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8

Hyping Legends of Aria

One of our readers and long-time community members (Pseudos on Discord) pointed me towards this up and coming game called Legends of Aria. I thought I hadn't heard anything about it, but turns out I had heard of its former name, 'Shards'.

Doing some minor research into the title, it looks like they're trying to make a UO game -- even a UO clone in many aspects. As far as I'm concerned, any MMO trying to emulate one of the greatest -- and truest -- MMORPGs has my interest and if legitimate, my support.

The official website provides some insight into conceptual systems, but little in the way of day-to-day gameplay explanation. 

There's a teaser video from PAX east. If you get past half the video being horses running through scenery, there's a little bit of tease toward what could be UO-ish.

The best resource I've found thus far is a Reddit post where an alpha player has provided bullet point information on mechanics. Well worth the read, and I want to comment on a few of the points.

Skill Systems that Make Sense

Skills are point based (use to gain) just like UO. Can lock skills to a certain level e.g. I only want to learn 30 animal taming so I can set the skill to 30 using a slider and it will not gain above that amount. [...] Right now there is an official server which is basically a UO clone. 700 skill point cap, same skills, etc.

I love this point system. It forces people to make decisions on the type of character they want to make.

That Beloved Virtual World Feel

Hunger plays a role with player effectiveness e.g. accuracy and stat regen. Not sure if it does/will effect stat/skill gains or anything else. Meat can be harvested from dead animals and cooked, foraged from plants or bought from vendors. Hunger also effects tamed animal companions.

I love how much this type of mechanic influences the immersion. Other points on the reddit post talk about crafting and repairing/enhancing weapons. Lots of emphasis on the player and their role in the world over the actual items.

Custom player housing with lock downs, storage, and vendor placement. Houses can be placed facing any of 4 directions. Can add fences and decorations and stuff to outside on the property, within the house lot. decorating tool is really nice. you select and object and have full control over it with an interface that allows you to nudge it east, west, north south, or rotate it 360 degrees, and move it up or down in elevation.

I really, really like player housing. I like creating communities of players and having a corner of the world where I can call my own. This added so much value to my experience playing UO. Finding that spot of my own, even if it was a terrible location, felt good.

Fully Modded and Player Run Worlds

Custom player run clusters which can have custom rules, items, npcs, events, monster spawns, and world themes. There will completely custom maps and custom assets in the future. There can be an unlimited amount of shards per cluster, which can be different worlds/maps but must follow the same ruleset/mod of the cluster​

Here's where things get questionable for me. There's a decent explanation on the official site about this idea of player-run servers and clusters

​Essentially, there are official 'clusters' which the devs create that have specific rulesets. You can spawn a "world" off this cluster which is like a zone. Your "zone" is under your control if you choose to play it as the owner, but you're bound by the rules of the cluster.

Players can also have their own clusters and custom rules. The whole thing becomes confusing to me when I try to think about how this is all connected. I'm not a big fan of major modding or god players.

I'll stick to official rules, and to the one closest to UO. I might start my own world if it means I can have lots of fun events.

There has to be stability in a world for an economy and permanence to take root. I'm curious how it will all pan out.

Business Model

There won't be any F2P crap. It's a one-time buy deal. There's a $40 package available to pre-purchase. You'll get access to the alpha. It'll wipe sometime this year and then those who pre-purchased get a 1 week each start on Steam.​

I haven't bought in yet because I'm burned my the idea of early access and pre-ordering for access, but the game is now high on my radar.

Cautiously Optimistic

Any try it out yet? Can you provide further insight/​clarification on the clusters/worlds? To what degree will the player modding or being a shard god devolve everything into a cluster-eff?

8

Keen’s Most Anticipated Games of 2017

Although 2016 was such a great year for gaming, I’m REALLY excited about what this next year has in store. This past year I spent a lot of time in quiet evaluation. I didn’t share enough. I didn’t get excited enough. I just played lots of great games. I’m trying to change that, and at least this year I can look ahead and see plenty to get excited about. I hope this list of games gives you an idea of where I can at least now anticipate going with the blog.

