Tag Archives: Games

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.

 

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?

 

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.

 

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:

King Arthur 2: The Role-playing Wargame Review


I’ve played around with King Arthur 2: The Roleplaying Game for a while and I’m most happy to be able to present you my review of this medieval game published by Paradox Interactive and developed by NeoCoreGames.

King Arthur 2

King Arthur 2 is one of those games that has a light and a dark side on the internet. Positively, the game is a great mix of real time battles, an interesting storyline and beautiful graphics. Negatively, the real time fights themselfs have been very badly optimized, the controls are clumsy and the fights aren’t close to reality at all. This made me somewhat less tempted to try out the game but considering the storyline and the Rome Total War gameplay style I was tempted to test it anyway.

The Story

Once installed I put the graphics on medium to be able to fluidly do my playing and reviewing and started a new campaign. I was greeted by a very well narrated story that told the background story of what I was doing in the campaign. Apparently some Witch Queen decided to invade my country with her dragons and what else and she managed to deal the almighty Arthur a mortal wound. It is your job to assemble a great army and destroy the Witch Queen’s armies. It’s basically the old and well known “super evil villain, kill it!” concept but since that has always worked for other games why should King Arthur 2 be any different? The whole Arthur theme should be appealing enough.

Gameplay

So when I was done with the cutscenes it appeared some high born friend had been captured in his own castle by rebels and it was my, William Pendragon’s job to save the lord. The game’s events are happening as they are in Rome Total War, not in real time. You get a mission and you will have to move your army to the destination point to do something. This is something you’ll either love or hate, but the next part is sure to delight everyone! When I arrived at my destination I was presented with a very fun and well written story where I would make choices and the results of those choices are reflected in the story itself. For example, would you lead your army through dense woods or would you prefer to keep to the high road? I did not make the best choice I could have done, I ended up in the same prison as the great lord himself, but in the end I managed to escape and needed to fight a battle. So far King Arthur 2 seems to be an excellent game fit especially for gamers who love storytelling.

King Arthur 2

But I’m afraid it’s not all sunshine and rainbows with King Arthur 2: The Role-playing Wargame, as I entered this huge battlefield filled with soldiers my fears were realised and the complaints of the internet community were comfirmed. The controls are clumsy, check! Poorly optimized: it’s not great, but you should be able to live with that. An extreme lack of realism? Check. I led my cavalry into a charge against enemy archers but before my horses slammed them to the ground they almost halted completely and the archers were relatively safe. They should have been flung into the air! Buggy? My soldiers often wouldn’t listen or listened poorly and it would take some time before they would run away. I can say one positive thing about the battles: the animations and graphics are top notch if you can handle them, really! But that’s about it.

Final verdict: King Arthur 2: The Role-Playing Wargame has its pros and its cons, the narrative is great, the storyline is awesome and it graphics surpass the beauty of the latest Total War games. If you’re interested in buying this game for it’s huge battles however, don’t, (unless you’re an Arthur fanatic :), because while this is one of the bigger Paradox titles, this game stands less chance against the big series then this archer does against an horde of enemy knights:

Please note this review was based on the first official release build. Bugs might have been corrected in future patches but they refused to install.

King Arthur 2: The Role-playing wargame

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Putting My Brain To Work: Crusader Kings II Review


In the middle ages (500-1500) it was common for a king to divide his land and lend pieces of land to his dear vassals. These vassals would in turn offer the king economical and political support and what else. Those vassals were dear to the king for his land was usually too big to rule all by himself and therefore he needed to keep them close to him and treat them well. This is what Crusader Kings II is. You play a feudal lord and must control your land and gather as much wealth and land as you can before the game ends in a specific year. You have multiple “diplomatic” options in hand to reach those goals including ordering assassinations, arranging bethrothals, educating your children, handing out or removing titles and using your vast (or not) army. There is no -goal- and when the game ends it’s up to you to decide wether you like your result or not.

Crusader Kings II is a game published and developed by Paradox Interactive and anyone familiar with the developer/publisher will know what to expect: a very, very deep medieval game. Included with the game is a multiplayer component and extra content for purchase. And deep it was, for when I launched the game and tried my hand at it for a while I just did not know what to do because the amount of buttons at hand was just too big and even the hints did not manage to explain much. So I went back to the main menu and tried my hand at the tutorials section and oh boy, three tabs full of tutorials labeled basic, intermediate and advanced and while I tried the basic tutorial this made me only slighty more wise about what I had to do and really, I’m not dumb or impatient at all!

