The dust may be settling after Shroud of the Avatar’s final launch, but that doesn’t mean the game is done. On the contrary, Portalarium clearly means to keep right on its strict monthly update schedule.
As the title’s latest dev update explains, R53 – due out this Thursday – includes the rebuild of multiple scenes and locations (like Tenebris Harbor and Penmawr Island shown in the gallery below), plus the looking-for-group system, better loot, offline drop rate tweaks, additional side quests, heraldry, and new “plunderer NPCs,” plus the promised UI polishing pass.
The planned stress test on the QA server kicks off as this post goes live; as previously noted, a quorum of participants will ensure a double experience event come the launch of the update.
Meanwhile, if you’re into world exploration, swing by the Twitter feed of Portalarium’s Richard Garriott; he’s been chronicling a well-earned trip to the Arctic.
July 4th is getting closer, which means the Camelot Unchained team is in high gear polishing up the build for the beta that’s finally set to launch come Independence Day. Last week’s dev update was relatively short for the longwinded CSE; there were no player tests this weekend, but the studio discusses its asset decluttering rules, building code, a big UI update, class animations, chat UI, character creation, the trading system, and the trait system. Maybe the most interesting bit (for regular players) is actually the screenshots at the very end of the update on the Dragon Fang scenario.
“The hill we are currently climbing in the assembly of this map, is the creation and placement of these large, SPIKY, rock walls, growing outward from the Place of Power which resides in the center of the map,” explains CSE’s Tyler Rockwell. “All these rocks also need to be very performant so we can have hundreds of players fighting it out in this zone. Next week we’ll try and finish up placing the majority of these assets to show off more of the map in the update!”
It turns out that MMORPG players really don’t need much prompting to go out and take a bazillion screenshots of their favorite in-game zones, as evidenced by the avalanche of photos generated by last week’s challenge.
SmugglerSteel kicks us off this this neon nightmare: “I knew exactly where I needed to tour in SWTOR for this one. I will always remember my first trip to Nar Shaddaa. I was blown away away by the color and aesthetic. I always thought it had a very Bladerunner inspired feel, yet still did it’s own thing.”
Like any good casino, Nar Shaddaa is designed so that players can never figure out how to leave. SmugglerSteel forwards his mail there now.
If all goes well, later this year we will finally be treated to an actual Harry Potter MMORPG in the form of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. While that will be a mobile ARG in the vein of Pokemon Go, it will still be a big step into the online space that MMO fans have been craving for nearly two decades now.
Obviously, Harry Potter continues to be a mammoth franchise for J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., and Electronic Arts, which has handled the video game license over the years. While there have been single-player Harry Potter titles, especially on consoles, no MMORPG emerged even at the height of the IP craze that swallowed up Star Trek, Star Wars, Warhammer, and more. So why not?
The truth is that Harry Potter Online almost did happen. Its brief existence and development isn’t too well-known, even today, but the wasted potential has always tantalized me with what could have been. Using a time-turner, we will go back to the late 1990s today and peek in on a possible future that came to fruition.
It may be hard to believe, but it has already been about four years since SOE decided to close down the troubled yet cult favorite Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. On July 31, 2014, the game world went dark, and many players found themselves saying farewell to Telon for good.
While I was not a regular player of Vanguard, I did admire the game for its interesting concepts (like its diplomacy system), its gorgeous visuals, and — pertinent to this column — its soundtrack. There was a lot of artistry involved in this title, and while it was hampered in many ways for many reasons, Vanguard left a legacy that is still fondly remembered by some.
Part of that legacy is its music, and other than screenshots and recollections, it is the only part of Vanguard that we can still experience today. The soundtrack was composed by Todd Masten, who has worked on many other video games such as the Age of Empires series. So let us take a trip back to this fantasy MMO and hear the music of a dead world brought back to life.
Players are crucial to the reconstruction of Doma in Final Fantasy XIV
, so it’s only right that the next leg of the game’s main scenario will bring us back there. The special site is already available for players to peruse
, offering some details on the upcoming patch and giving a hint at the lore behind the Sparrow’s Compass dungeon. Without spoiling anything, it doesn’t sound like everything is going to go smoothly
for Doma… which should surprise almost no one.
Meanwhile, players who had subsisted on fan translations of the live letter can now read over the official digest of its contents, which includes a number of additional (and relevant) pieces of information. For example, there’s further explanation of the “Greed Only” rule in Alliances, noting that it’s in place to prevent people from feeling pressured to run on the job they want to gear up when it may be at a lower item level; it’s an experimental rule that is open to revision based on community feedback. In other words, offer feedback on it. Or anything else in the letter’s official translation, really.
Perhaps because the announcement was all the way back in January, but Paragon’s shutdown is scheduled to take place at the end of next week. Epic Games made the decision to pull the plug on the action MOBA due to an unsustainable playerbase and refunded all users any money they had spent on the title.
As the sun begins to set on this title, we can take a moment to ponder what might have been. Artist Dave Rapoza shared some concept art on Twitter that he had developed for the game but had never been turned into actual assets. This gallery of characters ranges from the heroic to the bizarre and gives a taste of the odd sci-fi angle the game as attempting.
