Category Archives: GUIDES

Star Trek Online bandage ICONIAN war story

There is a (very) short positions hint on Star Trek Online Star Trek Online website for the next update, which will put an end to the war Iconian story has continued since the game’s launch five years ago.

Called “Midnight,” the final chapter suggests Iconians owned and players union “, they are scrambling to incorporate technological advantages in the field of” forced into an “incredible decision”, which may violate the temporal prime directive.

There is not many people there, so why not use this opportunity to re-examine our interview STO Executive Producer Steve Ricossa next month about the game? Each click will give you free tribbles *!

Kill the head of STEAM

This was not new to Viryx. She had heard the story countless times. What was strange was that every historical account she read about this event was worded the same. On the Histories, Terokk’s Tyranny, Rukhmar’s Deliverance—these were documents supposedly written decades, even centuries, apart.

Yes it is. The title almost says it all. Smite, freedom from hi-play MOBA Suarez Studios, is now available on Steam. If you’ve been waiting until it releases steam play, for whatever reason, now, you have no reason not to play.

Existing players can kill the migration and do not need to play on Steam account. Install the game through Steam, log in with your existing account, you’re good to go. To celebrate, the final package will be on sale $ 19.99 God, until September 13.

“The time is right to hit Steam on,” Todd Harris, co-founder and chief operating officer, said high-resolution studio. “The platform has grown to include more high-quality free-to-play games, and most importantly, users find them a better way. Now is the best time yet to see what the kill is one thing, we are pleased to making it easier for global over 1.25 million active users who call home free steam diving. “

Medieval Mercs Review – Burn It, Burn It With Fire!

Digital Homicide has gained themselves quite the reputation in a relatively short amount of time. Most of this infamy comes from Jim Sterling, a familiar name in the word of videogames. Through his Squirty Play videos, which are first-impressions videos where he simply delves headlong into the game, a broad audience was introduced to Digital Homicide’s…eh, work. And there it would have ended normally, but instead a heated and lengthy beef has developed between the developer and Jim Sterling resulting in legal threats, childish insults and much more. Sterling has sometimes gone a bit far, in fairness, but mostly he’s done nothing but correctly point out numerous thing while Digital Homicide has shown nothing short of a disdainful, abusive attitude coupled with an unwillingness to take criticism from reviewers or gamers. If you have some spare time, go and read up on the chain of events. It’s pretty funny. Especially the interview Digital Homicide did with Jim Sterling. Go on, have a listen. I’ll wait for you.

After watching the Slaughtering Grounds video from Jim Sterling which tackled the developer’s first title and then following the burgeoning story from there I was curious. Just how bad could these games really be? So, thinking that most games have some redeeming feature or another if you look hard enough I purchased the latest Digital Homicide release, their fifth game since October of last year.

To say that Medieval Mercs made a bad first impression is like saying Hitler was just a little bit miffed during World War II. It’s technically accurate, I suppose, but hardly does situation justice. It began with the main menu which looked like it had been tacked together in about 5-seconds, an opinion all but confirmed by the strangely sci-fi looking menu toward the right hand side of the screen. I mentally shrugged and clicked the play button, whereupon it looked suspiciously like the game had crashed. It actually hadn’t, but instead of a loading screen the whole game just freezes until the level finally loads in. Following the complete lack of a tutorial and a HUD that takes up a quarter of the screen I died pretty quickly since I didn’t defend the gate, which isn’t surprising since the game never bothered to tell me that was the goal. After staring at the most confusing upgrade/crafting/character selection screen known to mankind I proceeded to press the play button again, whereupon the game promptly forgot to load the enemies, so I just stood in front of my gate with a rather confused expression on my face.

All of this took about 5-minutes. It would have been less time than that but the game doesn’t load very fast sometimes. Over the years I’ve lost my patience for badly put together games and developed a rather cynical outlook. To put it bluntly, I don’t have the damn time for it anymore. Still, this is what I do, so heaving a sigh that would make a grammar nazi proud I powered into the game. And after many hours of play my time was rewarded gloriously with the knowledge that I was right; I should have never wasted my time, Medieval Mercs is bloody awful. Jim Sterling was raise. Praise God for Jim Fucking Stirling, son.

