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PAX East 2012: Foretelling the Future of Tribes: Ascend with Todd Harris

10 April 2012 | 2 Comments » | LHStaff

Hi-Rez Studios takes PAX East 2012 by storm just days ahead of the release of Tribes: Ascend. Expanding upon previous run ins, iTZKooPA catches up with the fast-paced COO, Todd Harris, of the fast-paced shooter to chat about the title’s future.

The pair discuss everything from eSports aspirations, monetization, future content and spreadsheets. Yes, Hi-Rez Studios is well versed in the science of spreadsheets and data collection. Join us for all the boring details.

DDO: Menace of the Underdark PAX East Interview

8 April 2012 | No Comments » | LHStaff

The first Dungeons & Dragons Online expansion, Menance of the Underdark, is getting ready for its June 25th release and we were able to talk with Executive Producer, Fernando Paiz, at Pax East 2012 about it.

Menance of the Underdark is the games largest content update thus far and will send players into the Forgotten Realms where they’ll have to face the Queen of the Spiders, Lolth. It also introduces the new Druid class and will increase the level cap to 25 by introducing Epic Levels and Epic Destinies.

With this expansion, DDO will be stepping away from instances and steering more towards creating an open world, “We stopped short of making the world a full open world, but what we did was build it in a way you can see off in the distance the places that you’re going to and walk from place to place“,  Mr. Paiz stated.

Players will also be able to get their hands on the expansion next month when the game launches into closed beta testing.

Check our the full DDO: Menance of the Underdark Pax East interview below.

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Exclusive RaiderZ Interview: Monsters, Challenge & Dungeons

22 March 2012 | No Comments » | LHStaff

Is that enough booty for you?

LoreHound: First of all, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for us! We’re new to the game so we’ll start with the basics. Care to start by telling us about you? Who are you and what do you do? And of course, what’s your favorite monster?

Junhyung Kim: Hi, my name is Junhyung Kim and I’m the Game Producer for RaiderZ.

I love all of the Epic Monsters in RaiderZ since each monster has very different and complex attack patterns. If I had to choose one favorite, though, I would choose the “Goblin Golem”. The Goblin Golem can be found in Rengot Village. He is an incredibly challenging foe since he can smash, pounce, kick, grab and throw players! If you’re not careful, you might lose a lot of HP!

LH: One of the things that caught my eye is the focus on community. There is obviously a great deal of focus on grouping in this game – RaiderZ‘s tagline itself is a command to band together. I think this is a great thing, but is there anything for the solo player? Can I still progress if I’m on my own?

JK: Players will be able to progress through most of the game on their own. However, epic monsters will pose a challenge to those who choose to solo. It is advised that players form groups in order to defeat these Epic Monsters.

LH: Is RaiderZ driven more by character or player skill? Could completely new players join up with an experienced group immediately if they’re good enough, or should they spend time leveling skills and acquiring gear first?

JK: RaiderZ is a challenging game and success relies heavily on players’ skills. However, having good equipment will make progressing through the game much easier. As players naturally progress through each different map, they will be able to acquire materials to craft stronger weapons and armor relative to their levels. While upgrading to new gear is beneficial, it is not necessary.

LH: “Build a custom character” is like music to my ears. How will this affect group dynamics? Could a group of players all with primary tank specs take out an epic monster, or will a more balanced party be needed?

JK: Slaying Epic Monsters in RaiderZ is no easy feat! Each monster has its own random attack pattern, which includes dangerous grapples and devastating AoE attacks. Having a balanced team will be very beneficial since each player will be able to fill a certain role in these Epic Monster fights.

Hit the jump for the rest of the interview with Junhyung Kim.

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MMOCrunch is Moving!

3 February 2012 | 8 Comments » | LHStaff

We have some exciting news for you today; no Blizzard didn’t announce the released date for Diablo 3 and no, neither did ArenaNet for GW2. MMOCrunch is moving to LoreHound.com!

It’s actually a reunion of sorts as the owner of LoreHound was one of our original staff writers here, iTZKooPA.  We are once again combining forces to form Voltron…I mean a new and improved LoreHound.com!

This will be our last update here on MMOCrunch and we will be shutting the site down permanently sometime early next week once LoreHound has been updated. So I invite all our readers to come over to LoreHound to continue to read our ramblings.

SWTOR…and I’m Done (Sort of Review)

2 February 2012 | 11 Comments » | LHStaff

I was planning on writing a full review for SWTOR, but Pherephassa did such a great write-up on her SWTOR reivew, that I figured I’d skip mine and get straight to my likes and gripes. I’ll give you a hint, it’s going to be mostly gripes.

