Hunter’s Arena: Legends Preview – Mystical Royale

The battle royale genre may be beaten to a pulp with a seemingly perpetual stream of new releases, but apparently there’s room for more. This year, we’re going to witness an interesting showdown between two new games, each one with its own merits in this battle for the last game standing: Hunter’s Arena: Legends and Pearl Abyss’ Shadow Arena.

Hunter’s Arena: Legends is the first game by Korean outfit Mantisco, a PC exclusive crafted with the always reliable Unreal Engine 4. A closed alpha in late 2019 showed the game’s promising mix of action RPG and battle royale mechanics, and a recent closed beta revealed the progress made by the development team in the meantime. What it may lack in originality, it more than makes up for in sheer energy and ambition, not to mention its killer looks.

Hunters Arena Legends Preview City

Hunter’s Arena: Legends Preview | Run to the Forest, Run

The standard battle royale game modes show up for Hunter’s Arena: Legends. You have your solo and trio options where 60 players battle for supremacy, and a free for all mode limited to four Legends is also under development. However, the unusual addition of a tag match is a welcome departure from the tried-and-test modes, adding an unexpected beat’em up flavor to the game. Think of it as a sort of Street Fighter or Virtua Fighter mode, where you pick two warriors and step into a confined arena in a frantic tag team match.

Starting with the basics, you must pick one character among the available selection of Legends. During the closed beta we had a decent range of fighters, most of them focusing on melee, but a couple favored long-range combat and a single character was versed on mid-range action. The cast is considerably diverse and resourceful, drawing inspiration from different sources but mostly from fantasy and eastern mythology. The ensemble is appealing enough, with a massive panda galloping at high speed or a cute young girl named Dara who prefers to fly everywhere instead of running.

The action RPG side of Hunter’s Arena: Legends is going to take your character through several levels of abilities and skills. There is a huge mastery tree that you unlock as you gain levels, strengthening aspects such as weapon attack and health, among many others. This is the touted RPG progression system of the game, one that is bolstered by your performance in the battlefield.

The beginning of each match sees the gates of a small city sitting in the middle of the forest open, letting all players out into the wild in a frantic rush for the grind. You must make the most of the meager seconds of forced peace to hunt down monsters, getting as far as possible from other players so that you don’t turn into an appetizing first target. Eliminating creatures, hunting bosses, and raiding dungeons are activities that will earn you experience points and levels, improving your stats and providing you with valuable points to distribute among many skills. The more you farm and stay alive, the stronger you will be when the circle shrinks and only a handful of players are fighting to be the one left standing.

Hunters Arena Legends Preview Dara

The combat system isn’t extremely in-depth but provides enough opportunities for combos, cancels, and swift comebacks. I’m not a great fan of using the same button for attacking and defending, but I quickly grasped the concept and understood the intention of the whole high risk/high reward intention. Timing is crucial, as you find an opening in your rival’s attack pattern and counterattack with relentless force, breaking his guard.

While there are a few intricate strategies and skillful combos to use when you are playing solo, it’s when you are a part of a three-man squad that Hunter’s Arena: Legends truly shines. Organizing a group that covers all the basics (melee, mid-range, and long-range) and meticulously sticking to the plan, relying on strength by numbers and never straying from the winning path is how the game lives to its full potential. Several new strategies that you had only dreamed of open up for combat, as each team member dutifully performs his assigned role on the battlefield.

The vast arena has thousands of monsters waiting for your blade or other weapon of choice and has different activities and resources at your disposal. When you are playing trios, death is not the end; there are shrines where your teammates can revive you. Wild horses patiently wait for your command to use them for fast travel, and you can even take a friend along with you for the ride. Some points in the map provide gliders for you to journey long distances and quickly get closer to a boss that just spawned, for example.

If you prefer to partake in a more intimate kind of brawl, the tag match is there for you. You pick a pair of fighters that you deem complementary and enter a picturesque arena where they will fight another duo. The battles are one on one, putting forward the skill and timing that you have hopefully learned in the battle royale mode.

Hunters Arena Legends Preview Tag Mode

Hunter’s Arena: Legends Preview | Little Time for Sightseeing

The least that can be said about Hunter’s Arena: Legends graphics is that they are gorgeous. The environment is diverse and extremely beautiful, gifted with a realism and attention to detail that puts many current games to shame. From lush forests to the stunning river or the arid regions, there is always this realistic style to the settings that sits particularly well with the fantastical characters. The way that the leaves are blown by your attacks in the arena is remarkable, and the weather effects are impressive, more specifically the thunderstorm and the puddles that ensue. A day and night cycle provides a nice change of style, adding a sense of the passing of time as you see the legends counter steadily diminish.

