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Business Models

Betawatch: December 6 - 12, 2014

Betas, Business Models, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Betawatch, Miscellaneous

Glitch - Eleven
Glitch might be gone, but thanks to the generosity of the dev team and the hard work of players, the game lives on in at least two incarnations, one of which, Eleven, entered alpha this week. What else is new in the realm of MMO testing? The complete Betawatch roundup is below.

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Shards closes its successful Kickstarter campaign with a livestream

Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding

Shards Online has already met its Kickstarter goals, and now Citadel Studios is throwing a celebratory wrap-up livestream as the clock winds down. And when we say now, we really mean now, since the stream runs from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. EDT today. The team will be giving away alpha codes and riffing on some of the gameplay viewable in the new campaign highlight video that we've embedded after the break.

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How to break into the games industry according to Hi-Rez

Video, Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, News Items, Miscellaneous

SMITE
If for some reason you find yourself possessed of an urge to seek a career in the video games industry, convinced that it's a stable meritocracy that will help you build skills and provide financial support for your family, then don't watch the videos in the post; instead, flee, flee for your lives!

Just kidding. Mostly.

Hi-Rez Studios -- of SMITE, Tribes: Ascend, and Global Agenda fame -- has released a series of videos this week all about breaking into the games industry. Unless you already have a giant pile of money to fund your own studio, the videos actually provide some useful advice, focusing on cultivating a specific skill in demand at game studios. There are five videos in all: two on the basics and one apiece on design, programming, and that most glamorous of jobs, QA. Check 'em out below.

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Ask Massively: Scoring last year's MMO predictions

Business Models, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Opinion, Massively Meta, Humor, Ask Massively, Miscellaneous

GW2
One of my favorite things to do every year is go back to the previous year's staff predictions. What did we think 2014 was going to look like in the MMO world back at the end of 2013? How wrong were we, and where did we hit eerily close to the mark? I won't include everything, just some of the more prophetic and ridiculous ideas our current staff offered a year ago. Feel free to share your own fulfilled prophecies down in the comments.

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The Daily Grind: Do you fill out MMO cancellation surveys?

Sci-Fi, Business Models, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Star Wars: The Old Republic

I cancelled my Star Wars: The Old Republic subscription this week. Given my history with the game I'm sure it's only temporary, but for now I got what I needed out of the 12x event and I'm off to greener pastures.

I told BioWare as much in the post-cancel survey thing, too, but I seriously doubt it'll be removing the gear grind just for me! What about you, Massively readers? Do you think cancellation surveys are a formality? Do you fill them out?

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!

Star Citizen's latest patch adds another ship, drunk effects

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, Patches, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen

Star Citizen's latest patch is now live. Actually, it's Arena Commander's latest patch, where Arena Commander is the dogfighting and ship pornography simulator that allows players to explore various craft as Cloud Imperium developers get them "hangar-ready."

AC version 0.9.2.2 adds the Anvil Gladiator to the mix, along with a drunk effect for your hangar's liquor cabinet. CIG encourages you to "please drink responsibly."

Leaderboard: Would B2P or a sub-only server bring you back to ArcheAge?

Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Leaderboard

I've been thinking about ArcheAge a lot this month, and most of what I've been thinking about it is pretty negative. XL's fantasy sandpark has more problems than any single MMO should, but despite all of them I would still enjoy it if it weren't for that godawful cash shop.

Yeah, the bugs are annoying as are some of the more pervasive exploits (flower dance griefing, really?), but underneath all that is a feature-rich virtual world I'd love to keep playing. At this point, though, the only thing that would bring me back is some sort of subscription-only server, or failing that, a buy-to-play-with-a-cosmetic-cash-shop server that doesn't sell labor potions, tax certificates, appraisals, and the like.

What about you, Leaderboard readers and disgruntled ArcheAge expats? Would you come back for a subscription-only server or a less invasive cash shop? 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!

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Elite: Dangerous is due for zero more wipes, releases launch trailer

Betas, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Launches, MMO Industry, News Items, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play

Elite
If you weren't clear on whether Elite: Dangerous has launched yet, prepare to remain slightly unclear. Frontier Community Manager Edward Lewis hit the forums earlier this week to clarify that the gamma 2 test phase open to backers will not be wiped prior to next week's official launch:
Hi guys, This is just a quick update to confirm that there won't be a wipe at launch.
So it's not formally launched until December 16th, but it's pretty much launched in the ways that matter. Lewis further dismissed concerns about exploits benefiting early access players. "We're looking at ways to find people who have used exploits. Don't worry about that! But also, don't worry about it if you have used an exploit - the guys on the dev team know the difference between testing something out and abusing the systems!"

Massively's Mike Foster toured the game a few weeks ago, writing that "the gamma version finally brings Frontier's full vision into focus, and the result is a challenging, complex title." The buy-to-play MMO took home Massively's Most Underrated award this year.

We've got the new launch trailer tucked behind the break!

