This month, it seems like just about every major RPG out there is getting a major update. Divinity: Original Sin. Wasteland 2. Guild Wars 2. Even Deus Ex! All we need is for someone to announce that they've secretly been upgrading Darklands on the sly and we'll have the whole set. Here's a quick look at what's taking a level up on a PC near you.
Goodness, this took longer than I was expecting. Heart of Thorns is getting ready to offer many Guild Wars 2 players their greatest challenge - getting their ****ing password out of ArenaNet's ghastly 'forgot your password' system that seems to have confused stopping chancers getting into your MMO account with protecting the nuclear launch codes. But, following up its jump to the world of F2P, it's bringing a lot of cool stuff to gently encourage folks to pay. In particular, there's a new profession, the Revenant, which channels heroes from the past to beat stuff up in the present, and Elite specialisations for each of the classes - Elementalists for instance becoming Tempests, and Thieves becoming Daredevil, hopefully without fighting too much about which version of the costume is best. There's also a new jungle region designed around verticality, the Heart of Maguuma, with a personal storyline that Trahearne won't be allowed to stomp all over, and a ton of single-player quests and adventures along with dungeons and guild focused quests for more social flowers.
Deus Ex. One of the greatest games of all time, but not one that's exactly aged like fine wine. Deus Ex: Revision is the long delayed complete overhaul, ripping out the levels and remaking them to better use modern technology to show off the post-modern kind. It's shinier. Higher resolution. The world more built out and complex instead of looking like an epic war for control of endless grey shoeboxes. And thankfully the team has been working with Squeenix, so there'll be no rush to snag it before a bunch of pretentious old men running the world pull it from the internet. No word on whether swimming is any more use. The whole thing is due out on the 13th, touch wood.
This one is set to land on the 27th, and it's one hell of an upgrade. Many of its features are geared around its jump to traitorboxes, but that's okay, because they're all very welcome PC upgrades too - local co-op, gamepad support (I've tried it in Divinity: Original Sin 2, and it seems pretty effective, though definitely give me mouse and keyboard instead) and split-screen.
Most interestingly though, Larian has rewritten much of the story to be clearer about what you're actually supposed to be doing and why, hopefully sparing new players from annoyances like not realising they have to get into the witch's cottage on the second map instead of following the instructions to go to town, and recorded voices for all the characters. There's also a whole new ending which I secretly hope involves a small child emerging and claiming to be the mastermind of the entire Divinity series, only for our heroes to beat it down into a small puddle of jelly. That plus a lot of smaller updates and new visuals should make for a pretty cool upgrade. Returning players can also try their luck at Tactician Mode, which is basically the designers watching a million streams and YouTube videos of players beating encounters and going "Haha, no."
Lots to look forward to while waiting for the sequel, then.
Come the 13th, the Wasteland will be a more interesting place too. It's a less exciting upgrade than Divinity's, but a worthy one - starting out with a graphical upgrade to Unity 5 complete with new art and character models and another 8,000 or so lines of spoken dialogue. The other big additions are there to bolster the RPG side, which was a touch shallow at release, with the addition of Perks (bonuses) and Quirks (personality traits with both negative and positive efects), as well as an upgrade to the combat system to finally allow targeted shots. It's just not a Fallout style game if you can't pop an enemy right in the balls. Now, it can be. As well as a Wasteland one, obviously.
Honestly, I've not paid much attention to The Old Republic since launch, after being disappointed at how much the 'It's KOTOR 3, 4, 5, etc' pitch undersold the amount of 'It's also a very boring MMO' you had to do to see that. Pity. I was fond of my Imperial Agent and my Sith Inquisitor. Come October 27th though, Bioware is putting the focus back on the storytelling stuff with the Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion - free to subscribers. You play as "The Outlander", a Level 60 veteran of the Great Galactic War, with eight class stories promised to be 'a deeper, more accessible experience purely focused on immersing you in a personal Star Wars story.'
I'll be honest, these are words I like the sound of. The expansion contains the first nine chapters of the story, with more coming down the line. It's also still possible to take advantage of a 12x Story XP Boost offer that means you can skip all the tedious shared filler and just play your own class stories - aka, 'the good bits'. Bioware is also reshuffling the entire game to make it faster to get through it, flagging key missions and story arcs and reducing the number that you need to get through in order to progress. I kinda wish this had been done a couple of years ago, because I've spent the last few months thinking "Yeah, I really should go and try that again" without ever actually getting round to it. But hey. Maybe when the expansion hits.
On the 13th, it's time for the first of two expansions for one of my favourite games of the year that isn't Undertale, and unlike everything else on the list, I can tell you that it's awesome and totally worth checking out. Read my Wot I Think about it for full details, and a reason to look forward to next year's Blood And Wine as well. It's also been joined by a Witcher 3 mega-patch, which mostly goes to town on bugs, but also adds a couple of bits of content like new romance dialogue with Triss and Yen.
Link: The Witcher 3
I think that's all of the big updates coming this month - if I've missed any good ones, post 'em below - but goodness, what a busy month, and a testament to just how well the genre is doing right now. You just can't keep a good RPG down these days. Or even Champions Online. Let's hope the next wave is just as blessed when it lands.