Published on May 22, 2014
Several recent MMOs have made bold claims about action-based combat, but few take that term so seriously as Blade & Soul, which has already been out for a while in South Korea. Much like TERA, it places a heavy emphasis on battling gigantic, hulking monsters, but it distinguishes itself by requiring complicated combos in the vein of Bayonetta or God of War to achieve the most effectiveness. This could be big. Even after attempts at including dynamic events, rich stories, and interactive player housing, the genre's core combat tends to be on the bland side, especially when compared to games designed for a gamepad. Too bad the port has been in development hell for years.
We know graphics aren't everything, but damn, Bless is beautiful. You thought TERA looked nice? TERA looks like alpha footage compared to Bless. Alas, all the development team's attention seems focused on delivering such a massive helping of beauty, as the gameplay itself looks heartbreakingly dull. That's something of a surprise, since titles like Age of Wushu and ArcheAge suggest that South Korea (of all places, considering their reputation for grinds) is one of the only countries that's at least attempting to inject some fresh ideas into the genre
We know, we know-- sometimes it seems like we should all just give up hope of ever playing a good game set in the Game of Thrones universe. But Game of Thrones sounds like it could be fun in a War of the Roses (the game, that is) kind of way, particularly considering its focus on sandbox PvP, castle sieges, and a political system. Unfortunately, the details are better kept secrets than the truth about Joffrey Baratheon's parentage, although we do know that weapons like the two-handed sword has as many as 20 different skills and 60 abilities. Considering that this, too, is a browser game, we may be witnessing a trend toward the legitimization of the platform for the genre.
Chinese developer Tencent is working with Capcom to bring the world of Monster Hunter to the MMO arena once again. Monster Hunter Online, as it's tastefully called, is a free-to-play game running on the beautiful Cry Engine 3, making for one of the best-looking online games currently in development. That's the good news. The bad news is that we still don't know if it's going to make it out of China. So far Capcom/Tencent aren't talking about a worldwide release, but we'd be shocked if this money-making franchise isn't spread to other territories if it proves profitable (and, since it's Monster Hunter, it's going to be profitable).
We recently had a chance to experience a few hours with Wildstar, and we liked what we saw. Playing it feels at once familiar and refreshing, as it combines several standard ideas with some attractive attempts at innovation. Among these is the path system, which lets you spend a good chunk of your time climbing mountains and exploring underground passageways. Still others include an uncommon focus on single- player content at the level cap and the ability to create your own PvP battlefields through Wild Star’s version of player housing. All that aside, though, it's good to see a MMO that brings a Pixar- esque lightheartedness to its cartoony visuals, rather than using them to relate oh-so-serious narratives.
Can Blizzard pull off another success like World of Warcraft? It'll be tough. So tough, in fact, that reports are in that Blizzard killed Titan in its near-finished state and started over fairly recently. Apparently it wasn't ready to reinvent the wheel. So, what do we know? A few things. It'll have a casual focus and feature some form of in-game advertising, it'll have a sci- fi setting, and it'll be a new IP separate from Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo. If some leaked concept art reflects reality, it'll look somewhat like Wild Star. We're probably not going to see it this year, but with BlizzCon back on schedule, we're hoping we'll at least get an official announcement in Anaheim this November.
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