Warframe Empyrean Update Now Available

For those of you that were looking for more Warframe to play over the holiday season, you’re about to get your wish. During tonight’s broadcast of The Game Awards 2019, Digital Extremes announced that the latest update for the game, Empyrean, has officially gone live.

In this new four-player co-op battleship experience, the Tenno have managed to get their hands on an ancient Orokin technology, along with a deadly weapon — a star-bound battleship. That ties in with the all-new environments that you’ll visit within the game. These include Earth, Saturn and Veil Proxima, so you’d better get ready for travel.

As you journey in the future-tech Railjack battleship, clans will come across the hostile Grineer forces, taking them on in fast-paced, real-time battles. You’ll need to use whatever tactics you can come across in order to stay in one piece.

Along with the planets to visit, players will also be able to upgrade a number of new systems. These include Intrinsics, Avionics, Components and Armaments. Across all of these, they’ll become more powerful, becoming a threat against the Grineer forces that await.

That said, console owners won’t be left out in the cold. While it’ll still be a bit longer before they get their hands on Empyrean, they will be able to enjoy the Rising Tide update, which is available now for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Tenno can download this update right off the bat, and begin their research into building the Dry Docks and the Railjacks, in the hopes of being ready for the next confrontation that lies ahead.

 


 

 

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Warframe Empyrean Preview – Ninjas Play Star Wars

With the Warframe Empyrean expansion, Digital Extremes is making a bold move – one more, we could say, after the massive leap forward with the release of the Plains of Eidolon update. From open world to the depths of space, this is where Empyrean is going to take us, spicing up the ninja battles with the intense and frantic space combat that is coming with the expansion’s highlight: Railjack.

At its core, Warframe has always been about an engaging and rewarding co-op experience, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. Quite the contrary, in fact, as Railjack pushes the cooperative aspect even further, with a vessel requiring a four-strong team for effective maneuverability and combat. Cooperation is crucial to succeed, with the developer’s vision being fully realized when you have a fully coordinated team at the helm of the ship.

Warframe Empyrean Railjack

Ninjas in Spaceships | Warframe Empyrean Preview

Solo players aren’t locked out of the experience, but the focus is on performing roles within the Railjack and the capability to quickly switch from one area to the other, putting out fires and casting powers, in order to keep the ship intact and the goals clearly in sight. Co-op is pretty much a requirement for everything above the first tier of difficulty, so this isn’t exactly suited for players looking for a solo experience. At least, until a specific feature is released, but more on that later. One thing you should know for sure: there is no PvP coming with Empyrean, despite some sizable player demand.

If you’re a regular Warframe player, by now you may already have your ship built and waiting at the Drydock, your personal space hangar. Railjack customization isn’t a light affair, with colors to choose for the different ship exterior parts, and you can add decals and skins as well. You can baptize your ship as you see fit and the name will be proudly displayed on the side, showing your selected moniker to the other crew members. Worth mentioning is the ability to select the level of wear and tear of your ship, going between a scale of shiny and pristine to “I’ve seen things.”

Warframe Empyrean Railjack Avionics

There are a few aspects of Railjack that deserve highlighting, such as Avionics. These are your basic mods and appear divided into three categories. Battle Avionics are active abilities that can be activated by anyone on a turret, and you can have three of them simultaneously. The Void Hole is described as one of the most impressive Battle mods, enabling you to create a black hole that sucks the enemy ships without hesitation. Integrated Avionics are mods that increase the passive stats of your vessel, such as weapons and other base stats, and you have nine slots for them. Finally, Tactical Avionics are ship interior-focused mods about higher-level battle situation management.

Active power management was an option that was originally planned, but it was cut from the system as it was deemed too complicated for the frantic gameplay. The new system is described as more focused, and you are able to manage it in a more intuitive way via the Avionics menu.

With the Avionic Endo that you earn, you can upgrade your grid ranks to improve a mod that fits into that grid. Similarly, you can choose to upgrade the mod itself, paving the way for a “two-way street of upgrading,” as Community Director Rebecca Ford aptly describes it.

Warframe Empyrean Railjack Repairs

It’s advised that you don’t go to outer space without preloading your ship with the resources that you believe you are going to need. Space combat can be costly, so make sure that you head over to the Payload menu to check which resources you’ll be hauling, as you’ll need them to craft munitions and more.

The Intrinsics are a very important aspect of Railjack. This is a new type of player progression system that isn’t overly dependent on grind or RNG, unlocking interesting special maneuvers for the ship. However, these aren’t bound to the ship, being tied to the Warframe itself, which means that if you join other player’s spacecraft, you’re taking these skills with you.

Intrinsics are divided into Tactical, Piloting, Gunnery, and Engineering categories, with a fifth category, Command, to be released at a later date. This one will allow you to recruit your own NPC crew, lending a hand to players who are more inclined to forfeit collaborative efforts and dive in solo. You have multiple slots to which you can attribute crew members and grant them duties that other players would have to do, such as repairing the ship or putting out fires. An item will allow you to respec these abilities when the Command category releases, so don’t hold back with the earned points.

Warframe Empyrean Railjack Void Hole

If you don’t have a Railjack because you failed to complete the quest or you’re not quite there yet, don’t worry, you won’t be locked out of ship-on-ship action. While you can’t form a crew because you lack the all-important vessel, you can use the “join a crew” option to play a role in someone else’s ship – all you need to do this is have an Archwing. You won’t be the host, but as I have previously mentioned, you’re taking your Intrinsics to other player’s ship, so if you have a nice Gunnery level, for example, it will surely come in handy during those firefights. I can already predict a lot of chat recruiting going on in the backstage.

A free flight mode will let you comfortably explore the fundamentals of your Railjack without the looming pressure of risking your ship during a mission.  When you are ready to launch, a cool cinematic triggers, but those brief seconds will feel interminable after a few gaming sessions. Thankfully, Digital Extremes has confirmed that this cinematic is skippable.

Warframe Empyrean Railjack Archwing

In deep space, Warframe Empyrean brings a new kind of gameplay into the limelight. The mission objectives are determined according to the build of the level and which points of interest were randomized into it, so you may be tasked to destroy 30 fighters and five crewships, for example. While you’ll frenetically run inside the Railjack switching places with other crew members, piloting the ship or blasting away, you can go outside with your Archwing for a host of new activities. You can help by taking down opponent ships, or board them and do massive damage from the inside, collecting resources and escaping in the nick of time. Hijacking ships is another option, if you prefer to do so.

Railjack is a frenetic undertaking and the most intense collaborative version of Warframe yet. It is taking the acclaimed game to the next level, adding to its vast scope while remaining loyal to its foundations, rooted on cooperative play since it first launched in 2013. After Warframe Empyrean, the question that remains is where Digital Extremes is going to take the game next.

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Kartrider: Drift Preview – Chasing Mario Kart

Kartrider: Drift is Nexon’s answer to Mario Kart, Nintendo’s uncontested leader of the kart racer genre. However, this would be belittling the legacy of Crazyracing Kartrider, the 2004 game that kickstarted what we can now rightfully call a full-fledged franchise. The colossal success in Korea and China prompted the studio to take the series to the next stage, with a global release that spares no expenses.

A quick look at Kartrider: Drift’s bullet points shows some intriguing ambition and the determination to go against some of the current tendencies. A PC and Xbox One cross-platform game running on Unreal Engine 4, with no mobile version in sight? To some extent, that is daring in our times. The disappointing lack of a fun free-to-play racing game with high production values also reinforces the notion that Kartrider: Drift may be here to fill that void.

Kartrider Drift Preview Ramp

All is Fair in Kart Racing | Kartrider: Drift Preview

The first Kartrider: Drift closed beta revealed a surprisingly player-friendly game with no cash shop in sight. This will surely make an appearance later, as any game with a free-to-play business model needs to be sustainable, but right now it was nice to browse the available customization options without stumbling upon locked drivers or karts.

