The hype for the first free to play mobile MMO, Conquer Online, continues to build. Not content with there being just one sneak preview trailer, a new trailer detailing more information about the gameplay within Conquer Online has been released.
Gameplay looks like it’s been optimized pretty well for the iPad with touch based controls working well and keeping action easy to get to grips with. Hopefully the graphics will remain as fast paced and lag free as depicted here. The social features have also been expanded upon with the potential to dance, chat, hug and kiss other players in order to develop friendships, love or even marriage in the game world.
Only time will tell how Conquer Online fares on the iPad but with the promise of being the first free to play MMO and the already solid userbase of 10 million fans of the game, it’s looking pretty good.
If you could see us now, you’d notice our heightened excitement, heavy breathing, and elevated heart rates. We had a chance to preview this epic scifi MMO for iPhone, iPad (and Android, and eventually PC) last February at GDC, and have been waiting with bated breath ever since. Got any gum?
Star Legends, nee The Blackstar Chronicles, is by SpaceTime Studios, makers of the highly regarded Pocket Legends MMO. This new game, set in a fantastic scifi universe, promises to bring the same seamless massively multiplayer action to a whole new genre and audience, improving upon an already successful MMO system. There is a ton of backstory and a whole new universe of content planned for the game, so we’re hoping for a nice long run of it. When we previewed the game at GDC, there were tons of art and backstory hung on almost every wall of the suite we met with the dev and PR team, making our inner scifi geeks squee with delight.
Here’s the description form the team’s Facebook page. Can it get any more exciting!?
The doors of the UCS Blackstar will soon open to privateers who have come to make their fortunes and fame, perhaps at the expense of their very lives! Rumors abound that the residents of UCS Blackstar have discovered an alien presence on a nearby colony. Seeing an opportunity to turn a quick profit, countless privateers leap into action to carve out their fate among the stars.
There was a delay in getting the iOS version of the game out, as the Android version has been out for quite a while.
The iOS version is a Universal app, and is available right now in the App store for free. Various in-app purchases are available, though if Pocket Legends is any guide, they should not be necessary for gameplay. Stay tuned here for our full review soon.
Grinding our way through the latest iOS genre darling, Freemium games, is becoming somewhat of a turn off. There may or may not be a backlash to the developers or their games, but I’m feeling a definite slacking off in my interest in these types of games.
First off, let’s be clear on what freemium even means. Wikipedia defines the term as ” a business model that works by offering a basic product or service free of charge (such as software, web services or other) while charging a premium for advanced features, functionality, or related products and services.”
In the iOS app world, and more specifically, the gaming app world, Freemium has been hailed as the next big thing for companies wishing to make money. Some developers I spoke with at GDC seemed to think that the entirety of the iOS gaming market was going to a Fremium model, though I tend to agree with Tracy Erickson over at Pocket Gamer, who posits that Freemium games will continue to be a successful niche of the gaming market, and not be the whole of iOS gaming’s future.
Rather than repeat what better minds have already covered, I’d like to focus on the consumer end of the equation. As an avid gamer across all platforms, I’ve seen my share of games. And, to be honest, Freemium as a business model doesn’t inspire me to play a game. The ephemeral “fun” factor is, however, something that motivates me. I’m assuming it will motivate other players as well.
Many of these games seem to be about the mechanics alone. This is the Freemium Grind. Farmville is the grandame of Freemium gaming, of course, and the Freemium Grind mechanic is fairly transparent: build a farm, grow stuff on the farm, sell said items, gather in-game currency, and start the cycle again. Added into this mix are some social reciprocity (I’ll give you a gift so you will give me a gift), and some pride in place (this is my farm, there are many like it but this one is my own). Other games that fall in this category include Smurf’s Village, any of the Story games, Mafia Wars, We Rule, etc. There are some other games that hide the basic mechanics behind some other mechanics, like Gun Bros, Pocket Frogs and Pocket Legends, to name a few.
What is it, though, about this mechanic that turns me off? The artificiality of it, for one thing, bugs me. When I invade in ZombieFarm, I have to wait another couple of hours before I can invade again. Or, of course, I can go ahead and purchase an upgrade for a invasion recharge. This isn’t fun. Another thing that bothers me is the continual reminders. I stopped playing We Rule and GodFinger mainly due to the constant notifications. I don’t need more things telling me that I have to take care of them. I have children and pets for that, thank you very much. I don’t want to feel obligated to launch a game – don’t we all have enough obligations in our lives?
When are we going to see a Freemium game that isn’t like this? Where’s the incredible gaming experience that is free or low cost to enter, but then offers thrilling and fun gaming experiences? Where’s the World Of Goo Freemium? The Rolando Freemium (oh, yeah, they couldn’t figure it out)? The Flight Control Freemium?
