Have you ever been able to capture a truly victorious moment in your MMORPG journeys? Rees Racer did, and he is not above showing off (fortunately for us!).
“No spoilers, so I’ll just pass along a TERA cutscene shot from a meeting with Priestess Ciebel after the defeat of a traitorous threat to the Alliance,” Rees writes. “Of course, my Gunner is issued new orders almost immediately as there are seemingly always other harbingers of doom to confront…”
You save the world once, everyone wants you to keep on doing it, over and over again. My advice? Start charging per apocalypse and put aside a portion for retirement in another dimension.
From zombies to demons, game designer Harrison G. Pink is no stranger to bizarre apocalypses. Pink formerly worked on Telltale Games’ hit Walking Dead and Tales from the Borderlands titles, but nowadays he has a new address: Blizzard Entertainment.
Pink announced on Twitter this week that he was snapped up by the studio to work on Diablo III as a senior game designer. The action-MMO could certainly use a shot of new blood as it dealt with a shaky Patch 2.6 rollout and questions about the game’s future in the studio’s portfolio.
Meanwhile, Gamasutra reports that Blizzard’s in-house senior audio director has been let go by the studio after 12 years of service, apparently in favor of freelance contractors. Russell Brower explains that “as the company has grown, the topography of the Sound team has adjusted accordingly, and the last couple of years have been no exception. With the success of a ‘sound de-centralization’ initiative, my current position of overall Sr. Audio Director/Composer is no longer relevant and is being eliminated.”
ARK and Conan aren’t the only survivalboxes in town — in fact, several of the modern contenders in the subgenre have updates and videos this week demonstrating their progress.
Today, we’ll start with Next Day: Survival, a new game to our coverage here on Massively OP and one that’s just hit early access today. It’s touting its storyline, questing, “sophisticated crafting system,” car restoration system, repitation, and multiple game modes, including pure PvE and a single-player mode.
“Next Day: Survival is a multi-player survival game with elements of RPG. Its action takes place in an imaginary country within the Eastern Europe, a large part of whose territory is contaminated with toxic fog. The player’s main task is to survive, to develop his game character’s skills, and to interact with the surrounding world, other players, and non-player characters (NPCs). In the course of the game, the character earns a reputation, which gives him the chance to join various factions of survivors, each with their own features and limitations.”
We’d heard about (and stressed over!) various Secret World Legends changes for a while, but you just can’t know how those changes will affect the game until you experience them. Now we have. We’ve had three and a half weeks to dive in and play around, getting a feel for the Secret World reboot. So how do some of those changes play out in practice? I’ve already noted a few initial pros and cons, but some topics — like levels — needed more time.
Moving to a level-based system was one of the changes I was personally most unsure about with this reboot. I have never been a fan of levels, preferring skill-based systems. Luckily, the ability to personalize your build with the weapon skill trees was retained. And I get that levels are more universally recognized. But after nearly a month, I have found that although levels do have some benefits, as currently implemented they are causing issues within Secret World Legends that are affecting gameplay — but mostly only for patrons! The good news is there is a fix.
We’ve seen some odd Kickstarter projects come across our desk, but Global Adventures has to be up there in more ways than one.
This colorful Diablo clone sends player characters on a globe-hopping trek to find treasure while avoiding Indiana Jones-like traps and battling zombies, pyramid monsters, vampires, and the occasional ninja. Players will take the role of one of five classes, including the Shock Trooper and Biotechnician. There are also side-scrolling vehicle segments that will take you back to the 16-bit video game era, because why not.
Global Adventures is billing itself as an MMO, but from what we can tell, it looks to be more of a solo or multiplayer experience in the same vein of most action-RPGs.
But perhaps the weirdest part of this game is its new Kickstarter, which is attempting to raise a whopping $170. Which it already has. Why so little? Global Adventures already has full investment to complete the game, so the crowdfunding is to prove to those investors that there is a western audience interested in such a game. Most of the funds raised will go to localization, voice acting, and even an anime series.
The one thing that I thought we could all count on forever was that the MMO life cycle was pretty easy to understand. A game is launched, then it runs for a certain amount of time, then it shuts down. That last part kind of sucks, but the point is that you know when it’s time to move on. The life cycle is clearly one of creation, then life, then death, like a potted ficus or a cheap desk chair you get at Target.
But then sometimes you have a cheap desk chair that breaks in a crucial way, but you manage to screw the right sort of braces together so you can keep using it for another year after it should have been thrown out. And sometimes an MMO is born, and then it lives, and then it… doesn’t live, but it’s not actually shut down or in maintenance. Or it isn’t clear what’s going on with it, due to what seems to be total abandonment. Or it updates more than games which are supposedly live.
That’s what this column is all about. MMOs in a weird sort of limbo, where some facts are clear, but the results or the overall trajectory make no sense. Sometimes it’s not even clear if the game has actually launched or not. It’s weird.
Dr Richard Bartle, best known to MMORPG players for establishing the research that ultimately led to the admittedly flawed but widely quoted “Bartle test,” spoke at Gamelab Barcelona 2017 last week with research of continuing interest to gamers: a new model for non-player types, floated by him publicly for the first time.
