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League of Legends is a free-to-play online arena battle game from Riot Games, and the studio recently unveiled an entirely new mode to play in Dominion, but it continues to keep the game updated with new playable hero characters. The next hero on deck is Graves, the outlaw.
According to the game's backstory, Graves shares a contentious past with the card-tossing desperado hero, Twisted Fate. Specifically, both men had previously been card sharks and grifters who found their match in each other and became partners for some time until Twisted Fate made a back-alley deal to surrender Graves to the authorities in exchange for great power. Graves was apprehended and only recently escaped, and he now seeks his revenge with the only friend he has in the world: a custom-built shotgun.
Graves has the following powers:
True Grit (Passive): Graves gains increasing armor and magic resistance the longer he remains in combat.
Smokescreen: Graves fires a smoke canister at the target area that deals damage and creates a cloud of smoke. Enemies inside the smoke cloud have reduced sight range and movement speed.
Quickdraw: Graves dashes forward, gaining an attack speed boost for several seconds. Attacking enemies lower the cooldown timer on this skill.
Buckshot: Graves fires three bullets in a cone, damaging all enemies in the path of the projectiles. Enemies at close range can be hit by multiple projectiles, but each one beyond the first will deal reduced damage.
Collateral Damage (Ultimate): Graves fires an explosive shell that deals heavy damage to the first target it hits. After hitting a champion or reaching the end of its range, the shell explodes and deals damage in a cone behind the target.
We've checked in with Wargaming.net for new updates on World of Tanks, as well as on the studio's upcoming projects, World of Warplanes (which is in early alpha phases and will, as we're told, hopefully go into beta later this year) and World of Battleships (which is even earlier in development and probably won't be playable for a while). We have new updates on all three games, including the studio's eventual plans to unite all three games to be playable simultaneously (spoiler warning: it's planned, but don't expect it anytime soon), for you here.
Release date: Out Now
Genre: Action, Massively Multiplayer
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According to Wargaming.net representatives, World of Tanks continues to enjoy strong success in the studio's home country of Russia, though the company continues to make strides in expanding out of its motherland, having already established offices in Berlin, Paris, and California. The World of Tanks development team has grown to a whopping 600 people who are hard at work on the game's 7.0 update, which will add plenty of new features, including fully functioning global camouflage (currently, camouflage isn't always fully visible for all players). Future updates will also introduce new battle modes, such as Garage Battle, which will let each player in a standard 15-versus-15 match choose five different tanks based on certain criteria (such as point value) and then go into battle; if shot down, players will then respawn as the next tank in their remaining four until they run out of tanks and the game is over. Other modes include Assault (a team-based mode that puts one team on the attack and one on the defense); Encounter mode, a king-of-the-hill-like mode that requires each team to try to capture and hold a central point on the map; and Escort, a mode that requires one team to safely escort a computer-controlled VIP vehicle while the opposing team does its best to destroy it.
7.0 will also add new tanks and may or may not coincide with a separate, planned tier of French tanks dating back to the 1930s and up through the 1960s. Wargaming.net chief Victor Kislyi explained that several of these new French vehicles will be lightly armored, hit-and-run vehicles that can perform powerful ambushes using cartridge-based turrets, which can launch multiple shells in a single round (but require significant recovery time to reload). And generally speaking, Wargaming.net is also working on future enhancements for its large-scale clan warfare mode (also known as Ultimate Conquest) by adding new territories, such as North Africa, Korea, China, and Japan. The 7.0 update will launch "hopefully within the next month or so," though the developer plans to continue supporting the game with regular monthly updates.
Projected release date: "When It's Done"
Genre: Action, Massively Multiplayer
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World of Warplanes is Wargaming.net's next free-to-play online action game, and like the name implies, it'll be all about fighter planes rather than tanks. The game is in development in Wargaming.net's Kiev studio with a team of about 200 people, and like with World of Tanks, the vehicles you'll use will be from the mid-20th century, primarily from World War II. At launch, the flyable planes will mostly originate from the major world powers that participated in the conflict (the United States, England, and Japan, as well as planes from Germany and Russia). While the game is intended to have the same kind of accessible, action gamelike pace as World of Tanks, Wargaming.net's Kislyi suggested that the team is still doing some fine-tuning with regard to exactly how in depth it will make the control scheme. The current, alpha version of the game uses a simplified control scheme we saw in a brief, hands-off demo; at the moment, you can control your plane completely using nothing but your keyboard to turn, bank, accelerate, and slow down. Because you'll be airborne for the entire time--the game will not require you to sit through takeoff, though Wargaming.net is considering the possibility of letting players attempt a landing for bonus experience after a match ends--your aircraft will always be on the move. You will have only clouds to use as cover while you face threats not only in the sky from enemy ships, but also on the ground from antiair emplacements. And while you won't have to worry about your fuel running out, you'll still have to stay clear of terra firma because flying into a mountain will cause your ship to crash. This is an important concern because your ship's flight model will be affected if you've taken severe damage. The game will even model specific mechanical damage, such as shorn wings.
World of Warplanes' development team is still determining the sensitivity of the control inputs. In any case, the studio plans to support multiple types of controller input (keyboard and mouse, USB controller, and flightsticks) for the game when it eventually launches. And much more interestingly, the studio plans to (eventually) have Warplanes missions connected to Tanks missions in clan wars mode. The tentative plan is apparently to let Warplanes players struggle for air control over sectors of the clan wars map, with the winning team granting some sort of bonus (which has yet to be determined) to the Tanks players on the ground who belong to the same team for as long as that team maintains air control in that sector. Wargaming.net hopes to have the game in a beta state later this year.
Projected release date: "When It's Done"
Genre: Action, Massively Multiplayer
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World of Battleships is the third game in Wargaming.net's planned trio of games, and by its very nature, it'll be the game with the slowest pace. This is because you'll be controlling a warship of some type, such as a PT boat, destroyer, or some class of battleship. Then again, the term battleship itself is pretty broad and can refer to gunships that are merely huge or to truly colossal aircraft-carrier-style ships. Because battleships don't generally turn on a dime, the game experience in World of Battleships will be less about careful maneuvering and presumably more about timing, smart initial deployment, and repeated shelling of key targets. All of this must also be done while avoiding minefields and coastal batteries and capturing key control points and island bases. We're told that for the time being, Wargaming.net doesn't plan to implement submarines into the game, at least not at launch, because this tactical consideration could throw off entire matches, such as a 15-versus-15 battle in which a few players on one team decide to play as subs while no one on the other team makes the same decision. This kind of thing would make matches lopsided in a hurry, and the studio prefers to let players play the game with the vehicles they most enjoy rather than have them feel that someone has to play a different vehicle because the game mode requires it. The game was not in a playable form when we saw it, and because it's the third game to go into development (a team of about 60 is currently working on the game at Wargaming.net's St. Petersburg studio), it'll most likely be released after Warplanes or as Kislyi put it, "When it's done."
