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Business Models

Taking a look at the Black Desert cash shop

Fantasy, Business Models, News Items, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Black Desert

Look, we're going to have to decide what we're buying beforehand, and I still vote for underwear.
So what does the inside of Black Desert's cash shop actually look like? Sure, the exact contents aren't going to matter to players who hate having cash shops at all or the players who were going to play the game no matter what, but a good implementation or a bad one could have an impact. Hence a new post on Steparu walking through the options available and giving a loose idea of how the pricing breaks down.

With a $50 budget, some options were simply out of reach on the shop, specifically the limited edition mount armor. A handful of limited-time packs with boosts are already in-place in game, alongside the usual options of dyes, inventory expansions, and makeovers. The cash shop also contains exclusive hairstyles and under-armor options. Check out the full piece for a more comprehensive glance inside of the game's real-money marketplace.

Not So Massively: Elite's launch, Transformers' sunset, and SMITE's $2M prize pool

Betas, Super-hero, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Classes, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Launches, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, Mobile, Consoles, Crime, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MechWarrior Online, MOBA, League of Legends, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Infinite Crisis, Hearthstone, E-sports, OARPG

Transformers
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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The Repopulation drops NDA, comes to Steam

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, The Repopulation

The Repopulation is spreading a bit of early Christmas cheer according to the latest news blurb on the sci-fi sandbox's website. In short, the final alpha phase begins this weekend, and you can also pick up the game via Steam's Early Access program. The Steam launch has done away with the NDA, too, so feel free to share your experiences in the comments. Oh, and don't forget to watch the Alpha 4 trailer after the break!

[Thanks Crow!]

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EVE Evolved: EVE Online vs. Elite: Dangerous

EVE Online, Business Models, Culture, Game Mechanics, Lore, MMO Industry, News Items, Hands-On, First Impressions, EVE Evolved, Elite: Dangerous

EVE Evolved title image
Like many EVE Online players, I grew up playing early sci-fi games like Elite and its sequel Frontier. In fact, CCP's recently released stats on the distribution of ages within the EVE community shows a peak around 29 years old, meaning that most players grew up in that same gaming era. A big part of what initially drew me to EVE Online was the prospect of playing the same kind of massive trading and space exploration game with other people, and for over 10 years it's scratched that sci-fi sandbox itch. I've watched EVE grow from a relatively unknown game with around 40,000 subscribers and laggy cruiser skirmishes into a vast game where thousands of players wage war for territory, profit, or just the adrenaline rush of PvP with something valuable on the line.

Now that Elite: Dangerous is finally here, I want to see whether it can scratch the same sandbox itch as EVE and to what extent the two games can be compared. Both feature customisable ship fittings, open-world PvP with a criminal justice system, and real financial loss on death, for example, but the end result is two very different gameplay styles. And both also have that same intoxicating notion of exploring the unknown and try to make you feel like you're in a living world, but they take very different approaches to world design, content, and travel. Elite may not be a full-fledged MMO, but with a sandbox made of 400 billion procedurally generated stars and an open play mode that seamlessly merges players' games together, does it matter?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I compare my experiences in Elite: Dangerous to my experiences in EVE Online and look at their differing strategies with regard to server model, active and passive gameplay, and the new player experience.

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Make My MMO: December 14 - 20, 2014

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

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Elite: Dangerous launched. Let's hold here for a brief round of applause.

Moving on, Camelot Unchained's Mark Jacobs talked up developmental transparency, and his PvP sandbox closed in on $3 million in total funding. Last but not least, Massively interviewed Shroud of the Avatar gurus Richard Garriott and Starr Long. Click past the cut for more of our weekly crowdfunding roundup.

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MapleStory 2 begins closed beta signups next week, will include a jail system

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Business Models, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Player-Generated Content, MMORPG

MapleStory 2
Another day, another game we can't have yet. This one's MapleStory 2, the sequel to Nexon's MapleStory, which in spite of its cuteness is still one of the biggest MMORPGs in the world. Steparu reports that MS2 is set to enter its first closed beta phase on January 21st; signups go live for Korean players on Christmas eve.

