If you’ve never been to Gamescom you are missing out, with the latest in the hardware and software sector it’s one of the years most prominent events. At Gamescom you can immerse yourself in the multi-faceted world of gaming and technology, have fun and experience all the latest game premiers. If you can’t be there, here are a few of the highlights that you might want to check out, as we get more information be sure that we’ll bring it to you here at The Gamers Blog. Here are a few of the announcements so far that I’m particularly excited about.
Firaxis prepare to upgrade XCOM with their Enemy Within expansion
Enemy Within will be available on PC and Mac, while Xbox 360 and PS3 will get the “Commander Edition” that includes a copy of Enemy Unknown and the Slingshot and Elite Soldier content packs. Set in the confines of Enemy Unknown, it’s the same game just with more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4KdSli869U
Diablo 3 unleashes new terrors, in the new expansion, Reaper of Souls
Named after its new lord of darkness, Maltheal, the fallen angel of wisdom who has now become the angel of death. The expansion will add new zones to fight through, a new class called the Crusader and raise the level cap to 70 for all of Diablo 3′s current classes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cb7QJwQ58T0
Crytek’s new CryEngine
Now just called ‘CryEngine’ features revolutionary PuddleTech. Crytek’s Carl Jones explains “We have revolutionised many parts of the engine: we have overhauled our entire lighting system, built movie quality character rendering and animation solutions, vastly improved the speed and effectiveness of our Sandbox editor, and even our rendering has changed with tessellation, pixel accurate displacement mapping and now physical based rendering; all of this while maintaining our first principal: that making games should be real-time, all the time.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vF1zjDSqPoo
June 7, 2013
MMO Update: Levelling up and getting set for ESO beta
May has been an extremely busy month, but there is always time of course for some warcraft and I’ve been smiting my way to 90 with my priest, not far to go now 88 and counting. Also in a bold move, our 5-man dungeon team have decided to strike out on our own and set-up a brand new guild! Never ones to be afraid of a bit of hard work we realise we’ve got quite a way to go to make level 25 but we’re going to have fun trying, it gives us a chance to do the things we always wanted: to make a guild that is fun and social attracting like-minded people, using our professions to help our fellow guildmates and stocking our guild bank and especially knowing who to go to by actually having a guild website as well as plenty of officers who are online regularly. We acknowledge that we’re not epic, we’re all about the learning experience, and encourage others to come learn with us and not feel that they’ll be letting anyone down… we do that for ourselves mosts instances! So, it’s time for us to run some of those classic dungeons, grab a tabard and grind that rep, I see good times ahead. So it’s great news that Blizzard have released their in-game events page to the World of Warcraft Game Guide, the page lists all the different types of regular contests and celebrations in one place.
Also on my radar is the new Elder Scrolls Online developed by ZeniMax Online Studios which is currently scheduled for a 2013 release, but you can now sign-up for beta access here: http://elderscrollsonline.com/en/. If you loved Skyrim and you love MMO’s then this is one not to be missed. Set 1000 years before the events of Skyrim, Tamriel is in the midst of a struggle for the emperorís seat. The world has broken off into three alliances, each alliance contains in itself a triumvirate of races. There is the Daggerfall Covenant in the west (Breton, Redguard and Orc), the Ebonheart Pact of the north and eest (Nord, Argonian and Dark Elf), and the Aldmeri Dominion of the south and south-west (High Elf, Wood Elf and Khajit).
You’ll see that it shares it’s fighting style in part with World of Warcraft in that there is an action bar with six abilities and the associated cooldown timers but this is combined with swordplay which means you’ll be doing a lot of left and right clicking for certain abilities. But unlike Warcraft you weapons will also gain XP, level up and be granted skills. In lots of ways I compare the Elder Scrolls Online to the best parts of my favourite MMOs, World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2, as with GW2 Zenimax are emphasising that sense of exploration which is something that I know will be a big bonus to a lot of players.