There were eight karts available during the beta, most of them based on their real counterparts, but three are animal themed. You have monkey, bunny, and tortoise karts, boasting a much more radical design that adds some interesting diversity to the selection. You can’t just rely on looks, however, as each kart is designed around four characteristics: speed, handling, drift, and boost. While a couple of vehicles seem to be slightly more balanced than the rest, there is no way that you can pick one of them and take the victory for granted.

Kart parts are bound to be a vital mechanic in Kartrider: Drift, with items that are predictably unlocked as you gain experience levels. You can customize your kart with your preferred pieces of different tiers, including the front, side, rear, wheels, and booster. These parts seem purely cosmetic for now, and let’s hope they stay that way. The other aspect of kart customization is a lick of paint, with a few preset spots that you can dye to your liking. In the future there will be custom wraps to add to the kart body, taking personal customization a step further.

Kartrider Drift Preview Drifting Items

Those karts won’t drive themselves, so you must pick a driver to embody your persona. The three measly characters aren’t likely to rock your world, and their design is probably going to be one of the more divisive points of the game – this is no Mario and friends for sure. Dao, the poster boy for the game, looks like an exile from Katamari Damacy, although his alternative baseball skin is a bit more agreeable. Bazzi is a boy wearing a teddy bear costume, and Brodi is a mysterious factory foreman. The graphics and animations are beyond criticism, but the cast lacks charisma, and there is a lot of room for improvement here. Nexon may not have a legacy to rival with Blizzard or Nintendo, but it could add a few guest drivers from some of its famous games, including but not limited to Dungeon Fighter Online, MapleStory, and Vindictus. Either that or add charming characters with a distinct identity that really stands out.

Racing is fun and frantic as it should be. Controls can make or break a game such as this one and thankfully Nexon has mostly nailed the feel of an arcade racer. It’s incredibly simple to drive and use the items, but you need to master the drifting mechanic if you want to reach the finish line ahead of the pack. It requires a delicate balance as you drift to fill your turbo meter, avoiding the track barriers by the skin of your teeth. The technique here is to start drifting as soon as you have triggered the turbo so that you keep that momentum going, but it’s easier said than done. You gain experience not just by winning races or placing on the top spots, you also earn points for actions such as drifting, passes, attacks landed, and attacks blocked. Take more than 10 seconds to finish the race after the winner and you’ll be retired, with your experience taking a hit in the process.

Kartrider Drift Preview Item Attack

Boosts are the central gimmick of the Speed mode, but Kartrider: Drift also comes with the Item mode. These are two separate experiences that you can play solo, in duos, or in squads, but you need to choose one mode over the other. Currently, there is no league mode of sorts to participate in, something that is sorely lacking but is certainly in the works. It is essential to give the game a long-lasting appeal because this kind of multiplayer racing may be fun, but it will only hold your attention for so long.

The Item mode makes the races look and feel akin to Mario Kart, as you randomly collect power-ups in certain locations of the track. You may get a useful booster, but there are quite a few attack and defense items as well. There is a shield to protect you from enemy attacks for a brief time, the mandatory banana to make the rival slip, barriers to make your chasers crash, a magnet to pull yourself closer to a driver in front of you, among others. The items add an element of surprise to the races and the winner isn’t always the best driver, but this mode surely boosts the fun factor in ways that the Speed mode isn’t capable of.

Currently there are nine tracks available, set in diverse environments including forests, glaciers, graveyards, and villages. The track design pulls all the punches in order to keep races frantic, with ramps, shortcuts, and long straight roads to make the most out of the turbo.

Kartrider Drift Preview Race Start

Kartrider: Drift makes good use of Unreal Engine 4, delivering some pleasant sights and colorful tracks. The lighting effects and reflections are top-notch, and the game conveys an accomplished cartoon mood capable of entertaining kids and adults alike.

The closed beta is a nice presentation card for Kartrider: Drift. The core mechanics are in place and it just needs more: more drivers, more tracks, more features to keep you coming back for another race. Nexon seems to be committed to its game and it might as well be – it may be no Mario Kart beater, but it sure is nice to welcome a serious contender to the genre.

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Path of Exile Conquerors of the Atlas Preview

Grinding Gear Games is in a tough spot right now. Don’t take this the wrong way; the New Zealand-based games developer isn’t going through some drama or afflictive times, quite on the contrary. The tricky issue here is that the first ever ExileCon delivered in spades, and it’s not easy to see how the next edition will manage to live up to such high standards.

The announcement of Path of Exile 2 was the uncontested highlight of the convention. This nearly groundbreaking but probably not quite beast of a game defies description, being some sort of radical hybrid sitting between huge expansion and spectacular sequel. Path of Exile Mobile deserves an honorable mention as well; the earnest and slightly awkward way that Grinding Gear Games’ co-founder and managing director Chris Wilson and his team introduced the game is obvious proof that they are doing this with sheer respect for Path of Exile, instead of pushing for a quick cash grab that would end up damaging the nearly stellar reputation of the franchise.

Franchise. Until a few days ago, it would be a delusion to say something like that about Path of Exile. But now, Grinding Gear Games is finally putting the “S” in games. So is Riot Games, with its recent announcement of a League of Legends fighting game, a FPS, and a few other games. Maybe it’s something in the water.

Before Path of Exile 2, we’re getting a few expansions starting with the massive 3.9 update, officially titled Conquerors of the Atlas. The announcement trailer spawned a mix of excited and shocked reactions, and quite understandably so – after all, it’s not every day that you are your most dangerous threat.

Path of Exile Conquerors of the Atlas Preview Conqueror

You Versus You | Conquerors of the Atlas Preview

According to Chris Wilson, Conquerors of the Atlas is designed to reinvigorate Path of Exile’s endgame, a couple of years after the War for the Atlas expansion brought the Shaper and the Elder influence mechanics, and the brand-new story follows those events. Admitting that the endgame was getting “a bit stale,” Wilson is adamant that the new expansion is going to change that, adding to the flexibility and bringing some exciting fights and rewards, without compromising what fans love so much about the Atlas gameplay.

“You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” These famous words uttered by Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight seem like a perfect fit for your role in Conquerors of the Atlas. In the trailer, Zana describes her tale of bravery in face of an overwhelming evil, and how she ended up sealing these threats in the Atlas. The five bosses that you must face can be briefly seen in their human form, and a glimpse of them as the Conquerors reveal their evolved and threatening nature, which is based off real player builds. This is a remarkable way to seamlessly bind lore and grind, in a metagame of sorts that comes as a shocking revelation to all but the most perceptive players – the Exiles are their own worst enemy. You can almost taste the bittersweet irony behind it all.

One of the most noticeable changes is straight up visible when you open the Atlas. You no longer start your quest in the corners, instead starting near the center of the map, and working out your way toward the corners. This is a change that should add more freedom to the way that you choose to explore the regions. The map is divided into eight regions, something that you’ll verify by the yellow borders. In the beginning, there are 19 maps visible to the players, and you must unlock the rest by leveling up regions of the Atlas through defeating Conquerors and earning watchstones, which you can socket to increase the tier of the maps within that region. Fully upgrading a region will reveal more maps and raise each one within to tier 14-16. You can repeatedly target Conquerors in case you want to earn more watchstones and have all eight regions at max level.

Path of Exile Conquerors of the Atlas Preview Map

With the new expansion, sextants can be applied to watchstones and affect an entire region, instead of a single map as they previously would. This gives you up to four sextants for each region, and you can unsocket watchstones between regions as you wish. Another change is that Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master Cartographer sextants now come with unique modifiers.

