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Business Models

SWTOR will charge a cool 50 million credits for guild ships

Betas, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Economy, Game Mechanics, Guilds, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic

We hope Star Wars: The Old Republic players have been saving up their credits for a rainy day because that rainy day is here and it wants its money. BioWare Community Manager Eric Musco announced on today's livestream that guild ships, expected in next month's Galactic Strongholds expansion, will cost a whopping 50 million credits, making it arguably the most expensive single item in the game as it surpasses the cost of the ST-7 Recon Walker and Dathomir Rancor.

Massively's SWTOR expert Larry Everett notes that while it's not uncommon for a lone player to have a tenth that amount and the 'wealthy' title is granted for amassing 10 million credits, small guilds might struggle summoning the funds for these ships.

Anarchy Online introduces tradable subscription item

Sci-Fi, Anarchy Online, Business Models, Free-to-Play

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Anarchy Online has added a new subscription option into this 13-year-old game, allowing players to buy and sell game time in addition to its free-to-play and standard subscription packages.

Patch 18.6.14 added GRACE (Grid Access Credit Extension), which is a $14.95 item that can be purchased and sold on the in-game market. When used, GRACE adds 30 days of subscription game time to a player's account. Unlike other items on the market, GRACE cannot be taken out and mailed separately. Also, since free players can't access the market, they'll be unable to purchase GRACE from other players.

Funcom has a FAQ covering the ins and outs of this new system.

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."

Elite's expansions to include planetary landing, ship interiors

Betas, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play

Frontier's latest newsletter for Elite: Dangerous talks post-launch plans for the sci-fi space sim sandbox. Launch is currently scheduled for sometime in Q4 of 2014, after which Frontier will continue to expand the game.

"Major new features will include planetary landings and even walking around inside ships, stations, and planet surfaces," the firm says. Elite users with a lifetime expansion pass will get "all such significant expansions" at no extra charge. The LEP is currently packaged with the game's premium beta access or available separately via the Frontier store.

[Thanks Peteris!]

Make My MMO: July 13 - July 19, 2014

Business Models, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Crowdfunding, Make My MMO

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Camelot Unchained dominated the headlines. Oh sure, Star Citizen made its money and the Elite: Dangerous devs said a couple more interesting things, but by and large we were all oohing and ahhing over City State's week-long batshit-crazy reveal schedule.

Whether or not the finished game actually incorporates all of these awesome ideas is anyone's guess, but for now it sure makes for fascinating reading! Click past the cut for the rundown on the rest of this week's crowdsourcing news.

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Nerd Kingdom on Yogventures!'s implosion and the future of TUG

Fantasy, Business Models, Interviews, MMO Industry, News Items, Legal, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, Crowdfunding

Yesterday, Massively reported on the impending bankruptcy filing and cancellation of Kickstarted Winterkewl/Yogscast game Yogventures! and the alleged transfer of its assets over to TUG, a sandbox game by Nerd Kingdom that we've written about since its reveal last year. Journalists and gamers have suggested that in spite its claims to the contrary, Yogscast itself might be liable for refunds, as would any beneficiary of assets entangled in a future bankruptcy filing. We spoke to TUG's Peter "Ino" Salinas to shed light on the situation and its implications for TUG.

Massively: Yogscast has distanced itself from Winterkewl, the studio making Yogventures!, but statements made by Winterkewl seem to suggest that Yogscast is simply transferring its support for Winterkewl's game to your pre-existing game, TUG, causing Yogventures to go bankrupt and disavowing any obligation to underwrite the spent half million in Kickstarter funds. Is that your understanding of the situation? Can you clarify it for our readers?

Nerd Kingdom's Peter Salinas: There are a lot of details to the discussions that Yogs and Winterkewl had before we started to develop our friendship with the Yogscast. We were also honestly wary of the situation ourselves at first, having been aware of Yogventures! around the time we did our own Kickstarter campaign. The reality of the situation was this: A young and ambitious developer overscoped a project... this would not be the first time that happened; it's just a total bummer that it had to happen with a massive community involved. And during that time, the Yogscast group, knowing little enough about development, agreed to let them use their likeness in their own project. Yogs knew that Yogscast itself was not equipped to manage the project, so they let Winterkewl use their brand and a community to build on. Sadly in that process, all the milestones that were set by Winterkewl, which would have allowed the Yogscast to promote the project, never were hit. How can you promote or make an experience with nothing to share? Even we had our own time to put in before we were able to demonstrate anything reasonable.

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Report: SWTOR fourth biggest sub MMO, Elder Scrolls has over 770k subscribers

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

Market intelligence firm Superdata says that Star Wars: The Old Republic earned $165 million in worldwide revenue last year. This would make SWTOR the fourth biggest sub MMO in the world (behind World of Warcraft, Lineage, and TERA).

Superdata's report also says that the pay-to-play MMO market has been in a constant decline since 2010, with monthly active worldwide subscribers bottoming out at 23.4 million. "Despite the overall decline, this category has so far managed to maximize their ability to monetize a shrinking yet loyal player base," the firm says.

