The Seven Biggest Upcoming Console MMOs (IGN.com)

I get that MMOs want to extend their reach to add console gamers. For real MMOs (especially MMORPGs), that market segment is virtually untapped. However, I don’t see consoles replacing my mouse+keyboard experience. FFXIV:ARR is a good example of that, especially when looking at tanks. Almost all of the tanks that struggle with positioning that I’ve run with have been console gamers (or just new to the dungeon).

For MMOs like Defiance and those that offer first person views, the overall game would probably be similar between consoles and PCs, but communication will always be substantially behind on consoles and only a small percentage of gamers are using Ventrilo, RaidCall, or other VoIP software.
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As long as video game consoles have had internet connections, enterprising studios have been creating massively multiplayer games for them. Early notable efforts include Sega’s Phantasy Star Online in 2001 and Everquest Online Adventures in 2003.

Still, despite these groundbreaking games, there’s no denying that for most MMO experiences, PC gaming has always been where it’s at. Until now, at least.

Sony’s Playstation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One are more PC-like than ever, and now talented AAA console development teams are finally wrapping their heads around how to create persistent online worlds and long-term character growth. As a result, next-gen might be the era that console MMOs finally come into their own. Below are the hottest console MMOs, both launched and upcoming, that you should be sure to keep on your radar.

Note: It’s still up in the air whether some of these titles will truly feel like traditional MMO experiences when they launch. The lines are blurring. Massive battles with hundreds of concurrent players might not constitute an MMO if the world isn’t persistent. A persistent world might not be an MMO if you can only explore it with small, controlled groups. However you define an MMO, these games are all, at the least, MMO-like experiences worth your hype and attention.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

PC, PS3, PS4
After a notoriously poor launch, Square-Enix doubled down on FF XIV, relaunching the game a full three years later, to critical and commercial success. It’s arguably one of the biggest turnaround stories in video game history.

Somewhat lost in all the headlines was the “small” detail that the relaunched game released not just for Windows, but on Playstation 3 as well, with a Playstion 4 version coming in 2014. The console version is fully playable with just a controller thanks to a completely revamped UI, or players can just plug a keyboard and mouse. FF XIV is the highest-profile MMORPG currently available on consoles and is an easy recommendation for console gamers.

DC Universe Online

PC, PS3, PS4
DCUO launched on PC and PS3 in 2011 to so-so reviews and managed to amass only a modest player base. But Sony Online Entertainment stuck it out, continuing to gradually improve and expand on the superhero MMO. The game gained notable momentum after switching to a freemium business model 10 months after launch.

The game makes excellent use of the DC universe via top-notch voice acting, an active, ever-expanding story, and hundreds of famous and not-so-famous characters and locations from the DC Universe. DCUO is tuned to get players to the level cap and into endgame content as fast as possible, making it a great MMO for superhero nerds to download and try out.

Planetside 2

PC, PS4
Sony Online Entertainment’s massive PC FPS hit Planetside 2 is due out on the PS4 later this year. Many were skeptical about Planetside 2’s massive scale and free-to-play model, but after trying it out for themselves, most came away believers. The payment model never gets in the way, and vehicular and on-foot warfare is always raging, with thousands of players all vying for territory control at once. Thanks to a solid class system and a steady stream of unlockables, Planetside 2 should have something for everyone when it hits PS4.

Destiny

PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
For how much we know about Halo developer Bungie’s ridiculously ambitious “persistent world shooter” Destiny, there’s an awful lot we still don’t know. Bungie itself has refrained from actually calling the game an MMO, for starters. Instead, the game provides players with a feeling of constant connection via seamless matchmaking that all happens in the background, with other players entering and exiting your game world on-the-fly.

Destiny’s emphasis on dynamic world events and “loot drops” also contributes to its MMO feel. Players will be able to socket and customize their weapons with powerful items dropped from foes. Dynamic events will help keep the world of Destiny fresh and keep players on their toes. We’ll have to wait until 2014 to find out just how MMO-likeDestiny truly ends up feeling.

The Division

PS4, Xbox One, PC
When a man-made pandemic collapses civilization, ruthless gangs vie for power in the ruins of New York. Sounds like a good setting for an MMORPG to us! Like Destiny, at this point we still aren’t sure how genuinely MMO-like Ubisoft’s dystopian FPS/RPG hybrid The Division truly is. But what has been revealed looks extremely promising.

Players are plunked into The Division’s unforgiving game world with three days’ worth of food and supplies. From there it’s up for you to explore and scavenge what you need, leveling up your character RPG-style along the way. Although solo play is an option, The Division includes extensive options for player-run clans and groups as well as drop-in/drop-out multiplayer, encouraging and rewarding players who team up and work together to tame its persistent, dynamic online world.