Each one of the legends is thoroughly detailed, with incredible attention to the hairworks and the cloth that softly waves as you move. Running is a gentle process that begins with a cool animation and suddenly you are zooming around the battlefield in Sonic the Hedgehog fashion.

In other words, Hunter’s Arena: Legends has the style and seemingly the core mechanics as well. Each character feels unique, with a set of skills that paves the way for intense cooperation, and a huge mastery assortment to keep you invested for some time as you strengthen your character.

Hunters Arena Legends Preview Character Selection

South Korea isn’t particularly known for its battle royale games, but Hunter’s Arena: Legends seems poised to carve a spot, possibly alongside Shadow Arena. There’s no shortage of ambition in this title, with a hint of fan service here and there to catch a specific crowd, but overall it is a strong offering that cuts no corners in order to provide a rich and compelling battle royale experience. In the end, the success or failure of this game may rest upon its pricing, an unfair but oh so true examination based on the multitude of similar games that have fallen by the wayside. Mantisco clearly has the skills, now let’s hope it has the marketing talent to put forward as well.

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Shadow Arena Closed Beta Arrives Today

The Battle Royale, MOBA spinoff of Black Desert Online, developed by Pearl Abyss, is now live! Choose your favorite heroes from the MMORPG and enter the Shadow Arena!

shadow arena closed beta

In Shadow Arena, 40 players compete against one another in a battle to be the last one standing on the battlefield. Players can choose to fight as one of nine characters, each with their own unique fighting style. To climb to the top of the pack, players must defeat monsters and collect loot to upgrade their gear. However, securing victory comes down to a player’s superior skill execution and strategy. Shadow Arena combines MOBA, battle royale, and MMO genres to create a new type of PvP action.

Currently, the game has 2 modes: Solo and Team. Each of these features skill-based matchmaking that provides stronger opponents based on performance.

Looking to get a key? Grab one from our Giveaway!

Source: Press Release

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Path of Exile Marches On To Delirium

It’s been six and a half years since Path of Exile initially launched, creating a fascinating adventure that picked up many fans over the years. In fact, this past year alone has seen excessive growth for the game, with just over 500 million hours played. This year should be no exception, as Delirium is set to enter the picture.

Set to release this March for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC, this new expansion promises to be one of the biggest yet. With its addition, both action combat and customization options will be pushed beyond their usual boundaries.

That said, when we spoke to Grinding Gear Games’ Chris Wilson, he explained that the story wasn’t going to be let out of the bag, so to speak. According to him, he prefers to let players “experience it on launch day,” in order to go in without knowing what the surprises really are.

Now, let’s take a look at the different aspects of the gameplay, and how they come together with this new Path of Exile expansion.

Path of Exile Delirium

Looking Into a Mirror of Delirium

Ever hear of Alice Through the Looking Glass? Well, in Path of Exile you come across the Mirror of Delirium. When you first come across it, you’ll discover a reflection of yourself within it. Now, if you touch the Mirror or go through it, you end up entering the state of Delirium for a short while. And here’s where things get really interesting.

As you cross over into the Mirror, you’ll begin to notice some changes to the environment. Namely, with a mist that gathers around you. This is put in place to heighten fears, as the state of Delirium is made to basically bring your greatest fears to life. (No, not cookies that want to eat you — we’re talking real monsters.)

You’ll have to deal with original foes that you’d normally come across in Path of Exile. But, on top of that, you’ll also have to face off against new ones that specifically strike you in a state of Delirium. As a result, the screen fills up rather quickly with these foes, and you’ll have your work cut out for you.

As you go further into the mist, the monsters will actually begin to pile up further. But, in return, you’ll also be able to access additional mods the further you go. These, in turn, will boost your combat and assist you with taking down your foes. The deeper you go, the more risk you take; but also the more rewarding these mods become.

Now, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the larger beasts in the game, which appear as you manifest yourself even deeper into the Delirium. They utilize powerful telegraphed attacks. They can be somewhat easy to avoid unless you’re surrounded; and if they hit you, they’ll do a significant amount of damage. You’ll also want to watch out for both normal and Delirium monsters with mods, which gives them various kinds of both debuff-on-hit effects and on-death mechanics.

You’ll also have to contend with bosses when you deal with Delirium. As expected, they become even tougher than before, and sometimes even contort depending on where you face them. For example, you come across one called the Brine King in act six. He’s capable of not only doing punishing damage, but also opening up his back, revealing an all new Delirium Horror.