EVE developer CCP doesn't just make starships. In 2006, the studio merged with White Wolf Productions, publisher of such tabletop games as Vampire: The Masquerade, Mage: The Ascension, and World of Darkness. And some time ago, CCP announced it would be working on a World of Darkness-themed massively multiplayer online game. At White Wolf's Grand Masquerade event in New Orleans this weekend, representatives of the studio discussed a few high-level details, as mentioned by community site Wodnews.net.
Apparently, the new game will focus heavily on human interaction in an attempt to make the game seem less like a MMOG and more like live-action role playing. In the spirit of encouraging social gameplay, the game will apparently reward you for creating a network of allies--to model the politics in Vampire: The Masquerade and other WOD tabletop games. In fact, you'll apparently be able to ascend to the lofty rank of kindred prince without making a single kill. Princes will apparently run cities, and cities will be able to communicate with one another in some fashion.
All characters will start as humans but will have the choice to become "kindred" (vampires). Apparently, only these two types of characters will be available at launch. Other types of characters from the World of Darkness lore, such as mages and werewolves, will not be in at launch, but they may appear as non-player characters. As you might expect from CCP, the game is definitely planned to offer some form of player-versus-player competition, and the game is also planned to run on a single server, just like EVE.
Details are extremely scant on the game, and clearly, these are mostly high-level goals that are subject to change.
Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes is the PVP-focused spin-off of EA BioWare's (formerly EA Mythic's) massively multiplayer game Warhammer Online, which was itself based on the rich lore of Games Workshop's Warhammer: Fantasy Battles universe. But while Warhammer Online had a comprehensive player-versus-environment (PVE) game in which players joined characters from friendly factions to explore the countryside, complete quests (both private and public), and eventually gain experience levels, Wrath of Heroes strips away the story and quests and offers a pure PVP experience--one that has nothing to do with gaining in-game experience levels or picking up in-game loot but has everything to do with killing the other team as many times as possible.
The beta appears to currently be running on only one mode for the time being, a match type in which three different teams compete openly against each other and can kill each other off with no restrictions. This mode takes place on the beta map Mourkoun Temple, which has an actual stony temple in the middle of the map…and in the middle of a swamp full of fallen trees and uneven terrain. This map has four different node areas you can capture: three nodes on the map's outer extremities and a massive artifact in the middle of the temple (which is, again, in the middle of the map). It's certainly helpful to capture the nodes and the artifact, since they grant score multipliers whenever your team kills an enemy, but the only way to put actual points on the board is to bury enemy players in the ground.
So, although we successfully pulled off a few sneaky node captures all by our lonesome at the beginning of our beta session, we quickly realized that going off alone just meant that the rest of our team was down a man--and more likely to get killed off to inflate an enemy team's scores. The name of the game in this particular mode is sticking together, isolating targets of opportunity (especially lone players, if possible--better known to online game players as "ganking"), and taking as many of them with you as possible.
The mode lets you play as one of seven different character classes, and you can swap freely between them each time you die, similar to class-based shooters such as Battlefield. The professions include the black ork, the largest character in the beta, who is equipped with powerful melee attacks and the ability to knock a single enemy flat; the human bright wizard, whose flame spells can carpet a certain area with continuous damage; the goblin shaman, who primarily acts as a healer; the witch elf, who uses various types of magic to inflict debilitating effects; the elf shadow warrior, a powerful archer with long-ranged attacks; the vampiress, a spellcaster class that can drain her enemies' health; and the axe-wielding dwarf slayer, the beta's other melee profession.
We put in time with all of the game's classes and found each one to be devastatingly powerful only when used correctly, and less than worthless when stupidly trying to go solo. Thanks to its huge size, the hulking black ork looks like the strongest character right off the bat, and with strong backup behind him, he can shorten your enemies' life spans considerably by using his knockdown ability to pin an opponent to the ground while everyone else on the team whales on their immobilized victim. However, the class is also one of the slowest runners and has noticeably short range on his axe--he's a melee fighter, after all--so swifter enemies can run circles around him, particularly outdoors, and if you give chase to fleet-footed enemies without backup of your own, you'll find yourself quickly slowed or stunned and then chopped into mincemeat. Conversely, the goblin shaman seems like the weakest profession at a glance, since its abilities are primarily based on healing and providing bonuses to teammates, rather than dealing any sort of direct damage, but because the shaman has abilities that let him heal himself and any allies (such as placing a stationary talisman on the ground that radiates a healing aura), a properly played shaman seems like one of the hardest classes to kill. On the whole, ranges and spacing seem to be of paramount importance in Wrath of Heroes' battles--one of the best ways to avoid a deathstroke is to jump out of its range at the last second.
Currently, Wrath of Heroes' beta PVP skirmishes seem fast-paced and messy. Once the battle relocates to the inside of a temple--and it always seems to--the already-quick combat becomes even more frantic, and targeting individual enemies (you can cycle through nearby enemies by tapping your keyboard's Tab key) occasionally gets iffy, especially with friends and foes strafing around like mad and magic spell effects going off every second. Still, this is fast-paced PVP without having to grind for dozens of experience levels just to get there. In addition, Wrath of Heroes appears to have a persistent level system for your account that will increase with victories and kills. We imagine the level system will be tied to some sort of metagame with unlockable content and possibly some sort of talent tree, not unlike the rune system of League of Legends, though EA hasn't confirmed exactly what this level system will mean.
Age of Empires Online is the new free-to-play, persistent online real-time strategy game that just launched today, and it has a rich real-time strategy heritage. You've hopefully heard of the Age of Empires series--a group of RTS games that combined world history with resource management and horseman rushes that won all our hearts, until publisher Microsoft shut down its developer, Ensemble Studios, in 2008. From the ashes of Ensemble rose Robot Entertainment, a small, independent studio that established and built the initial versions of what we now know as Age of Empires Online before passing the game off to Gas Powered Games, the Seattle-based studio responsible for the Supreme Commander series. Now, Gas Powered is acting as a full-on development studio for Age of Empires Online, while Microsoft plays the role of the publisher, and will provide customer support for the game now that it has launched.
