We've been speaking with NCsoft West off the record this week, agitating for publicly printable answers on the Master X Master decision to implement City of Heroes characters (to the loud outrage of disgruntled City of Heroes players). But apparently we won't have to, as some of the answers have been published today.
Lorehound quotes NCsoft MXM Brand Manager Sean Orlikowski as saying that adding Statesman to the MOBA was his personal "passion project for the last two years."
"I saw it as a way to incorporate a character from a beloved title into our universe. Myself and the producer for MXM were both big fans of City of Heroes (I was more on the CoV side, myself) and we worked together to make sure we got his skills, look, and even his VO right since he’d only ever been voiced for a single sentence of a single trailer in the past. The bottom line for me was that nearly all of NCSOFT’s properties were being represented in the game; Aion, Blade & Soul, Lineage II, WildStar, Guild Wars 2, even Death Knight from the original Lineage MMO are in the game. I wanted the West to have proper representation, so we started brainstorming ideas for Western characters to add to Rytlock and Mondo Zax who were already in development. I made the argument for Statesman because the MXM universe offered a way he could be prominent again, and the rest is history."
On Tuesday, NCsoft announced that it plans to introduce Statesman, from the long-sunsetted City of Heroes, as a playable character in its MOBA, Master x Master.
Complications ensued, as anyone familiar with the history of MMORPGs can probably imagine.
For this week's Overthinking, I asked our team of writers -- both those who loved CoH and those who never much played it -- what they think about the whole ordeal. Are gamers right to be angry? What exactly is NCsoft thinking? Have we seen the end of any hope of the game being resurrected or sold, or should we infer just the opposite?
One of the advantages of creating a sci-fi MMORPG is that there's little stopping you if you want to send your players to other celestial bodies. Skyforge is doing this with its upcoming Thea update, launching players from Aelion to one of its three moons.
It won't be a walk in the park when you get there. Thea is a low-gravity environment plagued by numerous meteorite storms... but there are rewards to be had here as well. In addition to several types of quests to keep players busy, Thea offers the opportunity to mine a resource that can unlock a brand-new talent for each class.
Another interesting feature of Thea is that it will keep challenges and rewards appropriate for any character that travels there. You do have to attain your divine form as a prerequisite, but other than that, there's nothing stopping you from living out your fantasies as an astronaut making that giant leap for divinekind.
When MMO devs give windows like "spring" for launches, we usually figure it'll be the very tail end. Not this time: My.com announced today that when it said Skyforge's PlayStation 4 version was coming in the spring, it really meant soon!
"Developer Allods Team and global publisher My.com happily announce that action MMORPG Skyforge will launch its North American and European server support on March 28th, when the game will go into Early Access. Anyone obtaining one of the Early Adopter packs can get start discovering Immortality and become Legend. The servers open up for the full free to play experience for Playstation 4 players on April 11th."
Pre-registering seems to entitle you to a couple of cosmetic bits, while being a PlayStation Plus subber nets you wings and tats too. Anyone planning to give it a try?
Writing about WildStar at this point feels weird.
Obviously, I just finished up playing the game for this feature for four weeks. It feels fresh in my mind. And in many ways, it really has changed quite a bit from launch to its credit. In many other ways, it hasn’t changed much at all. And the ways in which it has changed would make a much bigger difference if those changes affected things that initially drove me away from the game.
So in many ways, when I write about WildStar now, I’m still writing about the launch version of the game. It’s just that we’re now several years out from that launch, and its potential to really be something no longer has the time to turn into reality. It’s still just a hope for what it could be, and there’s not much more to the game beyond what we see right now. So it’s the same state of the game, but it’s gone from promising opportunities to unrealized potential.
There are few feelings as negative as being unable to catch up. That's been a major problem with Skyforge's Tower of Knowledge for a long time. Players who were already well advanced had no problem upgrading the tower rapidly, which in turn unlocked new benefits; by contrast, new players would struggle to earn enough resources to upgrade the tower, thus falling further behind the people who were already ahead. It was one of the problems that the developers aimed to fix with the adjustments to the building last week, as explained in depth in the most recent post on the official site.
The Tower of Knowledge no longer requires credits, but instead is upgraded based on enemies defeated with a maximum cap on daily upgrades. You can also unlock powerful Prototypes from research within the tower. The Cathedral has also been improved by making it far cheaper and much more potent in its effects which avoids its previous status as the least desirable building to upgrade. So these changes are all good, unless perhaps you prided yourself on being a god of good urban planning.
