Maxis has been around for the better part of 30 years, during which time it's developed an awful lot of Sim-stuff, from SimCity to The Sims. Now it's working in something new, which based on a recently-posted job listing may be a free-to-play MMO.
An ancient evil has awakened. That's pretty much par for the course in MMOs. Almost everything is an ancient evil. That tree? Probably an ancient evil. That NPC? Yup, ancient evil. The crafting economy? Definitely an ancient evil. It's time to add another to the list: at the heart of Season 2 of Guild Wars 2's Living World is an ancient evil that's now terrorising the Maguuma Wastes, and the new zone of Dry Top. That story continues with the Entanglement update, due out later today.
World of Warcraft's upcoming expansion will feature a major graphics overhaul for the almost-10 year old MMO. Blizzard have been slowly teasing the new character models of Warlords of Draenor; most recently with a new look at the male Draenei. As you can see from the new screenshots, the model has had a pretty subtle redesign – most noticeably gaining HD head ridges.
In any MMO, a sense of commonality can develop among its players. It's a genre that encourages you to expend significant time and, occasionally, money, and so which MMO you choose can say a lot about the type of experiences you prefer. Of course, that kinship doesn't stop you from then further splitting into smaller groups for the purpose of more micro-conflict. Hence guilds, the focus of The Elder Scrolls Online's third major post-launch update.
Firefall was first shown to the public way back in 2010, but nearly four years later, it still hasn't officially released. The free-to-play MMO shooter has been in open beta for the past year—almost to the day—which in many cases is the same as being 'released' in all but name, but not in this case, according to Red 5 Studios CEO James Macauley. This month's launch won't just pull down the 'open beta' label, it's also Firefall's "biggest update ever."
The second season of Guild Wars 2's Living World story is well underway, with last week's Gates of Maguuma taking players to the arid Maguuma Wastes, which I hear are lovely this time of year. Now, ArenaNet have begun to tease the next episode, Entanglement, which will arrive on July 15th—exactly one week from today. The trailer suggests we're in for a viney, gianty old time, which would mean that my horoscope was right.
It's a double-whammy of weather news, courtesy of SOE's John Smedley. The studio's CEO dropped falling facts across Twitter last night, showing a series of snow-covered landscapes from the upcoming H1Z1. In addition, Smedley revealed that weather effects are being planned for Planetside 2.
Wildstar's upcoming Strain Ultra Drop will take the already infectious MMO and a new zone filled with pox and pestilence. Carbine previously gave a brief overview of this first major update, and revealed the customisation options it will add. Now, in the new DevSpeak video, game design producer Stephen Frost explains how different players might enjoy this new land of contagious content.
A look at the Star Conflict FAQ indicates that the free-to-play space combat MMO focuses heavily on PvP action, with PvE present but relegated to the status of something you can do but probably won't find very interesting. The newly-announced "Invasion Mode" may change that to some extent, however, by introducing a new AI-controlled enemy that can appear anywhere, at any time.
Two years in development, the Hossin continent is now accessible in PlanetSide 2 thanks to a major update rolling out as we speak. Originally scheduled for an April 2013 launch, Hossin is a swampy, infantry-oriented map which should please fans of mud and shades of brown. It also boasts an Interlink Facility and 80 new bases in a brand new biome.
Over the last few months, Blizzard have been previewing the revamped character models of World of Warcraft's Warlords of Draenor expansion. We've already seen Orcs, Taurens, Draenei and Night Elves, but now it's time for the most fantastical species of all: Humans. As improbable as they are, with their weird faces and stubbly hairs, the Humans have proven a popular choice among MMO players. And for the nearly 10-year-old WoW, they're also one of the models most in need of an upgrade.
Last week, Carbine introduced us to Strain Ultradrop, the first major content update since the game's release. Only a month after the game's launch—and all the excitement, demands, complaints and requests that such an event naturally brings—the developers are unleashing a deadly plague upon us all. Hopefully there's nothing to be read into that.