So I just fiddled around assassinating someone I did not like, I arranged a marriage between my character’s son and some girl and enjoyed the superb music while not knowing exactly what I was doing but enjoying the process of gradually learning the game.

Final verdict: I had hoped to write a better review than this, but playing this game is worse than playing a Games Workshop wargame without having read the rules and as we all know you can’t grasp the rules without hours and hours of reading and thinking I know this game is like heaven for any fan of a real deep experience and this game does give you a real experience. You get to be a medieval lord with all pros and cons of that combined and while I like history and like medieval games, this is just too much. Something I did not like though was the inavailability of real time battles so you are constantly looking at a map. But for the real Paradox Interactive fan and intense Risk players who can stand this behemoth simulation game, heaven has arrived, but it’s not as relaxed as you thought it would be.

Crusader Kings II

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Legend of Grimrock rocking the charts!


And what a surprise, suddenly out of nowhere came Legend of Grimrock from Almost Human Games: a modern day dungeon crawler with an old school feeling to it. Being released by the indie company 11 Apr. 2012 Legend of Grimrock quickly climbed the Steam best sellers charts and is still present as of today. What sparked this sudden interest in old school dungeon crawles? No idea, especially not after the averageness that was Dungeon Siege 3. Perhaps it’s got something to do with the game being an indie title – developed by an independent studio – because these type of games tend to sell rather well since a while (Terraria, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Limbo etc).

The game is about a group of would-be criminals who are sentenced to a would-be death by dropping them in Mount Grimrock, a place filled with monsters and riddles. If they ever wish to live in freedom again they will need to find their way through the mountain.

Key features include grid based movement, a customizable party consisting of four characters, spellcasting, exploring and solving riddles. Oh, and there’s also an healthy amount of Steam achievements. The game has been receiving excellent reviews so far and has been recommended by over 2000 Steam players so it’s definitely worth checking out even if you’re not a fan of old school games.

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What Do I Need To Start Dungeons And Dragons? What Do I Need To Buy?


Dungeons and Dragons (also called D&D) is easily the most well known pen and paper RPG out there. You don’t need a computer, all you need to play is some paper for writing and (you guessed it) a pen. But since you’re new to the genre it would be a wise decision to stock up on some items and to my experience it’s incredibly hard to find a good guide for that on the internet so I asked a shop keeper and found some more items on the internet and these are some useful tools you might want to buy before you start Dungeons and Dragons:

  • Dice: speaks for itself.
  • Pen & Paper
  • A Dungeon Master guide
  • Player Handbooks
  • (optional) Board game
  • (optional) Miniatures
  • Monster Compendium
  • Get some friends to play with

The last option might be the hardest because roleplaying a D&D campaign can be quite an akward thing to do without your friends nearby and it is suggested to find a group you feel comfortable playing with. Don’t take the above list as a must though, there’s tons of ways to start with Dungeons and Dragons and it depends on you how you want to play and what you want to buy.

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Mortal Online: A Ray of Hope In The Ever Imitating World of MMORPG’s


You may have or may not have heard of this one: Mortal Online. A full loot PVP sandbox put together by the Swedish company Starvault. I’ve never really dived into this type of game before but I did and tried the seven day free trial and was blasted away just because of the sheer awesomeness of this game. I had been playing stuff like World of Warcraft and Rift before (also called themeparks) but this was something new, something fresh, and I loved it!

It’s been there for over a year now but it hasn’t really garnered any interest by the masses, in fact, the population is quite low although the people who do play it are incredibly active and involved in the community (which does include a couple of trolls as this is a sandbox game after all).

As I already pointed out this is not your average game, there are no quests but the sand is there and you can make your own adventure. You can attack other players everywhere, at any given time as long as they are not new to the game and loot everything they have on them and this makes for some pretty intense gameplay outside of town, and even inside of town! While you can call the guards on thieves and murders they’re likely to have stolen or killed before the guards are alarmed and as of such keeping an eye out is a must even in towns.

There is no goal in this game – you set your own goal, wether that’s helping and protecting the new ones, capturing all zones and populating them with towers and castles together with your guildmates or just becoming a strong fighter and pitting your fighting skills against other players.

Mortal Online is  a game in which player skill still counts (active aiming for the win), and in which you’ll have to craft your own adventures with the constant fear of being stabbed in the back and your loot being stolen. And this is what makes Mortal Online an awesome game especially for PvP players, but also for PvE players when the new expansion Awakening hits which will include numerous PvE options.