There are certain expectations you have when a free-to-play game is in open beta with a full launch planned for later. For example, you kind of expect a character wipe. But not so with SoulWorker Online; the developers have confirmed via Twitter that no character wipe is incoming, so anything you do now will still be relevant when the game fully launches later. That does make the distinction between the current state and launch a bit fuzzier, though.
What’s not fuzzy is the game’s IP blocking, which apparently rolled out without warning for all players not located in North America or Europe. As MMO Culture reports, no confirmation or explanation of IP blocks or the lack thereof had been offered by publisher Gameforge prior to the blocks being rolled out, and the game’s Twitter and Steam landing pages still make no mention of them.
Yes, players have finally gotten a sneak peek
at the next new land arriving to Black Desert
, a vast and mountainous region to the south of the existing map. The bad news is that the page offering that first look is in Korean, being as the game is of Korean origins. So you’ll have to rely upon the analysis on Reddit
if you want to make sense of it.
Or you could already know or learn Korean, obviously, but that might be a bit much for a fairly simple preview of the game’s next areas.
These new areas do not have a release date yet for the US version of the game, although it’s still early in the year. Players will be able to explore new lands and presumably continue the game’s main storyline, so players are no doubt excited to see what’s in Drieghan. And you can see it right now… a small slice of it, anyhow.
Calm down, Final Fantasy XIV
fans; the actual patch doesn’t release until Tuesday next week. But the patch notes are available right now
, covering everything you’ll get with this particular update. Looking forward to features like the next stage of Omega, new dungeons, or new regions altogether? They’re all in here!
Wait, new regions? Yes, apparently there’s a new place with an aetheryte that will be important with this particular patch, and while there’s room to speculate about where that will be, it’s obscured for right now.
Players will also be happy to learn about more details of the mechanical aspects of the game’s new glamour dresser and the dungeon-recording Duty Recorder, along with a glance at new mounts, new items, new tomestones… new stuff, in short. You can check out some of the new stuff with the gallery down below, and you can read through the patch notes right now. It’ll make waiting for the full patch over the weekend just a little bit longer.
It’s always tricky to suss out unannounced plans for a developer from nothing more than job postings, but that’s never stopped anyone before. Pearl Abyss
, the developer behind Black Desert
, is looking for a Southeast Asia Business PM right now
. The ideal candidate will have knowledge of at least one regional language, prompting a question of whether or not the company is planning to expand the game into the region with official servers for Southeast Asia.
Obviously, nothing has yet been announced, up to and including a question of whether or not the hire would be relocated or if it would be a remote position. But there’s also nothing saying that the company won’t open a new branch office in the region to oversee a localized version. At the moment, all that can be said for certain is that a watchful eye has been turned upon Southeast Asia, and if you live in that region… well, you may have a localized version of the game soon.
So at the risk of being dinged for spoiling the current World of Warcraft expansion, let me say this: Azeroth is not going to be destroyed or completely overtaken by the Burning Legion. That’s a given. The threat certainly feels real, and I hope more than anything that when our victory comes it feels like a natural outgrowth of the story rather than an arbitrary “well, the story says you win right now so the Burning Legion just got dumb,” but it’s pretty much a given that we’re going to win out in the end. The basic premise of the game doesn’t work otherwise.
The question, of course, is where we go next.
A lot of people have been speculating whether Legion is meant to be the final expansion for the game for precisely that reason, and while I think that’s obviously wrong on the face of it (it’d be silly to turn down that money, after all), the point stands that from a narrative perspective, this is it. This is the big confrontation that has been built up since Warcraft III, and if you have no doubt that there will be a next expansion, it still raises the question of “where does it go?”
Let’s explore the possibilities.
Making a city is hard work. This is true even if you’re working on City of Titans and your main focus is upon making a city which is sufficiently plausible as a superhero playground. The latest development post talks about how the team is making that task a bit more doable with the help of a Builder, a specialized tool that allows the team to quickly assemble buildings throughout the city to look hand-assembled rather than just making generic blank boxes.
Since the game’s city is in New England, laying out the streets correctly (i.e. according to insane logic from hundreds of years ago that subsequently got paved) and making sure the shape of everything looks right is already a time-consuming process. The game opts for the faster method of making the buildings by having a stock set of “building parts” which can be combined into a structure, which would normally still require a fair amount of time for a given modeler to turn those parts into a plausible building. However, the Builder can be fed information and simply produce a viable building in moments. Check out some video of building creation just below.
If you’re a fan of playing survival sandboxes with your friends around the world, better scrape together some pennies to invest in a private server: Conan Exiles has implemented region locks.
“We have decided to East/West region lock the official servers for three reasons,” Community Manager Jens Erik told Steam players at the tail end of last week. “The language barrier and the different playstyles is proving jarring for a lot of players. Also, the vastly different time zones between regions made offline raiding an unavoidable issue for a lot of players who would wake up to all their stuff being completely ruined.”