Age of Empires Online lets you choose to play as one of several different ancient civilizations, such as the Greeks or the Egyptians, and build up a persistent estate (which functions in a manner similar to player housing in other massively multiplayer games). You can build up your estate with various improvements you'll earn through playing, as well as with cosmetic enhancements (such as statues of Greek gods) which you can purchase from the in-game store. Yes, like pretty much all other free-to-play online games, Age of Empires Online will have a microtransaction-based cash-op store where you can buy optional in-game content, such as additional adventure boosters for $5 or additional "premium" playable civilizations for $20. However, the vast majority of the game's content is being made available free of charge, including its many, many quests, the majority of which can be performed either alone or with a friend.
We briefly took the game for a spin by taking on a simple cooperative mission as the Greeks to destroy an enemy monument located at a far corner of the map. The mission worked a whole lot like what you'd expect from an Age of Empires strategy game--we started off with a small stronghold with several prebuilt structures such as a barracks and an archery range, and with a handful of villagers whom we sent to harvest food, wood, and gold so that we could build up additional buildings to create artillery units like ballistae and catapults. Since we were playing a press demo, our nation was already fairly advanced along its technology tree and ready to "age up" to era III--a classic game mechanic from the Age of Empires series that signifies that you've researched enough new improvements to reach the next tier of technology (and with it, its many improvements). We found ourselves quickly and easily selecting our premade hoplites, archers, and cavalry and driving off small invasion skirmishes with the help of a second player--a representative from Microsoft playing as Egypt who helpfully watched our flank while we poked blindly at the keyboard, gradually remembering our old hotkeys.
As you might expect from a mission like this, it wasn't enough for us to take the tiny starting battalions under our control to conquer the mission, so we churned out as many additional units (along with heavy-duty ballistae) as we possibly could while our partner also aged up to recruit siege towers. With both siege towers and ballistae, and a throng of infantry and cavalry supported by Egyptian priest units (which heal nearby injured allies), we gradually rolled our way northward, picking off small pockets of resistance until we found the enemy monument, guarded by arrow towers and various enemy units. Since we were grossly overprepared for the conflict, we managed to squash our enemies flat, especially since the game appears to have an intuitive rock-paper-scissors balance between unit types. (That's a fancy way of saying that ballistae eat arrow towers for lunch.)
Age of Empires Online has officially launched and is now playable for a sweetheart price of free (plus microtransactions for additional content boosters and civilizations).
Trion Worlds announced today that its upcoming massively multiplayer online real-time strategy game End of Nations will be free to play. Developed by Petroglyph Games (Star Wars: Empire at War), the game puts players in control of a small group of units and encourages them to work with their teammates to achieve victory. "We see End of Nations as a core real-time strategy game," said Dave Luehmann, vice president of third-party development at Trion. The Western market is starting to come around to the idea of free to play, he explained, and we feel by using this model, it will lower the barrier to entry for a lot of players.
"You cannot buy your way to the top," added David Reid, senior vice president of publishing at Trion. Reid went on to say that the types of items you'll be able to buy will include unit skins, accelerators for experience gain or wealth, and other customization options. And most of these items can be purchased using wealth you earn in the game. All of the game's features, both solo and multiplayer, will also be available free of charge. The shop will be largely for convenience items only, and if you know you won't be spending any money on the game, Reid noted that you won't have to enter your credit card information to access it.
Trion also announced that End of Nations will be receiving a collector's edition, both digital and physical. The physical version will be the only version of the game available at retail, and it will include in-game extras, as well as actual collector's items (what these items are specifically is still unconfirmed). Prepaid game cards will also be available at retail. The digital version of the collector's edition will only include the in-game extras.
There's a new game mode on the way for League of Legends. It's called Dominion, and we got the chance to play it last week at a Riot Games press event here in San Francisco. The mode is a capture-and-hold game type, similar in concept to Relic's Dawn of War II multiplayer mode but with all the chaos of a League of Legends game. During the announcement, Travis Geroge, lead producer at Riot, explained how Dominion is much faster than the game's standard mode, with matches clocking in at about 20 minutes. "And there are no hopeless moments in Dominion," he added, "only heroic ones."
When you start a game of Dominion, both five-player teams are given a set number of points. The goal is to decrease the other team's point total to zero by capturing and holding the control points. There are five control points total located along the outer rim of a large, circular map called The Crystal Scar. The control points are also towers, and they will fire on you if held by the enemy. An enemy turret will stop firing once you start capturing it; however, if you get hit by an enemy champion while doing so, you will be interrupted and won't be able to start capturing the point again for a few seconds.
At the center of The Crystal Scar lies a pair of powerful new buffs, one for your team and one for the enemy. Each buff is a storm shield, which can be picked up by one champion on either team, and which offers both defensive and offensive benefits. It will provide a boost to defensive stats for your champion, as well as periodically strike nearby enemies with a bolt of lighting. The storm shield will recharge if you're not being attacked, but once it inevitably wears out, the buff will reappear back at the center of the map. Unfortunately, you can't swipe the opposing team's buff. That means the only way you can keep it out of their hands is to kill off their champions before they can even get to it.
In between the outer rim and the center are health relics and speed shrines. Health relics are similar to health items in a first-person shooter and provide a small refill to your champion's health and mana/energy. Speed shrines are platforms your champion can walk across to receive a temporary boost in movement speed. While there are no neutral monster camps on The Crystal Scar, the minion waves have been improved. Now each minion wave includes one new minion that falls between the standard and super minion types. Minions can also help your team capture a tower, but they will kill themselves soon after successfully doing so.
When our turn finally came to try out Dominion, we snatched up Karthus--a spell-casting hero known for his debilitating magic-based powers--and hit the field. In our arsenal was the new garrison summoner spell, which replaces fortify, the spell that would shield turrets. When used on an ally turret, this spell would heal degradation it took from an enemy capture attempt and make it fire faster. When used on an enemy turret, it greatly reduced the amount of damage the turret dealt. We could have also taken the promote summoner spell. Making its return in Dominion, promote transforms one of the new minion types mentioned earlier into a much more powerful version of itself.