Confirmed features to pique your interest:
Player vs Player (available after Level 10)
Available in three different languages: English, French, and German.
Time-travel will be featured in the game.
Mundus Stones will be used to give characters special abilities.
Fast Traveling will be available through unlocked Wayshrines.
Mounts will be included.
Classes will be used, including Dragonknight, Templar, Sorcerer, Warden, and Nightblade. Classes will only define the special abilities of the characters, not the weapon choices.
Synergy abilities are those that naturally blend players’ abilities together to bring down tougher enemies.
Players will be rewarded for successfully attacking, blocking and dodging through the “Finesse” system. Once significant finesse points are earned, players are able to use a designated Finesse attack, called Ultimate Abilities, which level up the more it is used.
Ultimate Abilities are Class-based, meaning that each class will have different Ultimate Abilities.
Crafting elements can be done in cities as well as in the wilderness.
Players will be able to own a pet, which they can use in combat.
Daedric Artifacts will exist in the game, and will be tied to the Fighters Guild storyline.
Only 5 Abilities will be available at once, however these can be changed.
Abilities can be leveled up to become more powerful the more they are used.
6 Skills can be used at any one time: The first two are weapons skills. The next three are class skills. The final skill is the Ultimate Ability.
PVP: In Cyrodiil, combat will revolve around the capturing of Keeps and its surrounding buildings. It is designed for 10-15 players to take a keep, 10 for an Outpost, and 4-6 for a support structure such as a farm or Lumber Mill.
Fast Travel in Cyrodiil will be different from the rest of the game. Instead of the Wayshrines, players will travel to the Keeps that they control (Other than those currently under attack).
Siege Weapons will not only be in the game, but will be craftable and customisable.
Alliance Points: An Alternative advancement system, with 23 ranks at launch. A “lifetime alliance point tally”, each rank will give a new title and alliance icon. (Similar to faction ranks in Morrowind and Oblivion).
Guilds will exist in the game.
Guilds will be specific to a Faction’s campaign.
Public Dungeons will be instanced. That is to say, once you reach Level 50, new areas of the dungeon will open up, and you will be able to see the results of your actions previously in that dungeon. These are known as Adventure Zones.
Morality and Criminality will be added to the game after launch.
Emotes will be available, as will flags for the Megaserver to group players in.
Dragon Shrines will be in the game.
A list of wieldable abilities so far includes: Two-Handed, One-Hand and Shield, Dual Wield, Bow, Fire Staff, Ice Staff, Lightning Staff, Heal Staff, or One-Hand and Rune.
There are a total of eight ranks for increased character weapon proficiency.
Daedric Ruins are confirmed to be appearing in the game.
Crouching (Sneaking) will use Stamina, as will sprinting and blocking.
May 20, 2013
MMORPG Update: WoW Patch 5.3 and Dawn of the Aspects Releases
Patch 5.3 which is currently in PTR testing is due for release tomorrow, Tuesday 21st May 2013. For the PTR patch notes which tell you about all the changes that this patch brings to WoW you can get these from the battle.net site here. Also, just to remind you that the fourth installment of Dawn of the Aspects by Richard A. Knaak is now available for download, more details about both of these below.
WoW Patch 5.3 Key Patch Details
The experience required to level from 85 to 90 will be reduced by 33%.
The amount of Justice, Honor, and Darkmoon Faire tickets needed to upgrade Heirloom items will be reduced by 60%.
Heroic Scenarios require an average Item Level of 480; unlike normal Scenarios, you’ll need a pre-made party to enter.
An average Item Level of 435 is required for Heroic dungeons.
Outdoor world creatures level 90 and above now have a chance to drop Lesser Charms of Good Fortune.
Rare spawns in Pandaria (except Zandalari Warscouts and Zandalari Warbringers) and bosses encountered as part of the Battlefield: Barrens quest event in Kalimdor will drop Lesser Charms of Good Fortune.
The 7,250 Conquest Point requirement to purchase non-elite Conquest Point weapons (PvP) is being removed with patch 5.3.
