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Struck from the List… January 4, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in blog thing, Dungeons & Dragons Online, entertainment, Runes of Magic, Star Trek Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Warhammer Online.
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11 comments

With the new year comes some feeling, some need to assess and reassess things.  And so it is today with the side bar of my blog.

For those viewing via remote reader or those who have never looked at it, down the right hand side there are two sections among the many categories of links titled “The Games I Play” and “The Games I Watch.”  They are so named partially so that they will sort in the order I want along the side bar.  WordPress.com only lets you have one list of links in your side bar (though you can whip up your own with a text field and some simple HTML if you really need more, but that goes beyond my ability to care about the side bar really) that can be divided into as many categories as you like.  But the categories sort alphabetically.  So I had to name them all in such a way that they would sort out correctly.

They are also named as an indication of my status vis-a-vis a given set of  games.  “The Games I Play” are the titles, usually just two, that I am actively playing.  It is easy enough to understand that.

Then there is the section “The Games I Watch,” which sounds a little odd, like they are being broadcast on TV or something.  The title was chosen for its ability to sort where I wanted it more than its clarity of message, obviously.

Games on that list are ones that I am not playing actively.  Sometimes there are games that have not even shipped yet on that list.  Diablo III is on that list right now, and it is months away at best.

Games in that section are games to which I pay attention, games which interest me, and games which I fully intend to either play when they ship, or go back and play at some point if I have already been there at some point.

And now, in the harsh light of the new year, I look at that list and I can see some entries that no longer fit the bill.

Runes of Magic

Remember back when a free to play games of any quality were a rare thing?  And there was Runes of Magic trying to bridge the gap between subscription quality and free to play access with, among other things, that $10 horse.

Back in the day, when he wasn’t on about that horse, Darren called it a WoW rip-off, which at the time, what with being free and all, seemed like a hearty endorsement to me.  So much so that, despite one of the worst installers ever, some of the instance group ran off to try the game at one point.

And it was okay.  It had the usual stuff, a few interesting twists like dual (and now triple) classing, as well as the standard “suffer or give us money” options when it came to storage and experience gain.  And gold spammers.  Many, many gold spammers.

My primary memory of RoM

But in the end, there was nothing there that really stuck with me.  We ran off to play other games.  Half the subscription MMO universe went free to play in the mean time, so that no longer suffices as an attraction.  I’ve totally forgotten my password… both of them, since there was a second login and password required to access the RMT currency, some of which I purchased at one point.

And then there is that installer.  Have they fixed that yet?  Or does somebody new still install the 2009 version of the game and then spend the next week patching?

Finally, the game is no longer interesting merely for its free to play model.  That was something worthy of note a couple years back, but not so today.

So I think it is time to admit that I am just not that interested in the game and the odds of my going back to falls somewhere between “slim” and “none.”  So it gets struck from the list.

Warhammer Online

You might be surprised that I still had Warhammer Online on my list until now.  Despite the howls of the now repentant fanbois every time I dared say anything negative about the game, there was a lot I did like about the Warhammer Online.  Our guild did have some excellent PvP battles at times, though for every good battle there were a couple of empty roll-over victories.  And then there was our first taste of a dungeon, which left nobody interested in a second.

The instance group in Warhammer

But the world itself was very well done, worthy of exploration.  And if I was complaining about the quest log, it was because I was using it a lot to run through the PvE portion of the game to see that world.  In fact, it was the idea of seeing the world that kept the game on my list.

The instance group moved on and there were other games higher on my list, but I kept thinking that at some point Mythic would change something in the game worth seeing or put out a “come back and play” offer that would get me to return.

They did have a come back and play offer at one point, ten whole free days, how generous!  But it involved giving Mythic a credit card, and that seemed like a really good way to get screwed by Mythic, given their past sloppy handling of credit card transactions.  So I didn’t try that.

