MMORPG General News
MMORPG Gaming: The Ultimate Nerd Expression?
Fluent explains why in his opinion MMORPGs can be better than single player RPGs
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Neverwinter: An Interview
Lucky Day talks to Cryptic's Jack Emmert about their upcoming D&D "Online Multiplayer Game", Neverwinter.
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Poll WatchDo you play Original Sin - Early Access?
Yes, I am
Thinking about it
No. Only on release
Never. Early access sucks
Not now, not on release
What's Original Sin?
Elder Scrolls Online - The Road Ahead
Matt Firor has a new post on the Bethesda Blog about the road ahead for Elder Scrolls Online. He talks about the new weekend beta, game bugs, and new game content.
In just a few short weeks, we’ll be launching The Elder Scrolls Online for PC and Mac. While it’s been quite a journey to get to this point, ESO’s launch on April 4 is really just the beginning. I want to take a moment to let everyone know what we’ve been doing since my last update and talk about what we’re planning in preparation for launch and beyond.
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - Interview
Blizzard has a new interview with the writing staff of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls.
The interview covers a wide range of topics from how the Diablo III writing team approached the new dialogue to what sort magic happens in the studio once those lines are in place. Brian, Andrea, Gideon, and Mary also wax genuinely about the casting, directing, and recording process for the Crusader, sharing some hilarious anecdotes and behind-the-scenes insights along the way.
Elder Scrolls Online - More Beta Invites
ZeniMax Online announced on the games website they released another batch of beta invitations for Elder Scrolls Online.
Join us in our final scale test event this weekend—more invites are on their way!
We’re sending out invites for our final ESO scale test. We need your help to push our systems, so check your email and join us. If you’ve been invited to previous beta events, you’ll be able to participate this weekend, too. This may be your last chance to help us test!
For this beta, there’s no need to follow a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). We invite you to post your screenshots, videos, and impressions, and to livestream your adventures for everyone to see. Be sure to use the #esobeta tag to share your favorite moments with the world.
Participants this weekend will also unlock an exclusive monkey vanity pet for PC/Mac that will be available at launch.
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - Gameplay Trailer
Elder Scrolls Online - Beta Impression @ Leviathyn
While the tutorial was an annoying reminder of gameplay mechanics we’ve been revisiting for well over a decade and the forced extended tutorial in the form of a segregated island further delays the jump into the proper game, I actually came away from my weekend in Tamriel quite impressed. The more action-oriented combat was fun and fluid – reminding me more of Kingdoms of Amalur than World of Warcraft, and the world building of even just the initial zones was varied and interesting.
Make no mistake though, this is not multiplayer Skyrim. The Elder Scrolls Online is very much a MMORPG in all the traditional ways, and the evolution from “you’re the hero, the entire world reacts to you” in a solo experience to “you’re the hero, the entire world reacts to you….but also there’s hundreds of others doing the exact same thing” is incredibly awkward. It’s a problem for most MMORPGs but as the main Elder Scrolls series is particularly known of its wonderful freedom and Choose Your Own Adventure playstyle it makes it all the more painfully obvious here.
It’s a bit like that South Park episode where Cartman is given a theme park all to himself – he can ride and do whatever he wants all the time, but adding more people suddenly takes everything away as he’s forced to wait in lines and put up with everyone’s crap. That’s a pessimistic look at what MMORPGs can offer, and I hope that TESO’s public quests and PVP can help sustain the social interaction, or at least create one. I never once had to so much as talk to another real player during my play time, and often felt like these other people were simply in the way of my exciting return to Tamriel.
A $60 box plus monthly subscription fee is a very hard sell these days, and many of the last struggling modern wave of MMORPGs that have tried have quickly had to abandon the model for a more sustaining free-to-play model with microtransactions. It’ll be interesting to see if The Elder Scrolls license is enough to convince gamers to pony up the cash, but I fear most folks will simply see a derivative, albeit high quality and well-made MMORPG and wait for the next true Elder Scrolls title.
Elder Scrolls Online - Beta Streams & Equipment
ZeniMaxOnline has two updates on the website for Elder Scrolls Online. The first update shares links for anyone willing to watch more beta gameplay footage.
