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Wolcen Lords of Mayhem – time to get hyped

With February finally rolling around, it’s time to get hyped for Wolcen Lords of Mayhem!

Wolcen Lords of Mayhem or Umbra as it was initially named was launched on Kickstarter on the 15th of May 2015. On the 14th of June 2015 the game completed its funding period amassing $406,979 from 11,141 backers. The people at SolarFall Games as they were known as back then were ecstatic with smashing their Kickstarter goal stating:

“Umbra has ended at over 180% funded, thanks to 11k backers, which is definitely higher than our initial goal! Umbra has now become the most funded French game project on Kickstarter, and we can’t thank you enough for this! Umbra will now be a bigger and better game thanks to all of your help.”

Quite some time has passed since the studio made this announcement. Anyone with a sense of time will notice that we are rapidly approaching the five-year anniversary of this date. So this game has been in development for some time. The long development of the game and some core changes to the game have had some interesting responses from the community.

Wolcen Lords of Mayhem Flesh Forest
Come February the 13th we will be slaying. Image credit: Wolcen Studio

Interpreting the community, with some (large) pinches of salt

Gamers and the gaming community can either be a tremendous force of positivity or one of the harshest places you can imagine. A good example is Keanu Reeves’ presentation at E3 2019, which took the internet by storm and won the favour of gamers all over the world. When the stars align and the gaming community reacts positively to something, it is spectacular.

Gamers and the gaming community can also have the opposite effect on something when we react negatively. It has to be said, games are expensive and some negative reactions are absolutely warranted. Just take a look at games such as Anthem and Mass Effect Andromeda to see what happens when gamers pay good money for mediocre products.

That said, Wolcen Lords of Mayhem has a “Mostly Positive” rating on Steam based on 7,446 reviews with recent reviews being “Very Positive” based on 1,241 opinions. If you are anything like me you don’t just read the positive reviews, you also read some negative ones to construct a realistic picture of the game.

Wolcen Lords of Mayhem Bandit Camp
If this is what a realistic picture of the game looks like, I am sold. Image credit: Wolcen Studio

With Wolcen Lords of Mayhem take the community opinions on places such as Steam with a pinch of salt. Many of the reviews are based on the opinion of backers who are disillusioned by the game they backed back in 2015 and what it is today. They certainly have the right to voice their opinion, but it does nothing to help new players judge the quality of the game. Reviews such as

“This isn’t the game I backed several years ago. In fact, it’s completely different from that game.”

“Game is ok, it’s just not the one I backed right back at the beginning, feel like I invested in something but the money was taken and used for something else.”

“Terrible terrible scam of a game… don’t believe me go check out the old details on their own website for a game that used to be called Umbra.”

I completely understand their issues with the game in its current state. Gamers buy into the idea of a game. We back a game based on a certain ideology or philosophy we find to be enticing.  We salivate at the mention of open dynamic worlds, choices that matter and player agency. From my own experience in game development and what I have read and heard from developers around the world, sometimes these ideas are simply not achievable. Unmet expectations are tough to deal with and we understand and acknowledge this.

Beards Swords and Shotguns are hyped

In the context of all that has been said, we here at Beards Swords and Shotguns are hyped for the (delayed) release of Wolcen Lords of Mayhem. We have played ARPG’s since Diablo 1, including some gems such as Dungeon Siege and Silverfall. We love a good hack and slash adventure with copious amounts of loot to dig our greedy claws into. Games such as Path of Exile have introduced more complex mechanics to the genre and we are all for it.

Wolcen Lords of Mayhem seems like a cross between Diablo 3 and Path of Exile, providing a solid combat experience with major depth to character development. Both of which we are fans of. I personally think the atmosphere looks superb and based on the gallery on Wolcen’s website it looks like the environments will have a good variety. To make these environments even more immersive, the graphics look fantastic and it seems like the Wolcen Games are utilising the CryEngine well.   

A good ARPG is simply not complete without some ragdoll physics. Based on what we have seen in the multitudes of gameplay videos on YouTube, bodies are most certainly flying all over the place. Smashing the ground with a greathammer and watching a [insert enemy type]’s body fly into a wall, preferably in a few pieces, is one of the most satisfying moments in gaming. The particle and other effects of the spells and abilities is like pouring Redbull into my eyes, it hurts how good it is!

Wolcen Lords of Mayhem Farming Simulator
Maybe I will trade my bastard sword for a sickle and do some farming. Image credit: Wolcen Studio

Some thoughts to keep you company for the next two weeks

Wolcen Lords of Mayhem was set to release at the end of January 2020 but was delayed until the 13th of February 2020. Wolcen Studio CEO, Daniel Dolui, made this post to clarify the situation:

“We decided to delay the game by two weeks, bringing it to February 13th because the game needs to be as polished as possible. Internally, everyone is working incredibly hard towards the release of the game, and we are really looking forward to enjoying its content with our players. However, we need to do this right and ensure that we have a high quality, polished experience at launch. In our current situation, even a day of work makes a huge impact on the final quality of Wolcen. We don’t want to waste several years of development, and the quality of such a strong project, by releasing an unstable version of the game. We sincerely believed that the game would be ready on time, and we are really close to it. But, as you know, this is our first game, and we want to give it as much love and care as we possibly can. For the team, this means two more weeks of hard work, and this is not a decision we have taken lightly. It will be hard for everyone, but we are passionate and we know that this is necessary if we are to release a successful game.”

It seems like things might be a bit crunchy at Wolcen Studio. Without going into that debate we can expect the game to be available in less than two weeks. The current playable version of the game on Steam will only be available offline as servers are being prepared for the launch. Along with this preparation players can expect a character and progress wipe to happen before the official launch of the game. The fully released version of the game will include tons of content that was not available in the early access including:

  • 1 Act VS 3 Acts of an epic, immersive and fully voiced campaign
  • Level Max 20 VS Level Max 90
  • 20 skills + 8 modifiers VS 40 skill + 12-16 modifiers
  • 35 enemy meshes VS 75+ enemy meshes, in addition of skin modifications!
  • 9 Passive Skill Classes VS 21 Classes in the Passive Skill Tree
  • 6 Armor Tiers VS 11 Armor Tiers, each tier including Mage, Rogue, Warrior and Tank styles
  • 6 Weapon Tiers VS 11 Weapons Tiers, each including 12 different weapons (1H sword, Pistol, Shield…)
  • Character customization
  • Playable female character
  • A whole new endgame mode, unlocking many new game features
  • 4 Apocalyptic forms with their dedicated skills and attacks
  • Unique secondary areas to discover
  • Lot of new environments and several variants for each of them
  • Optional content and side quests
  • Crafting
  • Very cool game enabling uniques
  • Many new and meaningful item affix modifiers
  • Many weapon stances will have new, improved animations
  • Armor skin transfer
  • Very cool armor tinting system that we will present to you later
  • Customizable game rules thanks to area alterations
  • New boss mechanics and boss modifiers
  • HUD redesign
  • The ability to have several skills of the same type with different modifiers in endgame

With all this to look forward to, join us on the hype train for Wolcen Lords of Mayhem, we’ll see you on the front lines!