Those damn dragons, always up to their dragon tricks. If they're not hoarding gold or flying in circles near an ice-topped mountain, they're threatening to awaken and envelop the world in their evil shadow. You don't get unicorns pulling this shit. Continuing on from last week's chapter, Guild Wars 2's next update escalates the threat posed by Elder Dragon Mordremoth.
I sometimes forget how much time, effort and heart people will dedicate to a single game. Where I'll skim the ocean of my Steam library—fully aware that I'll one day drown—others live happily on the island of their chosen hobby. That dedication and belonging spills out of these games, too. There's fan art, fan videos, and yes, likely some questionable fan-fic. There's something joyous about that, especially when—as is the case of this amazing Guild Wars 2 fan-made video—it's backed by a catchy pop song.
You there! Are your next seven days not filled with an expansive and enjoyable MMO? Don't worry, we can fix that. We have 5,000 Wildstar trial keys, and we're literally giving them away. The keys—which are redeemable from Tuesday, 29 July—will give you a full week of Wildstar access, up to a Level 20 cap. Don't worry, that still means a trial period packed full of questing, Adventures, Dungeons and more.
Update: The keys have all been taken. Those that successfully claimed one should be getting their email soon.
What's next for Wildstar? After the bio-terror of the Strain update, Ultradrop 2: Sabotage is based more on the act of hitting fellow players with sharp weapons, or shooting fellow players with laser pistols... Or, as shown by the new DevSpeak video, exploding fellow players with sabotage-enabling bombs.
This was a long time coming. Guild Wars 2 is—like all fantasy games are—about dragons. One of the major complaints about the game's first season of story updates was the lack of anything to do with dragons. This might seem petty, but if you've got giant dragons tearing up the place, you might think they're more important than a local election. In the end, it was all a ruse: the story ended with the awakening of a new dragon. Now the effects of that awakening are being felt. Dragon stuff is happening, and will continue to happen in the upcoming update, The Dragon's Reach: Part 1.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After a much needed holiday from its fortnightly releases, Guild Wars 2 is again preparing for a new season of time-limited updates and story content. This time, though, they won't be quite so time-limited. ArenaNet have announced a new Journal feature, which, they say, will let players save and revisit each season two episode.
From the first episode, due out July 1st, players will be able to 'bank' Living World content by logging in during the two-week period that it's active. Should players miss an episode's window, they'll be able to buy replay access through in-game gold.
I've been playing Wildstar since headstart access began on Saturday. Like Phil, who's detailing his experiences in our review in progress, I'm really enjoying the game. This is the most fun I've had with a traditional MMO since Guild Wars 2, and its mix of new and old ideas has arrived at exactly the right time - just when I've been starting to feel nostalgic for vanilla World of Warcraft, raiding, and worrying about my rotations.
As with World of Warcraft, Wildstar has a substantially moddable interface and there are already hundreds of addons available on Curse. Many are useful, but a few fix problems with the base game - either improving quality of life substantially or resolving oversights in the design of the basic interface. Below, you'll find the set I'm currently using. I imagine that as I level up I'll add to the list, but this is a good place to start.
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.
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.
It's all been very war-ish today. If it's not metal monstrosities firing explosive anger at each other, it's cheerful cartoons scrapping across hovering mobile battlefields. That's the premise for Wildstar's Warplots mode. As explained by the trailer, it's a 40 vs 40 PvP showdown, in which two sides fight it out over their player-made plots.
Of the many Wildstar DevSpeak videos released, most have focused on the upcoming MMO's PvE game. Finally, though, Carbine are offering a proper look at the PvP modes - from the small-scale Arenas, to the objective focused Battlegrounds. The main focus of this video is how the AoE-based telegraph system creates a PvP mode with a focus on manually aimed attacks, and frantic and constant dodging. No wonder the characters are all so in shape.