The locks appear to affect both PvP and PvE servers, in spite of the fact that PvE servers aren’t subject to the same timezone exploitation issues.
Expansions are not all created equally. World of Warcraft went from the surreal alien landscapes of Outland and the frozen tundra of Northrend to… the old world, but with some parts of it on fire. Final Fantasy XI gave us near east fantasy and savage jungle, but it also gave us the exact same old zones in the past. The first expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic was set on a planet made of stone pillars where everyone was super shocked that the pillars were collapsing.
None of this necessarily reflects the quality of these expansions, of course, but the expansion setting is what you use to first get a feel for an expansion. It’s the time to go someplace totally different from the rest of the world, something that some games are often very skilled at accomplishing (none of the original Guild Wars expansion areas failed to feel different, for example). So today, we ask you: Which MMO expansion has the blandest setting? Which expansion has made you look at the exciting new lands you’ll be exploring and given you reason to yawn instead of marvel?
The team behind Shroud of the Avatar has been quick to point out that having the game go persistent is not the same as being done making big changes to the game. For example, while Xenos received a bit of a polish pass right before the game went persistent, the team still wasn’t happy with the state of the area. So another set of improvements is on the way for the game’s next major patch, and you can catch up on the work in progress with the latest development update.
Players can also get caught up on the state of the open PvP region, Blood Bay, although whether you can’t wait to go or you can’t wait to stay far away is up to your play preferences. There’s also the usual assortment of community spotlights and player news, so check out the full update for all of the goings-on surrounding the game. It is, after all, forever in motion, even with persistence.
In most games, you’d expect a patch named Faye to involve either helping or fighting someone named Faye. Not so with Albion Online; that’s just what the patch is named, and while you might encounter a player named Faye while wandering in the new forest biome, we assure you that it’s purely a coincidence. If you did, however, you could applaud or salute that player with the patch’s new emote system; you’d also be able to see her approaching with the new offscreen nametags, giving players time to respond to incoming players.
The patch also features new background music, mounts staying close when you hop off to gather resources, and new guard towers set up across the land to take out outlaw players around the world. You can check out the update in action in the video just below. If you’re eager to roam around in the forest looking for bears and foxes, then get ready for the update on November 23rd. (No word on whether players named Faye are more likely to show up in the forest.)
Update! Trion has just announced that Starfall Prophecy’s open beta will begin in just a week on October 13th!
Looking for a vacation spot for your antics in RIFT: Starfall Prophecy
? Why not visit sunny Ashenfell
? We’re assured that there is quite a lot of sun there, although it’s obscured by the choking ash of a volcanic detonations. It’s a warm place (because of all the lava) filled with beaches (on the shores of lava) and delightfully antiquated buildings (abandoned because they were covered in lava), and you’ll enjoy conversing with the natives (dragons imprisoned in lava). What better spot exists for a vacation?
Of course, if you want your vacation to include a bit of questing, you’ll find hordes of Flaming Squirrels (don’t worry, that’s just a name) and Nightmares (also just a name indicating what sort of opponent it is) as you head toward the domain of Duke Arcarax. From there, you’ll meet all manner of interesting inhabitants, many of whom will be too busy fighting one another to even notice you! And at the end of the day, you can retire to the resort at Thedeor’s Spear, the one place in the entire region where life can grow and where several souls gather to assist the dangerous expeditions into the realm. Can you think of a more restful vacation?
I’ve now made my way through all of the zones in World of Warcraft: Legion twice. There’s something to be written about that, which I think is at once a success and a failing of design. Zones never become irrelevant or boring, but alts never get to bypass zones or do things differently, just in a different order. And it’s always ending with Suramar. But as relevant as all of that may be, it’s not what I want to talk about this week.
Whenever I’m in a new expansion, part of what I think about are the individual zones. Especially for this expansion, the individual zones matter a lot. You’re going back to them regularly, exploring, taking on new world quests, exploring more lore, and so forth. We’ve got only five new zones in this expansion, but they’re large and they’re important. So let’s step back and look at the zones of the Broken Isles, moving around in a logical and vaguely clockwork fashion. It makes sense to me, anyhow.
If you’ve ever had a friend living in Europe while you live in the midwest US, you know that there’s a really big time difference between the regions. ArcheAge‘s
daily event schedule has been adjusted to account for those differences; as requested by fans, daily events will now run at different times for North America and the EU servers
, allowing events to be going on at prime time in both regions rather than one or the other (or neither). It’s a long-requested feature that’s finally in the game.
The patch also adds two new limited-time events, tasking players with catching fish on Mirage Isle and defeating enemies in Mistmerrow. Defeating enemies with fish is not really a viable path, but you’re welcome to give it a shot. Players can also take part in the public testing of the skill queue system. It’s not a major shot in the arm of content, but some better event scheduling and more events to participate in should be more than enough reason for a little celebration.