japan

E3 2018: Deep-diving Trion’s kid-friendly voxelbox Trove and its upcoming Geode expansion

One thing Trion Senior Producer James Karras drove home during my meeting with the team at this year’s E3 is that with Trove’s Geode update, the team is experimenting. Yes, Battle Royale is happening, but it’s no threat to the main gameplay. Geode’s new world and its playstyle alone should allay those fears.

Specifically, the team wanted to introduce non-combat gameplay into Trove with planet Geode. It’s about exploration. It’s about helping small animals that are cold, injured, or hungry. It’s about rewarding everyone nearby you when you do good. While the game might seem more grindy, the idea is to give crafter and exploration types something that’s engaging for them, though clearly going out and killing will still be an option. I’m not even a Trove player, but I was quite excited to hear about the team’s design choices this time around.

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E3 2018: Square Enix says it hasn’t given up on bringing Dragon Quest X westward

In an alternate universe, Dragon Quest X got ported to western shores in 2012 when Square Enix launched the MMORPG in Japan. Sadly, we’re stuck in this crap universe, where that’s still never happened.

But it’s not off the table. According to a Game Informer interview from E3, during which Square was ostensibly there to talk Dragon Quest XI, the studio still hasn’t written off the idea of bringing the cutesy sub-based cross-platform MMO here.

“We wanted to release it in [North America; I still want to release it,” producer Yuu Miyake says. “However, with the MMO, it was based on a five-year plan of service, so if we were going to release it in North America, there’s the question of how we would rearrange that.”

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 172: Delays and do-overs

On this week’s show, Bree and Justin tear open a fresh pack of Launch-Os, dine on the sour grapes of server closures, and imagine just what they would do if an MMORPG studio was ever foolish enough to hire them.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Funcom Q1 2018 financials: Conan Exiles will be the studio’s ‘bestselling game of all time’

A year ago, MMO fans were thrilled to find out that Funcom had had its best quarter in ages thanks to the early access launch of Conan Exiles. The first quarter of 2018 wasn’t quite as huge, but you can be sure next quarter will be, as Funcom says it’s already sold 1.4M copies of the game, a million of those before May 8th – which Funcom notes is as many as Age of Conan sold in its first three years of life, making it Funcom’s “bestselling game of all time.” It’s expected to launch on PS4 in Japan this summer, alongside the game’s first DLC in June.

Age of Conan, by the way, gets a note for its Saga of Zath progression server that ran throughout winter and spring; the studio says it was “successful in engaging players and increasing revenue.” Little ink is spilled over Secret World Legends beyond a note about Dawn of the Morninglight and a promise for “more content and events […] going forward.” Anarchy Online is not mentioned.

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With 17M registered players, Trion’s voxelbox Trove launches in Japan

Trion Worlds is in an expansionist mood of late. Earlier this week, we learned Atlas Reactor was porting to Steam in China. Today, the MMO studio announced it has launched Trove in Japan as a free-to-play title on the PlayStation 4.

“Trion Worlds is proud to announce that Trove, its hit voxel MMO game, has released in Japan. Published in the country by DMM Games, Trove is available now on PlayStation 4 digitally and at retail stores. […] Prior to releasing in Japan, Trove launched in China in late 2017 to great success, with the expansion into the region pushing it past the 17 million player mark, with that number poised only to grow as the game releases to Japanese audiences.”

Over on our shores, Trove players are anticipating the summer launch of the Geode expansion and its battle royale mode.

“The Japanese version of Trove will be updated on the same schedule as other regions, so players in Japan can expect regular updates and exciting content at launch and beyond,” Trion says.

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Final Fantasy XI promises more reunions for its 16-year anniversary

It’s been 16 years since Final Fantasy XI initially launched in Japan, which is a really long time. If the game were a person, it could learn to drive a car now. Producer Akihiko Matsui took the opportunity to thank players with an open letter as well as hinting about the plans for the next year; there’s a promise of more content to explore the theme of “playing with friends” and reunions, noting how many players truly enjoyed being able to interact with friends in-game historically.

Of course, the game is also celebrating with some anniversary goodies; players who log in during the game’s seven-week course starting on May 20th will be able to pick up an Echad Ring, a Red Crab mount, a special clock, and a Kupofried cipher. Players who already have any of the above will get vouchers usable for other items, so even veterans will get something worthwhile out of the event.

If you’re curious to see how the game actually plays 16 years in… keep your eyes peeled as we kick off Choose My Adventure in Vana’diel.

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Hands-on with Bless Reborn at Neowiz’s San Francisco media reveal

As you probably have heard, there was a Bless influencer event this week, with a couple of media and a smattering of MMO streamers in attendance. The leak of the price points happened soon before we went in, but none of the people in attendance, devs or streamers, really seemed fazed by it. Most people seemed ready to have a good time.