To help encourage quick conflict in Dominion, every champion starts at level three with 1,375 gold. Within the first five minutes of being let off the platform, both sides were already fighting over capture points and racking up kills. There was very little time to relax at any point during the match. As soon as we advanced on one turret, we'd have to turn around and recapture another. Even finding time to kill off the enemy's minion waves for gold and experience was though. Once we started getting a feel for the mode, we found it was often better to let a kill slip by to guard or recapture a control point. Too often we would see players chase an enemy across the map only to have that enemy's teammate roll up and snatch our point away.
Just as Riot said, it was a close game right up until the end. Once it was over, we felt a little drained but ready for more. The match itself was essentially 20 minutes of the most intense moments from Summoner's Rift--the location of the game's primary five-versus-five game mode. We can't wait to dive back into Dominion, but Riot wasn't ready to reveal a release date. Nonetheless, we'll keep you updated as we learn more about this new mode.
Yes, you heard that right. Apparently, if you've downloaded the free version but never bought anything, you're not a free-to-play Team Fortress 2 customer.
And if you have every bought anything for Team Fortress 2, you're a "premium" customer, which means a bigger backpack, better items, and all blueprints. It also means a "proof of purchase" hat.
More details are at the official Team Fortress site.
A touch of Lovecraftian horror is coming to the world of RIFT. Locked deep in the cursed halls of Hammerknell fortress, a twisted high priest of an ancient water god teeters on the edge of awakening his sleeping master. The only thing that can stop him is you and 19 of your highest-level buddies in one of the most challenging raids in RIFT to date. During this year's E3, we got to tour this upcoming area and see some of the deadly enemies players will face.
Our tour began outside of Hammerknell fortress during stage four of this global, five-stage event. By this point, the planes of death and water were at each other's elemental throats. Their supernatural scuffle had produced disastrous effects on the world of Telara, culminating in a permanent rainstorm against a cloudy, purple sky. The raid itself started off with a bang as our character bombarded the doors of the fortress with magically infused cannonballs. Provisioning these cannonballs will be one of the many ways players can take part in this event outside of the Hammerknell fortress raid.
What followed next was a gauntlet of 10 deadly boss encounters, each with its own special tricks and traps to confound players expecting a more traditional raid. One of these encounters was against Estrode, a massive, winged humanoid enemy that looked not unlike a certain queen from StarCraft lore. It was explained that her fight involves a lot of devastating area-of-effect attacks that will be tricky to avoid given her arena's small size. Group coordination will be key to overcoming this encounter.
Another tricky fight we saw occurred toward the end of the raid. This time, we faced off against Jornaru, the high priest of the water god mentioned earlier. After beating this 10-foot-tall half-man, half-crustacean back into the water, we needed to give chase onto some crumbling stone platforms. These platforms will collapse into the deep after a certain amount of time, and any players caught flatfooted will be out of the fight for the rest of the raid. After fending off Jornaru a second time, we faced off against both him and his slumbering master.
Based on what we saw, this new raid looks down right brutal. Players who come out the victor will receive the best gear in the game, as well as plenty of secondary items. These include numerous vanity items, including a mount for one of the raid's early bosses. Players can sink their teeth into this challenging new content once the 1.3 is released on June 22.
While the Electronic Entertainment Expo is known for giving fans a peek into the year's marquee titles, it's also a great place for stumbling upon interesting games that may otherwise fly under the radar. One of these lesser-known games is End of Nations, a massively multiplayer online real-time strategy game from developer Petroglyph (Universe at War: Earth Assault). The game puts players in control of a small squadron of units, which they must use in concert with their allies' troops in battles that can support more than 50 players. We got the chance to go hands-on with this game and test our tactical prowess against some the E3 attendees.
Our demonstration began on the character creation screen where you create your general and choose either the Liberation Front or the Shadow Revolution to join. To use StarCraft as a comparison, The Liberation Front was like the Terrans. Its units are tough, bulky, and rely mostly on brute force to get the job done. On the other hand, the Liberation Front was more like the Zerg. Its units are lighter and quicker; it is the only faction with access to cloaking technology. Once we were squared away, it was time to review the world map. This screen showed the (numerous) contested areas where we could take part in missions against other players or the AI-controlled Order of Nations faction.
But, before we headed into battle, we needed to visit our armory first. From here, we selected which units to use in combat. We could roll with all of one type of unit or bring a variety. Unit types included infantry, light and heavy armored vehicles, helicopters, and artillery. Ideally, we would have coordinated with our teammates on who should bring what so that we didn't have any holes in our forces. In practice, we just grabbed a handful of troops and jumped right into battle. We could have also coordinated on our unit's paint job or upgrades--which tweak a unit type's health, range, or other stats.
Even though this was our first time playing the game, it immediately felt familiar once we hit the battlefield. Left click and hold to drag a selection box; right click to move. We knew the drill. Our mission was simple: Wipe out the enemy's base on the far side of the map. Everything started out well. We captured a resource point and even drove an enemy armored squadron into retreating. We were feeling pretty good, but then, the helicopters arrived. Our squadron had no air units of its own, and only three light antiair vehicles. Our representative from publisher Trion also saw this and suggested we build an armor depot and a few turrets to bolster our defenses. Even with these additions, the enemy's air units made quick work of our ill-equipped ground units.
Similar to Relic Entertainment's Company of Heroes series, the maps in End of Nations were littered with tactical points for us to capture. Doing so earned us tactical currency used primarily for building defensive structures, such as defense-boosting armor depots and deadly turrets. It could also be used for repairing units or activating our commander's special abilities. When a unit was destroyed in this game, it wasn't lost forever. Instead, its flaming corpse remained on the field until we had enough tactical points to repair it. Once repaired, the unit would respawn at the nearest spawn point that was under our control. Our commander's special abilities also took tactical points and could turn the tide of a battle if timed correctly. These included such destructive forces as tactical nukes, landmines, EMP blasts, and noxious clouds.
From what we played, End of Nations was largely a war of attrition, both on and off the battlefield. On the battlefield, we were fighting to gradually push our skirmish line forward by capturing the tactical points and reinforcing them with defensive structures. Off the battlefield, we were working to tip the scale on a territory in our faction's favor. A territory is not won with a single victory but, rather, with numerous victories that gradually push it over the edge to one side or another.
And if your side gets too far behind, don't worry. In three-month intervals, the world of End of Nations will be reset. Before that happens, you and your faction can earn numerous bonuses for controlling the major territories of the world. However, don't think that just because you joined the winning team in the 11th hour, you'll earn all those rewards. The developers are tweaking the bonuses you will receive based on various factors, such as level of contribution. We'll be sure to keep our eye on this game.
