Tag Archives: MMORPG

Neverwinter hits 15 million total players

The popular free-to-play D&D-based MMORPG Neverwinter, has today reached the impressive milestone of 15 million registered players across all platformers.

To celebrate this achievement, developer Cryptic studios and publisher Perfect World have released a thank you video to everyone whose taken part in the adventure.

Since its original launch in June 2013, Neverwinter has continued to receive expansions and extensive patches to bring more and more diverse content from the Forgotten Realms and Dungeons & Dragons lore into the game. From defeating the elven lich Valindra Shadowmantle to facing off against monstrous demon lords in the Underdark and going toe-to-toe with frost giants in Icewind Dale, adventurers continue to experience the Forgotten Realms with players around the world. The Cloaked Ascendancy, now available on all platforms, marks the 11th major content expansion to the action MMO.

“We were thrilled to see that the registered player count for Neverwinter has crossed the 15 million mark,”

said Yoon Im, Sr. VP of Game Publishing at Perfect World Entertainment.

“This is a huge milestone for both Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment. We’ve seen Neverwinter grow so much since it first entered Open Beta and can’t wait to share what the game has in store for adventurers in the near future.”

“The success of Neverwinter on so many platforms and in so many countries shows how strong the D&D global community is,”

said Nathan Stewart, Brand Director of Dungeons & Dragons.

“Partnering with Cryptic and Perfect World to bring our annual stories to life in such a visibly stunning way has allowed D&D players to experience the Forgotten Realms like never before.”

“We look forward to continuing our development and realization of the Forgotten Realms to deliver a steady stream of new and exciting content to all our players,”

said Gordon Fong, executive producer on Neverwinter.

“Whether they are hardcore D&D enthusiasts, MMO players sharing experiences with friends, or solo RPG fans; we want Neverwinter to be a welcoming place for anyone looking for adventure and entertainment.”

We’re also celebrating this news, and the game in general, by giving away codes for special mounts in our latest stream, which start in a mere 30 minutes from this news post going live – 2100 BST Thursday 27th. Check us out over on Beam: https://beam.pro/thisisxbox

Neverwinter: The Cloaked Ascendancy coming to Xbox One

Neverwinter is a free-to-play action MMORPG that features fast-paced combat and epic dungeons.Players explore the vast city of Neverwinter and its surrounding countryside, learning the vivid history of the iconic city in the Forgotten Realms and battling its many enemies.

Neverwinter: The Cloaked Ascendancy is the latest update that features new endgame content including an adventure zone, an epic dungeon, a dynamic skirmish and a campaign which pits adventurers against a rogue group of four powerful mages, known as “The CloakedAscendancy. 

The Cloaked Ascendancy expansion also features an epic return to the new high-end dungeon, Spellplague Caverns; a new skirmish, loaded with innovative gameplay; new artifact gear and more. The only thing with Neverwinter is you have to have an Xbox Live Gold subscription to play, let’s be honest, who hasn’t got one nowadays?

Xbox One sets phasers to stun

With the sudden influx of free to play MMO’s, Perfect World Entertainment Inc and Cryptic Studios have today announced their plans to bring Star Trek Online to the Xbox One.

On release of the console edition Star Trek Online will bring two expansions and 11 seasons’ worth of updates for players. That’s over ‘six years’ worth of content, including more than 130 featured episodes that build upon classic Star Trek stories and series. You will even get the change to play alongside a cast of Star Trek actors including Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine), Michael Dorn (Worf), Tim Russ (Tuvok) and more.

Star Trek Online Crew

Each player’s adventure will begin by choosing one of the classic Star Trek factions including Federation, Klingon and Romulans. If you can’t find what you want thought don’t worry as there’s also 32 other species to customize your own Captain with. Once this mammoth task is complete, I always find it the hardest part of any game, you will be able to take to the stars and visit iconic locations including Vulcan, Deep Space Nine, Earth Space Dock and more in one of the hundreds of classic Star Trek ships available to you. Engage in various missions and ship-to-ship combat as you play through the game’s story content aiming to reach the level 60 cap, and what’s more it’s all for free.