The gist is that Medieval Mercs is a side-scroller where your goal is to hack away at the oncoming hordes of evil in order to stop them destroying the gate you’re guarding, a gate to a village full of innocent people whose life expectancy will go down sharply if you fail. Except it doesn’t, instead failing to protect the people just damages your reputation a bit. To achieve your goal you simply swipe madly at the poorly designed and animated monsters trundling toward you, occasionally leaping and using special abilities which are mapped to the number keys, making them a little akward to reach mid-combat, and annoyingly there’s no way to remap them in-game, either. At least you can remap them from the Unity launcher.

The core of the game is combat, then, a fast-paced hack and slash fest, and that means it needs to feel responsive and accurate. Shame it’s neither of those things. The problems begin with the simple act of movement; usually a character moves when the correct button is held down, and stops when it’s released. Medieval Mercs, though, opts for something different; Here you tap the left or right movement key and the character will proceed to amble about two inches across the screen, whether you want him to move that far or not. The end result is always coming up a little short of the enemy or overshooting them completely, thus combat involves a lot of running backwards and forwards while hammering away at the attack key. Graceful it is not. Some variety is attempted by the inclusion of special abilities that power up as you land regular blows, but they all look and feel incredibly lackluster. Along the top of the screen you can purchase an instant health refill, a power boost and even power-up that instantly kills every deployed monster, all by spending coins earned by defeating certain creatures. It’s an interesting addition, but feels sort of tacked on On top of that we’ve got some dodgy hitboxes and zero sense of impact when striking enemies, leaving the combat feeling….well, crap. There’s no redeeming aspect to the fighting. The enemies are poor animated and drab to look at and there’s no finesse in the fighting, and awkward movement and imprecise hitboxes rob the game of even being a decent, dumb hack and slasher.

The interface is a jumbled mess that obviously had no thought put into its design, although design may be too lenient a term. The bottom of the screen is a deluge of information, which would at least be forgivable if most of it was actually needed. Your basic stats are irrelevant in the middle of defending the gate, as is the inventory since you can’t craft items during a mission and don’t have time to ever glance at it. Really, the only things you need are the map, which could have nicely placed along the top of the screen and elongated so you can get a better idea of where the enemies are coming from, the bar which indicates when your abilities are ready and your health. That’s it. Meanwhile an obvious piece of information in the form of how much damage the gate can take is missing entirely. I was left unsure whether I could go further afield to deal with enemies in case the gate could only take a single blow. Perhaps this was a design choice made to create a sense of tension, but if so it fails to do that and simply forces the player to stand next to the gate at all times. The screen between missions is far, far worse, a cacophony that attempts to jam the crafting screen, equipment screen, stat screen, character selection and more into a single wall of information.

The crafting system is basic fare, but at least its functional. Using diagrams and materials collected from bosses that appear you can toss together some new equipment for your chosen merc. Speaking of which there’s a total of three mercenaries to pick from, almost hinting at some sort of co-op mode which doesn’t exist. Oddly two of the mercs are locked until you hit the requisite level, leaving you to start with the angry little dwarf rather than as the wizard or the bow-wielding rogue. Crafted equipment sadly does not alter the aesthetic of your character, and actually getting it equipped can be a bit fiddly as you have to right-click on the item (something else the game never bothers to mention) and then hit the tiny equip button which only occasionally seems to want to work. Don’t worry, though, because the destroy item button just below it works just fine.

Meanwhile there were several more instances of enemies failing to actually turn up as per my initial five minutes with the game, leaving me standing gormlessly in front of the village gate. This problem is made even worse by the fact that there’s no way to quit back to the main menu during a level, instead you can only opt to exit the game entirely, sending you back to the Windows desktop (assuming you’re using Windows) with a determination to find some way of setting fire to a digital game so that you never have to look at it again. This issue occured three times in the span of a thirty-minute play session with the game. Other problems included the help menu not fitting on the screen correctly, and text failing to show up.