The support gem plus system is another feature coming with the new expansion. These gems are “very high level, super powerful versions” of the support gems that you can already find in the game. This priceless loot drops from Conquerors and there are around 35 in Conquerors of the Atlas. Wilson talked about a couple of them, Fork Plus and Ancestral Call Plus, proceeding to a short demonstration where chaos ensued, and an appropriate “RIP graphics card” comment stole a legitimate laugh from the audience.

With Conquerors of the Atlas changing the endgame and shifting the focus from the Shaper and Elder, what will happen to those items that you fought so hard for? You can rest assured that these aren’t going away, and Zana’s missions will give you Shaper and Elder guardian maps. The goal here is to keep that part of the content accessible, in case you need an item as a specific part of your build, although the focus isn’t on this system anymore.

Four new influence types named after four of the five Conquerors will provide you with new ways to change your build: Warlord, Hunter, Crusader, and Adjudicator. I feel sorry for the remaining guy, but he’s being left out because his name probably isn’t quite as catchy as the others – maybe he’s called Blayde or something? These mod pools are based on older mods but also include new additions. Conquerors may also drop orbs that enables you to enchant a rare item with a unique modifier.

Path of Exile Conquerors of the Atlas Preview Conqueror Battle

Previous Path of Exile expansions improved on various aspects of the game. Spellcasting, melee, summoning and mines were topics that deserved exceptional attention from the development team, and the 3.9 update is enhancing bows and ranged attack totems.

Ranged attack totems are now called ballistas, and you can place three of them at once even faster than before. New support gems provide additional ways of shooting arrows, with the artillery ballista shooting fiery arrows up in the air to rain down on enemies, working as a very efficient way to clear spread out enemies. The other support gem is the shrapnel ballista, which fires limited-range projectiles at your foes.

The bow is a popular weapon in more ways than one, and it saw the introduction of new skills and support gems. The Ensnaring Arrow utility skill increases ranged attack damage and restrains movement of the affected targets; the Barrage support is a treasured skill that receives a new gem allowing you to fire several arrows in sequence; finally, the Nova support gem allows you to fire an arrow into the air, which lands at a remote location and splits into a swarm of arrows that lay waste to enemies everywhere. On the other hand, you can say goodbye to the Tornado shot, which was nerfed and was “far too good for far too long”.

Path of Exile Conquerors of the Atlas Preview Bow

DIY Metamorph | Conquerors of the Atlas Preview

As if drastically changing the endgame and giving the grind a consistent reason that perfectly ties with the existing lore wasn’t enough, there is a new league coming with this update. The Metamorph league is the 28th league in Path of Exile and launches alongside Conquerors of the Atlas on December 13. Another spectacular trailer introduces the new league, ostensibly basking in its ominous atmosphere and the narration of an obsessed and scary persona. It stars a new NPC, Tane Octavius, a master alchemist that was exiled to Wraeclast for killing his teacher and is now vying to use his expertise to find the “the intrinsic darkness.” This, of course, involves a lot of killing.

As you kill monsters in each area, you collect samples from some of the corpses. The samples represent the personification of each creature’s skills, and combining five of them will result in the creation of a metamorph. When you have enough skills, you can summon Tane so that he helps you to create a metamorph. You possess certain control over the genesis of this boss, as you carefully select the five samples that blend into a menacing foe.

The resulting metamorph is a vicious boss that swiftly changes shape and offers a remarkable and unpredictable challenge. The more powerful the metamorph is, the better the rewards, so there is a clear risk/reward factor that you must consider when mixing the samples.

Path of Exile Conquerors of the Atlas Preview Conqueror Battle 3

In the Metamorph endgame, you can collect samples from map bosses and combine them to form even more lethal metamorphs. The blend of powers, difficulty, and rewards of multiple bosses yields the definitive challenge for league players. The Conquerors of the Atlas expansion brings 16 new items, four exclusive to the Metamorph league, and the rest of them will drop as you defeat the Conquerors.

Conquerors of the Atlas turns Path of Exile’s endgame on its head and is set to deliver a bold and unabashed foundation for what 2020 will bring. With a few expansions yet to release in the lead-up to 4.0, which you know by Path of Exile 2 by now, fighting former Exiles sounds like a way to close the year on a very interesting note.

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Five Things We Want From Diablo IV

Over the weekend, Blizzard finally revealed the latest chapter of its Diablo series with the long-awaited Diablo IV. It was an announcement that was reportedly set for last year, but the company apparently changed their minds at the last minute, opting to speak about Diablo Immortal for mobile instead. This year, though, was all about the sequel.

After presenting a new cinematic trailer, introducing the powerful Lilith into the fold, Blizzard provided a sneak peek into the gameplay. Though it’s still a work in progress, it does look like a promising evolution from Diablo III and its Eternal Collection add-ons.

Even with everything that was revealed over the weekend, there are still a few questions left about the experience that the game will bring. With that, we’ve gathered a few queries that we wouldn’t mind getting answered, though it’ll likely be a bit before Blizzard provides answers. Still, there’s always room for more information to circle around next year, right?

Let’s get started with a good one.

What other classes could come to the world of Diablo IV?

So far, three classes have been revealed for Diablo IV. There’s the Sorceress, who utilizes magical abilities and can combine them together to take down enemies, including lightning, fire and more. There’s the Barbarian, who utilizes a number of weapons to smash enemies, as well as quick, brutal strength to make his attacks count. Finally the Druid, who can not only summon special attacks from the elements (different from the Sorceress), but also transform into powerful animals, such as a bear or a wolf.

These are great classes that show off some of Diablo IV’s diverse gameplay, but it makes us wonder what others Blizzard could have in store for the game. Obviously it’s not saying yet, but keep in mind that it added new classes to Diablo III as time went on, including the Necromancer and Crusader.

So what possibilities are there? A number, actually. Along with the possible return of the Necromancer, there’s also the Paladin, the Amazon and the Monk. And they don’t all have to be entirely action oriented, either. Someone like the Witch Doctor would probably be a greatly balanced character here.

More than likely, we won’t find out who else will join this party until sometime in 2020, as the game gets closer to completion. Blizzard did say it was a long way off, but the idea that the cast can really get “out there” with a number of key additions has us hungry for more.

Will Diablo IV ever shift away to an offline world?

Previous Diablo games usually provided the option to play with others offline, though the appeal of joining an online group is always there. But with Diablo IV, the developers are taking a different route. Though you still have the option to play on your own if you prefer, you’ll need to have a consistent online connection in order to take part in the game’s experience.

Whether this will remain permanent, no one’s for sure. But it sounds like that’s the mantra Blizzard is going for, so others can join in the experience at any time — if you prefer, that is.

During the BlizzCon panel that took place during the show, lead designer Angela Del Priore made it clear why this choice was made.

“We are not going to support an offline mode. But, as I said before, nothing in Diablo IV is going to require partying up. You can play solo and dungeons are private. Campaign quest areas will (also) remain private.”

So that about covers that. It won’t be an option unless Blizzard’s team changes its mind in the future. But at least the ability to play on your own will still be there, so the Diablo world will still be your oyster. Just make sure you have a strong enough connection to keep up with this world, yeah?

How much will the open-world design affect Diablo fans?

In the past, Diablo players usually had to follow a structure with acts in order to make progress within each game. However, the team felt that Diablo IV should come with the changes needed to become more effective. As a result, there’s more of an open-world structure.

The designers call this a “contiguous” open-world, as the five regions within the world will remain fully connected to one another. This time around, the players can explore them however they see fit, having to deal with everything from varying weather effects to exploring the “hundreds” of dungeons that are available within the game.

Players can take on the content any way they see fit, or they can also go through the story in a general manner, which will suit some Diablo fans. It’s nice to have options for those that will tackle it.