For someone like me, who was initially blown away by Bless circa 2011, the game had fallen off my radar, especially after the game’s rocky trip to Russia and initial Korean release. The western build-up for me has felt like a big PR push, with the pricing model dangled like a feature that people actually should be excited about. Basic questions like, “How does endgame work?” were easier to find on Reddit, Steam, and fansites than any of the PR I was reading. I was concerned, to say the least, but things like “tame almost any mob!” and “100v100” battles intrigued me. Though nothing I saw is probably going to change any core fans’ mind, it may be useful to those on the fence.

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Niantic stages a second attempt at a summer Chicago Pokemon Go Fest after settling class-action lawsuit

It’s no exaggeration to say that last year’s Pokemon Go Fest was a complete and total disaster. It made a ton of money – almost $6M on the second day alone – but the PR fallout was epic, as thousands of people who paid to attend couldn’t actually get into the event park and thousands more couldn’t connect to the game once inside thanks to overloaded cell networks. On top of the logistical nightmare, the event turned out to be a pay-to-win debacle too. When Niantic CEO John Hanke took the stage to calm everyone and apologize, he was met with boos from his own die-hard fans. A spokesperson later said the studio was “horrified” with the way the event turned out and refunded all players for their tickets (and then some). That didn’t stop players who’d paid to travel long distances to Chicago for the event from forging ahead with a class-action lawsuit, which Niantic quite recently settled to the tune of $1.5M.

Since then, Niantic has run several successful events of a similar magnitude to last year’s Chicago event, including a massive festival in Yokohama, and they’ve all gone well, which must surely give the company courage for announcing a series of summer events dubbed Pokemon Go Summer Tour 2018.

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Conan Exiles is being brought to Asian territories (to the tune of ‘Beauty and the Beast’)

Korea and Japan are places you can game,
Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and Taiwan;
Ignoring them is lame.

As Conan Exiles moves closer to release,
Funcom has revealed a localizing deal,
Conan’s going east.

On PlayStation 4,
Also on PC,
Digital in form
Each one will conform
To May 8th’s release…

There’s naught that’s been said on content that might change;
Release date in Japan is still not fully planned,
But “summer” will not change.

Folks across the world will hopefully be pleased;
Build a house that’s long, maybe see a dong,
Conan’s going east.
Build a house that’s long, maybe see a dong,
Conan’s going east.

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Enter to win a Neverwinter painted spider mount on Xbox One and PS4 from PWE and MOP!

To celebrate the arrival of the Lost City of Omu expansion for Neverwinter on console this week, PWE has granted Massively OP 20 Painted Spider mount keys to give away to our readers: 10 apiece for PlayStation 4 (Blue-Spotted version) and Xbox One (Tropic-Colored version). Arachnophobes should probably nope right out now!

“The visionary Suratuk is back at it again with a pair of limited run, custom- mounts. Freshly-coated and prepared to scurry into battle with the release of Lost City of Omu, these vicious arachnids didn’t become Blue-Spotted and Tropic-Colored without inflicting several bites on the artist.”

Both grant +50 movement speed and include two insignia slots. The codes can be redeemed only once per account and expire at the end of 2020, and the mounts are bind-on-pickup. Critically, these codes are redeemable on console only in the regions as outlined below, so if you’re a PC person, you can skip this one!

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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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Bless Online outlines key changes for its Steam release

When Bless Online launches on Steam early access next month, the version that western players experience won’t be identical to the client that is already running in Korea and Japan. This is because Neowiz is making a few important changes to tailor the game to a different audience, and in a new dev blog, the developer explains exactly what those changes will be.

Bless’ combat system has received the most attention in the transition. Neowiz revamped how rhythmic combat works, giving players a choice of skills to make up their combo rotation. Generally, combat will be more action-oriented and become “more difficult.”

Other adjustments include restructuring how skill acquisition and leveling works, adding more ways to obtain skill-leveling gems, choosing party benefit buffs to incentivize grouping, adding newbie friendly tutorials, giving monsters special skills, and improving the content pacing.

Source: Bless Online. Thanks Brother Maynard!

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The Soapbox: Three augmented reality game problems (most) MMOs don’t have – and one thing they do so much better

I’d like to think that I’m kind of a healthy gamer. While MMOs take a lot of time, the nice thing is that their downtime can lead to forming bonds, or give you time to exercise. Augmented reality games can give you both at once, especially Pokemon Gosince it’s the best-known ARG we have (and the mountains of merchandise make it easier to stand out as a fellow player).

However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, and I’m not just talking about game mechanics that have plagued Niantic games since at Ingress. I remember playing that title and thinking, “Man, this game is dangerous! There’s no way they’ll just clone this for POGO, right?” And yet, here we are. But I can’t put all the blame on Niantic, especially after my time with ARG competitor Maguss. Some things just seem inherent to the genre.

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