Over on the official site (in Korean), Nexon further discusses the MMO's jail system, something fans of games like Ultima Online and ArcheAge know well. This particular jail is meant to hold those who make wreckage of chat channels, though Nexon says will punish counter-abuse "severely." What could possibly go wrong?

We don't yet know whether the game will come here, but since classic MapleStory has a global version that's earned Nexon boatloads of money, it's pretty darn likely.

We've embedded Steparu's MapleStory 2 customization video below.

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The Think Tank: Massively's MMO industry predictions for 2015

Business Models, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Humor, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

SWTOR
It's that time of year for looking ahead and trying to predict just what will happen in the MMO industry in the year ahead of us. Will we play it safe this year or predict all sorts of wild and crazy things that everyone can quote and laugh about next December? Magic 8 ball says yes. Go big or go home when it comes to predictions!

Join the Massively staffers for this next-to-last Think Tank of the year and share your own predictions in the comments.

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Allods Online grants players two weeks of a free sub

Fantasy, Business Models, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Allods Online, Promotions, Subscription

Allods
Allods Online is one of the few MMORPGs in existence that began free-to-play and added a subscription server well after its original launch. And as part of its winter holiday celebration, Allods is granting everyone the chance to play on that subscription server for two weeks -- entirely for free.
From the 18th of December until the 1st of January, all Allods players - veterans and newcomers alike - will be granted two weeks of free subscription time for the premium server "Smugglers Paradise". If you have never played on the server before, now is a good time to check it out - while those who already play there will gain two weeks of extra playtime. We hope you enjoy this New Year gift - and don't forget, we've got many other events and celebrations on the horizon as well, so stay tuned and enjoy the festivities!
The Allods team is currently toiling away on its Brothers in Arms patch, which is set to include "multi-personnel combat mounts, additional PvP skirmishes with new objectives, new PvE adventure mechanics, and many other improvements," according to a dev blog posted to the official site yesterday. Unfortunately, the dev diary vid is in Russian, so you'll just have to take the official site's word for it.

Steam discounts lots of MMOs for the holidays

Business Models, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Massively Meta, Promotions, Miscellaneous

Steam
Steam's winter sale is upon us, which means it's time to celebrate the season the way gamers do: by opening up our wallets. Here are just some of the MMOs running sales through Steam: Anybody spot anything else?

The holidays have arrived in SOE's MMORPGs

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Super-hero, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Business Models, Culture, Events (In-Game), Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, DC Universe Online, EverQuest Next, PlanetSide 2, Sandbox, Dragon's Prophet, Landmark

EQ2
If you're a fan of SOE's MMOs and also a fan of Christmas, good news! SOE's MMOs also have Christmas! The studio posted a roundup of its holiday festivities earlier today:
  • EverQuest II: The Frostfell Wonderland Village returns this year along with a brand-new quest called The Great Candy (Cane) Chase.
  • DC Universe Online: Players will confront Larfleeze's Orange Lantern Corp. Old feats and rewards are back, as are "new base items, styles, a feat, and collection."
  • PlanetSide 2: It's Auraximas, which means it's time to murder snowmen. Special camo will also be on sale in the in-game store because of course it will be
  • EverQuest: Frostfell in this classic MMO brings Santug Cluagg and a host of new quests rolled out in phases.
  • Dragon's Prophet: Celebrate the The Silver Dragon Festival through January 15th.
A moment of silence, of course, for the SOE games no longer with us after this year's purge. Ahem.

If you're more the type to moon after Landmark and its futurespawn, EverQuest Next, check out MJ's hands-on with Landmark's PvE content update, which launches today. And peek back early next week for Massively's traditional MMO holiday event roundup for all the big games across the genre.

Camelot Unchained's Mark Jacobs on the warrior class and development transparency

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Classes, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained

Camelot Unchained
City State Entertainment -- an indie studio that's becoming better known to our readers, I imagine, after it ran away with our poll for best studio last week -- has today posted its first class concept reveal. The tentatively named Drengr is the Viking warrior class, and in its long design document, the studio has outlined just how the archetype fits into the proposed Path system that will govern character development in the crowdfunded RvR MMORPG.

