Jumpgate Evolution Hands-On Report: Can It Convert Old MMO Gamers?

Codemasters recently held its inaugural Gamer's Day in San Francisco, California, where they showed off the upcoming releases from the developers under their umbrella. There were Xbox 360s, PS3s, Wiis, first person shooters, and some very cool looking driving games. But that wasn't why Executive Editor Cody Bye and Staff Writer Jay Johnson went to the event, they were there to get their handsJumpgate Evolution.
To create Jumpgate Evolution you need to take one part X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter, and two parts MMO, add a dash of EVE with spicy action, and season with PvP to taste. This recipe can serves thousands of FPS, traditional MMO and consoler gamers due to its minimal system spec requirements. NetDevil may be onto a recipe for certain success, but before we get ahead of ourselves, letÂ’s get some more of the basics out of the way.
See what happens when a long time auto-attacker tries to quell his FPS-phobia during a Jumpgate Evolution Hands-On Report: In the Palms of a Noob.

If Codemasters and NetDevil were looking too appeal to the perfect
demographic at href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/306"
Gamer's Day in San Francisco, they
shouldn't have invited me. For the past six plus years, I’ve
been hitting auto-attack on various dwarf and orc melee characters,
which is about as far from Jumpgate
as you can get. Jumpgate
is billed as an action-based spaceship MMO with
first-person-shooter-esque controller responses. At first sight, I felt
like a fish out of water.

But then I played the game.

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Ten Ton Hammer's writers were definitely impressed with Jumpgate Evolution.

Jumpgate Evolution
is not WoW
in space and it’s not href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eve/" target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">EVE Online,
and it makes no apologies for not being either. style="font-style: italic;"> Jumpgate Evolution
won’t be for everyone, but it certainly has a lot of

The Recipe

To create Jumpgate
you need to take one part style="font-style: italic;">X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter,
and two parts MMO, add a dash of EVE with spicy action, and season with
PvP to taste. This recipe can serves thousands of FPS, traditional MMO
and consoler gamers due to its minimal system spec requirements.
NetDevil may be onto a recipe for certain success, but before we get
ahead of ourselves, let’s get some more of the basics out of
the way.

The graphics in Jumpgate
are very well done, but in this day and age they
had better be! The ships look great and there are a wide variety of
planets that show a real depth of artwork. The jumpgates themselves
look amazing, especially when you go flying through them.
Don’t forget to check out on of the stars up close and
personal, because these churning balls of fusion are nothing short of
magnificent. Wear some sunglasses so you don’t burn your

The MMO basics that everybody comes to expect (but many developers
forget) like a mail system, auction house, and guild mechanics are all
included. In addition to text chat, the Dolby Axon voice chat will be
integrated into the game. And it has to be, because the action is fast
and furious and it is impossible to communicate via text chat for
battle situations. You need your hands on the controls.

The voice chat system will allow players to join into easily formed
groups when they enter a co-op friendly environment while still
maintaining their guild voice chat. There's essentially a way to listen
in to different chat channels and then toggle which ones you will be
speaking in. So if I’m in a zone with a group quest and join
up with another ship (check out the “No KSes here”
section below) we can chat via voice while I’m still
listening to what my guild is up to, so I won’t miss
anything. Pretty slick set-up, if you ask me.

No KSes here

The NetDevil team is keenly aware that there could be an issue when
there are many ships in a single area looking for a single target or
set of targets. The Jumpgate
system is designed to auto-group ships on the
same quest to facilitate objective completion. Once grouped, players
may stay together and continue to quest or go their separate ways, but
either way they get credit for what they did together. It's almost like
a more realistic version of public questing! style="font-weight: bold;">

Producer Michael Rowland was heavily involved with href="http://lotro.tentonhammer.com/" target="_blank">
Lord of the Rings Online,
and it definitely shows through in some of the "deed"-type Combat
Medals players receive in Jumpgate. Combat Medals are awarded for
various endeavors and open up abilities or provide other rewards. It's
just another type of system that the NetDevil developers have been
working so long to create.

Plenty of Room to Grow

Speaking of content creation, the game has an immense variety of ships
and hundreds of upgrades and specialties that can be applied to those
ships. The completionists and min-maxers will have plenty of material
to chew on if they delve into this MMO. For the rest of us, the combat
is easy to “jump” into (sorry I had to!) and yet
the amount of complexity under the hood should provide enough depth to
keep our interests high. With the use of space and Jumpgates, the
amount of growth is limitless for the game as well. style="font-weight: bold;">

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There's plenty of room for growth in Jumpgate's universe.