Delirium can also have effects with items that have previously popped up in Path of Exile. These include Ambush Strongboxes, Betrayal Encounters, Incursion and Beach. So you’ll want to prepare accordingly for when you come across them. They’ll prove to be extremely difficult. However, you’ll also reap better rewards by getting through them; so they’re worth the effort.

Path of exile Delirium

Controlling the Fear

What’s neat about how Path of Exile: Delirium seeps into other elements of the game (and its rewards) is that you still maintain control when it comes to combat. Those of you familiar with Breach should get an idea of what’s in store with Path of Exile’s latest addition, since it feels like a larger version of that. The stacking of content really piles on the difficulty, instead of sitting apart like a separate segment within the game.

And the difficulty changes in Delirium as well, ranging to areas like Delve or Metamorph. This keeps things interesting, compared to how Breach usually stays the same. As you fight your way in this state, you become better with your character and see more reflected growth. And not just in the mods, mind you. The more you build, the better you get rewarded for your efforts.

There are specific Delirium items depending where you visit within the level. These include currency items, rare armor pieces and map items, among others. If you rack up enough of a kill count with the monsters, you’ll see these rewards. But as you get one, the progress goes back to zero and you’ll have to start all over again as you attempt to build them back up. It’s a give and take, really.

You can also find Delirium encounters when it comes to end-game maps, so keep an eye out for those as well. You’ll also want to keep an eye open for Orbs of Delirium. You can apply these to certain maps, increasing the density of the area, pushing up the difficulty and reward scale. What’s more, you can see the reward theme clearly for each Orb.

The goal of being able to apply Orbs of Delirium and tweaking each map is to challenge the community, particularly the most skilled Path of Exile players. Wilson explained that the team encourages this, if only to see just how much players will push themselves when it comes to tackling these outrageous new challenges. But, again, you’ll pick up Currency Items, Delirium rewards and more as you do so.

And these can add up to even more challenges. Some Orbs of Delirium will actually drop Simulacrum Splinters. With these, you can form the Simulacrum and create a special new end-game challenge just waiting in the wings. What that is yet, Wilson isn’t saying. Again, it’s all about surprising players on day one.

There are also cluster jewels. With these, you can actually increase the power of your skill tree. Simply place them in the necessary external sockets of the tree, and new passive skill clusters will open up, with even more slots to put jewels. These offer the most significant change to characters for Path of Exile since Ascendancy classes first came around way back in 2016. You can also reroll jewels, in case you want to find one that’s ideal for your character.

The Jewels of the Exile

Wilson then went on to provide a few examples. First up are fire resistance passives, as well as minor passives (with additional properties) and notable passives, which can create additional sockets. Once you get to the larger clusters, you’ll start to really open up what the minor passives can do for you, doing some modding in the process. The more you progress your tree, the more it can really open up when it comes to potential.

Eventually, you’ll reach the Keystone passive known as the Hollow Palm Technique. This opens up a new play style in the game, in this case being an unarmed monk-style combat. This is excellent for those that want to give melee strikes a try, as this character is quite powerful, based on what we’ve seen thus far.

Wilson explained that “The more winding the path you take to get to the socket, the more powerful the result is.” Considering the immense size of the skill tree overall (you’re going to be a while, newcomers), there are all sorts of possibilities. And that’s before you even get to unlocking the new play style within the game.

Necessary Improvements

As part of the expansion, Wilson then broke down how there will be touch-ups to Conquerors of the Atlas. He explained that the Atlas changes introduced in December’s Conquerors of the Atlas expansion were big hits with fans, but weren’t quite perfect. Improvements have been made since that time, with a variety of little patches that fixed everything from Conqueror spawning to scaling the difficulty and rewards to the proper level, depending on the chosen variation.

But there are more to come with this addition. This includes changing the Conqueror spawning to be more “deterministic,” according to Wilson. This introduces a new user interface element with a breakdown of how many maps are left to be completed before you take on the boss.

Other things include the addition of a Sextant 3:1 trade-up vendor recipe, perfect for those that are into concoction; as well as additional incentives for those that tackle higher Awakening levels. Again, you’ll want to be primed and ready for this, but you’ll be promptly rewarded for doing so.

There are also improvements coming with the Vaal Side Areas, first introduced in the previous expansion. They will now spawn more as rare, with a number of modifiers in tow. What’s more, there will also be extra boss life/defenses, along with extra rewards and giving monsters greater densities. So, yeah, your work will be cut out for you.

In addition, the Metamorph challenge league, initially introduced last December as part of Conquerors of the Atlas, will also become part of the core game. That way, you’ll have better access to the content when you’re good and ready for it.