E3 2011 is the place where new games and new game content are shown, and as it happens, one game showing off new content is Vindictus, the free-to-play, persistent-world, 3D beat-'em-up from publisher Nexon. While this colorful online action game powered by Valve Software's Source engine has been out in the wild for some time, it continues to receive postlaunch content updates. The next update is scheduled to launch on June 15 and will bring with it Karok, the brawler.
Karok is a mountain of a man who wields a massive stone pillar as his weapon in battle, though he can apparently swap this out for a massive hammer during later levels. The character can wear heavy armor and has the unique ability to parry the attacks of boss monsters--all other characters in the game are forced to either dodge the attacks of Vindictus' massive bosses or get knocked flat. Karok moves noticeably more slowly than other characters in the game but hits extremely hard and finishes off low-level foes in a couple of hits.
We played through a very brief instance--the latter part of the new dungeon that is debuting on the 15th--to hack through a few low-level bad guys before finally challenging the boss, a huge demonic humanoid wearing heavy armor and wielding a massive blade. Because Karok doesn't have the speed of a Lann or a Fiona, we had trouble avoiding some of this brute's incoming attacks, but tenaciously getting back on our feet (and respawning a couple of times) did the job, and we eventually defeated it. This powerful critter is one of two new raid bosses being added to the game along with this new dungeon, the brawler character, and an entirely overhauled dungeon visit system. Previously, you needed to possess in-game tokens to hop onto the boat that dropped you off at the next dungeon so that you could hunt monsters, gain treasures, and gain experience. In-game tokens were originally in short supply (though they could be purchased from the in-game cash-op for real-world money). As of June 15, the token system goes away completely, and all players can hop onto the boat as often as they like.
E3 2011 is all about new and upcoming games, and one such game is APB Reloaded, GamersFirst's revamped version of Realtime Worlds' dearly departed online game. Reloaded just recently went into open beta, but the team at GamersFirst is still hard at work on new improvements to add to the game in the coming weeks and months between now and the game's planned official launch later this year.
In the near term, player matchmaking is getting overhauled, and larger-scale clan warfare battles are being added. The current player matchmaking system, which is purely point based, is getting thrown out completely for a system modeled after the Glico scoring system used by certain tournament chess organizations. In a nutshell, this new ranking system will give players a rank between one and 30 (bronze rank one through 10, silver rank one through 10, and gold rank one through 10) based on past and recent engagements, which will more accurately and more currently gauge a player's skill level. It will also use this algorithm to place players in one of the game's 70 districts that is closest to their current rank. This algorithm will be used for clan wars, larger-scale eight-versus-eight or 20-versus-20 battles that will take place in specific districts designated for clan warfare. Winning clans may get to leave their mark on the district with persistent markers that remain in the world for a time, even after they log out.
Further out, the GamersFirst team is working on implementing two additional ways to play: racing and Asylum. The former is a full-on racing experience that will take place in new districts specifically designed for vehicle racing. These new areas will be smaller than normal districts and consist mainly of roads adorned with power-up items (such as speed boosts) to make them conducive to player racing. The latter is a new district that was once a mental institute but is now a close-quarters combat arena with a layout that's significantly different from the open-world city streets of APB. The idea for the arena is to provide more of an immediate head-to-head shooter experience among smaller teams, similar to Half-Life: Counter-Strike, though the entire Asylum district will be one big arena, so it's not clear exactly how the details will work.
While overhauled matchmaking and clan wars are planned for the next two weeks of open beta, racing and Asylum are scheduled to be added to the game in the coming months. APB Reloaded is tentatively scheduled for a full launch this August.
E3 2011 continues in sunny Los Angeles, California, and new games are being unveiled left and right. One of these new games is Wizardry Online, which is to be published in Japan by Gamepot and developed by Japanese free-to-play online game developer Headlock Games. Though details on the game remain scarce, principals from both companies were in attendance at an off-the-floor event to introduce this new project.
Headlock CEO Nobuyuki Okada suggested that Wizardry Online will be a difficult game that "delights in killing the player." The game will feature the dreaded "perma-death," which is permanent death for your character if you die too many times; in this case, it was twice. Like in the classic Wizardry games first created by Sir-Tech Canada, in Wizardry Online, your first death will turn your body to ash (and as it turns out, classic locations like the Adventurer's Inn, Gilgamesh's Tavern, and Boltac's Trading Post will return in the game). You'll then become a ghost with one last shot of recovering your corpse and whatever belongings are left on it. If you fail, your character becomes extinct...dead forever.
Mr. Okada suggested that the game's permanent death and considerable difficulty, inspired by online games 10 years gone by such as EverQuest and Ultima Online, will make for a strong point of differentiation from the games of today. The executive suggested they are "well designed," but "monsters serve only to provide you with enough experience to gain your next level." In many cases, it may be wiser simply to try to run for your life.
Even though the game will make references to the classic games of yore, the executive insisted that it will very much be a modern free-to-play game that will be "challenging but fair," and it will reward "strategic and skillful play," without requiring exceptional reflexes. As a free-to-play game, Wizardry Online will earn revenue through microtransactions, though exactly what will be sold in the cash-op store hasn't been revealed. The game will, however, run on PCs with DirectX 9 and all modern versions of Windows. Headlock has also made arrangements with Japanese rock band Dir En Grey, which provided music for the game's debut trailer. Wizardry Online is scheduled to launch later this year in Japan and next year in Europe and North America.
E3 2011 is underway and plenty of upcoming games, like Cryptic Studios' Neverwinter, are being shown. Despite the fact that Cryptic was recently acquired by free-to-play game publisher Perfect World, Neverwinter is still being published by Atari (which still has the rights to publish Dungeons & Dragons-licensed games), though the actual game isn't being shown at the convention. Instead, an updated version of the Foundry toolset, which debuted in Star Trek Online in what producer Andy Velasquez described as a "version 0.1 beta state," was shown. The Cryptic staffer suggested that Neverwinter's version of Foundry will be much more robust and went on to fire up the engine to give us a demonstration.
The toolset in Neverwinter will let users start building their own custom adventure using one of four different building blocks: story, map, dialogue, or costumes. Story is the conceptual backbone of the game's user-generated content and can be built by stringing together dialogue sequences (which you write) arranged any way you like. These include multiple options in a dialogue tree and "fail states" that may end the conversation prematurely. You can write branching dialogue tree options or string them together by dragging them back into the same sequence. For instance, you can create a dialogue situation where no matter what you say to a hostile enemy, it attacks you.
