Torchlight Frontiers Wants to Wreck their Servers

If the bluster from Torchlight Frontiers is any indication, then the MMOARPG is ready to have a whole lot of people into its first major test. A Torchlight Frontiers server stress test is beseeching potential players to wreck the servers.

torchlight frontiers server stress test

The morning of Friday, November 16th will mark the first closed alpha test, but the devs appear to want to ramp things up at 3pm PST/6pm EST in the hopes of putting the game’s server tech through its paces.

“Melt them down to their very cores until nothing remains but blistered silicon,” urges the post. “Make sure our ancestors whisper in hushed tones about the day the Torchlight Frontiers servers fell – and rose again stronger than we could ever imagine.

What’s not made immediately clear in the post is whether or not this server stress test will mean that closed alpha has a very large pool or if there will be an open alpha period. We’ve reached out to the folks at Perfect World Entertainment for some clarification.

Server stress isn’t the only focus of the closed alpha. The devs are also looking to get feedback on a number of things like gameplay balance, horizontal progression, loot economy, Forts, and multiplayer mechanics.

Meanwhile, a recent trailer showcasing the Forged class has gone online. That’s available for viewing below.

Our Thoughts

Here’s hoping that this stress test – and everything else associated with the closed alpha of Torchlight Frontiers, for that matter – is helpful for the devs and entertaining for the players. And here’s also hoping that the server stress test actually means that launch won’t be a complete dumpster fire.

Sources: official site, press release

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Torchlight Frontiers Details its Free to Play Monetization

The Torchlight Frontiers folks have been pretty busy, releasing little bits of information every little while, but today they’ve released a pretty significant one: confirmation of a Torchlight Frontiers free to play model as well as their philosophy behind the monetization.

torchlight frontiers free to play

While the game’s free-to-play model is going to do its best to sell items “that you want to buy, but do not need to buy,” the game also offers a nod to the fact that some people don’t have time to earn everything via purely in-game means. As such, certain items that accelerate earnings like gold or luck will be on offer. There are also plans to include cosmetics like Fort decor.

The team is also considering selling special items like Relic Weapons on its storefront, though normal gear will always be earned from in-game pursuits. The blog suggests the addition of Relic Weapons is not finalized, but if it ever is there will be “reasonable” means to craft or find those same store Relics in-game.

Finally, the blog post states that content will not be paywalled and that its store items won’t be pay-to-win by virtue of the fact that Torchlight Frontiers isn’t a game you can win.

“We want you to be who and what you want to be in our world,” reads the post. “We know that killing a boss and finding that cool rare item is immensely satisfying, but buying that same item from a store or auction house is less so.”

Our Thoughts

Consider ourselves extremely leery of the addition of Relic Weapons to the in-game store, especially since those are literally means to buy power. Which can be seen as paying to win to some, semantics aside.

Source: official site

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Wargaming Enters the Online ARPG Scene with Pagan Online

When one thinks of Wargaming, they usually think of historically recreated vehicles of war blasting away at one another in online combat. That perception is changing just a bit with the company’s Pagan Online announcement, which is Wargaming’s first publishing foray into a whole new genre: the online multiplayer ARPG.

pagan online announcement

Set in a world of “dark pre-Christian mythology” according to the presser, Pagan Online looks to combine the grand tradition of action RPG gaming with combat mechanics from the world of MOBAs. Players can look forward to carnage-filled missions with multiple game modes and difficulty levels, as well as a single-player campaign that will receive episodic Battle Chapter updates.

“With Pagan Online we’ve modernized how combat in a top-down action RPG works,” claims Uros Banjesevic, co-founder and creative director of developer Mad Head Games. “[We’re] taking cues from MOBAs to create something that’s fast-paced, overwhelming with enemies, and super challenging.”

Pagan Online is due to arrive sometime in 2019 and is taking names to join in its pre-launch tests known as Trials. You can get a teasing CGI trailer for the game below.

Our Thoughts

Well…it certainly sounds good, and if this game’s MOBA/ARPG combat feels as good as that which was used in a game like Master X Master, then this could be one to watch. Still, we’re going to have to stay sat here on the fence until we see some actual gameplay on display.