Star Trek Online Space Battle

To ensure a successful console launch of Star Trek Online the development team at Cryptic Studios have also spent time updating the game engine to offer an enhanced user experience and upgraded visuals. Learning from the recent launch of Neverwinter the team have also been working on a control scheme that will allow players to navigate both space and ground combat with ease. Further information about the up and coming release of the game can be found on the official website.

Star Trek Online is due for release on the Xbox One in Fall 2016. – ‘Live Long and Prosper’.

ESO Imperial City Review

Charging-into-Imperial-City_1440773648In the MMO arena, most gamers have to wait approximately a year to 18 months before any major expansion is released for their RPG of choice. Due to the unexpected delay of Elder Scrolls Online on consoles, this standard has been broken as the first in a series of DLC arranged for Elder Scrolls has been released merely six months since launch.

For those who have ventured into the shadow of the white gold tower, to represent your chosen alliance, will know that Bethesda has done something slightly different with their PVP zone. Most MMO’s place a distinct emphasis on separating player vs player and player vs environment encounters. This can make the PVP zones feel empty, even soulless. Bethesda does not subscribe to this method. Throughout Cyrodiil you will encounter npc’s as they go about their daily business, providing you with quests and chores to perform, and the environment is littered with the same caves, ruins and events that populate the rest of the world.  This conveys a sense of life on the game that no other MMO currently attempts (to my knowledge).

It is with this in mind that we delve into the dlc, and take our first tentative steps into the Imperial City. With the release of this content, entry ways to the imperial sewers have opened up, (similar to your escape point in Oblivion), allowing progression into the city proper. These access points are also directly linked to the ongoing war throughout Cyrodiil, so if you find the nearby fortification occupied by an opposing force, entry to the Imperial city is barred. Should your faction hold the ground you may enter the sewers and meet with the vanguard that are pushing forward in to the territory now overrun by Molag Bal’s daedric forces.

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Upon entering the Imperial City you are instantly greeted to the two new PvE dungeons reachable from the sewers. The Imperial Prison has long been overwhelmed, with gangs of prisoners ruling the roost and driving out the guards until the Daedra arrived. Now the prisoners and the common people of the Imperial City, trapped within its walls by the Daedra, are being captured and sent to the Ayleid ruins beneath the prison. Furthermore Terran Arminus, a Moth priest has requested your aid in retrieving an elder scrolls for the now overrun White Gold Tower. Both of these 4 man dungeons have their own self-contained story and two difficulty modes; normal and veteran.

Those who have hit level 50 now have up to 16 Veteran levels instead of 14, and the harder instances of these dungeons hold new high level rewards to be collected.

Both dungeons are extremely complex, containing several hours’ worth of content and new enemy types to face. Those who played Elder Scrolls IV will recognise the other game areas revealed in this expansion. The Arena, Memorial, Temple, Arboretum, Nobles and Elven districts all make a return in ESO, each with their own distinctive enemies to face and challenges to overcome. These PvP/PvE environments contain numerous new foes including the Xivkyn, a race of Daedra that has taken up residence within the confines of the city.

So far, despite putting countless hours into the new expansion I would be surprised if I have seen half of the content contained within, and the balance between PvP and PvE within the city feels naturally challenging and makes each venture into a district both unique and familiar at the same time.

With Daedric treasure vaults to be found and collected, both new dungeons, a huge new PvP area filled to the brim with PvE quests there is plenty to for every type of player to do in the heart of Cyrodiil.

Including the DLC with my review of Elder Scrolls Online neither improves nor diminishes my original view, and as such my opinion is that the original score I gave this game still stands.

Thanks to Xbox and Bethesda for supporting TiX

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Neverwinter: Strongholds trailer

NW_Strongholds_Screenshot_3Neverwinter: Strongholds – the seventh expansion for the action MMORPG set in the Dungeons & Dragons’ Forgotten Realms universe from Wizards of the Coast is due for release.

