Posts Tagged ‘ncsoft’

Aion Flying Free: F2P From February

Barf.

The next MMO making its inevitable way to being free-to-play is NCsoft’s Aion, the flying game that does its best to never let you fly. Come next February and you’ll not need to pay to get into the game, via the powers of Gameforge. This is, say Eurogamer, NCsoft’s plan to “boost player numbers in Europe”. In other words, people aren’t playing the disappointing Western incarnation of the MMO, and they want to reawaken the servers. And this is a long-proven method.

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To The Grindstone: Lineage II Is Now Free

Pay for premium items to skip the grind! Realise you have unlocked more grind!

Prep your nose because it is in for one almighty workout. I’m not talking about sending anyone to the Christmas party of a major investment bank, I am instead alerting you to Lineage II’s abolition of subscription payments. The MMO which Tarantino and Rodriguez paid such mixed and seemingly irrelevant homage to is now yours to try for a total cost of no pennies and only three decades of your life. The Goddess of Destruction add-on provides plenty of new content for existing players as well, details of which are scattered around here. NCsoft trumpet that no content is hidden behind paywalls but shortly go on to blither that the usual premium items will allow for speedy progression.

Bartle Banter: Wildstar’s Jeremy Gaffney

You *don't* want to be the big rock guy? What's wrong with you?

Back in July, NCSoft and Carbine Studios took the lid off their next big MMO, Wildstar. I know because I was there when they did. The talking point about Wildstar was how it plans to approach the tropes of the genre in a new way – primarily by asking you to pick a Path on top of the usual class and race choices. Are you an Explorer, a Soldier, an Achiever or a Builder? Or a waster who can’t be bothered to make even a simple decision like that? A little while back, I chatted to Carbine Studios bossman (and Turbine co-founder) Jeremy Gaffney about the path they’d chosen for the game, how it is (and isn’t) based around the theories of grandfather-of-MMOs Richard Bartle, what Exploring entails here, why they have a bunny-eared character, the problem of preconceptions about MMOs and secret slides.
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Lineage II Joins The F2P, Uh, Lineage

It's just for the tourists.
NCSoft send word that the mighty Korean grinder Lineage II will be ending subs and allowing currency farmers (and maybe some players) to sign up for free! Good times. They explain: “Unique among MMO offerings in the west, Lineage II will be available to players completely free – there will be no restricted zones, no limited class selection and no gear stuck behind a pay wall.” (Is that really unique in the west?) There will even be new content for players to enjoy during their trip through Lineage II’s 99 (!) level structure. As for the how and the why of the cash payment system they say that players “will have the opportunity to buy supplemental in-game items and premium item packs from the L2 Store”.

Betaing Around The Bush: Wildstar Sidles Up

Behold! A sign-up page!

Brriiiiiing! Briiiiiiing! Briii-
“Hello, Alec Meer speaking.”
“Hello, is that Alec Meer?”
“Yes, that’s why I said ‘Alec Meer speaking’. God, why do people always do that?”
“Sorry, yes, it annoys me too. Alec Meer here too – you said I should give you a call.”
“What?”
“You said you have so many half-forgotten interviews to transcribe that you needed to find some sort of fool-proof reminder system. This is it. When you sell RPS for $4 billion in 2027, you spent your share on a machine that could send phone calls back through time.”
“What?”
“So this is your reminder to transcribe the Wildstar interview you did back in August.”
“What? Wait, that’s actually really useful. Thanks.”
“Oh, and if you post that beta sign-ups for the new NCsoft MMO are now open, that’ll further help you to remember. Bye!”
“Oh, that’s a very sensible idea.”
“Oh, and don’t play Duke Nukem Forever, it’s rubbish.”
“Hang on, I thought you said you were from the future?”
“Er… Gotta go!”
[Click]

The MMOnitor: City Of Heroes

Man, I should have worn something more practical.
The MMOnitor is a new series in which we ask the developers of various MMOs to explain what is going on with their game, and what that means within the wider context of the MMO. We’re kicking off with an interview with City of Heroes‘ Brian Clayton, Studio Director and Executive Producer. City of Heroes went free recently in the Freedom update.
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City Of Heroes Unveils “Freedom”