The Crew

PC, PS4, Xbox One
Like Destiny and The Division, just how MMO-like Ubisoft’s persistent world racing gameThe Crew truly is still isn’t known. But what we’ve seen so far is extremely promising. The arcade-style racing action takes place across the entire United States. A condensed version of it, sure… but still. Racing from Seattle to Miami in a seamless online/offline game world filled with hundreds of racing challenges? Yes, please!

The game will seamlessly and constantly fill your game world with hundreds of other real world players, giving the game its “MMO” label. You can party up to compete in races or cooperative events like taking down a single superpowered opponent. Yes, almost like a raid.

Elder Scrolls Online

PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One
Elder Scrolls Online, in development for six years, is finally nearing its 2014 release window. Set 1000 years before the events of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the game’s major claim to fame is that it takes place across the entire continent of Tamriel. Not just a single country or region like all the other modern single player Elder Scrolls games.

Early impressions were mixed, wih many describing the game as a World of Warcraft clone set in the Elder Scrolls universe. While that’s still a plenty exciting concept on its own, many gamers wanted more. Thankfully, Zenimax Online listened. The game now has a first-person mode, a new Skyrim-like UI, further refined storytelling and plenty more tweaks that truly allow the game to feel like Skyrim with (thousands) of friends.

Plenty more!

The seven games above aren’t the only ones to keep in mind, but they’re probably the highest profile console MMOs in the works. Other upcoming console MMOs include:

War Thunder: A freemium flight sim MMO that’s been making waves on Steam. Due out for PS3 and PS4 in November. Watch the gameplay.

Warhammer 40K: Eternal Crusade: Not due out until 2015, this MMO based on the classic sci-fi license is slated for release on PC and both Xbox One and PS4. Read the news.

World of Tanks: Wargaming.net’s notorious PVP-heavy tank combat game has been available on Xbox 360 since this summer. Read the news.

Phantasy Star Online 2: Sega’s PSO sequel is out now on PC and Vita… in Japan. A US release date hasn’t yet been announced. US Release News?

Dragon Quest X: Like PSO 2, Square Enix’s Dragon Quest MMO hit Wii and Wii U in Japan last year to critical acclaim. But a US release is still up in the air. Watch the epic trailer.

Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade – Newsletter’s Third Edition

This newsletter update includes the Twitter feeds for the lead developers along with a video announced as part of development Stage 3.

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Crusaders!

As you know, our development team is working hard on creating Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade. As you may also have noticed, we want to make the community part of the creation process as much as possible. As such, we wish to take the time to introduce to you the key players who are living and dreaming of Warhammer 40,000 to create the best game possible!

Our brothers are working hard to produce your game but we asked them to stop for an afternoon to speak to all our loyal fans. Their messages are featured in our Phase 3 “Meet the team!” video.

Pay attention! You may be able to find hints of the upcoming game on the staff’s screens…

Glory to the emperor!

As per our Chapter Motto “There will be no Firewall Between the Dev-Marine and the Imperium of fans” Here are our Brothers` Twitter accounts. Ask them what you want but remember that as per the emperor`s will their primary duty is to fight the game-making battle.

David Ghozland, Creative Director @dghozland

Olivier Tremblay-Ross, Programmer @oliviertross

Steven Lumpkin, Lead Level Designer@silent0siris

Brent Ellision, Lead Game Designer@pulsemeat

Patrick Balthazar, Lead Programmer @lordpada

Jean-François Mercure Burroughs, Programming Director @jf_burroughs

Miguel Caron @miguelcaron
Behaviour Online Chapter Master
For informations: eternalcrusade.pr@bhvr.com

Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade – Newsletter’s First Edition

Awwwww, yeah! War40K’s email journey has begun! If you’d like to receive your very own copy of the emails from now on, go here and signup. I don’t see anywhere on their website that links to this content, so…sorry. 🙂

By the way, there are four games that every Warhammer 40,000 dev must play:

THE FOUR GAMES ETERNAL CRUSADE DEVS MUST-PLAY:

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine
Planetside 2
Borderlands
Mount & Blade: Warband

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GREETINGS, FELLOW CRUSADERS!

Welcome to the first edition of the Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade newsletter. I’m David Ghozland, Creative Director on the project.

First of all, I wanted to say that myself and the team here at Behaviour Interactive can’t thank you enough for your support. We knew there would be a big response to a new 40k MMO, but the passion and enthusiasm we’ve seen from the community has gone beyond our expectations.