For open-world, could it be too much for Diablo fans to bear? The answer is no, as the game is designed to take advantage of it, rather than making it a drag-out affair like some games that call for a grind. There are still towns to visit, which double as social hubs, and world events will pop up, with you (and potentially other players) taking on viable threats that (almost) appear out of nowhere. There’s also PvP, for players who prefer good old-fashioned combat.

So Diablo IV will retain something old, but also something new — which should cover the bases for fans, newcomers and even MMO lovers alike. Now it’s just a matter of seeing how it all unfolds once the game is done with development.

Will the game feature any kind of crossplay support?

Blizzard surprisingly announced that Diablo IV isn’t just coming to the PC front. It’s also coming to consoles, with Xbox One and PlayStation 4 confirmed for the time being. That means console and laptop/desktop owners alike will be able to enjoy everything that the game has to offer.

There’s still a question regarding its support of cross-play. After all, more and more titles are doing it now, such as the just-released Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, as well as other hits like Rocket League. Being able to play with others, regardless of platform, would be a real trip for players. Alas, Blizzard had to let them down lightly. At least, for the moment.

When asked about the possibility, lead lighting artist Sean Murphy explained during the recent BlizzCon panel, “We have nothing to announce with cross-play, but that is a topic we are interested in.”

So the team didn’t entirely brush it off the table, but there’s nothing set yet. More than likely, Blizzard is interested in just getting the game done first, then considering what it’ll do in terms of online support. At the very least, PC owners will be able to connect with one another; and subscribers to Xbox Live or PlayStation Network can do the same with their respective consoles as well.

It’s a big task. Considering that Diablo IV is put together with a massive open-world structure, creating an online universe that caters to all consoles and PC’s, connected together, is a lot to ask. The possibility is there, and the team will likely look into all options before it confirms the best way to go with it.

For now, it never hurts to keep a good, steady friend list of Diablo devotees on hand. Who knows, they’re probably still playing Eternal Collection as you read this.

How will players be able to skill up properly in Diablo IV?

Both skills and talents will play a huge part in the world of Diablo IV, and players can actually decide how these all come together as they gain experience.

First up, each class once again comes with six different skill types. As before with Diablo III, you can actually choose multiple skills of the same type, rather than having to divvy them up into groups based on different types. You can still level up individual skills however you see fit, making them more powerful or potent, depending on how effectively you hit enemies. It’s a pretty sweet way to go, with a number of possibilities depending on class and the abilities you want to rank up.

As for the talent trees for each individual class, they’re huge. With each tier that you unlock, you’re able to acquire one or more talents, diversifying your character’s abilities in a number of ways. For instance, with the Barbarian, you can increase his speed to make him more effective with quick attacks; or try out Concussion and boost damage on certain foes. Those are just two of the options available; and there are less limitations here, as you can choose how you rank up accordingly. No more having to start at the top and whittle away — the choices appear to be much better with Diablo IV.

There are also Legendary items that play a part as well, and though Blizzard didn’t break these down entirely just yet, they sound like they could mix things up even further, keeping leveling up much more interesting and not so much a “grind” to make progress.

It all sounds a bit elaborate, but once you choose a class and really open up what you can do with your character, it’ll make more sense. You’ll be able to build a true bad-ass that might be able to stand up against Lilith in the long run, depending on your choices, obviously.

Bonus Question: Is there a release date?

Now comes the million dollar question — when will players be able to enjoy Diablo IV for themselves? Well, not for some time.

Like the also-announced Overwatch 2, Blizzard didn’t have a specific release date for the newest chapter of the series. They noted that it’s still “currently in development,” though fans that went hands-on with the game were pleased by the progress being made on it so far. So, at the very least, the team is deep in development, indicating that it may be further along than they’re letting on.

The platforms that were confirmed indicates that it may not be too far off for this generation. PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC were all confirmed for Diablo IV, and not a word was said about the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Scarlett, both of which will make their way to market sometime in holiday 2020. So we could see the game release in 2020, though that’s not near final.

Regarding the potential of next-gen consoles, executive producer Allen Adham noted, “We don’t have anything specific to announce with regards to next-gen consoles right now, but you bet we have our eye on them.”

Diablo has taken the multi-console release before. Both Diablo III and Diablo III: Reaper of Souls made their way to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, before the experience eventually came to Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch with the Eternal Collection. So a possible repeat instance could happen here, with XB1 and PS4 getting ports of the game at first, but then Xbox Scarlett and PS5 getting a “definitive edition” down the road, with all their content included in one convenient package.

So, for the moment, fans are waiting. And they’ll likely continue to do so over the next few months, as development moves on with Diablo IV. But it has made progress; and its announced platforms indicate that it may not be too far off when it comes to release. We’ll just have to wait and see what Blizzard has in mind once the project gets close to completion. Hopefully, it won’t be BlizzCon 2020 when we find out its fate. Fingers crossed.

What questions do you have regarding the next chapter in the Diablo franchise? Let us know!

 

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Metal Revolution Preview: Them Fighting Robots

Back in August, I reviewed a fighting game called Fantasy Strike. It’s an old-school type of brawler from the team at Sirlin Games. Even though it doesn’t quite possess the pizzazz of other top-notch fighting games on the market, such as Dragon Ball FighterZ or Tekken 7, it has its own sense of appeal between its old-school style controls and cast of characters. That same niche was present when I tried out NEXT Studios’ Metal Revolution, which is set to trade paint on consoles and PC sometime next year.

The developers let me dig in for a few matches, and I was quite impressed by what I came across. Let’s break down what makes the game tick so far…

A Unique Batch of Robo-Characters

Like the fan favorite Rising Thunder before it, Metal Revolution thrives with a cast of (mostly) robotic characters, including some that bring entirely unique personas and attack styles to the game.

For instance, there’s Miyamoto Ren, a robot that’s dressed in a 1930’s style hat, shirt and tie. However, he’s built with a very agile frame, and also wields a samurai sword. The combination of his smooth physique and sharp blade provide a combination that some players are sure to love.

Those who prefer something a little on the “big and burly” side may want to see what Ted Graham brings to the table. This robot features a build that’s like a combination of a football player and a knight, complete with a helmet with a grill covering its face. Its large frame makes it slightly slower than the smaller characters, but all the more powerful.

On top of that, there are some other oddball characters that stand out in this group. There’s a Monkey King-style robot that’s quite agile and able to perform devastating maneuvers with its staff, an insect-style bot that can use its arms to carve up the competition with combos, and even a nun. That’s right, a heavily armed nun that doesn’t look like she’ll be sitting down to take confessions anytime soon. Sadly, we weren’t able to see her in action yet, but she probably has an interesting story that’ll intrigue a few fighting fans out there.

Overall, the cast has about ten characters, though there’s a possibility that more will be added to the game, depending on its popularity. These characters bring different weapons and attack methods with them, making each one a treat to perfect. Hopefully, NEXT will give us a taste of what’s to come with a demo before the game’s release.

Characters and Modes For Everyone

With each combatant in Metal Revolution, NEXT Studios maintains a proper balance across six key areas – power, range, health, technique, mobility and energy break. Though some may be lacking in certain areas, they make up for it in others, forcing the player to perfect what they can do in order to properly score a victory with the fight.

Fortunately, the gameplay that this game possesses allows that with ease. A training mode enables the player to learn the ropes with each of the systems, which we’ll break down a little further below. But once they’re set to go, a number of options are available.

For those who  prefer a good solo battle, there’s Arcade Mode. Here, you’ll test out a string of opponents before finally completing your journey. Anyone that plays fighting games should instantly see what this mode is about.

On top of that, there’s also Friend mode and local mode. These two are perfect for offline battles, and a nice feature to dig into when you want to take on a buddy on the couch. Here, you can just hop into a fight and see how you fare against others. There’s also an option to use your precious fighting controllers, if you have a special one you yearn to use.

