pax west

PAX West 2017: ARK Survival Evolved on optimization, the Aberration expansion, and future development

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.

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PAX West 2017: A peek at PAX in pictures

With travel, hotel accommodations, and time off work, the logistics of attending your favorite convention doesn’t always pan out. Heck, even when you get to go there’s no possible way to see everything that’s there!

So to help give a glimpse of PAX West 2017, we cap off our convention coverage with a positively massive gallery of many of the MMOs we visited, the general cosplay, and other random sights around this year’s Penny Arcade Expo. Enjoy!

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PAX West 2017: Chronicles of Elyria’s monetization philosophy, tribe evolution, and the PvP sandbox stigma

What is Chronicles of Elyria? We first learned about the game and its goal to redefine the MMORPG genre back in 2015. Since then, CoE has been developing steadily, especially after the huge influx of capital gained through Kickstarter and then on-site crowdfunding. Folks could follow the progress through numerous dev blogs, videos, and even the chance to test bits of gameplay at various PAXs. Some bits of that development, however, have raised questions; prospective players have voiced concerns about the pay-to-win and gankbox stigmas, the complex tribe system, and the admittedly broad scope of the game.

I sat down with Executive Producer Vye Alexander and CEO/Creative Director Jeromy Walsh at PAX West to discuss these issues and more.

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PAX West 2017: ArcheAge’s Corgi Conundrum, anniversary update, and the 4.0 expansion

Nothing may quite compare to last week’s big server evolution in scope of change for ArcheAge, but there are more changes coming over the next couple of months. The good news is one of those involves corgis! Who doesn’t love corgis?

At this year’s PAX West, I talked with Trion Associate Producer Seraphina Brennan – whom many of you will remember as a former Massively writer from many years ago when we were under AOL! – about ArcheAge’s third anniversary this month, the remainder of the 3.7 update with its lunagem overhaul, and the release of expansion 4.0 with its new ship, cross-server arenas, improved crafting UI and tutorials, and currency conversion. Let’s dig in!

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MassivelyOP’s complete PAX West 2017 coverage

Massively Overpowered was on the ground in Seattle for PAX West 2017, bringing you expert MMO coverage on Ashes of Creation, Ship of Heroes, Dual Universe, and everything else on display at the latest Penny Arcade Expo! Here’s a run-down of all our stuff:

PAX West 2017: A peek at PAX in pictures - With travel, hotel accommodations, and time off work, the logistics of attending your favorite convention doesn't always pan out. Heck, even when you get to go there's no possible way…

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 135: PAX in the P.M.

On this week’s show, MJ arrives to give her report on PAX West and how much swag she smuggled back on the plane. Bree and Justin touch base with the major news stories of the week, including Destiny 2’s launch, ArcheAge’s mergers, and WildStar’s housing happiness.

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 West 2017: SMITE’s new conquest map, Paladins Strike, and the fate of SMITE Rivals

Just because SMITE and Paladins weren’t available to play at PAX West doesn’t mean that there wasn’t stuff to learn about the games from Hi-Rez!

I got the low down on Hi-Rez projects from Scott Zier, who is VP of Design at Hi-Rez as well as executive producer of Hand of the Gods. We touched on multiple topics, from the flagship MOBA and the shooter to the MIA mobile title and the new mobile title. As Zier said, the studio always has a number of projects going at any one time: “We’re very much a multi-game studio.”

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PAX West 2017: Hand of the Gods’ Japanese pantheon and the possibility of 2v2

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.

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PAX West 2017: A closer look at H1Z1 King of the Kill’s combat practice

If you’ve been away from H1Z1 for a long time, you need to known that Daybreak’s been making it easier to get back into the game, both for former players and for newbies.

I spoke with Daybreak Lead Systems Designer Tony Morton at PAX West about the recent combat update, and he showed off the upcoming combat practice feature.

“What we’re doing is system by system and segment by segment,” he told me. “We’re kind of gutting it; we’re starting over from scratch in a more systematic standpoint.”

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PAX West 2017: Life and death in Digital Extremes’ new MMO Survived By

While there were plenty of established games on hand at PAX West 2017, there were also a few new ones offering players a taste of the future. Survived By by Digital Extremes is one of those new games. Announced just two days before PAX began, it had stations set up allowing players to dive right into a dungeon and experience the 2-D pixel game. And that’s exactly what I did while talking to Producer Ryan Jackson about permadeath, classes, crafting, and the story.

Jackson told me that the game is actually set in a cross section of the world tree. The tree is sick, however, and can’t seem to heal itself anymore, and it’s being invaded. He said that the mystery of what is happening is what DE wants players to unravel as they play in the first act of the game. Closed alpha will be starting soon, and folks can sign up for it on the official site. I actually can’t wait to get back in!

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PAX West 2017: How RIFT is making player exploration worth the effort

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?

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PAX West 2017: Ashes of Creation’s combat, crowdfunding, characters, and the infamous hat

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.

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PAX West 2017: Playing Kritika Online’s upcoming Psion class in Shattered Table

En Masse recently introduced the newest class coming to Kritika Online, and while visiting the studio’s offices during PAX West 2017, I was able to dive in and play it. This Psion class — a combination of swordsman and mage —  generates psychic swords to slice, dice, and generally Ginsu her enemies to pieces. One skill even allows her to throw her blades, which combined with her guns (bound to right click) gives her good ranged options during battle. As I am not the biggest fan of in-your-face combat, I appreciated having options to move me outside of melee range and keep attacking.

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