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Betas

The Stream Team: Seeking danger in Elite: Dangerous

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, Livestream, The Stream Team, Elite: Dangerous

You don't have to be an ace pilot in Elite: Dangerous to enjoy flying, as Massively's MJ can certainly attest. She's hopping back in her cockpit and is ready to take on those nefarious waste containers! Or maybe she'll just accidentally shoot down some other players again. Hey, space is a dangerous place! Either way, it's sure to be an entertaining flight, so join us live at 8:00 p.m. to discuss the game with other fans in chat.

Game: Elite: Dangerous
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Friday, July 18th, 2014
Time: 8:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Warlords of Draenor encourages the return of free-form world PvP in Ashran

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Expansions, Previews, PvP, Dev Diaries, Subscription

wow
World of Warcraft players who pine for the "good old days" of open world PvP may get to sup from that cup again come Warlords of Draenor. The devs are whipping up a new island, Ashran, that pulls upon lessons from past PvP zone designs to create something that encourages as close to the real open world PvP experience as one can get (and still have it designed).

Ashran is for level 100 players who want to pop in and engage in up to 100v100 battles. Unlike past PvP zones, players won't have to join a raid group to partake in the fun and can choose between world and objective-based PvP. "We want players to get caught up in the moment and become emotionally invested in the outcome of each new encounter, whether it's just getting the drop on a member of the opposite faction player or getting revenge for a stolen kill," Blizzard wrote.

The team also previewed another one of Warlords of Draenor's zones with Gorgrond. Gorgrond is an area split between the themes of creation and destruction and the biomes of heavy flora and barren wasteland.

Trove: 'Let everything in the game be made by the community'

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Culture, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Trove

trove
User-generated content isn't just a pipe dream of the Trove team; it's the central tenet of its design philosophy. In a new video, the devs talk about why allowing players to design the world, both inside the game and outside of it, is vital to drawing the community into it.

One of the results of listening to player feedback is the creation of a new biome called Dragonfire Peaks, which is full of canyons, lava, and most likely heartburn.

"We've taken the development cycle and pried it open for everyone to see," says Art Lead Brian Clarke. The team goes on to show off several player-made dungeons and talk about how the community has made better content than the dev team thought possible. We've got the video after the break, so check it out and see if you've got the Trove stuff!

[Source: Trion Worlds press release]

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Destiny beta changes Dinklage's voice after criticism

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, MMO Industry, New Titles, Consoles, MMOFPS, Destiny

Destiny
When Peter Dinklage, aka Tyrion Lannister, was announced as the voice of Destiny's voice-in-your-head companion, Ghost, fans went nuts. That is, until they heard the lines in the game's alpha build. Many complained that the Game of Thrones star wasn't giving the role his best effort, and a bit of a meme even formed from some particularly lackluster lines in the game's trailer.

But now, it seems Bungie listened to players and added a bit of effect to Dinklage's voice to spice things up a bit. The studio even went so far as to remove the now-internet-famous line, "That wizard came from the moon." Take a listen to the voiceover comparisons in the CVG video after the break to decide for yourself: did the mechanization of the audio improve things? Heck, it supposedly works for Britney Spears, right?

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WoW's Warlords of Draenor beta: A disappointing start

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Opinion, First Impressions, Subscription

Yeah, I know those feels, all right.
My time with the Draenor beta has been an overwhelming disappointment.

Warlords of Draenor is to World of Warcraft as Man of Steel is to the Superman mythos. It's an effort to collect classic elements with no regard for the setting in which they make sense, throwing them together like line items. It's aware of the history of the franchise only as a resource to mine, and it's just giving us all of the old familiar pieces without the parts that made those pieces memorable.

Imagine watching Harrison Ford pretending to be Indiana Jones despite being far too old for the role now, locked in a script with no sense of momentum or energy, going through the motions in a way that's not just lackluster but actively kind of shameful. Imagine Frank Miller writing Batman as a parody of what people thought his original versions of Batman were anyway without the slightest sense of irony. That should give you some idea of where I am when it comes to Warlords of Draenor. It's loads of classic ideas, stuff that I desperately want to like, but it's ultimately just not very good, and it certainly doesn't come together.