Then we get to the real thick of the action, which are Metal Revolution’s online offerings. Here, you can choose from a number of available modes and see how you fare against others. There’s Quick Match, which is simply hopping into the next available fight that’s on hand. This is ideal for those that don’t want to worry about ranking or anything like that, and just want a brawl-a-thon, so to speak.

Then there’s Arena. This is probably the most fulfilling mode of the game thus far. It’s a “ranked” mode, so there’s a certain challenge to overcome opponents. However, if you’re game to do so and manage to score a victory, you’ll earn a number of bonuses. NEXT didn’t break these down yet, but more than likely, they’ll be skins or other goodies that you can use over your next fights. No, nothing that will give you a huge advantage – but at the very least, you’ll look cool.

So between the online and offline stuff, Metal Revolution has a whole lot to offer players. Whether more modes will be added as the game goes on isn’t confirmed just yet, but we can totally see NEXT stacking this deck as, again, the game grows within the fighting community.

 

A Combat System You Can Build Upon

Like Fighting Strike before it, Metal Revolution builds upon a very effective fighting system, one that stands out from the Tekkens and Mortal Kombats of the world. Players of all skill sets can dig in and find lots of good stuff here, no matter which character they end up using. It’s just a matter of getting comfortable with a few things.

First, there’s a jump button, but combined with the rest of the control scheme, this actually works in the game’s favor. Instead of having to worry about regulating the move to an analog stick and putting yourself in an odd position, you can simply tap the button and prepare for an incoming attack – or guard, just in case your opponent has something vicious planned once you land.

That leads us to the combat. This is relatively easy to get into, thanks to Metal Revolution’s control scheme. It’s simple to put together combos with your strike moves, no matter your skill set. I was able to chain together a couple of good ones with Miyamoto Ren by the time my second match rolled around. That shows how you can get in right off the bat, even if you’re a player that’s not entirely skilled.

As you dig deeper into Metal Revolution, some cool new systems come into play. For instance, blocking actually goes the extra mile. Rather than just protecting you from incoming hits, you can actually turn it around into a parry and land one of several defensive moves on an opponent. This could turn around the tempo of the match almost instantly, depending if you can catch someone on guard quickly enough.

This is a system that may take a little patience. I was walked through it by one of NEXT’s reps, and I didn’t necessarily “nail” it the first time. However, by my second match, again, I was able to adapt, and soon we were turning reversals on one another back and forth. It’s a terrific game of “give and take,” if you will, and well worth practicing if you’ve got the endurance to stick it out.

Like any good fighting game, Metal Revolution also comes with Ultimates. Here, you can charge up a super attack and, provided you hit your opponent in just the right spot, unleash a devastating finisher that can easily leave them laying. They’re not fatalities, mind you, but they are cool little moves that unfold in a blinding flash, adding some flair to the proceedings. So time these just right and watch the sparks fly. Literally.

Don’t Be Fooled, This Revolution Looks Good

Even though Metal Revolution isn’t quite considered a AAA brawler, like SoulCalibur VI, there’s no question that NEXT Studios is putting together quite an effort with it. As you can see from the trailer below, the robots look impressive when it comes to their animations; and even the backgrounds have a certain flair to them, from an underground robot fighting club  to a cool city scape, where the lights actually dim as you or your opponent land a brutal Ultimate.

There are also some terrific lighting effects that align with the system. For instance, when you’re successfully blocking an opponent, you’ll see a blue glow around your character with each hit that bounces off. However, when you parry, the light suddenly turns green, giving you an indication that it’s time to hit back. These little things can make quite a difference in the heat of combat, so pay close attention. They might just turn the tide for you.

 

What’s On the Horizon

Along with a large cast of characters, strong gameplay system and unlockable goods, NEXT has promised that it will add more battle modes in the future. It hasn’t detailed what these are just yet, but don’t be surprised if variations of other modes from other hit fighting games make their debut.

For that matter, additional skins are in the works, along with more stages for players to check out. It’s up in the air whether or not new characters will join the party. It totally depends how well received the current ones are. Keep in mind these aren’t just pretty robot faces. They all have a fascinating back-story, as players can see how they connect with one another and what drives them to be in this fighting tournament. Tell you what, I want to learn more about that fighting nun.

Robot Fightin’ Stars Next Year

Metal Revolution is still in development over at NEXT, set for an unspecified release sometime in 2020 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. The studio will announce when it’s ready to go, but judging by my time with it thus far, they’ve got something decidedly old-school on their hands and there are going to be a lot of people that will get into that.

We’ll check back in as progress is made, but in the meantime, keep an eye on these guys. They’re ready for the Revolution to be televised.

 

The post Metal Revolution Preview: Them Fighting Robots appeared first on MMOGames.com.

ArcheAge Unchained Interview: Executive Producer Merv Lee Kwai on a Play-To-Win Future

Gamigo is taking a massive step forward with ArcheAge Unchained, an overhauled release of the sandbox MMORPG with a buy-to-play business model. Severing ties with the notion of pay-to-win and yet keeping the Legacy servers running simultaneously, this is an ambitious plan that comes with big risks, but it could also yield big rewards.

We decided to learn more about ArcheAge Unchained straight from the mind of executive producer Merv Lee Kwai. Read the interview below to discover how Unchained started, how the new ArchePass works, and what measures were taken in order to turn housing into a fairer prospect, among other things.

 

Before Gamigo purchased Trion Worlds in 2018, the plan for ArcheAge Unchained was already underway. Was this something that Gamigo fully supported from the start, and could other games follow the same path?

The desire to revamp the ArcheAge business model was something my team talked about for as long as I can remember. About 2 years ago, under Trion Worlds, the initial concepts were born. The idea was initially met with some expected skepticism when we were acquired by gamigo. Shortly thereafter—and much to my appreciation—our dedicated team members began to shape the dream. ArcheAge was in a unique position due to heavy past criticisms. Our genuine want to do it better, combined with the support of the community, is what brought it all to life. I don’t think it’s possible for all games to take this approach and be successful.

 

Ultimately, what makes you believe that Unchained will be successful? We’re used to seeing premium games going free-to-play, but the other way around is unusual.

It’s really simple: our players want it. I can’t count the number of times where I’ve heard someone say “ArcheAge could be one of the best MMOs in history, but….” The pillars of the Unchained project are built around meeting the demands of our players headfirst: the perception of P2W, client vulnerabilities, lax policies, and lack of communication. Nothing is taboo and everything is laid bare. That’s a story people can get behind.

ArcheAge Unchained interview Shadows Revealed update

Judging by the overall excitement surrounding Unchained, do you feel ready to tackle the stream of players and avoid long queues during the first launch days?

We’ve doubled the amount of time that we typically run our Public Test Server and are iterating rapidly. A multitude of issues have risen but our dedicated teams work in shifts around the clock to solve them – that’s a huge benefit we have now that we’re a more global-focused organization. Our teams stand at the ready to address any issues that arise.

 

By saying that “ArcheAge Unchained is focusing on a fair monetization system,” and I’m quoting official marketing material here, don’t you think that you’re corroborating the players’ claims about a pay-to-win system?

Everyone’s definition of Pay-to-Win is different these days. ArcheAge has historically had a liberal business model and I absolutely understand why it’s referred to as P2W. If you want to call that corroborating then yes, sure, we were. I like to think of it more as acknowledging our previous approach and putting forth best effort to transparently meet expectations.

 

Can you give us a brief description of the improvements that Unchained brings in order to level up the playing field for everyone? And exactly how does the ArchePass works?

