Steven is a Canadian freelance writer and EVE Online evangelist, spreading the good news of internet spaceships far and wide. In his spare time, he enjoys writing overly ambitious science fiction and retweeting pictures of goats. Speaking of retweeting, you should probably drop everything and go follow him on Twitter @StevenMessner
After the rather rocky launch of Heart of Thorns, Guild Wars 2 is finally moving forward with the next season of its evolving Living Story, pushing deeper into Maguuma Jungle and opening up even more questions in the aftermath of its last chapter. Out of the Shadows, this first episode of season 3, will continue weaving story threads introduced in Heart of Thorns when it launches on July 26.
One of the more intriguing games I saw at E3 this year was Vampyr, a "semi-open world" action RPG from Dontnod, the developers of Life is Strange. But don't make the mistake of thinking that Vampyr is going to be full of teenage angst and heart-warming moments of friendship. So far it looks violent, grim, and captivating—despite the fact that I have some pretty big reservations on whether or not it can deliver on everything it promises to.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar looks like it leapt from the pages of a comic book, which is fitting because technically it did. But the reason I'm saying that is because, of the many games I saw this year at E3, Nightwar's visual aesthetic has stuck with me since then. Sometimes I just think about how amazing Calibretto, the sentient war golem, looks on screen. If nothing else, Nightwar is going to be a visual treat.
The Dwarves is one of the few games I can't get out of my head since seeing it at E3. While the comparison might be a tad unfair, The Dwarves reminds me of the Lord of the Rings movie tie-in video games that released across the PC, PS2, and Xbox over a decade ago. If you never played them, they were a fantastic blend of action RPG that saw members of the fellowship taking up swords in the iconic set piece fights of the movie.
While they're slowly branching out, MMORPGs have long existed in the realm of PC gaming, which is a huge benefit to the genre but also comes at a cost with needed to update and maintain a decent computer to play the more recent releases. With the likes of Black Desert Online, Final Fantasy XIV, and even older games like Guild Wars 2 still demanding a decent rig, keeping everything up to date can be confusing if you don't know where to start.
Tyranny is not your typical RPG. Instead of being filled with hope and wide-eyed enthusiasm for justice, it places you in a world that has already fallen to the forces of evil—the forces you work for. At E3, I got a chance to go hands on with Tyranny for about a half an hour, exploring a bit of the story and new refinements to both the combat and just the game in general, some which were subtle but also extremely welcome.
It feels really weird to admit that Elex is one of the few games that really left an impression on me at E3. For one, the state in which I saw it was pretty rough, and it was immediately obvious that Elex has a mountain of obstacles to climb before it will be anywhere near ready. Despite all that, I walked out of the demo feeling strangely enthused by the whole thing. Maybe it's because Elex is developed by Piranha Bytes, the names behind Gothic and Risen.
I need to confess, when NCsoft first showed me MXM last year I was pretty skeptical. While the version we played wasn't localized, it was evident that NCsoft was trying to push into the free-to-play space of other MOBAs—which at the time seemed like an awful idea to me. But MXM isn't a MOBA, it smartly borrows some of those ideas, a few more from action RPGs, and then even a sprinkling from MMOs, and turns that all into something that so far feels distinct and different.
Final Fantasy XIV's 3.3 update isn't even two weeks old and already players are going to have something more to look forward to: Deep Dungeon. First unveiled back at Pax East in April, Deep Dungeon will be unlike anything Final Fantasy XIV players have seen to date. I got the chance to sit in on a group interview with game director Naoki "Yoshi-P" Yoshida to dive deeper how Deep Dungeon will work, the new raid finding tool, itemization, and more.
Since launch, Blade and Soul has maintained a steady cadence of updates and classes to play, and next week NCsoft will be launching the soul fighter. Available to the Jin, Gon, and Yun races, this hybrid blends the martial styles of the force master and kung fu master to create a flexible class capable of dishing out pain at both range and in melee.
One of the more pleasant surprises coming out of Microsoft’s E3 conference was the reveal of State of Decay 2. For those who fondly remember those days of Xbox Live Arcade, before DayZ, H1Z1, and the dozens of others beat that zombified horse, State of Decay was one of the more unique takes on post-apocalyptic survival. And now Undead Labs is returning to take that great concept and do it right. I caught up with the founder of Undead Labs, Jeff Strain, to talk more about State of Decay 2.
Warhammer 40K: Inquisitor - Martyr is a mouthful for a name, but I'm inclined to forgive it after spending an hour goring enemies on my sword. The Warhammer universe is a brutal place, so a violent action RPG actually feels right at home. Neocore Games aren't new to the genre either, they're the studio behind the King Arthur and Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing RPGs, and Inquisitor feels like it's being made with that combined wisdom.
Dual Universe is an incredibly ambitious game, and I wouldn't blame you if you felt a little skeptical about its promise of creating a shared universe where millions of players can coexist. Dual Universe isn't just meant to be explored, but also lived in as players begin to organize and form their own digital societies. During E3 in LA, I sat down with the founder of Dual Universe developer Novaquark, JC Baillie, to talk candidly about what Dual Universe is, but more importantly, how it works.
There's a lot of truth we can glean about ourselves when we study the way we interact under the guise of "role-playing." For many, it is seen as a way to become something else entirely, and therefore the actions of the character you play can't inform the reality of who you are as a person.
There's a war happening in EVE Online. Much of it is being played out within the game itself, with players logging in night after night, hopping in ships, and heading to the frontlines to blow each other up. But there's another less tangible war happening amid the explosions of virtual spaceships, and it's not really happening within the game at all. It's the propaganda war—and no one is winning.