We consider this to be YOUR game – the online 40k world that the fans have always wanted. To that end, we’ll be setting up a space where you can communicate with the devs and share your thoughts. Expect some news on this front very soon!

In the months to come, this newsletter will be a platform for expressing our specific intentions on this project and communicating the thought processes behind its development. For the inaugural edition, however, I’d like to say a bit more about the game itself.

A World At War

One of the first misconceptions we saw about the game based on the announcement was that because of the game’s genre, people thought that we were making a “traditional” MMORPG. If you looked out our “required playing” list for new team members*, you’d see that we’re planning on making something quite different indeed. We believe that the MMORPG genre is one with vast possibilities – just look at EvE Online or Firefall to see how far it can stretch.

In Eternal Crusade, we’re presenting a war on a planetary scale, but what you want to do in the game world is really up to you – there’s no traditional quest or leveling structure in the experience. When you drop down to the planet with your friends, you’ll have a great overview of the ongoing conflict due to both traditional UI elements and community channels. If you want to head to the front lines and fight where you’re needed most, you can drive over there and do so. Along the way you might meet players from the enemy faction skulking about, or maybe you’ll spot a tantalizing entrance to the world beneath the surface or a Tyranid infestation bursting out near one of your strongholds.

Or perhaps one of your squad-mates will get an idea to hit the enemy behind their lines at a particularly valuable strategic position. It’ll take some skill to get there unnoticed and you might be guaranteed to have the enemy’s attention once you’ve done the damage, but the game’s not going to stop you!

Part of what makes this possible is that MMO technology has come far enough to allow for true skill & precision-based gameplay and we’ve made a deliberate choice to make progression as horizontal as possible. A small amount of power gain is inevitable, but in a PvP-focused game it’s crucial that the vast majority of progression is about filling out your tactical possibilities and increasing specialization. Tabletop 40k has been a big inspiration in this regard, as you’ll see when we talk more about creating your character builds.

The other part is that we’re not creating a “content-heavy” world, but rather one driven by gameplay systems. There are unique spots to find, environmental lore bits and an ongoing narrative, but community efforts and Tyranid invasions drive the battle for the surface while the shapes and challenges of the underworld are generated procedurally. Our aim is to make an online world that never stops being able to surprise its players.

If this sounds good to you, stick around! We’ll keep talking about the details of the game design and other production updates right here, so if you know anyone else who might be interested in these topics, you can encourage them to register on the site.

Until next time, may the Emperor protect!

David Ghozland
Creative Director

TenTonHammer’s Best of E3 2013 Awards

This year, TTH provides awards in the following seven categories:

* Best Gameplay
* Best Respawn
* Biggest Surprise
* Most Innovative
* Best MOBA
* Most Anticipated
* Best of Show

Head over to their site to find out all about why each game won and what they were looking for in each category. The quick picks are below. However, I’m most surprised that EverQuest Next made the cut at all! I’m suddenly interested in the game for the first time.

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Best Gameplay

WildStar - Best Gameplay

The team at Carbine has proven that you don’t necessarily have to sink tons of precious marketing dollars behind a game at E3 to make an impact. While the flashing lights and cosplayers in tights can add a lot of show floor ambiance, at the end of the day it’s all about how fun your game is to play.

So what WildStar might not have had in a flashy booth display, it more than made up for with the best gameplay we were able to get our hands on at this year’s E3. Everything from the distinctive setting and art style, to the combat and sheer depth of gameplay options are worthy of high praise.

Best Respawn

FFXIV: A Realm Reborn - Best Respawn

Very few MMOs have managed to survive following a rocky launch, and fewer still have managed to successfully relaunch after the fact. Square Enix is attempting to do exactly that with Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, and from what we experienced at E3 2013 the game is certainly worthy of our Best Respawn award.

While the game still retains its distinctive look and feel, nearly every aspect of the game has been rebuilt into a tighter, faster, and more cohesive overall MMO experience. While they didn’t necessarily attempt to reinvent the MMO combat wheel, our experiences with the system displayed a clear refinement of what made more traditional hotbar combat so enticing in the first place.

Biggest Surprise

Warhammer 40K Eternal Crusade - Biggest Surprise

Warhammer 40k is one of those golden IPs that has the potential to translate into one killer MMO experience. Games Workshop clearly understands this potential, so when the originally planned game from THQ fell by the wayside, it was only a matter of time before a new developer would pick up the reigns.

A week before E3 this would have landed squarely in the realm of speculation, to say we were surprised by the event week announcement of the Eternal Crusade MMO would be a gross understatement. It clearly took gamers by surprise as well, with Warhammer 40k being one of the most talked about announcements to come out of the expo.

