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The Daily Grind: What would you want in a World of Warcraft 2?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

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wow
Your guess is as good as mine as to how serious Blizzard was being the other week when it floated the possibility of a sequel to World of Warcraft during an interview. After all, words are cheap, but development is crazy expensive.

But let's have a little fun with this concept today, whether or not a WoW 2 is in the making. Assuming that there was one being brewed up, what would you want to see done with it? Would it embrace more sandbox features? Would it simply remake the current game or jet off on its own timeline? Would you even prefer a platform switch, such as a mobile WoW or a virtual reality-based one?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

GX3 Kickstarter gets a big boost from Blizzard

Culture, Events (Real-World), News Items, Miscellaneous

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Points where they're due.
Conventions are expensive, and unless you have a major publisher or media franchise backing them, it's very easy for a convention to be successful without being successful enough to keep going. GaymerX managed two conventions, but the third round is currently on Kickstarter, trying to raise funds for another convention focused on inclusiveness and support of all different types of gamers. That goal is being helped significantly by a big name in online gaming: Blizzard Entertainment.

The Kickstarter site for the convention lists the World of Warcraft developer as pledging "over $10,000" to making the convention a reality. There are still 23 days for the project to reach its funding goal, but that kind of money certainly helps kick a project along. If you're interested in donating yourself, the convention will be in the Bay Area of California in either November or December of 2015.

Black Gold Online announces its first major content update

Fantasy, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Black Gold

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Making a joke about critical reception seems just plain cruel.
The first major update to Black Gold Online is going live on September 10th, and it's not going to be all sunshine and lollipops. The name alone kind of makes that obvious; a title like the Campaign of Ashes doesn't bring to mind pleasant undertakings. It brings to mind a new region of the game, plenty of new open PvP, and new missions and quests for players. Which, as it turns out, is exactly what the update will provide.

Of course, that's not the extent of what the update is offering to players, who can look forward to a higher level cap, a new "Skill Surge" system, more equipment, and more content across the board. The update also ushers in an improved interface and a variety of performance upgrades, making the game run more smoothly while being that much easier to play. It's only a couple of weeks until the update goes live, so active players should get ready now.

Diablo 2.10 patch releases with week of in-game bonuses

Fantasy, Video, Events (In-Game), Patches, Diablo III, Buy-to-Play

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d3
It's time for new challenges in Diablo III, as Patch 2.10 crash-landed today to the delights of players and the screams of frustrated hellbeasts. Why won't you stop slaughtering them already?

The big four features that arrive with 2.10 are seasons, greater rifts, leaderboards, and cesspools. Starting today, players can roll up a fresh character for a new season to earn special rewards without assistance from the player's other assets. To celebrate the patch, Diablo III has triggered a week of double gold find and double treasure goblin appearances.

The patch notes are so long that, well, they descend into the deep blackness of the website. If you'd rather not go blind reading all of that, you can check out the patch overview video after the jump. Happy gaming!

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The Stream Team: Firefall's farewell

Sci-Fi, Video, PvE, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Post-Apocalyptic, Livestream, Firefall, The Stream Team, MMORPG

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Firefall
Massively's Mike Foster is prepping for one last go-round with Firefall, the subject of this month's Choose My Adventure. According to the results from last week's poll, readers are hoping to catch a glimpse of Firefall's newly-implemented campaign in action. So, with guns blazing and rocket boots flaming, Mike steps once more unto the breach. Join him live at 7:00 p.m. EST.

Game: Firefall
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Massively Speaking Episode 311: Interior decorating

Podcasts, MMO Industry, News Items, Massively Meta, Massively Speaking, Miscellaneous

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Rid yourself of gender-baised notions, for boys love interior decorating too! This week, Eliot and Justin share tips on couch placement, pleasing contrasts between wall trim and carpet colors, and where to put mutated eyeballs so that they're not always freaking out the guests. Also, they talk about MMOs, because that's what we sometimes do on this show.