“Four years ago I got the opportunity to help flesh out Paragon, the now-cancelled MOBA from Epic Games,” Rapoza wrote. “I was given free reign on the character designs, it was an awesome opportunity, but most of these never made it into the game. Hope you like it!”
One of the most common comments you’ll see in articles about big events in EVE Online
is that it’s a lot more entertaining to read about than to play, and that’s certainly true if what you’re reading is Empires of EVE
. Written by EVE
Historian Andrew Groen back in 2015 and published thanks to the support of over 3,000 players through a crowdfunding campaign
, Empires of EVE tells the story of some of EVE
‘s earliest and most deadly wars and political schisms.
Cutting through all of the propaganda and player self-motivations in a political sandbox like EVE is no small task, and it’s complicated by over a decade of shifting loyalties, misinformation, propaganda, and misremembered events. Andrew is uniquely equipped to cut through many of those issues, collecting as accurate historical records as possible and delivering it all as a coherent, deeply compelling narrative that even plenty of non-players have thoroughly enjoyed. Andrew recently announced that Empires of EVE had broken the 15,000 sales mark, and at EVE Fanfest 2018 he announced a sequel is now in the works.
I caught up with Andrew at Fanfest to find out how the first book’s success has affected him and what the future holds for Empires of EVE: Volume II.
Just as Morrowind
was much more than elves, so is Summerset
, but it’s hard for the elves in this elven kingdom not to take center stage. ZeniMax is demonstrating just that with its latest Elder Scrolls Online video and dev blog
, which describes the Altmer as stereotypically pretentious, vain perfectionists who are traditionally isolationist. In other words, they aren’t all going to welcome your outlander self just because their Queen has opened the borders.
“When building Summerset, the primary thing that we were trying to show was the history of the people who live there,” ZeniMax explains. “Players can explore the ruins of ancient Elven architecture throughout the zone, and see in the cities how the more recent High Elf civilization has continued to build on top of those ancient foundations.”
You can check out that video down below, then hit up today’s earlier piece, which includes some of the new bits that just hit the test server!
If OARPGs with Torchlight-esque graphics are your thing and your mobile device packs a punch, then feast your eyes and wallet on Raziel. Gaming behemoth Tencent has apparently picked up the title from developer Indra to port to phones and tablets in the west this year. It’s already out in Australia.
“Raziel is a fast-paced, hack-n-slash style RPG with a range of multiplayer and guild gameplay modes. Featuring advanced Unity 3D graphics, fast and flexible gameplay, and a diverse collection of characters and maps, the visually stunning adventure sets a new standard for mobile gaming.”
The game boasts four playable toons (with more as you go), a companion system so you can drag an NPC along with you (a la Diablo), more than 60 singleplayer dungeons. Tencent is calling this a “revolutionary MMORPG,” for what it’s worth, but the “massive” seems to focus on basic co-op and 1v1, 2v2, and guild battle-style PvP.
While Deep Space Nine and the Gamma quadrant are the chief focus of this June’s Star Trek Online: Victory is Life
, the space station actually has been in the game for a long time now. However, the developers feel that the place wasn’t up to snuff and decided to use the expansion as an excuse to bring DS9 up to code
“We’ve rebuilt the entirety of the Promenade ring to match the show,” Cryptic said. “That means all of your favorite spots are there, including one you’ve already got a sneak peek at in the recent episode ‘The Renegade’s Regret’ — the Security Office and its Holding Cells. In addition, we’ve updated or added the Infirmary, the Bajoran Temple, the Klingon Deli, the Jumja Stand, the Replimat, and of course, Garak’s Clothiers. Oh, and how could I have forgotten, Quark’s Bar!”
To expand and flesh out the station, the developers used blueprints from the TV show and screenshots from several episodes. Much of the show was referenced, in fact, filling up a folder with 2,600 screenshots to aid in the reconstruction process.
As someone who only has one functioning eye, I find that my vision is paramount to my quality of life and personal enjoyment. Plus, it would make playing MMORPGs slightly more difficult if everything was dark.
But I’m not everyone, and I have to allow for the possibility that there are gamers out there who are desperate to lose their sight but at a loss as to how to do it. With that in mind, I present SmugglerSteel’s one-step process to going blind in 10 seconds or less: Find the largest sun you can in Star Wars: The Old Republic and stare at it from about 20 feet away.
At least the last thing you’ll see will literally brighten your day!
Setting up and establishing a memorable villain is tricky business, especially in online games where players barrel through them like dominoes. We’ve fought so many bad guys and gals over the years that the rogue’s gallery would stretch to the horizon.
Yet some of these dastardly bosses rise above the rest in their machinations. Maybe it’s a truly captivating backstory, wickedly funny one-liners, or shocking actions that cement them in our minds as villains for the ages.
Looking back at all of the villains you’ve faced in MMOs in your career, who would you say is the best, the baddest, and the most memorable of them all?