GameDaily has an interview with Rend’s Jeremy Wood this week that covers a bunch of meta topics of interest to MMO players and watchers of this oddball hybrid title. While Rend has no plans to suddenly become a battle royale title, Frostkeep is very much watching what the MMO subgenres and companies are up to in order to “fill the same psychological needs that are being filled by those games in [Rend].” Specifically, Wood says his team learned a lot from Blizzard and the MMO genre.
“Our biggest takeaway from our Blizzard experience is you can make a fantastically unique product without really inventing anything new,” Wood explained. “Blizzard got where they are by taking inspiration from all sorts of different great pieces of games in different genres.”
Hey, there’s a new World of Warcraft expansion, right? When did that happen?
There’s a bit of snark there, but perhaps less than you might think. The weird thing is that Battle for Azeroth kind of does feel as if it just dropped without warning; it was outside of the usual release schedule for expansions, with a long lead-in, as if the final product just showed up on our collective doorsteps one day. Assuming you were already logged on and had your pre-orders set, you could just jump right in and start the expansion, which hearkened back to the days of midnight releases after a fashion.
Needless to say, there’s a lot to talk about with the expansion so far. Now that it’s actually live we can see the mechanics and the story with all the polish that’s intended, with nothing left behind a curtain (other than Warfronts, anyhow). Coming off the well-received Legion, this expansion has some pretty big foot gear to fill, and it’s fair to wonder if any expansion wouldn’t feel like a bit of a downturn… but let’s not start there. Let’s just start in on one aspect of the game and go from there.
Yes, just about every MMO blogger was sharing heated opinions about last week’s World of WarCraft WarCrime. “It’s such a sad event and I’m particularly mad at Blizzard at the way they chose to write this,” wrote Aeternus.
Moonshine Manor was equally appalled, saying that she was “not sad at the story, but at having to mourn my fandom.”
“The storyline strips players of agency, it’s not a good feeling,” wrote Mmosey.
And Leo’s Life couldn’t make sense of it: “The lore nut in me sees no logic in this.”
In An Age sympathized with the outrage but noted, “This cinematic short is amazing in isolation.” And Atheren doesn’t want this to be the beginning of the end of Sylvanas: “I hope she gets a redemption arc.”
And Wolfy felt that the community reaction was too much for an outsider: “The level of the freak-out was above and beyond what I’ve had the misfortune of experiencing as someone barely remotely associated with the WoW playerbase.”
At the tail end of July, we covered the Kickstarter of EverFeud, a PvP-focused MOBA/MMO hybrid that sought $105,000 to fund development. Unfortunately, the Kickstarter lasted only a week, as developers canceled the effort with just four backers and $81 pledged.
“We have decided to cancel the Kickstarter due to lack of interest,” the PSB Entertainment developers wrote on Twitter. “We are pursuing other option[s] including partnering with other developers.”
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that development will continue, as the Kickstarter originally noted that the game’s founder had already invested $100,000 in the project and that he wouldn’t “stop until EverFeud is a reality.” PSB had described the sub-hopeful title as a hyper-competitive “arena and battleground-styled multiplayer PVP game set in a fantasy world where might and magic hold sway,” a game “built by PvPers for PvPers,” with no levels and no grinds; instead, it is set in an MMO-like world with battleground factions rather than FPS-style lobbies with gobs of customization, classes, and races.
I’m think I’m over factions in MMOs. I get why RvR games need them, and I’ll grudgingly concede that the average player is far better off joining an arbitrary NPC faction for PvP than wading through the morass of player gangs and protection rackets that pass for guilds in some sandboxes. But for MMO themeparks where the PvP is minimal or walled off or without any impact on the world, I’m kind of sick of them.
That feeling’s come to a head the last few weeks thanks to World of Warcraft’s cheesy attempts to rile up the playerbase and make us shout down the “other side” like sports hooligans. One reader pointed out how these kinds of factions still functionally divide friends from playing together for no reason. Another called faction jabber “forced propaganda.” I wouldn’t be sorry to see factions go away in most MMOs. The whole thing feels so fake and exhausting.
Is it time to move on from PvP “factions” in MMORPGs? Am I missing some vital and necessary function for this type of design?
Bless Online is rolling out a hefty content update today as promised, including the Siege of Castra PvP battleground, the faction-based open-world Capital War, and of course, the sneaky Assassin class. We had a chance to speak with Neowiz – specifically, Lead Game Designer Junyoung Hwang, Combat Designer Seongil Ma, and Chief Creative Officer Jangchoel Rhee – about both the update and ongoing concerns in the game. Read on!
Massively OP: First, regarding the Assassin: I’ve yet to see a rogue class in an MMO that wasn’t overpowered in some way in PvP, and that goes double for a class newly added to the game – studios just can’t seem to stop themselves from making the new toon a bit too appealing. How is Neowiz working to avoid all that, while still making the class something people want to roll up as a new toon?
About nine people showed up at a GenCon Pathfinder Online panel this past weekend, during which Paizo CEO Lisa Stevens gave an update on the status of this struggling sandbox MMO.