If story is the conceptual backbone of the game's UGC, maps are the structural backbone. The updated Foundry map editor seems quite powerful and easy enough to use. While you can craft your own rooms, the editor will also come with dozens of preset rooms that you can drag and drop into your maps, connecting them by lining up their doorways. Better still, the editor will let you test out the dialogues and maps you've built by hopping into and out of a live mode to see what they look like in action. We watched Velasquez put together a simple dungeon full of undead in about 15 minutes, and what we ended up with was what looked like an actual adventure or, at least, a small portion of one. More interestingly, Neverwinter will let you integrate your custom content with the persistent, out-of-the-box content that Cryptic is building with the game, such as by keying up one of your custom quests from a dialogue with a guard from the city of Nevewinter proper.
Unfortunately, no actual gameplay was shown from the final game, but Velasquez did share some story details. Apparently, Neverwinter will take place in the fictitious year 1479 DR (that's Dale Reckoning, fellow Forgotten Realms aficionados). It's about 100 years after the time period usually explored in previous Forgotten Realms games (such as the previous Neverwinter Nights games) and in licensed novels, such as R.A. Salvatore's Icewind Dale Trilogy. The world has undergone The Cataclysm, which is an event that has caused magic to seep out of the world and triggered natural disasters, such as the volcano eruption that leveled the city of Neverwinter. At the start of the game, a noble lord from Waterdeep has sanctioned the rebuilding of Neverwinter, and your character arrives to help with the reconstruction efforts.
We still don't know much about the in-box game that Cryptic is crafting for Neverwinter, but it's clear that the game will have powerful tools, which will let dedicated users create plenty of new content. Neverwinter is scheduled to ship later this year.
If you look past the sounds, sights, sounds, smells, and ear-splitting sounds of E3 2011, you'll find plenty of intriguing new games on display, including Defiance, the next game from Trion Worlds' San Diego studio. This unusual shooter will be massively multiplayer (just like Trion's other projects, Rift and End of Nations); it will appear on the PC, the Xbox 360, and the PlayStation 3; and it'll share its name with an upcoming SyFy Network TV series based on the game, as well as its ongoing events. The TV series is being written by screenwriter Rockne O'Bannon, whose previous writing credits include the motion picture Alien Nation and the TV series Farscape.
Defiance takes place within a near-future version of the city of San Francisco that has been partially terraformed by an army of invading aliens. Apparently, the majority of the alien invasion was averted, but the extraterrestrials have still dug in on terra firma, and it's up to players--armed with futuristic weaponry and extraordinary powers--to go on the proverbial bug hunt. We watched a brief but impressive demonstration of the game running simultaneously on the same back-end server--but on the front end played simultaneously with one character on an Xbox 360, another character on a PS3, and a third character playing on a PC--in real time, together, in the same world and in the same adventuring party. While this is no small technical feat, it sadly won't make its way into the final game because the consoles' publishers obviously want to keep their online services exclusive to their own customers.
The session we watched showed players running through what appeared to be a leafy, forested park, but it was partially transformed with weirdly colorful alien flora. We watched as the team of three characters (which the developers suggested were "mid-level" characters dressed in blocky, Master Chief-esque armor suits) sprinted through the area, taking down small pockets of alien invaders using both their powerful assault rifles and various unique abilities. These included a cloaking ability that rendered one character temporarily invisible and an electronic lasso that pulled a single enemy closer--switching the angry alien's attention (known to online game players as "aggro") to the lasso's user.
The group then took on a quest (known in the game as a mission) by entering a mission area, without having to talk to anybody or hunt down any quest items. The mission area was called The Tar Pit (as indicated by a collapsed neon sign with the name written in huge letters) and was a swampy area that seemed suspiciously out of place. Any Californian will tell you that there aren't any tar pits in San Francisco, where the game is supposed to take place; they're all in Los Angeles. In any case, this mission required the team to hunt down "99ers," a group of mining robots originally sent by the alien invaders to harvest minerals. The 99ers went rogue and are now attacking Earth's population of humans and friendly aliens (in the game, you'll be able to play as either a human or as a member of a friendly alien race). This area had a good amount of varying elevation and even had several mounted turrets in key locations, which one player used to provide cover to his other two teammates as they rushed in on the low ground.
The final in-game leg of our journey was something called an arkfall, which was more than a little reminiscent of the rift events in Trion Worlds' recently launched Rift. The idea is that the aliens arrived in the Earth's atmosphere on huge starships called arks, and although the invasion was halted before it became a full-on siege, numerous arks remain in the sky and occasionally come plummeting down. We watched an ark land with a spectacular crash and then spread open into a trio of red, fleshy pillars surrounding an enormous blue crystal. Trion representatives suggested that the crystal was hugely valuable if recovered and that other aliens coveted this prize, which is why more aliens happened to appear and attack the small band of adventurers. After diligently gunning down the opportunistic aliens, the group focused its fire on the gigantic crystal to dislodge it from the fallen ship, but the crystal shattered. It revealed an enormous, blue alien monstrosity with a spiky lion's mane that assumed an animalistic, four-footed stance and lunged at one of the characters as the game demo abruptly drew to a close.
At this point, Trion representatives took the opportunity to speak about the connection between the game and the television show. Specifically, events that take place in the game might be reflected on the TV show in one of two ways. As an example, the developers offered that characters from the show, which apparently may take place in other parts of the world than just San Francisco (such as Saint Louis, Missouri), may make an appearance in the game to attend an in-game event and then return to their other location (again, such as Saint Louis, Missouri) and make mention of their time in San Francisco on the following TV episode. The other way you'll be able to get on TV will be to become a highly accomplished player who has gone through huge amounts of the game's content; the characters of these hardcore players may get mentioned on a future episode of the show.
There's a lot that has yet to be disclosed about Defiance (such as its pricing structure: free-to-play or subscription-based?), but we can say that it's already an entirely unique game. No other game has been tied in real time to an ongoing television show in this manner, and it should be interesting to see how this relationship plays out. Defiance will be launched sometime later this year for the PC, the Xbox 360, and the PS3.
The 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo in is full swing, and today we were summoned to Riot Games' booth to check out some of the updates coming to League of Legends. Travis George, lead producer on the game, was there to talk us through three upcoming champions, as well as show off Spectator mode. "Our driving belief has been to make a game players would want to pay for," said George, "and we've got a lot of people who are working on more than just champions."
