MMORPG-RTS Hybrid Kingdom Under Fire 2 Launched in North America and Europe

The MMORPG-RTS hybrid Kingdom Under Fire 2 launched in North and Europe on PC. Kingdom Under Fire 2 is the most ambitious entry in the popular Kingdom Under Fire series. The last release in the series was Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom which was released over a decade ago.

The game was developed by Korean studio Blueside and it is being published by Gameforge in North America and Europe.

kingdom under fire 2

“After many long years developing our most ambitious game ever created, the time has finally come for western players to experience Kingdom Under Fire 2,” said Sejung Kim, CEO of Blueside. “Thanks to their considerable publishing experience in the online games market, Gameforge has helped Blueside fully realize the vision of Kingdom Under Fire 2. We look forward to re-opening the gates to Bersia to our fans, as well as to newcomers, who have been eagerly awaiting this day.”

“Kingdom Under Fire 2 has been one of the most exciting projects Gameforge has published,” said Tomislav Perkovic, Chief Product Officer at Gameforge. “We worked closely with developer Blueside to take an already fantastic game to the finish line, transitioning gameplay balancing from a free-to-play business model to a traditional premium model where players simply buy to play and have a content-rich experience from the start. Today’s launch of Kingdom Under Fire 2 is just the start as we have future updates in the pipeline that series fans will no doubt love!”

Kingdom Under Fire II is available on the official Gameforge site and there are three different versions available for $29.99 (€29.99), $49.99 (€49.99), and $99.99 (€99.99).

 

Source: Press Release

The post MMORPG-RTS Hybrid Kingdom Under Fire 2 Launched in North America and Europe appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Breaking up with Blizzard? Here are 36 Games to Replace your Library

Blizzard means something different to everyone. For some it could mean a war between orcs and humans carried out from a bird’s eye view, and for others it could be an intergalactic battle between the humans and the Zerg. Still for other players it might be the magical adventures of sword and sorcery curated by the World of Warcraft team. Maybe you recently got into Blizzard games and found them appealing, or maybe they’ve been a constant for the entirety of your life.

I remember my first foray into one of Blizzard’s universes; it was a CDROM version of Starcraft that I purchased at Best Buy and installed on a junk PowerMac that I dug out of the wreckage of an abandoned school. No, I’m not joking, my childhood was weird. Those were some great memories but I have to admit, things have soured over the years. Apart from subpar expansions to World of Warcraft, Blizzard has rocked the political stage and alienated many players by banning player Blitzchung from Hearthstone and revoking thousands of dollars in prize money over his pro-Hong Kong statements.

Where there are some who fall on the other side of the issue, many agree that this is a threat to free speech and a condemnation of Hong Kong’s people by Blizzard. Whether or not Blizzard meant it that way, it chose money over people, and chose to quash free speech. I’m not sure if an apology will even dig them out of the hole they’ve dug themselves but that does leave an interesting question: where are players going to go if they leave Blizzard and Battle.net behind? How are they going to get their hack and slash fix? What world will they move on to after Azeroth? Here’s some great news: we’re not living in 1996 anymore; we have access to a massive library of games, many of which are just as good or even better than the digital buffet that Blizzard has served up over the years. In this article we take a look at some of the options and explore just where you might go on your next digital adventure.

Diablo

1996 was a decent year for video gaming, especially given everyone’s favorite Hack N’ Slash, Diablo hit PC’s, Macs, and eventually the Playstation. It featured a beautiful dungeon crawling experience that allowed you to play through many of the same elements that you’d encounter in D&D without forcing you to move along at a crawl in order to gain the most miniscule amount of experience. Quite frankly, it’s a great game to come home to after work. The years were pretty good to Diablo; while the first installment featured only a multi-level dungeon and town, the second included more of an overworld, with the third finally bringing us an expansive world to explore and multiple dungeons combined with an epic storyline. Most importantly, like all Blizzard games, it features multiplayer whether you want to travel through the dungeons with a friend or go head to head in multiplayer. Diablo is a great series, but if you’re looking to ditch Blizzard for good, there are some decent alternatives out there that will scratch the itch.

Fate

For a game released by Wild Tangent in 2005, it certainly has picked up some steam. With three sequels and randomly generated dungeons, Fate is much closer to the original Diablo concept than some of the others on this list. There are some off-putting elements, the first being that the game is a bit cartoony. If you can get past that however, you have a great Diablo clone that allows you to descend infinite floors, at least until you get bored of it. Fate differs from Diablo in a few ways, the most important being that you now have a pet that will fight alongside you, and will carry items back to town for sale.

 

 

Multiplayer: No
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/246840/FATE/

Torchlight

This game is very similar to Fate, though the first multi-level dungeon in the game is not randomly generated. There is a campaign with a decent but highly predictable storyline and only 30’ish main dungeon floors. Once you beat the game you will be able to unlock a randomly generated dungeon, giving you the ability to play and replay as much as you like. Just as with Fate, Torchlight features a pet system with the same functionality. i.e., sending the pet back to town for item sales, and fish that will transform it into different types of monsters. Torchlight II changes it up to create a game more dependent upon the overworld and plays more like an isometric World of Warcraft with the quests visible on the right pane rather than in a Quest Journal that you need to pull up every single time. The interface for Torchlight 2 is more streamlined and will remind you a bit more of Diablo III rather than the previous installments in Blizzard’s series. In addition to having a more expansive world, Torchlight II improves on the inventory systems by giving you more slots and storing consumables in a different tab.

 

Multiplayer: Torchlight 2, LAN, Internet
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/41500/Torchlight/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/200710/Torchlight_II/
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/torchlight
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/torchlight_ii

Titan Quest

If the open world Hack and Slash model calls to you, then Titan Quest is probably what you’re looking for. Released in 2006 it’s a little older, but it does feature a vast world that is based upon Greek mythology. While it is old, it has been re-released as Titan Quest Anniversary on Steam with new expansions currently being released. For mobile users, a mere $7.99 can get you a version for your tablet, phone, or even your Chromebook.

Mutiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/475150/Titan_Quest_Anniversary_Edition/
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/titan_quest_anniversary_edition
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dotemu.titanquest&hl=en_US

Sacred

The original Sacred is a 2D open world Hack and Slash RPG with brings it closer to Diablo III, but really makes it a hybrid of Diablo and Diablo III. It takes place in the world of Ancaria and features multiple questlines. The start of the game will depend on the character class you choose, for example the Gladiator begins in an arena and is forced to fight for his freedom while other classes may simply start in town. Like Diablo, Sacred features hordes of monsters and tons of abilities to help you explore Ancaria in the most violent way possible. Sacred 2 continues the tradition and Sacred 3 takes it into an unexpected nosedive from which the franchise will never recover.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/12320/Sacred_Gold/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/225640/Sacred_2_Gold/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/247950/Sacred_3/
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/sacred_gold
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/sacred_2_gold

Grim Dawn

Like Diablo III, Grim Dawn is a dark fantasy Hack and Slash game with fast paced action and a crafting system much like in the original DOTA mod. The story takes place in the world of Cairn where humanity is on the brink of extinction and the story itself is much more involved than Torchlight. It is often compared to Titan Quest but it improves on it in many ways with better physics and even a dismemberment system, allowing you to specify just how you want your enemies to die. Grim Dawn does feature factions, meaning you’ll have far more to worry about than hacking through thousands of monsters, though that’s always going to be a defining part of these games.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/219990/Grim_Dawn/
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/grim_dawn

 

Path of Exile

Released around the same time as Diablo III in 2013, Path of Exile strives to recreate the general awesomeness of hack and slash games while rejecting some of the poorer decisions made by the Diablo III developers. A full featured online game, it is completely free and allows you to team up with your friends to discover the secrets of Wraeclast. The story for the game is intriguing in that you are an exile sent to live out your days on the continent of Wraeclast where the entirety of the game takes place. The game spans three platforms, PC, XBOX One, and Playstation 4, making it a great experience no matter which side of the console war you come down on.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/238960/Path_of_Exile/

 

Kingsroad

Okay, admittedly it’s odd to include a browser game on here, but why not? Kingsroad was released in 2013 and it’s very much a Diablo style game. I played it on Facebook initially but these days it plays on an external site and it can even be downloaded for mobile. Most importantly, it includes multiplayer and even a clan system, making for a more dynamic experience than most browser games. If you have an itch to scratch and need a low spec multiplayer experience, Kingsroad is the way to go.