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Guild Wars 2 is revamping dailies... again

Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, Guild Wars 2, Dev Diaries, Buy-to-Play

GW2
ArenaNet has just announced that it's revamping Guild Wars 2's daily achievements... again. "We want to give players the opportunity to try things they may not normally experience and feel like the rewards they earn for doing so mean something," says the studio. "Rather than [give] a generic reward for all achievements, each one will give players something that is thematically tied to the content they're playing." Completing dailies will allow players to earn everything from achievement points to fractal relics and badges of honor, depending on the daily's difficulty and type (PvE, PvP, WvW).

The studio is also rolling out a new achievement track that replaces the old monthlies system and rewards players just for logging in. "One way to think of this is like a holiday calendar that gives you a new present from ArenaNet each day," the devs write. "There are 28 individual rewards on the track, each one building toward an epic chest containing a permanent 1% increase to account gold find and your choice of either ascended crafting materials, materials necessary for crafting your legendary weapon (including mystic clovers), an additional sum of laurels, or tomes of knowledge."

Yesterday, the studio revealed that the ongoing season two plotline will be on hiatus through the holidays, being replaced by Wintersday. Season two resumes on January 13th.

Not So Massively: Hearthstone's expansion, The Crew's launch, and Dead Island: Epidemic's beta

Betas, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Expansions, Launches, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Consoles, MMOFPS, MMORTS, Post-Apocalyptic, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, World of Warplanes, MOBA, League of Legends, Destiny, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Infinite Crisis, Hearthstone

NSM - Hearthstone
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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WoW, Guild Wars 2, and ArcheAge are ZergID users' top games

Betas, Business Models, Interviews, MMO Industry, News Items, Miscellaneous

ZergID
Back in November, we told you about ZergID, a new social networking website aimed specifically at MMO players who are looking for guilds (or friends from games past) across the MMOverse. We spoke to one of the project's founders, Scott Katz, to get more information on how the service's beta is shaping up.

Massively: How many guilds have signed up since the launch of beta?

Scott Katz, co-founder, Zerg Inc.: We have more than 650 guilds currently signed up for the site, with more joining each day.

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Make My MMO: November 30 - December 6, 2014

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

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Shards Online talked up its permadeath plans as well as how it intends to balance crafting vs. loot. TUG's devs revealed that they're hoping for an investor, while Star Citizen continued to make a lot of money and a lot of commenter rage.

Finally, Pantheon previewed a dungeon with a single screenshot and continued taking donations via Patreon. The rest of this week's MMO crowdfunding news roundup is after the break.

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Lost Continent: Yep, F2P sucks for ArcheAge

Fantasy, Business Models, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Lost Continent

Thus far I've put up with quite a lot of crap in my quest to like ArcheAge. There was the launch debacle in which no one realized that many millions of people will show up and expect a working service if you yell "come play for free!" Then there was the Auroria debacle, in which no one cared about server accessibility during a competitive launch event.

And of course there's ArcheAge's easily exploitable code, the ramifications of which include hacks, cheats, and bot-related problems that continue to be visible to anyone taking Trion's really-guys-it's-only-a-tiny-minority spin with a grain of salt.

Finally, there's the grossly intrusive monetization plan that prevents subscribers from playing certain parts of the game unless they spend additional money in the cash shop. ArcheAge has a comically long list of problems, but it's this last one that's finally wearing me down.

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Work on Asheron's Call's player-run servers continues

Fantasy, Asheron's Call, Business Models, Game Mechanics, News Items, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

AC
Earlier this summer, Asheron's Call 1 and 2 went buy-to-play with no sub and technically went into maintenance mode, with no more content updates planned for the pair of games. But it wasn't to be game over; Turbine vowed to keep the servers up for its loyal players because it was, as Turbine's Rob "Severlin" Ciccolini put it, "the right thing to do." Critically, the studio also promised to release tools, though not the source code itself, to help players run their own servers, create their own live events, and someday implement their own locations.

Just before the holidays, Ciccolini quietly released an update about the "community-foused initiative" on the official forums.
I finished documenting and preparing the files players will need for all the SQL set up. We are working on getting documentation for setting up the patch server and and gls servers. I am also checking to see how a player can configure a local one person server with a simplified set up so they can play solo or in a LAN environment but I don't know yet if it will be possible to do without the full login process. We are moving to get things up in a place where they can be downloaded.
Severlin explained that documentation and testing continues, and there's a chance, though not a guarantee, that a "simplified server set up for solo or LAN players" might be workable.

The Think Tank: Digging out of MMO doom

Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

This year, we've been watching multiple MMO companies dig themselves into deep holes with mistake after mistake, some seemingly preventable. Do you think there's a hole so deep that an MMO studio can never dig out? Do you think that serial goof-ups like WildStar and ArcheAge can pull a SWTOR and actually be making trucktons of money three years from now? Or is everything DOOM, etc.?

That's precisely what I asked the Massively writers in this week's Think Tank.

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