It’s ugly, too. The game suggests that you’ll be defending multiple villages throughout your career as a mercenary but you’ll only ever be treated to the same overly dark, drab, dull background time and time again. I found myself idly wondering if it actually was just the same village being pillaged repeatedly by a collection of random enemies too stupid to figure it out. Oh, yeah, the enemies. It’s a motley collection of foes, to be sure, sticking together regular human looking warriors with ogres, giant wolves and flying…uh, things that the developer didn’t even bother to animate properly judging by the way they actually look like they’re standing on the ground mid-flight. And like the background it’s too dark, so everything has a murky look, which may be for the best, really.

The music…well, it’s there. The main menu music is headache inducing crap, but the rest of it is serviceable, if incredibly limited.

Look, a lot of stuff can be forgiven with indie games. Poor graphics, bad sound, terrible voice acting, short run times and more are all forgivable sins because they often come down to a simple lack of funds. These are forgivable because indie games can often provide amazing writing, fantastic art styles or unique gameplay mechanics, aspects of the game that aren’t quite so constrained by budget but rather are a direct result of the developer’s talent. But Medieval Mercs doesn’t have any of that. There’s no story to enjoy, the art-style is a jumble of Unity store assets, by the look of it, that have been put together with no thought for the overall look of the game, and the gameplay is just terrible.

The good news is that it’s incredibly cheap. Now, price doesn’t affect my final verdict on a game. It never has, because what is viewed as good value for money is entirely personal, so I tend to simply try to figure out if it’s a good game or a bad game, and let you, dear reader, if the price seems reasonable. But the low price-tag of about £2 had to be mentioned, because at least if you have some morbid sense of curiosity to experience this game, almost as a perfect lesson in what not to do, then it won’t break the bank. For the cost of a sandwich from the local shop you can pick this up on Steam.

Don’t even bother, though, it’s as simple as that. Medieval Mercs may cost just £2 or so, but it’s still a travesty of a game from start to finish, and if for whatever reason you find it on your computer and, God forbid, you can’t get a refund you must rip out your hard-drive and set fire to it. I don’t care what personal documents and incriminating photos are stored on the drive, BURN IT WITH FIRE!

 

SMITE Launches on Xbox One on August 19

After a long period of beta test at Xbox One platform, Hi-Rez’s popular MOBA title SMITE is finally ready to officially launch on Xbox One on August 19, 2015.

To encourge players to play on Xbox One, Hi-Rez allows players to merge their PC account with Xbox One account until August 31st. There’s also a Xbox Founder’s Pack available for purchase, which contains all the current gods, all future gods, and two unique skins. If you haven’t done that, hurry up because both of the two options will disappear for good after August 31, 2015.

For more information on the account merging process and frequently asked questions, visit the SMITE Xbox portal.

 

Star Wars Battlefront Details Supremacy, the Largest Ground PvP Mode in the Game

Star Wars Battlefront is designed as a multiplayer game at the first place to entertain MMO gamers, online shooting fans, and competitive FPS gamers. DICE has revealed details of the Supremacy PvP mode which pits two teams of players fight for the control of the majority of 5 points scattered across the map within 10 minutes. It’s worth mentioning that Supremacy is the largest fighting ground the game has to offer.
Each team starts the match controlling two of these control points, initially fighting for control of the fifth one in the center. After this is determined, the control points need to be claimed in a set order. This means the action will be taking place on two control points at a time – one for each team.

If you’re the defending type, Supremacy will guarantee many enemies assaulting your control point. If you’re an attacking player, you’ll surely find them trying to defend their control point from capture, ensuring constant frontline action.

Almost all vehicles in Star Wars Battlefront will take part in the fight, so keep an eye on the sky for TIE fighters and X-wings soaring through the sky to assist the quest for supremacy at each location. Heroes and Villains will also join the fight, and their unique abilities will help both sides in different ways.