Path of exile Delirium

Skill Up and New Items

Skills will be introduced with Delirium, namely with the Blade Blast and Kinect Bolt. Let’s take a look at each one.

With the Blade Blast, you’re actually able to leave blades behind. What’s more, you can actually use other skills to interact with them. For instance, one modification and suddenly your blades will be able to explode, creating additional damage for any enemies within their blast radius. You can also trigger this blast via Cast on Crit, or setting up the Unleash + Spell Cascade support gems to create more explosions, as well as rain-like “blade falls” on opponents. Set up a number of these and you’ll do significant damage via chaining. You can also tune these with the Animated Weapon skill.

Next up is the Kinect Bolt. It’s a wand skill that lets you send a forking bolt towards enemies, doing physical damage with the help of your wand. Level it up properly enough, and you’ll be able to combo it into shots, and use support gems such as Barrage. Two additional skills are also set for reveal, but they’ll be shown off closer to release.

Delirium will also come with 13 new items, including four that are equipment that can become a cosmetic set together. A Skin Transfer can get this done for you, so that you look like the main antagonist you come across in the expansion. You can also use Perfidy as a melee-focused body armor, providing yourself additional protection.

You can also acquire the Algor Mortis UNique Gloves to open up additional cold/lighting build opportunities, along with Sap, which creates an alternate lighting ailment. You won’t give up Shock to use this either, so that’s extremely helpful.

You can also create “chilling areas” with a combination of freezing storm and lightning, which can leave the enemies literally out in the cold. And, finally, you’ll find the other nine items within the game with help from special Delirium jewels.

In short, there’s a lot that this expansion will unpack, setting the tone for Path of Exile updates to come in the months ahead. While Wilson didn’t detail that far ahead, he did promise that the new expansion will have a lot to offer. It’s set to hit PC first on March 13, and then arrive a week later, March 20, on consoles. It’ll be free of charge to players, so don’t miss out on the fun.

If you need a better idea of what kind of madness awaits with Path of Exile: Delirium, scope out the launch trailer below. We’ll see you in mirror-land!

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Temtem 2020 Roadmap Revealed

After having released in Early Access this January, the Temtem 2020 roadmap has now been revealed by publisher Humble Bundle and developer Crema.

Temtem 2020 roadmap

Temtem is an Early Access MMO that focuses on collecting and battling all kinds of creatures. Initially inspired by Pokemon, Temtem has truly become its own beast. While this roadmap includes development that leads up to the 1.0 official launch, the team has stressed that it will support Temtem well after that.

Here is a brief overview of the upcoming content and when to expect it:

Spring 2020

  • Ranked Matchmaking V1
  • Spectator Mode V1
  • In-Game Chat
  • Chat Bubbles
  • Club Management

Summer 2020

  • New Island: Kisiwa
  • ~25 New Temtem
  • Player Housing
  • Climbing Gear
  • Emotes V2

Fall 2020

  • New Island: Cipanku
  • ~25 New Islands
  • 1st Mythical Temtem
  • In-Game Tournaments
  • Quest Diary
  • Achievements

It should also be stressed that none of this is 100% confirmed to be implemented and development cycles always change. For more detailed information, be sure to check out Crema’s blog!

Source: Official Blog

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Sci-Fi MMO Population Zero Expected to Launch in May

Enplex Games announced today that its Sci-Fi MMO Population Zero will be available in May 2020 on Steam as a buy-to-play Early Access title. Population Zero combines exploration and survival mechanics with the seamless MMO world of Kepler.

Population Zero

The focus of Population Zero is on a narrative, survival experience that includes a deep main plot, side quests, and many non-player characters who are shrouded in mystery. As an added twist, Enplex will be adding a ‘win condition’ to the game. Every seven days, Kepler will become an unlivable wasteland and players will need to start over bringing the knowledge of their past lives. As this cycle repeats, players will unlock many different account-based rewards.

Initially, Population Zero was planned to be a free-to-play title, but the monetization model has shifted to buy-to-play. The game will be priced at $29.99 with a 10% discount during early access.

“The decision to change the monetization model from F2P to a one-time purchase has been made after a series of thorough discussions within the team and core community,” said Enplex Games Creative Director Denis Pozdnyakov. “The shift to B2P will allow the studio to continue the work on the game without fears of ‘pay to win’, as well as allowing us to release new game content that really enhances the gameplay.” 

 

Source: Press Release

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Legends of Runeterra Preview – Overwhelming the Competition

Could Riot Games be too late to the party with its take on the digital card game? Legends of Runeterra by and large missed the peak of the genre, which hit its stride with the release of Blizzard’s Hearthstone in 2014. Being bolstered by the unwavering League of Legends star power may not be enough to achieve its lofty goal; is there time to make up for the delay and convince players that Legends of Runeterra is the TCG they have been waiting for?