Strongholds introduces the largest playable map released for Neverwinter and focuses on players banding together to take back a stronghold from the wild. The initial release will focus on player-versus-environment gameplay in order to allow guilds the opportunity to build their strongholds before taking the fight to other players when large scale player-versus-player content launches.

Reminiscent of early Dungeons & Dragons gameplay, Neverwinter: Strongholds empowers guilds to reclaim a keep and its surrounding wilderness areas from monsters. As the lands are cleared, guilds will build defenses both in and around their strongholds using structures like archer towers to fend off attackers, while building siege structures to increase their ability to wage war against enemy guilds. Once the keep has been secured, guilds will work to solidify their foothold along the ranges of the Sword Coast.

Neverwinter : Strongholds is due for PC launch on August 11th with an Xbox One release to follow shortly thereafter.

 

Elder Scrolls Online : Tamriel Unlimited DLC trailer

Bethesda gave us a glimpse at E3 of their planned versus environment and versus player DLC, showing off the splendour of Orsinium as well as the devastation that has been wrought on the imperial city in the war to claim the Ruby throne.

The latter of these two, taking players deeper into Cyrodiil to aid their cabal of choice in the faction based pvp, has now had a further trailer released showing off some of the areas we can expect to encounter once we breach the walls surrounding the capital.

This DLC will appear on the Crown store in game once released.

 

Neverwinter: Rise of Tiamat available later today

Neverwinter Rise of Tiamat

Later on the today during the 7AM PDT maintenance window (3PM GMT), Perfect World Entertainment & Cryptic Studios have announced that Neverwinter: Rise of Tiamat will be available on Xbox One. The content update will be released alongside an update that aim to improve player experience across the board. These include an onscreen mini-map, performance upgrades, adjustments to queuing and more.

Neverwinter players may now explore the all-new Well of Dragons adventure zone while battling the harbingers of Tiamat, queen of the dragons, in the first of five free expansions Xbox One players can expect in 2015 at no additional cost.

Neverwinter: Rise of Tiamat follows the events of Neverwinter: Tyranny of Dragons campaign and the recent Siege of Neverwinter event. Along with new quests and heroic encounters on the path to completing the final chapters of the Tyranny of Dragons campaign, players can anticipate the upcoming 25-player battle with five-headed draconic goddess Tiamat.

With Neverwinter being one of the first MMORPGs to come to the Xbox One, we wanted to ensure that our game lives up to the idea of a living world.  Rise of Tiamat is just the beginning of our continued support for our game on consoles as we look to deliver more dungeons, dragons and game optimizations that our players want.

said Rob Overmeyer, executive producer of Neverwinter. You can read our full interview with Rob Overmeyer here.

Check out the trailer and new screenshots below.

 

 

TiX interviews Neverwinter’s Executive Producer Rob Overmeyer

We were recently invited to interview Rob Overmeyer, Executive Producer on Neverwinter for Xbox One. If you haven’t rolled your character and got stuck into Neverwinter yet, you can read our huge three-part review here: Part 1, Part 2 and finally Part 3.

Neverwinter

This is Xbox (TiX): When you aren’t busy working, and you are enjoying free time playing Neverwinter yourself, what race and class are you? Which is your favourite?

Rob Overmeyer (RO): I play all the time! My main is a Halfling GWF currently 2.7k on PC and a Halfling TR climbing the ranks on Xbox. I really like the GWF in group play and while I may not top the DPS charts I have been able to pull out a win in several dungeons after seeing most of the party go down. As for Xbox, although it’s a bit FotM to run a TR as my go to for PvP. I’m not running perma or anything but I like catching a cleric out of position and giving them a surprise. I also like the stealth-battle gameplay that can play out once in a while at a CP. Backcapping to find yourself in a 1v1 with another TR can be a lot of fun.

TiX: Describe to our readers what your role is day-to-day in terms of Neverwinter for Xbox One, including future Xbox One updates and DLC launches.