Source: press release

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Path of Exile Confirms its PS4 Release

Well, it looks like the early portents were true. A Path of Exile PS4 release has been officially announced by Grinding Gear Games with details and all of the pomp and circumstance that an announcement like that brings.

path of exile ps4 release

Path of Exile is making its way to the PS4 some time in December, opening up the MMOARPG to an all new audience. Naturally, it will be arriving with all of its usual bells and whistles like its crafting system, procedurally generated dungeons, and seven classes, each with three subclasses and that absolutely monstrous skill tree. The game will launch as a free to play title and promises to avoid pay-to-win tactics.

The PS4 version will also include content in the upcoming 3.5.0 update, which is said to be the game’s largest yet. More information about that is due to arrive next week, but the devs have posted a forum thread detailing one of the update’s features: Private Leagues, which will let players put together their own punishingly difficult Leagues for their friends.

As one would expect, the Path of Exile PS4 release has an accompanying trailer that sets the scene for the uninitiated, which you can see below.

Our Thoughts

Based on our time investigating Path of Exile’s F2P model, we can pretty confidently say that this one is indeed a fair free to play release while also being an excellent MMOARPG. It’s certainly one fans of the genre should look forward to on the PS4.

Sources: press release, official forums

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Lost Ark Debuts a Lengthy Open Beta Trailer

We’ve discussed before about just what the in-development MMO Lost Ark has been doing all this time, but a new Lost Ark open beta trailer has provided perhaps an even tighter look at where things stand right now with 13 minutes’ worth of gameplay to showcase.

lost ark open beta trailer

The video covers pretty much everything one would want to know about Lost Ark, from a look at the game’s different classes, to its gathering professions, to PvP and PvE pursuits. There’s even a brief look at some of the game’s social hubs, house building and sailing around the game world. The trailer is in Korean, however, so you’ll have to use your own context clues about what’s being showcased, but honestly it’s not difficult.

According to MMO Culture, Lost Ark is working on first stabilizing the game in Korea before pursuing a larger release, and even then China will be the first territory to see the game outside of Korea assuming the country’s ongoing games freeze thaws out by then. For now, you can take in the complete look in the embed below.

Our Thoughts

That is some pretty spiffing MMOARPG gameplay, to be sure! Lost Ark certainly ticks many of the right boxes for a Korean action MMO, including flashy classes and interesting locations and set pieces. We’re hoping to hear more on whether this game will be coming further West, but as our writer noted, that likely won’t be a development we’ll see until sometime in 2019. Maybe.

Source: MMO Culture

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Torchlight Frontiers’ Horizontal Progression System is a Potential Game Changer

The first couple of Torchlight games were some of the best examples shaped by the Diablo school of action RPGs. As far as hack-and-slash titles go, you can’t go wrong with this series if you want a game that is easy to pick up, a blast to play, offers hours on end of content and plenty of exciting loot.

When Perfect World Entertainment announced the closure of Runic Games, I died a little inside. The developer of the acclaimed series was no more, and while there was some vague reassurance about future titles in this franchise, who would eventually carry the torch? As it turns out, Torchlight Frontiers was announced as the first game developed by a new studio, Echtra Games, founded by Max Schaefer, former co-founder of Runic Games. It all seems to come full circle.

Torchlight Frontiers represents the next step in the series, learning from the previous games while venturing deeper into online territory. Torchlight 2 had amazing multiplayer co-op, and it’s no secret that, for years, Runic Games sought to take the series into MMO territory. The plan was eventually put on the back burner, but clearly it was never forgotten.

There is a fundamental reason for all the excitement surrounding Torchlight Frontiers. It’s not the accomplished art style, nor the exciting combat that it luckily has inherited from past titles; the real reason lies on the Torchlight Frontiers’ horizontal progression system that aims to change the way that players delve through content in an MMO.

In most MMOs, your challenge consists of going through the game in the customary means, a vertical system, let’s put it that way. You level up your character, become stronger and ultimately reach the endgame, the place where you belong from then on. Past content soon becomes obsolete, irrelevant, leaving you with no reason at all to return to old dungeons or raids and one-shot hordes of poor, defenseless enemies. Echtra Games wants to give you a good motive to go back to previously explored locations and have fun doing it, while still finding it somewhat challenging and, above all, picking up some valuable loot and gold along the way. As the developers said it, it’s not about sitting on top of a powerful mountain, but more about building different kinds of power that will have a purpose through the entire game and not just endgame.

