This month’s Pantheon newsletter is a doozy for folks eagerly awaiting the details of the game’s classes. Visionary Realms has revealed three: the sneaky Rogue along with the versatile Ranger toon, though fans of classic D&D-inspired MMORPGs may be most interested in the Monk.
“[The Monk’s] internal flow of Chakra is held back by a series of six gates, like water behind a sequence of dams. The Monk must learn to open these gates in order to wield their Chakra without limits, releasing it in a torrent of punishing damage, or in the form of powerful defensive and self-healing abilities. The 6 gates are known as: The Gate of Anger, the Gate of Peace, the Gate of Sorrow, the Gate of Joy, the Gate of Balance and the Gate of Release. In combat, Monks will constantly generate Chakra as a percentage of the damage they deal. In addition, certain abilities will increase a Monk’s Chakra by a certain amount when used.”
Racial combos, armor types, weapon types, and even a partial list of abilities are all included with the reveals, so they’re worth a click-through. VR says to expect more class details throughout the summer. The newsletter includes a deep-dive into the Orc tribes, as well.
It has to be a geeky dream come true to be able to get into a restricted-access MMO and go on an adventure with the actual developers. So look on with envy, then, as YouTuber KoopaTroopa787 joins the Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen team to play an Ogre Shaman on a dev-led dungeon crawl.
The video delivers a two-for-one benefit. Not only do you get to see an adventure through the Fion Iridia dungeon with a ton of combat, but you also get to hear the developers comment on the game’s various classes and systems as they progress.
What are you waiting for? Start your hour-long expedition with Pantheon after the break!
Beta testing for Elder Scrolls Online’s Summerset expansion – as well as the free update 18 that’ll launch alongside it – began this week as the chapter rolled out to the PTS, with plenty of glimpses at new housing and wearables on the way. What else is new in MMORPG testing this week?
- Defiance 2050’s big PC closed beta is live for the weekend – though console players have been put off a little while longer.
- Old School RuneScape has begun testing its mobile client. That’s not very old school, but we’re not complaining.
- WoW’s Battle for Azeroth kicked off player testing of dark iron dwarves and mag’ghar orcs.
- Conan Exiles rolled out what’ll probably be its last major patch for testers before its official launch next month.
- Radical Heights’ early access teased female toons. In ’80s leotards.
- MapleStory 2 is plotting its western closed beta for next month.
Did we miss anything? Drop us a note in the comments, then check out our traditional list of all the bits and bobs currently
malingering trucking along in some form of testing.
Earlier this month, Pantheon’s community team tweeted out a question that keeps coming back to me: “What motivates you to play an MMORPG for long periods of time, as in months, sometimes, years?” My first reaction was a pretty common one I bed and was true for me for a long time: friends and guildies! I certainly played some games far longer than I would have otherwise because I wanted to hang out with friends (EverQuest in particular is coming to mind).
But in recent years, when I already “see” my friends and guildies every day in external chats, I’d found games need some other draw too. Housing is probably the biggest one. I don’t usually get sucked in for dailies or anything like that, but give me a house that I love and want to keep up – that I’ll not only log in for but pay for, as my continuing Ultima Online fees prove.
What keeps you logging into MMORPGs over a long period of time?
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.”
Good news, Boss Key fans! After the studio pretty blatantly gave up on LawBreakers, it turned around and quickly launched its next project, a battle royale title dubbed Radical Heights. It sprang to life on Tuesday, and then it… sort of limped right after that. The numbers do look at least slightly better after the rest of the week, so hooray? Maybe?
Looking back, I started that paragraph with “good news.” I’m not sure why I did that.
Other beta news? Hey, sure.
Other beta titles? Oh, listed below, as we do. If you notice something jumped test phases without our noticing, do let us know down in the comments. We really appreciate it.
The past couple of weeks has been wild as we dispatched writers to GDC in San Francisco and PAX East in Boston to gather up and bring back everything they could on the MMORPGs large and small on the spring convention circuit. In fact, as I type this, we’ve got Brendan in Reykjavik for EVE Fanfest too! So for this week’s Overthinking, we’re rounding up our coverage and then reflecting on the best and worst as we pick out what most excites, surprises, and disappoints us: First the roundups, then our thoughts. Read on!