All PvP characters now have a base Resilience of 65%.
PvP Power bonus to healing is now based on class and specialization.
“Uncertainty plagues Azeroth’s ancient guardians as they struggle to find a new purpose. This dilemma has hit Kalecgos, youngest of the former Dragon Aspects, especially hard. Having lost his great powers, how can he—or any of his kind—still make a difference in the world?
The answer lies in the distant past, when savage beasts called proto-dragons ruled the skies. Through a mysterious artifact found near the heart of Northrend, Kalecgos witnesses this violent era and the shocking history of the original Aspects: Alexstrasza, Ysera, Malygos, Neltharion, and Nozdormu.
In their most primitive forms, the future protectors of Azeroth must stand united against Galakrond, a bloodthirsty creature that threatens the existence of their race. But did these mere proto-dragons face such a horrific adversary alone, or did an outside force help them? Were they given the strength they would become legendary for… or did they earn it with blood? Kalecgos’s discoveries will change everything he knows about the events that led to the… DAWN OF THE ASPECTS.” (battle.net website)
So, what’s part IV about?
A united group of proto-dragons have embarked on an assault against Galakrond and his undead army. The blue dragon Kalecgos continues to witness the battle through the eyes of his predecessor, Malygos. He and his new comrades: Alexstrasza, Nozdormu, Ysera, and Neltharion, soon find themselves struggling for survival. Their only hope for the future may lie with an enigmatic figure named Tyr, but perhaps even that is not enough to save them?
When will you be able to get the next installment?
Part 5: 17 June 2013
Go download (from Amazon or through iTunes) and read, NOW!
“One hundred years have passed since the Spellplague forever changed the magical and mysterious lands of Faerûn. Mighty empires fell and great cities toppled, leaving only monster-haunted ruins and survivors struggling to rebuild.” http://nw.perfectworld.com
The game actually looks quite interesting and I’m always ready to try something new to the MMO market. You have nothing to lose so why not watch the game trailer and take it for a spin? I’ve added this one to my Twitter feed so I can keep up-to-date as the game progresses.
Local Area Network (LAN) parties are where like-minded people get together to play games in the same location. The largest LAN is in the UK is the Insomnia Gaming Festival, or Iseries as it’s known. Fundamentally Insomnia is a gaming event for all ages, where gamers and industry leaders alike come together to celebrate games in all their forms. “Insomnia LAN Guide“
There are just 144 days left to go until the biggest UK gaming event this Summer, i49, hosted by Multiplay. I’ll be there along with some of the guys from computer club where we’ll be kicking back at the International Centre, located in Telford, Shropshire. The event hosts some of the biggest eSports tournaments in Europe and each year hosts the UK qualifiers for the World Cyber Games (WCG). As well as all that, you can team up for MMO or co-op gaming and generally play what you want when you want. I’m planning on positioning myself in the MMO area – I’ll be perfectly at home there! Alongside the gaming areas and competative tournaments, there are also exhibitions from industry specialists as well and Multiplay have put together a really good LAN guide to help you know what to expect when you arrive: http://static.multiplayuk.com/images/content/LAN_guide.pdf. You can also look forward to the Opening Ceremony and the famous Insomnia Pub Quiz. When you need to crash you have three options for hotels; two on-site (The Holiday Inn and The International) and one which is a five minute walk away (Grays Hotel), all of which are offering discounts for attendees. Alternatively you can camp – there is plenty of space available.
The event officially starts on Friday 23rd August and runs until Monday 26th August 2013, but for an additional £15.00 on your ticket price you can get early access to the venue so that you can get set-up in advance. This is what most people choose to do and so it’s quite busy on the Thursday when doors open at about 6pm, so you might consider leaving your arrival till a bit later to miss the initial rush. There are a number of different ticket types you can get to take part in the action depending on what you are after:
BYOC (Bring your own computer)
Tickets cost £64.40 for the entire weekend, game how you want when you want.