Then, more than a year after launch, they made the trial version of the game, which restricted  you to a tier 1 character, unlimited.  That was interesting for some I suppose, but where I wanted to go would have put me well outside of tier 1.

They even talked about producing a Mac version of the game.  Did they think that Mac users were that desperate for an MMO?  I was tempted to try that just to see how bad it was, but never got around to it.  I don’t even know if that came to pass in the end or if it is even still supported.

In the end, no “right moment” to go back ever materialized.  Nothing compelling to me was ever offered up after launch.  And I would still have to pay a subscription fee to go back and explore, and the bar to get me to do that has only gone up in the last couple of years.

So that world will remain unexplored by me, as Warhammer Online is off the list.

Games Close to Being Struck

Star Trek Online is on the edge. I keep thinking I will go back and play.  But every time I log in, I am faced with a wave of changes similar to what Ravious described in going back to LOTRO, and I end up so mired in figuring out what to do that I end up logging off for a few more months, only to repeat the cycle again.

I logged on long enough to get this screen shot!

At some point I hope I will have enough time and desire to play, at which point I will start with a fresh character and learn it all from scratch again.  Only there are always a couple of other games I would rather play first.  Well, maybe some day.  But for now it stays on the list, if only because of that lifetime subscription I bought.  Oof.

And then there is Dunegons & Dragons Online, which I really want to like, but which is likewise always in 4th or 5th place on my to-do list.  At least it is free to play and uses the Turbine patcher which at least puts it a couple steps ahead of Runes of Magic.  But it is in jeopardy of being struck at some point.  I just never get to it.

Games On or to be Added

You might point out that I have declined to play Star Wars: The Old Republic so far post-beta.  But I will likely play the game again at some point.  There is enthusiasm for it in the instance group, and even Gaff has picked it up already.  And I do watch the news about it.  I am interested to see, for example, if torture ever comes up as an issue the way it did for WoW back with Wrath of the Lich King.  I am guessing that for most people, that ends up being a matter of “Sith will be Sith.”

I should probably add Torchlight II to the list.  I have no doubt that I will play that when it launches.

Likewise, Guild Wars 2 will probably get a slot at some point.  It is on my list to play, but I haven’t spent much time with the news or marketing build-up.  So I am not really “watching” it yet.

And the rest of the list… well, those are games I am sure I will continue to keep an eye on and poke my nose into every so often.

How about you?  Have you reassessed any games on your list, be it written down or just in your head?  Are there games you have decided that you just are never going to get back to?

Twelve Questions for 2012 January 1, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Diablo II, Diablo III, entertainment, EVE Online, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Sony Online Entertainment, Star Wars: The Old Republic, World of Warcraft.
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9 comments

2012 is now upon us, a new year with new possibilities, a time for fresh optimism.

With the new year comes the time for looking forward and predicting what will come to pass.  And we seem to have so many predictions this year.  I am not sure if this is driven by a bright outlook for 2012, a foreboding that we know what is coming, or, like the team at Massively, and editor that made you do it. (They are even trolling for predictions over at Massively.  Must be some new AOL directive along the lines of “sites must increase outrageous predictions by 37%.”).)

Anyway, the prediction list includes Keen, Spinks, Eliot, Beau, Bree, BrendanJef, Jeremy, Justin, Shawn, Green Armadillo, Heartless_, Gazimoff, Stanziel, MMOCrunch, and probably many more I missed, but I will try to fill those in as I spot them.

However, this year I do not seem to have any predictions… or demands… in me.

This year I can only come up with questions.  So here, after the cut, are the twelve questions I have for 2012.

(more…)

Torchlight II Delayed – But You Have Other Stuff to Play Anyway, Right? November 18, 2011

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Diablo III, entertainment, Other PC Games.
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7 comments

I haven’t mentioned anything about Torchlight II for ages… not since like August of last year when it totally looked like Runic Games was going to beat Diablo III to market.  I still have this picture even.

Torchlight II - Spring 2011?

Alas, things do not always go as planned, and today there was an update from Travis Bickle Baldree.