 

Multiplayer: Yes
Play It:
Browser: https://www.rumblegames.com/kingsroad
Mobile: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rumbleentertainment.kingsroad&hl=en_US

Starcraft

Real Time Strategy games were nothing new in 1998, but with Starcraft Blizzard really managed to redefine the genre. The game was released for PC, Mac, and even Nintendo 64, making it one of the only console RTS games available. Alongside Command and Conquer 64, it really was a giant in its day. Unlike C&C however, Starcraft was still a 2D game. On the surface it appears to be extremely simple, but it is complex enough to have lasted through several decades and has been used as the foundation for countless video game tournaments. As one of the most popular games in South Korea and the world over, it is no surprise that it received a sequel that easily rode upon the success of the original. But, even if you have enjoyed the game over the years, where do you go next?

Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War

Released in 2004 and based on the Games Workshop tabletop universe, this game featured multiple expansions and in the beginning, Starcraft itself was slated to be a Warhammer game anyway. Set in a dark future, you can choose from multiple factions including the technologically advanced Eldar, the deeply religious space marines, the forces of Chaos, or even the near-invincible orcs. All the entries in this franchise feature the unit building that you came to love in Starcraft, but it also features a morale system and a terrain system that can completely change the outcome of a match if they are not properly taken advantage of. Dawn of War and its expansions mirror Starcraft in many ways, but Dawn of War II tends to take the path of a MOBA with limited building construction options and a focus on smaller squad incursions.

 

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/4570/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/15620/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/285190/Warhammer_40000_Dawn_of_War_III/

 

Supreme Commander

This is considered the spiritual successor to Total Annihilation and TA: Kingdoms, featuring a larger scale battlefield and the ability to deploy thousands of units. The combat is faster, the strategy more complex, and the multiplayer amazing. It throws out the resource rules of other real time strategy games by limiting you to two: Power and Mass. Mass is extracted from the ground while power is generated from a number of different sources. Typical power plants serve as a good start but you will move on to geothermal plants and other options that will serve to help you expand your base. The centers around the ‘Commander’ who serves as a mobile base, capable of creating basic structures. From there you will create more advanced structures and units, eventually moving forward to attack your opponent. The nature of the resource system forces you to keep a careful balance between Power and Mass, forcing you to think ahead and carefully consider the placement of each building. It’s a thinking person’s game but deeply rewarding.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/9350/Supreme_Commander/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/40100/Supreme_Commander_2/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/9420/Supreme_Commander_Forged_Alliance/

Planetary Annihilation

If this game looks similar to Supreme Commander and TA, you aren’t imagining things. It was designed by some of the same team members who worked on both and it completely expands the gameplay presented by Supreme Commander. Rather than focusing on a single battlefield, the game allows you to develop multiple plants and engage in interplanetary warfare. You can even destroy the celestial bodies that your enemies inhabit if you don’t want to fight them on the ground. It’s a far more advanced version of Supreme Commander and definitely not for the faint of heart.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/386070/Planetary_Annihilation_TITANS/

 

Act of Aggression

Real Time Strategy games have grown more and more complex over the years and one of the reasons players loved Starcraft 2 was its ability to be fresh while staying true to its roots. Granted, games like RUSE and Wargame are fun, but sometimes it’s good to return to the source. Act of Aggression is considered to be the spiritual successor to Act of War and combines classic RTS gameplay with modern graphics and multiplayer functionality. If you’re pining for the good old days but want a veritable feast for the senses, you have to pick up Act of Aggression.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/318020/Act_of_Aggression__Reboot_Edition/?l=latam&t=1441522800

Command and Conquer

The original C&C was released in 1995, long before Westwood Studios made complete fools of themselves and were subjected to an EA takeover. The first installment, later to be known as C&C Gold was a monumental success following Dune and Dune 2. It featured simplistic gameplay that was revolutionary for the time and found itself leaping onto several consoles. Most notably, it was ported to the Nintendo 64 where it became the very first 3D iteration of Command and Conquer, even preceding Generals itself. There have been multiple sequels spanning three different universes, but today you may want to check out either C&C 3 or C&C 4. In my opinion, 3 is one of the better options if you want to relive the glory days and get as close to Starcraft as possible. C&C 4 features a mobile base and works okay if you just pretend it’s not a C&C game.

Multiplayer: LAN

Buy It:

Origin: https://www.origin.com/usa/en-us/store/command-and-conquer/command-and-conquer-the-ultimate-collection

Company of Heroes

If you like your RTS to have a World War II theme, then this might just be right up your alley. The game runs on the same engine as Dawn of War and uses many of the same resource gathering techniques. Fuel, for example, can be harvested from what would otherwise be requisition points. Thanks to the physics of the DOW engine, you can expect to see an extremely gritty representation of World War II combat including advanced vehicle destruction, terrain usage, and much more. Company of Heroes 2 is a bit different in its base construction but still fun if you want to check it out.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/228200/Company_of_Heroes/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/231430/

Halo Wars

First released in 2009, Halo Wars has finally made the long journey from the XBOX 360 in the form of Halo Wars: Definitive Edition. Halo Wars serves as a prequel to the original FPS series and allows you to duke it out with the covenant from a bird’s eye view. The base building is tight, but the ground combat is a lot of fun and kind of has the Starcraft vibe you might be looking for. If you want to take it even further then you might have a look at Halo Wars 2 which is available on the Microsoft Store right now.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/459220/Halo_Wars_Definitive_Edition/
Microsoft Store: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/halo-wars-definitive-edition/9nblggh52xvl
Microsoft Store: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/halo-wars-2-standard-edition/c42kcjclx6mx

8 Bit Armies/8-Bit Hordes

Following the success of Star Wars: Empire at War and the absolute flop of Universe at War, Petroglyph, formed from the ashes of Westwood Studios released 8-Bit Armies which has a sort of ‘Lego’ feel to it. It’s a very basic RTS but it has one very important thing going for it: it brings back the feel of the classic Command and Conquer without the burden of a story. This game exists for skirmish and multiplayer, and if you want, you can also purchase 8-Bit Hordes to add a bit of sorcery to your military RTS. If you want to be spoon fed a raw RTS experience that will awaken the nostalgia centers of your brain, then here you are.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/427250/8Bit_Armies/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/497850/8Bit_Hordes/

Warcraft

in 1994 Blizzard threw its hat into the RTS arena bringing us a game that would define many lives over the years. Eventually, the franchise morphed into the 3D: Reign of Chaos, and of course the famous World of Warcraft, but that’s another story. What’s important here is that you find something to give you that Warcraft fix. We have five great games here that will whet the appetite and give you that medieval experience.

