Today we had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with members of the Atlus Online team. Alice Ly, Brandon Cushenberry, and Palmira Farrow gave us a demonstration of their new Atlus Online website, their community, and their new MMO, Neo Steam: The Shattered Continent.
Hit the jump for an in-depth look!
The start of the meeting, which I was stupidly ten minutes late for, was a little overview of their new website. Atlus Online has connections to the big product site, atlus.com, but their goal is to create a site that their fans can stay and enjoy some of the favorite things. The first trait they showed me was a forum were members can open up a little app and draw in the forum itself.
They can draw whatever their heart desires and other members can look at their drawings or even alter them further. It dates each picture but a fun litte fact they added was the time it took the artist. This opens up the possibility of contest where community members are given a time limit to draw a picture and the less artisically challenged could vote on them and decide a winner.
The next trait they showed me was the ability to stream anime live. Now, I am not the biggest fan, but (I do enjoy my Cowboy Bebop and Trigun), and its a fact that their are fanatics all over the place. Add in Atlus’ fanbase affinity for the subject and you have one of the coolest things the site could do for their fans. You might think that the anime they have would be the cheaper, not so impressive anime, but they have big titles like Naruto and Skip Beat! and its all made possible by their partnership with crunchyroll.com.
Besides letting them steam their videos, crunchyroll is able to put up an episode just hours after it has aired in Japan, and purists can rejoice because each episode is Japanese voice with English acting. The demo of a Naruto episode was smooth and my attempts afterward have all yielded similar results.
After showing me these two cool facets to their site, they moved onto the big one, their free to play MMO. Free to plays are like Mcdonald’s and you can’t surf the internet without a site offering some sort of free game, so I can’t say I wasn’t skeptical. However, after they loaded the game up I was impressed at the sheer quality. It looked just as good as a retail game and there was an impressive variety in the classes and the races. You can choose from six different races and four different classes. My demo was a machinist.
The game takes place in a world of steampunk. There are two nations that have broken apart battling for a necessary resource aptly named Neo Steam. The Kingdom of Elerd and the Republic of Rogwell are the factions the players choose at the beginning of the game and are pivotal to PVP later in the game. The demo started up in the Republic of Rogwell.
The games interface resembles most popular MMOs. It has bars on the sides and bottom for abilities and access to things like menus and inventories. What sets the game apart from others is the unique style and flavor. Not all of the races are recyled from standard fantasy lore, the damage numbers are large and stylistic, and the steampunk background adds to the games allure. Each player can travel the continents using a multifarious selection, whether its by Subway or hotair balloons.
The crux of the game is born from the conflict for Neo Steam and the developers of the game have actually added it in as a resource. Depending on what you do, it could cost money to use something or it could cost Neo Steam. Once players start running out of steam (yes, I did it) they can go to chargers throughout their cities, however, its limited to only a certain amount per day.
I asked them if they planned on limiting the resources depending on what players were winning pvp battles, which is included in the game, and they stated that later content is going to contain castles that players can take over, and hamper the ability of the other faction to gather the valuable resource. Their is a lot of ambition here that Atlus Online can take advantage of, so lets hope they take the game as far as it can go.
To finish up the meeting they showed me the micro transaction system in the game. For a mere two dollars you can get crowns (1400 to be exact) and use that to buy crafting items and vanity clothing for your avater. The most interesting thing they showed me was a siren hat that was active while your character ran around the towns. Its like most other micro systems and its a decent way for the game to make money because its so cheap and gamers are always paying that monthly payment. They also keep weapons and armor out of the picture because the fear of unbalancing the game.
My meeting with the group was great and I really enjoyed the products they had to offer. Keeping up with the tradition of spoiling the fans, Atlus Online has a great looking free to play MMO up and running (in an open beta) and their fan service on the site is great. I am hoping the team on the site can keep up the great work, and with Atlus’ track record, its pretty much a gurantee. If you guys want to check out the site, possibly jump into the game or stream some anime, hit the link below. Enjoy!
We would really like to thank Atlus Online for giving us a chance to see their new site and take a walk in a Machinist’s shoes, thanks!