“So… where is Torchlight 2? Didn’t you guys say that you were planning to try to release this year?”

Well, yeah. We did – and we made a good run at that. We’ve come to the realization, however, that getting a game of this scope up to the quality and polish level we want to achieve is going to take a little longer; especially since we want to run a small beta before release to ensure that our launch is smooth.

The first Torchlight was released in record time, but it had plenty of issues that a little more development could have resolved. We didn’t have the resources at the time to give Torchlight that treatment. Right at this moment though, we do have those resources for the sequel, and we feel strongly that we should apply them to make this the best game we can make and hopefully one that you’ll enjoy and continue to want to play in the future. We’ve probably had 18 months of full development time on it so far – not excessively long yet, as far as that goes. The amount of time we need to take it the rest of the way is relatively small.

We feel pretty safe in saying that if you enjoyed Torchlight at all, this sequel is superior in every respect. Right now our job is to ensure that the quality level is consistent all the way to the end.

Besides, you’re all playing Skyrim right now anyway, aren’t you? Or Battlefield 3? Or Uncharted 3? Or Saints Row 3? Or Arkham City? Or Skyward Sword? Or Minecraft? Or Modern Warfare 3? Or Dark Souls? Or Assassin’s Creed Revelations?

Those are awesome games. When Torchlight 2 goes live, we want it to be awesome too – all the way through.

My first thought was that it is probably better to get it later and have it be awesome, so long as Runic’s financial situation can support the extended development time.  The general response from those who follow Runic on Twitter seemed to be of the same tone.

The delay is a bit disappointing.  After all, *I* am not playing any of those games. (Not that I lack games.)  But they had a hit on their hands with the original Torchlight.  It would be great for them to come back with a new game that stepped things up a notch on all fronts.

I did promise I wouldn’t over-use that “Spring 2011″ picture… too much.

Anyway, another game pushed off to 2012.

Diablo III Delayed or Something September 23, 2011

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, Diablo III, entertainment, Star Wars: The Old Republic.
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6 comments

Blizzard has never officially announced a ship date for Diablo III, so saying that the target date is now “Early 2012” is not really a slip.

How can you push back a date you never announced?

The official line is that it isn’t ready yet.  As Mike Morhaime put it:

…we didn’t put so many years of work into Diablo III to release a game that was almost ready.

A good enough reason for sure.  The list of games that didn’t delay for that reason is pretty long, and many suffered for it.

Still, I will be interested to see the dark theories running around with the “real” reason for the “not a delay.”  Did Blizzard fear being over shadowed by SWTOR?  Are they maneuvering to try and rain on the Guild Wars 2 parade?

Anyway, this is something of a blow to the instance group, which has been on hiatus since late spring due to the lack of interest in Cataclysm and any other MMORPG.  There was a hope that Diablo III was one of the games that could potentially get us back together and playing as a group this fall.

So that leaves Star Wars the Old Republic from my MMO outlook list of late last year.  Here is hoping.

And where the heck is Torchlight II these days?  That was estimated as “some time in 2011″ at one point?  Is that headed to 2012 as well?

Reviewing My 2010 Predictions December 24, 2010

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, blog thing, Diablo III, Dungeons & Dragons Online, entertainment, EVE Online, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Facebook, Lord of the Rings Online, Sony Online Entertainment, Star Trek Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Warhammer Online, World of Warcraft.
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9 comments

Oh yeah, I made a bunch of crazy predictions back in January, didn’t I?

For some reason last year I changed my predictions format from a set of paragraph long generalizations to a series of one line, very specific (well, mostly) guesses at the future.  I think I was pressed for time and the humor muse had not bothered to visit.  Plus it was always hard to score those paragraphs, especially since I seemed to insist on points. (I have accounting in my background, I must quantify everything!)

