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Game of Thrones Ascent Review: A Facebook Game Set In The World of A Song Of Ice And Fire


Game of Thrones Ascent (developer Disruptor Beam) is the newest video game set in the world of A Song Of Ice And Fire, a recommended and extremely popular book series by George R.R. Martin. Game Of Thrones Ascent has been developed as a game for Facebook even though later in its life it might be converted to other systems. This however – contrary to popular belief – has not lowered its quality or made it a pay-to-win game. At the moment Ascent is still in beta phase.

Ascent is similar to other medieval browsergames like Grepolis or Tribal Wars: your goal is to build a city and destroy your opponents. You will able to add buildings such as a smithy, a sept, a market, and these can also be improved to increase efficienty. The game does not require you to wait immense amounts of time before certain actions are completed. Sure, sometimes you’ll have to wait some time, but it’s far better than in many other games in which you’ll buy speed-up items just because you’re irritated by the time that is left. This is definitely an improvement.

The game hosts a story similar to A Game of Thrones with some minor adjustments along the way, the story itself is cool and you’re really being involved in it as a random noble. You’ll be confronted with quests and you will need to make choices – what’s more important for you? The realm, your family, the olds gods, or the new? The choices you make have an impact on future happenings. Your quests will usually be completed by your Sworn Swords, units you can hire which have their own talent trees in which you will be able to invest points after they have ranked up. Your Sworn Swords can specialise in trade, intrigue, or brute force. They can then complete quests with actions such as “attack, swindle, steal, spy, harass” and so on.

A Sworn Sword working for me

A Sworn Sword working for me

You will be able to check your rank as a noble at the leaderboards. There’s also the option to create alliances, add/help friends, send messages, gain achievements and buy items in the shop with real money. All these systems work fine and you’re always confronted with a nice UI and every now and then a beautiful piece of artwork. The music isn’t bad either!

Questing

Questing

I really enjoyed playing Game of Thrones Ascent and I’ll not stop playing it soon. It’s a fresh and improved version over other similar games and most definitely not your average cheap Facebook game. A huge thumbs up for Disruptor Beam! On you go now, to defeat the challenges in Westeros!

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Allods Online Russia opens up subscription-based server


The originally Russian MMORPG Allods Online made an intesting move some time ago. The Russian variant of the free-to-play fantasy MMORPG launched a subscription-based server. Anyone playing on this server will not be able to “enjoy” the cash shop and thus players become relient on their skills again and not on the amount of money they have.

The European/American variant of the game isn’t planning to do anything similar at the moment although their playerbase has diminished severely after multiple confrontations with the playerbase concerning the cash shop. The new server has been welcomed with primarily positive feedback. Interesting to see how this will turn out.

 

Incredible Game of Thrones ensemble music videos


These two are definitely worth checking out! Spoilers for season 1 and 2 included.

Credits to the author which is Grable424, nice work dude!

 

Funding Game Development Through Player Donations?


Suppose you’re an independent developer. You barely have enough money to pay your artists and programmers. They do some basic work and love doing so. But since you only have a small team, only a small amount of work can be done and sooner or later your game’s players start to get bored because new content isn’t being implemented fast enough. What do you do?

Mortal Online‘s developers (the recently gone free-to-play MMORPG) decided to launch a player donations program. Every now and then a donation goal will be given (the latest donation goal is improved visuals and more) and players will be given the option to donate funds directly into the development of the game. So this is separate from your regular subscription, which will also pay for numerous other expenses. This enables the team to hire outside programmers/artists and thus increase the speed of content updates. Donators will also benefit from numerous feats not available to non-donators. The top donator of the month will be allowed to interview the CEO of Starvault, Mortal’s developer/publisher.

What’s your opinion on funding game development through player donations?

 

Black Desert Online: Next Generation MMORPG?