The answer to this last question is a resounding yes. Riot Games’ mediocre timing may turn out to be Legends of Runeterra’s greatest strength, as they didn’t have to enter a colossal and potentially destructive clash with Hearthstone. This also served another purpose, which was to see where Magic: The Gathering Arena would fit as a potential big-name competitor. The jury is out on this as well, declaring that the latest MTG card game poses no massive threat.

Legends of Runeterra Preview Card Combat

The World in Your Deck | Legends of Runeterra Preview

Riot Games clearly took a long, hard look at the competition and settled for what makes a first-rate digital card game. Legends of Runeterra is a fun game to watch, with a crisp and clean starting board with exactly the right amount of bells and whistles to look good without encumbering the screen. This is the kind of game that is likely to appeal to those who have stayed away from CCGs until now, since everything about it seems poised for perfection. League of Legends fans are in for a treat, as the Champions that they know and love come to life in new and innovative ways, often with a little bit of clever showboating, and they are joined by several new characters. It may be far from original, but this is fan service at its best.

Sure, there are some balance issues that the betas will hopefully iron out, and the in-game menus look simple but are somewhat bland and overcomplicated, when they should go straight to the point – why do I have to go to Collections to delete a deck, instead of having that option in Play as well?

When you and a challenger are facing each other over the board, the slightly warped perspective may take some getting used to, but a few minutes should do the trick. Furthermore, the way that the Legends of Runeterra decks are portrayed is beyond criticism, with crispy clean design and perfectly visible stats that never get into the way of your strategy. I would like to be able to instantly see the attack and health points for the cards that I’m holding, but this is a minor concern that can also be directed at Hearthstone.

Legends of Runeterra Preview Fast Spell

The cornerstone of Legends of Runeterra is the use of Champions, faces that you know and love from the MOBA. Prepare yourself to meet Jinx, Braum, Darius, Zed, Lux, Lucian, and others, coming from six regions of Runeterra: Shadow Isles, Ionia, Piltover & Zaun, Demacia, Noxus, and Freljord. You can have up to six Champion cards in your 40-card deck, with the rest being comprised of follower and spell cards. Champions should always be your focus in every match, as they come with valuable stats; furthermore, they can level up by fulfilling a special condition, turning them into devastating gamechangers – for Jinx, having a empty hand is the requirement, while Braum levels up by taking 10 damage. Never ignore Champion cards, as their damage dealing ability and resourcefulness is vital in the hands of a skilled player.

The catch is that Legends of Runeterra gives you a myriad of choices and tactical options, and them callously slaps you on the wrist for being greedy. All those beautiful units and spells are yours for the taking, but under one very succinct condition – you are limited to choosing cards from two regions, and no more than that. Experimenting with Champions and spells is going to take a long time, as every opponent that you face seems to take a different yet effective approach to decks. When you begin to feel comfortable with your selection, another rival comes by and obliterates the masterful strategy that you thought would be effective against every single player in the world. Matches are mostly about skill, but luck also plays a small role in the outcome as the right cards are drawn in the nick of time, especially the all-important fast spells that can turn the tide of a clash.

Legends of Runeterra Preview Decks

Elusive Is as Elusive Does | Legends of Runeterra Preview

Ignore the tutorials at your own peril. They may seem intimidating and a couple of them may even stump you, but this is where you’ll get useful info that is otherwise coming at the cost of many defeats. Besides, this is where you earn your first significant set of cards, getting closer to a proper deck. Legends of Runeterra seems fairly generous with its reward track, handing card after card during the tutorial, but also as you face other players. However, there’s a catch – you can only have one active region reward track. This means that the sooner you settle for a consistent and reliable deck, the better you’re going to be at earning new cards from your two preferred regions.

Your goal is to destroy the enemy Nexus using your cards to hit it, providing they aren’t blocked by rival cards. Such a simple approach develops into several layers of complexity, as you learn to deal with the intricacies of card effects such as Overwhelm and Elusive. The latter is particularly worrying, as these cards can only be blocked by another Elusive unit, paving the way for some unflinching Nexus takedowns in case you are not duly prepared.

Legends of Runeterra Preview Burst Spell

While it has a lot of catching up to do in terms of player base and content to properly rival Hearthstone, Legends of Runeterra seems to be on the right path. This is a game that is both entertaining to play and to watch, sporting an ambitious competitive tone while remaining within reach for those who have never tried a digital card game before. Riot Games is determined to prove that there’s more to it than League of Legends, and Legends of Runeterra is just the first of many cards that it has up its sleeve.