Now, of course, we’re here at the end of the year and I have discovered the flaw in my plan; I need to go figure out whatinthehell I got right or wrong.  And there are like a bunch of them, some of which I have not bothered to pay attention to and others about which I really didn’t give a damn in the first place but was trying to get to a 200 point total for some maniacal round-number reason.

Anyway, what’s done is done.  Next year I think I am going to go back to big predictions and a pass/fail model.  Or something.

I started on this Thanksgiving weekend and, because of apathy, I haven’t found all the answers yet.  Fortunately, other people have started posting their prediction results, so I can crib from that a bit.  Plus I’ll make you, the reader, correct my mistakes.  How about that?

So let’s see how good that cold medication was last December.  What did I predict?

Predictions for Blizzard in 2010! (5 points each)

  • StarCraft II – Will ship second quarter 2010 – Missed by 27 days, 0 points
  • Cataclysm – Will ship fourth quarter 2010 – A pretty safe guess, 5 points
  • Cataclysm – Will beat WotLK’s 24 hour sales record – Yes indeed.  I do wonder how much digital pre-orders helped.  5 points
  • Diablo III – Will not ship in 2010 – Another safe one, in my opinion, 5 points
  • New MMO – An announcement at BlizzCon with the usual Blizzard mystery build-up – Nothing at BlizzCon, 0 Points

15 out of 25 points

Big Miss – RealID and Battle.net focus?  I’m not sure those were that big in the end.

Sony Online Entertainment predictions! (5 points each)

  • Planetside – Dead by December – Still alive… barely… but I always thought that The Agency had to come online before it went. 0 points
  • Norrath – Official details about the next Norrath based MMORPG some time in 2010 – We artist conceptions and some vague information, so I’m claiming 3 out of 5 points
  • Norrath – The next Norrath based MMORPG won’t be called EverQuest III – Do we have that in writing? No? 0 points
    EverQuest II – All digital distribution after the February expansion – I don’t see Destiny of Velious listed at Amazon.com, so I’m taking this as a yes. – 5 points.
  • EverQuest – The next round of server consolidation will happen, and it will be a good thing – And so it was.  I should have predicted it for EQII as well. – 5 points
  • The Agency – Won’t ship in 2010 – Saying The Agency won’t ship is like betting against the Cubs, and no, the Facebook game does not count – 5 points
  • PlayStation 3 – SOE still won’t have a PS3 MMO title by the end of 2010 – The put Free Realms on the Mac, but no PS3 support yet.  They’ve been talking about stuff on the PS3 since E3 in 2008 at least… go listen to VW Podcast #125… and still nothing.  You guys at SOE work for the PlayStation people now, right? – 5 points

23 out of 30 points

Big Miss – A free to play version of EQII

What will EA do? (5 Points each)

SWTOR – Not in 2010, no no no. – Another safe bet – 5 points

WAR – Won’t die in 2010, but won’t magically spring back to life either.  It will just trudge on with enough resources to keep it going and improve it slightly, but not enough to change anything dramatically. – Vague enough for 5 points

10 out of 10 points

Big miss – Umm… Lord of Ultima?  Was there a UO expansion or something?

Turbine predictions (5 points each)

  • LOTRO – Next expansion, announced in 2010, will be the Riders of Rohan! – Isengard, not Rohan – 0 points
  • LOTRO – Riders of Rohan will feature real mounted combat – 0 points
  • DDO – Continued success under the free to play banner with a push into some overland content – vaguely fulfilled – 1 point
  • New – We’ll hear about Turbine’s next project in 2010. – Not so much – 0 points

1 out of 20 points

Big Miss – LOTRO going free to play

CCP Predictions (5 points each)

  • Station ambulation – Still just a myth in 2010 – Again, like betting against the Cubs – 5 points
  • Dust 514 – Not for 2010 – What was that? – 5 points
  • EVE – Two Content Releases, don’t we always get two a year? – Well, we got 1.1 expansions - 2 points
  • EVE – Tech III ships will finally become common enough that you might actually see one now and again. – I have one and, while flying it, have ended up at a jump gate with another, is that common enough? – 5 points

17 out of 20 points

Big Miss – What was the big CCP story this year?