There’s a lot to unpack in Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen’s April newsletter. Not only does it cover the Ratkin species from the bestiary and a dev spotlight with CTO and Lead Programmer Daniel Krenn, but it deep-dives Black Rose Keep, the massive multi-level indoor/outdoor dungeon being demoed at PAX this year.
“You will be able to revisit BRK and you’ll want to because the level range is very well spread out, depending on which area of the zone you’re in,” Lead Writer Justin Gerhart writes. “That’s not to say we have fenced off portions that check your level before entering. There’s a fair amount of intermingling between tiers throughout, but with higher concentrations of specific tiers in specific locations. Unless you’ve spent your whole char life outside of this area you should hit sections you won’t be able to progress through your first time in. The goal was to make BRK a memorable and substantial experience for players, and planning for revisitations and diversity of content were a critical part of that.”
Those who have read a fair amount of my work will know that nostalgia is something I tend to rail against pretty hard. I’m a big advocate for constantly spot-checking your nostalgia in the cold light of reality and asking yourself if your memories are accurate.
This is not because I don’t feel any nostalgia. It’s exactly the opposite. It’s because I am wildly aware of how powerful a force it can be as someone who often will spend extended amounts of time working in elaborate mythology gags for character traits based on old roleplaying, to the extent that one of my characters has a particular class as a reference to an old game no one else I know actually played.
All of this is a long-winded way of pointing out that Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen already had a bit of an in with me when I sat down to play. Because while I wasn’t personally familiar with the game that it was referencing, I am personally familiar with that game’s close cousin, and I have a fair amount of familiarity with the playstyle. And it’s a playstyle MMOs have, in large part, moved beyond.
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained continues inching along toward its planned summer beta. According to the game’s latest update, CSE is running internal tests on a new server while tweaking tooltips, the banes and noom system, capture-the-flag mode, item placement, armor, environment assets, and animations, including new idles for each class.
Meanwhile, Crowfall released its 5.5 alpha, Ashes of Creation announced alpha one will land by the end of the year, Albion Online balance-patched armor and GvG while counting a million dead bunnies, Dual Universe released its April newsletter, and Dogma Eternal Night hit the skids.
Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the weekly roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.
Among the more unusual business model setups for the incoming wave of indie MMORPGs is Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen’s. As we’ve previously covered, Brad McQuaid’s Visionary Realms studio offers pledge packages for would-be players that range up to $10,000, payable in monthly chunks. The particulars have allowed the studio to sometimes dodge complaints about having a pre-alpha sub as well as about having high backer tiers, when in reality, it pretty much has both.
If that doesn’t bother you because you really want to see another McQuaid game reach live, then you might want to point your eyeballs at the game’s latest pre-order package in honor of PAX East. It’s similar to the regular-flavor $1000 tier, with a few extra perks, including pre-alpha access to let you hop into the game in May.
After all of the false starts, delays, and dearths of information, we finally know the truth this week. Bless Online is coming to early access in May, finally making its way over here. We even had a lengthy interview about the game’s development plans, so if you’ve been watching it for ages, you can find out more about it. And that includes no lockboxes, thankfully.
So let’s move on, shall we? There’s other beta news, and we’re dropping it right… here. After the end of these sentences.
And after all that getting, why not get yourself down to the list of games in testing below? If you got something we didn’t get, you can get in touch with us in the comments to get things back on track. Get the idea?
Here’s a neat two-for-one deal for fans of Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen. The developers recently hosted a livestream in which they showed pre-alpha spelunking in Halnir Cave while also discussing the game and its ongoing development.
There were a lot of details to be gleaned from the livestream, including how the improved user interface functions during adventures, a glimpse of the touted perception system, some of the Rogue’s abilities and descriptions, and plenty of examples of loot.
Over the two hours, the dev team covered many topics: hotbars, macros, craftings, light sources, death, the class system, alternative advancement, and so much more. The team said that alpha is not scheduled as of right now as the game is moving through several pre-alpha phases at the present.
Pantheon will be present at PAX East next month with a limited demo that lucky players (and press!) will experience, so stay tuned.