Author Archive

Getting up close and personal with Warface

26 November 2012 | 1 Comment » | Ronix

Hello LoreHounds, long time no speak!

With Crytek teaming up with Trion Worlds nonetheless in order to bring the company’s premier free-to-play shooter “Warface” to the West, it felt like a good opportunity to continue the video series here on LH. Warface is positioned to become Crytek’s first offering in a line of high-quality F2P titles coming to a PC near you. The game is based on the CryEngine (naturally) and boasts impressive visuals, when compared to other F2P offerings on the market, as well as a range of standard PvP game modes and a unique PvE component.

Warface is currently live in Russia and I’ve had the opportunity to check it out. So without further ado, I bring to you – Warface Gameplay! Hit the jump for your first taste. Continue Reading

Tribes: Ascend – More Gameplay Footage

27 February 2012 | 2 Comments » | Ronix

The latest entry into the old-school first-person shooter franchise “Tribes” has recently entered open beta and is looking pretty good. Tribes: Ascend, developed by Hi-Rez Studios, features the same mix of precise aiming and lighting-fast movement using jetpacks and a technique called skiing that made the original series so addictive.

The pace and style of gameplay is quite different to what fans of today’s typical online shooter are used to. First time jumping into the game, some players (read – me) will be caught by surprise when they are not getting kills every 10-15 seconds and that they actually have to lead their targets and predict enemy movement. The combination of shooting and movement mechanics creates a deep and complex experience that, while off putting to the more casual crowd, will be engaging for veteran shooter fans.

The developer’s intent to borrow from FPS concepts of the past may bring a tear of joy to the hordes of hardcore players, but will the fast-paced, athletic form of combat that relies heavily on teamwork be engaging enough to be a hit with a more mainstream crowd? Watch this gameplay video and decide for yourself.

Continue Reading

The Old Republic: Newbie Experience Compilation

27 December 2011 | No Comments » | Ronix

Hot on the heels of the recent Star Wars: The Old Republic discussions happening here at LoreHound, I decided to go ahead and do a video compilation of what beginners can expect from BioWare’s first entry into the MMOG genre. Unfortunately, this brilliant idea didn’t strike me while I was doing the various Flashpoints found at certain points in the game. However, you get to see how gameplay feels from the perspective of three different classes and from the two different factions. From the Empire, we have the Sith Inquisitor and the Bounty Hunter. The Republic is represented by the Trooper. Some PvP action is represented and the level design is expressed by a couple of shots displaying  the impressive architecture followed by some story cut scenes.

And yes, the story cut scenes are worth your time!

A Quick Look at the Global Agenda Store

24 June 2011 | No Comments » | Ronix

With the relatively recent switch to a free-to-play model, Global Agenda has received one thing that all F2P games have in common – a cash-shop. The amount of items currently on sale is not big, by any one’s standards, but more stuff is promised in the future. In addition to the usual array of goodies, players who purchase a Booster Pack are finally allowed to use jet-packs in Dome City, and Hi-Rez has mentioned pent-house level content being on its way.

In the video below, we take a quick look at what is currently on offer at the new vendor located inside Dome City. Continue Reading

Aion: A Nostalgic Picture Diary

20 May 2011 | No Comments » | Ronix

“A thousand devs of the NCsoft empire descend upon you. Their nerfs will blot out the sun.”

“Then we shall QQ in the shade.”

It has been recently announced that the long-awaited Aion 2.5 patch has arrived on the Player Test Server.  The new patch will bring additional content in the form of PvE instances, a graphics overhaul, optimization of existing systems, such as crafting and enchanting, and the introduction of new ones, such as the Helper system. Legion features will be further  improved, character customization will receive an expansion and there will also be several tweaks and fixes to gameplay.

Having avoided logging in to the game since the end of 2009, I find myself strangely curious about the news. The urge to give this game another try seems to be getting worse, like an annoying itch that you can’t quite shake off. Instead of giving in, I decided to resist the temptation because I generally don’t go back to games that have burned me once. I’m just spiteful like that. Instead, I’m writing up this diary entry that will serve as a visual depiction of some of the entertaining things I still remember about the title. Follow along and remember to click on the thumbnails to enlarge them.

All RvR games start with a rivalry. Having amassed a huge community on the forums before launch, all that Aion-related threads needed was one spark, one short reply and everything was engulfed in the holy fire of a flame-war. Both Asmodians and Elyos would call each other names and comment on the looks of their opponents. The picture presented above is a good example.

Continue Reading

Ronix Rants – Get em’ by the balls…their hearts and minds will follow

13 May 2011 | 3 Comments » | Ronix

Disclaimer: The views of the writer in no way match the views of rest of the Lore Hound crew. In fact, they are just as disturbed by this post as you are.

People like to dabble in role-playing, right? We automatically assume certain roles in our day-to-day interactions, we occasionally imagine ourselves as different characters living in fictional universes, we role-play during sex… and where was I? Oh yes, role-playing.

Today, I’m going to role-play an armchair game designer. And not just any game designer, but a jaded, angry, border-line maniacal fellow who wants to bludgeon you with a vicious-ass trout. Get ready because this is going to be a rant of sorts, and boy, do I have an axe to grind.