Runic Games (5 points each)

  • An inexpensive expansion will be released for Torchlight to keep funding going for Runic’s MMO – Nope – 0 points
  • Runic will give us some concrete details about said MMO – Nope – 0 points
  • That MMO won’t ship in 2010 – Well, they didn’t announce it, so 0 points
  • But said details will make some pundit say, “Wow, that’s what Dungeon Runners should have done.” – 0 points

0 out of 20 points.  I thought they would move faster than they are.

Big Miss – Multiplayer Torchlight, sort of the interim step between the first game and the MMO.

NCSoft (5 points each)

  • Aion – Going to seem like a replay of Lineage II, popular in Asia, less so in the west.  Still, it will have enough customers to keep going.  Given how readily NCSoft shuts things down, that will be saying something. – Um, I can’t even answer that – 0 points
  • GuildWars 2 – Not for 2010 – 5 points
  • PlayStation 3 – NCSoft still won’t have a PS3 MMO title by the end of 2010 – I guess I can let that old SCEA/NCSoft agreement die now – 5 points

10 out of 15 points

Other Titles (5 points each)

  • Darkfall – Will continue walking the tightrope between hardcore PvP focus and giving players something to do when they aren’t actively engaged in battle.  Slow growth with at most a single server added to the game for 2010. – Sounds vaguely right, but SynCaine will correct me – 5 points
  • Star Trek Online – Won’t disappoint Trek fans, but we’re all co-dependent on the franchise after years of reckless treatment by the studio.  We’ll all still be there after the first 30 days playing with our pre-order bonus items.  The rest of you people though… – I stopped playing, so there is a big claim I missed - 0 points
  • Hero’s Journey – It was best of show at E3 in 2005, but it will still be a no-show in 2010. – Like betting against the Twins – 5 points (Amusingly, Simutronics now has a somewhat whiny entry in their Hero Engine FAQ about Hero’s Journey, saying that the work for it is all in the Hero Engine so stop bugging them about it already.  Anyway, Star Wars: The Old Republic will be the eventual showcase for their work, pretty much the make or break I’d guess.)

10 out of 15 points

MMO Industry

The following people will have new companies and new projects announced in 2010 (2 point each):

  • Mark Jacobs – No word here – 0 points
  • Richard Garriott – Some awful Facebook thing – 2 points
  • Bill Roper – Still at Cryptic doing… something – 0 points
  • Brian Green – Umm… The Fae’s Wyrd was a project, right?  – 2 points
  • Scott Hartsman – Rift, about which so many are talking of late – 2 points

6 out of 10 points

One of the following companies will announce their first/next project, and it won’t be an MMO (5 points):

  • Aventurine – no announcement
  • Carbine Studios – no announcement
  • Red5 Studios – Firefall – it is an online, co-op shooter, so not really a traditional MMO –   5 points
  • Simutronics – no announcement
  • Turbine – No announcement

5 points

One of the following people will move to Canada (5 points):

  • Scott Jennings
  • Mark Jacobs
  • Brian Green
  • Scott Hartsman
  • Richard Bartle
  • Alan Crosby
  • David Reid

Isn’t there some Canadian sovereign territory at Disneyland?  No?  0 points

Spurious Logic Random neurons firing for the following guesses.

Most subscription MMOs that sell vanity items like pets or appearance gear will sell custom mounts by the end of 2010.  WoW and EQ2 will be the benchmark. (5 points) – erm… can’t really say yes to that – 0 points

“Yahtzee” Croshaw will review exactly ONE muh-more-puh-gah on Zero Punctuation during 2010, and it will be Star Trek Online.  He won’t like it (duh) but the Trekkie humor will be too much for him to resist doing a review. (5 points) – Nope, 0 points

We will find out that the following people will be appearing or doing voice work in the Warcraft movie (IMDB  shows no actors as of this date – 1 point each):

  • Jack Black
  • William Shatner
  • Keanu Reeves
  • Ben Stein
  • James Earl Jones
  • John Ratzenberger
  • Bruce Campbell
  • Sarah Silverman
  • David Spade
  • Lucy Lawless

Nothing – No cast announcements yet.  IMDB puts it as a possible 2013 release – 0 points

0 out of 20 points

Total Points

My first pass, hand-waving total is 97 out of 200 points.