Age of Empires

The original Age of Empires came out in 1997 alongside many other amazing RTS games and it was quickly followed by Age of Empires 2 which improved on it in every way possible. Tech upgrades in Age of Empires 1, 2, and 3 are dependent upon you progressing through ‘ages’. To simplify this, in AOE 2 you start in the Dark Ages, progress to the Feudal Age, and eventually the Imperial Age. Each age brings new technologies and new building designs which can give you a significant advantage over your opponent. While Age of Empires III does feature great online connectivity, AOE 1 and 2 have recently been remastered on the Microsoft Store and Steam. If you want to go back in time at optimal resolution, now would be the time.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1017900/Age_of_Empires_Definitive_Edition/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/221380/Age_of_Empires_II_2013/
Microsoft Store: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/age-of-empires-definitive-edition/9njwtjsvgvlj
Microsoft Store: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/age-of-empires-ii-definitive-edition/9njdd0jgpp2q

Stronghold

Firefly Studios brought us Stronghold in 1997 and along with its sequels, it brings us far more than an RTS. The game gives you the classic birds eye view of combat, but there are also many castle building elements. If you have ever wanted to design your own kingdom, this definitely gives you the chance but there are many other resources that you will need to manage. The building of troops for example requires blacksmithing and leatherworking. Fletching is also required if you want to build archers. Stronghold Crusader 2 takes the burden off of you to an extent by allowing you to recruit mercenaries rather than making you harvest the raw materials yourself. Each of these games features a robust single player campaign, among which Stronghold 2 was my favorite.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/40950/Stronghold_HD/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/901735/The_Stronghold_Collection/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/47400/Stronghold_3_Gold/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/232890/Stronghold_Crusader_2/
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/stronghold
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/stronghold_crusader
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/stronghold_crusader_2

Empire Earth

From 2001 to 2007 the Empire Earth franchise has provided us sufficient carnage and empire building in the medieval era. It is similar to many medieval RTS games of the era but it has two hooks:

-Advancement from the Dark Ages to the Nanotech Age
-Space Battles

Another thing I absolutely love about Empire Earth is the use of Priests which are similar to the monks from Age of Empires. The difference between them is that priests are always extremists of a sort and capable of literally bringing down plagues or volcanos upon the enemy. As you progress through the ages the priest takes on different forms, eventually becoming a homeless fanatic wearing a cardboard sign stating: ‘The End is Near’. Empire Earth is a unique take on a tried and true genre and one you want in your library.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/empire_earth_gold_edition
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/empire_earth_2_gold
GOG: https://www.gog.com/game/empire_earth_3

Spellforce

The first entry to the Spellforce series came in 2003 and the latest in 2017. Under the guidance of JoWood and THQ Nordic, Spellforce has brought us an experience more like Warcraft 3 than anything else. The game centers around heroes that you directly control, though you can use WSAD and zoom all the way to ground level if you wish. Once you finish character centric quests you return to a birds eye view and the game turns into a standard RTS. The direct control element makes it unique and you can continue to take control of those characters during the RTS portions. There is nothing quite like being able to explore the town you build on foot, and it’s something you would never find in Warcraft.

Multiplayer: Yes

Buy It:

Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/39540/SpellForce__Platinum_Edition/

Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/39550/SpellForce_2__Anniversary_Edition/

Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/311290/SpellForce_3/

Overwatch

For FPS players the world over, Overwatch has been the center of attention for several years and with good reason. Like a few other games in the genre it breaks the typical shooter mold by introducing classes, each of which have their own unique purpose on the battlefield. The thirty characters in the roster all featured their own backstories, some of which have drawn controversy over the years. Overwatch set itself apart from other shooters by requiring teamwork and forging friendships. Competitive and casual gamers alike have been enjoying the game, but now that many are stepping away from Blizzard, there are still a few other class based shooters to turn to.

Paladins

Paladins is a free to play team-based shooter from 2018 that brings some serious magic to the table. Overall, the game is skill based but your characters can be augmented with cards and other upgrades that change the way they traverse the battlefield and perform. If I had to describe it, I would call it a steampunk fantasy game. The game can be downloaded for free via Steam or Discord as well as other platforms including the PS3, Switch, and XBOX One. With frequent updates, it’s going to keep you interested for years. Plus, as a free game, it requires zero commitment on your part.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Steam: https://www.paladins.com/play-for-free

Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress started out in 1996 as a mods for Quake, but in 1999 it was released as a standalone product titled ‘Team Fortress Classic’. Finally, Team Fortress 2 was released and while it was once a buy to play game, it is now entirely free and brings a lot to the table. Like Overwatch it features several character classes including a sniper, the Heavy, Medic, and Spy. The game appears simple on the surface but each character brings different abilities that will hinder the enemy in varying ways. Getting to know the functions of each class will be vital to procuring victory for your team, but don’t expect to be an expert right out of the gate. The game is available via Steam, as would be expected from Valve.

 

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/440/Team_Fortress_2/

Dirty Bomb

You may remember this game as ‘Extraction’. Renamed to ‘Dirty Bomb’, this game is a free to play multiplayer shooter set against the backdrop of London following a radiological attack. Of all the shooters I mention, this is the most modern looking and probably one of the prettiest. It has more of a modern vibe and 23 different classes to choose from once you unlock them. No matter which you have unlocked, they will fall into a specific category which will include: Objective Specialist, Fire Support, Medic, Assault, or Recon.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/333930/Dirty_Bomb/

 

Heroes of the Storm

Everyone like HoTS because it took the best characters and settings from the Blizzard game franchise and turned them into an online arena. If you’re not too overly attached to Blizzard at this point however, then you probably won’t mind playing with some other heroes. There are three great MOBAS listed here that you can use to easily replace your HoTS addiction, starting with the tried and true League of Legends.

League of Legends

This 2009 game wasn’t the first MOBA by far; it followed Demigod and DOTA but somehow launched the genre to even greater heights. League of Legends has long stood beside DOTA and DOTA 2 as a competitive title for tournaments and more. If features a slew of heroes including many free ones, which allows free players to fully enjoy the game. If you have the extra cash to burn you can invest in different heroes and skins, making it a more customized experience. The game itself has been considered toxic, especially as far as chat is concerned, but players above a certain level are allowed to participate in a tribunal which gives it some self-policing.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Homepage: https://signup.na.leagueoflegends.com/en/a2/signup/redownload?page_referrer=index

Smite

This is a bit of a different take on the MOBA franchise in that it is not presented in an isometric view. Instead, 2014’s ‘Smite’ brings you the action from a third person perspective while allowing oyu to select among a roster of 106 characters. Each character will belong to one of the fourteen pantheons including: Arthurian, Celtic, Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Hindu, Japanese, Mayan, Norse, Polynesian, Roman, Slavic, Voodoo, and Yoruba. While the goal of the game is certainly to eliminate the enemy team, you will need to traverse the ‘jungle’ in between which is teeming with computer controlled monsters. Cyclops and Furies will make their play on you and keep you from progressing if you do not work as a team. Killing these monsters brings a substantial reward in the form of buffs that can be picked up by the player and used against the opposing team. The third person perspective of the game changes it as a MOBA entirely as fighting from ground level is an entirely different situation. Try something different; you might just like it.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Homepage: https://www.smitegame.com/download/

 

Hearthstone

Competitive online card games have always been a thing. This trend even started offline with the likes of Pokemon and Magic the Gathering. In the online world, one of the original collectable trading card games happened to be Legends of Norrath which was an intrinsic part of both Everquest and Everquest 2. Hearthstone was much the same, originally titled ‘Heroes of Warcraft’. Today it is both a highly popular CCG and an enemy of democracy, so where do you turn when you want to get competitive online?