 

WITH A CRYING AND A LAUGHING EYE: A LOOK AT GOTYS OF 2013 AND MMOS FOR 2014

It’s that time of the year and we are all horribly stressed. Everyone demands things from us at work and they only just remembered, there are trips to plan and if you are very unlucky, a ton of last minute Christmas presents to buy for your more-or-less loved ones. I am looking at my Steam wish list and wonder what to gift myself. It’s quiet right now, outside the world of consoles.

Looking back on a year of gaming, 2013 was as MMO-starved as initially expected. Even Wildstar took a pass at a well-timed launch, eager to make Q2 of 2014 even more unmanageable. Only TESO has finally come forth and snatched the magic date of 04.04.2014, fingers crossed! We shall see – such are the words of wise (and burnt) MMO veterans. I gave up on Guild Wars 2 this summer after the Bazaar of the Four(thousand) Achievements event and I am still stuck at the gates of Moria in LOTRO (edro, edro!). Other than that, I’ve had a look at TERA and found it to be very beautiful and just as flawed. I played some FFXIV:ARR too, only to forget about it. Such was my year of MMORPGs.

In lieu of many new MMO stories to tell, I am excited for a new year packed with MMO launches and Wildstar isn’t even among them. Here go my most-anticipated MMOs of 2014:

1) The Elder Scrolls Online
While the game looks far from perfect depending on what gameplay video you watch on youtube, it shows all the flaws (ugly character models, clunky UI) of Skyrim – game of games. All things considered, I choose to trust those (as I have no choice here in the EU where no beta keys have been released) who have named it a true Skyrim experience and put my money on TESO for 2014. You can laugh and point fingers when the time comes as I’m sure you will. (I would).

2) Everquest Next & Landmark
Still unsure about how Landmark is going to work and play into EQN, I look forward to some of the design progress SOE intends to take up from GW2. Rallying Calls sound hot and the Adventurer Class finds me mildly excited. Not exactly boundless euphoria (the cartoony graphics are still a major turn-off) but I think we can expect a polished package from SOE, with some unique twists as usual. And if not, well it’s all free to play, right?

3) Archage
Another game to be published by Trion, Archage piqued my curiosity although I can’t quite say why. Maybe it’s because the entire character customization and backgrounds look like ArenaNet had some weekends to spare, or because the game is supposedly this awesome sandbox with 120 classes and non-instanced housing. I don’t care for naval combat but I admit sending other players to prison sounds appealing.

4) Skyforge
Nobody knows much about Skyforge, the fact aside that Team Allods and Obsidian Entertainment (Neverwinter Nights 2) have decided to join forces in developing a new MMO. While they didn’t bother releasing any information in English so far and the only existing “trailer” is a lot of repetitive blah in vibrant colors, I have lots of Allods love to give to this project. All that said, that 2014 launch is highly dubious.

MMOs aside, I look forward to The Witcher 3 (SO MUCH!), Dragon Age Inquisition, Child of Light and Tom Clancy’s: The Division. That last one looks like there might be some splendid coop play to be had and I need to compensate for Destiny not launching on PC.

Outside the world of MMOs, 2013 has been a fantastic year for indie gaming. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ve had the greatest fun with smaller titles this year, taking me completely aback and delivering the sort of experiences many AAA-games can only dream of. I’ve also been late to some parties in 2013 which is why not all of my personal GOTYs were actually released this year. Sue me.

1) Don’t Starve
This quirky, dark-humored and deeply complex rogue-like, with its Burton-esque flair and stellar soundtrack, is undoubtedly one of the craziest bangs for the buck of 2013. DS is a polished gem of hilarious proportions and everyone should get it! Nuff said.

2) Dust: An Elysian Tail
My great love of 2013, Dust is every bit the work of love of its tireless creator. It’s a beautiful game packed with retro and indie homage, intuitive and fun combat, deep story and loveable characters, secrets to hunt down (spoiler!) and a stunning soundtrack, making for an easy 12+ hours of gameplay at a ridiculous price. Not enough good things can be said about Dust: AET, indeed.