Get all of our opinions and analysis on the most important stories of the past week right here on Massively Speaking, the industry's leading MMO podcast. And if you have a comment, question, or topic for the podcasters, send an email to podcast@massively.com. We may just read your email on the air!

Get the podcast:
[RSS] Add Massively Speaking to your RSS aggregator.
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly.
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Listen here on the page:



Read below the cut for the full show notes.

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Trion Worlds denies ArcheAge server security breach, recommends new passwords

Betas, Fantasy, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, ArcheAge

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AA
Over the weekend, the ArcheAge beta forums erupted with claims that testers' credit cards were being charged for unauthorized purchases of founders packs. Trion has today responded with a forum post that denies a widespread server security breach. Community Manager Scapes writes,
Let us start by saying this very clearly: Trion Worlds' security has not been compromised in any way. There has been absolutely no breach in Trion's servers.

What happened in the last few hours is sadly nothing new: Every day, bots obtain user credentials from various unprotected sites around the Internet, build lists of login and passwords, and try them on Trion's servers (along with many other sites). If players consistently use simple or repeated passwords across different online services, these bots may get access to their accounts. Because of the current momentum around ArcheAge, hundreds of millions of such attempts were made from well over a million different IP addresses in the last few weeks, only a fraction of which ended up being successful today.
Trion says that it has begun issuing refunds to affected users and is (by coincidence) buffing its Glyph launcher with new device-specific security features. The studio recommends strengthening all game passwords.

[With thanks to tipster Boinya.]

Jukebox Heroes: The music of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Opinion, Jukebox Heroes, Music

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wow
Cataclysm was the first World of Warcraft expansion that I was not there to experience. While I initially applauded the idea of the devs changing the world and bringing the new tech to old spots, that fundamental change in the land that I used to know so well ended up causing me pain. Nobody likes to think of something beloved changed and lost forever. So I stayed away and missed what is probably the worst-reviewed expansion to date.

As such, it was the first WoW expansion score that I listened to outside of the game. To my ears, it was substantially darker than previous efforts, although there contained moments of beauty and excitement. Due to the nature of the expansion, the soundtrack is all over the place thematically, occasionally rewriting old zone music (alas).

The one thing that really pops out at me from this album is how the composers extensively used various background sound effects and noises to suppliment the tunes. I'm not sure if these were added for the album or if these exist in-game, but they certainly add more in terms of atmosphere. Interestingly enough, one of my all-time favorite World of Warcraft tracks came from this expansion, so it certainly wasn't a wasted effort.

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TERA introduces Kickstarter-esque BAM Killer event

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play, TERA

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Instead of asking for cash, TERA has taken to crowdfunding to solicit manpower. Using a fake Kickstarter page, En Masse invites players to help combat the out-of-control population explosion of BAMs -- or Big Ass monsters -- throughout TERA before they invade our world. How dire is the situation? Watch the video below to see!

From now until September 16th, players can contribute to the BAM kill count and work toward the ultimate goal of 5 million BAMs dead in 21 days. Each day players log in during the event they will receive a special loot box that will contain five federation bills and a chance to drop bronze, silver, or gold BAM tokens -- tokens that can be exchanged for costumes, accessories, and even weapons exclusive to this event. For a look at all the possible rewards, check out the BAM Killer program.

[Source: En Masse press release]

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Blizzard is already working on World of Warcraft's sixth expansion

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Interviews, Subscription

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wow
Warlords of Draenor? That's yesterday's news, my friend. The progressive World of Warcraft player should already be looking forward to expansion number six, which Blizzard says is in full production.

Game Director Tom Chilton confirmed that the team is already hard at work at the follow-up to Warlords of Draenor. "We already have zones in production for it," he said to Gameplanet, adding that the team will also be looking at the theme for the seventh expansion "over the next several months."

Chilton indicated that World of Warcraft has a long life yet to come: "Beyond that, there are about six or seven different ideas for expansions that we can take elements of and say, 'You know what? Let's take that and put it in this one for our next expansion after the next one.' [...] As long as there are enough players demanding that we make more content then we're likely to do so. I think it'll be quite a while before the financials indicate that it's just not worth doing anymore."