Elder Scrolls Legends

If you like The Elder Scrolls then you’re in luck: Legends is a competitive card game set entirely in-universe. You have the opportunity to build a deck comprised of allies from all over the continent and you will get to embark on extensive campaign, all teeming with lore. You do, of course, get to take on other players which makes it even more fun. As a multiplatform game it can be enjoyed on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, and Macintosh operating systems.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/364470/The_Elder_Scrolls_Legends/
Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bethsoft.theelderscrollslegends&hl=en_US
Apple App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/the-elder-scrolls-legends-ccg/id1084019358

Magic the Gathering: Arena

Do you remember Magic the Gathering from your days in elementary school? You may have been one of those kids who had a massive portfolio of cards that you played with at recess. Then again, you might have been one of those kids all ticked off that your parents wouldn’t let you buy a deck. Don’t worry: you can play now. Arena is probably the third online iteration of the game and while it’s not available on mobile as of yet, you can play it on Mac OS and Windows.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Home Page: https://magic.wizards.com/en/mtgarena

Shadowverse

If you want to jump into some new territory and play it on your mobile, then why not give Shadowverse a try? This is an anime themed CCG published by Gygames, and it is undoubtedly one of the most popular in Japan. In 2017 the game made its way to the United States and we’ve seen it released on multiple platforms including Windows PC. If you played the developer’s previous game, Rage of Bahamut then you might recognize some of the assets but that doesn’t take away from the fun in the least. As someone looking to split with Blizzard, a fresh start is always welcome, and Shadowverse may be a game unconnected to any franchises you currently know.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/453480/Shadowverse_CCG/
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cygames.Shadowverse&hl=en_US
iOS: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/shadowverse-ccg/id1091512762

 

World of Warcraft

We’re finally approaching the elephant in the room; the one that nearly everyone has at least dabbled in during the course of their lives. WoW has had an insurmountable impact on the gaming world, insomuch that even if you aren’t a gamer, you’ve heard of it. Celebrities and mortals alike have entered the world of Azeroth and fought against the Murlocks, cleared out the infested gold mines, and walked through the Dark Portal. The memories that have been forged in the town of Goldshire and the Horde lands beyond can never be replaced whether they are fresh in your mind from the last few years, or an intrinsic part of your childhood, but if it’s time to leave, then you have a few places you can land. There are plenty of MMORPG’s out there but we’ve handpicked a few that you might want to look at.

Final Fantasy XIV

Many who flee from the world of Azeroth often find themselves on the shores of Eozrea and it’s not a bad alternative if you can handle an MMO on rails. The game itself is amazing but one of the problems I’ve always had with it is that the content is locked behind story. In WoW you can travel wherever you please as long as you can handle the mobs, but in FFXIV you need to finish the main quest to progress through the world. That’s a little irritating for those who want to run around in a pseudo sandbox but it doesn’t take away from what the game is meant to be. It’s designed to be an engaging story with the ability to bring your friends along, and that’s exactly what it is. Though it’s from 2010 the game is beautiful, plays well, has multiple expansions, and dungeons that are second to none. To top all that off, it’s cross platform. Now, the problem with the cross platform play is that everything is platform specific, so if you purchase the game or an expansion on one platform you have to buy it on another. This also applies to the Steam and PC versions – if you buy an expansion as a standalone, not on Steam, then you cannot use the key on steam. Try not to make mistakes with purchases, but do enjoy the game!

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/39210/
Home Page: https://www.finalfantasyxiv.com/

Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 takes us pretty far away from the original and into a world where the Charr have overtaken Ascalon and the majority of humans live in Divinity’s reach and the outlying settlements. The world is expansive and there are many beautiful environments to traverse as you progress through the main storyline. One of the most interesting features is the exclusion of a traditional quest system; the only thing even roughly similar to it is the personal story that carries you through a winding campaign, first culminating in the death of the elder dragon, Zhaitan, and then moving into a jungle based expansion. The game is action heavy and features an extensive crafting system that will satisfy every player looking to take a break from the combat. The game is more action heavy than WoW and it is driven by world events that include boss monsters and NPC driven gathering quests that will keep you busy for some time. With new content coming out regularly, it’s unlikely that the game will wind down anytime soon.

Guild Wars 2 - Ley line anomalies

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Home Page: https://welcome.guildwars2.com/en/play-for-free

Rift

In 2011 Rift was created to compete with World of Warcraft and while it fell flat on many fronts there is still quite a bit to like about it. Particularly, if you are a WoW player looking for a similar experience then Rift is extremely alike in controls and combat. The class system is also a little more complicated and gives you far more to play with than WoW ever did, so get ready to create a custom character. My biggest complaint about Rift is that the world itself isn’t very convincing; many of the major cities are simply buildings or platforms with NPC’s standing around offering services; it is in no way as immersive as WoW, so keep that in mind going in. As a free game today, much of it seems to be locked behind a paywall unless you want to pay the monthly fee, but it kind of looks like a used car lot if you don’t want to fork any money over.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get it:
Glyph: https://www.trionworlds.com/rift/en/

Elder Scrolls Online

Set a thousand years before the Elder Scrolls universe as we know it, TESO shows us a Tamriel where Vivec City is still under construction and one where we can finally see the entire continent in all its glory. Do you want to cross the border from Morrowind into Vvardenfell? Actually, do you want to see mainland Morrowind for the first time? Activision finally made it possible and the game is worth checking out. The housing options are superb and some of the storylines are extremely deep. If you aren’t familiar with the TES style of storytelling then you might be in for a bit of a shock as you realize just how much darker this MMO is from WoW, Guild Wars 2, or pretty much any other out there. Still, it’s well worth the price of entry and there is plenty of more content to come.

Multiplayer: Yes
Buy It:
Home Page: https://www.elderscrollsonline.com/en-us/freeplay

Archeage

This 2014 title from Trion brings with it many of the elements that made up classic MMORPGs including the action bar system but it also turns the entire thing into a sandbox. The premise of archeage is to create a world where every single person matters, with their contributions to the world being more than significant. A blacksmith for example could forge the swords used by the largest guilds in the game to defeat the latest raid boss, but you could also become a real estate mogul if you’re into that sort of thing. The game came out a while ago but if you want to start fresh then you might want to have a look at Archeage unchained, the new Buy to Play version of the game that forces everyone to start fresh and removes the pay wall that had previously inhibited many players. Starting at just $25, Archage Unchained is a great gateway into the remastered version of the game, especially as a new player. Still, if you want to try it out for free, you can always try the F2P version before you make a commitment.