Three champions that are in the works are Yorick, the grave digger; Leona, the radiant dawn; and Skarner, the crystal vanguard. Yorick is Riot's take on the necromancer archetype. Similar in concept to Sona's auras or Udyr's stances, Yorick is all about managing three abilities in harmony. Each of his three main abilities summons a ghoul, which dies fast and prioritizes attacking enemy champions. There is an immediate effect when the ghoul is summoned, and each ghoul type has its own special properties. His first (decay ghoul) causes a small blast of damage and slows enemies around him. This ghoul has its own aura that slows enemies and will automatically seek out enemy champions to attack.
The other two ghouls, ravenous and spectral, are still being worked on but will grant bonuses to life steal and attack speed, respectively. Yorick's passive will increase his stats so long as one ghoul is active, thus making skillful ghoul juggling a must for effective play. Finally, his ultimate is shaping up to be a skill shot that fires in a straight line, sending a wave of grasping skeleton hands that root champions. The skill may be modified so that nearby ghouls will focus on rooted champions, but it's still a work in progress.
Because Leona and Skarner aren't as far along in development, we didn't get as concise a breakdown. In broad terms, Leona is Riot's answer to the community's requests for a true female tank (sorry Kayle). Her character concept is built around the sun, with several crowd control abilities. These culminate in her ultimate: a global area-of-effect nuke that initially slows champions caught by it in a blinding ray of sunlight. After a moment, a beam of solar energy will crash down, stunning and damaging those hit. Skarner is a massive, purple scorpion made of crystal and built to focus on enemy champions one at a time while keeping others at bay. One idea George would share for this champion was the ability to physically pull enemy champions toward Skarner using its tail.
In addition to the new champions, Spectator mode was also shown. When doing research into how information should be presented to the player, George and the team at Riot turned to ESPN and other sports broadcasts to see how they formatted their information. At the top of the screen is a large blue-and-purple score tracker that tallies each side's total team kills, gold, and towers destroyed. The sides of the screen show vertical lists of each team's champions, with icons indicating individual summoner spells and the status of ultimates. Finally, the bottom has a full scoreboard that can be toggled on and off, as well as a chat window and minimap.
To help prevent foul play, Spectator mode has about a minute of built in lag (the exact number is still being tweaked). Riot is also still working on how many players will be able to spectate a match at once and would only commit to supporting one spectator per match at the moment. These additions, and many more that George was eager to reveal, are on the way and should be arriving before the year's end.
The 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo is in full swing, as are ongoing press demonstrations for TERA, the hybrid action massively multiplayer game from Blue Hole and En Masse. At a closed demonstration, representatives from En Masse gave us another chance to play through a part of the game after briefly discussing one of the game's previously unrevealed features: its political system.
In TERA, once your character reaches the game's experience level limit, you'll be eligible for the office of "vanarch," which is the ruler of one of the game's numerous provinces. There will be two different paths to power, based either on popular votes or on ranking in the game's player-versus-player arenas. If your character is well liked enough (or has deep enough pockets to bribe a significant population of voters), you can be voted into office; otherwise, you can seize the title if your character reaches the absolute paragon peak of PVP.
As vanarch, you can make several choices, such as levying higher or lower taxes on goods sold within the province, enabling skill trainers or special merchants, and even temporarily imprisoning players who cause too much trouble. You and your guildmates will also gain access to special vanarch-only mounts--horses adorned with fancy red barding. However, the En Masse representatives suggested that to stay in power, you'll need to maintain popular support, either through continual campaigning or by earning special points that can be gained only from exceptionally challenging vanarch-only quests.
Our play session involved the latter type of quest. In this case, it was to enter a burned-out, lava-filled zone called the Burning Vale , which GameSpot unveiled earlier this year. We joined a five-character party that consisted of a healer, two frontline fighters, an archer, and our character who was a sorcerer equipped with fire, ice, and electricity spells. Just as we did with our previous sorcerer character, we kept this character safely behind the rest of the party because, as you might expect, we were a lot more fragile and weren't wearing any heavy armor. We rode into the battle astride our swanky vanarch steeds and then dismounted when we discovered the scaly brute. Like with all other boss monsters we've seen in TERA, this one was huge and had many special abilities, such as leaping high into the air and making a flaming dive-bomb attack downward. This knocked us off our feet with a swipe of its tail, and then it burrowed underground temporarily only to leap out of the earth in a different location later.
Fortunately, from our vantage point behind the frontliners, the battle didn't seem too costly. We lost one of our swordsmen (who had to be revived by our healer), but otherwise, our party kept a steady stream of hurt going on the beast. We did what we could to contribute by repeatedly tossing every damaging spell we had at it, taking special care to use our more-damaging (but slower) area-of-effect spells whenever our warriors could briefly stun the beast. Because there were other wandering monsters in the area, we were a lot less aggressive in this battle than we otherwise might have been, and we weaved in and out of battle while constantly checking our flanks for additional foes. It's likely that we did much less damage than we probably should have been doing because we didn't have too many opportunities to use TERA's combination attacks. The sorcerer, like other characters in the game, has basic attack abilities that set up a specific follow-up attack. This deals bonus damage and can be triggered with a simple tap of the space bar. Finally, the brute tumbled to the ground, and our party claimed victory, and the demo came to a close.
TERA remains an unusual entry into the world of massively multiplayer games, and with any luck, the game's political system will add more depth for high-level players who have killed all the monsters there are to kill. The game will be released later this year.
Such games as Castle Crasher or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game might not be the first that come to mind when thinking of a free-to-play massively multiplayer online role-playing game. But that's just the comparison developer Stairways Games is going for with Rusty Hearts. This game fits into the new breed of MMORPGs where the fast-paced, combo-centric combat feels more akin to Devil May Cry than World of Warcraft. We got the chance to go hands-on with the game and discover what other tweaks Stairways Games has planned for the action role-playing genre.
Of the three premade characters available, we were assigned to play Angela: a sassy, scythe-wielding warrior described as a cross between tank and healer. That's right, instead of having you build a hero from the ground up, the game has you choose from a set of three (through there was a fourth blacked-out silhouette). The justification for breaking one of MMORPG's most sacred features stems from the game's anime inspiration. In addition to its iconic art style, anime has always been known for its high drama and character-centered storylines. Stairways Games wants to channel some of that drama here and believes the story would have more of an impact using pre-established characters.