Not bad for my mix of obvious slam-dunks and way off the reservation guesses I suppose.

Now, I will look to comments for corrections and will post an updated score once people point out that I was really wrong about those 97 points and that my total should be much lower.

So correct me already.

Meanwhile, I’m working on a less intensive set of predictions for next year.

Cryptic Calls My Forgotten Realms Bluff August 24, 2010

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Diablo III, Dungeons & Dragons Online, entertainment, MMO Design, TorilMUD.
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7 comments

If you didn’t like the IP idea in my last post, why not just go with Forgotten Realms?

Is Forgotten Realms good for everybody?

(Quiet you Dragonlance weenies!)

As noted over at Massively, Cryptic announced their next project, Neverwinter.

Neverwinter

This is what Cryptic has to say about the game so far:

About Neverwinter

100 years have passed since the Spellplague consumed the world of Faerûn. Neverwinter, a once majestic city of magic and adventure upon the mighty Sea of Swords, is still being rebuilt from near total ruination. Even as new wonders of stone and iron rivaling ancient works are being raised by the hands of man, dwarf and elf, dark powers beyond reckoning vie for control of the land…

This is a world that promises death for the meek, glory for the bold and danger for all. This is the world of Neverwinter.

Neverwinter Nights Reborn

Continue the critically acclaimed adventure! The #1 best-selling Neverwinter Nights series of PC RPGs returns with an epic Dungeons & Dragons storyline, next-generation graphics, a persistent world, and accessible content creation tools.

Immersive, Imaginative

Enter a world ravaged by the Spellplague. Wrest victory from the claws of darkness and battle the greatest of civilization’s enemies in and around Neverwinter, a storied and ancient city upon Faerûn’s Sea of Swords.

Challenging, Complex, Classic

Epic gameplay and action rooted firmly in the best traditions of the RPG genre await those heroes courageous enough to brave the Spellplague and all that it has ravaged.

Build a Fantasy

Easy-to-grasp adventure creation tools empower users. Bring compelling quests to life and build challenging levels! Share creations with the entire world in-game. Become a part of the existing Dungeons & Dragons universe… Then build a new one.

Play Together or Die Alone

Encounter dangerous foes and perilous environments. Work with others, strategically, to overcome nightmares, demons, monsters, and beasts of legend.

World Without End

Neverwinter features co-operative multiplayer in an ever-evolving, persistent world where Dungeons & Dragons adventurers quest alongside thousands of other warriors, rogues, wizards and faithful avengers.

New D&D, Beloved D&D

Neverwinter is a true Dungeons & Dragons experience based on the acclaimed 4th Edition rules — a first of its kind!

A Legend Arises

Unprecedented character customization as only Cryptic can deliver. Imagine a hero, make a hero, become a hero.

Neverwinter is based on the 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons rule set and set around the Forgotten Realms location of  Neverwinter.

This is pretty much what I have been asking for.

I was just commenting on a post the other day regarding DDO and how Eberron doesn’t thrill me, but Forgotten Realms… now there is an IP!

We’ll see how the D&D 4th edition rule set gets translated… that is always a leap of faith… but it couldn’t end up that bad, right?

And now, here we are.

Certainly, there are aspects to this concept that interest me.

  • Forgotten Realms

My favorite D&D campaign setting ever!

He’s the man for Forgotten Realms fiction… but doesn’t he work with Curt Schilling?  How do you explain that one to the head man?

