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.
Who had August in the poll? Anybody have August 14th specifically? Because that, my friends, is precisely when World of Warcraft’s Battle for Azeroth expansion is launching. So sayeth Blizzard’s official Twitterbot this morning. Trailer too! Now that’s one way to kick off PAX East.
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.
The next big patch for Legends of Aria does not signal the start of the next beta phase. Instead, it signals moving to a more robust version of the game ahead of the game’s demo stations at this year’s PAX East convention at the beginning of April. After all, it’s better to give players a demonstration of the real game than a potemkin village (a comparison drawn by the developers, even), and why not give actual players more fun stuff when it’s the same amount of work?
As for what’s in the update itself, players can look forward to tinting their armors with various hues, a new pass of optimization, and a greatly improved starting experience for new players. That last one means making it clear that the game is completely without classes, adding more character creation options, and providing better guidance at the beginning. The patch is due out for March 30th, so please look forward to it sooner rather than later.
If you’ve been following the MMO industry for a while, chances are you’ve seen the name Sanya Weathers pop up from time to time. Weathers has been both an MMO reporter and a community manager for various studios, including Undead Labs, Metaverse, and Mythic Entertainment. Now she has a new job at Legends of Aria’s Citadel Studios, and she’s bringing her experience and energy to this indie MMO.
It sounds as if Weathers is pretty stoked to be back working on an MMO: “Being part of a world like Legends of Aria is like coming home for me. This is going to be amazing, y’all. There is a lot going on behind the scenes, and I’ll be able to share some of it soon.”
She did say that she’s spending a lot of time right now preparing for Legends of Aria’s appearance at PAX East next month, where the game will have a small booth.
One of my favorite things to do every year is drill down the top articles on the site for our readers. I don’t mean the most controversial, the most fun, the most important, or the most commented-on; I mean the single articles that actually brought in the most hits. And what I find most interesting is that most “popular” aren’t always the ones we expect! As we’ve noted before, a well-timed link from a major website – Reddit, Fark, or a game dev – can elevate an entire month. (That’s why we’re so grateful when our fans share our work across social networks!)
Just remember that the list favors posts made early in the year (and in some cases, evergreen articles from earlier years) as later pieces haven’t had as much time to percolate, so when you do see big articles from December on a list like this, that means a popular post indeed!
So what do you think about TERA’s
prospects as a console MMORPG after hearing that it is coming to the PlayStation 4? It seems like an ideal online game for console adaptation, especially with its focus on action combat.
Some fortunate members of the gaming public will get to see how TERA operates on the PS4 when they attend PlayStation Experience 2017 at the Anaheim Convention Center this weekend. En Masse is going to be hosting the first-ever public demo of the MMO on console, allowing anyone who walks up to booth #45 and 46 to check out the game for themselves on Saturday and Sunday.
En Masse has been building up to the release of TERA’s console ports this year, announcing the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions back in March. We got our hands on the title at PAX East a few months later, saying that we “preferred TERA’s combat on the controller than on the keyboard.”
Source: Press release
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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: