Gamersfirst – MMO Stable Preview
Gamersfirst is a growing publisher of F2P games in the west, and they were on-hand with a large presence at this year’s E3. I visited their booth during the show and was given a brief overview of some of their upcoming MMOs. Not content with just offering up clones of this game or that, the main thing I took away from Gamersfirst’s showing was that the publisher is keen on offering different experiences in the F2P market. I was demoed three games at the show: an online F1-Racing RPG, a PvP-centric space flight RPG, and the sequel to an action MMORPG which is now adding RTS mechanics to the mix. It was an interesting offering to be certain.
Victory: The Age of Racing
Victory can most easily be described as a F2P persistent version of Forza Motorsport. Set in a future where car enthusiasts have retaken an interest in the F1 cars of old, the game features an impressive array of options for players to design their own cars. You pick the parts, paint and decal it the way you like, and add in bonus add-ons to improve performance. It’s not quite as in-depth as something like Gran Turismo when it comes to tweaking, but there’s enough depth to satisfy the hardcore without alienating the casual, and that’s obviously the goal of the developer.
The game also sports three different racing modes, which amount to basically easy, medium, and hard. The former has cars handling more like they would in Mario Kart, while medium notches up the difficulty to something like Project Gotham Racing, and hard turns it up to a full-racing sim like Forza or the Gran Turismo series. The visuals on the cars are crisp and fully-animated; even the springs move when players find themselves in rough terrain. However the tracks and bells and whistles of the UI leave something to be desired visually. One hopes they’ll improve the looks of the tracks, as for now it seems like the cars don’t belong on the road or vice versa. Still with an in-depth car customization system that has players gaining experience to perfect their driving abilities as well, Victory looks like it could be a casual racer’s cup of tea especially if they don’t go in for the cartoon kart racer games already on the market.
The sequel to Sword of the New World: Grenado Espada, Sword 2’s release is currently right around the corner. Taking everything that players loved about Sword 1 (the multi-character control, the focus on action and story), Sword 2 hopes to go beyond the scope of its big brother and do away with some of gamers’ previous annoyances (like the fact that players could essentially put the game on auto-pilot, making it ripe for botting). In Sword 2 the main focus will be on PvP territorial control. The developer likens the new system to Risk in that controlling certain groups will give you certain bonuses, while controlling just as many zones as possible will give you a different kind of strategic bonus. Obviously the focus will wind up being more on Guild vs. Guild action with this mechanic, but they were keen to let me know that there will be plenty of content for the solo and group adventurer as well as instanced PvP and cross-server PvP matches.
Black Prophecy and Jumpgate: Evolution aren’t the only Space MMOs on the horizon. Taikodom seems to be taking a page from the EVE handbook in having a wide-open factional warfare but with more of a focus on combat than on economics and social ladders. Sporting a dynamic quest system and living universe that generates content for players throughout the day, Taikodom seems like it could take gamers by surprise when it launches later this year. The developers consider the game to be a Massive Social Game, a reference to the fact that they’re designing the title to take a life of its own with the factional warfare and dynamic mission system. We’ll see soon enough I’m sure whether the Brazilian developer Hoplon Infotainment has what it takes to create the epic player-driven space war they’re hoping for.