Unchained has a static up-front cost, we sell cosmetic items in the marketplace through direct sales, and we offer a premium season pass model that provides additional cosmetics as a reward. This version stands in contrast against the Legacy model that offers a monthly subscription (and provides gameplay progression benefits), a tradable premium currency known as “APEX,” items that enhance progression in lockboxes, and a large amount of RNG on monetization dependent systems.

Up to 3 ArchePasses run simultaneously for a 3-month season. Players complete daily objectives, earn experience, and progress in ArchePass Levels. Each time they gain a level, they get a free reward and if they purchase the premium version of the pass, they are awarded a cosmetic item at milestone levels.

ArcheAge Unchained interview Fight

By deciding to keep both ArcheAge versions running, don’t you fear that the Legacy version may see its player count drastically reduced, as players make the transition to Unchained? If this scenario happens, what is your stance regarding the original ArcheAge?

ArcheAge has a solid core of heavily invested legacy players. We intend to support them in the same capacity we always have. Unchained is targeted at players who loved the concept of ArcheAge at release, but fell off somewhere along the way for any number of reasons. Sure, there’s some overlap between the two, but we wouldn’t have made this decision if we believed it would put us in a place that wasn’t sustainable.

 

Housing is always a sensitive subject in any MMO and ArcheAge is no exception. How do you plan on making this system fairer for this fresh start?

As you know, our player housing occurs in the open world and is persistent. The competition for owning land is fierce and we’ve learned a lot from the rush process over the past five years. Unchained servers open on October 15 but the ability to claim land doesn’t occur until October 19. The 4-day grace period gives players more time to earn in-game currency to buy housing designs. Lastly, the rush occurs on a Saturday to ensure we include the wider audience. Players aren’t permitted to buy tax certificates (a cash shop item used to maintain owned property week-over-week) on Unchained servers and that inherently restricts the amount of land owned.

 

Do you think that Unchained has some sort of competition in WoW Classic, or at these substantially different MMORPGs with very distinct player targets?

I think there’s a base level of overlap for all MMORPGs. ArcheAge focuses on player interactions on the large scale: our raid bosses, PvP, and housing all exist in a seamless, persistent, open world. The nature of our gameplay is more sandbox focused and players truly create their own personas in a living, breathing environment.

ArcheAge Unchained interview

What is the plan regarding content updates? Do you plan on rolling them out simultaneously for Legacy and Unchained, and does this in any way affects the workload for the development team? Will Unchained get any exclusive updates?

Content updates will occur simultaneously for both service types. Unchained has some features that Legacy doesn’t like the ArchePass, but Legacy has 5 years of mounts, costumes, and battlepets some of which may never be available on the Unchained service.

 

The Shadows Revealed update is getting a frankly positive player reception. Did you plan to have this ready for the Unchained release, or was it a delightful coincidence?

It was planned. Every time we’ve released a Fresh Start server it’s been positioned next to a massive content expansion. The “rush meta” changes from release to release, and this time we’ll add the new Swiftblade class to the mix.

 

Is Shadows Revealed merely the beginning for ArcheAge graphical updates? After all, it’s nice to have revamped Elves, but what about poor old Harani and Warborn, to name just a few races?

All things in stride! I have a feeling we’ll see a rollout of these awesome graphical enhancements over the next content updates.

 

Thank you for your time! Anything else you would like to say to our readers?

I can express nothing but appreciation for all the love and support we’ve received as we work to deliver ArcheAge: Unchained. Without our community, none of this would be possible. Truly, thank you.

The post ArcheAge Unchained Interview: Executive Producer Merv Lee Kwai on a Play-To-Win Future appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Gears 5: Getting the Most Out of the Multiplayer Modes

Microsoft and The Coalition have truly delivered on the latest game in the Gears of War franchise, the simply named Gears 5. Not only does its single-player campaign deliver in spades, but it also has multiplayer that’s built to last. Between traditional content, new DLC that adds a promotional boost to the game, and some new modes, there’s a lot here for players to uncover.

In fact, it might be too much for some, as Gears 5’s general multiplayer is definitely on the competitive side. Chances are that you will die a few times before you get the hang of it. Not to worry, we’re here to help! We’ve broken down the three general components of multiplayer below, along with some tips that will help you come out on top, or at the very least help your side win a few battles. Dig in!

Horde Mode Gets a Makeover

The classic Horde Mode makes a return with Gears 5, but not quite in the way that you’d expect. While the general rules are still the same – survive waves of enemies that come at you – The Coalition has tweaked things a bit to make it more character-based than ever.

Gears 5 supports up to five people in a group, which gives you a bit of balance when it comes to covering the bases against incoming enemies. You’ll want to work closely with your team. If one member goes down, you’ll want to quickly revive them because you’re going to need every bit of firepower you can get your hands on.

As enemies are defeated in this mode, they’ll drop Power. You’ll want to pick this up, as it will help your character with upgrades and additional items. These include helpful defensive tools such as machine gun turrets and barriers laden with spikes. There are also secondary weapons you can pick up as well.

You’ll want to pile these on, as each tenth wave brings a new boss to battle. They’re going to take a lot of firepower, so the best thing we can suggest with this is to take cover often and set up your shots. They’re going to get tougher from here, so make sure you find whatever to keep yourself safe from incoming fire.

Going back to Power, you’ll want to keep an eye on the Power Tap. It can be located on the map with each wave. You’ll need to capture and defend this point to the best of your ability, as it will grant you extra Power to buy more goods.Don’t worry about a majority of Power going to another player; it’s divided up equally, so loot fiends don’t get everything to themselves.

Finally, each character actually has different attributes that can lend themselves to battle. This kind of takes the Overwatch approach, but it’s neat regardless. Kait Diaz, for example, can turn invisible and get the jump on opponents. Marcus Fenix can automatically land headshots for a limited time, mowing down incoming enemies, and JD Fenix can use an artillery strike to rain fire on unsuspecting foes. These abilities can only be used sparingly, but they’re excellent when you’re in a pinch or about to be overwhelmed.

Someone can even play as Jack if they prefer. He’s actually a great robotic character, as he can take out marked enemies and even hijack certain ones to do his bidding for a short while. Don’t let his small size fool you – he’s devastating.

Don’t forget you can pick up on Perks and Skill Cards as well. These will give you additional boosts over the course of your battle, combined with your Power. Up to four can be stored in all, and the more the merrier, especially when you’ve got adversaries that are coming at you non-stop.

Skill cards are a great booster in themselves, as you can increase certain things with your character, from melee damage to a speed push. And if you have duplicates, they can actually be given to other cards to help them along.

Overall, Horde has gone through some major upgrades, and is well worth playing, even if you think you’ve “conquered” it before. There’s a lot of great additions that both die-hard fans and newcomers will want to check out. Just make sure you have a good team on hand – you’re going to need it.

Come With Me and Escape

Speaking of a survival-based mode, it’s time to look at the latest addition to the Gears franchise: the Escape Mode. This was hinted at a few months ago, when Microsoft and The Coalition were building hype for the game.

It’s the opposite of the Horde mode. Instead of waiting for enemies to come to you, you go through their base, cleaning them out and working together as a team to blow it sky high and escape in one piece. It provides a nice twist on the proceedings, and is well worth putting a squad together for.

However, you don’t have five players to lean on here. Instead, Escape only comes with three. That means you’ll have to work more tightly with your group to keep them in one piece. If one goes down from damage, you’ll need to work much more quickly to revive them, lest you’re left behind with one less soldier and a whole bunch of foes that are angry at you for being in their house. Granted, you can find a Swarm pod and bring them back into battle – provided you can make it there. It’s nice to have an opportunity to save them the second time around, just in case you miss out.