RO: I am the Executive Producer of Neverwinter PC and Xbox. Most of all my days are pretty busy and when I am not planning future modules and game direction, analyzing the business and looking at what we need to improve in the live game I am playing Neverwinter. My day usually consists of meeting with the team, leads and publishers to get a sense of where we are at and what is up next. I am a pretty hands on EP and I like to be a useful part of the development process. The reality is that I get to work with some great folks on Neverwinter and there is little better on the dev team than brainstorming cool new features and content to get to our fans.

Neverwinter 2

TiX: Were you and the team pleased with how Neverwinter for Xbox One was received?

RO: Yes, we are very excited with how the game has been received and we are even more excited to keep bringing tons of really cool gameplay to our console fans. We did have some struggles in the beginning but we have been improving Neverwinter with each patch.

TiX: The Elder Scrolls Online is now out for console; are you a fan?

RO: I am a fan of the Elder Scrolls, what RPG fan couldn’t be? I think taking the Elder Scrolls online and offering a persistent multiplayer world was a great and logical next step. I have a ton of respect for the team and the work they did to take such a big universe with a fantastic history and fan following and get it online.

Neverwinter 3

TiX: What is it like working alongside Wizards of the Coast?

RO: It is really fantastic to work with WotC. We meet every week and talk about what we are working on and get the business out of the way. It’s more than the normal approval process we get to talk about cool and new things that would be cool to see in our worlds. One of the most exciting things we get to do is go meet up with the designers and world builders at WotC and get a glimpse into what they are working on for the distant future. As a fan and a developer it is really cool to be able to see where the stories are going. WotC is a fantastic partner and we always have a fun time when we get to talking about D&D.

TiX: Had you, prior to working on this, played any tabletop games? If so which ones were they and did you draw any influences from them?

RO: I played D&D but more casually than most of my friends that played. I also played minis and became way more interested in the artistic aspect of table top games. I really got into painting minis of all kinds. Friends would give me boxes of minis and I would paint them. Most of my paints and bits were covered by my friends for painting their figs. I got into all sorts of board games like Betrayal and Zombies and still play them regularly.

TiX: A few outlets and communities have commented on how the Neverwinter console community is pretty mute and none existent. What’s your overall perception of this?

RO: Early on, shortly after launch we noticed the same things. When I would play I would talk in /Zone to get no response to LFG or even giveaways. It turns out there was a bug in chat that hid chat unless you were a friend with someone. We have since fixed that and the game chat is much livelier. It is a shame that we had the chat bug. It really made the game seem much smaller without the chatter. It’s all fixed now and people should give it a try.

Neverwinter 1

TiX: What was the biggest challenge in porting Neverwinter from PC to Xbox One?

RO: Getting the backend working and integrated to Xbox One was a huge amount of work. Sometimes the task exposed bugs that we could fix but it also covered some up. Additionally, the controls were a tough one. We wanted to get them right and feel like we did.

TiX: It was recently announced that there would be five free pieces of DLC coming to Xbox One, including Tyranny of Dragons and Elemental Evil. What can you tell us about these?

RO: Well, it won’t be traditional console DLC. These updates will be 100% free and will download automatically when you log in and patch. Just log in and get new content, classes, level cap increase, rewards and much, much more. Following the Tyranny of Dragons story the Xbox fans can look forward to 3 huge zones with a ton of content and rewards that feature more campaign content. There is also the Elemental Evil expansion that adds a new class in the Paladin, 4 new zones that take the player from 60 to 70 and some truly epic dungeons and encounters.

TiX: How well has the F2P model for Neverwinter gone down with console owners?

RO: It has gone very well. Gamers are fans of games and even bigger fans of good games. Neverwinter is the best free to play MMO on any console. Our fast paced combat feels fantastic on console and is a lot of fun. You can get in and play from start to finish with your friends and never miss out on any content because you don’t have that pack or DLC your friend has. It would be hard not to like that. Going forward I think that our free updates, events and expansions will continue to be well received.

Thanks to Crypcic Games, Perfect World Entertainment and of course Rob Overmeyer for their support.