I’m sure there are smart developers out there. Making iOS apps is not for the intellectually challenged. I think, however, that we need a new star to step forward and not just take the Freemium model to the next logical step (hardcore freemium, music game freemium, shooter freemium, etc.) but to turn it on its head. To make a game that is TRULY a fantastic game, that is free to play, yet encourages folks to purchase in-game items. How do we do that? Is it possible? Some think it is, but I’m not holding my breath.
Like most difficult questions, I don’t believe this one has a definitive answer. We need the premium, buy once, play forever games as well as the free to play, mechanical freemium games as well. But we also need something new, if the freemium model isn’t to crush itself under its own weight and continued copy-cat-ism that reigns in the space. Who’s gonna step up? Will it be you? Let us know in the comments.
Gameloft brings the PC MMO experience to iOS with their newest entry. The title is heavily inspired by Blizzard's World of Warcraft, but its portability adds a dose of novel freshness to a familiar outing.
The minds behind Pocket Legends, Spacetime Studios, are finally able to bring the PC MMO game they were hired to produce for NCSoft back a few years ago. When the project was abruptly cancelled last year, they used the world-class engine to produce Pocket Legends. When we sat down with founder Gary Gattis at GDC this past week, he described this as like putting a Ferrari engine into a Go Kart and seeing what they could do with it.
Pocket Legends, while a game with its own growing pains, has become a definite hit on the iOS scene, boasting a huge fantasy styled MMO that just works, and works well. The company has released updates and expansions consistently since the apps original launch.
Blackstar is their next big project for mobile devices, utilizing the original science fiction IP from the original contract with NCSoft (all legally and above board, so users need not fear it getting shut down). Blackstar is be a global, cross platform MMO with an epic storyline and an equally impressive art pedigree: some of the concept artists went on to work on TRON: The Movie. What we were able to play of the game showed us a similar control style as Pocket Legends, on both iOS and Android devices, with a planned PC client in the near future, if all goes according to plan. Spacetime Studios will launch the game as a free to play MMO with 15% of the planned gameplay ready for launch, which equates to three separate zones with rapid leveling systems, quests, and character customization. They plan to release the game in Q2 20011.
My own reaction to the game ranged from awe at the fully fleshed out science fiction universe, high end conceptual artwork, and a thrill at the potential of playing this thing on any device I might potentially own or come into contact during the day. The play build we saw was not production level by any means, but it ran smoothly, connected to the Blackstar servers across three different devices in the room, and controlled in a very familiar way, since I’ve played Pocket Legends since it first came out. I have only the best of hopes for this game, as it can only get better from here.
Enjoy the below screenshots and stay tuned right here for more details as we get them.
The Witcher is an incredibly popular PC RPG franchise, and now Chillingo is hoping to bring that popularity to iOS. The company has announced a partnership with developer one2tribe which will see The Witcher Versus landing on the App Store in the near future. The game will be based on the browser-based title of the same name which was also developed by one2tribe.
According the the press release, players can plan to “Choose between the classes of Witcher, Sorceress or Frightener and jump right into the fray of battle. Fight, gain experience and develop your skills against other players. Embark on quests to prove bravery and battle enemies to unlock new weapons, amulets, and magical items. Players can compete against others playing the online browser and WAP versions of the game for an unparalleled MMO dueling experience.”
“The Witcher franchise is one of the industry’s most popular PC RPG games and we are proud to collaborate with one2tribe to bring this new version of the browser-based MMO dueling title to the iPhone and iPod touch,” said Joe Wee, Co-General Manager of Chillingo. “We aim to provide consumers with a variety of game genres to choose from and The Witcher: Versus shines as one of our best MMO titles to date.”
Neither Chillingo nor one2tribe have offered any details on pricing or a potential release date, and they also haven’t stated if there are any plans to create an iPad version of the game. We’ll make sure to keep an eye out for any new info as it becomes available.
The announcement should be welcome news to iPhone and iPod owners at the least, because if the same level of care goes into creating the mobile version as it does the computer and browser-based editions of the game then we’re in for a real treat. This is definitely a title to keep on your radar moving forward.
I’ll be honest: I think Pocket Legends is pretty darn cool. I reviewed the game back in its infancy, and since then it’s continued to expand. If you haven’t played it before, Pocket Legends is a true MMORPG, complete with PvP, boss fights, dungeons, and plenty of loot.
The newest update charges you with “preventing a disaster of galactic proportions” as aliens once again threaten the land of Pocket Legends. Of course, this is mostly pretense for giving players some welcome features: a higher level cap, boss-filled dungeons, two PvP maps, and more loot. Who doesn’t love loot?
Here’s the list of other recent updates:
Lost Expedition Base Camp: a new towne full of quests and loot
Leaderboards: compete for most kills, most deaths, K/D ratio, most gold
Loadouts that allow you to save and reload different configurations
Item sets (collections of items that give additional bonuses when equipped)
An additional inventory slot for wearing fancy helmets
UI updates including the ability to map all 12 of your skills at once
Exploding barrels to add to the carnage in PvP
Plus a whole lot more!