Multiplayer: Yes
Get It:
Home Page: https://www.trionworlds.com/archeage/en/
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1147660/ArcheAge_Unchained/

Aion

Admittedly, this one is a bit older but it’s still active and it’s still very fun. A very standard, action bar based MMO, this one adds flight mechanics and beautiful graphics. In addition to that there are massive raids that go far beyond the 25 players events we saw in WoW. The game is free to play now, giving you good enough reason to jump in and give it a try. As I said, it’s a bit older but if you’re looking for some mid-2000’s nostalgia to remedy the hole WoW left in your heart then you might as well give it a try.

Aion

Multipayer: Yes
Get It: https://www.aiononline.com/

For many of us, Blizzard has been a part of our lives for as long as we can remember whether we fought the Zerg under the guidance of Jim Raynor, or descended deep into the dungeons below New Tristram to defeat evil itself. Then there are those who lost many years of their lives building a new one in the lands of Azeroth. If you have decided that it’s time to move on, then the memories will always be there, but you will find that there are greener pastures elsewhere. If you still feel the need to play, however, I would go so far as to say that enjoying their older titles won’t net Blizzard any revenue. You’ve already paied for Diablo and Starcraft, and even Warcraft, so continuing to have a blast with them really isn’t going to hurt anyone. At the end of the day it’s your decision, but I hope that this list has given you some ideas and can help you to continue to get your fix whether you are ready to move on, or want to linger a little while longer in the worlds that defined your childhood and your early gaming career. Perhaps it’s time to make some new memories and explore a new generation of games.

The post Breaking up with Blizzard? Here are 36 Games to Replace your Library appeared first on MMOGames.com.

Conan Unconquered – A Ruthless, Barbaric Take on Real-Time Strategy

Conan Unconquered is the latest game – but surely not the last – featuring the ruthless barbarian. Since Funcom snagged the rights to develop video games based on Robert E. Howard’s franchise, we’ve had our share of bloody adventures. From MMORPGs (Age of Conan Unchained) to survival MMOs (Conan Exiles), the time has come for a survival RTS.

I’m not an expert in real-time strategy games anymore, but I’ve grown used to the genre pretty much since its genesis. Dune 2 may not be the game that spawned an entire genre, but Westwood Studios’ game was surely the one that made it mainstream. After that I’ve played a deluge of RTS hits that include Command & Conquer, Warcraft, Age of Empires, Total Annihilation and many more.

While it isn’t exactly a case of going full circle, it’s comforting to know that Petroglyph is at the helm of Conan Unconquered. Founded by former staff from said Westwood Studios, this company has a track record mostly comprised of strategy games and is now at home with this new game. A bloody, battered and brutal home, but a home, nonetheless.

Conan Unconquered Preview Blood on the Sand

Savage Rush

What is this thing that Petroglyph is selling as a survival RTS? Aren’t most RTS games about survival anyway, crushing wave after wave of player or AI-controlled enemy hordes and making a run for it when you find an open spot? They Are Billions immediately comes to mind and is one of the few games that often draws direct comparisons to Petroglyph’s latest project.

However, Conan Unconquered takes it a step further and completely focuses its sound real-time strategy mechanics around the straightforward premise of resisting the enemy onslaught. It’s not that far from a tower defense game, in that you have a short period of time to develop your stronghold and strategize before the next wave comes crushing everything in its path. Make no mistake, this is a challenging game with a barbaric difficulty level (pun not intended) that will make you tear your hair apart when you collapse to the last enemy wave.

This approach comes with both pros and cons. It feels somewhat restrictive and limited in its scope, making you feel confined to your stronghold and adjacent territory while there is a world out there to explore, albeit a small one. You must take your chances to destroy spider and scorpion lairs, not to mention those bloodthirsty ostriches, for some reason. Seek some valuable resources and increase your hero’s experience, only to return double-time or risk seeing your buildings razed to the ground.

You feel restrained, you seriously consider the risk and reward ratio in sending a decent army to explore the terrain. On the other hand, it is a deliberate choice and ultimately it pays off, especially for battle-hardened players in search of a challenge that always keeps them alert. One mistake too many and the battle is over, forcing you to restart from the first wave.

Conan Unconquered Preview Watching the World Burn

Conan Unconquered is challenging and it can get a bit draining as well, due to its design that favors trial and error. Lose the battle and prepare yourself for another set of waves, hopefully getting your stronghold in better shape for the final showdown. It is slow-paced as well, a decision that may not be in everyone’s tastes, as your hero slogs back to base just in time to watch it burn. It doesn’t quite detract from the gameplay, but it takes some getting used to.

Before you set your feet in the battleground, you must pick one hero unit, which is infinitely tougher than your regular cannon fodder and comes with a powerful ability. Will you go with the main man Conan, or do you prefer Valeria? Maybe you want to step into Kalanthes’ blood-soaked sandals, but for that you have to purchase the Deluxe Edition of the game. Wait, what?

Having one hero out of three locked seems like a tactic straight out of the worst examples of free-to-play, and Conan Unconquered is a premium game that shouldn’t keep its heroes behind a paywall. In the future, when the roster is loaded with assorted heroes, it won’t be the right thing to do, but will be forgivable; right now, it feels like a punitive shove in the direction of a more expensive edition for not much reason whatsoever.

Conan Unconquered Preview Javelin Soldier Battle

“You Hesitate… You Die”

No truer words have been spoken. Conan Unconquered is a game where second chances are few and far between and while your hero unit can die only to return a minute later, this cooldown period may jeopardize your efforts. Your hero levels up as he slays minion after minion, becoming a powerful warrior that can singlehandedly turn the tide of battle, but he needs the valuable support of Swordsmen and Javelin Soldiers, to mention just a few, with the latter being incredibly useful when it comes to hitting enemies at a distance or over a wall. Pathfinding needs some polishing, as they often engage in a frenzied and futile run through the mountains instead of simply approaching the wall and throwing their javelins.

That brings me to walls. Never, ever underestimate the importance of a judiciously positioned wall. Since the fail state in Conan Unconquered happens when your fortress is destroyed, well-placed walls can slow down the enemy and buy you some vital time to attack their forces. There is an intricate economy in place with a robust tech tree for you to despair over, but early beginnings usually require you to fortify your defenses. Later, things like a ballista tower are a barbarian’s best friend during those massive sieges, but good luck unlocking the mandatory structures to get what you were initially hoping for.

Conan Unconquered isn’t just about building structures and enjoying the view; there is an upkeep for most buildings and troops, with resources such as gold, food, wood, iron or stone to keep an eye out for. It’s a delicate balance and the destruction of a single hovel may throw your plans under the desert bus (bonus video game reference), setting in motion a chain of events that will see the obliteration of your economy and power. Let’s not forget about the micro-management that is necessary to put out those pesky fires, otherwise brace yourselves for a glorious spectacle of flames, as half of your stronghold burns to the ground in no time.

Conan Unconquered Preview Co-op Mode

As it happens with most things in life, Conan Unconquered is best enjoyed with a friend, or a stranger. The co-op mode pits you and another warrior against waves of savages, but with a few twists in comparison to the solo mode. While you get to build a shared stronghold, resources are split between each player, so you must be responsible for your buildings and your army upkeep. The upside of this is that exploration is now more tempting, as you and your teammate may agree on methods to scout the map and scavenge every nook and cranny for useful resources. The downside is that the game is now even harder, as the enemy waves are more numerous and more determined than ever.

Thanks to random maps and the unpredictability of a human partner, this is where Conan Unconquered truly shines. But this is also where the odds of a nervous breakdown are at their best, not to mention the likely ending of a friendship or two.

