impressions

TennoCon 2018: Deep-diving Warframe’s Fortuna and Railjack

Many fans, including me, are talking about still riding high after Warframe’s amazing TennoCon 2018 announcements this past weekend. That was some pretty epic stuff (I have to admit I  wonder how on earth they will manage to top themselves next year!). I was excited to share the news about Fortuna and Railjack with you as fast as I could; the only downside of that was it was too brief to add in many of the deeper details. I couldn’t include the insights and commentary that Game Director Steve Sinclair and Live Operations and Community Producer Rebecca Ford offered when I chatted with them. If only there were a way to impart that extra goodness to you and add in my own impressions. Oh wait!

While there’s certainly more to learn about the upcoming expansion/updates, here’s a bit more information about the underground all that cool stuff we can’t wait to experience for ourselves.

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Monster Hunter World will launch for PC early on August 9

Oh right, Monster Hunter World hasn’t launched on PC yet. But that’s changing soon, as Capcom just announced it’s coming not in fall, but earlier than expected, on August 9th. Well, that never happens! We’ll take it!

“The title that released for consoles earlier this year has since gone on to become Capcom’s best-selling game in company history with over 8 million units shipped globally. In this entry, players take on larger than life monsters in a variety of vast, living, breathing ecosystems either solo or with up to three other hunters via online co-op, complete with drop-in functionality, a first for the series.”

You betcha there’s a new trailer, and if you’ve forgotten what the game’s all about, we’ve got you covered there too, as we did some extensive guides and impressions pieces on the game when it hit PS4 earlier this year!

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The Soapbox: The western port of Bless Online feels like a curse

To say that the development of Neowiz’s high-fantasy MMO Bless has been somewhat beleaguered would be an understatement. Since the Korean import’s Western release was announced in 2011, it has weathered numerous delays; the loss of its would-be publisher, Aeria Games, which dropped out of the project in 2017 citing concerns about “quality standards”, and an ambitious “rebuild project” wherein Neowiz announced a massive overhaul of the game’s core systems and even considered “[abandoning] the current structure and [making] it from scratch.” Despite these obstacles, however, Bless made its Stateside debut last month when it hit Steam as an Early Access title.

Its launch, however, has been every bit as tumultuous as its development, if not more so: Alongside the standard slew of post-launch hiccups that tend to plague any major MMO release, such as login queues and server outages, Bless had to contend with constant balance issues, half-baked localization, community uproar over missing content, and at least a couple of potentially game-breaking exploits – and that’s just in the first week of launch.

But many a game has weathered a touch-and-go launch and hit its stride in the following weeks, so the question remains: How is Bless holding up nearly a month after its release?

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Our preview of Guild Wars 2’s Long Live the Lich, now live

We’ve waited out the short delay, and today’s the day when we get our hands on the third episode of Guild Wars 2‘s fourth Living World season. Long Live the Lich promises to be an intense addition to the season: A deadly plague in the hands of an angry Palawa Joko is no laughing matter, after all. I am delighted that we have some new content to uncover and the new roller beetle mount certainly helps, so I’m ready to settle in today and explore the gorgeous new map, the domain of Kourna some more. I was able to get a guided tour with some of the dev team before the weekend and was very impressed with the new map and mount, so I can’t wait to uncover more today.

In this episode of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll start off with a short recap so we’re all up to speed before I discuss my first impressions. I played for around 45 minutes and we didn’t go into any key story details, so this article shouldn’t reveal any more lore spoilers than the episode trailer, but if you’d prefer to go in without any info about the patch at all, give this one a skip until you’ve played yourself.

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E3 2018: Well-earned hype for Rend’s pets, construction, modding, and PvPvE

When I met Frostkeep Studios’ CEO Jeremy Wood and crew at GDC earlier this year, I walked away impressed. I finally felt like I understood why other MOP staff are so excited about this flying-under-the-radar title. And this year at E3, I not only saw a more finished build of Rend but got some hands-on time with the game. I can’t say the floor demo did the game any justice, but what I heard from Wood and co-founder Solomon Lee sounded like the kind of forward thinking that only comes from developers who know the history of the genre and their playerbase.

Although I think I could start a hype train, I’m going to try to try to reserve judgment for a little longer. Rend may not be an MMO (it’s a moddable survival game with factions), but it has the potential to feed that MMO hunger we know you’re craving.

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E3 2018: hands-on with The Division 2 – a major upgrade over the original game

At this year’s E3, Ubisoft creative director Julian Gerighty said team behind The Division 2 tried to learn “everything” from The Division to help make the sequel better. As he reminded me, the original game’s final DLC was especially meaty in terms of PvE content and PvP balance, but it’s the first impressions of the game that mattered most: The initial Dark Zone iteration is still what gamers remember best, and that’s not necessarily a compliment. I myself was not impressed with the original demo back in 2015.

But based on my preview of The Division 2 at this year’s E3, I can say that Gerighty’s team obviously learned quite a bit – and absolutely improved on the original.

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Tamriel Infinium: Unpacking the Elder Scrolls Online presentation at E3

Elder Scrolls Online is obviously a huge draw for MMORPG players, but it’s far from an exciting title for the vast majority of gamers attending E3, so I was surprised to see Game Director Matt Firor on the stage at all during the Bethesda presentation. It’s not to say that ESO isn’t a great game; it’s just been around awhile, and the hypetrain is hardly running at full speed right now.