TUP (Turn up and play)
Tickets cost £55.00. This gets you entry for the entire weekend, just turn up, get ready for the tournaments and jump into your matches on one of the event machines.
Group BYOC or Group TUP tickets
If you’re booking for a community or a team.
Weekend, day entry and press passes
Super versatile to fit anyone’s needs.
You should check the website to see in detail what each of the passes confers to the holder, especially when it comes to the weekend and day passes. You may also want to note that if you want to play with your friends, but don’t have a rig of your own, you can purchase a BYOC ticket and then opt to hire one of the hire rigs available for the event – a standard rig will set you back £65.00 on top of the ticket price for the weekend, while a pro gamer package will cost you £75.00. You can also opt to hire a monitor, if you don’t fancy lugging your’s all the way to the event!
Multiplay have an amazing website that is dedicated to their gaming events and it literally has everything you need to know, check out the site at: http://iseries.multiplay.co.uk/i49. If you are planning to be there let us know, it would be great to meet up. Why not keep up-to-date with the latest news on this event via our Twitter feed @gamersblogbytes.
March 29, 2013
MMORPG Update: The WoW and Hearthstone Mini Edition
March has been a super busy month, I’ve dedicated much of my free time to levelling my Worgen Priest, Lursaduras, through the available WoW dungeons and practicing healing on my 5-man group. Our group is pretty laid back when it comes to running dungeons but we must be doing something that works because wipes are pretty rare. This week has been great and I’ve only been finding totally amazing gamers on my WoW server, I’m just drinking it the good vibes and help instead of the abuse and it’s been great to share the good experiences with you all on Twitter, if you want to check out our streams you can find me @cat792k and all our blog posts @gamersblogbytes!
In addition to playing WoW, I’ve now become a total Warcraft fiction addict. I’ve recently posted about Richard A. Knaak’s most recent series on the blog, Dawn of the Aspects (http://www.thegamersblog.com/mmorpg-update-dawn-of-the-aspects) and the good news is that the second part of the series is now available for download. In the first part we saw how the former dragon aspects are on the brink of going their separate ways to find new destinies since their original purpose as the protectors of Azeroth seem to be no more. Kalecgos has uncovered a mysterious artifact that allows him to see through the eyes of his late predecessor, Malygos, and he has been sucked into the past, literally sharing Malygos’ body, where dragons must fight for survival and he encounters the terrifying alpha dragon, Galakrond. We left Kalecgos in the clinches of Galakrond at the end of the first part – will he and Malygos share the same fate? The answer is, of course not, but what he finds next leaves him more troubled, enter the undead. Alongside this new discovery a stranger from the past begins to appear in the present and Kalecgos fears for his own sanity. Part 3 of the series will be available for download on the 22nd April 2013. At the moment you can discuss this series and also The War of the Ancients series with @WowWellRead on Good Reads at http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/88038-warcraft-well-read.
Also on my radar since it was announced at PAX East is Hearthstone, the new Blizzard digital strategy card game (http://www.thegamersblog.com/hearthstone-heroes-of-warcraft). Fans of the amazing podcast, The Instance, will be excited to know that they’ve got an interview lined up for next with with the Hearthstone team, you can keep up-to-date with what’s going on with the game and the team @PlayHearthstone. Although the initial beta testing will only be available on the US servers according to the current plans, it’s possible this might change so stay tuned. If you do want to get signed up for the beta test just visit www.playhearthstone.com to opt-in with your Battle.net account.
I seem to be on a roll recently with British developers and in this update I wanted to touch on Runescape developed by Jagex Games Studios. Runescape is the worlds biggest free MMORPG and hit 200 million accounts in July 2012. This game has been running for 12 years now and over the course of that time it’s just got bigger and better being played by millions of people around the world.