Conan Unconquered is ruthless, no matter how you look at it. It’s a fierce challenge that feels utterly rewarding when you manage to nail those beasts, but it’s rather niche and would greatly benefit from 1v1 multiplayer. Fighting alongside someone is fun, but it’s supremely more entertaining to challenge someone directly, while still having to occasionally fend off the assault of AI enemies. Conan Unconquered may feel like busywork at times, but it’s worth persevering through if you dive in with the right mindset.

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Lornsword: Winter Chronicle – Clash of Genres

It’s not easy being a hero, especially when you’re stuck inside an action and strategy mix where the fate of your people lies on your shoulders. Such is the basic premise of Lornsword: Winter Chronicle, the first game from developer Tower Five.

Founded in 2017, Tower Five is a French studio comprised of ex-Creative Assembly staff. Having worked on the Total War series for several years, the small team is now setting its sights on a different kind of strategy game, once again embracing merciless army battles but with a story-based focus and an ingenious twist to it – but more on that later.

The historical accuracy is thrown out of the window, giving room to a fantasy-based setting where anything is possible. Even dying and coming back to life repeatedly.

Lornsword Winter Chronicle Preview Desert Soldiers

A Hard Day’s Knight

The arid landscapes that introduce us to the world of Lornsword take me back to an era when the term real-time strategy wasn’t yet coined. It was Westwood Studios’ Dune 2 that made it mainstream and successful, with its endless war over the precious resource called spice.

While Dune 2 and even the Warcraft series are comparisons that aren’t entirely out of place when referring to Lornsword, they aren’t exactly the most fitting either. If there is one game that fits like a glove into the action and strategy design that Lornsword uses, then its name is Spellforce. Both games place you in the shoes of a fearless hero, commanding armies in a fantasy world where your goal is to constantly raze the enemies’ base camps to the ground.

My first hour with Lornsword wasn’t particularly noteworthy, as I wasn’t sure of what it was trying to be – is it a top-down story-based action RPG or a real-time strategy game stripped of any fancy bells and whistles? As it turns out, this was a lengthy tutorial showing players the fundamentals of the game’s hybrid genre. Sticking to it was the best that I could have done, as Lornsword slowly unravels its secrets and reveals layer after layer of intricate concepts and a tangled web of ingenious battle mechanics.

Lornsword Winter Chronicle Preview Defending Headquarters

Unlike other standard real-time strategy games, Lornsword prioritizes using a controller instead of your typical mouse and keyboard combo. This unusual approach takes some getting used to, but soon you’ll find yourself dashing through enemy lines and expanding your headquarters without worries, as it becomes second nature. It’s an action-based control system that ditches the often cluttered and laborious point and click control system in favor of a seamless approach.

Your general is remarkably tame when it comes to slashing his enemies with his sword, but he learns more than a couple of tricks during his journey. Without spoiling too much, I can say that running will soon become a thing of the past, a burden that only regular humans must deal with. Sunknights such as your very own Corun Lan Ka prefer to resort to blinking, skipping short distances and thus being able to get to places that are out of reach to the common soldier, such as small islands. This action consumes stamina, as does instantly teleporting to your headquarters or raining fire from the skies on top of your enemies. This is infinitely more powerful than your puny sword, but it won’t be enough to change the tide of battle all by itself.

Lornsword doesn’t leave fog of war out of the equation but puts a spin to it. Instead of terrain that slowly reveals as we explore, you have an ability called far sight. With this you can see remote parts of the map, checking your buildings and seeing what your men are seeing. This way you avoid spending time running or blinking to a place where nothing substantial is happening.

Lornsword Winter Chronicle Preview Protect the Base

Real-Time Sword and Sorcery

A great leader plays a large role in a battle, but he is nothing without his army. This is where the real-time strategy aspect of Lornsword comes into play. Your general can build and upgrade structures, adding fortification or turrets, and ultimately choosing what soldier specialty a building should focus on. All of this is done via an intuitive and incredibly simple switch system – each structure has a few ground switches and you simply activate the desired one.

Altars are crucial in Lornsword, acting as portals to a full-fledged world of elemental beings and spirits. Using the d-pad you can summon the different types of guardians pertaining to fire, water, stone and air. From stone golems to fire archers, thunder elementals or water priests, among others, these are not to be underestimated, as their might on the battlefield is second to none. Obviously, this is where gold comes into play, as each new tier requires a larger amount of your valuable currency. The returns are absolutely worth it, however, so don’t hesitate to upgrade any structure if you have the means to do so.

Summoning any group of elemental soldiers is another action that will drain your stamina. You will often resort to this tactic as these creatures are an undeniable force of nature (pun not intended), but it will hinder your movements in case you need to make a quick escape, for example. Returning to your headquarters and collecting those shiny orbs will reinvigorate both your health and stamina, so you need to get used to the continuous back-and-forth, either by foot or teleportation.

Lornsword Winter Chronicle Preview Dark Walkers

No good general would feel complete without a group of trustworthy men willing to die for the Emperor. As soldiers complete their training, they wait for your orders. You can give them a couple of basic commands using each building’s flag: the orange flag tells them to wait until they complete a hand of seven before marching on; the black flag orders them to defend the area, and lowering the flag orders each soldier to march and attack as soon as he exits the garrison. Always be on the lookout for the waystones spread across the battlefield as these mark the path that your soldiers will relentlessly follow.

But leaving these men to their fate is a bad move; you’re wasting strength in numbers. With a simple click you can gather up to 15 soldiers who will follow you everywhere without questioning – you can release them with the same ease, which makes them suddenly attack any enemies close by. Amassing a large army and unleashing it simultaneously with elemental soldiers can make all the difference when it comes to raiding enemy bases, especially those that have several guard towers and a fair number of warriors.

Nonetheless, the Zerg Rush strategy isn’t a given here, as you have to chiefly deal with resources such as gold and food. Gold allows you to upgrade structures while farms increase the number of houses that you can build. Losing the mines will decrease the pace at which you earn gold, but losing the farms is equally dangerous as you won’t be able to build any structures beyond the specified cap. Sporadically you’ll be confronted with varied objectives, including defending your headquarters for 30 minutes or destroying a camp in a limited time.

After slaying a few enemies and wildlings, you start to uncover the web of intrigue where nothing is as it seems. Nonetheless, you have your orders to follow and your leaders to obey. Suddenly, Lornsword turns from a linear game into one where you get to choose the mission that you want to tackle next, complete with a dialogue system that seems to work as a disguised difficulty setting – going with full forces or choosing a smaller, stealthier army is one of the examples.

Lornsword Winter Chronicle Preview Snow Village Hub

Everything is Better with a Friend, Even War

One of Lornsword’s highlights is the option to play with a friend in a drop-in and drop-out cooperative split screen mode. This takes me back to bygone times when online gameplay was still a thing out of sci-fi movies and couch co-op was all the rage. This is the best way to experience Lornsword, putting the emphasis on player coordination and shared tactics, as the gold and food resources remain the same throughout, as do the enemy numbers.

Developer Tower Five is testing a PvP split screen mode that is bound to make it into the game if it’s as fun as they are expecting it to be. I think this is vital for the game both as a selling point and for the sake of its longevity, but I’m under the impression that online connectivity would significantly boost its appeal when it comes to a certain segment of players.