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Mobile Developer Netmarble Experiences Profit Decline in 2019

Netmarble Corp. recently published its fourth quarter earnings for fiscal year 2019 and the results are somewhat unexpected. Netmarble’s quarter four year-over-year revenue growth for 2019 increased by 13.3% but it still experienced a decline of 11% from the previous quarter and a overall net profit decrease of 26.1% for all of 2019.

The King of Fighters Allstar Review High Kick

 

Normally, when we think of the mobile game industry, the first thing that comes to mind is the explosive growth in recent years, but that appears to be slowing. Netmarble is one of the most prominent developers and publishers of mobile games in the world and has some incredibly high-profile titles like Lineage 2: Revolution, Marvel Future Fight, BTS World, and The King of Fighters Allstar. The company was clearly busy last year with a number of new releases, but clearly expenses outweighed revenue as sales only increased by 7.6% while operating profit decreased by 16.5% and net profit decreased by 26.1%.

The following statement was made by Netmarble Co-CEO Seungwon Lee:

“The launches of our AAA mobile titles such as THE KING OF FIGHTERS ALLSTAR, BTS WORLD, and the continued success of our ongoing titles like Lineage 2: Revolution and MARVEL Contest of Champions, demonstrate our ability to deliver globally acclaimed games year after year. Following Magic: ManaStrike’s worldwide January launch, The Seven Deadly Sins: Grand Cross’ global release in March, and upcoming launches of Blade & Soul Revolution in Asia in Q2 and the global launch of MARVEL Realm of Champions in the first half of 2020, we continue to produce innovative, exciting new titles while supporting our diverse portfolio of world-class, mobile gaming experiences in 2020.”

 

Source: Press Release

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WoW Wednesday: Classifying Corruption

Corruption is an odd name of the game when it comes to World of Warcraft’s new patch, “Visions of N’zoth.” With any form of player character progression, a system that directly influences player gearing and customization has positives and negatives. However, when it weighs heavily on how your avatar functions on a fundamental, it is inevitable to find flaws in it. This week we will discuss Corruption, it’s place in player power, and if the system functions on a pure level.

The first question to address is, ‘What is Corruption?’ Replacing the Warforging and Titanforging systems, Corruption is the new ‘power increase’ mechanic designed to make player-gear more enticing. Functioning similarly to the previous systems, Corruption has a low chance to proc on any gear obtained through drops, such as Raiding or in some rare cases PvP. However, taking elements of the failed Benthic System from Nazjatar Corruption instead carries with it varied powers.

Coming in three different tiers of corruption (From +10 to +40). Each tier has certain effects tailored to it, with the lowest resigned mostly to stat bonuses. The highest, however, have incredibly powerful effects ranging from massive area-of-effect attacks to gushing bleeds. Some weapons, such as Sk’shuul Vaz, feature effects which draw on player’s already impressive stats to magnify their power and throughput.

This Corruption grows over time with the more corrupted item pieces you equip. Starting at zero and potentially scaling infinitely, every twenty levels imparts another greater impediment. Starting at just one corruption, your character will occasionally be halted by grasping tentacles, with later additions creating stunning mirror images. When your corruption maxes out you will not only gain increased power output, but you will rapidly take a deadly amount of damage. Corruption creates a risk-reward system based on what you’re willing to undertake with your current gear choices, while offering mitigation via the new legendary cloak and Heart of Azeroth Essences.

Initially there was quite a bit of trepidation with this system. Benthic gear was notoriously broken throughout Azshara’s Eternal Palace and Nazjatar for its special abilities. Such gear could easily be acquired and powered up while imparting benefits that outclassed even Mythic content loot. Where Ion Hozzikostas, World of Warcraft’s current lead developer, stated that item level should be the indicator on what is superior gear, the mathematics of stat multiplications and resistance increases against certain attacks made Benthic Gear a greater asset than any could dream of. Such is the issue, to an extent, with Corruption.

From its early days of implementation, the system has seen radical and controversial changes. The Public Test Realms saw massive widespread changes in terms of Corruption and number crunching up until launch. Even now, at the time of writing, traits like Infinite Stars dominate the current Corruption Meta. Classes that often underperform, such as Arms Warriors, who lack steady AoE and cleaving in Raid Teams are now preferred for most compositions, as Infinite Stars can proc on high-multi strike abilities such as Bladestorm and during Sweeping Strikes (both of which strike multiple targets rapidly) when coupled with DoTs and bleeds.