3) Bioshock Infinite
While much can be debated on behalf of BI’s story, there can be no doubt that it ranks among the greatest AAA-experiences of 2013. Stunning visuals, complex narrative and intriguing characters have made this rail shooter a must-play in my books (and I don’t shoot that often).

4) The Witcher 2
Rather late than never, I am currently still playing the Witcher 2 and have completely fallen in love with its characters and immersive way of story-telling. People have complained about the frequent cut scenes but you’ll hear no complaints from me. The Witcher 2 features some of the best dialogue I’ve ever seen in an RPG, a carefree way of making choices and beautiful, atmospheric settings (that to be fair, could be more completely accessible). Oh, and dragons!

5) LOTRO (my MMO saving grace!)
Impossibly late to this one, I started playing LOTRO between December 2012 and January 2013 and have been paying subscriptions ever since. Even if I’m complaining about the experience grind before Moria, LOTRO is probably among the Top 3 MMORPGs I have ever played, with hands down the most immersive MMO world I ever had the privilege to travel. Much of this is thanks to things like perfect scale and sound effects which we have yet to see in other games. Also: player music!

Looking back, I almost feel a little sad parting with 2013 now but nothing that a great new MMO can’t fix. Beware 2014, such weight already lieth on thy shoulders! Do we dare to unleash our expectations – or should we play it safe, for now?

P.S. I’ve played ‘Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons’ few days after writing this article and it is officially added to my GOTYs of 2013!

WILDSTAR AIN’T WOW – WILDSTAR IS HEAVY METAL

Suddenly everything is moving really fast. ESO is about to launch, Blizzard hints at launch dates and pre-orders, Wildstar takes another day to get real. And somewhere in between all of this, people are getting bored of Landmark’s alpha. Looks like this year of new MMOs is finally happening!

Sooo, Wildstar. I’ve played in the permanent beta since this January, not for any particular fandom but gloomy frustration over ESO. Clearly, going into this second MMO without much anticipation has helped a lot. I like Wildstar; not the way I love LOTRO or Guild Wars 2 but enough to pre-order come this March 19th. Smart of Carbine to move fast and set their launch well ahead of WoW – not because the two are one and the same but because WoW is always competition. To anybody.

That of course leads me to where I want to go with this post: how Wildstar doesn’t feel like WoW when you’re playing. The internet is obsessed with comparing the two for obvious reasons, the cartoony graphics and well, the classic approach. Yet probably 70% or more of all MMOs out there are themeparks with a holy trinity. If that’s the similarity you’re judging things by then Wildstar isn’t any more a WoW clone than Final Fantasy XI – a game that launched 2 years prior to World of Obsessioncraft. But hey, I too am guilty of early comparisons and Carbine weren’t exactly shy to point out their target audience in the past, either.

Contrary to the popular notion Wildstar isn’t WoW, more importantly does not feel like WoW. Much rather I would say this: Wildstar is heavy metal.

From the get-go, Wildstar struck me as its very own thing. The overall feel and very consistent design concept seem well-known and yet aren’t, not after taking a closer look and certainly not within an MMO context anyway. If I had to describe the visuals to anyone, I would go with Brutal Legend meets Borderlands 2. That level-up animation still paints a wide grin on my face. This game is outspoken and slangy in its humor and despite the candy colors, it also has grimness and maturity to it (candy-color me impressed!). There’s the Firefly-like thematic fusion of a cyber-metal-punk wild west adventure…with pink bunnies.

