| Mail |
You might also like: WoW Insider, Joystiq, and more

MMO Industry

Twitch viewership now rivals prime-time cable

MMO Industry, Livestream, Miscellaneous

While some folks don't understand the phenomenon of watching others play a game when they could actually play it themselves, many are doing exactly that. And those numbers continue to rise: A recent look at viewership compiled in The New York Times shows that Twitch at its peak now rivals the average of some prime-time cable networks. Compared to major video providers, however, Twitch still lags behind. When held up to NetFlix and YouTube, Twitch has about eight times fewer hours of video viewed monthly compared to the former and roughly 24 times fewer than the latter.

Contributing to Twitch's numbers are a multitude of streamers who've built large audiences. These personalities can individually pull in up to and even more than 40,000 viewers during a single stream. For a glimpse of all the graphs, head on over to NYT.

Leaderboard: How do you feel about loyalty rewards?

Fantasy, MMO Industry, Opinion, Leaderboard, The Elder Scrolls Online

Elder Scrolls Online announced its vet reward program recently, and while it doesn't take effect until next month, it got me to thinking about similar incentives in other MMOs. They're pretty common, of course, and even F2P games offer them provided that they also offer an optional subscription tier.

Personally vet rewards aren't much of an incentive. I mean, sometimes they offer a neat-looking vanity pet that I'll look at once and subsequently forget to ever summon again, but I can't recall ever anticipating a loyalty reward or remaining subscribed in order to get one. What about you, Massively readers? Are loyalty rewards nothing more than a nice bonus, or are there some that go above and beyond in terms of desirability? If so, which ones? Don't forget to 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!

Continue Reading

Get Skyforge closed beta keys in a social media scavenger hunt

Betas, Fantasy, MMO Industry, New Titles, Giveaways, MMORPG, Skyforge

Did the upcoming title Skyforge grab your attention during its Gamescom panel earlier this month? Are you now looking forward to delving into the class-swapping system for yourself? If so, we've got good news: You have the chance to nab a key that guarantees access to the closed beta! Obsidian is having a scavenger hunt giveaway on the game's official Twitter and FaceBook page, getting a total of 100 keys into the hands of fans. Numerous keys have been posted already, so if you want one of them, keep your eyes peeled. If you don't win, however, you can still sign up for a chance to get one on the official site.

[Thanks to Dystopiq for the tip!]

The Crew's closed beta PvP is lobby-based

Betas, Real-Life, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Races, Buy-to-Play

What's PvP like in The Crew? You can find out if you're playing the PC closed beta this week. If not, you can read the latest news blurb on the racing MMO's website to get the general idea. It says that PvP races are enabled at level 10. Curiously, given Ubisoft's focus on The Crew's open-world design up to this point, the post also mentions that the closed beta's eight PvP races are lobby-based.

"The PvP lobbies can be accessed directly from the map," the company says. "The Midwest PvP lobby being in Detroit and the East lobby in New York, both represented by a yellow lozenge."

Anarchy Online's graphics engine upgrade suffers delays

Betas, Sci-Fi, Anarchy Online, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Sandbox

Anarchy Online
Funcom has announced that two Anarchy Online developers, Genele and Macrosun, are leaving the studio and "relocating back to their homelands in Scandinavia." That's bad news for MMO gamers patiently awaiting the game's promised new graphics engine, as the devs' departures mean delays for both the upgrade and the next patch. Creative Director Joel "Nusquam" Bylos explained the situation to players on the official forum:
[L]osing competent and knowledgeable people does have some impact on our development schedule, so we've had to rearrange some things and tune our schedules to make sure we can deliver on our vision for the game. Originally we were planning to patch 18.7 to live this month. We have now delayed it until we have had the chance to give it a thorough going over with the new designers. It is a large and complex patch and we want to be a hundred percent certain that we understand all of the intricacies of the patch before we make it live.

Additionally, because Macrosun was the technical coordinator on the new engine, it causes some challenges on the code side. It will take our live coders some time to get themselves acquainted with the engine and all that it entails. The beta will remain up and running and we hope to get past beta status as soon as we can.
Nusquam noted that Henry "Michizure" Senger will take over for Genele and that the existing live team was organized with "competence sharing" across the studio's games to minimize the impact of personnel shifts. Funcom earlier this week tweeted about new job openings in its Durham, North Carolina, location.

[Thanks to tipster Divalicious Diva. Image credit: Azzura.]

WildStar's Jeremy Gaffney steps down as president of Carbine Studios

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

So long, and thanks for all the feuds.
Jeremy Gaffney, President of Carbine Studios, has announced via the WildStar forums that he will be stepping down from his current role as president of the studio. He's staying on in a consulting and advisory role, but he'll no longer be steering the operation.

Why the change? According to Gaffney's post, part of it is a result of both losing several family members to cancer last year and having to receive treatment for skin cancer himself. He's recovering without incident, but he put off the treatment for nine months to keep working through launch. Meanwhile, he also wants to allow the studio's creative team to keep working on improving the game rather than simply listening to his creative vision, something which is more easily accomplished if he steps away from an active role.

Gaffney concludes his letter by thanking the fans as well as the studio for making a game that he's proud to have been a part of.

[Thanks to Pete for the tip!]

Massively Speaking Episode 311: Interior decorating

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

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.
[iTunes] Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.
[Stitcher] Follow the podcast on Stitcher Radio.
Listen here on the page:



Read below the cut for the full show notes.

Continue Reading

Trion Worlds denies ArcheAge server security breach, recommends new passwords

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

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.]

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

Continue Reading

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

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

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.

Continue Reading

The Daily Grind: Are kids poor MMO consumers?

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

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!

Black Desert getting naval transportation, combat

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Black Desert

Yes, I'm aware this isn't a picture of a BD boat, you try and find one
Fan site BlackDesert.com spoke to representatives from Pearl Abyss and Daum Communications at Gamescom. The resulting interview is worth a read, and it mentions that Black Desert will in fact be getting some sort of naval system.

"Yes naval transportation and combat will be present in Black Desert Online," said Daum's Park Yoo Jin. "Players will be able to control boats and ships and depending on the kind of naval unit, there will be the possibility to board it with more than one person."

Pearl Abyss had previously announced that it was adding naval combat at this year's E3, but thus far the systems have not been made available during Black Desert's Korea beta tests.

Here are some tips for The Crew's closed beta

Betas, Real-Life, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Buy-to-Play

The Crew's second closed beta starts today for PC players, and Ubisoft has published a list of helpful tips designed to ease you into its open-world racing MMO. You'll find everything from keyboard and controller layouts to detailed instructions for equipping your cars and building a crew of friends on the title's website.

You might also want to check out Ubisoft's closed beta walkthrough video. It was originally published in July, but it still applies to the current test. You can view it after the break.

Continue Reading

Hackers' bomb threat allegedly reroutes SOE's president's plane

Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Legal, Miscellaneous

Smed
Hackers who implicated themselves in this weekend's PlayStation Network outage have apparently stepped up their attacks on Sony with a casual bomb threat made over Twitter that may have diverted a plane carrying SOE president John Smedley. In addition to tweeting several mocking threats about the flight as well as an image purporting to be Smed's e-ticket, the hacker account sent this message to American Airlines:
.@AmericanAir We have been receiving reports that @j_smedley's plane #362 from DFW to SAN has explosives on-board, please look into this.
Smed tweeted earlier today that his plane had been rerouted to Phoenix over "security reasons." Local news stations report that the FBI is investigating the threats.

[Developing]

Featured Stories

Engadget

Engadget

Joystiq

Joystiq

WoW Insider

WoW

TUAW

TUAW