If you haven’t tried Pocket Legends yet, now’s as good a time as any; the game keeps growing, with updates pushed out almost every two days, and if you don’t mind its simplicity and occasional UI annoyances, Pocket Legends can be a real blast. It’s free to try (you don’t even need to register anymore!), so what are you waiting for?
It’s really quite amazing how powerful the iPhone has become since the original model came out. In many respects it is a more powerful handheld game device than the current generation of dedicated gaming handhelds, even outdoing the specs of Nintendo’s latest incarnation, the DSi 3D (albeit not with the awesome 3D tech).
Spacetime Studios (Pocket Legends), realizing the vast gaming potential of the iOS, is expanding (and soon licensing) the Spacetime 3D MMO game engine to support different devices interacting on the same server. The devices aren’t limited to the iPhone/Android sphere though – they plan to make it possible for mobile users to play simultaneously with PC users.
“The Spacetime Engine offers seamless global multiplayer gameplay to anyone with an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch over 3G, Edge, and wireless networks. We plan to add Android and PC users to the mix.” said Anthony L. Sommers, co-founder and CTO of Spacetime Studios. “In the near future, it will be possible to be on the bus in California with your iPhone, playing with someone in a park in France on their Android device, and both be playing in the same server set with someone in South Korea on their PC.”
The Spacetime 3D Engine should be available for developers sometime in 2011, and Pocket Legends should be getting the multi platform treatment soon. Beware though, the world is now one day closer to being able to play World of Warcraft-like games on the go. Our collective productivity is in trouble.
CipSoft, a German developer, recently announced that they’re bringing their MMORPG, TibiaME, to the iPhone. On the surface, this isn’t too interesting—TibiaME is an old-school 2D RPG, and it’s not exactly mainstream…
However, TibiaME has quite the history: launched in 2003, it’s been thriving on other mobile platforms like Symbian and Java. While its iPhone launch is in September, TibiaME can already tout 50,000 players. Nice! MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) thrive based in part on their player bases, and having a large one like that from the get-go is great.
As for TibiaME’s other features, well, there are plenty. Firstly, it’s free to play (though an in-app purchase will purportedly upgrade you to Premium). Secondly, it’s persistent and real-time. To me, those are the most significant…but let’s look at the (partial) list provided by the developer.
2 different character classes (warrior and wizard) with their own individual skills and powers
12 huge islands with different themes like ice, desert or jungle
Many cities with shops, depots, trade and guild halls
150+ fierce monsters like cyclops, orcs, trolls, dragons or even vampires
200+ challenging and funny quests like “Overcome the monster phobia” or “Stop the mad magician”
12 episodic and 2 major content updates per year featuring new areas, quests and monsters
Classic fantasy RPG, real-time, mobile, with plenty of content? Yes, please.
The iPhone has seen other MMO RPGs before, such as IMO: World of Magic and Pocket Legends, but none have had the advantage of an initial player base. Besides that, TibiaME looks like an interesting, classic-style RPG, and I’m looking forward to playing it when it comes out. Don’t be put off by the screenshots; they’re from the mobile phone versions of the game. Purportedly, the iPhone app will benefit from an overhauled client and graphics.
Update 5/1/2010: gokbert is our winner — check your email and respond and we’ll send you the iTunes gift card code.
We Rule from ngmoco:) is one of the more popular community trading games. A genre of game most popularized by Farmville. This type of game revolves around building things and trading goods and services with other players. In We Rule one of the best ways to gain experience points and in-game currency is to sell and buy services with other players. Both buyers and sellers gain in these transactions.
To sell services, you just need to build buildings that sell goods and services. This is basically any of the buildings other than farms and homes. Users can then come to your kingdom and order from those buildings just by touching them. This is the same way that you can order services from other kingdoms. Visit other kingdoms and look for open signs to see what’s available.
So let’s use this post as a place to share each our Plus+ Network usernames so that we can start trading with each other. The idea being that we build a community within the We Rule community all trading with each other to build our XP as fast as possible. I’ll start, I’m jeff148apps.
Add your Plus+ Network username below, in the comments. We can then all add each other as friends and start building up experience points and gold. To make it a little more enticing, we’ll pick a random user from below for a $15 iTunes Gift card so you can buy more mojo in the game. We’ll give away the gift card next weekend.
Also, make sure you have the latest version installed. Ngmoco recently fixed some bugs related to open businesses that should make things easier for us all.
Pocket Legends is a simple freemium RPG featuring zombie-infested dungeons, 3D graphics, and general RPG goodness. This is an amazing release made even better by its super-cheap initial asking price...free. If you like RPGs, you owe it to yourself to try Pocket Legends.
Aurora Feint II: Arena Daemons is a complex, compelling match-3 with actual depth, featuring many multiplayer features and quite a bit of strategy. While it's plagued with crashes and will drain your battery, the actual game is excellent.