Like Horde, Escape Mode has its own set of skills via ability cards. These become available as you level up your character, and you can fit them into slots to utilize them. The harder the difficulty you play at, the better the cards get. However, if you’re just getting started, you’ll have your hands on some good ones, such as Crazy Tough (increasing your strength for a limited time) and Bloody Shot (a nice taste of explosive firepower).

Each character also has their own perks, like Horde, but they tend to lean more towards helping the team out. For instance, take Lahni. They can push towards their foes with more attitude than other characters, giving them a boost over the competition for a limited time. Others, however, can help heal a team and even a little bit of ammunition. Take a look at the available selection and see which ones are best for you.

When you do get into battle, don’t waste ammo. You’re going to run low, along with your team, so make sure to snag whatever you can get your hands on. Some weapons work better than others for certain soldiers, so see which ones will work properly for you.

Finally, when it comes to getting the high score on the leaderboard, keep in mind that all kinds of dedicated players are getting into this Gears 5 mode. Don’t push yourself or your team too hard. Just keep at it with your headshots and “skillful” skills to get that score climbing, and find that right synchronicity as a team before you attempt to tackle the higher difficulty settings. Remember, you want your team to work with you, not against you. Jump in and give it a shot!

Traditional Multiplayer

Finally, there’s the gamut of traditional multiplayer mode, which will no doubt be the most popular among the Gears elite. There’s a lot to dig into here, particularly with the “bonus” characters. Those who pre-ordered the game will gain access to the Halo: Reach pack, as well as the Terminator: Dark Fate pack, with Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor and a T-800 to boot. Yes, Dave Bautista, the wrestler-turned-actor, is a playable character as well. So you’ve got a lot to choose from when it comes to jumping into battle.

As usual, we’re reintroduced to modes like Team Deathmatch, King of the Hill, Escalation and Guardian, which are mainstays for this series. Then there’s Arcade, which provides a fun little twist on things, actually making the game somewhat easier for those that aren’t used to jumping into such a mode. It’s a splendid way for them to be introduced to it, should the other modes be too much to bear.

As for how to survive in multiplayer, there are a few general rules to keep in mind. These will make all the difference between life and death, particularly with the close-range fire that the series has become known for.

First off, you’ll want to master the movement of your character. This means using the defensive roll to get out of harm’s way quickly, as well as scrambling to cover. The cover mechanic is more crucial than ever in a game like this, especially with those that are trying to fire at you from a distance. Remember, you can “hug” the walls if you need to find a new vantage point, or jump over from one cover point to another if you feel like it’s getting a little too hot for its own good.

Just don’t stand in place. This is likely to be a fool’s mistake because it makes you an easy target for cannon fire. Instead, use running to your advantage and put yourself in a spot where you can set up shots without making yourself a simple target to mow down. It’ll take practice, but Arcade Mode is a wondrous place to start if you want to get the hang of things.

You may also notice that you now have Active Reload. This lets you reload your weapon at any time, even if you think you already have a full clip. As with before, Gears 5 utilizes a double-touch system. You start the reload by pressing the button, but then you’ll want to hit it again while the cursor is in the white zone, so you can finish it quickly. If you don’t, you’re going to be stuck for a couple of seconds completing the reload, and that’s a real difference maker when you’ve got someone coming at you with Gnasher.

Along with movements and reloads, you’ll also want to get the hang of sticking very closely with your team. Wandering away will make you an easy target to enemies, especially if you’re got two or more coming at you. By staying together as a squad, you stand a better chance of survival, since someone can easily “get your back” while you reload, or you can set up some kind of ambush, with someone coming around the other side. 

You’re also able to “mark” certain enemies or objects, in case you want to shot off something significant to your teammates in the team of battle. Not everyone can shout out an enemy location, but marking it makes it simpler to see where they need to go, or where a threat could be lying.

Blindfire can make a difference as well. While in cover, you have the option to fire without sticking your head out. Half the time, you may not hit anything, since it’s not the most accurate. However, blindfire can serve other purposes, like doing some damage to an enemy if they’re within your range, or perhaps even distracting someone long enough for one of your teammates to come running around to clean house.

Finally, don’t be afraid to use other weapons besides your guns. We’ve discovered that the Lancer is ideal for sawing someone in half, provided you aren’t charging at someone to the point they’re clearly seeing it. If you’re able to gain an advantage to where someone can’t see you coming, then sure, activate your Lancer and go nuts (you can also blast with a Gnasher, it’s up to you, but there’s something rad about nailing that melee kill).

For that matter, grenades are awesome. They deliver a bigger bang than in previous games and with a decent amount of range. If you’ve got a couple, go ahead and hurl them out when you think you’ve got your enemies pinned. At the very least, if you don’t get them with the explosion, they’ll roll out of the way long enough to put them within firing range.

These general tips should help you get accustomed to the multiplayer modes that are featured in Gears 5. You’ll still need to apply plenty of skill to get the most out of it, but you’ve got ways to build up in Horde and Escape. Arcade Mode will also help you get accustomed to the multiplayer like never before. Give it a shot!

Gears 5 is available now for Xbox One and Windows 10 PC.

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Tribes of Midgard Preview – Surviving Ragnarok

The looming threat of Ragnarök is something that no Norse tribe can ever ignore. It’s the kind of mythology that isn’t frequently used in video games, but it serves as a flawless setup for relentless battles involving gods and colossal entities. Tribes of Midgard is based on that premise but mixes it with survival game trappings to create a familiar but compelling game.

Tribes of Midgard is being developed by indie studio Norsfell, based in Montreal, Canada. Its backlog is mostly comprised of mobile games, but the ambition driving its upcoming game is worthy of attention, thanks to a satisfying core gameplay that motivates you to advance your character. Nevertheless, the latest open beta is proof that there’s a lot of work to be done, mostly balancing the different systems and providing additional content to keep the player invested.

Tribes of Midgard bare beginnings

Bare-naked Vikings

Tribes of Midgard is a cooperative survival game where up to ten players join forces to defend their village. At the center of the village lies the Seed of Yggdrasil, the tribe’s last hope against the invasion of the grim hordes from Helheim. Your goal is to survive the incoming onslaught for as many days as you can, something that is far from being an easy task, considering that increasingly difficult shadow creatures and colossi will invade your village every single night.

The procedurally generated maps of Tribes of Midgard are one of its triumphs, adding a refreshing stance to each new match. Each map is unabashedly huge, with fast travel shrines thankfully dispersed across the land. You will be running back and forth to your village to heal and craft superior gear, so using these shrines will save you precious minutes. Furthermore, protecting the Seed of Yggdrasil is crucial, so you won’t want to be caught amiss when your help may end up making a difference.

The bulk of the game consists of exploring the wilderness and gathering all kinds of materials. Nearly naked and only with your bare fists to protect yourself from the dangers of the wild, you pick up branches, stones, sticks, and other materials to get you started. The village blacksmith is eager to help you, with a pickaxe and a wood axe inevitably being your first tools. These are used to mine stones and minerals, and to chop down every tree in your way. Soon you’ll be handling a sword or a hammer, but you need more in the way of protection than your undies.

Being a survival game at heart, you’ll often see your objects and weapons break. Having a replacement at the ready may save you from some uncomfortable situations, but it’s a matter of balancing your future needs with your stock of materials.

Tribes of Midgard Jotun attack

Edly the tailor is glad to help, offering several kinds of helmets, chest guards, gloves, pants, and shoes. It’s not a daunting task to get yourself some basic gear; however, to wear those imposing and comfy helmets and chest guards requires some thorough exploration of the region and a sheer dose of luck. Rare minerals or jewels are necessary and hard to find, with some of the best materials dropping from the colossal and threatening Jotun.

