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gamescom 2011: NCsoft conference Live Blog

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NCsoft
07:30: Welcome to the live blog of NCsoft's conference from gamescom 2011. The South Korean publisher of big budget massively-multiplayer titles will have a number of surprises up its sleeve. One is the reveal of Carbine's new project, plus expect more details for Guild Wars 2, including a possible release date. Find out what's in store in 30 minutes' time.

08:01: Scratch that - the event is starting in 15 minutes' time.

08:06: Unlike other conferences, this takes place on the expo show floor so it's open to press and public alike, and is also standing only.

08:15: Now we get started; there are two announcements today, and one's coming straight off the bat. It's Carbine's new MMO, and it's called Wildstar.

08:17: The light-hearted trailer shows a spaceship land on a planet, with a bunny-eared woman, towering mercenary and an Uncharted-style Nathan Drake-style gunslinger on a bike. The three investigate the world and run into various spots of bother, from man-eating plants that sprout legs to a giant, ruined golem hiding hundreds of bugs within. The team fight them off and just as the Drake-a-like says he's having a good time, the ground collapses beneath them, uncovering discover ruins and ending the clip.

08:18: NCsoft are doing things differently - they're announcing their MMO today and letting people play right now. In front of me are computer stations where anyone can log in and start playing.

08:22: The team are trying to build the richest, deepest MMO out there. Adventuers are coming together across the galaxy to investigate new planets, to uncover new species, science and technology.

08:24: Standard things like race, class and factions can be chosen, but what are the motivations as a gamer to play this type of game? Solving that is through playstyle, with the world shaping around the player.

08:26: Certain path examples include exploring, fighting, or collecting the many mysteries of the world, or perhaps to build a new home and building relationships with other players. In short, letting players play how they want to play.

08:28: Carbine are "layering" the world different to other MMOs, they say. It's "dynamic", "story" and "playstyle" best.

08:28: Again, the goal is to let players play how they want to.

08:29: Now a gameplay demonstration is shown to the audience. It's explained that this world was once the home of a powerful alien civilisation long extinct, and now only remnants of their technology remain.

08:31: The classes are explained; Nathan Drake is the gunslinger, who uses pistols and magic.

08:33: The gameplay segment, which is playable at the show floor today, has players run to huge tower structures and turn off their power. Players can "change the world" of Wildstar in its quests.

08:33: More on the environment; it's a cartoony snow-covered landscape with craggy rocks and tall trees, before the camera makes its way through an icy cave populated with mushrooms. Quests will be rolled out one after another, so killing everything within this cave will give you another objective.

08:34: And that's it for Wildstar - NCsoft says people can start playing right now. There's more to come, though.

08:35: Now for Guild Wars 2; on stage are two lead designers to show off what progress the team has made in the last 12 months.

08:36: Now a trailer plays. It shows fantasy landscapes destroyed by an unknown evil, as well as vast and complex towns and cities formed out of stone, wood and mountains. It's a mixture of rustic and cyberpunk styles and all very stylistic.

08:40: Gameplay footage shows warriors facing off against various creatures, from giant robots emerging from lava to minters, scorpions, and a rat people. Combat and character classes look dynamic and varied.

08:42: Back to the developers; again, many of the things shown will be playable today, including all five races. Character customisation, PvP and underwater combat will all be playable for the first time at gamescom this year.

08:43: Time for a walkthrough of "some of the large gameplay" at the show. It's set in Sparkfly Fan, a high level area with sees a race under threat from an undead invasion. First shown is a boss fight against a "little dragon", which pretty much fills the screen.

08:44: Like many other events in the game, difficulty dynamically scales according to how many people join in a battle at once. The boss features many different mechanics; it can summon bloaters that explode with poison, and have to be killed before they reach you.

08:46: Behind the player are bone walls (literally a rib rage sticking out of the ground) which are defending against turrets. Players have to work in teams to do several things; defend the turrets, some to man the turrets, some to destroy the bone wall and some to keep those bloaters at bay. The developer also recommends a few people as healers on the side. It sounds hectic but pleasingly involving and team-work focused.

08:46: Another thing to be mindful of are tendrils sticking out of the ground, which again, ideally need players to keep fighting off. As the battle goes on, the dragon can summon more bone walls to help defend him. Dozens of players are working together at once, making things progressively harder.

08:47: With the battle over, a giant chest appears with loot, and the demonstration ends, and so does the press conference. Thanks for reading!

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