In development by game developer company Pearl Abyss, Black Desert Online is an upcoming massively multiplayer roleplaying game with a fresh, next generation look. The development is almost finished and currently some extra content is being created. The game will be published by the Korean publisher DAUM and GameOn Japan.

Black Desert Online hosts a seamless world, this means there are no loading screens when you’re walking around the world (but there are when you’re joining dungeons etc.). The game world consists of a number of regions, each with their own climate/weather. This also effects your gameplay: you obviously can’t fish in a dry area like a desert but you can raise camels (mounts) there.

The game has numerous ways for your character to advance:  solo play, party play, field raids and normal raids, raid dungeons, siege warfare, guild vs guild, chasing and numerous other features. Housing is also an option and you can fill your house with all sorts of furniture! The more cozy and full your house is the more NPC’s will visit your house.

It would obviously suck to traverse the lands of Black Desert Online by foot so you’ll have the option to ride a donkey, a camel, or even an elephant if you like. Pearl Abyss is still hesitating wether or not to implement a breeding system to turn normal mounts into special ones.

The combat system is similar to Vindictus/Tera (action!). You can choose to play either in first person or in third person, whatever your preference is. You can also fight while mounted, which is pretty cool! Currently the list of classes is as follows: Fighter, Magician, Archer, Predator, Tamer, Blader, Male Archer, Valkyrie, and Male Wizard.

Mists of Pandaria sold better than expected


Disproving any previous rumours, Mists of Pandaria’s sales proved better than expected. Over 2,7 million copies of the online roleplaying game were sold, and the total amount of subscribers once again counts more than ten million players. It would be wise not too draw conclusions too soon, however, since games like these are known to lose a lot of subscribers after the initial “honeymoon period” wears off.

 

Rumour: SEGA Europe Shuts Down?


A post has appeared on the French gaming website Gamekyo detailing the rumoured shutdown of the European branch of the well known game publisher Sega. After the layoffs and canceled games end March it seems Sega is now coming to an end in Europe. The focus of the developers under Sega should be moved to tablet and mobile games. Sega Europa’s last game to be published will possibly be a to be announced game by The Creative Assembly (Total War?). Sega has not responded to the rumours as of yet.

 

Sometimes I Wonder What MMORPG Developers Do With Our Money


Just take Blizzard, for example, an age old studio with bazillions of money at their disposal, and compare them to Trion Worlds, the developer of Rift which started out with nearly no reputation or whatsoever.  Both get quite a good sum of money for their efforts (Blizzard probably gets a deal more, but okay), but one of them does not manage to show off their immense wealth in the further development of their game. If you have no clue what I’m on about, I’m talking about Blizzard. Not Blizzard in general (because they are quite a great developer when it suits them), but Blizard in some cases. For years they have received subscription fees and money for cute little baby murlocs ment for cuddling, they are probably richer then some countries are right now, certainly richer than Trion Worlds.

But still they manage to sell us an expansion for money, containing less content than Trion manages to deliver for free (patches) in one year. Sure, the things they do deliver are usually top quality, but if it’s not (molten front grindfest) it’s just going to be a quarter year of grinding the same old stuff all over again. So why can’t studios like Blizzard behave in the same way as Trion Worlds? I’m pretty sure they have more resources so basically they should be able to do the same thing. And they do know they’re doing something wrong! Hell, they even announced they would be going to make content faster but about half a year later and I don’t see any big new changes? What’s up with that?  I think it’s time for players to demand new and fresh content for their subscription fees, reward the studios who manage to churn out top quality content in a fast way, and warn the studios who don’t.

Molten FrontBecause Molten Front isn’t worth $15 a month.