Jotun is the giant and ambiguous entity that will occasionally show up to attack the Seed of Yggdrasil. It is a mighty challenge, requiring the concentrated efforts of every player to take it down, not to mention some well-placed and appropriate traps placed near your village. The giant will relentlessly crush any ill-prepared tribe, putting an end to your efforts in that world. Along with the objects that you gather, you also collect souls that you need to deliver to the Seed of Yggdrasil, acting as its health.

If your world is destroyed, that doesn’t mean that your developments are going to waste. Progress is seamless between worlds, so you get to keep your experience level and blessings when you start your crusade in a new map. However, you lose all your equipment and gear, having to start from scratch in your quest to get some decent weapons and armor. If you’re lucky, some better prepared player may offer you some of his loot, sparing you the initial struggle.

Blessings are the skills in this game, improving your character’s build and abilities. Spread across four classes (Ranger, Brawler, Warden and Guardian), Blessings provide several buffs and improvements that aren’t to be neglected. Increasing fog of war reveal, improving weapon durability, or increasing damage with a specific weapon, among other things, will come extremely handy when push comes to shove.

Tribes of Midgard hammer time

Fighting for My Tribe

When the night comes, the shadows roam in the direction of the Seed of Yggdrasil. Every player must make a run for the village, defending it with every ounce of their strength. Having a wealthy amount of materials may help you build a wall, delaying the entry of the mythological evil spirits. Dagny the Seeress will patiently wait for harmed Vikings to reach out, healing those who stand within her magical circle; however, whenever a player heals (alone or in a group), the others must wait a couple of minutes for the healer to be available once more.

While Tribes of Midgard already provides a satisfying gameplay loop, there is room for improvement in order to make it a full-fledged cooperative survival experience. The current lack of a player communication system undermines the tribe’s efforts, but this is said to be in the works. Even a simple ping system would be immensely welcome for teamplay and strategizing.

The durability of weapons and items is a bit on the shaky side, forcing you to repeatedly craft the same gear instead of aiming for a better one. This is one aspect that requires finetuning, along with others such as the day and night cycle. Daytime is over too quickly, frustrating your plans to go out into the wilds, exploring at your own pace – suddenly, it’s time to rush back to the village and if there is no fast travel shrine in sight, it will be a long and troubled way home.

Tribes of Midgard barbarian settlement

As far as weapon selection goes, it’s somewhat slim and I couldn’t fail to notice a disheartening lack of ranged weapons. Not having a single bow in sight is an odd omission, especially considering that some of the first foes that cross your path are bow-wielding barbarians. Combat feels satisfying, with the skills spicing up the fights, but hit detection is far from perfect.

While the sandbox gameplay set within randomized worlds is a plus, Tribes of Midgard could benefit from the addition of missions or side quests to break out of its endless loop. Escorting an NPC to a certain area or finding a specific item for someone would help with the flow of the game, adding some extra layers to its free-form gameplay.

The art is good, with a cel-shaded style that isn’t tremendously detailed, but the whole picture makes for a game that is easy on the eyes. When the snow is gently falling and you see the clouds reflecting in the pristine water, everything seems to come together. The giants are quite impressive to watch, as they slowly move towards their goal, your ultimate destruction.

Tribes of Midgard duo combat

The Tribes of Midgard open beta suffered from a few disconnect issues and another bug that cut the matches short. The day never ended, and without the usual warning to swiftly return to the village, surprise struck as the Seed of Yggdrasil was left hopeless, destroyed by a swarm of grim shadows.

This is nothing that can’t be fixed before the official launch, although there is no way to tell if the developers are going to add side quests to Tribes of Midgard to flesh out its core offering. While satisfying, it’s a game that feels extremely niche as it stands right now, and that may end up being its most gigantic challenge yet.

The post Tribes of Midgard Preview – Surviving Ragnarok appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Interview: Elder Scrolls Online’s Creative Director Talks About What’s Next

This coming winter, the current Season of the Dragon taking place in The Elder Scrolls Online will come to its conclusion with the Dragonhold expansion. Recently, Bethesda offered us a chance to get a glimpse behind-the-scenes of its current Elsweyr chapter, and a hint of things to come with the concluding expansion.

Elsweyr introduces a whole new zone for players to explore, along with a questline jam-packed with main and side missions and a number of new challenges. Additional mechanics will also be introduced. On top of that, players will also get to experience a new update to the general game before Dragonhold arrives, filled with fixes and Twitch Drops for consoles.

To get a better idea of what’s happening with the new Elsweyr add-on, and a bit of Dragonhold, we got a chance to sit down with the game’s creative director, Rich Lambert, during a recent stop at Bethesda’s presentation at PAX West.

First off, he had some sage advice for those that are hopping into this world, since there’s a lot to explore here. “With Elsweyr specifically, we have a brand new zone. It is northern Elsweyr, which is focused on Khajiit and their culture. There’s a brand new class in the Necromancer, and then, dragons – that’s the big one. Fight and kill dragons.”

He then talked about the effort that the team puts into adding additional content into an already overflowing game like Elder Scrolls, between Elsweyr and Dragonhold. “One of the first things that (game director) Matt and I do, we sit down and we talk about, you know, where haven’t we been, where we would like to go, what types of stories we want to tell. We settle in on kind of one word to help reinforce to the team what it is we’re looking for. 

“So, with Elsweyr in particular, the word we chose was ‘revenge.’ So this whole year of story content that we’re telling is all around ‘revenge.’ It starts with the big bad dragon getting his revenge for being locked up in the Halls of Colossus.”

Lambert then touched upon the latest class to be introduced into the world of Elder Scrolls Online. “The Necromancer is centered around the manipulation of mortal souls,” he explained. “So that’s their thing, raising the undead, you know, using kind of blood magic, that kind of stuff. And they’re different than our other classes, because they’re focused on kind of being a battlefield commander. 

“They get powered up by using corpses, so their style of gameplay is not just you and your target; it’s you, your target and the environment around there, and how you can position your target next to a corpse to get more power.”

Then we got into the Dragonhold expansion, which we were able to catch a quick glimpse of with some gameplay. We didn’t get a chance to kill a dragon during that time, but Lambert told us not to feel bad about it – apparently there’s a lot of work that goes into taking one down. This isn’t Skyrim.

Lambert said, “That’s one of the biggest things we tried to do in terms of differentiating us from Skyrim. So in Skyrim, you were the Dovahkiin. You had this tool set to be able to go one-on-one against a dragon. In our timeline, in Elder Scrolls Online, there is no Dovahkiin. We don’t have that toolset; and so, you have to rely on your friends to help you take these things down.”

He recommends making sure such friends are in place, as this won’t be a conquerable fight by yourself. “It’s very difficult to solo,” Lambert said with a laugh.

Then he talked about a “big” feature that will be coming later in the year to Elder Scrolls Online. “With Dragonhold, that is the southern portion of Elsweyr. The storyline is focused on the Dragonguard, and kind of putting the band back together. The Dragonguard are the precursor to the Blades, so they are an elite force of dragon hunters.

“The storyline is focused on a dragon cult and this prophecy that they’re trying to fulfill,” Lambert continued. “And, if you complete that content, and you complete the Elsweyr content and unlock a series of quests that allow you to kind of put a cap on the entire year and the story that we’ve been telling.” In other words, the more of the game you complete, the closer you get to the endgame that the team is going for.

It sounds like fans of Elder Scrolls are in for a treat this year, and Lambert took a moment to thank them. “That’s the goal, our community is a huge part of what we do,” he said. “If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t get to do what we do, so events like this is our way of bringing them in, getting them down, getting to spend some one-on-one time with them, and saying, ‘Hey, we’re here, we love you all.”

Elsweyr officially launched back in June, and players can explore its world now. As for the Dragonhold update, it’ll arrive sometime later this year, though a date hasn’t been given yet.

Elder Scrolls Online is available now for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Big thanks to Bethesda for having us down at the event!

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