Now that the NDA is lifted, we’re encouraging everyone to stream and share their adventures in the ESO beta. That means there will be a flood of new impressions and media all over the web during our test this weekend. If you want to see the game from someone else’s perspective and join in the fun chatting and enjoying the entertainment, we recommend you check out these streamers and videocasters.
The second update talks about weapons, and shields crafted in the game.
Smiths in Tamriel add their own personal touches to every weapon, shield, and piece of armor they forge, from choosing a racial style to imparting special bonuses they’ve learned called traits. Master blacksmiths, clothiers, and woodworkers can take ordinary arms and armor and, with the right materials, transform them into equipment worthy of a true hero. In this image, you can see a small sample of the kinds of weapons and armor you’ll be able to craft in ESO if you choose to pursue the fine art of smithing. Represented here are items crafted in each of the nine racial styles, but these are just a few of the items you can create—there are already fifteen different styles for crafters to learn!
Elder Scrolls Online - Editorial @ RPG Slayer
RPG Slayer has posted a new article for Elder Scrolls Online, and calls the game a Bethesda fan’s greatest fear. It's not as bad as it sounds so read on.
I’ve been a fan of the Elder Scrolls franchise since way, way back. I’m talking Morrowind here, with its chunky, square characters, its rigid, stiff voice acting and its curiously loveable charm. And Oblivion – don’t get me started on Oblivion – that game took countless hours of my life, completing every guild, every mission, I even quested to find every location – I easily spent a year’s worth of gaming in Cyrodil. Not that I would have spent it anywhere else, I mean, what else would I do, socialise?
As of Skyrim, my loyalty to the Elder Scrolls only grows stronger, and I trust Bethesda to keep strong their brilliance in their range of RPG gaming. But, as of 2014 my fidelity to the franchise is wavering, as I remain uncertain and wary of the upcoming hit, The Elder Scrolls Online.
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - Inteview @ AusGamers
AusGamers interviewed Lead Level Designer Kevin Martens, and Senior Level Designer Larra Paolilli to ask a few questions about Diablo III: Reaper of Souls.
Ahead of the game’s release this month though, we were given a final chance to not only dig into the rich new content for a last time, but to also speak with lead level designer, Kevin Martens, and senior level designer, Larra Paolilli, for context. The two of them infectiously ran us through the new expansion, but more importantly, were on-hand to serve up fresh quotes where nagging questions or piqued curiosity are concerned...
Elder Scrolls Online - New Gameplay Footage
gameplay footage from the March 2014 Beta.Elder Scrolls Online which they claim is some new
ESOHut has been given the privilege of exploring the world of Elder Scrolls Online Imperial Edition. This footage is of game play as an Imperial and as a Breton, exploring a mix of areas and Cyrodiil the PVP area.
Neverwinter - PvP State of The Game Trailer
Elder Scrolls Online - News Roundup
ZeniMaxOnline has three new updates on the website for Elder Scrolls Online. The first update has news of more Beta invites being sent out.
Today, we’re sending out more beta invites for an ESO scale test. If you receive an invite, there will be an extra beta code included that you can give to a friend to join you in Tamriel!
For this beta, you are no longer required to follow a Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA). We invite you to post your best screenshots, videos, and impressions this weekend, and livestream your adventures for everyone to see. Be sure to use #esobeta to share your favorite moments with the world! Participants this weekend will also unlock an exclusive monkey vanity pet for PC/Mac that you can have at launch.
The second update is a roundup of all the Hand-On Beta PvP Impressions.
More hands-on impressions are headed your way! Two weeks ago, you saw tons of new articles, videos, and screenshots from the early PvE experience in ESO's beta, and last week, press and fansites took a closer look at PvP. Check out the links we've gathered here to find out about battling other players and sieging keeps in Cyrodiil, and enjoy some more new videos and screens.
And finally the third update takes a look at how the games music was created.
