pax east 2017

Scroll on down for a look at all of our coverage coming out of PAX East in 2017!

Elder Scrolls Online kicks off Xbox One free-play weekend and sweepstakes with PAX trip and game systems up for grabs

Hey, Xbox One peeps. Have you tried The Elder Scrolls Online on your platform yet? If not, then you should definitely feast your eyes on ZeniMax’s latest promotion, which includes a free-play event for you starting tomorrow and running through the weekend.

“The Xbox One Free Play Days event runs from November 2 until November 5. If you’re a new player, this is a great opportunity to check out the game and experience a world where you can go anywhere and do anything. Even better, all new ESO accounts are gifted 500 free crowns for use in the in-game Crown Store, allowing you to pick up some useful items such as potions, XP Scrolls, food, or an adorable pet!”

Participants in past freebie events will find their characters still intact and playable. Take heart, PC and PS4 players; the studio implies there’ll be an event for you in the near future as well.

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Legends of Aria’s alpha has begun, infusing the Shards Online sandbox with MMORPG

Back at PAX East, MMO players were startled but pleased at the revelation that Shards Online was getting a massive revamp as well as a new name: Legends of Aria. The key to the switcheroo is the shift from being “just” small-scale player-run shards to a full-scale MMORPG with a heavily expanded map hosted by the studio as well.

Today, after a few minor delays this spring and a combat overhaul, the game’s alpha is officially live.

“The land mass of the game has been increased by 10-fold, mounts have been added, combat reworked, the UI overhauled, archery has made it in the game, and so much more. 2 of the 8 new regions have been unveiled, with more to come as Alpha and Beta progress this summer. […] Basically, this gives fans of Shards Online what they’ve been asking for – a bigger, bolder, truly MMORPG version of the game.”

Citadel Studios has an interactive world map as well as a PvP killboard online if you just want to gawk, but you can actually play right now too with the purchase of a $40 founder pack.
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Choose My Adventure: Getting started in Neverwinter

Oh boy, Neverwinter! I am legitimately excited about this cycle’s Choose My Adventure pick, in no small part because the only reason I have not yet played Neverwinter in any serious capacity is because I am an idiot. Or cursed with more enthusiasm than with actual free time. It’s kind of a fifty-fifty split, here.

See, I still remember first seeing Neverwinter in person at PAX East one of these years. (All of the PAX Easts kind of blur together in a mess of overcrowded convention halls, Boston weather, and occasional hotel stays.) I have more or less no attachment to the original games in the franchise, and frankly it looked like it was going to be pretty great. I was really looking forward to playing it myself.

Instead, I think I just played a lot of other games and never actually even installed it. I’m sure I had my reasons. I’m not sure they were good reasons, though.

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Kritika Online launches website, sells founder’s packs, and announces closed beta

Is Kritika Online on your radar yet for 2017? You may need to revise that answer after today, as the cel-shaded anime MMO just launched its website and announced the dates for its western closed beta test.

Kritika Online is running its CBT from May 24th through June 13th, and players can either sign up for a chance at a key or secure one by purchasing one of the founder’s packs (which are, by extreme coincidence, discounted right now). “Those chosen to participate in the closed beta can get an early hands-on experience with Kritika Online’s fast-paced, combo-heavy action combat, streamlined quest system, and deep character progression,” the studio said.

En Masse Entertainment is handling the import of this Korean game, and it is promoting Kritika’s action gameplay as strongly as it does with TERA’s. Massively OP’s Eliot got his hands on Kritika Online at PAX East earlier this spring and deemed it “surprisingly fun.”

Check out the closed beta announcement trailer after the jump!

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Chronicles of Elyria recaps development over the month of March

It’s been a busy time for Chronicles of Elyria as the development team has worked on putting together a portion of the game to show off for GDC and PAX East. If you’ve missed the recent developments, the game’s official newsletter is the place to get caught up on everything from the addition of female models into the game to the presentation offered to crowds in a Boston auditorium. (You can also catch that below the break, if you’d prefer.)

The studio is also planning a live Q&A session streamed online on March 29th, so if you’re eager to find out more about surviving in the game world you may want to tune in. (It contains more valuable information than just “don’t let your health bar empty,” presumably.) There’s also more information planned on the prologue area showed off at PAX East in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled if you’re wondering what specifically makes this dank abandoned mine more interesting.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 110: Legends of Aria’s Derek Brinkmann

Join us in welcoming today Citadel Studios’ Project Lead Derek Brinkmann from Legends of Aria (fka Shards Online) for an hour-long interview about the game’s rebranding, new MMO focus, and upcoming alpha tests!