Undoubtedly the best part of game is the journey to endgame, after all this is what BioWare does best. Having said that, as a MMORPG player I found myself beginning to skip dialog as early as the mid teen levels and before I hit level 30 I was skipping it all with the exception of the main storyline. Even that I began to partial skip or you can say fast forward by the time I hit the early 40′s.  It’s not that I didn’t find it interesting, I just wanted to get on with things.

As a player who has never seriously crafted before, I actually enjoyed the crafting system in SWTOR. I didn’t have to waste my time grinding it out looking for resources or spending hours killing the same mobs, however while I enjoyed the mechanic of crafting, the entire system is broken since only a few professions can actually make any money.

For one, crafting is way to easy and fast. One of the main reasons I never pursue crafting is because of how much time it takes to master. In SWTOR I hit the max in all three of my crew skills within 3 weeks without really trying. Now nothing is wrong with the system itself, they just need to make the crafting time much much longer. While it took me 3 weeks to master all my crew skills, if you take the actual crafting time, it was probably only 3-4 days.  It should take at least 1 month of “crew skill time” to master a skill.

Secondly, they need to make craftable items better, not the best, but close. There should only be a handful of items that are better then the best crafted items and those items should be harder to get. Right now you can spend a few days in PvP or grinding flashpoints and obtain some of the best gear out there making crafted gear worthless.

Moving on to PvP which we all know is broken across the board, from open PvP to the PvP planet Illum to Warzones, it’s a mess. While Warzones recently got a lot better with the separation of level 50 characters, they still need to introduce at least one more bracket to divide 1-49. Open PvP and Illum need a full overhaul to become worth while since  currently there’s zero reason to participate in open PvP and nearly none on Illum as you can obtain the same rewards from warzones at an unmatched rate.

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EA Q3 FY12 Earnings Call – SWTOR Sells Over 2 Million Units

1 February 2012 | No Comments » | LHStaff

The good thing about being a public company is that they have to release their subscription and sales numbers, so while we can only guess how many subscribers games like RIFT and LOTRO have, we only have to wait for a quarterly report for Star Wars: The Old Republic.

It seems SWTOR did better than EA expected, the numbers are below then some interesting Q&As during the conference call.

  • 2,000,000+ copies sold – 40% sold through Origin
  • 1,700,000+ active subscribers – 1 million concurrent

Q: Are these 1.7 subscribers paying?
A: Active subscribers means anyone paying or in their trial period. Most of those 1.7m are paying at this point

Q: You’ve previously said you need about a half million subscribers to be profitable, is that still the case?
A: At 500,000 subscribers, we’d break even. At a million, we’d be making a profit but nothing worth writing home about. As it scales up from there, we’re talking about a nice profit. At this point with the successful launch, we can take the worst case scenarios off the table.

With well over a million pre-orders, I have to say these numbers are not at all surprising. What will be interesting to see is which direction these numbers go next quarter and how many players they will retain. Then I’ll have something to write about.

TERA Pre-Orders Now Open + Beta Schedule

1 February 2012 | No Comments » | LHStaff

En Masse Entertainment has opened up pre-order sales on their website today for their upcoming MMORPG TERA, giving players three options to choose from, Standard $49.99, Collectors Editions Digital $59.99 and Collector’s Edition $69.99. Regardless of which you you select you’ll have access to all closed beta tests as well as a three day head start. The full beta schedule is below.

  • Closed Beta Test 1: February 10 – 12
  • Closed Beta Test 2: February 24 – 26
  • Closed Beta Test 3: March 9 – 11
  • Closed Beta Test 4: March 23 – 25
  • Closed Beta Test 5: April 6 – 8
  • Open Beta Test: April 19 – 22
  • Head Start: April 28 – May 1

Players who pre-order will also received in-game items to help them get started, you can check out the details below.  I’m excited!  :)

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TSW: The Secret War is Coming "Very Soon"

1 February 2012 | No Comments » | LHStaff

Remember The Secret World beta registration? The strange Facebook application The Secret War that would supposedly grant the coveted closed beta access? That same one that failed to launch, and then after a big community fuss, seemingly vanished without further word? A recent post from Tarib, the senior community manager indicates that they are still hard at work on this fabled minigame.

“The plan is to get The Secret War into the next phase and fire it up fully. We sometimes felt ourselves a bit like some hidden society tried to prevent us from launching it but the way it currently looks we are getting really close now. We hope to have more information and details on this very soon.”

I’ll admit I have my doubts, but I am hoping so! I’ve been watching this game for years now, it looks like everything I’ve ever wanted in a game – if they can pull it off. So here’s to hoping they really mean it this time! :)