This was pushed to its apex of an issue when Corruption received nearly a dozen changes across the various tiers and abilities during the previous reset. This reset, in the middle of the Mythic Ny’alotha race between the world’s top Raiding Guilds, disrupted entire team makeups and individual character decisions. Let me paint for you such an example:

Intending to push your gearing curve you and your friends run Mythic +15 dungeons all week. Like Titanforging, Corrupted Gear only has a pittance of a chance to drop. It is incredibly unlikely, unless you are running multiple dungeons in short bursts and clearing well above the time limit, that you will see many pieces drop. Instead you’ll need to rely on your weekly Mythic+ Cache to deliver the guaranteed loot drop. If you’re lucky enough to receive an item type that CAN have Corruption, you need to hope that it is of the optimal tier within a certain range of Corruption.


Now, suddenly, the next week all of your hard-earned best-in-slot pieces are useless due to heavy nerfs. That is what happened during the Mythic Ny’alotha race, and to many players worldwide.

That is, if you are fortunate enough to avoid a crippling bug that occurred during the patch’s early weeks. Several players (including myself) were ‘locked’ into their loot types from week to week since launch across multiple sources. Some players could only get Trinkets from their Mythic+ Cache (which cannot become corrupted), while others could only get boots from Horrific Visions or pants from other sources. Meaning that, if you were unfortunate enough, you could essentially spin your wheels gearing for weeks and never see a piece of corrupted gear.

While I reached out to Blizzard to deal with my version of this bug, and there are many forums detailing similar instances, this is not a ‘known issue’ at this time. Despite internal team-members suffering from the exact same issue, this currently is not on Blizzard’s radar.

On paper, Corruption is a VERY good system. It rewards creative choices and maximizing what you can do with what you acquire. A greater issue comes, however, at the sheer exclusivity of Corrupted gear. If you have average luck, or especially a streak of good luck, you can quickly find yourself soaring past all barriers to your class’ ability to perform. However, if you are particularly unlucky, you’ll find yourself falling behind in short pacing.

Does this mean Corruption is necessarily a bad system? Certainly not. Most issues here could be addressed with simply making Corruption standard across ALL items, including the option to purge gear. Corruption does, in many aspects mathematically, fundamentally break your class role which is something that has been demanded by the player base since the ability pruning of Warlords of Draenor. That possibility of pushing a class beyond its apex role through gear customization opens a realm of possibilities about how even Tanks, who have an impressive amount of utility already, can change how they fundamentally process encounters.

In terms of fundamental mathematics, Corruption requires some time to gestate. This was a system that, frankly, required another month or two of testing. But given that it becomes more accessible and manageable, perhaps with higher tiers locked behind more difficult content, I want to see it return. N’zoth’s influence across Azeroth, and particularly our equipment, makes not just for interesting storytelling but a fun new way to approach class-balance and utilization. This risk-reward system where numbers aren’t always clear but are instead focused on fun experimentation makes for a more interesting product overall.

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Final Fantasy XIV Patch 5.2 Adds Ruby Weapon Trial

The latest update to Final Fantasy XIV patch 5.2, Echoes of a Fallen Star, is now available and brings with it a new dungeon, raid, trial, and main scenario quests.

Final Fantasy XIV Patch 5.2 Ruby Weapon

This week’s update to Final Fantasy XIV is bursting with content. First, there’s the main scenario quest update: Echoes of a Fallen Star, which continues the narrative of the Warrior of Darkness and Scions of the Seventh Dawn as they await for the Crystal Exarch to return them home.

Next up is the Eden’s Verse raid, which is the second chapter in the Eden raid series and includes both Normal and Savage difficulties. There’s also a new dungeon, Anamnesis Anyder that can be played through with other adventurers or NPCs using the Trust system. Finally, the Cinder Drift is a new trial that brings one of the most iconic boss fights to Final Fantasy XIV: Ruby Weapon. Ruby is the latest weapon for the Garlean military and can be challenged on Normal and Extreme difficulties.

If that wasn’t enough, there will also be new Beast Tribe quests, ocean fishing, and new Resistance Weapons that will see updates from patch 5.2 onward.

 

Source: Press Release

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Magic: ManaStrike Interview: Producer Kay Kim on the Origins and Future of the Game

Magic: ManaStrike is a new way to play Magic: The Gathering on Android and iOS, offering a take on the card game that pushes it closer to games such as Clash Royale and Minion Masters. Following our review and the addicting gameplay that it boasts, we had the opportunity to speak with Kay Kim, the Netmarble US Producer for this game.

In our interview, Kim will talk about how the opportunity to develop Magic: ManaStrike came up, how players are reacting to the game, what is planned for the future, and discusses the possibility of taking the game into eSports territory.

Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

I’m Kay Kim, the Netmarble US producer for Magic: ManaStrike.

How would you describe Magic: ManaStrike to new players?

Magic: ManaStrike takes the Magic: The Gathering franchise and places it in a whole new genre—real-time PVP strategy. Players take the role of a Planeswalker, a powerful character who can summon monsters and spells from their deck to win the battle on a 3D real-time battlefield. Additionally, the Planeswalkers themselves can enter the battlefield. They come equipped with unique special skills which, if used strategically, can turn the tide of battle.

When did you acquire the Magic: The Gathering license, and did you immediately feel that it would be a good fit for the real-time PvP genre, or were other game concepts studied as well?

The original Magic: The Gathering game is a great strategy game with a 26-year history so, when we were approached by Wizards of the Coast to come up with a new gameplay experience for Magic on mobile platforms, we were excited. We realized it would be great to blend the strategy of the core card game with the fun and depth of a Player vs. Player (PvP) battler. We really wanted to bring the characters, creatures, and spells of Magic rendered in full 3D models on mobile.

From there, we worked closely with Wizards of the Coast to make sure it lined up with the rich history of the constantly-expanding Magic multiverse. We believe that the game will appeal to strategy gamers worldwide. It’s easy to pick up, but with a depth of strategy that will pose a challenge to master, all with the incredible characters and lore that Magic: The Gathering offers as a fantasy brand.

Magic ManaStrike Interview Planeswalker

How would you convince non-Magic: The Gathering fans to give Magic: ManaStrike a go?

This game is a combination of a fantastic IP with a lot of story behind it, and fun, rewarding gameplay. If you’re new to the Magic: The Gathering franchise, don’t worry! Magic: ManaStrike uses a new gameplay style that will be enjoyable for all players, but stays true to Magic: The Gathering’s roots. You can learn about the different monsters and spells as you play the game, and you can experiment with different Planeswalkers to discover which one is the best fit for you. And along the way, you’ll learn a little bit about their history and personalities.

And of course, you’ll be winning matches, leveling up cards, and getting more and more great rewards.

Many players are comparing the game with Clash Royale. However, I would say that it looks more like Minion Masters. Are you a fan of these games, and if so, how does Magic: ManaStrike improves on them?

At Netmarble, we are gamers first. We play many games across many platforms so we make games we want to play because then we know players will love them too. Magic: ManaStrike allows players to come in and learn the mechanics of the game. As their experience grows, players start to strategize more and become more engrossed in the game. Seasoned players can also come in and enjoy it right away. We feel we’ve created a game nearly anyone can love.

Magic ManaStrike Interview Nissa Revane

Can you tell us which one is your favorite Planeswalker in Magic: ManaStrike, and why?

Tezzeret is my favorite because of his high versatility in attacks. His basic attack is a huge AoE damage to ground units; when deployed, he summons an additional aerial unit which does an AoE attack as well. Tezzeret’s Gravity Sphere skill is great because it will pull enemies close to an area and stun them for a second. And his funky reggae hairstyle and general appearance look awesome in my opinion.

How is the overall player reaction to game balance, including the game-changing Planeswalker abilities?

Of course, players always have opinions about what is and isn’t working in the game. We have a discord where players actively discuss what they think. And we relay that feedback to the developers. Also, what might seem over- or under-powered early on might be viewed differently later. Regarding Planeswalkers specifically, some powers are more situational than others. Finding the best times and ways to use them can often turn a match around but will often require more strategic thinking.

That being said, we are carefully monitoring the game and will adjust things as necessary to ensure balanced gameplay.

Clearly a lot of work went into the presentation of the game, particularly the Planeswalkers. Was it an arduous task making all these stunning artworks come to life in the arena, given the small size of the units?

Using the Unity engine and working closely with the Wizards of the Coast team, we took our time to ensure the artwork stayed true to what Magic players have come to love while still putting our spin on it and bringing our expertise in mobile gaming.

Magic ManaStrike Interview Jace Beleren

Do you plan on adding new Planeswalkers and cards in the future? What kind of timeframe can we expect for content updates?

We are always adding new content to our games and looking for fun ways to keep our games fresh. As you know, we have just launched the game so right now we are focused on providing a great experience and ensuring players enjoy the game. There will be updates coming soon though, so stay tuned.

Do you have plans to take the game into eSports territory?

We aim to make our games as fun as possible for players. There is always a possibility for future esports plans if the demand is there from fans.

Anything else that you would like to add about Magic: ManaStrike?

We are very proud of what we’ve built for players and hope they continue to enjoy the game. And keep in touch. There’s more Magic: ManaStrike to come!

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