After a head-start period that began last Saturday, Wildstar officially launches today. Phil's review of the game will be published following at least a week of play on the game's live servers. In the meantime, this 'review in progress' will document his experiences with the game as they happen. Find the first part below.
Since the end of March, the players of Guild Wars 2 have had a much needed break from foiling evil plans. The first season of the Living World ended with a destroyed city and a newly awakened dragon; both of which are plot points deserving of some resolution. Instead, we've had a big party and a bigger war. That revelry can only last so long, and ArenaNet have announced that a new season of content updates will begin in July.
World of Warships is an unusual military vehicle MMO. Instead of single-seat fighters or tanks with crews of three or four, players will command some of the mightiest ships to ply the seas, with crews of hundreds, or even thousands, of sailors needed to keep them moving and fighting. But it also looks awfully sexy, and not just because of the glorious cinematics in this developer diary, which of course place hotness over accuracy, but because Wargaming.net seems to have a pretty good handle on how to make it manageable and, hopefully, fun.
Reaching the peak of your power in The Elder Scrolls Online is a tale of heroism worthy of a bard's song, but less gallant are the rather abbreviated set of end-game activities for the month-old MMO. The sprawling PvP zone of Cyrodiil has been the go-to destination for some Emperor roulette, but outside of the Imperial heartland, there wasn't much to do beyond running through the same dungeons and boss camps. Thankfully, ZeniMax wants content releases quick and regular, and we're getting the first new chunk of Tamriel today with a huge patch opening up the lands of Craglorn with group- and raid-sized challenges for max-level players.
Calling it "the most remarkable confrontation ever to take place inside a computer game," EVE: Online developer CCP Games has released a new video recalling the battle at B-R5RB. Developer hyperbole aside, the January conflagration—which began with a missed bill payment—does shine a light on the story-generating possibilities of an MMO long known for its undeniable complexity.
When World of Warcraft's Warlords of Draenor expansion finally completes its march to reshape Azeroth as we know it, we'll have a new level cap of 100. Blizzard has already introduced some services to prep new, returning, and current players alike for the next adventure—the most noticeable being a $60/£35 (or free on pre-order) boost to level 90 for a selected character. For fresh heroes, that's a nice jumpstart for Warlords' content—unless you've no idea how Shamans shoot lightning out of their hands or where to even begin with your magical zombie Mage.
Wildstar developer Carbine Studios thinks it can do better than World of Warcraft. The team aims to reinvent many of the genre's tried-and-true (and pretty tired) systems, includes plenty of content for solo players, and brings back massive scale battles in 40-man raids and 40 vs 40 PvP combat. A new interview with executive producer Jeremy Gaffney reveals that the team was torn on the best way to out-WoW WoW.
Landmark, which as of a couple months ago was "EverQuest Next Landmark," is now on Steam Early Access. The voxel building MMO was pitched as both a standalone creative game and a testbed for the RPG features and environments of the new EverQuest, and that remains the case despite the new title. As of right now, though, Landmark is all about exploring, mining, crafting, and crazy projects like the manor above (see more like that in Tim's gallery of the best creations).
As part of Wildstar's quest to release eccentric videos about every element of the game, the latest DevSpeak covers raiding. The upcoming MMO's 20-40 person raids will take the form of challenging gauntlets filled with traps, mini-bosses and not-so-mini-bosses. Specifically, the video shows off how the telegraph combat system combines with the large-scale battles to result in a series of barely-avoidable death patterns.
ArenaNet are celebrating this Thursday's Chinese release of Guild Wars 2 with a global festival, one that will be available to update-hungry players everywhere. Festival of the Four Winds marks the return of the Zephyrites—the kite-ship flying traders that were inserted into last year's Living Story. As part of the event, players will be able compete in challenges and activities, raising money towards the eventual rebuilding of Lion's Arch, the game's central city.