Here’s a quick look at some of my most anticipated upcoming titles.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

This one easily tops the charts for me. I can’t wait for an open-world experience in the Zelda universe. New rumors that just surfaced are now showing that we may get Breath of the Wild alongside the Nintendo Switch’s launch in March. I’m looking forward to this one so much that I’ve created a Breath of the Wild page here on the blog to cover everything I do with the game, as well as showcasing additional information that I think is cool and shareworthy.

Sea of Thieves

Sea of Thieves

Sea of Thieves has all of the makings for a fantastic game: Online Play, open oceans to explore, ship battles, treasure hunts, pirate music, and a great developer (Rare). As soon as I can share more information with you guys about the game, I will!

Too Many to Preview

The list is a long one this year. There are too many to highlight, so I’ll just list off the rest below. In no particular order:

  • Yooka-Laylee
  • Read Dead Redemption 2
  • God of War
  • Star Wars Battlefront 2 (fool me once shame on you, fool me twice… let’s hope not)
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn
  • Mass Effect Andromeda
  • Scalebound

The MMO Void Continues

You’ll notice yet again a severe lack of MMO on this list. Shocking that such a void remains unfilled by anything but WoW. I’m hoping for a 2018 launch for Camelot Unchained, and a few other MMOs I’m following really aren’t even in the phases of giving out information. Rough times for MMOs, but really a great year ahead of us for other types of games.

Indie Hopefuls

In general, I hope indie games continue to rise up and surprise me. I hope to see Subnautica polish things up, Astroneer blast ahead with development, and more titles like Stardew Valley grow before our eyes.

What’s On your List?

Did I fail to mention any major titles you’re eagerly anticipating for 2017? Share them!

2

I Am So Ready for Breath of the Wild

Breath of the Wild

In the words of Reggie, my body is ready.

Nintendo showed off some new gameplay in an awkward/fake “Let’s Play” during the VGA.

[su_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/Na1cIOmfBlU” width=”700″]

Despite the awkwardness, Breath of the Wild continues to look great.

Nintendo is continually pumping out amiibo to go along with Zelda, including a few new 30th anniversary ones that will include goodies in-game. The goodies aren’t enough to entice me to hunt for the amiibo or drop the cash on them, but I like Nintendo’s idea of implementing them. I’m torn between being a fan of the toy addons gimmick and being annoyed by them. But my love for them, and even further my love for the toys-to-life genre in general, keeps my internal strife going.

Zelda games have turned into a great gaming activity for me and Bri. We just finished up Twilight Princess HD for Wii U this month. It was awesome. As usual for us, I played and she was my co-pilot. When I would get stuck or have no clue where to go, she would have the walkthrough ready to guide us to the next adventure. Now we’re probably going to try and beat Windwaker before Breath of the Wild comes out.

We’re definitely getting Breath of the Wild of the Nintendo Switch. Fingers crossed it’s a launch title. Nintendo needs it to be.

2

Dauntless (Co-op Action RPG) Looks Cool

Dauntless F2P Action Co-op RPG

Dauntless is a F2P Co-op Action RPG coming next year. Visually it’s compelling, and conceptually (from a 30,000 feet perspective) it sound pretty cool.

From what I can piece together with my imagination (because that’s what they want you to do, so that you create this awesome hype machine all on your own), it seems like Dauntless if some sort of Monster Hunter experience.

Dauntless is an online co-op action RPG set in a savage science-fantasy world where up to 4 players (Slayers in the Dauntless universe) work together to hunt down ferocious beasts called Behemoths. Slayers will explore an ever-changing, uncharted frontier, brimming with verdant flora and unique wildlife to find and destroy Behemoths. Each Behemoth has its own unique abilities and rewards, making each fight engaging and full of unique challenges.”

Big monsters to hunt? Check
Different weapon styles with varying degrees of combos and abilities? Check
Crafted armor and weapons most likely based on monster drops? Check
A tagline on the website stating “Join the Hunt”? Check.

Dauntless characters

Can you see why it looks like Monster Hunter? Personally, I’m thrilled. I enjoy Monster Hunter on the 3DS, but that’s not the platform I really want to play this type of game on. A PC, multiplayer co-op style game would be perfect.