Recently, a number of gaming-related portals have posted PvP Impressions for Star Wars: the Old Republic. Turns out, the new mechanics in the game allow fights to last longer due to a lack of burst damage at mid-levels, an anti-crowd control measure for each class and an unusual approach to tanking. With regards to the latter, in most MMORPGs, the various taunts and aggro-related skills for tanks only work in PvE, with no consequence for enemy players. However, SW:TOR’s PvP mechanics make active use of those skills by having a slightly different effect. A taunted player, for example, will do -50% less damage to everyone besides the person who put the effect on him. Another example is the guard ability, which will allow tanks to take damage instead of enemies.

SWTOR seems to be taking a page from Warhammer Online, which has made use of some of the mentioned tanking mechanics for PvP. There is ‘nothing’ wrong in borrowing good ideas from other sources, provided they can be implemented into your game, right? Right. What really strikes me as odd are the people writing about their SW:TOR experience and commenting how fresh these mechanics felt. Come again? Continue Reading

Global Agenda Fiction – Part I

12 May 2011 | No Comments » | Ronix

War Gods - Triumvirate

What? Are you saying you are at war with GOD?

Yes…but I will win.

Part 1 – Ready the Props

“You damn punks, do you even know what you are getting into? The second the other agencies hear about this, you can tell your organization bye. They won’t just exclude you! They will hunt you down for breaking the truce. Your own agents will friggin’ murder you, scum.”

The trader’s words could be barely heard due to bloodied lips and a significant lack of teeth in his gaping mouth. His face was covered in horrid purple marks and brown dots of cigarette burns. It looked quite strange from a distance, but up-close, it was plain ugly and repulsing. The big white t-shirt enwrapped around his humongous belly was now covered in patches of snot and blood. Basically, he looked like shit.

Nyx felt a pressing urge to help him up and start the healing process straight away but was stopped dead in her tracks by Chezu’s cold stare. His gray icy eyes bore into the green of her pupils and warned her not to interfere. Nyx sighed and slowly stepped back. What else could she do? These guys were out of this world.

Rex, a freshly lit cigarette sticking through the hole in his gas mask, casually kneeled down besides the old trader. The spikes in his tomahawk haircut aimed viciously at the man’s fat face as if to stab him.

“Listen here Edgar, no one wants to carry this on except me and even I realize that we are running out of time. I told you already that the matters at hand are very urgent and we have to borrow your buggy.” He paused for a second to inhale and carried on after letting out a few narrow streams of smoke. “Now, it’s understandable that you might object to this but you can complain to the agencies all you want. No one will admit that we belong to them. Like you said, that would be a loss of reputation no agency can afford.” His voice sounded almost sympathetic, soothing the man he just tortured. “Be a good boy and hand over the keys or I’m gonna have to burn the other half of your face and trust me, I’d rather smoke these. Wild Sevens were always my favourite brand. So, what do you say?”

The fierce battle between pride and survival instinct was clearly visible on the poor trader’s face. Heavy sweat covered his forehead and spilt onto his eyebrows. Edgar’s eyes were darting nervously from one person to another, as if asking them for help or advice. Rex was too busy enjoying the cigarette, Chezu just stared back with his usual detached acceptance and Nyx tried to look away, embarrassed.

It shouldn’t be like this! We are supposed to be the good guys, preventing the construction of the M4X Mech. So why did we end up like this? Torturing this pitiful man and stealing his possessions? Continue Reading

The Story of CrimeCraft: Rise to Action

11 May 2011 | No Comments » | Ronix

Table of Contents

Part I: Outline

Intro

Welcome back to a new entry in a series of reports covering selected cases in the online games industry. The series as a whole aims to examine and analyze the various shenanigans going on in the MMO world with the use of valid research methodology and proven theories. There are a lot of resources available, so the angle of the story may range from anything business related, to sociology and even anthropology. I’m glad to finally present you with a fresh post that continues the feature!

The first market report showcased a game called Alganon, where I scrutinized the title and the company behind it. Today we are going to take a look at an MMO-Shooter called CrimeCraft, developed by Vogster Entertainment. Relevant background information is provided, along with a detailed analysis of the company’s actions. In the entries to follow, we’ll examine the current status of the project. The report discusses the current MMO market realities, and strategies that were adopted by the Vogster Entertainment in order to succeed in a given environment. The relevance of this project in modern market conditions will be discussed, and opportunities for further development will be investigated.

The Company

Vogster Entertainment was founded in September 2005. After undergoing a successful growth phase, the company restructured its activity into several key directions: developing and producing MMO projects, establishing working relationships with major publishers and scouting for development studios with titles that can be successful on the online games market.

Currently, Vogster Entertainment is headquartered in Saddle River (NJ), but it also has offices in Moscow and Kiev. The company is aiming to undergo further expansion, which will allow it to increase the size of the internal development team and provide additional support for new projects.

Project Overview

CrimeCraft was developed as one of the first MMOGs that made use of the action components of shooters, rather than relying on the traditional design elements present in most MMO games on the market. Developers at Vogster Entertainment conceived CrimeCraft as a game that simplified the standard features present in MMOGs, such as social interaction and character customization, by making them more accessible, and wrapping the final product in a bright and attractive package of an action game that had mass appeal. Continue Reading