The cartoony graphics of Allods mimic WoW in a way that Wildstar never does; more stylized, more artsy and whimsical are the settings of the Nexus and this painter’s brush is a different brush entirely. The world expands vertically as much as horizontally so the player character gets dwarfed more easily; a counter-immersive effect I’ve referred to (and complain about) as the goldilock’s experience before. Anyway, as a sucker for authentic and mature in MMOs it took me a good while to get used to the hyper-stylized graphics; staring at the grass in Wildstar for too long requires a willingness to suspend disbelief –

But let’s rewind things a little and start at the beginning: the character customization. Wildstar offers as many options as vanilla Warcraft in terms of body and height variety which means well, none at all. That’s quite the flaw in 2014. At the same time, we are seeing some of the most exciting, accomplished and refreshing race design since Allods and maybe Tera. Boring and uninspired humans with weird hairdos aside, some of the Draken, Mordesh, Granok and Chua models are simply to die for.

Once you leave character customization, Wildstar is quick to introduce players to combat with their very own tunnel scenario. Yeah, they do that. Once again, there’s much to get used to here and it’s safe to say the doubly active telegraph combat couldn’t be more unlike WoW even if Carbine are aiming for the same strategic depth and role-based play with their group content. In the same vein, their restricted skillset and talent system strike me as modern and light-weight in a way WoW is only just learning to be, simplifying things with every new expansion.

I could go on from here and point out how the (sticky) camera in Wildstar works differently which gave me pause. There’s no insta-turn and quick 90° cutting corners which some players will clearly miss for the first few hours even if it feels natural after a while.

Or I could describe the chaotic refugee city of Thayd that feels nothing like any Warcraft city I’ve ever been to. If I had to name something about Wildstar that really let me down it would be questing which, despite different path options, is very kill ten rats. In this there’s no letting off Carbine.

So many aspects in MMOs make for that complex, intangible quality that we call “overall feel” and if nothing else, you should give Wildstar the benefit of the doubt as long as you haven’t played it. The Nexus is an odd place, alien yet familiar – not entirely new but new enough, a little more grownup than expected and every bit as polished as anyone could hope for. There will be things to love and things to hate but dismissing this new title over being a second World of Warcraft because cartoony looks, well that would be wrong entirely. Wildstar is a fresh interpretation of a classic, an ambitious and deep MMO world with an unmistakeable, stubborn and outspoken style. It doesn’t need to copy WoW any more than any of the other upcoming games do; I believe we can move on from this notion already.

Ryu And Roy Join Smash Bros. Today, New Stages Will Also Be Arriving

After only being leaked a day or two ago, Ryu and Roy are already joining the cast of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS. Today, at 8 AM PT, Ryu and Roy will be available for purchase in both versions of the game! According to the official Nintendo of America Twitter account, you will be able to perform traditional Street Fighter inputs to increase the power of Ryu’s attacks. Alongside the announcement comes several new stages, including Kirby’s Dream Land from the original Super Smash Bros. on Nintendo , a stage based on Miiverse posts from “character specific communities”, and Suzaku Castle from Street Fighter.

Another piece of Super Smash Bros. news is that a new Tourney mode will be releasing in August that will allow players to play “Elimination style” or with a “point system”. Players who own the Wii U version of the game are also in luck, because they will be able to upload replays of their matches to Youtube in the coming future. Finally, after downloading today’s update players will be able to purchase a costume for their Mii based on Heihachi from the popular fighting game series “Tekken”, this costume will be paid DLC.

 

Is the Star Wars: The Old Republic 12X XP Boost a Good Idea?

 

One of the marks of success that a player has in an online rpg is the amount of experience that they earn. Most mmos use the tried-and-true method of characters gaining levels by acquiring the requisite amount of xp to do so. This is a hallmark carried over from the pen-and-paper roleplaying games that had a huge influence upon the development of online games. The normal case is that the more difficult the quest undertaken, the more xp that is awarded to the player. As such, a player will usually earn a great deal more xp from defeating a powerful lord in a game as opposed to just simply gathering ten resources. Star Wars: The Old Republic is bringing back their 12x xp boost on May 4th, and the reaction has been pretty positive. The re-introduction of this boost does lead us to ask a question. Is the Star Wars: The Old Republic 12xp boost a good idea?

