wander

Official Site: Wander
Studio: Wander MMO
Launch Date: N/A
Genre: Non-Combat Exploration Sandbox
Business Model: N/A
Platform: PC, Linux, PS4

TennoCon 2017: Warframe’s Plains of Eidolon is the first step toward a true MMORPG

Do you think you know what Warframe is? Can you define the game? Well toss that out the window because the new expansion is going to change things quite a bit. Plains of Eidolon, announced tonight at the end of TennoCon 2017, is taking the shooter in a new direction by opening the world up and fleshing the universe out, creating new ways to experience the game. If you haven’t tried Warframe yet thinking the game isn’t for you, this summer will definitely be the time to jump in and give it a spin.

Can the new expansion really be that game-changing? Yes. I sat with devs as they played through a live demo earlier this afternoon, and what I saw really takes Warframe in a new direction. (I also really liked it!) Plains of Eidolon adds a whole new dimension of player freedom. It brings a more MMORPG feel into the game — makes it more of a real world. Instead of just taking missions and teleporting to small instances, players will have the chance to explore the Warframe universe in open landscapes and meet the races they’ve been protecting for the last four years. Game Director Steve Sinclair told me that while it isn’t an open world, this is a first step in that direction, incorporating elements such as NPCs, open adventure areas, and day/night cycles that influence the gameplay. Of course, the expansion will also include a new Warframe, new weapons, and plenty of new story. Read on for a preview and the brand-new trailer!

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Conan Exiles demos climbing and experience-driven exploration

Funcom Lead Designer Oscar Lopez Lacalle and Community Manager Jens Erik Vaaler helmed an E3 recap livestream for Conan Exiles on Friday, and if you missed it, it’s worth a quick look now that the E3 hype is dying down. During the convention, Funcom announced big moves for Conan, including a date for its Xbox One launch (August 16th), a planned Xbox One X launch (sometime after November 7th, we gather), and a big freebie expansion for the game, which doesn’t have a name just yet but will go live alongside the Xbone preview release.

In the meantime, however, the devs showed off new tree modeling, climbing — including monkeybar animations — and the exploration system previously teased. As the two wander around the game, players see an old-school type of “you have discovered” pop-up indicating the point of interest they’ve just bumbled into. “There’s a lot of spots in the world which are significant because they have good vistas or because they are places of power or places where there are camps of foes or capital cities or many different interesting locations to find,” Lacalle says. Turns out you get “generous” experience for exploring too, and it’s based on how many spots you’ve discovered in total — explore a lot, and you get more XP per spot. “It is a pretty significant source of XP if you’re into exploration.”

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Perfect Ten: MMORPGs that died too soon

Your favorite game is going to die. I wrote about that. Some games are never even going to get to launching in the first place, unfortunately. But then there are these titles: games that went the distance when it came to development, marketing, promotion, testing… but somehow didn’t quite manage to stick the landing past that. These are the games that, in Transformers terms, are the hi-then-die cast of the MMO space.

That doesn’t always mean the games are bad, mind you. Some of these games were great fun. But through a combination of business model issues, publisher issues, player population, and just general weirdness, these titles couldn’t make it to a year and a half in the wild. Heck, some of them couldn’t even make it to a year and a quarter. And if you want to peruse this list and wonder why all of these titles are gone but Alganon is somehow still operating… well, we’re just as confused as you are.

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One Shots: Head of the class

What do you do if you’re a sentient stone head who has been tasked with centuries of guard duty? You probably do a lot of lounging around on a cushy chair, waiting for some Dudley Do Right to wander your way and agree to do your job for you.

Miol sends in this odd Guild Wars 2 shot from the Living Story Season 3 in response to my call for goofy screenshots: “How about a literal talking head? Silly enough?” Well, it’s noggin I like, but noggin I hate, either.

Yeah, I’ll just show myself out. Sorry about that.

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Choose My Adventure: Grinding away in Black Desert

Let me talk to you, my friends, about grinding. Specifically, about how it gets a bad reputation that it doesn’t altogether deserve.

How does this connect to this week’s adventures in Black Desert? Well, because I wound up doing a fair bit of grinding. It wasn’t intentional or anything, since my designated goal this week was to just trek about and see the sights for a bit. But if you give me a camp full of goblins just sitting in my path, and you have me, a player who’s more than willing to give these things a shot on the basis that the worst possible outcome is that I die… well, I’m going to fight those goblins. I’m going to fight them a bunch.

And, I think, this was ultimately a good thing. Because while the game still has all of the problems that I’ve seen to bother me up to this point, the grinding of goblins was a notable island of things feeling fresh, crisp, and responsive. It’s almost as if I enjoy the game more when I’m away from the things of man.

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Neverwinter’s Shroud of Souls endgame quest comes with a new companion

Endgamers are getting lots of love in Neverwinter’s Shroud of Souls campaign. That’s the takeaway from today’s PWE dev blog, which covers the new “featured quest” en route for endgame players, underpinning the storyline of the content.

“The quest begins with the appearance of a strange shadowy tower in the skies above the skies of the River District of Neverwinter,” the dev blog says, setting the stage. “Wraiths now creep around the back alleys and shadows, draining the life of anyone unfortunate enough to wander nearby.”

Rewards for the quest include “a unique chest piece draped in the dark essence of a powerful necromancer that lets the weak survive when their foes do not” as well as a Netherese Arcanist companion.

