Gabe Heiland on Swordsman’s Differentiation & Future (Interview)

Posted by on September 11, 2014 - No Comments »

lh_swordsman_openbetaThe martial arts themed MMORPG is quite new to audiences in the West. A scant few games have made the transition from overseas. This is naturally relative to how many are currently available there. Fewer still have done it with any resounding success. That’s only one of the reasons Swordsman, from Perfect World Entertainment, stands tall. It’s not only the latest such import, but, according to our reviewer, one that keeps her heading back to hone her wax on, wax off skills. It’s unique – again, to us in the West – angle and game design even has her thinking a little outside the review box. Hence why Pherephassa reached out to PWE for our first interview.

Lore Hound: Who are you and what are your duties in regards to Swordsman?

Gabe: I’m Gabrielle (Gabe) Heiland, the Product Manager for Swordsman. I oversee our version of the game and serve as the main point of communication between our audience and our developers.

How would you describe Swordsman? How does it stand out from other martial arts themed games?

I’d describe Swordsman as an epic playable martial arts movie. The movement and combat is very fluid, giving you a sense of the power of a martial artist from the comfort of your computer chair, while also delivering a great story, told through cut scenes, of love, loss, and betrayal.

What excites you the most about the game?

For me the appeal is mainly in the movement. Swordsman is a very responsive game. Your combat effectiveness is tied directly to your skill as a player and knowledge of the game, rather than set skill rotations or gear. You can triple jump, glide, air dodge, and block at the press of a button, making your reactions an integral part of gameplay. It’s very satisfying to pull out a win in our arena because you blocked at the correct time, dodged under your enemy’s attack, then came crashing down on them in a vertical charge. Read more…

PAX Prime 2014: TOME: Immortal Arena – A MOBA in a Browser (Video)

Posted by on September 10, 2014 - No Comments »

TOME Immortal Arena - LogoCan’t say I saw this one coming. Developer Kixeye is bringing the MOBA genre to a browser near you. Sticking to the free-to-play – pay for cosmetic or faster progression only – mantra that’s become so popular, all you need to do is load the website to play. That’s right, no download. Kixeye is taking accessibility, one of the game design’s core tenets, to a whole new level in TOME: Immortal Arena.

We received our first taste of TOME as part of the Twitch booth. Creative Director Shawn Carnes took me through a session of the only map currently available, a quick 3v3 battle. Unfortunately, it was only bots, so the competition wasn’t exactly up to snuff, but the ease of victory allowed Carnes to explain the various systems. Many of these systems, from blessings to tower ammo turn some of the MOBA tropes on their head. Others, well, they’re exactly as you’d expect and that’s a good thing.

Check out the full interview below for my first impressions, how Kixeye pulled off a browser-based MOBA that plays seamlessly and more on the systems that diversify the title from the ever-encroaching pack of MOBAs. Read more…

Instance Gratification 6: WildStar Livestream Interview with Chad ‘Pappy’ Moore

Posted by on September 10, 2014 - No Comments »

lh_PAX_omnicore_instance_gratification_papi_avatarInstance Gratification is the return of one of our premiere video outings. Originally featuring the cast of founder bloggers thrashing World of Warcraft dungeons and viewer runs of Dungeon & Dragons Online, the reinvigorated column heads to the realm of the Twitch channel. Come join us every Wednesday for dungeon dives, solo attempts and general loot hoarding in your favorite games.

Today’s going to be one of those special days, Lore Hounds. We’ve got Chad ‘Pappy’ Moore, the creative director of WildStar, joining us for the play session! Pappy couldn’t make the days events at PAX Prime, and while our interview with Stephan Frost was stellar, it’s a bit different hearing about the upcoming lore from the creative director himself. Chad, beamed in via the wonders of Skype, will be addressing our prepared questions on the goings on of Nexus and you’re live questions, so be sure to tune in. If you can’t make it but still have a burning question, then leave it in this thread or shout it to our Twitter and we’ll do our best to get it in.