This is not the first time that the Star Wars: The Old Republic 12x xp boost has made an appearance in the game. It was initially offered to those that had pre-ordered the Shadow of Revan expansion for $19.99 late last year. Now the boost is back with similar conditions. The most important feature of the boost is that only grants the xp bonus for class quests, not for any side quests or PvP matches. The other consideration that is important now is that the boost will only be available to those that subscribe to the game, which currently runs for $14.99 a month. So is the SWTOR xp boost a good idea?

The answer to that question is mixed, depending upon how you look upon the matter. Let’s look at the positive aspects of the SWTOR 12x xp boost. The most obvious benefit is that the player is gaining xp at a hugely accelerated rate. The thought of a single mission now taking the place of an even dozen is a dizzying prospect for those that want to level quickly and reach the endgame content as the use of this xp boost will greatly cut down on the grinding needed to level a character within the mmorpg. I do like that it does pertain to class quests as it is those quests that are the strongest feature in the game. The strength of BioWare is in telling a great story, and the individual class storylines are tremendously entertaining. The fact that there’s some give and take throughout them (will you go Light, Dark, or somewhere in between?) provide the player with quite a few choices as they progress through the game.

The use of the Star Wars: The Old Republic 12x xp boost allows the player to focus mostly on the class quests to level and skip most of the filler missions that are out there. This is incredibly handy for those that are leveling alts. While a good number of the filler quests are well designed, the truth is that most of them are lacking when compared to the main class quests. The first time I played through the game, I had to scavenge to find and complete every filler quest that I could to gain the necessary levels in order to reach the next planet. As I utterly despised the game’s PvP and did not play it, my xp options were limited. Now a player doesn’t have to worry about that too much as the boost should help provide them the majority of the experience needed to level. While the player will likely still have to undertake some filler quests, the number needed will be drastically reduced.

There are several negatives to the SWTOR xp boost though. The first is that we do not know how long it’ll be around. In the livestream where the developers announced the return of the boost, there was no chatter on when it would end. My guess is that it’ll become a permanent feature of the game because….in order to gain the use of the 12x xp boost, you have to be a subscriber to the mmo. Yep, free-to-play gamers are left out in the bitter cold of Hoth when it comes to extra xp coming their way. If a player is willing to pony up the requisite fifteen bucks a month, they can quickly level their characters by mainly focusing on the class quests. Some people may gripe over this stipulation, but it truly doesn’t bother me as I can’t begrudge the game for giving someone a massive xp boost if they’re willing to pay a subscription fee.

On the whole, I do think that the Star Wars: The Old Republic 12x xp boost is a good idea. It provides an incentive for players to subscribe to the game, which generates revenue for BioWare and keeps the game healthy. It allows players to level up their alts a great deal more quickly by cutting out most of the fluff quests that a player normally has to take. Of course, if you’re unwilling to subscribe to the game, then you’re out of luck. Yet there’s no real negative impact to the f2p gamer. Players who don’t sub to the game can still buy xp boosters from the cartel market if they choose to do so.

Why We’re Hyped about Eternal Kingdoms in Crowfall

Online gamers have been complaining for years that all mmo games are essentially the same. While a new game will tout itself as innovative and brimming with cutting-edge features, the reality is that it’s usually just a retread of the standard mmo formula that we’ve become accustomed to. The developers of Crowfall are looking to change this pattern, and their developing mmo truly does have some unique and innovative features. One of those features that was recently detailed was the game’s version of player housing called Eternal Kingdoms. Let’s delve into the reasons why we’re hyped about Eternal Kingdoms in Crowfall.

To begin, I’ve always been a huge proponent of player housing in any mmo game. A player should have some stake in the virtual world that they’re adventuring in, and having a home also helps immerse them into that world. My preference is that the player housing have some functionality associated with it, such as crafting or extra storage, but I can live with just purely cosmetic housing as long as the player can decorate and change the housing to suit their taste. Every player in Crowfall will get their own Eternal Kingdom, but what they can do with it is astounding.

