conversation a conversation about the challenges in making the game, the progress so far, and how these games will build on and stand apart from City of Heroes as something different and new while serving the great gameplay and positive gaming community that has been looking for a home.”