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The Stream Team: Carrying The Secret World torch and discussing the future

Well then. That answers that. If you haven’t heard today’s The Secret World news, you’ll get an earful tonight. Massively OP’s MJ is still reeling from the Secret World Legends announcement and all it means for her favorite game. No matter what, she’ll always carry the torch for TSW! Thankfully, MJ still gets to log in and play, and that’s exactly what she’s going to do. What she’ll do, however, is anyone’s guess; she might take her frustrations out on every mob in sight and litter the ground with corpses, or she may just wander the world as dazed as a zombie. Tune in live at 8:00 p.m. to join the discussion in a rant-filled edition of OPTV in…

What: The Secret World
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

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The Daily Grind: Which MMO gave you the longest honeymoon period?

We all know how delightful that “new MMO smell” is, particularly when it’s a particularly exciting title that you were anticipating for a long time. Finally getting into the live game, creating your first character, and celebrating with everyone else rushing into release is a heady experience.

After that comes the honeymoon period, in which you continually discover great features about the game and easily devote most of your gaming time to exploring. It’s fresh, it’s new, and it could be “The One” you were waiting for your whole life. But sooner or later, the honeymoon must end and either an ongoing relationship is formed or you find yourself disillusioned and wander away.

Looking back at all of the MMORPGs you’ve played, which one provided you with the longest honeymoon period? From release until whenever you stopped being enamored with that game, how much time did you have?

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Shroud of the Avatar’s Starr Long on the pros and cons of early access

Construction continues apace at Shroud of the Avatar, where the team reports that two new areas are being crafted for future releases. There’s the Sepent’s Spine Mines, a Kobold-infested underground space that will be one of the game’s “most vertically oriented mines to date.” Then there’s The Fall, an open PvP area named after what you’ll probably be doing when you are foolish enough to wander around in its dark spaces.

In this past week’s newsletter, the team also showed off the technological arsenal of City Kobolds (and players will be able to loot and use some of these weapons!) as well as the wearable outfits of the Obsidian Cabalists.

On Friday, March 17th, SOTA’s Starr Long will be talking at SXSW Gaming on the subject of “Is video game early access too early?” According to the description, “This talk weighs the pros and cons of early access using Shroud of the Avatar as a case study.” Looking past that, Release 40 for the game is scheduled to arrive on March 30th, followed by Release 41 on April 27th.

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PAX East 2017: Hands-on with the surprisingly fun Kritika Online

It’s pretty much a rule of nature that at least one game is going to be far better and more fun to play than I expected on the PAX East show floor. This has been true every year, and while the past couple of years have involved my spending a bit less time on the show floor overall, I’ve still walked away with some surprises. This year, it was Kritika Online.

What I expected from Kritika Online was… well, nothing particularly impressive. I didn’t expect it to be bad, but that was because I didn’t expect much from it at all. It was a game that En Masse was bringing over that sounded, at a glance, like the sort of game which fades from memory shortly after you play it. What I actually got was a game that has a clean purpose and remarkably fun mechanics, like the pure product of an MMO marrying a Dynasty Warriors clone.

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One Shots: No more worlds to conquer

There’s that special joy that every screenshotter knows when you’re able to get that perfect angle, that photogenic pose, and then capture it for all time. I kind of feel that Rob was able to get that with this first picture from Star Trek Online.

What is his captain thinking? Is he bummed that the Federation has put a kibosh on his plans to warmonger his way across the galaxy? Does he want that planet to be named “Glory to Rob the Magnificent” and populate it with adoring subjects? Or is he merely contemplating the deep mysteries of what was in that replicator ration he ate for lunch?

No matter which it is, he’s looking profound and deep doing it!

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Elder Scrolls Online: Setting up the Morrowind story

Last week, I trekked out to Baltimore to visit ZeniMax Online Studios and get a first glimpse at Elder Scrolls Online’s upcoming chapter/expansion, Morrowind. After all, it’s been fifteen years since anyone explored the island of Vvardenfell; it would have been extraordinarily dumb of me to turn down the offer. The press event also afforded me the opportunity to speak personally to the ESO developers, including Game Director Matt Firor and Creative Director Richard Lambert, so believe me, I took advantage of every opportunity that I had to get our readers questions and concerns addressed.

During my visit, Lambert and Firor gave a presentation about Morrowind story, the new Warden class, and battlegrounds. Later this morning, I’ll have articles about the Warden and battlegrounds, but in this piece, we’re tackling the Morrowind story and what’s happening on Vvardenfell some 700 years before The Elder Scrolls III.

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Project Gorgon previews its Orc community dungeon

The largest and toughest dungeon in Project Gorgon to date is getting ready for its online debut. The team gave a sneak peek at Gazluk Keep, an Orc-themed dungeon intended for a group of a half-dozen players who are level 65 or higher.

So what makes this type of dungeon special? The devs said that Gazluk Keep is loosely based on EverQuest II’s community (public) dungeons. “This dungeon will be REALLY large, with a lot of branches and offshoots, so that two or three groups can wander through it. Groups will occasionally run into each other at crossroads, but they shouldn’t get in each others’ way too much,” the team said.

This dungeon is being designed for repeat visits and has an eye for the daily life and habits of Orcs. While it won’t be puzzle-heavy, the devs do promise a secret or two for the clever player to discover.

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