Most Innovative

Proper sandbox MMOs are only as good as the depth of the toolbox given to gamers, and from what we’ve seen of ArcheAge that box is deeper than any other sandbox MMO we’ve seen to date. The fact that ArcheAge comes packed with stellar graphics is just icing on the proveribial cake.

ArcheAge offers a true multiclassing system, the ability to turn your back on the major factions and live the pirate’s life, or simply live out your virutal days as a humble farmer or trader of goods. These things may sound fairly basic on the surface, but the ways in which you can interact with the world for each are both plentiful and inspiring. Expect big things from ArcheAge once it lands on North American shores.

Best MOBA

Infinite Crisis - Best MOBA

While Turbine may be known by many for their major contributions in the MMO space, we’ve been pleasantly surprised by our experiences with Infinite Crisis so far. Many aspects of the game hold true to what excites gamers about the genere in the first place, but Infinite Crisis also brings a lot of new gameplay hooks to the table. And you have to admit, the DC universe setting and characters offer a pretty killer framework to build upon.

Infinite Crisis is shaping up to be an excellent game, and will even be taking the full MLG eSports plunge. We expect big things from the game, and are sure that Infinite Crisis will bring some stiff new competition to the wide world of MOBAs.

Most Anticipated

Elder Scrolls Online - Most Anticipated

If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then by the time the cross-platform launch for ESO rolls around in the spring of 2014, it’s probably safe to say that legions of gamers will be enthralled by the next great chapter in Elder Scrolls history.

We’ve had numerous chances to play the game throughout the year so far, and our hands-on time at E3 only helped solidify Elder Scrolls Online as our most anticipated game following this year’s event. In the immortal words of Wesley Willis, ESO whips the llama’s ass by offering the best of both worlds: an awesome Elder Scrolls game with all the gameplay hooks that help make MMOs great.

Best of Show

EverQuest Next - Best of Show

We’ve been looking forward to EverQuest Next for quite some time now. Even though our expectations heading into our private viewing during E3 were high, EverQuest Next exceeded those expectations on all fronts.

While we are sworn to secrecy on exactly what we were shown, what we can say is that EverQuest Next was hands-down the best game we had the pleasure of seeing during E3 2013. Franchise fans and MMO gamers across the globe will be able to learn exactly why that’s the case on August 2nd during SOE Live when EQNext is given its grand unveiling.

Trust us when we say that you’ll want to mark that date on your calendar, and be prepared to bask in the warm glow of EverQuest Next in all its glory. In the meantime, kudos to the folks over at SOE for winning our Best of Show award; we’re as excited as you are to witness the impact EverQuest Next is surely going to have on gamers this August!

Original TenTonHammer Article

Warhammer 40k: Eternal Crusade – Exclusive Interview (TenTonHammer.com)

Wow! What a score for TenTonHammer! Warhammer 40k has been a long-awaited MMO and this exclusive interview gives us the inside scoop on how long conflicts can last (weeks to months!), that it’s being developed more as a sandbox MMO, and that Warhammer 40k will be FREE TO PLAY. Oh, by the way, you can combine your ships with others forming one massive ship (e.g. guild halls). Uh, hell yeah!

Head below the asterisks to read the original article.

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In a week full of surprise announcements, few have had MMO gamers more excited than the unexpected rebirth of the Warhammer 40k MMO. While the game wasn’t officially being shown at E3, Miguel Caron, Head of the Online Studio at Behaviour Interactive was awesome enough to sit down with Ten Ton Hammer to discuss the design concepts behind the game, expected to launch sometime in 2015.

Our discussion touched on a typical day in the life of a 40k player, the player run chain of command, playable races, and plenty of other interesting tidbits. As I listened to Miguel’s impassioned descriptions of the game, it became readily apparent that he’s just as excited about making the game as fans of the 40k universe are to play it.

WH4K Battle

Space Marines like to come in large numbers.

From a stormbird’s eye view, Warhammer 40k will be somewhat of a sandbox game along the lines of EVE Online, only given a bit more structure in terms of how large-scale conflicts play out. The scale of these conflicts is said to be absolutely massive, or about double that of any other multiplayer game currently on the market.

As Miguel explained, “In terms of technology, we’re currently aiming to double the amount of players on the same battlefield over the biggest game right now. I want to give the visceral feeling of what it is to be part of the war. And it’s not an easy war, but a very dirty war.”

