GSTAR Day 2 Recap w/ Cosplay Pics!
By Darren Henderson (DizzyPW), OnRPG Editor-in-Chief
After experiencing a wonderful traditional Korean Dinner consisting of raw ginseng, noodle specialties, and a whole fish with head and tail included, as well as witnessing the impact of the rice wine Soju as it pummeled some of the more party prone members of the press, it was off to the second day of GSTAR. Thanks to Neowiz I had access to an exhibitor pass and was dead-set on taking full advantage of raiding the B2B section to see what was going on behind the scenes at GSTAR 2012!
I wasted no time hitting up the Neowiz booth where I was blown away by the secret of the show, the early prototype for EIN – Epicus Incognitus, a game that blurred the realms of console graphics and storytelling with MMORPG team building elements and gameplay. The below trailer says more than words ever could.
Impressed yet? I can say I knew of Neowiz prior to this event. But with these two games looming in the distant future I feel this Korean based dev-publisher combo will soon be a household name among MMORPG enthusiasts from California to the UK.
After the Neowiz presentation ended I went to work collecting notes, business cards, and as much information as possible on every title I could. I felt dizzy as I moved from booth to booth witnessing the early prototypes of titles we likely won’t see in the west for another 2 to 5 years. Thankfully I ran into a AAA title you may be familiar with from our PAX coverage this year, Phantasy Star Online 2! While at PAX I was awed enough to award this title Game of the Show, witnessing the upcoming end-game content post-level 40 immediately made me imagine God of War styled battles transformed into an Anime. Characters flipped through the air, slamming their weapons down against three story tall dragons and huge ogres in what I feel is still the smoothest combat to date in any MMORPG.
Next up I met with Gravity Interactivity who were unfortunately very tight lipped once they realized I was with the western media. See a lot of marketing teams like to keep much of the information on their games under wraps for as long as possible so they can build hype once the game is closer to launch in a respective region. Gravity knows this drill all too well and all I managed to snag was a few tidbits on Ragnarok 2 and the sad fact that there are no current public plans to bring Alicia Online, a horse racing MMO, to the west. My girlfriend, NuttyKitten, is heartbroken at the news.
Across from Nexon I found ChangYou, a company with a similar history to Neowiz in being relatively unknown in the west but with major titles looming on the horizon. Last year my associate Nick brought me a pamphlet showcasing some of the details on their title Duke of Mount Deer, which I can sum up in one sentence as the chibi version of Guild Wars 2. I took comfort knowing that this game was receiving the recognition it deserved, taking home the Popular Asian Developed Award, second on the list of awards to only the President’s Award (won by Icarus Online). For more info I highly suggest taking a look at last year’s article on the game here. After much haggling I managed to get their representative to spill that we may see this unique title in the west as early as Q4 2013. ChangYou lacked a skilled English speaker at their booth but thankfully provided a book filled with information on their upcoming line-up I hadn’t yet heard of.
Heroes of Legend is a 3D real-time turn-based MMORPG, one of the first of its kind to take turn-based gameplay through the Unreal Engine 3. It offers 471 story-driven missions in which players can collect skills, pets, and unlock further classes via their Cloud Class system that allows you to experience every class fully without ever having to reroll. With a graphics style akin to Duke of Mount Deer and a wild range of Wujiang martial arts skills to acquire, this should definitely be on the wishlist of any strategy fans out there.
The next title is currently code named X7 and is built from the Dark Fire engine, an engine designed to push graphical output to the limits while still maintaining 1,000 player battles between 5 factions. If mass scale PvP is your forte, you’ll fall in love with this beautiful title that builds on past customization and development MMORPG styles but on a scale that can’t be described as anything short of extraordinary. I’d say the biggest selling point on this title is the vehicle-based siege warfare combined with massive mechanical birds that enable aerial combat during territory wars. The dynamic engine that allows the game world to change based on player actions is also a plus.
God Slayer was the personal favorite of ChangYou’s representative. Similarly to EIN, it is built off a variation of the CE3 engine and features non-traditional untargeted combat with a strong focus on a five element system that will force you to react to your enemy’s strengths and weaknesses on the fly to do well. The game also supports large scaled open world PvP with air, land, and water mounts/vehicles. You can expect to find all the usual modern physics here as mounts and players react to each blow in realistic fashion. Akin to RaiderZ, you will also have to focus on the weak points of major bosses to take them down tactically (because these bad boys will destroy you in a blow for blow contest). And for the phone junkies out there you will have full access to the auction house, guild functions, and many other basic social aspects via cross-platform apps to keep you in the game even when you’re afk.
While ChangYou had much more to show the rest of their titles either had no clear launch planned in the west or too little information to bother sharing. Still it goes to show just how far detached the western and eastern gaming worlds are from each other and how much this industry is set to change in just the next few years.