  • Cryptic Studios

If nothing else, I want to see the fantasy RPG version of their character creator.  That should practically be a stand alone game in and of itself.  And if they’ve learned other lessons, so much the better.

  • Content Creation Tools

Yes, there is the 90% crap rule, but if they can figure out how to promote the good stuff so we can find it, this could be worthwhile.

  • Did I say Forgotten Realms already?

Oh yeah, still excited about that!

  • Not an MMORPG

Interesting.

Jack saysI wouldn’t say MMORPG at all — Neverwinter is a cooperative RPG.”

So where will Neverwinter stand then in the grand scheme of things?  And how does “not an MMORPG” fit in with their statement under “World Without End” I quoted above?

Is this just positioning, a “Neverwinter is not WoW” message?

Will it be “not an MMO” the way Guild Wars and Dungeons & Dragons Online are “not” MMOs, lacking as they do the shared, persistent world?

Will it be a step closer to the Dragon Age segment of the fantasy gaming world?

Or will it fall closer to Diablo III and Torchlight II?

And how will we be paying for this game, whatever it ends up being?

I will certainly want to keep an eye on this new game.  We’ll see if my calls for a real Forgotten Realms MMO were a bluff or not.  And, if nothing else, I always like to see how the game that ships lines up with the first press release.

Meanwhile, the last time I was in Neverwinter, it looked like this:

Neverwinter Map - TorilMUD

Not exactly impressive, but that was the way things were back in the day when I played TorilMUD regularly, and I enjoyed it immensely at the time.

Torchlight II – Look Out Diablo III August 4, 2010

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, Diablo II, Diablo III, entertainment, Other PC Games.
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10 comments

Runic Games, who put out last year’s excellent light dungeon romp, Torchlight (which sold more than half a million copies and which you can now buy in a box on the shelf at Fry’s) has got something new lined up for us.

Torchlight II

Torchlight II is slated for Spring 2011 and it will address some of the “I want” features that many of us asked for.

Key game features listed on the Torchlight II site:

  • Multi-player – Play with your friends over a local area network, or over the Internet. A free matchmaking peer-to-peer service lets you make new friends for exciting co-op play.
  • Customizable Characters – Players create and customize a character from one of four classes available and choose an animal companion. Through cosmetic, class, and gender choices, skill path decisions, and the treasures they acquire, each character can be custom-tailored to each player’s needs.
  • Moddability – Torchlight II will release with an updated version of TorchEd, the Torchlight editor. Players have the option to create their own mods, adding even more content to the world. You and your friends can download the same mod and play together!
  • New User Interface – Torchlight II boasts an entirely new, improved user interface, designed to be easier than ever for new players to pick up and play. Thanks to this intuitive interface, players have immediate access to a rich and varied world, with little experience necessary.
  • Overworld Areas – Torchlight II has large randomized overworld areas to explore with weather, time of day cycles, and random events that provide players with even more content to experience.
  • Random Dungeons – Delve into randomly generated dungeons within the game at any time for extra experience and rare loot. Dungeons in Torchlight II have even more branching paths to explore with friends filled with random events, rewards and dangers.
  • Retirement System – Once characters are sufficiently leveled up, they can “retire” and bestow specific benefits and perks onto new characters.
  • Pets – Players choose a pet to accompany them. Pets level up along with the player, and help in battle, learn spells, carry items, and perform a variety of support services.
  • Fishing – Fishing returns in the sequel! Players can take a break from the high-energy pace of adventuring to relax by one of the many fishing holes and see what they can catch. Fish have unique benefits for the player and pet, while a number of other rewards can also be discovered.

Clearly, multi-player Co-op play is the huge item on the list.  That, for me, was the big missing piece from Torchlight.

And then there is the promised date.  If Runic can make Spring 2011 I am sure they will beat Diablo III to market by a wide margin.

Of course, the team at Runic Games was largely responsible for the Diablo series, so it is no wonder they might be lighter on their feet when creating another game in that genre.