Torchlight Frontiers horizontal progression system

But how will they achieve this? Through a system that focuses on each specific area – the Frontiers from the title – and the tools that are best suited to succeed in these areas. Dynamic gear scaling is the name of the ‘magic trick,’ and Guild Wars 2 players may be able to identify its inner workings. To put it simply, your gear is temporarily scaled down accordingly to the lower level zone that you will be tackling. This is made in a way that retains some sort of challenge as to not feel like a boring task, and you won’t be wasting your time as you can still earn some precious rewards such as gold and skill points – don’t expect any rare gear or materials, but there will be enough to keep you coming back for more.

Not only that, but this system is also a great way to team up with a friend that joined the game late and is still going through the earlier areas. This way, you can join your friend in zones where your characters behave in similar ways, despite you being way more powerful when all is said and done. Your friend levels up, you get some nice extra rewards – it’s a win-win situation.

However, it wouldn’t be fair if your superior character was reduced to the level of any other new Torchlight Frontiers player, and this is where the dynamic gear scaling system plays another interesting card. Each zone drops specific equipment and it is up to you to use it in your favor. For example, the gear that you earned playing in the Goblin Frontier is aligned to that frontier, so you will be scaled favorably against the creatures in that area. On the other hand, use that same gear in the Hyvid Frontier and it will scale worse, as the monsters in the area are aligned to a different set of equipment. The scaling differences are slight, but as you surely know by now they can make all the difference when you are facing a powerful boss. Changing gear is extremely simple, with the press of a button taking you through the various sets at your disposal.

Torchlight Frontiers horizontal progression system - classes

Torchlight Frontiers is a game with no levels, so your power relies on your equipment sets, your pet’s abilities, your active and passive skills and a couple of other things that Echtra Games is keeping close to its chest.

There are a few other things that the Torchlight Frontiers developers are keeping secret, including the highly anticipated character classes. Apart from some glimpses from the announcement trailer, there is very little to no info on the classes apart from the two that were officially shown: Dusk Mage and Forged. Fingers crossed for a reasonable number of classes at launch, as the meager four from Torchlight 2 simply won’t cut it in a game with MMO ambitions.

The Dusk Mage (apparently classes aren’t gender-locked, thankfully) is a magic-based character with powers split between light and dark. The former is comprised of accurate and sharp shots, while the latter lean towards a disordered area-of-effect style of attacks. As for the Forged, this is an inventive four-legged automaton and the first fully robotic class in the series. It is capable of firing missiles as well as using a sword to swipe enemies up close, and is able to change its parts just like the other classes change their equipment. The interesting bit comes with the heat gauge, which replaces the mana sphere from other classes. Using skills increases heat, and when it is full, you must vent steam with a scorching area-of-effect attack. It’s a curious mix of regular skills and releasing steam that needs to be carefully balanced to obtain the best results.

Torchlight Frontiers horizontal progression system - goblin with mount

With its resolute goal of finding a place in the ever tough MMO market, Torchlight Frontiers tries its best to bring something new to the genre. However, you can expect to find some tried-and-tested mechanics as well, including instanced dungeons where you will find the precious loot and deadly enemies. The definitive number of players that will compose a party is yet to be revealed, but four is the figure that is currently thrown around for good measure and to keep the playfield from becoming too cluttered. While in the persistent towns, the number of players radically increases in pure MMO fashion, with all the interactions that you can expect, including shopping around, gathering and crafting.

Perfect World Entertainment has a catalogue where free-to-play games abound, but also operates some buy-to-play games such as Livelock. When asked about the business model for Torchlight Frontiers, the publisher wasn’t ready to reveal any details, postponing such info for a later date. I can see Torchlight Frontiers working with any of the business models, if the inevitable cash shop is faultlessly tailored to each scenario.

Torchlight Frontiers is scheduled for 2019 on PC first and soon followed by PS4 and Xbox One releases.

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Path of Exile Potentially Coming to PS4

The console MMO market is a burgeoning one by all accounts and we may well see another game added to the growing list. In what appears to be another unintended ratings board leak, a Path of Exile PS4 version might just be waiting in the wings for MMOARPG fans.

path of exile ps4

This ratings board leak comes by way of Taiwan’s Digital Game Rating Committee, which has added a listing of the MMOARPG to its website. The listing also states that the game has passed through the ESRB, though bear in mind that information comes by way of Google Translate, so grains of salt and all that.

The report we’ve sourced does make a reminder that Path of Exile is on the way to a Chinese release, so it’s possible that this PS4 version might be region-specific. That said, it’s not out of the realm of possibility for the game to spread to the PS4 – it made it to Xbox One in August of last year and, assuming the game had console exclusivity, a year’s time would be long enough for Grinding Gear Games to branch out.

