Friday, June 13, 2008

Future plans for Age of Conan. Sounds interesting.

PvP evolved – To the Death
The great combat system in Age of Conan has taken MMO fighting to a new level of fun, and Player versus Player combat plays a major part in this. As a result, a massive new PvP update is planned for late June. Aptly called To the death, this update brings more consequence and rewards to PvP, and an important part of it is the Fugitive system. The more lower level players you kill, the easier it is for others to hunt you down. In addition, ten PvP levels with additional ranks will be introduced, as well as specific gear and weapons for PvP.

Guild Alliance Warfare
Preproduction has started on a MASSIVE free update which will come later this year. Currently titled "Kingship!", large clusters of guilds will be able to form alliances, and rule and conquer on a massive scale. Everyone in a guild alliance will play a part in this system, and together they can even erect unique looking alliance Battlekeeps. The alliances can also fight over, and build, culture-specific "wonders of the world", with a direct link to higher powers! As part of the system Funcom will also facilitate larger amounts of players in massive battles.

This fall, a unique reward and character evolution system called Powerpoints will be introduced. This rewards active in-game behavior, and allows for gathering points through numerous methods, including owning a Battlekeep, playing the end-game at level 80, winning PvP matches, or simply being an active guild member or subscribing to the game. There will be many ways to obtain Powerpoints, and numerous rewards, ranging from exclusive Powerfeats to weapons, armor and potions. Powerpoints may even allow you to level faster!

New areas and dungeons
You won't need to wait for an expansion pack to explore exciting new areas. In the next period, Funcom will include several new areas, as well as evolving already existing areas. This includes a brand new dungeon in Aquilonia, reshaping three dungeons in Stygia, and an entire mountain range in Cimmeria!

Improved player-made villages and Battlekeep systems
While the guild alliance system brings a whole new level to the game, Funcom will continue to expand the existing player-made areas and the systems running them. A focus on evolving the massive elements of the game even further continues, ranging from placing NPC's in the cities to more choices and benefits.

Social updates
An MMO is nothing without a good social scene. While Conan is all about crushing your enemies, social enhancements are also getting some love. A fun example is the combo-based dancing system which is now coming to the game, and it's entirely motion captured by professional dance artists.

More adventures
Age of Conan has received tremendous praise for immersion and the great voice-over quests. This is but the start of the adventure, and numerous new quests are coming into the game, spread across the entire world and across the level ranges. Soon 60 additional quests will also get full voice acting, further improving immersion.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

NWN 2 Suddenly becomes relevant....

I was going to talk about Civilization Revolutions for the Xbox 360 today, but I was unable to do any multiplayer. The demo doesn't let you create a match with a friend. You have to search for a random game and I wasn't in the mood for that. I will have to put my thoughts about that game on the back burner until it comes out in a few weeks. I am still getting the game, so I will report on it after it is out.

A bit of surprise news comes in the form of a newly announced NWN 2 expansion called Storm of Zehir. I have heard good things about the Mask of the Betrayer expansion although there were still some issues that kept me from playing it. Along comes the following announcement from Atari and my interest has been rekindled:

Game Features:

  • Travel the Sword Coast and Samarach using the open-ended exploration of the new Overland Map. Use skills like Spot and Survival while on the Overland Map to avoid ambushes and even find hidden locales and lost artifacts.

  • Create your own full party of adventurers. Devastate your foes with a squad of fireball-flinging Sorcerers, form a solid wall of steel with a party of Fighters, or strike the perfect balance in your party by spreading out the classes you choose for your characters.
  • Improved party gameplay including streamlined party conversations, a new Teamwork Benefit System, and powerful party feats.
  • The world's economy reacts to your adventures and choices. And, through trading and quests, you can expand your merchant company into a massive trading empire.

That sounds a lot like an updated easily moddable version of Baldur's gate. It always annoyed me that your party was stuck in the set path that the module maker determined. This feels more like a D&D session to me and less like a linear video game representation. The inclusion of party feats sounds a little bit like 4th Edition, but we will have to wait and see when more details come out.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Battlefield: Bad Company. Booya!

From the IGN description:

Battlefield: Bad Company drops gamers behind enemy lines with a squad of renegade soldiers who risk it all on a personal quest for gold and revenge.

Featuring a cinematic single-player experience loaded with adventure and dark humor, the game delivers the series' trademark sandbox gameplay in a universe where nearly everything is destructible. Battlefield: Bad Company also features a full suite of the franchise's trademark multiplayer options with deep gameplay designed to take full advantage of the game's massively destructible environments.

I downloaded Battlefield:Bad Company the other day on the urging of my friend, Rikathos. I finally got around to playing it a bit last night. I have only played it for about two hours, but my initial impression was very postitive. I logged in last night fully prepared to get owned like I did in CoD 4 and my expectations were pretty much spot on. I got killed left and right for a little while, but then something happened. I got the feel for the game and the layout of the level. More importantly I got the feel for what the objective was and I soon began to do better. The game has nicely varied classes and I spent my time with Demolition, Assualt, and Support mostly. Oddly enough, I think I did the best with Support. The game is still frenetic, but to me it has a slower pace than CoD 4. The fact that you can use vehicles and a wide variety of fixed weapons was a big plus for me.

Once Rikathos left, I focused on trying out the vehicles and I have to say the tank was my favorite. It reminded me somewhat of the old days of playing M1 Abrams Battle Tank. I got the hang of the controls and what it could do. I then proceeded to wreck havoc on the enemy's base. For a while I was even leading in points score. That is new for me since I usually don't do so well with these games. The brief time I spent with the demo convinced me that I want to buy the full game when it comes out. I understand there is a good deal more to the game than what I have experienced so far which is a bonus. I'll report back with some specifics once I get more play time in, but the game holds a lot of promise. Check out more details here.