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Aion

Guild Wars 2 emerges unscathed by NCsoft's layoffs

Aion, Guild Wars, Lineage, Lineage 2, Business Models, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Miscellaneous, WildStar

GW2
Last night's revelation that a large chunk of the WildStar team had been let go is not the only bad news to come from NCsoft this week. According to a letter sent to Polygon, the NCWest layoffs affected all of NCsoft's western branches... except ArenaNet, which runs Guild Wars 2 and Guild Wars. Here's what NCsoft wrote:
Today we announced a restructuring of key operations within NC West. As a result of this restructuring, we are implementing staff reductions across our Western operations with the exclusion of ArenaNet. While decisions like this are always hard, they are necessary as we begin the implementation of a new strategy designed to strengthen our footing as a leader in global entertainment.

Moving forward, we will continue to focus on our core development capabilities and the intellectual properties (WildStar, Aion, Lineage, and Guild Wars franchises) that have made NCSOFT what it is today. However, we are looking to move into new business segments like mobile and tablet games as well as explore emerging technologies.

Again, the decision to reduce staff was not an easy one, and we sincerely wish everyone well in their next endeavors.
Polygon's unnamed source says around 60 Carbine Studios employees were let go; we don't yet know how hard the other teams were hit.

Aion punts Hackshield, talks transfers and 4.7

Fantasy, Aion, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items

What's up, Aion? Long time no talk. Looks like your EU community manager has released a community report that talks up everything from Hackshield integration to character transfers to the upcoming 4.7 update. Hackshield will be going away, as the devs have "decided to halt the integration and look for something new," though that something new hasn't been finalized yet.

Transfers are also in the works, but the devs have to plan carefully to avoid borking the game's server-based factional/racial balance.

There's no date on 4.7 yet, but localization is current in process and the team hopes to "update you about the content and features of 4.7 anytime soon."

The Stream Team: Celebrating Aion's 5th birthday with GM events

Fantasy, Video, Aion, Free-to-Play, Livestream, Anniversaries, The Stream Team

Today marks five years that Daevas have been flying about the wild world of Atreia in Aion, and Massively's MJ is jumping in to join the party. GMs will be in the game setting off the candle buffs for an hour as well as offering a chance to win random prizes during this special event. Want to get in on the fun, or maybe just reminisce about the good old days when you were a young Daeva just starting out? Join us live at 8:00 to celebrate this auspicious anniversary -- there's sure to be cake!

Game: Aion
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Monday, September 22th, 2014
Time: 8:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Aion's 5th anniversary video thanks players, teases upcoming zones

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Aion, Events (In-Game), News Items, Free-to-Play, Anniversaries

While Aion's fifth anniversary celebration kicked off early with social media events, Daeva's Day -- with all its gifts and goodies -- is just getting started today. And Associate Product Manager Sean Orlikowski has shared with us a special video commemorating the occasion that highlights a bit of the journey through Atreia over the past years and thanks players for joining it. But this clip does more than just take viewers on a jaunt down memory lane; it also jumps ahead to the future! The second half sweeps through the new zones coming in the next update, showing off the places players will soon be able to visit. Go ahead and take a moment to reminisce a bit about what has been and sneak a peek at what's to come in the video below.

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Wings Over Atreia: The spoils of Aion's fifth anniversary

Fantasy, Aion, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play, Giveaways, Wings Over Atreia, Anniversaries

Another year has flown by! Aion is turning five years old, and that means it's time for Daevas to enjoy cake and presents during the nearly month-long birthday bash. What goodies are in store during this year's North American festivities? Associate Product Manager Sean Orlikowski has shared with us the schedule of events that span from today until October 8th; it includes contests, buffs, double drop rates, and a special anniversary-day GM hosted event. There's also a special new Daevonian armor set for only 1 NCoin (which is practically free) that even new players can use.

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Aion prepares for September update and birthday

Fantasy, Aion, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, Anniversaries

aion
Today's Aion community report is sprinkled with a lot of anticipation over this month's 4.6.2 update. The patch is schedule to arrive on September 24th, bringing with it many balance changes among other game improvements. Aion also will be celebrating its birthday around this time, and the team urges players to look forward to "lots of in-game events" during this momentous occasion.