The game's control layout was also a bit different. You don't use the traditional WASD keys for movement or the number keys for spells. Instead, movement is handled with the arrows keys and your attacks are mapped all across the left side of the keyboard, similar to several real-time strategy games. If the keyboard configuration doesn't do it for you, the game has also been optimized to support gamepads. We actually played the entire demo using an Xbox 360 gamepad, and it worked surprisingly well. Our character's basic attacks and jump were mapped to the controller's face buttons, while her special abilities were handled with the shoulder buttons. Pressing B switched the set of special abilities she had access to, which allowed us to utilize the whole of our magical arsenal.
The layout of Rusty Hearts was similar in concept to the world of Guild Wars. There was a large, communal hub world where characters could interact with each other, visit shops, join a guild, or otherwise make hang out. Once we had our party in order, we headed into one of the game's numerous dungeons. Each dungeon was broken down into several sections, with each section being an instanced encounter with an adjustable difficulty setting. True to its arcade inspirations, the combat itself was fast and chaotic. Juggling between scythe and sorcery was a snap as we slew our way from one room to the next.
Once the dungeon section was cleared, we got the chance to play a card-flipping memory game to earn some extra loot. However, even this simple minigame was madness because all the players who participated in the dungeon got to play at the same time using the same set of cards. We could also find additional items for sale using our own money; however, these were predominately convince items (such as health or experience buffs) and cosmetic items. Overall, we had a fun time with the game, though it remains to be seen what impact not having a character creation will have. Rusty Hearts will start its open beta later this year.
Perfect World's upcoming free-to-play online game RaiderZ has no qualms with scooping up your character and swallowing it whole. Or dragging it across the ground. Or tossing it into the air. It's an online action role-playing game with extensive grappling that allows it hulking monsters to get physical with your would-be heroes. Using both the Unreal Engine 3 and the latest in Nvidia's PhysX technology, the game is going to have the technical backing necessary to really beat your character to a pulp. We got a brief, hands-on demo of the game where we got smacked around by some of the game's hostile inhabitants.
Similar in ways to the Monster Hunter series, RaiderZ is all about traveling a lush world hunting down monsters and whooping the living tar out of them. From their lifeless corpses, you can recover rare and exotic items to craft better pieces of equipment to hunt even bigger game and forge even better gear. It's the circle of life. Against some foes, you can tear away their weapons (or limbs) to use yourself. While fighting a massive troll, we managed to knock its club out of its hands and turn it against its former owner. However, these items are temporary bonuses and disappear after a set amount of time.
Unlike the paladins, warriors, and mages of other massively multiplayer online RPGs, players do not choose from hard-coded classes in RaiderZ . Instead, your character's abilities are built up gradually by mixing and matching abilities within the game's different skill tress. Naturally, this systems lends itself to endless tweaking and iteration so the developers aren't afraid to let you re-spec your character on a whim. One of the characters we saw (but didn't play) was a hybrid of the defender and cleric skill tress, making it a paladin of sorts. RaiderZ uses a non-targeting system when casting spells, so line-of-sight and battlefield awareness are paramount. When our hero needed to heal someone, it had to get in range and manually position an icon over the intended target (instead of merely clicking on it).
While pounding monsters to a pulp is pleasing enough for some, fashion is a big draw for many players. In case bulky suits of armor or an all-studded leather ensemble isn't your thing, RaiderZ lets players equip a second layer of fashion to mask your unsightly armor. And the game has no shortage of cosmetic options, especially if you pay a visit to the cash-op store. However, don't expect to buy your way to victory because most of the items are either for convenience or fashion. Publisher Perfect World wasn't ready to set down a release date just yet, but it would confirm that the hunt should begin sometime in 2012.
Blacklight: Tango Down was a fast-paced console-style shooter where life was cheap and headshots were fatal. The next game from Tango Down's developer, Blacklight: Retribution, will be just as brutal, but it will have a very different price tag. This time around, developer Zombie Studios is teaming up with publisher Perfect World Entertainment to offer a free-to-play pricing model. Alongside some of the Zombie Studio devs, we dove in to see how this shooter is coming together.
In Retribution, we were not restricted by a specific character class. Instead, our character's abilities were determined by the items and equipment we brought into battle. And like many of Perfect World's games, Retribution's suite of character customization options were extensive. However, the game's selection was a bit more practical, which meant we were no longer just buying lavish outfits and new hairstyles. Nearly every item worn by our avatar influenced his performance. A bulky chest piece granted additional health and armor, while a new leg enhancement increased the number of weapons we could carry.
Gun modifications were just as important as the Kevlar on our back. Similar to the modification options in Brink, Retribution's gun customizations included magazine sizes, ammunition types, and even different muzzle flashes. After the guns, the next most important tool at our disposal was the Hyper Reality Vision system. Described as "legalized wall-hacking," the HRV system allowed us to look through the geometry to see our enemies and allies. It only lasted for about three seconds with each use and had to recharge between uses. If we formulated a plan to flank our enemies, they could use the HRV to spy our approach and set up for a counterattack. However, we could see them repositioning and then reposition ourselves accordingly. This gave the action a distinct cat-and-mouse feel--provided all the animals also carried firearms.
Guns and goggles are nice, but for the truly outlandish armaments, we turned to the numerous weapon depots conveniently scattered throughout every map. As we fought, our character earned currency, which he could spend at one of these stations to unlock a devastating new weapon. Zombie Studios has plenty of ideas for these destructive tools, but what it had to show off included a flamethrower, rocket launcher, and a robotic hard suit. The flamethrower worked great at close range, whereas the rocket launcher seemed best suited for dispatching enemy hard suits. Extremely durable and armed with twin machine guns, these hard suits were worth saving up for and could turn the tide of almost any fight.
Combat in Retribution was brutally fast. These weren't the protracted battles found in Team Fortress 2. Instead, they had more of the twitch-based, kill-or-be-killed style of Counter-Strike. With two or three chest shots or a single headshot, we were done. All this killing was set against an urban, futuristic backdrop powered by the Unreal Engine 3 and supported DirectX 11 visuals--a combination the developer claims "will cripple big machines." Zombie Studios also hinted at its post-release schedule, which is set to include new guns, gear, and game modes a year a half after launch. When that launch is going to take place exactly, the developer wasn't ready to say, but we'll be sure to keep you informed.