As mentioned in yesterday’s opening post, this week at TheSixthAxis we’re checking out some of the most promising F2P titles to launch in 2012. We’ve already gone hands on with BioWare Mythic’s superb competitive online RPG, Wrath of Heroes and Zombie Studios’ Blacklight Retribution, with more in-depth previews to come. Throughout the week we’ll also be bringing you bitesize quick-looks at more F2P titles, the spotlight primarily focused on releases that will appeal to your inner gamer.
By the time Vanguard launched in early 2007, Blizzard behemoth, World of Warcraft, was already revelling in the genre’s unprecedented surge in popularity. In fact, just two weeks prior to the release of SOE’s promising MMORPG, WoW drew in a record-breaking legion of players with its first major expansion, The Burning Crusade.
For more than five years Vanguard has been sitting on the periphery. Despite bringing a myriad of character customisation options to the table as well as the unique “Spheres” system, World of Warcraft had already latched onto the once un-enlightened masses and continues to reign as king to this very day.
However, the MMO scene is changing rapidly. Since the phenomenal success of WoW, the genre is now at breaking point with studios from across the globe pounding out MMO after MMO; no matter your taste, there’s definitely an entry to the genre that will suit you to the ground whether that be steampunk, sci-fi, fantasy, racer, shooter and so on.
With such overwhelming choice, MMO gamers are probably the most spoiled of the lot, advantaged further by the advent of “free to play.” Like many before it, including Lord of the Rings Online and City of Heroes, Vanguard will step into the F2P realm this Summer, a passionate team of developers on-hand to deliver a persistent flow of updates and content.
Donning the tagline “AAA4Free” Warface is looking to revolutionize the way core gamers perceive the freemium online shooter. Developed by three Crytek studios around the globe, the game’s most discernible feature is its visual presentation. The CryENGINE 3 is arguably as good as it gets for contemporary gamers, and will be used to powered Warface when it launches sometime in the near future.
Though it’s easy to get caught up in the visuals, Crytek is no stranger when it comes to delivering stunning FPS gameplay either. Warface will encompass a dynamic class system which is said to go hand-in-hand with the gallery of available PvP modes. Straddling the line between contemporary warfare and future technology, Warface may seem a little more gritty than rival, Ghost Recon Online, also setting itself apart with the surprising inclusion of mechs.
Something we don’t often see in free-to-play online shooters is the addition of co-op play, mainly due to the additional resources acquired in moulding enemy AI and mission design. However, Crytek is promising an immersive squad-based mode that relies just as much on teamwork as individual skill, dishing out a plethora of substantial rewards. The online co-op will also be subject to constant updates and extensions by the team.
Browser-based games have seen a massive hike in popularity over the last few years, reeling in core and casual gamers alike. One sub-genre in particular, the real-time resource management sim, has proven particularly popular, giving rise to such titles as Farmville, Cafe World, and Mafia Wars.
EA is no stranger to social gaming, having released The Sims Social and Dragon Age Legends. This time around the publisher is hoping to swat two birds with one stone, attaching itself to the popular social genre whilst dragging the Command & Conquer series back into the spotlight. Developer Phenomic has already achieved such a feat with Lords of Ultima, so it shouldn’t be as hard second time round, right?
Though resource gathering is still the main aim here, Tiberium Alliances is looking to set itself apart by ushering in a comprehensive battle system. Within an hour or so, you’ll go from a single deserted refinery to a militarised complex, preparing to expand into enemy territory. Players can expect a broad gallery of units, fulfilling both offensive and defensive purposes which can also be distributed to aid other allies you meet in-game.
Currently in beta, Tiberium Alliance will launch later this year, hoping to bridge the void between core gamers and anything even faintly related to Farmville. On release, the game will be available exclusively through the Tiberium Alliance website, which seems like an odd oversight, though a Facebook/iOS launches seems likely at some point.