The third pre-alpha build (which will include four zones and a level cap of 40) is on the way for Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, and the Visionary Realms team has a lot to talk about as it shares a trio of new classes.
With this newsletter, VR debuted a section called “under wraps” in which it could share some of its design philosophies and upcoming projects. Discussion was given as to how the team approached the “horizontal identity” of classes: “These is the parts of a class that make them feel like they genuinely belong in the world. This is the immersion factor […] These are the elements that give our classes a tangible place in a shared world.”
The studio also shared an early look at the zone of Faerthale, a beginning zone for some of Pantheon’s Elves and the first zone planned to have all gameplay systems integrated. This is a huge deal for the game, as there are so many systems to include for a feature-complete zone. These include the day/night cycles, time-based spawns, specific atmospheres, the perception system, harvesting, places to climb, and NPC dispositions.
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Old School RuneScape, Pokemon Go, EverQuest, EVE Online, Paladins, Titan Quest, The Black Death, Skyforge, Final Fantasy XI, Wizard101, Pirate101, War of Rights, Evolve, State of Decay 2, all waiting for you after the break!
On this week’s show, Bree and Justin delve into the future of Lord of the Rings Online, debate when a sub isn’t a sub, head on into Summerset, fly high with Worlds Adrift, and more!
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This month’s Pantheon newsletter is a doozy for folks eagerly awaiting the details of the game’s classes. Visionary Realms has revealed three: the sneaky Rogue along with the versatile Ranger toon, though fans of classic D&D-inspired MMORPGs may be most interested in the Monk.
“[The Monk’s] internal flow of Chakra is held back by a series of six gates, like water behind a sequence of dams. The Monk must learn to open these gates in order to wield their Chakra without limits, releasing it in a torrent of punishing damage, or in the form of powerful defensive and self-healing abilities. The 6 gates are known as: The Gate of Anger, the Gate of Peace, the Gate of Sorrow, the Gate of Joy, the Gate of Balance and the Gate of Release. In combat, Monks will constantly generate Chakra as a percentage of the damage they deal. In addition, certain abilities will increase a Monk’s Chakra by a certain amount when used.”
Racial combos, armor types, weapon types, and even a partial list of abilities are all included with the reveals, so they’re worth a click-through. VR says to expect more class details throughout the summer. The newsletter includes a deep-dive into the Orc tribes, as well.
It has to be a geeky dream come true to be able to get into a restricted-access MMO and go on an adventure with the actual developers. So look on with envy, then, as YouTuber KoopaTroopa787 joins the Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen team to play an Ogre Shaman on a dev-led dungeon crawl.
The video delivers a two-for-one benefit. Not only do you get to see an adventure through the Fion Iridia dungeon with a ton of combat, but you also get to hear the developers comment on the game’s various classes and systems as they progress.
What are you waiting for? Start your hour-long expedition with Pantheon after the break!
Earlier this month, Pantheon’s community team tweeted out a question that keeps coming back to me: “What motivates you to play an MMORPG for long periods of time, as in months, sometimes, years?” My first reaction was a pretty common one I bed and was true for me for a long time: friends and guildies! I certainly played some games far longer than I would have otherwise because I wanted to hang out with friends (EverQuest in particular is coming to mind).
But in recent years, when I already “see” my friends and guildies every day in external chats, I’d found games need some other draw too. Housing is probably the biggest one. I don’t usually get sucked in for dailies or anything like that, but give me a house that I love and want to keep up – that I’ll not only log in for but pay for, as my continuing Ultima Online fees prove.
What keeps you logging into MMORPGs over a long period of time?
If we judged MMOs by their numbers alone — and I’m not suggesting we do so — then the original Lineage would be the crowing rooster strutting about the hen house. It’s also been one of those games that I’ve always intellectually acknowledged was a huge hit for some reason but never gave much attention. I think it’s because, contrary to many western MMOs, Lineage is primarily an Asian phenomenon. That doesn’t mean it should be shunned, of course, but just that it may be difficult to understand when you’re on the outside of it.