Wildstar's planet of Nexus is about to receive some new arrivals. The MMO's ten-day open beta has launched, giving potential purchasers a chance to try out a generous thirty levels of content. Head to Carbine's open beta page to collect a key. Alternatively, stick around and watch the new Wildstar story trailer. It'll tell you exactly why you're travelling through a bunch of zones, beating up the wildlife.
At last week's Fanfest event, CCP and the mayor of Reykjavik unveiled a giant monument to EVE Online. At the base of the sculpture are thousands of names—a tribute to the pilots that make EVE what it is. Unfortunately, four days after its reveal, one of those names was vandalised—a tribute to the fact that some EVE players really don't like each other. CCP have now found those responsible, and, in addition to any criminal charges that may be issued in the real world, have also taken steps to remove them from the game.
The winds of change soon arrive upon Azeroth. By custom, Blizzard introduces major system updates ahead of an expansion's release, and the sweeping overhauls of the pending Warlords of Draenor are the vanguard of the upcoming patch 6.0. In an official post, Blizzard described what the patch brings for Alliance and Horde players, including the much-publicized slimming down of stats and a reworking of raid difficulty tiers.
When news surfaced that Facebook had agreed to buy up Oculus VR, it became clear the headset maker had big plans for its virtual reality technology. Now we have an idea of just how big. Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe says the Rift headset could potentially serve as the platform for an MMO with "a billion" people, according to a report at The Verge.
Don't bring an AK-47 or a fire ax to a rave, unless it's DayZ. With millions of players buying into the early-access, standalone alpha of the zombie survival sim, it's safe to say a DayZ flash mob group was bound to surface. Founded back in February, the Steam group has been releasing videos of its meetups in recent days. You can check out one example below.
If you have anything more than a passing interest in Wildstar, then it's likely you've already picked up one of the many beta keys Carbine left lying around on the internet's floor. If you only have a passing interest in Wildstar, then even that may have been too much effort. In which case, your turn to play comes this week, when the upcoming MMO enters a short pre-launch open beta phase.
When your Kickstarter fails and your money runs out, two options present themselves, if you're determined to get your game made. You could try to fund the project through other means, or persevere regardless, paying the bills in other ways while you work on the game in your spare time. After the Kickstarter for Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen drew up short back in February, designer Brad McQuaid tried the first approach, bypassing Kickstarter's safety nets with his own Kickstarter-like crowdfunding campaign that would keep every cent pledged, even if it wasn't enough to make Pantheon a reality (or to attract the attention of potential investors, which is mentioned as a goal in the latest update). That money, inevitably, ran out, and development of Pantheon soon ground to a halt. For most developers that might mean the end of it, but McQuaid is so determined to make Pantheon happen that he's now recruiting a team of unpaid volunteers to develop the game.
Andy provided a few details on EVE's upcoming Kronos update in yesterday's EVE Fanfest diary, and now CCP have added a few more, revealing that the spacey MMO's next expansion will arrive June 3rd, which isn't very far away at all. Industry is set to get a "huge overhaul" in Kronos, and there are details about just what this means below.
Last night I watched a procession of CCP developers wrestle with undefeated MMA fighter Gunnar Nelson. Unsurprisingly, they didn’t win, but it certainly was a spectacle—especially when the last guy, who looks like Zangief and towered over Nelson—arrived in in the arena from above, suspended in the air by ropes. CCP know how to have fun, but Fanfest is also, as players often say about EVE, serious business. Throughout the day fans join developers in round table meetings to steer the direction of the game based on their own experiences. It’s a remarkable community event as well as a way for people like me to see what new projects, and updates of existing ones, the company is working on.
If it's good to be the king, then being emperor must be a pretty nice gig, too. The Elder Scrolls Online's first player-emperor goes by the name "Morkulth." He has his own battle cry and a horse named Moonbeam. In a new interview at the official ESO website, Morkulth says he relied on his guildmates, early access to the game, and a lot of trail mix to make it to the top.