To prevent us from being two boring talking heads, I’ll be running around WildStar on my streaming character, the much ballyhooed SolidSagart, healbot and quester extraordinaire. Try not to make fun of her too much. She’s sensitive, but very ecstatic at having recently picked up her first professions!

Be sure to subscribe to the channel for all our streams, giveaways and general shenanigans. Hit the jump for the livestream, which will be replaced later with the recorded edition of the interview. The show will kick off around 1:00 PM EST and continue until Chad Moore has to go back to work. See you there! Read more…

PAX Prime 2014: Nosgoth Returns to the Kain’s Legacy in PvP Combat (Video)

Posted by on September 10, 2014 - No Comments »

highres_screenshot_00029_1401361893Are you a gamer that’s old enough, or interested enough in the past, to remember Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, a action-adventure title that kicked off back in 1996? In the original title, players took the role of Kain, a vampire set upon avenging his death that begins to accept and feel empowered by his new found abilities. Set in a dark fantasy setting and employing top quality writing and voice acting for the fledgling PlayStation, the title launched a critically acclaimed franchise that spanned multiple platforms and generations.

These generations aren’t simply gaming generations. There are hundreds of years in the world that was left without a hero. It’s in these times that Nosgoth, an upcoming F2P multiplayer action game from Pssyonix, is firmly nestled. Sans hero, the world of Nosgoth is torn between the armies of vampires and the ranks of humans. The humans players take hold of don’t cower in fear, they fight back with their own impressive arsenal in this multiplayer-only title.

Not a MOBA, not your typical third-person shooter, Eric Majka of Pssyonix – who is freakishly tall – had no issues explaining the core tenants of the upcoming title. Currently in closed beta, Majka details the highly asymmetrical combat, how balancing such unique abilities and skills is possible, the current world of Nosgoth and much more in the below interview.

Oh, and we’ve some closed beta keys to boot. Be sure to follow our Twitch channel as F2P Friday is a perfect venue for the free-to-play third-person action title. Read more…

SMITE: Demigods, Deities and Gods Explained – Kukulkan

Posted by on September 9, 2014 - No Comments »

lh_smite_deities_demigods_gods_kukulkan_Default_CardSMITE: Demigods, Deities and Gods Explained is a column dedicated to introducing prospective players of SMITE to its massive back story of lore. From the Greek to Hindu, each week we’ll look at two characters from a major pantheon and provide a quick recap of their history and in what capacity their digital incarnation will represent on the field of Hi-Rez Studios’ new MOBA.

Lore: The history of Kukulkan is as murky as the flooding Mississippi. Confusion began when an historic figure, likely a priest, received the same name causing stories and tales of the deity to be confused with that of the human. Kukulkan, meaning “feathered serpent”, is closely tied to other such incarnations of local religious beliefs, including the better known, at least now, Quetzalcoatl of Aztec mythology. The development of such a god is not unique to this time period. The Olmec civilization, which pre-dates Aztec and Maya, had their own telling, aptly named The Feathered Serpent.

Modern tellings have Kukulkan born a snake, yet of human parents. His sister took pity and continued to care for him in a cave. It was clear to her that he was the plumed serpent. Unfortunately, a great appetite caused the deity to outgrew his surroundings. Thus Kukulkan fled to the endless and bottomless ocean. However, the act of tearing himself free of the cave caused an earthquake. A feat which he repeats every July to assure to his sister that he’s alive. Read more…

PAX Prime 2014: Motiga’s Freshman Entry is a Highly Unique MOBA (Video)

Posted by on September 9, 2014 - No Comments »

GiganticScreenshot-Combat-04Lore Hound had a unique opportunity to check out Motiga’s freshman entry to gamedom. Designed by James Phinney of StarCraft, Gigantic is shaping up to reshape the multiplayer online battle arena genre. Phinney and Co. aren’t focusing on creating a niche game, slicing out a piece of the League of Legends dominated pie for themselves. Rather the company, perhaps taking a card from his former employer Blizzard Entertainment, is attempting to one-up the competition with every line item.