You know, the only MMO I’ve ever missed playing, apart from Eve Online, is City Of Heroes. I am vaguely tempted to see if I can somehow resurrect my age old tanker character in the new, free world that NCSoft are touting. I bet it’s changed a bit since I was last in there over three years ago. The latest update “Freedom” has a bunch of stuff new content (see below for the full feature list) but also opens up the game pretty substantially, allowing people access to most of what made the game great (character creation) and the capacity to play through to level 50. Paragon’s Brian Clayton says of the update: “We aren’t just flipping a switch and going ‘Free-to-Play.’ We’re embarking on the biggest content and feature update to City of Heroes in its seven-year history.” I hope he’s right, because I have a genuine soft-spot for the ageing villain-biffer.

Details and video below.
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Guild Wars 2 Takes To The Podium

But will there be levelling up?

Guild Wars 2 lies in a strange place between being something of a man of mystery and having been on show for so long that our eyes have crawled across most every element of it. A lot of the promises being made are conceptual or may rely on idealised circumstances, but nonethless people are being won after dramatically: most recently, it won game of the show at the Eurogamer Expo. So when do we all get to try it? Well, a closed beta has been promised before the end of the year, with an open beta to follow and then a release date dependent on the success of that.

For now, perhaps the best you’re going to get is TotalBiscuit’s substantial videoing (a good 40 minutes, all told) of his high-level play sessions at the Expo – it shows off some the more ambitious mechanics as well as plenty of day-to-day beast-slaying. He seems very impressed indeed, for the most part.
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Guild Wars 2 Has Player-Made PvP Servers


Here’s an interesting little bit of GW2 info over on MMORPG.com, who have been talking to ArenaNet at PAX: “Not only will ArenaNet be making up their own servers for the quick and dirty PVP matches, much like the shooter genre’s setup, but Eric and Colin said they plan for players to be able to create and host their own servers or games with specific rule-sets as well.” I’ll be fascinated to see how that actually works. I have to admit that despite the original game’s heavy PvP focus, I’d barely paid any attention to how PvP will work in the new game. (I just want to wander around those environments.)

Anyone here a GW PvP with great expectations for the sequel?

Eight Minutes Of Wildstar Footage


Earlier in the week we revealed that NCSoft will be publishing Carbine’s space MMO, Wildstar, and Alec delivered his impressions on that. Now eight minutes of footage has appeared (below), and holy crap there is a lot in that eight minutes: the player-character starting out getting revived by an NPC, exploring a valley and dodging avalanches, setting up and using bits of equipment, fighting some kind of space yeti, and appearance and destruction of some awesome spacecraft thing. The visual references are clear, and it’s certainly an MMO in the classic sense, but with some surprises. It does look like it might be entertaining.
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Guild Wars 2 Trailer Is Quite Spectacular

Yeah, yeah, very pretty.
They’re just showing off! Stop showing off, Arenanet. No one likes a show off, ESPECIALLY when they’re pretty. As if the PvE action stuff wasn’t showy enough, the flyovers of intricately produced cities and other superlative-stretching environmental features are just too much. And then that dude totally decks a centaur… and what is that robot thing?!

Really, everyone’s impressed, you can go be humble in the corner now. Christ.
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Wildstar: The First Trailer


UPDATE: New embed.
There’s the preview of NCsoft/Carbine’s ambitious new sci-fantasy MMO Wildstar, and here’s the first scene-setting video. Pre-rendered intro vid kinda stuff rather than in-game footage, but sets the scene, the tone and introduces the three playable races and some of the classes… Take a look. Now, I must run off to a giant German convention centre to go see many, many games.
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NCSoft Vs The World: Wildstar Preview

“Cool story, Gaffney.” So Wildstar lead Jeremy Gaffney, co-creator of Turbine and now heading up NCSoft’s MMO dev supergroup Carbine Studios, repeatedly mock-chastises himself when unveiling their first game to the media. He’s making promises we’ve heard so many times, about so many massively multiplayer games that ultimately didn’t live up to their wild hype: this is “the deepest, richest MMO ever,” it “lets players play how they want to play”, “this is something new.” You know how that song goes. Cool story, Gaffney. This guy though, right here and now, aims to back up his grandiose claims, right here and now. Carbine are finally ready to show off fantasy/sci-fi hybrid MMO Wildstar. It goes a little something like this.
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Latest Image From Mystery Carbine MMO