As with any game, Jumpgate
will be pitted against the big dogs like style="font-style: italic;">World of Warcraft, style="font-style: italic;">Lord of the Rings Online,
and of course EVE Online.
Jumpgate Evolution
is not "Space WoW" nor is it "EVE Lite" but it is much more along the
lines of WoW than EVE. The UI is straight forward and clean (written in
Scaleform, a Flash-esque language) and the amount of micromanagement is
available, but there is no overwhelming learning cliff like
in  EVE Online.
The learning curve starts nice and slow. Within seconds of choosing my
avatar, I was shooting down enemy ships. The key comparison I can make
to WoW is that the game is fun to play from the very beginning. You're
in and firing your cannons within an instant.

But Is it Too Fast and
Too Furious?

The gameplay in Jumpgate
n is amazingly tactile. The responsiveness of the
ship is very good with a mouse and I imagine that it's much more fun
with a joystick. The physics response is interesting as well; when the
ship begins a turn it starts off gradually and then speeds up just as
one would imagine a space vehicle doing. The concern I have for the
game is that the frenetic combat could wear out the older MMO players
(like me!) who are used to some downtime. I may have to train my mouse
fingers to be able to handle this much excitement. style="font-weight: bold;">

If you're looking for even more excitement, the game has consensual PvP
zones in addition to all out PvP zones, so there is plenty of room to
get your griefing on. In addition to the zones, there will be
scenario/battleground type locations with specific PvP objectives that
players can fight over.

I used to consider myself quite the carebear, but href="http://warhammer.tentonhammer.com/" target="_blank">WAR
changed a lot of those feelings. We did get to view the vastness of the
galaxy maps with multiple zones within each, so the amount of content
appears to be quite large. Some of my lingering questions include the
balance of PvE and PvP content and if both sections will be compelling
ways to level up. For that, we'll just have to wait and see.

So What Exactly Did You
Do In There?

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New players will be launched directly into the missions.

The Gamer's Day event allowed the gathered press to access six PCs
running the JE client. We had our choice of "cool dudes" or "hot
chicks" for avatars, so I went with a lifelike representation of
myself. I am definitely a cool dude. After the character selection
screen, the game pushes you right into the middle of the action.

Your ship is in midflight and on a mission. The mission provides ample
information for training the new recruits how to fly, target and of
course destroy other ships. Knowing what to do was easy, but keeping
the aiming reticule on the bad guys took some time. My FPS skills are a
little out of date (last shooter played was probably Half
Life…the original). Ten Ton Hammer's executive editor, Cody
Bye, made fun of me as I chased the bad guys and shot harmlessly around
them. [Editor's Note:
You were supposed to shoot the bad guys not the asteroids around them.

No bad guys were injured in the testing of my skills, but I did
eventually get the hang of it and got through the first mission to earn
my initial medal. The second mission was to investigate a space vessel
and then fend off bad guys. The increase in AI skills was noticeable
between mission one and two, but the NetDevil developers took out the
fangs on those enemies and thankfully they didn't do much damage. I got
shot a lot, but made it on to the next mission just fine..

Right Down the Middle of
the Fairway

To be frank Jumpgate
isn’t revolutionizing the way MMO
gamers play and I don't think the NetDevil developers wanted to go down
that path. It feels like a culmination of experiments from Auto
Assault, WoW, WAR and LOTRO. The team took the features they enjoyed
from each of these games and incorporated them into a very pretty,
sexy, insert-shiny-term-here game. The team is very passionate about
Jumpgate Evolution and it showed from the people greeting us at the
door to each of the devs showing off the game.

And they have a reason to be proud. The starting zone that we had
access to was very polished and a blast to play.

Since my time at the press event was limited, I saw only one tiny
portion of the starting area for one of the three factions, so it is
impossible to make any kind of "final judgement" on style="font-style: italic;">Jumpgate Evolution.
But from that starting area of that one faction, I can say, with a
degree of certainty, that I will be purchasing this game. The fun
factor definitely grabbed me within the first few minutes,
and  I want to see how I can improve my ship, what other ships
I can fly, and what the universe of style="font-style: italic;">Jumpgate Evolution holds
for me. The teaser of a starting zone left me wanting more, and I can't
wait to have it. 

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Jumpgate Evolution Game Page.

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