Lornsword Winter Chronicle Preview Split Screen Co-Op

Visually speaking, Lornsword is clean, sharp, mostly functional but it can also be quite pretty in places. The top-down perspective is perfectly suited to the strategy elements and the tiny characters are nicely rendered and smoothly animated – above all, their ranks are easily discernible when you know what to look for. I do have an issue with the running animation, including the main character, as it seems too robotic and unnatural, as if it was simply a matter of fast-forwarding the walking animation. I did enjoy the little details including the pixelated trails that every unit leaves on the sand and snow (there is also a pretty forest environment), as well as the splashes of blood and the bright flashes from spells and fire.

Lornsword feels oddly familiar despite its clever mix of genres, and it’s all the better for it. It is heavily story-based, with a tale that feels rich and complex, and the control scheme is ingenious and easy to grasp. It’s not quite on a league of its own, but the clever mix of action RPG and strategy elements surely contribute to a freshness that is equally gripping and challenging.

Lornsword is now in Early Access and is out later this year on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

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WoW Wednesday: Reforging the Past of Warcraft

Last weekend was Blizzcon, and while there’s a number of massive updates incumbent to the World of Warcraft, there was one major announcement I wanted to particularly talk about in this week’s WoW Wednesday. This game saw the world of Azeroth surge to popular new heights and set up some of the most popular and impactful characters the franchise could ever imagine, several of which would go on to define several major expansions and change the world (in more ways than one). From the humble roots of Orcs fighting Humans to a Scourge intent on scrubbing the world clean of the living, Warcraft 3: Reforged looks to bring that immortal conclusion to a wonderful RTS trilogy back into the modern age.

“Like fools, we fought for centuries… Until the day the sky rained fire…”

Now at first glance, remastering any game seems like a fairly simple task; touch up the visuals, update the voice-acting, throw in a few more cutscenes and BAM, you have a Ratchet and Clank for 2016. As we’ve seen with some of the later announcements this year, such as Medieval and Spyro the Dragon: Reignited, remastering a game that is older than most of its current player base is a difficult task. Older game engines simply cannot handle some of the modern advancements that players have come to expect; even World of Warcraft, a game built on the original engine for Warcraft 2 and its expansion Beyond the Dark Portal, has seen more than its fair share of updates and overhauls as recently as Battle for Azeroth’s launch. There it was updated to include higher graphics resolutions, improvements on its dynamic physics (introduced in Mists of Pandaria) and greater DirectX integration. With sudden advancements in World of Warcraft’s main storyline and the fallout of character development over the years, Blizzard is also intent on gently adjusting some of the story content in Reforged as well.

Of course, the art will receive a breath of fresh air; someone, after all, does need to fix Arthas’ incredibly strange looking face from the original. The team behind Reforged wants to update their storytelling to reflect the evolution of characters from World of Warcraft. For players familiar with Warcraft 3, most will remember Sylvanas as an incredibly minor character instead of the narrative powerhouse she has become in Battle for Azeroth. Those playing Warcraft 3 today wouldn’t even be able to reconcile Stratholme with how it has been depicted in its MMO counterpart. In an interview and demo with Kotaku, QA lead Nicholas Louie expressed the team’s interest in reconciling the two.

Arthas, The Prince of Lordaeron (And his Much More Normal Looking Face)

“Even down to Crusader’s Square,” said Louie, demoing Reforged’s iconic level which has since been reworked to reflect its Azerothian counterpart, The Culling, “There are other tidbits, too, that are WoW callbacks… Characters like Sylvanas [Windrunner] and Jaina [Proudmoore]. In the events of Warcraft 3, they’re not these huge, pivotal characters. It’s important to us that we bring them into parity with their presence in WoW in terms of importance.”

The changes don’t stop there, as there is a great focus on allowing players to connect with even the oldest versions of Warcraft 3, a touch that doesn’t go unnoticed by yours truly. In doing so they’ve recovered the original creation tools for the game’s custom matches and campaigns and are updating them to directly reference older materials, allowing art assets to interface with each other between games. This not only means that players playing the original Reign of Chaos will be able to square off against Reforged owners, but the potential for custom campaigns to be reusable in Reforged is gigantic!

An Orcish Encampment, besieged by the Human Alliance Forces

The campaigns, which could be created by anyone, directly used assets from across the Warcraft 3 release library and resulted in some of the most incredible content releases I got to play as a child. To this day, the Hive Workshop is still open at HiveWorkshop.com with fantastic custom campaigns for players to dive into. These campaigns also allowed players to create genres and stories never seen before, the most famous being the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena and the original DOTA: Defense of the Ancients.

With all of that being said, there are some significant concerns throughout the fanbase; how MUCH of the story is being changed? That, frankly, is hard to answer on any level. Christie Golden, one of the newest additions to the WoW writing team and the hit author behind several Warcraft novels including Heart of the Storm, Rise of the Horde (one of my personal favorites), and several of the biopic novels including critically acclaimed Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, is heading the team responsible for story rewrites. Together, they’ll be adjusting Reforged’s narrative to bring things more in-line with the current world of Azeroth, as well as redeveloping character interactions. However, with so many iconic moments peppered throughout Reign of Chaos, such as “Mannoroth’s Destruction,” and “This Entire City… Must Be Purged,” its hard not to swing a pen and hit another massively influential scene. With such amazing fan works out there such as JoseBV’s Reign of Chaos animation series on YouTube, it’s not hard to see why such scenes have been immortalized in the minds of fans.

 

So where does Reforged step off from here? I for one am incredibly excited. Over the next few holiday months, I’ll be revisiting Warcraft 3 to relive some of the greatest storytelling I’ve still experienced in my life. I am looking forward to Reforged in much the same manner, even if the story is different to what we have come to expect. The fact that a remaster of this level is finally being reconsidered after almost 16 years is a great connotation for the future. If Reforged is as successful as I hope, we could potentially see it herald the possible future of a Warcraft 4, though where it could sit is best left for those with a better imagination than my own.

To see Warcraft 3 return isn’t just a storyline revisited or an adventure renewed, it’s a celebration of what made the original so great and a potential revival of its wonderful community. Now new stories can be forged alongside old ones, and create a generation of new ideas and fans.

 

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Conqueror’s Blade Announces New Publisher

Last we heard from Conqueror’s Blade, the game was still running through a number of regional tests. Now, it would seem the tactics-centric MMO is about ready to head to its next phase with the announcement of a new Conqueror’s Blade publisher in the form of My.com.

conqueror's blade publisher

My.com, who you’ll know as the same company that handles publishing duties for other MMOs such as Skyforge and Revelation Online, will be taking over publishing of the game for North American and European players.

The announcement has also heralded the launch of a number of Founder’s Packs which offer access to both closed and open beta along with a number of different in-game bonuses like Premium Membership. The game itself, however, will be a free-to-play title once it launches.

In Conqueror’s Blade, players take command of armies and then enter the fray to work as the vanguard to defend key battlefield objectives. The ultimate goal; rule a large, persistent, open world map either through siege or diplomacy.

While dates for closed and open beta were not provided in the announcement, more details can be found on the game’s website. There’s also a teaser trailer for Conqueror’s Blade below.

Our Thoughts

We’ve been very intrigued by this interesting mash-up of battlefield brawler and tactical RTS in a crunchy MMO shell, and soon we’ll perhaps be just that much closer to finding out what this game has to offer. If nothing else, it certainly appears to be one of the more unique titles in the multiplayer gaming space.

