It’s important in an MMO to feel like you own the bundle of stats and spells that you lovingly refer to as a character. Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen has taken a step toward improving that feeling with the first version of its character creator, just patched into the game’s test client. Hooray for making characters!
Meanwhile, Defiance 2050 has moved out of its test phase and into full-on relaunch territory. Hooray for launches!
There has been some other beta movement, too. Some of it is rather silly. Cases in point:
So, somewhat silly, but rather quiet. Not a bad week! We’ve got our usual list of games in development just below, and as always we appreciate anyone letting us know if something swapped phases without us noticing down in the comments. It’s very kind of you.
Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen’s pre-alpha test continues to progress forward, as the team just patched in the first version of the MMO’s character creation system this week. Six of the nine playable races for the game have been modeled and textured so far. These include male and female versions, because genders aren’t just cosmetic!
This month’s newsletter introduced players to the Giganaa, massive giants who tower over players and buildings. No doubt, they will make for fine targets with deep loot pockets in the future.
One project that the team has been working on is expanding class functionality in Pantheon. “Short term, I’ll be adding special support for all the other player classes. Today that means getting all the cool special ranger functionality into pre-alpha. Long term, I’d like to help us redefine what it means to play an MMORPG,” said Senior Programmer Jason Weimann.
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!
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
Listen to the show right now:
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!
Beta testing for Elder Scrolls Online’s Summerset expansion – as well as the free update 18 that’ll launch alongside it – began this week as the chapter rolled out to the PTS, with plenty of glimpses at new housing and wearables on the way. What else is new in MMORPG testing this week?
- Defiance 2050’s big PC closed beta is live for the weekend – though console players have been put off a little while longer.
- Old School RuneScape has begun testing its mobile client. That’s not very old school, but we’re not complaining.
- WoW’s Battle for Azeroth kicked off player testing of dark iron dwarves and mag’ghar orcs.
- Conan Exiles rolled out what’ll probably be its last major patch for testers before its official launch next month.
- Radical Heights’ early access teased female toons. In ’80s leotards.
- MapleStory 2 is plotting its western closed beta for next month.
Did we miss anything? Drop us a note in the comments, then check out our traditional list of all the bits and bobs currently
malingering trucking along in some form of testing.
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.”
Good news, Boss Key fans! After the studio pretty blatantly gave up on LawBreakers, it turned around and quickly launched its next project, a battle royale title dubbed Radical Heights. It sprang to life on Tuesday, and then it… sort of limped right after that. The numbers do look at least slightly better after the rest of the week, so hooray? Maybe?
Looking back, I started that paragraph with “good news.” I’m not sure why I did that.
Other beta news? Hey, sure.
Other beta titles? Oh, listed below, as we do. If you notice something jumped test phases without our noticing, do let us know down in the comments. We really appreciate it.
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.”