WildStar is down another high-profile member of its development team this week with the loss of Carbine Senior Product Manager Jen Ortiz.
On Twitter Friday, Ortiz said that she had just punched in her last day at the studio and was leaving for undisclosed opportunities. "Today was my last day at Carbine Studios (moving on to other opportunities)," she wrote. "I wish the team the best... we've done a lot in the past years [...] To the fans, I appreciated the hell out of you and so do the rest of the Carbine crew. Thanks for everything. You're the best."
WildStar Game Director Chad Moore expressed his sadness at seeing Ortiz go: "We're going to miss you, Jen! Couldn't have asked for a better partner this year. Family won't be the same without you."
First and foremost, before I start talking about my last week of adventures in WildStar, I'd like to thank the developers for giving me an opportunity I rarely have in this column. Nine times out of ten the reality of the column means I don't get to actually see high-level play at all; I don't know that I'd classify this week's adventure as being indicative of the whole level cap experience, but it gives me a better picture of it than just sitting down at level 10 or whatever.
I'd also like to thank a friend for accompanying me up to the high-level portion of the game, since she was curious about it as well. Teamwork, people, that's what MMOs are all about.
When I originally played WildStar, I had in fact reached level cap and done a fair number of the initial crop of dailies during one of the earlier patches. Thus, my friend and I decided to unlock the Primal Matrix and head out to Arcterra, which was added too recently for either of us to have seen it in the past. Yes, that meant I wasn't going to be in an area going "oh, I remember this," but it meant that I'd have a good idea about that part of the endgame.
Back in January, Crytek announced that its F2P online shooter Warface would be globally published by My.com in the west beginning in February -- yep, that's the same My.com that runs Revelation Online and Skyforge. The idea was that Crytek would be able to "focus on the development aspect" and work on content while My.com would take over player accounts and game distribution.
How did it go? Apparently to plan: Warface's first big content patch since the transition rolled out today. Called Icebreaker, the update includes a new storyline, new baddies, new weapons, new achievements, "improved loading times," and of course, the co-op "Icebreaker" mission itself.
The launch trailer is tucked down below.
Still trying to wrap your head around the latest WildStar content update? There's a livestream for that.
WildStar's Power of the Primal Matrix dropped last week on March 8th, bringing a whole new endgame system and some other high-level challenges. It has received mixed reviews, but the developers aren't content just to fling out an update and run away. Instead, the Carbine team sat down for a two-hour livestream that discusses the Power of the Primal Matrix in detail and takes you on a tour of all of the new content.
Hunker down for a rap with the developers after the break, and when you're done with that, check out our Choose My Adventure series for Eliot's brand-new adventures in the game!
Remember last winter when Skyforge
ran a propaganda poster contest
has now ported the idea over to the newly-soft-launched-into-open-beta Revelation Online
, asking players to craft their very own guild propaganda
for the game.
"We ask you, the community, to create your own special version of a Propaganda image to promote your current guild, whether it be a slogan, logo, guild-group photo, or anything you can think of, so long as it’s an image," says the studio.
The so-named Revelation Online Guild Propaganda contest begins today and runs through March 24th. The submitters of the top 10 entries will collect prizes ranging from high-end apparel sets to channel-wide shouting devices.
Heads-up, demigods: The Stand United Patch is live in Skyforge today.
It's a relatively small patch for such a grand name, but it does herald the promised overhaul to the looking-for-group system. Of note, players will now be able to select a role while queueing up for a group, WoW-style, making it clear both to the players which role you signed up for and to the game itself should the group need to replace you.
We wrote more in-depth on the new LFG system earlier this week for those who need a catch-up!
The patch also tweaks some weather and lighting in adventures, tinkers with the prestige calculation formula, and adds previous seasons' epics to invasion weapon loot tables, in addition to bug fixes and tweaks for the Greenhouse distortion.
It's amazing how some things stick in your mind while others don't. I honestly had forgotten about the whole questline in WildStar that involves showing off just how awful the Dominion can be until I was knee-deep in it, but as soon as I was in there, I remembered being impressed with it. There's a lot to like: subtle worldbuilding and careful production that really sends a message and forces you to think about what you're doing and why. I like that and appreciate it immensely.
That makes it a good companion piece to dungeon queues just not happening. And it also lines up nicely with the fact that this week's CMA provides us with a heretofore unprecedented opportunity, one that I am very curious to see about the response to. It wasn't really an option in the last installment, and it wasn't necessary in the prior one anyhow... but now, it's a choice. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.