You can read more about what is to come in Neverwinter: Rise of Tiamat here and watch the trailer below.

Elder Scrolls Online review

Good things come to those who wait. That’s what I kept telling myself when the console version of Elder Scrolls Online was delayed shortly before the official release date in April 2014.

The wait is now over, but much has changed in the interim. Like most MMOs, frequent updates have been released for the PC version and a decision was taken by Bethesda Softworks to do away with the subscription fees, bringing ESO in line with other successful Buy to Play titles like the Guild Wars series.

This meant that we received all of these changes in the ESO Tamriel Unlimited edition that hit shelves this month.

ESO continues the tradition of every Elder Scrolls game since Morrowind; introducing you to the game imprisoned in some fashion before revealing you to be the Vestige, the one person that can stand against (insert antagonist here). This time around, it’s Molag Bal, the Daedric Prince of Domination, who through manipulation and subterfuge has torn the veil between Nirn, the realms of men and mer, and the realms of Oblivion. Further machinations from his subordinates has resulted in the fall of the emperor and set the Ten Races of Tamriel on a collision course to occupy the currently empty Ruby Throne, whereby distracting the races from the imminent threat from the Daedric Prince.

Molag_Bal_Concept_Art

Elder Scrolls Online is no “tour de force” in terms of its graphical fidelity, especially in comparison to recent titles. Given the delay in release, and the nature and scale of the game, I didn’t expect ESO to be a Witcher 3 beater regardless, and anyone who did is obviously not aware of the different requirements needed for a persistent open world single player RPG and a persistent open world massively multiplayer online RPG. That said, for a Console based MMO, the graphics are truly surprising, and easily surpass the visuals of Neverwinter, and in my personal opinion, firmly compete with the aesthetics that Final Fantasy 14 came to deliver after its relaunch.

Sun and Moon cycles illuminate the lands of Tamriel, while dynamic weather system brings the world to life. The console version obviously lacks some of the graphical punch that a heavyweight PC can produce, and the draw distance has obviously been turned down to allow for a balance between stability and fidelity, but despite some minor character and texture popping when things get hectic, the beauty of this massive world is apparent and eminently impressive.

Those familiar with an action MMO will be instantly familiar with the action bar set up, giving you space to hold six active abilities at any time. These slots can be filled with Racial, Class, faction or weapon based skills allowing for a wide range of variation to cater to how each person wants to play. These are further increased to 12 once you hit level fifteen and you unlock a secondary weapon set that can be switched on the fly.Fri_Jun_19_14-22-21_UTC+0100_2015

Add into this the “morph” skill system, which allows deviating paths for each skill as you utilise and level it up, this further increases the possibility for a more tailored and unique approach to building the character that you want to play.

During battle, enemy attacks are telegraphed with white and red representations on the enemies that indicate whether you can block or interrupt the ability, and attack range markers are displayed on the ground to allow you to evade the damage.

Much like the overarching Dragonborn / Civil War storylines from Skyrim, the ongoing struggle between each of the three factions plays directly into the multiplayer PvP facet of the game, with the central theme of the Daedric invasion giving focus and credence to the solo story of ESO.

Escaping the grasp of Morag Bal with the uninspiringly named “The Prophet”, you are returned to the realm of Nirn where upon you are tasked with aiding him in relocating and freeing the Five companions in order to face and depose Mannimarco, the traitorous lackey of Molag Bal and leader of the Necromancer‘s Cult of Worms.

Each Faction has its unique quest lines and side quests that run alongside the main solo quest, with the Fighters guild and Mage’s Guild quest lines identical for all 3 coalitions. Like its predecessors, the world is littered with locations, dungeons and quests that reward you for straying off the beaten path and the instantly recognizable Compass at the top of your screen is forever full of undiscovered destinations.

Each of these quests are fully voiced, and the scope of this undertaking is truly impressive in its own right. I have yet to encounter dialogue in over 60 hours of gameplay that sounded “phoned in”.