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The Crew's PC closed beta starts July 21

Betas, Real-Life, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items

Shelby GT500
Ubisoft's open-world racer The Crew kicks off its PC closed beta on July 21st. The firm has posted a news blurb on its website stating that the first test phase will run through July 25th, which is earlier than previously announced.

Players will be able to "explore the entire United States with no loading screen" including all missions and skill challenges in the Midwest, all skill challenges on the East Coast, and free roaming in the South, Mountain State, and West Coast regions.

The Crew launches on November 11th.

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The Stream Team: Building with water in Landmark

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Free-to-Play, Livestream, Sandbox, The Stream Team, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

There's a new building material in Landmark town, and Massively's MJ is eager to get her hands on it! Non-dynamic water has been introduced, and the possibilities are endless. Could MJ make a water trap deep in her maze? What about a moat? She could even just build a water house, declare herself a mermaid, and swim through the walls! Come share your ideas. As a bonus, MJ also has a few more of the popular portcullis item codes as well as beta codes to give away. Join us live at 7:30 p.m. to check out some wet and wild building!

Game: Landmark
Host: MJ Guthrie
Date: Thursday, July 17th, 2014
Time: 7:30 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The Think Tank: Star Citizen and armchair speculation

Betas, Sci-Fi, Business Models, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Humor, The Think Tank, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen

Star Citizen pew pew
This week, Star Citizen announced it's now raised a total of $48 million in crowdfunding and revealed its $50 million stretch goal, which is an absurd amount of money (but still not as absurd as how much some other AAA MMOs reportedly spent). "As a professional gamer and armchair developer with several failed armchair projects under my belt," wrote Massively commenter computerhelfer with his tongue firmly in cheek, "I can safely say this project has acquired too much money. This project makes my armchair feel uncomfortable."

Apparently, large sums of money and large-scale projects make a lot of people uncomfortable, at least judging by the huge and sometimes nonsensical debates that sprawl across our Star Citizen posts. In today's Think Tank, I've asked some of the Massively writers to speculate on the future of the game, its impact on the genre, and how much higher that crowdfund number might go before all of the core pieces of the game have launched.

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ArcheAge begins beta with one million sign-ups [Updated]

Betas, Fantasy, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox

aa
The world is ready and eager for ArcheAge's beta program, as evidenced by the million-plus sign-ups on the site. The first closed beta event started today and will continue through July 21st.

"We're also happy to announce today that over one million of you have already joined our community of ArcheAge supporters, even before the first beta event began!" Trion Worlds posted today. In fact, the beta launched to far more players than Trion anticipated, prompting the studio to open up two new servers to handle the demand.

To bring the Korean MMO overseas, Trion has translated two million words, set up technical infrastructure, and localized quests. The closed beta event will feature the version 1.2 patch for both North America and Europe.

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Camelot Unchained emphasizes horizontal progression, won't rule out story

Betas, Fantasy, Historical, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Lore, Previews, PvP, News Items, PvE, Camelot Unchained

Welcome back to our coverage of City State Entertainment's batshit-crazy days for Camelot Unchained! A few weeks ago, we spoke with CSE co-founder Mark Jacobs about each of the topics being revealed this week via livestream; this afternoon, on the last and final day of BSC, let's tackle character power and progression.
Massively: We're curious about how, exactly, the vertical progression will keep new players competitive. After the initial rush, new players will spend a long time being less powerful than their player enemies. What exactly is the benefit to creating the equivalent of a long level grind in a PvP game that lacks PvE? Isn't the team worried that power discrepancy might cause newcomers to wash out the same way raid gear or levels might in a game with both PvE and PvP?

CSE's Mark Jacobs: Not at all. First, the horizontal nature of this game means that while the veteran player will have some scaling in his stats and abilities, the difference will be a lot less than in any MMORPG I've played. Please keep in mind one of the things I said during our Kickstarter, which is that I want a new player to be able to meet a veteran (just for example, say a six-month one) on the field in a 1:1 match. The new player needs to know he has a chance of either winning or at least putting up a good fight. Now, compare that to any other MMORPG that has meaningful PvP or RvR, and can you say the same thing? I know it wouldn't be true in any I have played.

