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MMO Industry

Trion Worlds grows to over 12 million players

Business Models, Interviews, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, RIFT, ArcheAge, Defiance, Trove

Trion
In an interview with Forbes, Trion Worlds CEO Scott Hartsman revealed that his studio's game portfolio and distribution has resulted in populations that number in the millions. "A year ago we were a company with two games," he said. "This year we are a company with three of our own MMOs, plus our first published MMO, plus 10 other distributed games [through the Glyph digital storefront]. So, we're seeing user numbers in the 12 to 13 million range."

For most of the interview, however, Hartsman discussed the positioning of business models in a changing market. If you've ever wondered why MMOs keep launching with a subscription model in this F2P era, Hartsman has a notion: "There are two reasons why companies can't do it from the outset. Number one is that the larger the company, the more public, the more they have to aim for predictable revenue, and there's not a lot of information sharing on free-to-play on the PC and console markets. The other big challenge is the technology it takes to do sales effectively in a free-to-play game -– there's a lot more that goes on behind the scenes than a lot of people would think, where an initial purchase plus subscription model doesn't take nearly so complex a model to drive sales."

SWTOR's lead writer teases future story updates

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Star Wars: The Old Republic

BioWare writer Charles Boyd has posted a blurb on the Star Wars: The Old Republic website that talks about the game's story and how it will move forward. Boyd says that the first chapter of the next major storyline is currently available via the Assault on Tython and Korriban Incursion flashpoints.

This three-part Forged Alliances arc will lead "directly into our next major story expansion, our largest since Rise of the Hutt Cartel," Boyd teases. He says more info will be coming soon.

Leaderboard: How much time do you spend customizing avatar outfits?

Sci-Fi, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Leaderboard

OK, I'm spending entirely too much time customizing my avatar outfits in Star Wars: The Old Republic. I originally re-upped my sub in order to polish off my last couple of class stories, but now I've gotten sucked into crafting and, by extension, the substantial outfit collection minigame. Which is bizarre because in meatspace my fashion sense boils down to the first pair of jeans and corresponding t-shirt/sweatshirt that tumbles out of my closet.

What about you, Leaderboard readers? How much time do you spend customizing your MMO avatar outfits? Vote after the cut!

Ever wish that you could put to rest a long-standing MMO debate once and for all? Then welcome to the battle royal of Massively's Leaderboard, where two sides enter the pit o' judgment -- and only one leaves. Vote to make your opinion known, and see whether your choice tops the Leaderboard!

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Salem releases first major content patch under new management

Betas, Fantasy, Historical, MMO Industry, New Titles

Salem
The colonial perma-death MMO Salem has faced some publisher problems over the last year or so, but indie dev Mortal Moments has swooped in to take over the ambitious project recently. Project Lead John Carver made a formal introduction when the transfer was finalized, but what's even more interesting is the 51-page forum thread that answers many of our burning questions about the game's future.

Carver touches on some important points that could get Salem back on MMO gamers' radars: "Some could argue that it has had its day. Some could say that the people have spoken and that the game itself is over, finished, destroyed. But is it? Salem offers the promise of witches and paranoia but currently delivers neither. Salem tantalizes us with the prospects of creatures in the darkness and all that is the unknown in Colonial America, yet we have only argopelters. Salem entices us with the wealth of possibilities afforded by Animal Husbandry, Alchemy, Wagons and Ships, none of which are in the game yet." If these staple features were finally added to the game by this new developer, would potential players give it another shot? Would you?

Salem has just released its first major content update under Mortal Moments, and the studio aims to stay true to the game's original plan (no pay-to-win, no PvE servers, etc).

[Thanks for the tip, Chrysillis!]

'World's biggest LGBT guild' celebrates FFXIV's same-sex marriage

Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

Members of the Rough Trade Gaming Community, which bills itself as "the world's biggest LGBT guild," staged an Eorzean parade last weekend to celebrate Final Fantasy XIV's decision to reverse its restrictions on same-sex marriage.

You can watch highlights from the event in the 11-minute video after the cut.

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Global Chat: Doom and WAAAGH!

Culture, MMO Industry, Warhammer Online, Guild Wars 2, Global Chat, EverQuest Next, Miscellaneous, WildStar, Neverwinter

war
It's time for our second edition of Global Chat, the column that scours the blogosphere (or blogorama if you prefer) for engaging insights, intelligent essays, and whoopie cushion goofiness. We had a good response to our first column, so I'm glad you all want to hear more about what bloggers are saying regarding MMOs!

In this week's edition, we'll look at Warhammer Online's fatal flaw, adventure through Neverwinter's foundry missions, and speculate on the status of a certain Norrathian sandpark. Remember that it's not all doom and WAAAGH! in this community; it's excitement and cherished outings as well!

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RuneFest 2014 dated for October 11

Fantasy, Real-Life, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, RuneScape, Free-to-Play

RuneFest
Jagex has announced the date and a few key details on this year's RuneScape-flavored real-life event, RuneFest.