Now here’s the rub… it’s going to be F2P. To what extent this business model decision will obliterate their design remains to be seen. What I DO know is that we’re finally entering an era where we can unanimously agree that games no longer need to be free. This isn’t 2010-2015 anymore. Feels so good to say that. We’re going into 2017 now where F2P is once again starting (emphasis on starting, we’re still working on getting rid of it) to phase out of popularity.

There’s a beta signup on the official Dauntless website. Fingers crossed for something decent. I’m itchin’ for a good action rpg.

1

Hands-On with Witanlore

I was first introduced to Witanlore by a long-time reader of our blog who works on the dev team at Druid Gameworks. Witanlore was successfully Kickstarted and Greenlit on Steam.

Witanlore is an open-world RPG with the goal of cutting the fluffy fat found in modern RPGs, and hoping to deliver a pure gameplay experience where every minute is spent on immersion. I like their pitch so far.

You assume the role of a young Ursine warrior seeking to determine your destiny. All we know thus far is that something nefarious happens, as it always does. The concept of Witanlore is intriguing. What I like most about the setting and lore is that I don’t have to be another human, or viking, or dwarf, or Elder Scrolls-esque race. I’m a Bear-guy, or Ursine, and that’s cool!

Witanlore Conversation Tree

I was given the opportunity to jump in and explore the demo. I’ll be upfront and honest here and say that it’s more of a proof of concept than a demo of much gameplay. I was able to run around an obstacle course, talk to an NPC to go through some story dialog, kill a pig, and scavenger hunt for some items. Conveniently, these each showed a glimpse of different game systems that will be used throughout Witanlore.

Witanlore graphics

The world is quite pretty. Unreal 4 is put to good use here, and the art assets shine (sometimes quite literally with sun rays).

Witanlore isn’t optimized yet — at least I hope not! There’s definitely slowdown for me when the settings are on turned up, but the slowdown isn’t in the form of being skippy. When I crank my settings anywhere above medium, I get a sense of moving through something thick. Almost like molasses. 

The voice acting is a bit awkward. When one of the NPCs spoke to me for the first time, it was as human as a voice could possibly get. The bear looked big, tough, and … ursine warrior-y… but then sounded not so ursine warrior-y. I hope they’ll improve the voice acting.

The combat I experienced was basic, click to swing and right click to block kind of stuff. I’m eager to try out the magic and totem abilities/systems.

Witanlore Episode 1

Witanlore has the potential to be a solid rpg. It’s conventional in the sense that it reminds me of Elder Scrolls. Pick things up in the world, active combat, text trees, and story-driven open-worldliness. 

I believe they’re still a ways off from a completed and polished game, but the foundation appears to be there. I’m looking forward to playing Witanlore when it comes out on Steam (also GoG – great place too). Episode 1 is only $6.99 which seems like a great price, as long as the content is there.

2

Dragon Quest Builders: Minecraft with a Purpose

Dragon Quest Builders

Dragon Quest Builders comes out in just under two weeks for the PS4 and Vita!

I started following Dragon Quest Builders when I first saw the video at E3. I thought it looked like a really neat Minecraft-y game. Sure enough, it is. But it’s also quite a bit more.

[su_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/NBQ3V4Geb1Q” width=”700″]

Dragon Quest Builders main charactersDQB is like Minecraft with a purpose. There’s a clear story to follow, and also a lot of RPG elements. I like the emphasis on rebuilding areas of the world and creating hubs.

I also like the idea of decorating, crafting, gathering, and questing.

Unfortunately, DQB isn’t multiplayer. However, I think that enhances and elevates the RPG and story experience further than it could go if this were more like a Minecraft experience.

The demo for DQB is out TODAY. Give it a try and let me know if you you’ll be picking it up.

15

What games come out this Fall?

This year continues to be a great year of games. I’ve put together a little list of my most anticipated games coming out Fall 2016 for you to get hyped about.

August

Overcooked (Already Out) (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

[su_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/J39h5o-m1EI” width=”700″]

A fun little couch-coop cooking game where you work as a team to serve up orders before your customers leave. The settings are crazy and ridiculous which makes for lots of laughs.