Source: press release

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Celebrate 20 Years of StarCraft with Heroes of the Storm

This week, the renowned RTS StarCraft celebrates its 20th anniversary and Heroes of the Storm players can earn exclusive loot. Additionally, one of the most iconic StarCraft heroes of all time, Fenix, has entered the Nexus in his Dragoon form.

Heroes of the storm starcraft

 

Players who log into Heroes of the Storm by April 23, 2018, will receive classic Terrain, Zerg, and Protoss portraits so that they can show off their favorite race. There’s also a ferocious new Zergling mount, with three variations, that can be purchased with Gems or Shards. If you don’t currently have all of the older StarCraft heroes unlocked, there are a variety of discounted bundles available. Finally, StarCraft themed brawls will be introduced throughout the event, such as Deadman’s Stand where players must survive deadly waves of Zerg.

Of course, a Heroes of the Storm event wouldn’t be the same without a theme-specific hero, and this is one that players have been requesting for quite some time. Fenix, the legendary Zealot and Dragoon, was resurrected once again to continue his fight in the Nexus.

Last week, Heroes of the Storm players got their first look at Fenix with his spotlight and list of talents, which you can read about here. With a vast array of firepower at his disposal, Fenix is a mobile, ranged assassin that can deal a significant amount of sustained damage. Depending on talent selection, he can also have a global presence on the battlefield or adapt a more burst-oriented damage style.

Fenix is now available in Heroes of the Storm for 750 Gems or 1500 Gold.

 

Our Thoughts

As someone who grew up with StarCraft, I was incredibly excited to see that Fenix was finally joining the HotS cast. However, I was initially a little skeptical because the original Dragoons could do little more than walk and attack, but I was pleasantly surprised once I actually got the chance to test out his kit. Currently, he seems to be doing a little more damage than he ought to, given his high mobility and survivability, but I’m sure Blizzard will adjust his numbers if things seem out of place for too long.

Source: Press Release

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StarCraft Preps a 20th Anniversary Celebration

I don’t know about anyone reading this, but sometimes I think back to a game’s launch date and immediately feel old. That feeling is striking all over again with news of the StarCraft 20th anniversary events that will be covering the entire range of Blizzard titles in celebration of the RTS’ launch.

starcraft 20th anniversary

As of March 31st, StarCraft will be 20 years old and fans of the title will get to commemorate the occasion with some unique in-game items regardless of whether they play the RTS or not.

  • Heroes of the Storm will be having StarCraft-themed brawls and add new portraits of the Zerg, Protoss and Terrans for players who log in. The MOBA is also teasing a new roster arrival from the game’s universe Soon™.
  • Players of Diablo 3 can earn themselves a free Battlecruiser pet to follow them around in-game.
  • World of Warcraft players can get a “Salute to StarCraft” Feat of Strength when they /salute certain StarCraft-themed pets in-game.
  • Widowmaker is cosplaying as the Terran Ghost Sarah Kerrigan before she got a nasty case of Zerg influence with a unique skin being handed out for free in Overwatch.
  • Hearthstone will be having a Tavern Brawl themed after StarCraft, with three Kobolds & Catacombs packs being offered as a reward.

In addition to the events across Blizzard’s portfolio, players of StarCraft itself are getting some freebies as well. StarCraft 2 players will get a variety of console skins, portraits and decals; while StarCraft Remastered players will get faction-based console skins and can enjoy a sale on the RTS between March 6th and March 30th.

Fans can also look forward to special livestreams on March 30th and 31st with personalities from the game “old and new” and special game rewards for those who watch the channel all through the month. Finally, a short film will debut on March 31st chronicling the game and its impact on players.

Most of the celebrations start on Tuesday, March 6th, though some run on different dates and otherwise have limited time schedules. A special web page has been created to keep track of it all and a trailer marking the celebration can be seen below.

Our Thoughts

Congratulations to Blizzard and the StarCraft team for 20 years’ worth of RTS gaming. It’s undeniable how impactful StarCraft has been to both players and the overall RTS genre and we’re looking forward to the upcoming celebrations.

Source: press release

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Blizzard Updates Warcraft 3 in Preparation for an Invitational

“Better late than never” can certainly apply to the news that a Warcraft 3 update has been applied – the first update to the RTS since Reign of Chaos released 15 years ago. The better phrase, however, might be that Blizzard is “crazy like a fox” as the move appears to stoke the flames of rumor.

warcraft 3 update

The new patch to Warcraft 3 introduces wide-screen support for the game as well as 24-player support, with a subsequent expansion of team colors. Additionally, the game’s heroes have seen a balance pass and the map pools have been adjusted, while the Map Editor has seen a number of new upgrades.

All of the tweaks are in readiness for the first Warcraft 3 Invitational, where world-class players will converge at Blizzard HQ for some friendly competition alongside other special events like free-for-alls and 4v4 clashes. The Invitational will be held on February 27th and 28th and is hosted by the Back2Warcraft Twitch channel.

Of course, this all strikes suspicious and possibly exciting to players as rumors of an HD remaster for Warcraft 3 mount. These rumors sprang from an update to the game’s installer, possibly setting the game up for integration with Battle.net much the same way StarCraft did before it got remastered.

Our Thoughts

Well…this all seems to line up a bit too neatly, doesn’t it? It is certainly possible that this is merely just a setup for minor tweaking in an attempt to bring Warcraft 3 back into the wider esports scene and the hearts and minds of RTS gamers…but then again, the effort to update the game after so long would be very odd indeed. We’ll be watching, in any case.

Sources: official forums, BlizzardWatch

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Conqueror’s Blade Touts 10k Players and Readies a Europe Test

It would appear that the last closed beta for Conqueror’s Blade was a reasonably solid success. Developer Booming Games offered up a variety of new details in its latest press release, including the number of participants in its latest round of beta, some additional game details, and word of a new Conqueror’s Blade European test session.

conqueror's blade european test

The so-called “European X Test” will take place this March and will be based (obviously) in Europe. Players from other areas are welcome to connect to the test as well, but may encounter connectivity issues as a result of the test’s location. Additionally, those who are already included into the beta will not need new keys to enter this planned set of testing.

As for the beta test last week, Booming Games heralded over 10,000 total players from over 100 countries who joined in the massively multiplayer war effort, with peak concurrency breaking over the 1,000 player mark. 219 Houses took part of the Kingdom War event that occurred during the test, and 23 in-game countries were founded. According to the game’s producer, the testers also provided good advice that will be leveraged for the European test.

As is often the case with these announcements, the devs also included some new gameplay details as well. The first relates to weapons in Conqueror’s Blade, with can be unlocked at Trainer locations and have their own individual skills. Only two normal skills are on hand at first, but players can ultimately get three normal skills and one Ultra skill as they level up.

The second is related to Legendary Legions, which are powerful unit groups that can only be unlocked after players reach a certain level and harvest rare elements. Four Legendary Legions are currently in the game: the powerful Winged Hussar cavalry; the Musketeer legion that unloads high damage against a single heavy armor target; the disruptive Guanning Knight cavalry; and the invincible but slow-moving Iron Buddha melee Legion.

Our Thoughts

Sounds like the Conqueror’s Blade test went pretty well overall. Over 10k players is certainly not a bad start to closed beta and we hope the European test in March will be similarly active, if not moreso. We also hope that the game’s servers will be up to the task if they decide to further widen the testing pool gates.

Source: press release

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