Another thing Miguel was quick to point out is that gamers do tend to like having some form of win condition involved, no matter the type of game they happen to be playing. As such, conflicts in the Warhammer 40k MMO will last anywhere from two weeks up to a few months in duration.

“One of the things I hate in massive warfare games is that there is no winner; they never finish. So what we’re aiming for is campaigns that run from two weeks to three months. The reason why I’m saying from two weeks to three months is because I don’t know who’s going to win, and how fast they’re going to win.

There are four different races that you’ll be able to play. The first will be the Dark Angels from the Space Marines, the Iron Warriors for Chaos, and then the Eldar and the Orks. Then I control the Tyranid – they can’t really be controlled by players because it’s a hive mind.

For example, if I see a huge population of Space Marines playing in the US for a new campaign and they outnumber everyone else to the point they’re about to wipe out the entire planet within days, suddenly the Tyranid would be a lot more interested in them. We’re not going to try and counter that kind of imbalance too much, but enough to help campaigns last for those two weeks.”

A Day in the Life

A typical day in the life of your character might play out something like this. You log on and create your character. From there you load into the game, and will spawn on your ship, which serves both as a form of player housing and flying trophy case all in one. If you decide to permanently join a squad with other players, the group of you will even be able to combine your ships into one massive vessel. If that happens, you’ll each retain your own individual compartments, but will effectively have a guild hall for your squad, making it easier to connect and dive into the action together.

In the GRIM DARKNESS of the future, there is additional grim darkness.

With that squad, you might get voted by your friends to become squad leader. As such, you’ll have the ability to issue objectives for the rest of your squad, in effect creating content for them.

In terms of the overarching chain of command and how it fits into the game, Miguel explained, “When you start the game, the objectives that you have are not given by us, they’re given by other players. We have three ranks of hierarchy: squad leaders, chapter leaders, and then the war council for the whole race. There will be requirements you’ll need to meet to become a squad leader and above, but the players will vote for you to become one of them.

We have a whole system where players can nominate their friends as their squad leader. And then all the squad leaders will nominate someone to be chapter leader. Finally, all the chapter leaders will nominate and vote on who they want to be part of the war council for the whole race.

So when you start as a new player, the objectives that you’ll have will be coming from that war council, chapter leaders, and squad. If you decide to follow these objectives, you’ll gain an XP bonus. So you don’t have to do those objectives, only if you want to get the bonus XP. But the purpose of the game is to make sure your race wins; you’re there playing to win the war. But what this system does is it allows players to invent gameplay for their race.”

Welcome to the Machine

The game will be free-to-play, but if there were any two things that Miguel stressed above all others, it would be his insistence that the 40k MMO be the most immersive game it possibly can be, and that he does not want the game to have any pay to win elements.

An example of items players might be able to purchase that would help fulfill both of those needs would be additional, unique executions for each faction. When you fall on the battlefield, your squad or other members of your faction have the opportunity to revive you rather than immediately forcing you to respawn at another location. However, an enemy still has the opportunity to ‘execute’ you, Think of this almost like finishing downed players in Guild Wars 2 PvP.

Tyranid vs. Eldar

Eldar vs. Tyranids will be happening. The above screen is from Dawn of War II.

In the Warhammer 40k MMO, you’ll be able to do some standard executions, or there could be more interesting or elaborate executions you can purchase. These will be faction-specific, so imagine seeing an Ork Boy run up to a defeated Space Marine and dancing around a bit before sitting down on and squashing his head.

In terms of server structure, the game is going to be one massive game world. Different instances of specific areas might spawn, but Miguel is conscious of the need to keep players connected with this type of setup. The idea here is that you should be able to click on your friend or squad member’s name and it will instantly summon them to the same version of the world that you’re in.

Before we wrap things up (don’t worry, we have loads more info on the 40k MMO to follow soon!), another of the comments made by Miguel about what sets this game apart from other MMOs out there certainly struck a chord with me.

“The game has very simple gameplay, yet is also very, very deep. The premise is that there is only war; it’s total warfare. Now, there’s a lot of depth to it, but I’m not going to hold your hand and tell you a story. I’m not going to have you playing a Space Marine mining ore or things like that, because they don’t do that. You’re not going to care about delivering some package to Ms. Smith. This is a game about total warfare. It’s impossible to please everybody, but I can guarantee I will please the core fans amassed around the 40k universe.”

From what we’ve heard about the game so far, it’s definitely piqued our interest to say the least. Stay tuned for more details and info on the Warhammer 40k MMO from our discussions with Miguel Caron. In the meantime, be sure to let us know your thoughts about the announcement and info revealed about the game so far!

Original TenTonHammer.com Article

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