No Man’s Sky (August ‘X’) (PS4, PC)

No Man's Sky Release Date

Who knows if this one will be delayed yet again. I think we’ve had two delays within the 2 weeks ’til launch window. Despite its shaky timing, I think NMS will be a fun game to hop in and explore a galaxy. This will be a great ‘sit back and chill’ game.

WoW Legion (8/30) (PC)

Not much else needs to be said here. Legion is shaping up already to be the best expansion since WotLK. I’m ready to jump in and have several months (at least) of a MMO to play with friends.

September

Dragon Quest VII (9/16) (3DS)

Dragon Quest VII

I’m anticipating this to be a great RPG. I’ve never played the Dragon Quest series, but I hope this is a fun place to start.

Yo-kai Watch 2 (9/30) (3DS)

Yo-kai Watch 2 release date

Graev speaks very highly of the 3DS version of the original, and I really liked the iPhone version. This is on my list of games to check out.

October

Dragon Quest Builders (10/11) (PS4)

[su_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/_iSRidjaAWw” width=”700″]

My hype is high for this one. I just can’t help myself when it comes to builders.

Battlefield 1 (10/21) (Ps4, Xbox One, PC) 

Now that Battlefield is returning to its roots and getting away from the super-tech of modern warfare, I’m interested again.

Civilization VI (10/21) (PC)

This is on my list because it looks fun enough. I’m not sure if it’ll be an immediate buy, but probably one I make before Xmas.

November

Dishonored 2 (11/11) (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

I really enjoyed the first Dishonored, so this doesn’t take much selling for me. This falls within the window where I may put this on my Xmas list.

Pokemon Sun/Moon (11/18) (3DS)

Pokemon Sun and Moon Release Date

We get to ride Pokemon. Need I say more? Oh, and it’s Pokemon.

December

Dead Rising 4 (12/6 – yes, that’s still Fall) (Xbox One, PC)

Graev and I have had a lot of fun plowing through zombie bodies in shopping malls. Dead Rising 1 and 2 were great.  I skipped 3 but Graev enjoyed it enough. These have become so zany and out-of-control stupid, but jumping the shark (literally) is still enjoyable. I’d never play alone, so if Graev gets it with me we’ll play.


So those are my most anticipated games for Fall of 2016. Any I missed that are on YOUR list?

3

Looks Fun: Epic Tavern

Many years ago I had this idea to make a game where you run a tavern. I think I even wrote about it once or twice here on the blog. It started off as a Harvest Moon style idea then morphed into some RPG’ish management game then turned into more of a MMO-amalgamation of ideas. Ultimately, you had to run a tavern and everything you could possibly imagine that would be related to tavern life. You’d ultimately expand your tavern either by itself into some massive almost casino-like place or you’d become a city.

Like my Dad who came up with the idea for a heated ice cream scoop and my mom who had the idea for a book about a hamster class pet, I didn’t do anything with the idea but someone else had the same idea and ran with it.

I don’t support Kickstarters anymore, and I’m pretty vocal about that. So this isn’t a push toward supporting these guys, but I do like the game idea. They’ve gone with a Tavern RPG / management game, and it looks fun. They’re going with the RPG-management style and sending people out on quests as a roster management game. I’m thinking it might be like a WoW Garrison in that respect.

Neat idea, wonderful art direction, fun music, etc. Worth checking out and adding to my “buy when it comes out” list.

16

So Many Games. So Little Time.

I’m in some serious trouble here. There are so many great games coming out that even if I could play games all day there wouldn’t be enough time to play them all.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

View post on imgur.com

You won’t believe this, but up until just two weeks ago I hadn’t played a single game in the Uncharted series. Turns out, they’s AMAZING. I feel like this is what happened with the Assassin’s Creed series all over again. I never played them, then suddenly I had to buy them all and now I’m a diehard fan.