When we first started thinking about the soundtrack for The Elder Scrolls Online, there were a number of goals we knew we wanted to achieve. The first and most obvious: it had to be true to the spirit and style of previous Elder Scrolls games. We want you to feel musically right at home in ESO, so you’ll hear familiar themes alongside entirely new ones—an extension of the series’ musical landscape. We hope that as you play and listen, you’ll feel the same sense of intimacy and emotional connection to the world that you’ve felt before in Elder Scrolls games.
Pantheon - Inteview @ Worlds Factory
Worlds Factory interviews Brad McQuaid about his failed kickstarter Pantheon.
It’s a period of upheaval within the MMORPG genre. Many upcoming titles have at least a few sandbox features, in an effort to go back to the genre’s roots as they were originally proposed by Ultima Online; simultaneously, there is also a certain trend to reject the comfort provided by the latest games, with many users yearning for an “old-school” experience, such as the one provided by Everquest for example.
Pantheon follows this road, mainly thanks to Chief Creative Officer Brad McQuaid, who also created Everquest back in 1999. His studio, called Visionary Realms Inc. and based in San Diego, recently tried to fund Pantheon through Kickstarter, but only $460K of the $800K requested were raised. Still, the team is going forward with the development and has already setup a crowdfunding system through their official website, so you can pledge right now if the following conversation with Director of Communications Benjamin de la Durantaye sparks your interest.
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - Pre-Order Loot Revealed
Blizzard has a post on Battle.net with information on the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls DLC.
Reaper of Souls Pre-Order Loot Revealed
Behold! Two epic new bonus items have just been spotted in the mortal realms, both of which will be granted in the future to anyone who pre-purchases the Reaper of Souls™ expansion digitally on Battle.net, or anyone who redeems a Reaper of Souls retail game key on or before March 31, 2014.
Check them out below:
Wings of Valor: Summon the radiant wings of the Archangel of Valor for your characters in Diablo III.
Valla the Demon Hunter: Unlock Valla the Demon Hunter in Heroes of the Storm—our upcoming free-to-play online team brawler featuring iconic Blizzard characters, fast-paced combat, and epic battlegrounds.
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - Beta Diary #4
Ausgamers has posted the fourth entry of their beta diary based on playing Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls. This entry wrapups all the little things they haven't talked about yet.
In his fourth and final diary entry for the Diablo III: Reaper of Souls closed beta, Kosta Andreadis wraps up his experience nicely while pointing out a number of smaller things he hasn't really talked about yet, but that also make this new expansion better than the original game in almost every way. Read on for his last thoughts before the game drops proper this March...
Pantheon - Update #54, Post-Kickstarter Site
Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen has failed to reach it's funding goal, and as promised the latest update links to the new website were you can donate to help make the game.
Post-Kickstarter Site Launch
With a little over four hours to go on the Kickstarter, we wanted to let you all know of our new website, which is now available for pledging to Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen. After the Kickstarter we'd like to invite you over to PantheonRotF.com where you'll be able to pledge directly to the game. Should the Kickstarter not fund, no pledges from it will be charged, so the reward tiers have been copied over from those on Kickstarter, and there are a few new options as well.
Additionally the new site offers a deep social experience. You can create guilds, groups, join your friends, share photos and videos, and much more in preparation of Pantheon. You can even pledge a monthly amount to become an apprentice developer, where you'll get interaction with the developers during roundtable sessions to make your voice heard! (The Apprentice Developer perks are also available in certain reward tiers).
The benefit of a live pledging system such as the one on the PantheonRotF.com site is that the funds received can immediately go into development, with no delay. Your pledges or subscriptions will be directly responsible for the progress on the game!
We wanted to take another moment to thank all of you for your support of the game thus far. Through your feedback during the Kickstarter we've been able to gain a lot of valuable information in moving forward. We're very grateful, and look forward to seeing you all again really soon! The Kickstarter may be coming to a close, but the game is just getting started.
Pantheon - Update# 53, Final Kickstarter Hours
Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen's kickstarter is entering the final hours, and Visionary Realms has an update on the game to help raise more funds.