His original model was “insular,” he argues. “It tells you why people do play, but not why they don’t, which is often more useful.” The new matrix covers what is essentially the developer’s quest for accessibility, the “sweet spot where the game’s depth matches the player’s insight,” on a quadrant of easy vs. hard mapped over shallow vs. deep. Like Bartle, I’m not sure “rock babies and opera zombies” will catch on, but he manages to apply it convincingly to explain who buys what and why in free-to-play MMOs.
The whole slideshow is worth a look (doesn’t load in Chrome, note), though I suggest you choose to read that font ironically! With luck we’ll get a video of the whole talk at some point.
It’s been a week since Funcom threw open the doors of Secret World Legends’ headstart to everyone and removed the NDA. That’s seven days of choosing factions, meeting handlers, blasting zombies, dodging traps, upgrading weapons, and learning about the Filth — and getting to share those experiences! And share I shall.
So what do I think of the “new” game after a week of non-testing play added atop my beta adventures? Knowing that I am quite the fan of the original, some folks might expect me to sing unending praises of everything. For that same reason, others might expect me to decry that this version has obliterated what I held dear. In truth, this Chaos Theory will be neither extreme (sorry if that disappoints!). In Secret World Legends, there are some things I really like, some things I will tolerate for the good of the game, and then there are those things I do not like.
How would I answer the burning questions on many folks’ minds: How much has the game changed, are those changes actually worth it, and is SWL worth playing (again)? My short answer is that’s a very personal decision depending on your personal tastes. But since the game is free-to-play, why not give it a go? I think it is definitely worth it.
I would like to start this article by saying that there are a lot of things to like about Secret World Legends, but for me, those good things — despite their being some of my favorite things about RPGs and MMOs — make it hard to overlook what I consider the flaws of the game.
Although there were always weird bits to The Secret World’s storytelling, like the silent protagonist, I’ve long considered it to be some of the best storytelling in MMORPGs. With the launch of Secret World Legends, that has not changed. In fact, I would say that as an introduction to the game, it’s improved. The weak point to the game has always been the combat. There were some very confusing things about it, which have been fixed, and there were some aesthetic issues, which have not been fixed.
I am very torn about how to approach my impressions of the game. I want to come at it as someone who hasn’t played it before because it’s being sold as something new. But at the same time, I have played the game, and I know exactly why I never played it for more than a week at a time. I approached the game from two different perspectives: Would this impress someone who has never played it, and will returning players who didn’t stick with it over the last couple of years be interested enough in the changes to come back?
One of the indie highlights of this weekend’s pre-E3 show was Ashen, a beautiful survival sandbox with a former Guild Wars 2 artist on board at studio Aurora44. It’s not quite an MMORPG, but it’s promising what it’s calling “passive multiplayer” in a “seamless multiplayer” mode — a bit like what No Man’s Sky promised and failed to deliver — though you can opt to play solo too. It’s reminding me more of the Myst franchise or Wander in that it’s a survival sandbox framed by mystery and open-world exploration and relationship-building, not so much by the now-tropish parade of murderous zombies, dinosaurs, or other players (which is not to imply it’s not stuffed with danger, mind you!).
It’s expected to be a Microsoft exclusive, meaning PC and Xbox One release only, and that includes the newly announced Xbox One X. Peek at the trailer down below.
Call it State of Delay 2.
Players are going to have to wait a little bit longer to get their next hit of Undead Labs’ State of Decay. At E3 2017, Undead Labs announced that State of Decay 2 is now looking at a spring 2018 release window for the co-op zombie title. A developer consoled fans on Twitter for the delay, saying, “So, yeah, the date shifted as you saw. This is hard for me as a player but great for the game. Hang in there a little longer?”
On a more positive note, State of Decay 2 was announced to feature Xbox Play Anywhere funcationality, which allows players to effortlessly transfer progress between console and PC. You can check out a pair of new trailers from the trade show after the jump!
Sometimes you have to ask yourself why developers fix bugs that are clearly awesome. And so it is with H1Z1: King of the Kill’s recent patch, which mentions that the team “fixed at least one major cause for vehicles appearing to sink into the terrain and explode when approached.” At least there’s the hope that there are other causes, right?
Anyway, yesterday’s patch was relatively small, mostly focused on a few small adjustments, infrastructure improvements to better handle the load of players, and the addition of laminated armor to airdrops.
Meanwhile, the sadly neglected H1Z1: Just Survive is getting a little bit of attention with this afternoon’s stronghold livestream. “Exciting changes are coming to Just Survive this summer and we want to kick that off with a livestream discussing the new stronghold system,” the team posted. Watch it after the break!
If you thought I was enjoying my time with Neverwinter
as a whole, you would be right. I am
enjoying my time with the game as a whole, and while there are bits and pieces which don’t totally sell me, my initial impressions have been positive. Heck, even my impressions from the last week or so of play have been mostly
positive, with a lot of good experiences and a few which are…
Yeah, I could say “less good,” but I’m going to go with just plain “rage-inducing.”
Here’s the weird thing: At least one of the things which inspired a rage-spike from me was something I had been waiting for from the moment I started playing the game, and people who have read my work long enough probably know what that means. So join me as I find the item I dread more than any other in games by Cryptic, an item that appears in both of the other titles run by the studio that makes me start shuddering with rage every time I see it.