Finally, Superdata says that Elder Scrolls Online has a subscriber base of 772,374 while WildStar is seeing "four to five times" as many concurrent users as it saw during open beta. Superdata's information is purportedly "pulled directly from publishers and developers."

Dota 2's 10 million dollar e-sports tourney will stream on ESPN

Business Models, Culture, Events (Real-World), PvP, News Items, Promotions, Miscellaneous, MOBA

Whether or not you believe e-sports are real sports, Dota 2 is at least big enough for sports TV.

Valve today publicized a deal that will bring streaming coverage of its MOBA's The International tournament to ESPN. Well, ESPN3, which is sort of like ESPN in the same way Dota 2 is like a sport. We're kidding. ESPN3 will broadcast matches live, and come Sunday, "viewers can tune in to ESPN2 for an exclusive preview of the tournament's final match, featuring highlights from the games, expert analysis, plus interviews with the players and Valve's Gabe Newell."

The International championships begin tomorrow in Seattle with a prize pool worth over $10 million. It turns out your mom was wrong: You can get rich and famous playing video games.

[With thanks to tipster Mike!]

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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Trion boosts RIFT's subscriber benefits

Fantasy, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT

RIFT subscribers are getting some benefit boosts, according to a new Trion website blurb. Patrons already enjoy extra currency, summons, mount speed, artifact tracking, daily quests, bonus loot, and store discounts. Now, though, they'll also receive 40 percent experience, favor, notoriety, prestige, and token boosts.

New benefits also include faster planar ability cooldowns, a fast pass teleport, and more!

In other RIFT news, Trion adjusted the Stormcaller soul in yesterday's hotfix.

Camelot Unchained isn't 'recreating WoW' with its magic system

Betas, Fantasy, Historical, Business Models, Classes, Culture, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Previews, PvP, News Items, PvE, 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 on the game's livestreams; today, let's talk about making magic.
Massively: When developers use the word "spellbook," visions of meditating into an EverQuest-style spellbook and repeatedly switching commonly used spells come to mind. Far from creating welcome immersion, that spellbook created headaches for casters [enough that SOE changed it]. But CU's spellbook seems more like a cross between an achievement panel and a spell design tool. How else will CU's spellbook improve on the concept?

CSE's Mark Jacobs: First, I think the characterization of the EQ spellbook as a headache for casters is a very personal one. Let's keep in mind that EQ was the most successful MMORPG prior to the coming of WoW [We presume he means in the West -ed], so not everybody could have hated it. In our game, being a caster will come with some disadvantages, and having to deal with a spellbook is one of them. However, it will also come with advantages. Like so many other things in Camelot Unchained, we're not afraid to say players won't love everything. Indeed, as I've said all along, I know that certain things we are going to do will piss off some people.

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Trion delays Defiance F2P console launch

Sci-Fi, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, Defiance

If you were looking forward to a free-to-play version of Defiance on your Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 this week, you'll have to wait a while longer. Trion has announced a delay from the previously scheduled July 15 launch.

"As you've seen or possibly experienced this week, we've been having stability issues with our console platforms," the firm explains on its website. "The team is working on a number of game additions as part of its crossover with Season 2 of the Defiance TV show and the latest build has negatively impacted game stability. Our programmers are working on addressing these issues."

Trion doesn't provide an ETA, but it says that "this is a priority fix for us, as we are eager to welcome fans on all platforms."

[Thanks Sorenthaz!]

Not So Massively: Hearthstone's expansion fee, Elite's console potential, and Destiny's mobile app

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Game Mechanics, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Mobile, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, Diablo III, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Infinite Crisis, Path of Exile, Buy-to-Play, Hearthstone

POE
Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.

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Ask Massively: Seven seriously spectacular reasons to hate clickbait

Business Models, Opinion, Massively Meta, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous

Hehe
Oh hi! Welcome to our clickbait article, and thanks for clicking! No really, let's talk about clickbait. Massively reader Avaera recently posed to me a question that dovetailed nicely with a few complaints I've seen in our comments. He wrote,
Does Massively make a deliberate effort to minimize the number of perceived "clickbait" opinion pieces? That is, to make sure that any controversial topics or unpopular opinions are discussed only sparingly, so that the perception and reputation of the site is kept relatively neutral? I can completely understand trying to manage a certain tone for the community; I'm just curious if that is an explicit factor in some editorial decisions.
I'll tell you, but first you have to click to find out!

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Make My MMO: July 6 - July 12, 2014

Business Models, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Crowdfunding, Make My MMO

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Frontier explained its relatively high buy-in prices for Elite: Dangerous alpha and beta testing, while Star Citizen gave fans and onlookers another meaty glimpse behind the development curtain.

Finally, Forged Chaos unveiled a seven-minute video showing off the progress on Trials of Ascension's technical demo and combat.

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