So let’s back up the memory truck to September 1998, when a then-fledgling NCsoft rolled out a Diablo-style isometric MMO and struck virtual gold in South Korea. At the time, gaming rooms were becoming a huge thing in the country. A recession had hit, giving people a lot of time with nothing to do, and the government was rapidly expanding the broadband network. In the face of this perfect storm, titles like StarCraft and Lineage became overnight household fixtures — and remained so for decades to come.
Even if you haven’t played Lineage and you don’t know anyone who does, trust me: Millions and millions of players have. As former Senior Producer Chris Mahnken once said, “Lineage keeps going because it’s just plain fun.”
The past couple of weeks has been wild as we dispatched writers to GDC in San Francisco and PAX East in Boston to gather up and bring back everything they could on the MMORPGs large and small on the spring convention circuit. In fact, as I type this, we’ve got Brendan in Reykjavik for EVE Fanfest too! So for this week’s Overthinking, we’re rounding up our coverage and then reflecting on the best and worst as we pick out what most excites, surprises, and disappoints us: First the roundups, then our thoughts. Read on!
There’s a lot to unpack in Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen’s April newsletter. Not only does it cover the Ratkin species from the bestiary and a dev spotlight with CTO and Lead Programmer Daniel Krenn, but it deep-dives Black Rose Keep, the massive multi-level indoor/outdoor dungeon being demoed at PAX this year.
“You will be able to revisit BRK and you’ll want to because the level range is very well spread out, depending on which area of the zone you’re in,” Lead Writer Justin Gerhart writes. “That’s not to say we have fenced off portions that check your level before entering. There’s a fair amount of intermingling between tiers throughout, but with higher concentrations of specific tiers in specific locations. Unless you’ve spent your whole char life outside of this area you should hit sections you won’t be able to progress through your first time in. The goal was to make BRK a memorable and substantial experience for players, and planning for revisitations and diversity of content were a critical part of that.”
Those who have read a fair amount of my work will know that nostalgia is something I tend to rail against pretty hard. I’m a big advocate for constantly spot-checking your nostalgia in the cold light of reality and asking yourself if your memories are accurate.
This is not because I don’t feel any nostalgia. It’s exactly the opposite. It’s because I am wildly aware of how powerful a force it can be as someone who often will spend extended amounts of time working in elaborate mythology gags for character traits based on old roleplaying, to the extent that one of my characters has a particular class as a reference to an old game no one else I know actually played.
All of this is a long-winded way of pointing out that Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen already had a bit of an in with me when I sat down to play. Because while I wasn’t personally familiar with the game that it was referencing, I am personally familiar with that game’s close cousin, and I have a fair amount of familiarity with the playstyle. And it’s a playstyle MMOs have, in large part, moved beyond.
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.
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.
This month’s Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen newsletter is stuffed with images, thanks to features on gear creation and dungeons. Over on the armor side, Pantheon will cleave to the old paradigm of making newbies dress like hobos.
“We want players to feel a genuine sense of rags to riches in Pantheon,” says Visionary Realms’ Chris Perkins. “And so we want to be thoughtful about how quickly we roll out higher tier armors. So yes, you should be able to tell how high level someone is just by looking at them. That’s the goal. I also want to make an important point that while we are creating these Armors in sets, this doesn’t mean everyone will always be in a matching set of armor. […] At lower levels, it will be the norm to see players in more of a mismatched ensemble of gear, since they’re using whatever they can get their hands on without the luxury of going after specific pieces beyond their level range. And so part of the rags to riches equation will be seeing higher levels players getting closer to a matching set look.”
The dungeon deep-dive covers Halnir Cave specifically. It’s a “true open-world dungeon,” not instanced, with a mix of level ranges, but it’ll also have plenty of related quests.