On Saturday, October 11, Jagex will be returning to London's Tobacco Dock for the largest RuneScape event of the year. This year will feature panels and parties that promise to be bigger and better than ever before. While more details are still forthcoming, we do know that the cost will be £99 for a full One-Day Pass. You can keep an eye on any further RuneFest news by watching the event's Facebook and Twitter pages.

Massively Speaking Episode 306: Alternative advancement

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

cu
The podcasters are heading back to Camelot this week ("it's only a model" "shh!") with a slew of reveals from this upcoming RvR MMO. Bree and Justin will also analyze the recent industry subscriber report to see what it means -- and how accurate it may or may not be. We're in for complex statistics, theoretical numbers, and fart jokes with this podcast, so hang on tight!

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!

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Read below the cut for the full show notes.

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World of Warships on board for Gamescom 2014

Historical, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, New Titles, Free-to-Play

World of Warships
Fans of Wargaming's selection of multiplayer military games will be happy to hear that the naval battle MMO World of Warships will be available to play during Gamescom 2014 next month. This will be the game's first public debut as a playable demo for anyone in attendance.

Gamescom will be held from August 13 - 17 in Cologne, Germany, and Wargaming aims to go big again this year with game presentations, talk shows, on-stage giveaways, and more on its 720-square-meter stage in Hall 8.

[Source: Wargaming press release]

League of Legends cracks down on more bad seeds

Fantasy, Culture, MMO Industry, MOBA, League of Legends

LoL
Riot Games has announced its next level of enforcement for problematic players in the wildly popular League of Legends. After working toward player reform over the last few years, the studio is now looking at a more aggressive approach.

In cases of "extreme toxicity" (i.e. racism, death threats, homophobic remarks, etc.), troublesome players can expect a more severe penalty ranging from a 14-day ban to a permanent ban from the game. In the case that an "unfair ban" comes into question, Riot says they will now be fully transparent with chat logs and post the exact log that led to the player's ban.

Intentional leavers/AFKers are also a concern for Riot as they plan to address these problems in the future.

APB shames cheaters, talks usage and purchasing stats

Real-Life, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, All Points Bulletin, Dev Diaries

APB Reloaded's latest dev blog post details the implementation of cheat detector FairFight into the MMO shooter. The update also reveals some pretty interesting stats related to cheaters as well as the game's overall performance. "The number of cheaters who log in to the game stayed pretty constant around 1.2 percent of all players (some of which were re-rolls)," wrote GamersFirst's Bjorn Book-Larsson.

Surprisingly, 60 percent of those cheaters were paying players. Book-Larsson says that only about 10 percent of APB's monthly unique players make new purchases in a given month, while 30 percent of players have made a purchase at some point during their account history.

Book-Larsson goes on to say that APB is the 19th most-played game in the history of Steam, just ahead of Borderlands 2 and just behind Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Finally, GamersFirst has publicized a list of banned cheaters for the month of July, complete with player and clan names and various other account statistics.

Defiance gets new TV show crossover content

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Defiance

Defiance players who have access to the game's Arkbreaker DLC pack can now "deploy ark spikes with a chance to pull new modules out of orbit," according to a news post on the game's website. Said modules feature "new Grid enemies and a Gulanee warrior in massive battles at the center of the arkfall."

The new content is part of Trion's weekly tie-in to the Defiance television show, the second season of which is currently airing on SyFy.

[Thanks Gaius Cavadus!]

Valve scrapped an MMORPG at the dawn of the genre

Video, Culture, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Miscellaneous

Prospero
Did you know that Valve was once hard at work on a third-person MMORPG called Prospero? Alas, the studio scrapped the project around 1997 in favor of a little tiny game called Half-Life, which "absorbed" the developers working on the MMO.

Website Valve Time has dipped into the mysterious history of the game, said to be a "moody, literary" science-fantasy epic influenced by Myst with its focus on story and exploration. Though Prospero was canceled, some of its groundbreaking social and map features were eventually realized in Steam and Portal.

The video also includes some wonderfully dated screenshots and quotes from developers who worked on the title.

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LotRO's Summer Festival runs July 22 - August 5

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play

There's no shortage of things to do in Lord of the Rings Online these days, what with the recent release of Update 14, Western Gondor, and the level cap bump to 100. If you're already burned through all of that, though, you'll be glad to know that the game's annual Summer Festival starts tomorrow and continues through August 5th.

Events include keg races, horse races, fishing challenges, the Taste of Hobbiton, and the usual Ale Association vs. Inn League shenanigans.

Bungie explains no cross-platform play for Destiny

Betas, Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, Consoles, MMOFPS, Destiny

Destiny
As most new video games are striving for a cross-platform multiplayer experience, Bungie decided against it with Destiny. Sure, the game can be played on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One consoles, but the studio feels that there are too many major disadvantages to allowing those consoles to battle against each other in the upcoming game.

"I have a disadvantage sniping across the map because [my opponent with a next-gen console] is only two pixels on my screen and I'm four pixels on his," Bungie engineer Roger Wolfson told Digital Trends. "You see that in the world of PC gaming, where people are always racing to the best video card to give themselves the advantage."

This is especially true when you consider the fact that the Xbox One version won't have 1080p resolution at the beta launch on July 23, but Bungie is still gunning for 1080p on all consoles for September's launch.

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