Our Thoughts

It really does seem inevitable that Path of Exile would be PlayStation 4-bound. The game has gotten what feels like a rise in its stake with its latest updates and we suspect that there are more than a few ARPG fans on the PS4 that would enjoy what PoE offers.

Source: Destructoid

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Torchlight Frontiers Introduces Relic Weapons

An ARPG lives and dies by its loot imparting your character with a sense of power – a fact that Torchlight Frontiers would certainly be no stranger to. It’s with that in mind that Torchlight Frontiers Relic Weapons will be a thing, which bring a new tier of equipment to the game.

torchlight frontiers relic weapons

Relic Weapons are described as powerful ancient items that players earn via the game’s crafting system. These items sit in a dedicated Relic Weapon slot of your character sheet and can be activated to become your primary weapon for a short time.

Upon activation, Relic Weapons impart some powerful effects and even grant players new powers or skills as the weapon gains experience and hits certain level milestones. A dev blog offered a look at three of the game’s Relic Weapons and even provided a look at one such weapon’s tooltip to grant players an idea of what these items are like.

According to the announcement and dev blog, these new weapons are meant to be a means to compliment your playstyle or build towards a character archetype. It also opens things up for the devs to include “crazy” mechanics and skills. That all said, everything laid out is subject to adjustment, as the game has yet to enter alpha testing.

Our Thoughts

Relic Weapons sound like they’re overpowered in the best possible way, but what we like most is how they’re earned by crafting, meaning somewhat less reliance on earning the favor of the RNG Gods. Here’s hoping that material drops are not the Achilles heel in that regard.

Sources: press release, official site

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Torchlight Frontiers Checks In with a Development Update

The progress on MMOARPG Torchlight Frontiers appears to be moving steadily along. A quick Torchlight Frontiers developer update has provided a bit more context on what’s being done with the game and a rough sense of how close it is to further testing.

torchlight frontiers developer update

The majority of development has been focused on polish, making sure everything in Torchlight Frontiers is the highest quality possible. A brief rundown of the latest game build details changes like the addition of more waypoints, introduction of rare harvesting resources to higher level locations, and improvements to party functions like quest objective credit and making sure party members arrive to the same instance.

Testing was also recently ramped up this week, adding both more humans and bots into the mix. Reportedly, this increase beneficially broke a few things, meaning the team can focus on what needs to be fixed.

With all of this polish focus, one can perhaps assume that more open testing is on the way. However, there hasn’t been any sort of confirmation of the next phase of testing. Still, the report does sound optimistic that the planned timeline for development is being met.

Our Thoughts

We’re glad to know that things are moving at pace with Torchlight Frontiers. We continue to wait and watch from the sidelines for this MMOARPG to make its way into greater scale testing, because honestly the idea of Torchlight gameplay in a shared world is definitely worth the interest.

Source: Torchlight subreddit

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Lineage II Classic Promises “Hardcore” MMOARPG Gaming in October

NCSoft would like you to take a trip back to the days where “hardcore grind” wasn’t a bad thing apparently. The company’s Lineage 2 Classic announcement has confirmed the arrival of the original MMOARPG with all of its wrinkles and older systems. For better or worse.

lineage 2 classic announcement

The newly launched landing page for the game offers the barest of details right now, but it does make a number of promises about the game’s content. Chief among them are the return of “classic hardcore leveling where the rewards can outweigh risks”, the original game’s 31 classes and 5 races, and all-out clan warfare.

Further details from PCGamer also confirm that the MMO’s dungeons will not be instanced, meaning those looking to delve the depths will need to look out for other player parties attempting to get the same clears and rewards. You’ll also want to keep your head on a swivel, as open-world PvP will be a thing along with XP penalties when you die.

About the newest thing in Lineage 2 Classic is its business model; the game will launch free to play and is offering a pair of Launch Packs that include buffing consumables and other beneficial items.

Lineage 2 Classic will arrive on Wednesday, October 3rd. A quick teaser trailer announcing its arrival is below.

Our Thoughts

This will either be an extremely exciting hit of nostalgia or a brutal reminder that the good ol’ days weren’t always really good. In either case, it will certainly be interesting to know how much of an audience there will be for Lineage II’s version of classic MMORPG gaming.

Sources: official site, PC Gamer

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