I picked up the Nathan Drake Collection (great deal) which contains the first three games. I’m bingeing my way through them now hoping to start up Uncharted 4 by the end of next week. Looks like the graphics are insane, and Drake goes full-spider-man.  I’ll write up formal thoughts on the collection as well as Uncharted 4 asap. I can already tell you it’s worth playing.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutants in Manhattan

This one came out of absolutely nowhere. Graev texts me the other day asking which platform we’re getting TMNT on. My resounding “huh?” was followed by a few “how did I not know about this?” followed by opening my wallet again.

Graev and I have played the original TMNT games for over 20 years. When did the original NES turtles game come out? ’89? So pretty much most of our lives have been filled with TMNT. Loved the original cartoon series. Turtles in Time is still one of our favorite games. Co-op and turtles? Count us in for Turtles in Manhattan.

Overwatch

Overwatch New Blizzard IP

I’ve been on a rollercoaster with Overwatch since alpha. I originally thought it was generic, but then I found my rhythm and started to play a little more with the characters. Despite it being an absolute 100% TF2 rip-off without the mods and community aspect of servers, it’s still a really great shooter.

Graev and I are both getting Overwatch as well. In fact, I think 4-5 people from our community here are getting it and we’ll all be playing together as much as possible over the coming weeks.

Total War: Warhammer

Here’s another game Graev clued me in to. I’ve never been a Total War fan, but that’s not because I’ve played the games and haven’t liked them — I’ve just never played them. I like Warhammer enough that I think I’ll give this one a try. Of all the games on this list, I think this is the one I might wait on. Looks good though. Anyone here played the Total War games and able to share some thoughts on whether or not a Warhammer version would be good? Sure looks fun…

[su_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/B1p7d_nVBS8″ width=”700″]

So yeah… games. Lots of games.  I didn’t even mention the fact that I’m having a blast with Kingdom Hearts Unchained X, Clash Royale, and World of Warcraft (finally don’t hate my Monk now that I’m tank spec). I also have a backlog of at least 5-6 more games. Ack.

Playing anything fun? Picking up any of the games I mentioned?

12

Most Anticipated Games of 2016

Let’s kick the new year off with a look at the games I am most looking forward to in 2016. Funny enough, two of the games I wanted to see in 2015 aren’t out yet and may not even make a 2016 launch. I’ll go ahead and keep those on my list this year.

The Legend of Zelda Open World

The Legend of Zelda Wii U (Hopefully)

The big open-world Zelda game for the Wii U is looking more and more like it won’t make it onto NIntendo’s current gen console. Everything I’m reading indicates we may see a dual launch on both the Wii U and the NX. Nintendo wasn’t happy with it the game so they went back to the drawing board which never bodes well. This time last year not much was certain about this upcoming Zelda game, and now I can’t say we’re much closer to any answers. I just have this awesome image of a Zelda game set in a world that is open and akin to an Elder Scrolls game. Do I have delusions of grandeur? Yes, absolutely.

Horizon Zero Dawn

Yeah… watch the trailer.

Easily near the top of my anticipated list.

No Man’s Sky

We have an announce date! June 2016. Exploring galaxies, planets, mountains, moons, and space all seamlessly and procedurally generated… sounds like a blast. I imagine it being something like a mix of Terraria, Rust/Ark, and Space Engineers. I haven’t spent much time researching the details, but I know that there will be 18 quintillion planets, and no NPCs.

The “game” part of NMS still eludes me. What is the point? Just explore? I think there’s enormous potential to be a disappointment if there isn’t a ‘point’ to the game.

scalebound

Scalebound

I saw this announced at one of the conventions this year and thought it looked really neat. The gist is that you are bonded to a Dragon and fight big monsters. You have a dragon arm, can use melee weapons, and play with other friends to tackle big bosses. It simply looks cool.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Overwatch
  • Uncharted 4
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda
  • Gears of War 4

I think 2016 will be a great year, and thankfully I think there will be a few fewer launches to flood the second half of the year. I’m looking forward to playing all of these, as well as having a good amount of time to hunker down and enjoy some MMORPG playing (mostly EverQuest) while waiting on a few MMOs that are nowhere near 2016 — hopefully I can add Camelot Unchained to the top of my 2017 anticipated games list.

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