One of the best parts of the report is already in the game: Players should be seeing performance improvements following work done on Aion's network. The team also said that players will be getting an improved My Aion on the official website at an undetermined point in the future.

WildStar and Guild Wars 2 boost NCsoft profits

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Aion, Lineage, Lineage 2, Economy, MMO Industry, Guild Wars 2, Free-to-Play, Blade & Soul, WildStar

ncsoft
The second quarter of 2014 was a very good time indeed for NCsoft, as the publisher announced today that revenues and profits are up thanks to WildStar's launch and Guild Wars 2's move into China.

In today's earnings report, NCsoft shows that sales went up 20% and operating profit increased 46% from the previous quarter. The company said that it saw a marketing expense increase due to WildStar and that Lineage "recovered meaningfully" during this period.

As for sales per game, Lineage is still at the top with 32.2%. Following that is WildStar (15.9%), Guild Wars 2 (12.6%), Blade and Soul (10.8%), Aion (10.4%), and Lineage II (7.7%).

One Shot: The eternal vigil

Screenshots, Aion, Culture, One Shots, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, WildStar, The Elder Scrolls Online

ESO
Some MMO tableaus attempt to tell a wordless story, and some of those stories are up for personal interpretation. I love finding these scattered around the world because they invite my imagination to be a part of the experience instead of spelling it out for me.

Reader Chiara came across our first screenshot of the week here in Elder Scrolls Online, and it brought out strong emotions: "I don't really know what this man's story is -- but I can't help but wonder about it since I've first seen him. Did he die there? Did someone arrange his skeleton? I've no idea, but the scene just struck me as incredibly sad."

Maybe he was keeping a vigil for a loved one. Maybe that vigil is not yet over. Who knows?

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Aion's Black Cloud Marketplace celebrates in-game grand opening, deals and freebies ensue

Fantasy, Aion, News Items, Free-to-Play, Promotions

Usually when a store opens in a new location, a grand opening celebration soon follows. Aion's Black Cloud Marketplace is no different. Starting today, players can access the marketplace right from inside the game instead of having to tab out to buy items on the official site. And to celebrate this grand in-game opening, NCsoft is offering a free pet and a special deal! From now until March 12th, players can get a permanent Palmist Acarun pet (a three-headed baby dragon) through the in-game store. Additionally, the winning Shugo Aethertech design by player EMPIREinWAR will become available for purchase; those who grab theirs before the 12th will get 20% off the purchase price. Check out the new Aethertech in the new images below.

[Source: NCsoft press release]

Jukebox Heroes: Top 40 MMO themes, #30-21

Aion, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, The Secret World, Free Realms, Mabinogi, Wizard101, EverQuest Next, Miscellaneous, The Elder Scrolls Online, Jukebox Heroes, Age of Wushu, Music

GW2
We're back with our second part of our Top 40 MMO main themes countdown, this time digging into the middle of the pack. To repeat my self-imposed rules for this list: I limited myself to just one theme from a particular title, even if there were multiple themes in a game. Entries had to be a main theme or the closest equivalent of that; they had to be from MMOs, not from MOBAs; and I had to divorce my weighting of the track itself from the popularity of and my experience with that game. So there were no points added or subtracted based on my love of the game; I'm counting down the best music, period.

If you missed the first part, check out themes #40-31. Otherwise, hit that continue button and get listening already!

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Aion EU celebrates F2P anniversary with XP and drop boosts, 4.5 announcement, and infographic

Fantasy, Aion, Classes, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Anniversaries

Two years ago today, Gameforge converted Aion EU to a free-to-play game. And just like for the first anniversary, the company is offering special celebrations as well as announcing a new update coming in April. This year, however, Gameforge also includes a new infographic to show off a few interesting statistics about the game at a glance.

Players who log in between now and March 5th will find XP and drop rate boosts in effect. On top of that, Daevas can look forward to the chance of acquiring additional Aion coins. Then on April 9th, update 4.5 will bring the second Engineer class specialization, the Rider, to join the current choice of Gunner.
The infographic, seen below, highlights various statistics since the fantasy game went F2P, such as favorite classes and how many hours of play time have been invested in it. The game is also now playable in Spanish, Italian, Polish, and Turkish alongside English, French, and German.