We spoke to CSE's Mark Jacobs about the Path system, warrior reveal, and the impact of transparency on the game development process. Enjoy the interview below!

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WoW and FFXIV see boosted playtime on Raptr; ArcheAge playtime 'cratered'

Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Miscellaneous

Raptr
Another month, another Raptr report. Yesterday Raptr.com posted its most played PC games list for November, and MMOs did rather well. Unsurprisingly, World of Warcraft surged up the list to #2 thanks to the Warlords of Draenor expansion. "The MMO's monthly play time was up 71.3% versus October," Raptr's press release says. And though WoW "likely" drew from League of Legends' numbers, it couldn't quite usurp the MOBA's #1 seat.

Among other MMOs, ArcheAge playtime "cratered by 39.97%," but World of Tanks and Final Fantasy XIV both saw rises in theirs. Guild Wars 2 rose in rank, Raptr says, but lost playtime in November vs. October. SWTOR fell two places since October.

As always, Raptr roundups come with the caveat that they represent Raptr users on PC, not all gamers; some MMO studios are also known to boost their Raptr numbers with in-game incentives. But since some of these games refuse to release population data, you might call this the next best snapshot of popularity outside of touring the servers yourself.

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The Secret World's killer clown is coming to get you

Horror, Business Models, News Items, The Secret World, Promotions, Buy-to-Play

TSW
Some Funcom fans are getting a nice present in their email today: a ticket to play The Secret World for free for a month.

"You will die. Because, hey, that's what happens when you play an MMO where killer clowns are after you. Fight back! Play The Secret World for FREE this Holiday season," reads the promo.

The freebie 30-day codes in the emails are apparently valid if used by January 15th and include experience potions as well as $5 worth of points to spend in the cash shop. It's currently unclear whether the promotion is for former subbers or just everyone who has a Funcom account.

Warhammer 40k: Eternal Crusade discounts its founder packs

Betas, Business Models, News Items, Warhammer 40k, Miscellaneous

Eternal Crusade
Just in time for the holidays, Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade is discounting its founder upgrade packs. "We have big plans coming in 2015," says Behaviour Online, "and want to allow our fans the chance to get some extra upgrades now."

Starting December 17th, the game will offer a 25% discount on pack upgrades, which makes the cheapest packs $30 and the elite Dawn of the Imperium pack $97.50. Founder packs count as preorders, even at the lowest tiers. While the game will be F2P upon launch, free players are restricted to the Ork Boyz faction.

We've included the latest video, a teaser for the studio's Friday Twitch event, below. Behaviour will be hosting a Razer product giveaway and showing off a brand-new war zone.

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The Transformers Universe MOBA is shutting down

Betas, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Miscellaneous, Transformers Universe, MOBA, Sunsets

Bad news today, folks: MOBA Transformers Universe will close before it even leaves beta as part of Jagex's and Hasbro's efforts to "realign their plans and focuses for 2015." UK developer Jagex had posted about impending layoffs for the TU team back in November, but it appears that it's really game over now:
The shutdown period will begin from today. As part of the winding down we will be refunding all those that have purchased a Founders Pack, as well as anyone that has purchased relic bundles and starter packs. These refunds should be all processed in the next 30 days. In addition we will be closing the ability for new players to make accounts, those of you that already have accounts will continue to be able to use them until the closure date. [...] We will also be pushing an update live today that will switch off the ability for players to buy any more relic packs, or starter bundles.

[O]n 31st Jan 2015 @ 10am GMT we will be shutting down all servers and forums and will freeze all Transformers Universe related accounts. These accounts will then be live for another 60 days (approx.) for any final queries before deletion on 31st March 2015. Between now and the date of closure the Jagex CM team will continue to operate on the forums and we will provide relevant updates on the website as necessary.
Jagex asks players to contact the customer services team if they have not received their refunds by January 16th. Our hearts go out to the players and developers who hoped to see the title succeed.

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