I preordered New World. On purpose.

I don’t normally pre-order things. In fact, over the last several years, I can only think of two other games I have pre-ordered: No Man’s Sky, just days before the initial launch, and ArcheAge Unchained. Unlike other people, I liked No Man’s Sky right out of the box because I didn’t know what it was supposed to be. It was recommended to me by someone I trust, so I bought it and had no regrets. It was love at first play for me and it has only gotten better. And although ArcheAge Unchained has had its issues, I wanted to vote with dollars for the monetization model they were trying out. And it is a decent MMORPG if you aren’t allergic to PvP.

So that brings me to this most recent pre-order. While other people are howling into the void that the game is ruined and will be just terrible, I am betting that it will turn out ok. I played it during the alpha, and it was a gorgeous world I wanted to spend more time in, even though I generally despise survival sandboxes. I call games in that genre “treepunchers.” I hate punching trees. But I hated the survival aspects of New World somewhat less than I usually do. By the time they shut down that alpha, I knew I would buy it just to be there. And to spear turkeys.

Now that they’ve announced that it is going to be a different kind of game, I am even more interested. I don’t hate open PvP– I wouldn’t have lasted long in BDO if I did– but I prefer PvE and I am looking forward to more of that experience.  It sounds like it will be even more my kind of game now, but I was, as I mentioned, willing to buy it the way it was before.

I hope Amazon doesn’t disappoint me. I am forgiving and patient, but sometimes when a studio goes back to retool a game, it comes out worse for the wear. This has the potential to be one of the big releases of 2020 if they can just not screw it up.

Astellia, as launch nears…

Astellia will be launching soon. There’s a timer counting down on their pre-order page.  They just announced that you can play for $10 a month rather than buying it if you want.

I liked my time in Astellia’s closed betas. It is a really pretty game. The official website says that it is a “classical MMORPG” that hearkens back to the good old days of the genre. I think they might be looking to cash in on the nostalgia that seems pervasive among MMO players. Or perhaps they mean that it is an old school Asian-style game. I’d buy that, I think.

(Seriously, though, how cute was my CBT2 character?! TOO cute!)

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I had some performance issues with it, fixed by turning down my graphics, and we all know how people feel about that sort of thing. But let’s say that other people have beefier rigs and it runs fine for them. That still leaves the larger problem that there’s nothing especially remarkable about it. And this is where it might run into trouble.

I wasn’t going to say it, but I have been thinking it for quite a while now, so I might as well put it out there: I fear that Astellia is going to go the way of Bless. And that would be a damn shame, because it is a solid offering in the Asian subgenre, and they really do seem to be trying to adapt it to Western sensibilities. I am just not sure that people are going to lay down $40+ for a pre-order on this game* when they could buy Black Desert, an established buy-to-play game with a healthy population, for $10, or $5 on sale, or for free when they run those “start a trial, achieve something, get the game” events. If Astellia doesn’t come hard out of the gates, I don’t think it will be able to overcome The Meh Factor.

I want Astellia to exceed all expectations. It is a cool game with some neat, if not truly unique, features, and it is so very pretty. I am just afraid it is too expensive and coming out at the wrong time (a month after WoW Classic) to get the audience they need to not bellyflop onto the pavement.

I might be looking forward to a couple of games…

Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen and Peria Chronicles have caught my eye.  I try very hard not to buy a ticket to the hype train, but those two have me at least standing near the ticket office.

I played a decade (plus) of EverQuest and then I jumped into Vanguard: Saga of Heroes late in its run, and I enjoyed both. I don’t want Pantheon to be a clone of either, but the next evolutionary step, while maintaining some of the mechanics and design elements that I loved in those other games. And it is the gameplay footage, more than what the devs have promised, that gives me some hope. I know that Vanguard launched as a mess, and a lot of that was poor management, but it seems like Visionary Realms has a better structure than Sigil, and they definitely seem to be putting in the time and effort to get it right this time.

I know somewhat less about Peria Chronicles, at least in part because I don’t speak, read, or understand Korean. (Which I have been whining about since I started playing Korean imports in the early 2000’s, so you’d think I’d have used the last nearly 20 years to learn the language, given that languages are my *other* hobby…) What I have heard is intriguing, though, and I love the look of it– just gorgeous, like playing inside an anime. I hope to hear more as information seeps out from the (Korean) beta. I enjoy the life skills side of Black Desert, and it seems like Peria Chronicles may have a good deal of that, so that appeals to me. The gameplay videos I have seen look interesting. Again, it would help if I understood or could read Korean, but the international language of gameplay is enough for me to get the general notion of how it works. I am not clear on whether or not PvP plays any great role in the game, and I actually hope it doesn’t. I am not that kind of player.

The combat in these two games seems considerably slower than I have gotten used to in playing a thousand hours of Black Desert Online, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I love BDO combat, but I have played plenty of tab-target games in my day too, and they have their own charms.

I wouldn’t say that I am SUPER MEGA PUMPED for Pantheon or Peria Chronicles, but they strike me as the most interesting games on the horizon right now. I hope one of them pans out. I don’t expect to see Pantheon before 2021, to be honest, but I will be keeping an eye on it. Peria Chronicles seems closer, but we’ll see how long it takes to make it to North America.