I’m not going to pretend to you that I’m any great expert on this game, in fact I know very little about it – which is something I’m looking to correct. You definitely have to get used to being behind on some things if you’re particularly into the MMO genre, playing something well and getting the most out of it takes time and dedication and there are jut so many god MMOs out there. What I did want to share with you is the same fascination that the idea of this game holds for me and why you might want to try it too.
The game has been built to run in Java through a browser, you can pick up anywhere without having to install the game client on every machine.
It’s got outstanding graphics
Something I always love to see in an MMO, as much as the gameplay it’s the journey of exploration and Runescape has got some great visual designers behind the scenes including Tim Chatfield (Lead Designer) and Tursan Raja (User Interface Artist).
It’s constantly evolving
This year sees a new game engine as well as new episode-release game content.
It’s choice driven and dynamic
Events are designed to produce unique instances.
It brings you dungeon crawling
The dungeoneering ability allows you to explore dungeons that are created on-the-fly based on your skills or the skills of your group, play by yourself or take four friends with you.
It lets that great British sense of humour shine through
This is most evident through the storytelling, including references to greats such as Monty Python and Red Dwarf.
You can play Runescape for free now at: http://www.runescape.com and join millions of others battle in this medieval fantasy world.
“Earth was torn apart by the destruction of both the Firefall event and the coming of the Melding. The only animal life that remains are left-overs from the Alpha Prime missions or mutated creatures that emerged from inside the Melding. Some are peaceful, most are not. Knowing which one you face will determine your survival.” http://www.firefallthegame.com/.
Finally I’ve had time to sit down and get into Firefall (currently in closed beta testing), I’m currently downloading the beta game client as we speak and I’m pretty excited to be starting a brand new game which aims to mix the best of MMORPG and MMOFPS. Therefore, this is likely to be a part 1 of 2 update where we can delve a little into the Firefall back story and set the scene, we can also look forward to what the gameplay might be like.
The story so far
Firefall is a catastrophic world event that takes place approximately 200 years in the future, it is a direct result of an asteroid collision with the Earth and the impact throws humanity into a new dark age known as ‘the nine year winter’. Many governments fell which left a space for new alliance to form. At the asteroid crash site the Japanese found a new and powerful element called crystite, this element had almost unlimited potential and became the primary power source used on Earth – but humanity wanted more. To achieve this aim they built space ships and travelled to the source of the asteroid which had impacted the Earth, on that remote planet they found an abundance of crystite and founded a colony known as Alpha Prime. But the 8-year round trip required to source the new element was too long and in time a method of travel between Earth and Alpha Prime was established known as Arclight. Arclight folded the fabric of space in order to create a wormhole capable of transporting matter large distances in a short time. Although tests on Earth were successful, the first Earth-Alpha Prime test was not, the act of creating an arcfold tore a hole in the fabric of space causing the emergence of a giant energy storm which became known as The Melding. The Melding mutated and transformed all life that it encountered and even the planet itself. Humanity came under attack by a new race calling themselves The Chosen and now struggles in an attempt to push them back and rid the Earth of The Melding once and for all.
Classes in Firefall are called Battleframes and there are currently five available:
A ranged light class focused on using sniper rifles, it has the lowest health but makes up in speed and agility.
A medium healing class that uses a bio-needler gun as its main weapon, ability to heal is tied with damage primary through poison.
A medium technology class that uses equipment to deal damage and support allies, with the ability to repair equipment.
A close range heavy class that uses the plasma cannon as its main weapon, slow dispersal but high damage.
A heavy class that has the highest health of all the available battleframes, this is the tank and uses an immense chain gun.
As well as the PvE game there are also 3 PvP arenas: Sunken Harbor (a simple team deathmatch map), Orbital Comm Tower (a capture/defend style of gameplay) and Blackwater Harvester (a capture and hold type gameplay), with a fourth announced which will be Moisture Farm which is a team death match, similar to that of Sunken harbor.
I haven’t heard of any free beta keys being still available, but if you want access to the beta environment you can still get in by becoming a founding member. There are three packages available, Ensign ($20), Lieutenant ($50) and Commander ($100) – any of these will get you immediate access into the game.