Approaching the Final Kickstarter Hours
As we approach the last 24 hours of the Kickstarter, we wanted to give a shout out to all of our backers and community who have proved over the last 40 days that there is a market for a return to classic-style MMO gaming. Your support and actions have been inspiring for the past 39 days and we're all very much looking forward to hearing more from you over the next years to come as Pantheon heads into full development mode.
Over 3,000 of you heard the call and wanted to get on board and have already pledged over $400,000 to see this game made - no small feat and it speaks volumes about community for this game. We've already seen the interest, and now's the time to reach even further. We're going to continue to reach out not only within the next 24 hours, but beyond, to make sure that everyone hears about this game. We already know the interest is there - now it's a matter of what we can do to make the product appealing enough to continue pledging towards.
We still have a little over $375k that we can reach for within this last day on the Kickstarter, so let's all give it that extra push. Spreading the word through social networks, word of mouth and screaming from the rooftops will continue to get this project closer to completion. We've seen the passion in the community and if anyone can do it, we can.
For the final day we're also removing the caps off of the tiers - so if there's a tier you or your friends have been waiting for, now's the time! Also remember we have a whole load of addons to flesh out your Pantheon pledge.
As a little extra incentive, if we can reach the $800,000 goal before the Kickstarter closes, we'll offer ALL Kickstarter pledgers unlimited access to the post-Kickstarter development site for three months as an extra thank you. There you'll be able to interact directly with the team and become a part of the development of the game.
Thank you all again from the Visionary Realms team, and can't wait to see how the next 24 hours unfold! We're very proud of this community and are looking forward to many more good times ahead.
Pantheon - Kickstarter Updates# 51 & 52
Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen has two more updates from Visionary Realm, and things still don't look good. The project has 40 Hrs left, and still needs $360,000.
Update #51 - The Summoner
Summoners are masters of reaching through the dimensional rifts to pull items from other worlds into existence or create a portal allow you to travel long distances in a flash. Able to summon many things ranging from provisions to weapons, Summoners can be mobile resource centers. But they can do more than that. Summoners are manipulators of the elements giving them the ability to create elemental copies of creatures in the world or shape the body of a sentient magical core. A summoner and his or her pets are powerful foes whose versatility ensure they are always ready to go.
Update #52 - The Planes of Arcana
The fundamental elements that hold the fabric of existence together within the Pantheon universe are known as the Planes of Arcana. These intangible and abstract planes of magic were formed from the resonating forces that destroyed all life prior to the Planar Collisions. Each one of these planes is comprised of a specific arcane force that serves an important function in the universe. Unseen and infinite, these are not realms that can be visited, but their powers can be channeled through an array of complex and dangerous magical disciplines. Once tapped, they can be used like an artist’s palette to create masterful spells or imbue magical abilities.
Elder Scrolls Online - Blacksmithing In Tamriel
blacksmithing works in Elder Scrolls Online.
Crafting in The Elder Scrolls Online enhances your adventures. We follow the journey of a blacksmith, from exploring and gathering materials to creating a special piece of armor. Blacksmithing is just one of the many crafting skills available in ESO.
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - Developer Playtest
Blizzard's Senior Technical Game Designer Wyatt Cheng shares a new video of himself playtesting Diablo III: Reaper of Souls.
Special 1-hour playtest session with Diablo III Senior Technical Game Designer Wyatt Cheng! This was a very casual "for fun" session arranged by Blizzard Entertainment. Topics include the potential for ladders (seasons), PvP/PvE/PvEvP, game mechanics, synergies, BoA, and more.
Elder Scrolls Online - Editorial @ Analog Addiction
Analog Addiction has a new article for Elder Scrolls Online about how we all should give the game a chance. I agree with them as I see way to many negative previews.
One quote, as over-used as it has become pretty much sums up how I see The Elder Scrolls Online, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. If there is one thing that really grinds my gears after playing through the closed beta for The Elder Scrolls Online, are people saying it is a “sub-par Skyrim”.
It is that kind of tunnel vision thinking which can really affect how well a game is received. The only thing ZeniMax have done to get a negative response is their persistence with pushing for a subscription based model. Other than that, they have done nothing wrong to get silly comparisons.