RIFT adds experimental support for the Oculus Rift

Fantasy, Culture, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Subscription

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It's the next best thing to actually lighting yourself on fire!
RIFT heard you liked rifts, so it's added some rift support to your RIFT. Specifically, it's added in support for the Oculus Rift development kits. Yes, that means that players who have headsets and want to really feel as if they're right there staring into the game world can play around with doing exactly that. What's not to love?

The official posting notes that support at this time is highly experimental and may be discontinued at any time on the whims of the developers. UI support is also very primitive, which could lead to issues with the game experience beyond just looking at stuff. Despite that fact, the support is available for testing now on the public test server and is expected to go live this Wednesday, giving players a chance to play around with the support and see how they like it. Assuming they have Rifts, of course.

[Thanks to Rick from Santa Cruz for the tip!]

Guild Wars 2's feature pack will improve dungeons and the crafting UI

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Dungeons, Crafting, Buy-to-Play

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I think we can all agree that the Norn fellow on the right is quite striking and will hopefully show up in a variety of future promotional materials.
September is just around the corner, which means that the next major update for Guild Wars 2 -- the September feature pack -- isn't far behind. The pack aims to improve several parts of the game, starting by demolishing the concept of dungeon owners. Currently, the first player to zone into a dungeon is counted as the "owner" of the dungeon, which can lead to problems if that player disconnects; by contrast, after September there will be no dungeon owner, avoiding issues with progression if that owner leaves or gets kicked.

The game's crafting UI is also receiving an overhaul, making it faster and easier to access crafting sub-components without navigating away from the main item that you want to craft. The update will also bring a number of performance improvements to make the game run faster and better on various bits of hardware. Take a look at the full update for a few more details as the feature pack release approaches.

WildStar to make character upgrades easier

Sci-Fi, Patches, Previews, WildStar, Subscription

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wildstar
The WildStar devs claim that they are listening to players' concerns over the infrequency of AMP upgrades and ability tier unlocks, which is why the team is planning to roll out several improvements to these drop rates in an upcoming patch.

"For the uninitiated, players earn AMP power points and ability tier unlocks naturally through leveling up in WildStar," the team posted. "Special items can be found throughout the game however that further boost your character's AMP points and ability tier unlocks. These items, based on our data and from feedback from players, simply do not drop enough."

Players will see a drop rate increase from level 50 creatures and PvP victory bags. On top of those, the team is putting in one-shot items from endgame reputation vendors, the prestige vendor, gold medal veteran dungeon rewards, and at path levels 15 and 30.

Star Trek Online drops a Delta Rising trailer, new ship tier [Updated]

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Expansions, Lore, Previews, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Subscription

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THANKS, JANEWAY.
The Delta Quadrant in Star Trek Online isn't a pleasant place. It's filled with many threats, some familiar to players already (the Borg and the Voth spring to mind) and others heretofore unseen. Delta Rising is going to bring players into contact with this violent region of space, and the newest trailer for the expansion shows that players will find no shortage of enemies -- including many races that had faced off against the USS Voyager years earlier.

Players who watch the trailer can catch several familiar locations and enemies from Star Trek Voyager, including some minor enemies such as the Vaadwaur. Click on past the break to view the trailer in all its glory. It doesn't have a whole lot of story provided just yet, but it serves as a clear indication that the quadrant hasn't gotten any friendlier since the last time Starfleet visited.

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Tree of Savior Q&A 13 on tradeable items, scouting, and more

Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items

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Tree of Savior's latest English dev blog features some interesting gameplay nuggets, chief among them the binding/trading mechanics and the game's map system.

Lead developer Hakkyu Kim says that all in-game items are freely tradeable, which differentiates ToS from many of its bind-on-equip or bind-on-pickup contemporaries. There is a catch, though, and it is that an item's Potential stat will decrease by one whenever it's traded.