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Norrathian Notebook: The ups and downs of Landmark's open development

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

Open development: It definitely has its ups and downs. And Landmark players are getting plenty of first-hand experience with this fact.

Back in the early stone ages of MMOdom (think baby Ultima Online and EverQuest first crawling on the scene), massively multiplayer online games were more like boxed single-player games: You waited and pined for it until it shipped out (in yes, an actual box!) and then you ran to the local games shop to nab your copy on the launch date. If you even knew about the existence of the game before, you still had to wait until that box was in your physical possession and the game loaded on your PC to find out what it was actually like. Before that moment, only the devs and reviewers at gaming magazines really knew.

Boy, have things changed!

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Camelot Unchained's territory control isn't just for uberguilds

Betas, Fantasy, Historical, Game Mechanics, Guilds, Previews, PvP, News Items, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained, MMORPG

Welcome back to our coverage of City State Entertainment's batshit-crazy days for Camelot Unchained! A few weeks ago, we spoke with CSE co-founder Mark Jacobs about each of the topics being revealed this week via livestream; this afternoon, we're examining the RvR map and territory control.
Massively: Taxes and maintenance costs are absolutely necessary to keep territory from being owned by absent players, but if they're too burdensome, they can prevent people from wanting to claim or improve land at all, figuring that a richer guild will do it. How does the team plan to solve that problem?

CSE's Mark Jacobs: Balance is always a PITA, and this is a perfect example. There is no magic formula to solve this problem, but one thing I will say is that while money may not buy happiness, it may also not buy a piece of land. Just like crafters, players will not be able to simply have money dumped on them by an alt, friend, etc. and then be able to buy whatever land they want. They will have to earn the right to buy it, and that won't happen Launch Day +1 (or 2 or 3).

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Watch a TUG artist design a hostile predator

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, News Items, Sandbox

Mountain lion butts! That's what's in store for you in the latest TUG "In the Works" behind-the-scenes video. Nerd Kingdom "Ninja Rigger and 3-D Artist" Eric Stodolnik is featured in the brief clip as he shows viewers how one of the game's many hostile predators is modeled from start to finish. The video is included below!

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Heroes of the Storm's Garden of Terror swaps between night and day

Betas, Fantasy, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, MOBA

heroes of the storm
It's the gimmick, the hook that makes a well-designed MOBA battleground truly memorable, and Heroes of the Storm's Garden of Terror thinks it has its hook: a night-and-day sequence.

Unlike the mostly cosmetic lighting filters in MMO day/night cycles, Garden of Terror's transition between the two will change the fundamental rules of the match. While during the daytime players can check out mercenary camps, the nighttime is a whole different story. The camps go away when the sun goes down, and out pops nighttime horrors as players' visibility decreases. The daytime only comes back when all of the horrors are killed, giving players control over how long the dark lasts.

One of the Garden of Terror's objectives is gathering up seeds to plant so that a huge player-controlled mob can be summoned. Learning when and how to use the summon will be a key to dominating the match.

Camelot Unchained plans a robust, anti-mule crafting economy

Betas, Fantasy, Historical, Economy, Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Crafting, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained, MMORPG

Welcome back to our coverage of City State Entertainment's batshit-crazy days for Camelot Unchained! A few weeks ago, we spoke with CSE co-founder Mark Jacobs about each of the topics being revealed this week via livestream; this afternoon, we're digging into my personal favorite: crafting and economy.
Massively: I just wrote about a game with excessive recovery time for crafters, likewise implemented for economic reasons, and wow, players hate those restrictions. Doesn't introducing (I'm going to say it) "designed downtime" for crafters encourage crafter mules and arbitrarily interfere with the natural economy? Aren't there more organic ways to slow down crafting? Why allow combatants to fight 24/7 but not allow crafters to craft equivalently?

CSE's Mark Jacobs: It's a really good question and a definite concern for us. My feeling was that I wanted to create a system where crafters don't have to sit around, crafting 24/7 in a manner that could lead to carpal tunnel. Other games, including Dark Age of Camelot, were more like that. Crafters shouldn't have to sit around and simply click-click-click, etc. The comparison isn't totally correct though, because combatants have downtime to recover their health or power, during travel, etc. (especially in an RvR MMORPG), while crafters can sit in a shop and use the Vox Magus to craft.

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