E3 Review: Day Two

Not as much awesome going around today.  Sony held their big press conference which was met with equal parts “meh,” “YAWN,” and “…so?” with the exception of this speech by Kevin Butler, which was both fantastic and ridiculous.  And I totally loved it.

There were only a few MMO-related nuggets dropped on the infamous tubes today, but I’m happy to share them with you.

On the subject of Sony, we couldn’t get away without mentioning Final Fantasy XIV (that’s “14” by the way… they should start calling these “Just Another Fantasy” at this point).  But unfortunately, the developers behind this title remained as closed-lipped as always, and revealed nothing more than a new cinematic trailer.  However, rumors were later confirmed through various media outlets, that FFXIV will be available for play on “global servers” — meaning no localization and no segregation based on geography.  We’re hoping they’ve thought about that silly little thing called latency, when deciding on this design.  But hey, they’re a big MMO company, right?  What could go wrong?  Still no word on whether PS3 players will be able to play alongside PC gamers, however.

In other east-meets-west news, several ripples were created today by hands-on gameplay demos of TERA, a localization and partial re-imagining of a successful Korean MMORPG of the same name.  To be frank, this one has slipped completely under my radar, as has the entire localization/import of Eastern MMORPG titles, after the luke-warm-at-best reception that Aion has received since launch, after being repeatedly touted in the press as a “WoW-Killer.”  Even En Masse Entertainment, the company behind the “Westernization” of TERA Online, acknowledges that US and European audiences have massively different expectations than Korean gamers.  Now, having said all that, I have to remind you that I am a big supporter of MMOs that break the boundaries of established game mechanics, and that’s where this game delivers — the active combat system shown in various gameplay trailers has me more than a little intrigued, and reports from E3 attendees say that the style is remarkably fun and easy to handle.

(Editor’s Note:  Gameplay footage linked above is not from E3 2010.  Sorry about the language barrier.  Note use of a controller for gameplay, though!  This title will be PC only, but with full controller support.)

And as a final tidbit of information from today’s MMO showings, PC Gamer was able to land a scoop today confirming that Turbine is “definitely planning to get players to Isengard next year” which should delight both fans of LOTRO, and of the in-game lore surrounding the title.  Personally, this news brightened my day only because it shows Turbine and Warner Bros are continuing to make long-term goals for the title, despite announcing last month that they would be moving to a Free-to-Play subscription model later this year.

In non-E3 news, Cryptic Studios today launched the first of their Adventure Pack add-ons titled “Serpent Lantern.”  These seem to be akin to dungeons/instances in other MMOs, but with the unique property of scaling to the level of the players that enter them, and therefore available for both new and old players alike.  I’m anxious to see how this idea pans out, as it seems to be a potential solution to the old problem of content gaps present in most MMO titles at one point or another.

E3 continues for the rest of the week, so keep coming back for more updates!

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