The map system generally shows the location of your party members but not other players. However, Scouts can "select a spot on the map to find out which players or enemies are there and share this info with party members." There's more to this week's dev blog, so click through the links below to give it a full read.

Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR conquests are good but not there yet

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Guilds, Patches, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Hyperspace Beacon, Crafting, MMORPG

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Hyperspace Beacon: SWTOR conquests are good but not there yet
I'm writing this late on Sunday night, and I have some disappointing news: My Star Wars: The Old Republic guild did not make the top 10 on the planet we were attempting to conquer. It's partly my fault; I happened to choose the planet that would be the most hotly contested. Who knew that other guilds would flock to Makeb when conquests went live?

It wasn't all bad. In fact, I'd say that SWTOR kind of pulled our guild together a bit. We participated in content we hadn't done in a long time. It was a rallying cry for us: "Hey, look, this stuff is fun, and you can still have fun doing it." On top of that, it's reintroduced the idea that open-world PvP is possible. But with all the good that it's done -- player housing, guild housing, and open-world PvP -- there are somethings that have fallen short of what it could be.

I think the best way to explain is to tell you about my week.

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EVE Online's Hyperion update adds PvE missions, tweaks wormholes

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Sandbox

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CCP pushed EVE Online's latest update to the game's live server this morning. Hyperion features "the biggest wormhole changes since they were first discovered" as well as new PvE missions. CCP Guard also notes the patch's "ton of quality-of-life features" during the latest In-Development video dev diary, which you can view by clicking past the cut.

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TUG update talks predators, apothecary, alchemy, and terrain tweaks

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crafting

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TUG is prepping some "major content and engine updates," according to a blurb on its Kickstarter page. New goodies include performance enhancements, predators, alchemy, apothecary functionality, and a new terrain system.

The KS update also features TUG's latest In The Works video diaries which cover the aforementioned potion-making, predator, and terrain tweaks. View all four clips just past the cut.

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SOE Live 2014: H1Z1 is a full-fledged survival experience

Game Mechanics, New Titles, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), Post-Apocalyptic, Sandbox, H1Z1

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With an event like Zombie Prom, it was hard not to notice a certain undead theme at this year's SOE Live. That's all courtesy of the studio's upcoming apocalyptic survival game H1Z1. And thanks to plenty of panels, interviews, and the keynote, we learned even more about the game: The new sandbox is so much more than a zombie shooter; it's a full fledged survival experience. There were even opportunities for fans to nab some hands-on playtime.

We had the chance to mix and mingle with Producer Steve George, Senior Game Designer Jimmy Whisenhunt, Art Director Bill Yeatts, Technical Director Tom Schenck, and Game Designer Adam Clegg to discuss where H1Z1 came from, where it is going, and how far it has gotten. Delve into the new air drops, the heat and temperature systems, and so much more. We've also embedded the full keynote panel for you.

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The Daily Grind: Are kids poor MMO consumers?

Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Kids, Family, Miscellaneous

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LMFO
Earlier this year after announcing sunsets for the apparently popular Free Realms and three other titles, SOE's John Smedley declared that his studio was done with MMOs aimed at children. "No more kid's games," he said on Reddit. "Kids don't spend well and it's very difficult to run a kids game. Turns out kids do mean stuff to each other a lot."

The last comment is no doubt true and manifests primarily in unfettered chat, as former Massively writer Karen Bryan explored a few years ago. But is it likewise true that "kids don't spend well"? Kid-friendly games like Wizard101 and Super Hero Squad Online seem to be doing just fine. Funcom sure thought the market was ripe for another go at a LEGO MMO. And I suspect that tweens are heavily responsible for some of the crazy IAP spending going on in the mobile space. If I were a kid now instead of in the '90s, I would have blown my allowance on Guild Wars 2 microtrans instead of comic books and trading cards.

What do you think? Are kids truly as terrible an MMO audience as SOE believes?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

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Destiny September 9, 2014
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Massively Speaking Episode 311: Interior decorating

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