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Reloading... E3 2011: Day Two - Hulkamania

Posted Wed, Jun 08, 2011 by Ethec

Celebrity sightings, SWTOR impressions that go wayy beyond a trailer, and much more in today's Reloading... live from E3 2011!
Welcome to the 11th edition of Reloading…
 
E3 2011 day one is in the bag, and though team TTH is tested, rested, and ready for day two, first we have a recap of our first day on the show floor.
 
Hulk HoganOur over-the-top visual highlight came early. Hulkamania briefly and unintentionally swept E3 as Hulk Hogan, caught in the initial rush of suddenly star-struck attendees, wiggled his way to a back exit. If only the vidcam was running when he leg-dropped a GameStop manager, my event would have been made right then and there… ok, so there were no leg-dropped pimply-faced college dropouts. Good thing, too - as much fun as either playing celebrity Twitter tracker or the Saints Row 3 bikini car wash outside looked, we had a busy day of appointments planned.
 
While Mr. T and Face assaulted the Trion booth for a closer look at Defiance and End of Nations, I spent the better portion of yesterday experiencing the latest in Star Wars: The Old Republic, and the reveals far exceeded the pre-event cinematic trailer release, thankfully. A new group story area - Castle Panteer on Alderaan – was revealed, as well as new companions (one modeled on the most memorable KotOR companion, the half-treasonous, quick witted, GlaDOS-like killer droid HK-47), new vehicles (speeders!), and a first-ever reveal: operations, or SWTOR’s take on endgame raids. Click your way to my full SWTOR report for screens, impressions, and details.
 
Reuben described Defiance as “Rift in space marine armor with guns.” He meant it as a compliment, and I usually trust his judgment, except where space marines are concerned. Space marines are tricky – you think you have them cornered, then they pull out a chainsword or giant hammer or lit cigar or something ridiculous like that. No chainswords were to be found in Defiance, but the ruins of near-future San Francisco and San Diego were. Stay tuned for the full writeup later today.
 
Next up was some quality time with TERA, a game that I’m increasingly convinced gets far less airtime than it should. En Masse rocked our socks by deviating from the action combat program and telling us about a very world-y feature indeed: the political system.
 
The short story: each of TERA’s dozens of provinces will have a player leader, who gains power by either popular election or brute force -  by winning his or her place in PvP battlegrounds. With power comes fame and money – the Vonarch’s name goes up on the map, and he or she gets an exclusive mounts and the ability to tax sales in the province, spend policy points to make new vendors available, allow (or ban) free-for-all PvP in the province, throw player events, and even imprison (!) players. 
 
For the hands-on portion, we took on a dragon as part of a vonarch quest to gain policy points. I’m looking forward to writing this one up on the 4-mile, 45 minute E3 shuttle (isn’t that slower than walking speed?), so stay tuned for all the details.
 
Meanwhile, Ben got his Heist on at the SOE booth, playing the bolt-from-the-blue hi-def shooter Payday. Spurning both the nutty candy bar and calendar-based board game of the same name, Payday is about pulling off a modern day bank robbery, complete with Heist’s tailored suits, ties, and masks. At its core, Payday is a scenario-based, online, objective-oriented shooter – something like Left4Dead with no zombies and more on-the-clock puzzling complexity. The runaround work of erasing security tapes and hacking timelocks while holding off waves of SWAT teams is all part of the action.
 
Payday is also a much more violent game than we’re used to in the SOE booth, who’s publishing the project developed by Overkill. Piles of cops in tactical gear lay in pools of blood at your feet. But maybe that’s fitting for a bunch of devs with Viking-sounding names. In any case, Ben has a ingenious plan for covering Payday, and he’ll be revealing it at our secret location (tentonhammer.com) later this week.
 
Our last appointment of the day was a behind-closed-doors glimpse of Neverwinter. If you make a Neverwinter game, an robust user-generated content tool is an absolute must, so it was fitting that the Neverwinter reveal centered on their Foundry toolset. Reuben is our resident modder, so he asked questions about editing meshes and reticulating splines and futzing widgets while I mostly ogled the pretty maps and persistent overworld setting that, ultimately, just forms the backdrop to showcase player content.
 
The game, played co-op or single player in third-person perspective, looked surprisingly good, and, what’s more, the transition from the map and dialogue editor to in-game preview was surprisingly fast and clean. In the space of fifteen minutes, we’d designed a rudimentary dungeon, complete with dialogue and an adapted overworld NPC questgiver. Stay tuned for Reuben’s writeup, complete with splines and widgets, this evening.
 
It was a busy first day at E3 2011, and an equally busy night. Ben and Reuben rubbed shoulders with Blizzard and BioWare notables at the MMO alliance party last night. Read about his experiences in the live blog. We’ve got another appointment-riddled day planned today with Turbine (and a behind-closed-doors video look at Rise of Isengard), THQ, an EA booth tour with Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Mass Effect 3, and more SWTOR, and much more. In the meantime, send me your E3 questions, comments, and gripes and I’ll find answers as time allows.
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