Looking forward to playing and I’ll be back soon with the next installment of my Firefall adventure.
WoW Patch 5.2 Rise of the Thunder King is due for release imminently. Here’s a chance for you to check out the trailer for the latest patch and also brush up on your lore, who is the Thunder King and what is this patch all about?
The story so far…
Lei Shen of the Mogu was fluent in the ways of war in his youth, but unlike other Mogu he also had wisdom. Once he came of age and commanded his own legions Lei Shen took his followers where no-one had dared go before, the Thundering Mountain, it was here that it is said that he took on the Mogu God with the help of an ancient artifact and tore it’s heart out, by doing this he gained power over wind and storm declaring himself to be The Thunder King.
With his new power, the Thunder King rose to power by eliminating his rivals one by one (The Mogu Way), he was ruthless to his enemies when they did not submit to his will, but in him the Mogu saw purpose and direction, and they followed him, enslaving the other races of Pandaria; Jinyu, Pandaren and Hozen. Lei Shen unified his people and those he could not force to submit he found other ways to motivate them to do his will. He was particularly hard on the Pandaren because in them he saw great potential, their leaders were executed and all Pandaren art and literature was burned. In order to protect the ancient artifact that had helped Lei Shen rise to power as Emperor of the Mogu and the other races he ordered the construction of the Mogu’shan Vaults to contain the powerful weapon.
One of the races that Lei Shen knew would be useful to him was the troll empire of the Zandalari, this tribe of trolls helped the Mogu when the Pandaren staged an uprising years later and since that uprising the Mogu have been scattered.
Lei Shen eventually died of old age after his armies fought with monks in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. It is said that in his final moments, Lei Shen summoned a storm that blanketed the vale for several days. Recently however the Zandalari along with the other troll tribes have allied themselves once again with the Mogu, together they found Lei Shen’s body inside the Tomb of the Conquerors, alongside his army. They took the body to the Isle of Reckoning and resurrected him with the help of prophet Khar’zul.
It is in patch 5.2 that we see Lei Shen make his return to Pandaria. The Alliance and the Horde must stop him and his allies which culminates in the new raid ‘Throne of Thunder’.
I guess to be totally accurate this should be the MMORPG and MMOFPS update, but that’s just way too many letters for my liking! That said, Survarium is in fact an MMO first person shooter that has role-playing elements to it. I really wanted to write a short piece on this upcoming MMO as it’s literally risen from the ashes of GSC Game World (their most successful game S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series) which unfortunately closed it’s doors in early 2012 – the team then went on to form a new company called Vostok Games and Survarium is their creation.
Survarium is partially set in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, which ties in with the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series somewhat, and like Diablo III the setting is going to emanate that feeling of darkness and veiled evil (day or night) setting the scene for some dramatic in-game events. The game is set in a future where a massive ecological catastrophe has decimated the planet and nature has turned against humanity, the woods encroach into the cities, crazed-animal attacks are commonplace and strange plants begin to spawn everywhere, this chain of events is described as an anomaly and scientists are powerless to help, countries collapse and the new game is survival. You need to survive when everything around you is in chaos, you need to find a role to fulfil in the new world and will need to complete tasks for the various camps in order to get things such as new types of weapons to aid you.
The game is going to feature a host of different modes including a F2P mode meaning that you can just jump right into the game and take a look around. In a lot of ways it really reminds me of Guild Wars 2 with the dynamic world events and the story for the entire world being driven by the actions of the players in-game, and I’m not knocking that at all because it works so well and is a great development in MMO gaming. Players will have to come together when they come into contact with anomalies in order to survive.
More information and future updates can be found on the Survarium website: http://survarium.com/en, including video posts from the developers, wallpapers and other visuals. There is also an informative development timeline which leads up to the beta release in the fourth quarter of 2013. It’s definitely one to keep an eye on over the coming months.