Following ChangYou I hit up GalaNet to try out Eternal Blade for the first time since GDC San Francisco. The game is extremely polished and ready for its Korean launch, and we should be seeing it in the west in the very near future as well. If you’re looking for Diablo style gameplay with a more Asian setting and a F2P business model, I doubt you’re going to find anything higher quality than Eternal Blade.
The Taiwanese were out in force at GStar as I got to finally meet some of the marketing team behind XLegend, best known in the states for their partnership with Aeria Games for Grand Fantasia and Eden Eternal. Unfortunately they haven’t revealed any plans past Glory Destiny Online so I don’t have new info to share but I made sure to thank them. After all their title Eden Eternal was the first press event I was invited to which got me noticed by many game publishers to do awesome exclusive reporting including our recent SOE Live and Elder Scrolls Online reveal coverage.
Next up on the Taiwan tour was OMG Entertainment, who you might remember from the other major title I shown the spotlight on during GStar, Bella Legend of Crystal. While most of the details regarding this game haven’t changed from last year’s preview article, they did announce that they will be using a business model in which players can sell in-game items on the auction house for cash shop currency rather than in-game currency. In fact coins aren’t dropped by monsters at all, making the cash shop currency essentially the currency of the entire market. I’m a bit iffy on how this will all work out but one thing is for sure, this game will not suffer the typical inflation that most MMORPGs have trouble dealing with these days.
OMG is also pushing for more social interactivity by allowing players to connect their in-game profile to the profile of their favorite social networks. As a result you will be able to share your pics, interests, and more that you have flagged for approval with in-game friends straight within the game client itself. On the mobile app side you will be able to take care of your in-game pets and acquire exclusive equipment through mini-games only playable on the mobile app. A new trailer also showcases the unique class diversification system.
At Gameforge it’s always Oktoberfest, even in Korea!
The final stop on the Taiwan tour was to meet up with my new pals at Runewaker, the infamous Tang brothers I met a few weeks back at SOE Live. The timing was perfect as a high ranking representative from Gameforge approached the booth, pulling the Tangs into an impromptu meeting likely about publishing Dragon’s Prophet, allowing me to get the unfiltered inside scoop from their sales associate Danielle Yen. I literally have pages upon pages of notes of information not covered in detail at SOE Live so expect a full article on what’s new with Dragon’s Prophet including an in-depth look at the dragon taming system and Frontier system.
With that out of the way I prepared to make my way to back to the B2C section of the hall until a small booth in the corner caught my eye. It was none other than my favorite group of game publishers, En Masse Entertainment. Yet when I asked what about TERA they had come to promote they replied that they were actually in the market to acquire another title. This news was music to my ears as En Masse does a truly fantastic job managing TERA in the west and I feel any title under their care will receive proper treatment. Though when I asked if it was going to be another action heavy Unreal title Knoxxer hinted towards a no. Guess we’ll have to wait and see what they are plotting in their secluded Seattle office.
Finally I ended the day scoping out some of the titles I didn’t have a chance to try on my first day around the booth. Or so I thought before I realized there was an entire array of new showgirls in attendance on day 2!
Spongebob was spotted outside directing traffic to the Tales Runner rappers
The Korean Creativity group was represented by a girl with Minnie Mouse ears. No this doesn’t make any sense. Yes I still love them for it.
Nvidia lured all the Asian press to their booth with a unique draw, they had the only two white showgirls I saw at the entire show! Unfortunately I failed to capture a picture of the other but both were dressed as fairies.
I couldn’t help but feel bad for Mario. Standing directly between the Neowiz super machines and the Nintendo booth must have been scorching hot in that suit.
I don’t know what PStore is but I think I suddenly want to buy what they are selling @_@.
A rather intimidating Blizzard associate in this beautiful Chinese dress kept the rift raft out of the back entrance of the Mists of Pandaria demo.
Meanwhile this unusual group maintained order amongst the chaos outside the Starcraft II demo.
I barely managed to snag this quick shot of the Cyphers girl before I was pulled back into the Starcraft swarm.
Finally after making my rounds I got in line to try Icarus, the only title that had literally no openings for press meetings when I ran into them in the B2B hall. After an hour long wait in the line staring at the sexy showgirls working the booth, I finally got my hands on the game. Much like Dragon’s Prophet though, this title will require its own article to describe so I will leave that tale for another day.
Overall I have to say GSTAR is by far my favorite convention I have yet worked. The PR group at Neowiz was beyond expectations, offering a professional and organized schedule with enough free-time to allow me to explore the entire show rather than only focus on their own titles. Despite the language barrier I learned that MMORPGs are truly a universal language to themselves and anyone with the opportunity to attend would be a fool to miss out on the chance. Save up your money, grab a passport, and meet me at GSTAR next year. It’s an experience you’ll remember for the rest of your life!