Sure, it has the title ‘Elder Scrolls’, but it is a completely different experience than what most gamers associate the title with. It has its own style and that is because of two things: it is an MMORPG and it is being developed by a different developer. Having an MMORPG of Skyrim would never work, if anything it might work as a multiplayer game but not more than that.
Pantheon - Update #50, Screenshots & R&D Show
Visionary Realms has another update for Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen were they share more screnshots, and a new developer video.
New Screenshots & Last Night's R&D Show
Vu's been making leaps and bounds with the environments in The Wastes this week.
Earlier we showed some screens of the new terrain details and some early work on shaders and lighting. Last night Vu continued the polish on the area in The Wastes, added in even more detail, some fog, more lighting and texture tweaks, and the result? See for yourself!
Also last night, Salim, Tony, Vu and Ben made another appearance on the Rob and Dan Show, streaming work from Vu's desktop directly to the audience. Meanwhile, the team answered questions from the Twitch channel about Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen. You can see the archive of the show below.
Pantheon - Kickstarter Updates# 48 & 49
Visionary Realms has posted multiple updates for Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen.
Update #48 - New Terrain Screenshots
The art team here at Visionary Realms, Inc. has been working hard to create new, better looking environments for Pantheon. Vu's been working on getting some more details into the existing terrain, and developing a new look for the external areas. The result? I'll let the screenshots speak for themselves.
Update #49 - Post-Kickstarter Plans and Two More Dev Q&A Opportunities
As we enter into the final week of the Kickstarter campaign we wanted to not only thank you for all the support you've shown over the past 35 days, but also to let you know what's coming up. We still have until Saturday to get the rest of those pledges in, so please help us spread the word, as you have been. We're very grateful for all the support that's been shown.
Now, what happens after the Kickstarter? Whether the Kickstarter funds or not by Saturday, the plan remains the same: we will be continuing crowdfunding through our own website. Tom and his team have been building the site over the past little while, as you've probably noticed. The changes will all be in place by Saturday when the Kickstarter comes to a close. From the official game site you'll be able to pledge, much like you have been on Kickstarter, but with less percentage taken off due to fees deducted by Amazon and Kickstarter. So this means more of your money goes directly into the development of the game.
The reward tiers will be similar to those on Kickstarter, with some tweaking done. We've learned a lot about what you're looking for during this campaign and we feel we can deliver on getting you the kinds of rewards you want in a cleaner, easier-to-understand tiers. We'll also be able to add more rewards at any given time, without the new rewards affecting other tiers. This was something we've been unable to do too much of during the Kickstarter without a lot of confusion as to how specific tiers would affect the others.
The new site puts a great emphasis on community and social interaction, much like Pantheon. You'll be able to connect with friends, see their status feeds, create guilds and groups, share images and videos, browse and participate in the wiki, toss around game ideas in the Think Tank,chat with friends in the IRC, post blogs, create events, participate in polls and surveys, and discuss topics on the forums. We feel this kind of community building is important prior to launching a community-centric game, so we wanted to give you the tools to do just that.
Elder Scrolls Online - Tutorial & Beta Gameplay
Noobfeed has two new videos from the Elder Scrolls Online Beta.
Ok, we’ll break this down into two categories. First up, we’ll dive into the dark tutorial, set in the underworld of Tamriel. Here, players get rushed through a mostly linear plane of semi-existence, to learn the ropes, take on their first quests and get cracking in the first dungeon. It won’t nearly get the variety of the main experience, but it’s a start. Watch the tutorial gameplay.
The Grand Adventure
Once completed, the real journey will begin through fragments of the universe. These are further divided into select regions, where many people are awaiting tasks, tons of items can be looted and turned into other useful things. From wolves to giant scarabs, there are fierce monsters to fight, traps to overcome and choices to be made. Sit back and enjoy some Beta gameplay.
Pantheon - Update#47, The Sunken Sanctum
Visionary Realms talks about the Sunken Sanctum in the latest Pantheon update.