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Once you hit level 10, you can venture into Cyrodiil and take part in the faction battles to claim the empire for your own faction. Most of the core of Cyrodiil is present, and has been separated into sextants, two zones for each faction.  The Ebonheart Pact dominate the lands in the North East around Cheydinhal , the Daggerfall Covenant taking root in the North West near Chorrol and the Aldmeri Dominion holding sway in the South of the map from Skingrad to Bravil.

The ultimate goal, is to capture specific key strongholds in the warzone in order to have a member of your faction crowned emperor. To do so, you must assault enemy forces and fortifications to break their hold before reinforcing and defending the captured points.

If any of you have previously played Planetside, there are a lot of similarities and the instance in which you participate is in a constant state of flux as the tide of battle ebbs and flows.

The thing I did not know about Cyrodiil, is that it does not force you to fight other players head on if PvP is not interesting to you. Scattered throughout the area are quest npc’s, who send you to dungeons and against mobs that inhabit the world, and alongside these you also have quests that your faction can provide to aid the war effort indirectly.

As a Nightblade I focused on scouting the enemy strongholds; sneaking behind enemy lines, eliminating key npc’s in my path and avoiding players, before sending back tactical reports to reveal troop composition and strength. I can honestly say my heart was in my mouth the entire time!

I happened to stumble upon a cave on my return, and after defeating the wolves that inhabited the grotto, I made my way via Cheydinhal where the local militia asked for my aid against the imperial army that remained in the area. After killing their commanding officer and returning the militia leaders stolen heirloom, I made my way back to base and handed in my quests. Not once, during the hour I was questing in the PvP Zone away from the front lines, did I encounter an enemy player.

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True to MMO tropes, ESO has its own crafting classes; Woodworking, Blacksmithing, Enchanting, Alchemy, Clothier and Provisioner. As you go about your travels, killing Daedra and Cultists, rescuing peasants or uncovering lost history, you will encounter resources and chests in the wilderness. Unlike most other MMOs, you do not require a specific tool with which to harvest these resources, (except the treasure chests – you need lockpicks for those), but they are shared with everyone in the world so it is first come, first served.

Returning to town, you can then refine the materials you have gathered in order to craft your own weapons, armour, potions. Most interesting is enchanting, with a system similar to the 3 syllable dragon shout from Skyrim – you combine runes to refine your own enhancements.

Elder scrolls wouldn’t be Elder Scrolls without a plethora of goods stored in bags, crates, barrels, sacks and on corpses throughout the world, and once again taking its cue from Skyrim, the provisioner skill takes advantage of this abundance of food items to create buffs for use while adventuring.

Sadly, it’s not all rays of sunshine, as ESO still has many bugs that impact the performance and enjoyment that can be derived from the game. Busy areas of the map, and magic filled battles can cause perceivable frame rate drops that can, at higher levels, mean the difference between life and death. (Thankfully I always hold some filled soul gems for revival, just in case).

Vanishing npc’s and featureless players are more bugs that have transferred from the PC version, and although Zenimax have confirmed they are working on a patch to rectify this issue, it happened frequently enough during my 60 hours of play to know this must be impacting a large portion of the user base.

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Being a seasoned MMO gamer, I personally take these issues with a pinch of salt, but those that are taking their first foray into the world of MMORPGs may not be similarly inclined, so forewarned is forearmed.

All in all, Elder Scrolls Online delivers a large swathe of the lands of Tamriel for you to explore at your leisure, with thoroughly competent MMO mechanics blended seamlessly with tried and tested elements from their legacy Elder Scrolls games.

It’s not Skyrim with friends. It’s so much more.

Thanks to Xbox and Bethesda for supporting TiX

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The Elder Scrolls Online final gameplay trailer

Elder Scrolls Online

With just days to go until the release of the highly anticipated and VERY overdue release of The Elder Scrolls Online for Xbox One, today the final installment in the This is The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited video series was released.

This third video, Exploring Tamriel, highlights the game’s expansive world. From hunting the forces of Molag Bal to gathering natural resources for crafting, to plumbing ancient ruins for treasure, your next big adventure awaits in Tamriel.