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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The Elder Scrolls Online releases Morrowind PAX recap trailer

ZeniMax has put out a fresh Elder Scrolls Online Morrowind video this morning, this time showcasing the PAX East reception for its battleground content and new Warden class. “Lucky players went head-to-head in Battlegrounds, fighting for supremacy in 4v4v4 showdowns using devastating new ice spells, tossing enemies into the searing lava of Red Mountain, and battling massive War Bears, which tore apart anything and anyone who dared attack their Warden masters,” gushes the studio.

It’s a little cheesy, admittedly, with carefully cut clips of journalists and players, but there are a few familiar faces, including prominent Skyrim vlogger “Grandma” Shirley Curry, whom everyone should be watching.

Morrowind took home our “most anticipated” award at this year’s PAX, and our ESO columnist Larry Everett has since deep-dived the battlegrounds in particular, raising concerns about their impact on the future of the game’s PvP. Check out the new trailer below!

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Dauntless recruits bold and beautiful warriors for its alpha program

Will you be among the first members of the public to pick up your oversized weapon and go monster hunting in Phoenix Labs’ co-op RPG Dauntless? You might have a chance if you sign up for the alpha, which you can go ahead and do right now.

As the game eyes a 2017 release, there’s a lot of testing that needs to be done between now and then. First up are a series of invite-only alpha tests (covered by an NDA) that will take place over the next few months. These tests should begin in late April. After that will come the open beta “later this year” that will allow players to stream and discuss the title.

“Much like the floating islands of the Shattered Isles, Dauntless will shift, grow, and evolve over time,” the studio said in a press statement. “We will be rolling out our closed, invite-only alpha tests over the coming months to help us deliver the best experience possible to players later this year. As a prospective slayer, this is your chance to play Dauntless early and contribute to its development. We can’t wait to jump into the thick of battle and take down behemoths with you!”

Dauntless received Massively OP’s PAX East 2017 award for “Best Multiplayer RPG.”

Source: Alpha sign-up page, press release

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How Frostkeep’s Rend compares to other MMOs and survival sandboxes

I was pretty well taken by multiplayer survival sandbox Rend as soon as I saw it at this year’s PAX East 2017, as I wrote yesterday. The concept immediately spoke to me as taking a lot of the cool ideas from other survival games while making the game as a whole into something very different. But I also entirely understand that sometimes you can look at the game and wonder what makes it so different. After all, it’s hardly the first time that we’ve had a game using a lot of the building blocks. So why am I over the moon about Rend but not its obvious inspirations and close cousins?

The answer is that in some cases, I am over the moon about its close cousins. But it’s also important to understand the distinction and the fact that Rend is not, say, Crowfall or Conan Exiles or any other game. So what makes Rend different? Not necessarily better, but how does it stack up to the obvious points of comparison?

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Tamriel Infinium: Battlegrounds will change Elder Scrolls Online PvP forever

I’ve read all the impressions from the PAX East show that I could find, and they were all overwhelmingly mild — including ours. As you hopefully know by now, Elder Scrolls Online showed off its instanced PvP battlegrounds, and the media consensus is that they are… coming. And that’s it. This really surprised me. It’s superficially hard to tell whether people have come to expect one thing from battlegrounds (because so many other games already have them) and ESO really isn’t changing the formula — or the battlegrounds really aren’t anything to write home about.

If you were to take Lead PvP Designer Brian Wheeler’s word for it, battlegrounds will change PvP in ESO forever because they’re a type of PvP that ESO has never had before, which is true. Personally, I do believe not only that battlegrounds will bring something special to Elder Scrolls Online but that other games should pay attention to ESO because it’s actually doing something innovative without drawing too much attention to it.

Battlegrounds aren’t perfect; there will be some drawbacks, but let’s take an honest look at what this new PvP type means for Elder Scrolls Online and maybe other MMOs in the future.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 108: PAX East power-up

As Massively OP is on the scene at PAX East this year, we’ve got plenty of juicy news and interviews to discuss on the show! What game is coming to console this year? What secret is Eliot hiding? Which MMO just got a name change? Find out in today’s episode!

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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PAX East 2017: The Elder Scrolls Online’s battlegrounds are exactly that

My absolute first appointment at PAX East 2017 was to stop by The Elder Scrolls Online display to check out the new battlegrounds coming up with the game’s Morrowind expansion. This should not have been difficult to do, but it was made quite difficult by unnecessarily awful traffic. Seriously, it was bumper-to-bumper through long stretches of the Mass Pike, despite the fact that there was barely any snow falling and no road accumulation. I was a little bit late, in fact.

Why am I telling you this story? Because the reality is that it’s the most interesting story that I have beyond the title line.

I don’t mean to imply that I was disappointed by The Elder Scrolls Online’s battleground gameplay because I wasn’t. It was solid! I would go so far as to say it was exactly what your mind pictures when you put the game’s title and “battleground” into the same sentence. The problem with describing it is just… well, again, it’s exactly what your mind pictures. It is a battleground, and it is in The Elder Scrolls Online. That’s it.

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