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Sandbox MMO Embers of Caerus Surpasses Kickstarter Funding Goal


More and more online games have their pleas heard in Kickstarter‘s crowdfunding programme. The newest success story comes from Forsaken Studios’ Embers of Caerus: an upcoming sandbox mmorpg. With still 20 days to go Embers of Caerus has reached it’s $25000 goal, reaching $27,583 at the moment of writing. This clearly indicates love for sandbox mmorpg games is still there. 207 people have donated Embers of Caerus so far in exchange for items and even diners with the developers! Personally I’m quite looking forward to this game, because in my opinion there’s no great fantasy sandbox mmorpg out there yet and this one does seem to hold a lot of promise. Just check out this video from Forsaken Studios:

Review: Pawn Stars And Big Ugly Bosses – Dragon’s Dogma In A Nutshell


I read some good stuff about CapCom’s new game Dragon’s Dogma, and thought why not just e-mail the good fellows over at CapCom and ask them for a review copy? You’ll never get one if you never ask! Besides, this blog has grown immensely over the past few weeks follower and reputation wise and it isn’t the little kid on the block anymore (although it’s still miles away from the real bad boys). CapCom heard my prayer and whoopdiewhoop, a few days later a press copy of Dragon’s Dogma arrived at my place. My hands were all too eager to touch my first ever review copy so I grabbed it and started playing right away.

So Dragon’s Dogma is CapCom’s brand new game, and I’ve got to cheer at them for having the guts to come up with something new and creative in the already hugely competitive world of role-playing games and also for – excuse the premature conclusion – making it work. Because Dragon’s Dogma is one hell of a game!

We all know CapCom for being the Japanese mastermind behind Street Fighter, Resident Evil, Devil May Cry and many other great series. While Dragon’s Dogma is a venture into the unknown for CapCom there was a slight possibility of this turning into a Japanese RPG but that isn’t the case here. The game is perfectly enjoyable for Western players which proves that there are Japanese developers that can make good games for the Western market. When launching Dragon’s Dogma it’s right away clear that it concerns a CapCom game, hence the beautiful music.  Every time I launch DD and this comes up, grrrrrrreat!

But music is not the only thing in which DD excels, after the tutorial in which you get to kill a half lion half deer (?) creature using tactics (yes, tactics!) you’ll get to create your very own character and this too is done great. Your character will never entirely reflect yourself but it can come quite close to the real you. You can also edit your main pawn, pawns are summoned at “Riftstones” and they will always be at your side and help you throughout the game, it’s a quite interesting concept, really. They’re like party members in an MMORPG game, but these speak far more than your average MMO gamer and it seems they are so eager to defend you that they will almost continuously scream things to you about the environment. They make you feel less lonely though :)

They do have a use, if not too make them fight hordes of goblins in the night while you run off to the castle (cough, COUGH). I kind off stayed outside of the main city for too long together with my pawns while hunting bandits for some magical tome and just doing random shizzle out in the world when I noticed it was growing dark. While I did have a lantern with me and a bit of oil it was too dark to see the road so I went off in a straight line to the city. First my pawns warn me of a stench but alas I ignored them, and next thing I know big fat zombies are digging through the earth and attack me. God, I’ve never fought a more intense battle in a game, ever! I did kill them after a few tries (DD is harder than Skyrim, but easier than Dark Souls) and went off towards the city again but when I found the road again I noticed these tiny figures walking around with torches. Turned out they were goblins and while my pawns ran off to fight them I fled through them straight towards the lights of the city. I managed! But I had been chased by I don’t want to know how many goblins and worse.

So yup, I quite enjoyed the open world aspect of Dragon’s Dogma. There’s a ton of things to do and some side quests really offer a nice variation from the main story which is great and original too (I won’t spoil a thing!). There certainly isn’t a shortage of things to do in Dragon’s Dogma, whether it concerns killing huge bosses while utilising tactics, running on castle walls, driving people away or what else, DD’s got it!

And while there are some darker sides to DD they are pretty straightforward: the graphics aren’t that great and the pawns WILL break your ears, but if you’re in for a great and long RPG experience that can compete with Skyrim (yes, it can!) and requires some skill, Dragon’s Dogma is waiting for you! Nothing beats walking around a lively world filled with creatures, quests and the sound of great music.

 

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