Since the update's announcement, Carbine have been filling in the details of what to expect. In addition to a new area and Adventure, they've today revealed the housing and customisation options that plague-battling players can expect to earn.
The Guild Wars 2 update machine is slowly creaking back to life. After a short break, ArenaNet have begun teasing Season Two of their Living World—a long-running story chain that aims to provide far-reaching consequences for the game's inhabitants. The season will begin next week with Gates of Maguuma, which is briefly previewed in a new trailer.
MMO naysayers often complain about the interminable grind required to keep up in World of Warcraft. Well, next time someone has a whinge about the grind you can relate the tale of the brave Doubleagent, a World of Warcraft Pandaren who has managed to reach the level 90 level cap by grinding in the most excruciatingly slow way possible.
Back in April, SOE launched an All Access subscription service designed to unify membership across SOE's free-to-play games—including Planetside 2, DC Universe Online and Everquest 2, as well as the upcoming Everquest Next, Landmark and H1Z1. In Europe, though, it's a less attractive offer. SOE's EU portfolio is more fragmented, as their existing games are managed and distributed by ProSiebenSat.1 Games.
That soon won't be the case. SOE and ProSiebenSat.1 have today announced that, going forward, all ProSiebenSat.1 accounts for SOE games must be migrated to Sony's service. For EU players of Planetside 2, DC Universe Online and Everquest 2, existing accounts must be transferred from July 1st in order to keep playing. In addition, SOE have removed their region lock, so new accounts can be created directly on their system.
The process of reviewing Wildstar was a bit like that scene from A Clockwork Orange. After finishing our review, I decided to take a little break. And also, to watch E3, which... you guessed it. That's why I'm only just finding out that the CREDD Exchange has launched, answering one of its still lingering mysteries. Through it, we get an idea of how much work it'll take to earn a month's subscription in-game. The answer, it seems, is quite a lot.
E3 dips into the surreal for me at least once a day. Usually it's because I see someone I recognize in a meeting or walking down the halls, but then I realize I don't actually know them, I just feel like I do because I follow them on Twitter. Today E3 was surreal because I played Shroud of the Avatar with Richard Garriott and Starr Long, the father of Ultima and the director of Ultima Online. We played online, from the E3 show floor, and when Garriott said hi in-game to a Kickstarter backer, I got a glimpse at the cult of Lord British that still exists to this day.
E3 2014 is the first time that many in the press have been able to see Shroud of the Avatar, the new crowdfunded role-playing game from Ultima creator Richard Garriott. But that doesn't mean its backers are in the dark. Garriott, aka Lord British, says the people who have backed his game are included in every step of the process—some have even created art or music that will be used in the game.
PC Gamer spoke with Garriott and executive producer Starr Long on the E3 floor about the game, and how transparency—and the Unity engine—has changed the game development process for the better.
Ubisoft unveiled a new cinematic trailer for The Crew, its massively multiplayer racing game, at the publisher's press conference today at E3 2014. Even better, we now have a date for when The Crew will hit PCs, as well as news of an upcoming beta for the racer.
In the nine years since World of Warcraft's release, plenty of other MMORPGs have tried to capture Blizzard's magic. The problem, for many, was a fundamental misunderstanding of what that magic was. Rather than start with an earnest wish to give people expansive, varied worlds, deep systems and engaging lore, they were instead conceived with the realisation that having millions of regular subscribers would look good on an annual earnings report.
I don't know the circumstances that led to Wildstar's creation, but, having played it for more than 50 hours, what impresses me is that it feels less cynical in its approach and less insecure about its inspirations. The World of Warcraft DNA is unmistakably present—you can see it in the questing, the structure, and, more than anything, the chunky, expressive cartoon style. But from that, Carbine have built, tweaked and created something distinct. Wildstar's biggest lesson is that you don't have to fundamentally revolutionise the genre to make a great MMO. You can instead use what's come before and, through a systematic and rigorous examination of every system, make it better.