During his presentation, Firor mentioned a lot of things worth considering. He had a very short time to not only tell existing fans what was happening in the game this year, but he also had to remind people of how great ESO is right now. Of course, he was hoping to get new players interested in the game. He knew that ESO wasn’t always well-received, but he had to show how far the game has come. Here’s how he did it.

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Global Chat: FFXIV re-reborn, State of Decay 2, and Dungeons and Dragons Online

With the rollout of Patch 4.3, Final Fantasy XIV is offering its players a nice big slice of content to enjoy as we head into the summer. It certainly seems to be a time in which many players are making their way back to the game — or through it.

For example, Harbinger Zero booted back up his subscription to give the game a second chance. Sounds like things are going well: “How can I not compliment the job system? It keeps the game fresh to know I can log in and with a button click change my playstyle while keeping my character and progress.”

Aywren Sojourner recently wrapped up Stormblood’s main storyline and has a few thoughts on the journey (with lots of spoilers, of course). “I hate to say it because there were some pleasant parts to Stormblood, especially in Doma,” she wrote, “but I’m actually just glad to get beyond this story arc.”

We’ve got more MMO blog essays, including ones on making alt-friendly MMOs, State of Decay 2 impressions, and the best and worst of Dungeons and Dragons Online!

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Tamriel Infinium: With Elder Scrolls Online’s Summerset, more of the same is a good thing

Today is the formal launch day for Summerset! My goal during the PC early access was to finish the main storyline, and I’m happy to say that I did it and some of the side quests as well. And I was also able to do a bit of exploring around the island just to see what was there. As an Elder Scrolls Online fan, I have to say that I’m satisfied with what ZeniMax delivered. If you are a fan of the game and really enjoy what the team has given so far in the game, then you will also like the Summerset chapter.

I strongly believe that ZeniMax over-delivered with Morrowind, so when making a direct comparison between the two different chapters, I will, unfortunately, have to admit that Morrowind was the stronger chapter. But that’s not to say that Summerset was a bad expansion to the game. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. There are some very strong characters, glorious set pieces, and fun Easter eggs.

As I talk about the story of the next chapter, it will be impossible not to talk about spoilers, but I will keep them as light and vague as I can. And I promise that anything that I reveal is not a major plot point. With that in mind, let’s talk about this story!

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The Elder Scrolls Online’s Summerset and Update 18 are live on console as ZeniMax teases upcoming DLC

The Elder Scrolls Online’s Summerset and Update 18 are live for console players today, meaning the chapter is officially out of early access for PC as well, even though you’ve already been playing a couple of weeks. Patch notes for both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are up on the official site, though if you’ve been paying even the slightest bit of attention over the last couple of months, you already know that you’re getting a slice of the Summerset Isles, new armor, jewelry crafting, and the new Psijic skill line.

We’ve got all the trailers, plus a recap of our top news about and hands-on impressions of the chapter while it baked on the test server, down below. Don’t miss Larry’s list of what you need to know before you jump on in! Oh, and heads-up: Bethsoft says there was a bug right now with physical keys for PS4 in Europe and Oceania, but it should be fixed now, so if you had problems this morning, give it another go.

Aren’t enthused by Summerset? Stay tuned. ZeniMax’s latest producer note promises much more on the horizon: “There are two more DLCs arriving this year and many more exciting adventures coming next year and beyond. You will hear more about our next two DLCs at BE3 in just a few days, so make sure you tune into the show.”

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Hands-on: The Jurassic World Alive ARG shows promise, but not for MMO fans

Ludia’s Jurassic World Alive isn’t being marketed as an MMO, but it is an augmented reality game that involves roaming in the real world for virtual dinosaurs so you can battle them against other players. Online. But not near you.

It’s not exactly perfect, kind of like the series, in several ways. It’s not as promising as Maguss seemed in some ways, and suffers from similar design issues, but it also does things differently from Pokemon Go that, with some tweaks, could potentially attract a playerbase, even among our readers.

Just maybe not right now. Let me explain.
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State of Decay 2 tallies up one million sales despite the zombie apocalypse

Despite shaky performance and numerous reports of severe bug issues, Undead Labs’ State of Decay 2 is another big hit for the studio. Outlets are reporting that the co-op zombie title has racked up over a million sales in the first two days of release alone.

That’s not the end of the big numbers, either. “Throughout launch, there have been over six million combined hours of State of Decay 2 gameplay, and we’ve watched nearly 3.5M hours of gameplay across Mixer, Twitch, and YouTube Gaming from over 41,000 unique broadcasts,” Microsoft said. The studio also noted that the typical period of survival for a player character was three days.

Curious what State of Decay 2 holds? Check out our first impressions piece, in which Andrew says that the multiplayer title “has an experience you aren’t likely to find in a lot of games. It’s frustrating and depressing, but in a way that makes you want to see your band of misfits survive and thrive.”

Source: Xbox

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Guild Wars 2 posts small patch, plans Classic Guild Wars retrospective Q&A

Guild Wars 2’s patch this week isn’t a whopper like the balancing patch, but it does fix the nasty event bug in Bugtide Coast that plagued MJ and me during our last stream! You can also now sit on benches in the PvP lobby, and a bunch of classes got tweaks – including the Mesmer, which was finally nerfed in PvP.

Maybe more importantly, at least for anyone anxiously awaiting the next episode of the living story season, @that_shaman now estimates based on datamining that we’re likely three weeks away from the launch of that, so expect the next trailer in two.

Meanwhile, for those more into classic Guild Wars even now, ArenaNet is collecting questions and comments about the game that started it all beginning today through Friday; devs will be answering questions about the original game through June 15th.

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