Here's some nice, digestible bits of newsiness just for you. There's been a good chunk of stuff going on today! Guild Wars 2 Season 2 Episode 2 for Living World hits the servers, ArcheAge alpha client receives Update 1.2-4.2, SWTOR drops some hints on the forums for subscriber goodies that come with Galactic Strongholds, Sony Online felt a big embarrassing OOPS! with a little domain lapse, and the devs for Trials of Ascension would like to remind us that devs are people, too.
STAR WARS: The Old Republic
If you want to get in on that free subscriber Nar Shadaa palace suite with the three-room bonus, today's the last day you have to subscribe. SWTOR has been long-criticized as having one of the stiffest F2P models out there, and the game really does favor subscribers. Getting a sweet apartment in the sky, a 1.4 million credit value, is a pretty nice reason to fork over the monthly fee. Another nice reason to subscribe is a feature that will come implemented with Galactic Strongholds.
Confirmed by Community Manager Eric Musco on the official forums confirmed that subscribers will have a feature in their strongholds that will not be available for free-to-play players: exit to ship. While you can get to your stronghold from anywhere, this is not a two-way street. When you exit, you'll have four options: to your ship, to where you entered the world from (an example would be you were questing on Voss but wanted a break, so you decide to go hang out in your pad for awhile, but then want to exit back into the world where you last were), exit to the current planet (Nar Shadaa, if you get that huge-ass apartment), or exit to your faction's fleet. It's not known if any of the other three options will be subscriber-only at this point, since only the ship option has been officially confirmed.
Guild Wars 2
Today, the Entanglement went live to Guild Wars 2 servers. This is Episode 2 of Living World's Season 2, which continues the storyline and adds in even more content for players to work through. Players will be able to access new parts of Dry Top. After they have completed the story for Episode 2, they will unlock repeatable content available for reply, similar to what we saw go in the game with Episode 1: The Gates of Maguuma.
Today, the ArcheAge alpha client received update 4.2 for patch 1.2. Trion previously announced that 1.2 will be the patch that the western client launches with, and currently it is working on westernization for the game. Enter the issue that a lot of companies have when they are publishing a western version for an eastern client, especially when the game isn't their own. While Trion is publishing ArcheAge for the west, they still have to work out a carefully coordinated dance with the game's developer, XL Games. This means that Trion can have ideas on what they think would be a good idea for the game, but it's XLG's property, and in the end, they have the last say.
The main point of today's patch was to introduce the Marketplace for testing and to receive player feedback. Players with ArcheAge alpha access who are in the game via invite and not from purchasing the Archerium level preorder pack now have a credit grant comparable to those who have preordered. While current feedback isn't ragey, Trion is receiving some good criticism right now regarding what is and isn't getting patched or fixed into the game, but there are two things to keep in consideration right now. For one, the game is in alpha, so there still is time to make adjustments, fix bugs and issues, and add in what's missing. Secondly, anything Trion will see that needs adjusting will likely need to get relayed back to XLG for approval or discussion. ArcheAge's first closed beta round begins this coming Thursday!
Sony Online Entertainment
This morning people for any of SOE's games experienced issues logging into various games and sites as sonyonline.net, the backend domain for soe.com, had its domain ownership expire. Luckily, NetworkSolutions.com has two points of expiry. While the domain was temporarily out of SOE's ownership, NS put a temporary hold on the domain so SOE had extra time to reclaim it, so it wasn't at risk of falling into someone else's hands. SOE has resumed ownership, everything is back to normal, but some people may experience issues for up to 48 hours from now.
Trials of Ascension
Recently, we saw a very rough combat demo from Trials of Ascension, that will go into their tech demo when it's polished, likely for an upcoming Kickstarter campaign. The demo wasn't pretty, didn't have a lot of action to it, but it did show the basic ideas for combat that will go into the game. Since the game itself is pre-alpha, not having super impressive demos this early on is pretty okay in my book. I mean, it's a demonstration, and it's there to give us an idea on where the development team is going with this. Instead of people seeing what they're planning on doing with their upcoming MMO, however, what they got was a bunch of shitty, snarky responses from people who aren't emotionally or monitarily invested in the game, telling people who are that what they've been doing the past four months is a complete joke.
It's this part of the gaming community that really bums me out. Communities can be outstanding and I've had some amazing, long lasting relationships from them. Last night I had dinner with a friend of mine I've played both EverQuest II and World of Warcraft with. I've known him, his wife and their son for well over ten years. I love that side of community. The other side can really be disheartening and disappointing, to say the least. Trials of Ascension has been working on moving systems forward (which you can track on their website) to get them ready for player testing, crowdfunding and beyond. As stated in today's Developer Blog, this demo is the result of four months of work, and it's pretty in line with that much effort. If the team had more than a year and this is all they could come up with, then the current reaction would be understandable. Did I mention that this isn't an available game for people to pay and play yet? This is a reminder that a little patience, empathy and understanding can go a long way.
However, this is the internet, and the internet will do what the internet does: use anonymity as a reason to be shitheads and tell people that what they're doing is useless. I've seen people give developers death threats over minor things, and I can completely sympathize with the Trials of Ascension development team. Trolling serves one purpose usually, and that's to get a rise out of your intended targets for one reason or another. Trolls are seen as the bullies of the internet; cretins who hide behind an anonymous mask to just be truly awful to people. Developers need to have a thick skin in this industry, but there's always a time where enough is enough, and try as they might, not everything can be shrugged off. Development is a long, time-consuming process that is made of long hours over years. It's mentally and physically exhausting, and having some asshole on the internet continue to poke and prod you will wear you down, even if you're prepared for it.
There is a very high chance that I will not even play Trials of Ascension. I like my games hard, but on paper, this looks too hardcore for me. Also, I'm not much for building and crafting. Give me a sword and let me go beat on things – that's what I want to do in games. The adventuring side of Trials of Ascension looks interesting, even with the perma-death factor. However, even if this isn't my kind of game, I appreciate that there are developers out there who want to serve different niches, because Trials of Ascension surely is someone's game. Because of this, I will stand by the folks making this game and I will freely defend what they're doing. Be strong, guys and gals. Don't fall into the traps these assholes are baiting you into.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Trials of Ascension Game Page.