One thing that sets Crowfall Eternal Kingdoms apart from your normal player housing is scale. An Eternal Kingdom is not just a simple plot of land with a home sitting on it; it’s an actual world in of itself. Players can adventure within their kingdoms, fighting monsters and gathering resources, but the best resources will only be found in Campaign Worlds. Initially, the player’s realm is a wilderness that cannot be used, but that changes when the player buys parcels and places them, effectively terraforming the land. Overall, there are two types of parcels: stronghold and resource. Strongholds are structures that act as housing and marketplace areas, but they also include natural elements like rivers and trees. Resource parcels benefit the player’s realm in some manner, such as increasing the number of buildings allowed or reducing the maintenance costs. The game’s placement tool allows the player to place these parcels, but the important thing to remember is that such placement is not permanent. If the player later needs to move things around, they have the ability to do so. I love that a player isn’t locked into a poor choice made long ago that may have a huge impact upon their current or future building plans.

This flexibility of Crowfall Eternal Kingdoms extends to upgrading or replacing parcels. Strongholds come in a variety of types (keep, castle, fortress, etc.), and each of those types have a small, medium, and large version. A player can upgrade a small keep to a medium or large keep, and the size needed on the realm’s map stays the same. A player won’t have to move things around to accommodate a better version of a structure. What is even better, and one of the main Eternal Kingdoms features that I love, is that the player can trade-in their stronghold parcel for full credit to buy even larger strongholds. This means that if you sunk a ton of resources into building a kick-ass keep but then realize you need to upgrade to a castle, you don’t lose what you’ve already poured into your keep. You can trade in your keep and use the proceeds to help purchase the castle. This shows that the online rpg is not about gouging players for every last nickel and dime, and such a system fosters players to continue building and upgrading.

Another one of the important Crowfall Eternal Kingdoms features is that a player can allow other players to control lots in their personal realm. A player is essentially the monarch of their world, and they can designate other players as lords who can control specific sections of the monarch’s Eternal Kingdom. The amount of subdivision used in this system can go pretty deep. Another great aspect is that players can have holdings on multiple Eternal Kingdoms. This reminds me of the Middle Ages (and later times) where a noble family would have their primary holding in one location, let’s say Wales, but could control additional lands in England, Scotland, France, and Germany. This system allows players to create an intricate web of alliances and mercantile interests that should really power the in-game economy as well as having a tremendous impact upon in-game politics.

Finally, there are two more reasons why we’re hyped about the Crowfall Eternal Kingdoms. The first is that a player does not lose their parcels. Suppose you had a parcel that contained a storefront in some other player’s realm, and he decides to kick you out. The good news is that you don’t lose the parcel that you have there as it’s packed up and stored until you place it somewhere else. This is a truly gamer-friendly feature, and one that is incredibly important. This will save a great deal of heartache if the monarch of some world that you have holdings in suddenly stops playing. All that hard work into securing that parcel isn’t lost as you’ll get to keep it. The last Eternal Kingdoms feature that we love is that all of these systems associated with these player realms is totally optional. A player can choose to build up their own Eternal Kingdoms, build in other players’ realms, or ignore the use of Eternal Kingdoms entirely. It’s totally up to the player to take advantage of this system or not. How about that? Having an actual choice within an mmorpg.

As you can see, there are quite a few Crowfall Eternal Kingdoms features that have us hyped for the system. Games should always have robust player housing, and this mmo takes that to heart (and then some!). Players can build up their own realm as they see fit and make the decision to allow others to come in and build as well. A player’s Eternal Kingdom can be made public (which means that anyone can enter, fostering trade and social interaction) or left private so that only chosen friends can come and visit. The entire system is player-friendly as gamers can change their minds and move things around as well as being able to trade-in stronghold parcels to gain better ones. Finally, if a player is evicted from some other player’s Eternal Kingdom, any parcel that they had there is not lost but only stored until the player places it somewhere else. It’s for these reasons that the Crowfall Eternal Kingdoms is likely to become the model for player housing that other mmos will be judged against.