On the Sunken Sanctum
Constructed millennia ago by an ancient race of war wizards, the Sunken Sanctum is a foreboding monument resting deep within the dreadful marshland of ruins called the Wastes. It is a fortress built to contain the greatest treasures of the ancient Celestial Empire, worshippers turned foes of Nexus that have vanished from existence. Filled with the tombs of eternal guardians and sealed with arcane wards, this dark bunker of corrupted reverence has repelled entry by the greatest champions of Terminus. And to those few that entered the abyss and survived, a cursed life was their fate. Only the foolish or desperate dare to brave the Sunken Sanctum.
Elder Scrolls Online - Preview Roundup
I managed to roundup a few more previews based on the beta of Elder Scrolls Online.
What I’ve played indicates that The Elder Scrolls Online is a competent MMO in all the usual ways, taking few risks with design and instead just offering a few twists on the standard MMO template. But I’ve seen no indications that it’s a particularly good MMO, nor is it – lore aside – particularly Elder Scrolls-y. I’m bored with it already, and that’s not a good sign.
The Elder Scrolls Online is homage, not a proper entry in the franchise. It is not another world in which we can live another life. It is another MMO. Set your expectations accordingly.
Many of my complaints regarding The Elder Scrolls Online’s PvE questing stand firm here, and I still feel that the visuals leave much to be desired, the wonky animation, clumsy UI decisions and odd quirks would have felt ‘quaint’ in a boxed Bethesda release. But here; in a game that must be bought for a fee then subscribed to per month, you, the paying customer deserve a better class of MMO.
I see a lot of changes taking place in Cyrodiil in the coming months as Zenimax tries to adjust the system to be easier and more attractive. For now though, even though I’ll have a mount for all my characters I’ll be staying clear of Cyrodiil. It doesn’t live up to any expectations I had and all the concerns I had about it before I ever even looked at it came true. But I know my view won’t be one agreed on By everyone.
I can say that if you are an RPG fan and you are looking for a new MMO you need to give it a chance. I read a lot of first impressions lately and I came to the conclusion that all the “bad” opinions came from the people that expected a Co-op Skyrim. This game wasn’t created to be a multiplayer version of a single player RPG, it was created to be an MMO.
Pantheon - Update#46, On Death in Pantheon
Visionary Realms talks about how death works in the games latest update.
On Death in Pantheon
The world of Pantheon is fraught with danger. With perils around every corner the player must be prepared when exploring the world of Terminus. Exploring is very important to us as is respecting your environment. While it is easy for us to make an area dangerous to get through it is hard to place the player in a situation where they truly fear their surroundings if they do not fear the consequences of death.
Being a fallen hero, players are familiar with breaking the bonds of death and being reborn. Of course being reborn means you come into the world with nothing but the skin on your back and some conveniently placed clothing, that is if you choose to embrace death and release. If not, you can sit above a corpse like a ghostly watcher, for a period of time, while you wait for someone to offer you a resurrection.
Regardless of the route you choose, your corpse is an important thing because not only does it hold all of your gear but a portion of your experience. Experience is a measure of how powerful you have become but, like most things, what has been gained can also be lost. This means that losing too much XP can reduce your level making that corpse even more important.
Pantheon - Update# 45, AMA & Twitch
Visionary Realms shares news of a Twitch.tv stream, and a new AMA in the games latest Kickstarter update.
More on Twitch, More AMA
In case you missed the show Tuesday night, Salim, Vu and Ben were back on the Rob and Dan show for another Pantheon Developer Series as Vu continued his work on Sunken Sanctum and a dragon.
The next show will be airing Monday, February 17th at 4pm PST, 7pm EST on the Rob and Dan Show (http://www.twitch.tv/therobanddanshow). Be sure to swing on by to chat with the devs and watch Vu's creations take on more shape.
The Return of Brad's AMA
As mentioned early last week, Brad will be doing another AMA this week. The time is set of tonight (Thursday February 13) at 6pm PST, 9pm EST. The link will be posted on Twitter and in the comments section of the Kickstarter once it starts up. Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@PantheonRotF) and head on over to Reddit to ask Brad... well, Anything! This AMA will be posting on the Gaming subreddit (http://www.reddit.com/r/gaming).