Complaining that all MOBAs are the same? How about we drop the standard lane-pushing minions that die to a static tower and replace them with mini bosses? Oh, that isometric view forcing you to squint? How about adopting the third-person perspective popularized by SMITE, which enables you to literally sneak up from behind? Shenanigans to those “weeds” mechanics. Art style you ask? Will a more angular, but no less timeless, interpretation of Borderlands suit your snobby requirements? Oh, really, skills shots are your next concerns? Let us assuage your fears with the ability to murder opponents from across the maps. Should you actually possess such skill.

I may have absolutely sucked at my attempt to crush our cameraman in a match of Gigantic, but that doesn’t mean the interview sucks. In fact, it goes 20-0, two Guardian – that’s what they call towers – kills and a swath of assists. That’s why you should check out the conversation with James Phinney. Oh, and we may be scoring some alpha keys for Twitch viewers. So there’s that. Read more…

PAX Prime 2014: En Masse Brings Tower Defense to ZMR (Video)

Posted by on September 9, 2014 - No Comments »

ZMR_LOGO_(wTEXTURE)_RGBTower defense mechanics in a first-person shooter game? Apparently an apathetic “Why not” complete with a shrug came from Yingpei Games when it was originally suggested. Publisher En Masse Entertainment thinks it’s a perfect mix for the community of Zombies Monster Robots. Let’s be honest, we’ve seen odder features from the title. Exhibit A) ZMR already contains odd co-op shenanigans like the recent Mummy See, Mummy Doom update that was featured on a recent F2P Friday livestream. It was a quirky, unexpected and surprisingly challenging experience.

Released the day after PAX Prime, En Masse invited us into its office to discuss everything that Threshold Defense holds for players, and it’s a lot. The introduction of the TD mechanic, the dominant topic of our interview, brings the community an entirely new game mode. But it also contains five new maps, three focused on PvP, nearly 20 new weapons, new costumes and new targets to soak up those bullets.

Producer Matt Denomme provided a swath of interesting information on the monetization of ZMR, how En Masse manages and adds to the title during localization, what’s in the chute for the limitless game (hint, dinosaurs), beta details, and, perhaps most interesting to the our community, a promise to  provide some weapon codes. Gotta love free stuff! Read more…

PAX Prime 2014: Pokemon TCG Online Plays Gloriously on iPad (Video)

Posted by on September 8, 2014 - No Comments »

lh_pokemon_interview_ipad_tcg_online

Charizard was worth hundreds of dollars back in the day!

Pokemon has consumed far too much of my discretionary income. Ever since the launch of Red and Blue back in 1998 I’ve owned (and beaten) nearly every core game. I’ve fought my way through….photo hunts…and recaptured my pokemon in a box for long-term storage. Movies, blankets, plushies, I’ve had my hand in it all for a least a few dollars. Then there’s the physical Pokemon Trading Card Game, my first TCG addiction since the early days of Magic The Gathering.

That consumed a comparable amount of money to the available games at the time. Yet, far, far less time. Now we’ve Pokemon TCG Online for PC and Mac and an upcoming iPad version. History may very well repeat itself. To ensure history will repeat itself I checked out the upcoming iPad version to gauge whether it was up to my standards. The horrible realization is that, wallet be damned, it’s a faster, more intuitive rendition of the PC and Mac client.

In the below interview you can see me partake in your typical Pokemon TCG actions, playing a basic Pokemon, using a Trainer card, and, after a few moments, deducing how you read a card’s text. J.C. Smith, the Consumer Marketing Group for Pokemon, is along for the ride detailing the transition, the company’s expectation for the new platform, crossover possibilities and more. A surprising nugget for me was to learn that each physical booster unlocks a digital booster by way of an included code.

Another excuse for my wallet to hide.

Pokemon TCG Online is to be added to the F2P Friday lineup complete with some giveaways. Be sure to hit that Follow button on our Twitch channel to ensure you receive the maximum opportunities. Read more…