Stevens said that with 15 major updates under its belt to date and two employees working on the game, Pathfinder Online is on the final stretch to open enrollment. This means a marketing push to get more people into the game, thanks to the hiring of a new marketing director at Piazo with experience promoting games like LOTRO and ArcheAge.
Future milestones for Pathfinder include an enchanting system, various cool factions (river pirates? Sign us up!), deity groups, a new player experience, new art, 30 or 40 additional monsters, more classes (Paladins, Barbarians, and Sorcerers were floated as possibilities), upgrading to the latest version of Unity, rules from Pathfinder 2.0, and a free trial option.
As you roam through the world of Crowfall, there will be various points of interest. Sometimes they’ll be obvious resource nodes, yes, but sometimes they’ll be things like the new outposts available in the latest test patch. A new entry on the official site explains that these structures are another part of procedural generation, giving players something new to explore and fight over out in the open world.
Outposts are available in three sizes: war banners, single-tower, and double-tower. (The last variant isn’t present in the current patch, but should be arriving soon.) Standing in the designated circle at each spot allows you to capture the outpost, which allows even solo players to feel as if they’re providing a meaningful contribution to their factions. Check out the full article for a bit more detail on these helpful little nuggets of victory points.
Albion Online’s enriched its sandbox self with another big update today, this one the long-awaited Merlyn patch. As we’ve been covering, the most interesting bit for existing players is surely the complete overhaul and implementation of the faction system in the sandbox, which allows players to fight for one of five city-based factions for loot and fame. Crafters and traders will further find a revamp of the gathering and refining systems, the market, resource locations, and trade caravans.
“In this new update, players will find a plethora of new features, like Faction Warfare, new open-world PvP opportunities, new and unique rewards for faction-based activities, refining and crafting bonuses, a redistribution of resources, a vastly improved user interface for the Marketplace, a new dungeon, and numerous additional improvements. On top of that, a 25% Fame boost applies to all activities until Monday, August 6.”
Trailer down below!
It’s time to try a different sort of survival sandbox with the launch of Rend’s Early Access today. You can pick up the game’s current version right now for $30 on Steam, a game which you may have noticed we continually give out high praise for whenever we get our hands on it. Naturally, there’s a trailer just below along with some new screenshots, so everyone gets to enjoy a look at the title.
For those who have missed it, Rend is a survival sandbox (as mentioned) with a bit of a twist. Players are automatically signed on for one of three factions in the game, and the ultimate goal is to be the strongest faction over time. There are limited windows for attacking the main base, but there are also large-scale attacks that coincide with those windows of vulnerability. Check out the trailer just below if you want a glance at the game in action. Or just go ahead and buy your way into early access now.
It’s time to set a really big tree on fire with this week’s update to World of Warcraft’s pre-patch War of Thorns. Last week saw the Horde marching on Darkshore, and this week sees Sylvanas… well, reaching Teldrassil and then the tree burns down. We all knew this was going to happen from last year; it’s not exactly a spoiler.
Completing the scenarios allows you to unlock a special mount for both factions (a Teldrassil Hippogryph for the Alliance and a Lordaeron Plaguebat for the Horde), as well as furthering the story and allowing you to view the next Warbringers short for Sylvanas. You can also view that just below if you want, but be fairly warned that it’s both spoiler-heavy and, well, the final nail in the coffin for any hopes that this expansion isn’t just setting up Sylvanas as the big bad. Fairly warned be ye.
As we foretold yesterday, the PvP-focused MOBA/MMO hybrid EverFeud has officially launched its Kickstarter today. Developer PSB Entertainment has described the title as a hyper-competitive “arena and battleground-styled multiplayer PVP game set in a fantasy world where might and magic hold sway,” a game “built by PvPers for PvPers.” It eshews the levels and grinds of most MMOs, but it’s set in an MMO world with battleground factions rather than FPS-style lobbies with gobs of customization, classes, and races. It’s adamantly anti-pay-to-win and is expected to run a $5 monthly sub and $20 box fee, with no fees for future content.
“Are you looking for a pure PvP fantasy combat game without all the leveling and grinding? Think playing video games should be fun and not a chore? Maybe you do like questing and raiding but don’t want to spend time grinding your PvP character and just want to compete? Then this game is for you. […] EverFeud is a cross between an MMO and a MOBA. It’s pure PvP combat in a fantasy setting. […] All class weapons and gear types are available at the time of character creation. You then choose from an assortment of runes and imbuements to further specialize your weapons and gear. Character classes can be specialized by choosing from multiple ability trees.”
Merlyn is landing in Albion Online next week, bringing a big overhaul to the game’s factions – including new factional bosses for each key city and biome. Sandbox Interactive’s latest video previews five of them, and you don’t really even need voiceover to explain that each of them is a bit different; for example, the Thetford boss is clearly a fireball-flinging wizard, while Lymhurst’s champion was Legolas in another life.
Sandbox has also posted up a huge guide to crafting in the game, covering novice unlocks, item study, foci, and quality.
Finally, with next week’s launch, players will be enjoying a big boost to Fame. “To kickoff the Merlyn update in style, and since we know how much you love that Fame, next week from [July 31st to August 6th] all players will get 25% more Fame for all activities in the world of Albion – gathering, crafting, killing mobs, and everything else,” says the studio.