[Source: Gameforge press release]

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AionSource shutting down

Fantasy, Aion, Culture, News Items, Free-to-Play

The timeline seems wacky, but accurate.
It's been a good eight-year run for one of Aion's longest fan sites, but that run is over now. AionSource, a fansite operated by Curse, is shutting down over the next few weeks, first going into read-only mode before being shut down altogether. The site's current administrator has set up a new site for the community members who would like to migrate.

No reason has been stated for the shutdown; the site is not the only fan site that Curse has shut down in recent years, most likely due to a lack of cash flow. Users are encouraged to back up forum posts and the like before the shut down, while site administrators attempt to copy over some of the most useful community guides. Our best wishes to the community organizers attempting to keep the group together through the move.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

NCsoft boosts numbers in Q4 2013 while Nexon names new CEO

Aion, Lineage, Lineage 2, MMO Industry, Guild Wars 2, Legal, Blade & Soul, Miscellaneous, WildStar

NCsoft
NCsoft is thanking its lucky Blade & Soul these days, as revenues from the game's popularity in China have helped to boost its financial status.

In the recently released Q4 2013 earnings report, NCsoft announced that sales, operating profit, pre-tax income, and net income were up over Q3 2013. Overall, 2013 was profitable for the company as its income went up year-over-year. NCsoft credited a growing Lineage and a "strong" and "solid" Guild Wars 2 for this effort, as well as cost savings initiatives. While sales in Korea improved from 2012 to 2013, those in Japan, Europe, and North America all declined over the same time period.

Lineage is by far NCsoft's biggest earner, followed by Guild Wars 2, Aion, and Blade & Soul. The company said that WildStar is on track to launch in mid-2014 and that the key GW2 focus is not on an expansion but with bringing the game to China.

Meanwhile, NCsoft's biggest investor, Nexon, just named Owen Mahoney as its new president and CEO, replacing Seungwoo Choi. Nexon also announced a revenue and income increase in 2013 and acknowledged that it is underperforming in Japan and the West.

The Soapbox: Stop ganking, you ganking gankers

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Aion, PvP, Opinion, Free-to-Play, TERA, The Soapbox, Miscellaneous, Subscription, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Lineage II
For me, player vs. player interaction is a necessary component of any online game. The urge to engage with skilled human opponents is the reason I spent countless hours defending flags in World of Warcraft and likely the main motivating factor in my slide away from traditional MMOs and toward MOBAs like Dota 2 and Blizzard Entertainment's upcoming Heroes of the Storm. Simply put, I like a good fight.

I especially like a good fight when it occurs unscripted and out in the wilds of the world. If you catch me unaware while I'm grinding out one of TERA's BAMs or plucking gold from an ore vein in Aion, I'll be more than happy to cross swords (or trade frostbolts) with you. Winning or losing isn't important to me; the constant threat of attack heightens my enjoyment of and connection to the game's universe.

Unfortunately, open world PvP doesn't attract exclusively those people interested in fair fights. And in the games that make it possible, a certain small segment of players is working hard to ruin everyone else's good time. I speak, of course, of gankers.

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Get the scoop on Aion's new Glory Points and dungeon systems

Fantasy, Aion, Game Mechanics, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Dungeons

When Aion's Steel Cavalry launches tomorrow, Daevas will have their first chance to experience the new Glory Points and instanced dungeon entry systems. To help players better understand these changes, NCsoft has compiled two helpful guides.

Glory Points (GP) are a new form of Abyss currency that will determine the rankings from officer on up. While soldier ranks will still be determined by Abyss Points (AP), ranking for officers, generals, commanders, and the Governor will not be affected by gain or loss of AP at all. GP can only be earned in specific ways, such as the Arena of Glory (61+), GP Quests, and fortress sieges in Katalam, Danaria, and the inner upper Abyss.

The dungeon entry system is changing from a specific timed-cooldown to an entry count. This means that players will no longer be forced to wait a specific amount of time to re-enter an instance after one run, but instead have a set number of opportunities to do so within a time frame. The entry count for each dungeon will reset on its own schedule, either daily, weekly, or even several times per week.

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