PAX Prime 2012 OnRPG MMOHuts Day 2 Recap
By Darren Henderson (DizzyPW), OnRPG Editor-in-Chief
Co-Written by James Hunt (JamesBl0nde), MMOHuts Content Manager
In yesterday’s recap I called PAX chaos. That was a weekday. The weekend has begun and simple chaos has evolved into outright pandemonium as the population of the convention center at least tripled in size and cosplayers representing everything from Guilty Gear to Mario were out in force to keep things interesting. Not to waste any time, we hit the floor at 10am and split to maximize our coverage.
I took to the Sheraton hotel next to the convention center to meet with Funcom’s Senior Game Director on Age of Conan, Craig Morrison. He pulled no punches about Funcom’s massive layoffs this week saying The Secret World hadn’t hit sales expectations. However he confirmed that there will be no delay to the upcoming Secret World Issue updates or Conan’s Secrets of the Dragon Spine update slated for release later this year. Meanwhile James and Bowen were hitting it up with Sony Online Entertainment’s Planetside 2.
At the Planetside 2 booth I immediately jumped it to an interview with one of the game designers for my first hands on demo. There were over a thousand people involved in the battle I jumped into during the demo. So much action was happening around me that we had to move away from the battle just to discuss the game without adding to the enemy kill count. I was shocked to learn that, as massive is the world is, the game designers individually created all of the landscapes and didn’t use a repeating skin to create the environment. After the long hands on I scored a stack (no, really, a stack!) of beta keys just for you guys so keep an eye out for a special giveaway.
Next up I followed Mark Kern, the CEO of Red 5 Studios, over to the panel discussing the future of MMOs. This was basically a panel of MMO head honchos talking about what makes a new MMO successful. All sorts of questions were asked including the topic of mobile MMO gaming on the toilet. No matter how they said it, the point came across that we will see more Guild Wars 2 dynamic event style quests in all future MMOs.
Back at the convention center Bowen and I crashed head first into Warner Brother’s upcoming MOBA console title set in the world of Lord of the Rings/ The Hobbit. And the first thing on my mind was ‘why did it take so long to bring out such an obviously awesome idea! However while most MOBAs these days have been trying to model themselves after the success of League of Legends or DotA, Guardians of Middle-Earth is setting out on a unique path of their own with no item purchasing, power-ups that unlock as you level up, upgradable turrets and minions that can learn special abilities, contestable jungle towers that provide power-ups, jungle minions that can inflict damage on turrets, and some seriously imaginative skill sets on each of the 20 starting guardians. Don’t miss our upcoming interview for all the details. Sauron is the new Karthus!
Next we made a quick pit-stop at Trion Worlds to check out their always sexy cosplay team and get some information on their PvE system involving the nearly unstoppable Order of Nations, a computer controlled faction that steamrolls players without prejudice and keeps the global map evened out between the many warring factions in the game. The Order of Nations behemoths can literally drive over top of units (both theirs and yours) and cut down massive armies with no problem. However we learned that they aren’t invincible, nor do they require a massive legion of players to stop them if you can manage precise tactical gameplay and outwit these massive vehicles into becoming their own worst enemy. We can’t wait to learn more about these features in closed beta 3 starting 5 days from now, and if you keep an eye out on our youtube channel you might just get a chance to join us with a limited beta key giveaway.
Following a marathon of cosplay photo taking and lunch we met up with Andy and Mark at Perfect World to get our latest look at RaiderZ and Neverwinter. While RaiderZ intimidated the hell out of us with their new devastating chimera boss, Neverwinter wowed us with a look at their unfathomably detailed quest and dungeon creator.
Any true fan of Dungeons and Dragons will feel right at home designing backstories, building and customizing NPCs, and setting up dungeon layouts for both their friends and strangers alike to enjoy. The best part of all was that these dungeons literally become content in the game world where you can level up and collect loot appropriate for the difficulty of the dungeon. While Neverwinter’s launch is still a long ways off, they are finally ramping up for alpha testing. Though after this preview we feel their ‘alpha’ version is superior to most finished games these days.
The Neverwinter interview ran a little long so Bowin and I snuck into the Wargaming press booth with some other journalists to check out the progression of World of Warplanes. The game features realistic details, so specific; the design team went out and literally took measurements on the actual planes, all the way down to the thickness of the metal! The game also includes planes that were in concept and never actually took flight in history. The biggest shocker was how much different World of Tanks will look in their next update. Yeah, expect awesomeness!
A little later on I was thrown into an interview for Hawken. I didn’t know anything about the game other than it sounded and looked sweet. I soon learned from one of the designers that the game is based around Mechs but acts like a FPS. Choose your Mech, select your firepower, take out your enemies.
I got a chance to enter into some tough negotiations with the Hawken team during James’ interview and bring back excellent news. OnRPG and MMOHuts will not only be the third and fourth websites on the net to snag beta keys for their October beta test, but we also might be giving out some sick Nvidia hardware through Youtube to make sure you make the best out of the beta test!
Following Hawken we met up with, in my opinion, the most impressive start-up MMO of all time. You may not have heard of them before but I’m talking about Novus Aeterno, a SciFi space MMORTS of galactic proportions. I drilled their CEO Nick for a good 18 minutes and learned everything from the 5 ship formats to the unique real time strategic combat to building and customizing your fleet of ships. We also discussed the lore and some never before heard details on the many alien races present in the game as well as how you can manage to steal their technology for your own. If you’re a fan of RTS titles you’re going yourself a great injustice if you don’t keep an eye on Novus Aeterno. It’s launch date is likely going to be around summer of 2012 so expect tons of coverage leading up to it over the next year as I’m now an official fanboi.
Next up we hit up Turtle Beach to get a preview of the Ear Force SEVEN coming out November 2012. You can literally fall asleep wearing these headsets as a soft cushion placed between the connecting bar and your head combined with the feather weight design makes it as if you’re not wearing a headset at all. With interchangeable boom mics to meet your current needs, 5.1 digital surround sound, and the ability to virtually customize and adjust each of the six speakers, this headset will definitely be topping my Christmas wish list. If you grab the top model (XP) you’ll literally have an unfair advantage in competitive titles as multiple presets are programmed in to amplify key FPS sounds including footsteps, the sound of bouncing grenades, and even reloading weapons. Personally I’m just excited to be able to plug my phone into the control panel to order out for Chinese without missing a beat from my vent conversation.
We had a little extra time at the end so we decided to stop by the Carbon Games booth to talk to the team behind AirMech. I asked the CEO about some of the game modes other than what you see often with AirMech and he told me about the CTF game mode they just released. I also asked about the game being geared for esports and surprisingly enough they are constantly getting approached by esports people for a push in that direction. This is almost unheard of in the browser world. The cool part is the CEO saw my First Look… and loved it!
It’s been an intense two days of constant coverage. Between filling out our Pokedex of League of Legends cosplayers and covering just about every multiplayer title on the show floor, we can barely stand. Our voices are shot and our eyes are blood shot. But we’re definitely not done! We’re on our way to the Starcraft II tournament now and have a full schedule tomorrow featuring Borderlands 2, Phantasy Star Online 2, Marvel Heroes, Forge, Minion Masters, Guns of Icarus, and DDO! Until next time, this is DizzyPW and JamesBl0nde signing out.