Carbine’s art director Matt Mocarski has posted an early image from the game (above, click for full), as well as a statement of intent for his visual style, which he describes as “hand-crafted” and “magical”: “We knew we were a future fantasy game – players will see both fantasy and sci-fi elements in our world and our gameplay. We also knew we’d need to be able to tell a huge variety of stories, everything from intense drama to mind-blowing action to humorous tales. There were a few influences that we really focused on. Animated films such as Atlantis, The Secret of Nimh, and Princess Mononoke really nailed the overall look of the style. We know that our game was for adults so we studied shows like Naruto and Full Metal Alchemist to see how they balanced a unique visual style with stories that had both humor and drama. Lastly we looked at comics such as Hellboy, Battle Chasers, and Tank Girl to influence our balance of technology and fantasy.”

The game is set to be revealed by NCSoft later this month, and we’re mildly excited. Here’s why.

Guild Wars 2: Goddamn Plant People!

Look at his hideous green face. Horrible.
Plant people! It’s an abomination, I say. If plants were meant to be people then God would have given them the vital organs to be human, like eyes and shoes. ArenaNet, however, see nothing wrong with creating a leafy mockery of the human form with their “Sylvari”. They’ve gone as far as to blog about it in detail here, and also to detail their visual appearance here. Not an Ent in sight, though, so that’s some small reason to be thankful, I suppose.

Anyway, it’s appalling. They’re almost as heinous as those monstrous anthropomorphous plants in Popcap’s ridiculous Plants Vs Zombies. As if pot plants could ever defeat the undead. You’d need trees and stinging nettles at the bare minimum.

NCSoft’s New Game Reveal Revealed

Sci-fantasy!

Revealed: a game will be revealed next month. However, this quasi-news is of note despite the lack of a name and a JPEG or two purely because it concerns the next MMO from NCsoft, and the impressive clutch of developers who are making it. It’s made by Carbine Studios, a sort of MMO dev supergroup headed up by Turbine co-founder and Asheron’s Call co-creator Jeremy Gaffney (who also worked on at least one of Ultima Online’s axed sequels), Fallout lead designer Tim Cain and Guild Wars’ world designer Jess Lebow – plus folk who’ve worked on the likes of World of Warcraft, Everquest 1 and 2, City of Heroes, Free Realms, Diablo II and StarCraft.

In other words, this is probably something we should sit up and pay attention to.
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Hands On With Guild Wars 2


We’ve played Guild Wars 2. It’s tough. It’s good. Here’s a little feature about how it is coming together, including some thoughts on that newly-revealed Engineer profession, and underwater combat.

Okay, so you know Ascalon? Noble, quaint kingdom, lovely people, delightful taste in continent-spanning walls? Crushed by the Charr at the beginning of Guild Wars, and so forth? Population massacred, people scattered, a last stand frozen in time by the desperate actions of King Adelbarn? Hmm, yes, them. Tragic story. Sad.

Did you ever think that they may have been the baddies?
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Better Down Where It’s Wetter: Guild Wars 2

Would that rifle even work underwater? No realism with these games.

Are you going to the beach this summer? The weather looks like it’ll hold up, though personally I’ve always enjoyed a walk in the rain along a stormy beach front, as long as I don’t have to deal with scuba diving wolf men battling with lizard spike beasts.

The forthcoming Guild Wars 2 made a splash with the reveal of some interesting looking underwater areas covered in this previous developer walkthrough, and now two rather stylish trailers would like your attention as well. Are you going to take the plunge? Let’s dive in.

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Guild Wars 2’s Underwater Worlds

Bubbles!
Well, I wasn’t expecting this. Guild Wars 2 apparently has a “huge” amount of underwater content, including unique underwater weapons and abilities and – according to developer Jon Peters talking in this Gamespot video, embedded below – entire underwater cities. The twenty minute shows some huge aquatic creatures, lots of combat, and some extremely atmospheric underwater and coastal areas. It’s fairly impressive, and certainly makes other MMOs’ brief dabbling with submerged areas look pretty, uh, shallow. Go take a look.
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