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Business Models

Star Citizen's crowdfunding total tops $61 million

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

What's better than $60 million in crowdfunding support? $61 million, of course, and that's what space sim sandbox Star Citizen's sitting at today. Cloud Imperium boss Chris Roberts has penned his usual Letter from the Chairman in response to another million-dollar milestone. This particular milestone unlocked the Espera Prowler, which Roberts says will be interesting to watch during the build process since it's an alien design that will be retrofitted for human use.

The letter also features a poll that allows backers to choose Star Citizen's third starter ship.

NCsoft 'sees a future' for WildStar

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Interviews, Patches, News Items, WildStar, Subscription

I also see a future for WildStar. I'm not sure it's the same future.
Eurogamer recently spoke to WildStar Creative Director Chad Moore and Product Director Mike Donatelli to counter concerns that WildStar is a "sinking ship." Fortunately for players, NCsoft, which controls Carbine, apparently doesn't think so. "They specialise in MMOs, that's what they do. And they see a future for WildStar," Donatelli explained. "And as far as NCsoft is concerned, they're going to support us, and I take them at their word for that when they've made a commitment to us for the future, so I feel very comfortable making that statement." Moore noted that Carbine still has "hundreds" of employees in spite of recent layoffs, and while he wouldn't outright condemn negative Glassdoor reviews, he did recommend they be taken "with a grain of salt."

Regarding sales, Donatelli told Eurogamer the game sold "many, many, many times" the hoped-for 250,000 boxes, but he doesn't mention current subs. Back in October, he told Massively that the game had "hundreds of thousands of active players." NCsoft declined to clarify that ambiguous phrasing when asked.

WildStar's Mystery of the Genesis Prime patch launched yesterday.

Not So Massively: Overwatch's reveal, Hearthstone's expansion, and Dawngate's sunset

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Super-hero, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Lore, New Titles, Patches, Previews, PvP, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Trading Card Games, Consoles, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, League of Legends, Diablo III, Destiny, Elite: Dangerous, HEX, Hearthstone, The Division, OARPG, Overwatch

NSM - Overwatch
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.
  • Blizzard announced online team-shooter Overwatch at BlizzCon. Chris Metzen says Blizzard is trying to build a more representative game with less hypersexualization.
  • Hearthstone is launching in December and getting a new expansion: Goblins vs. Gnomes.
  • EA's MOBA Dawngate is shutting down in three months.
  • League of Legends introduced Kalista, the Spear of Vengeance.
  • MMOTCG HEX dropped its beta key requirement but denied that it is in open beta.
  • Heroes of the Storm's closed beta starts January 13th. It's also getting a sweet Diablo III-themed map.
  • Diablo III previewed its upcoming season. According to content designer Kevin Martens, Diablo was once considered for an MMO, but no longer.
  • David Braben says Elite: Dangerous' December 16th launch date is "sensible."
  • Star Citizen passed $60 million in fundraising.
  • Quirky indie MMOFPS Hunternet boasts 700-player battles.
  • World of Tanks' 9.4 patch added Stalingrad map and tweaked strongholds.
  • The Crew hinted at a new "PvP mode" and season passes.
  • MechWarrior Online's latest dev vlog covered inner sphere quirks and faction switching.
  • Ubisoft said that The Division's PC experience won't suffer because of consoles.
  • Some jerk swatted a Bungie/Destiny exec; the internet demands prison time for said jerk.
  • The latest World of Speed vid features nearly four minutes of gameplay.
  • Bigpoint's Shards of War introduced a new sentinel, Vox.
  • Undead Labs discussed balance in Moonrise.
  • Dota is now the subject of a course at Chongqing Energy College in China.

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Make My MMO: November 2 - November 8, 2014

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

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Star Citizen topped $60 million. I'm just going to let that marinate for a moment.

OK.

The Repopulation lowered its alpha access and pledging prices while also detailing some of the tweaks the dev team accomplished in October. Das Tal got Steam's Greenlight, and Ascent: The Space Game squeaked by its funding goal in the eleventh hour. The rest of this week's MMO crowdfunding roundup is just past the break.

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Betawatch: November 1 - 7, 2014

Betas, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Betawatch, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding

Trove
Trove departs the Betawatch list this week, having soft-launched with an open beta destined to go unwiped. Heroes of the Storm will head to closed beta on January 13th. And Blizzard announced Overwatch, a team-based online shooter that'll hit beta in 2015. What else is new in the world of MMO testing?
  • The Repopulation lowered its alpha access pledge prices from $100 to $25.
  • Elite: Dangerous will be emerging from beta and launching on December 16th.
  • Skyforge's first technical beta weekend begins November 13th.
  • MMOTCG HEX dropped its beta key requirement, so it's in open beta, but the studio says it's not in open beta. So yeah.
  • Dawngate announced a sunset while it was still in beta.
  • Korean MMO Echo of Soul immigrates to North America and Europe next year. Beta signups are live.
  • Gigantic will greatly expand its alpha test this fall.
  • Star Citizen passed $60 million in fundraising.
  • Watch two hours of in-beta Civilization Online unfold.
  • Indie MMOFPS Hunternet was revealed; it's currently in alpha.
  • The international version of Journey to the West enters closed beta tomorrow on November 8th.
  • Kingdom Rift began open alpha on November 3rd.
The complete Betawatch roundup is below.

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ArcheAge producer update talks Auroria, patron discounts, and more

Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, ArcheAge, Sandbox

Trion published a producer's letter for ArcheAge earlier today. In it, the company detailed why no rollbacks will be forthcoming in response to the disconnection issues that surfaced during this week's Auroria launch.

Producer Victoria Voss went on to say that out of "tens of thousands of new, legitimate land owners," under 20 ended up with "more land claims than would have been reasonable." The letter also contains bits about ArcheAge's siege gameplay which the Auroria patch has enabled as well as an update on the much-discussed 10 percent patron discounts.

"The 10 percent patron discount will take effect in the form of a 10 percent bonus to credit pack purchases beginning later today. This is something we're able to roll out independently, without adding more workload on the game's developer. As such, we've agreed that this is the best way to get a great benefit into your hands as rapidly as possible," Trion says.

Braben says Elite: Dangerous' December 16th launch date is 'sensible'

Betas, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Launches, News Items, Elite: Dangerous

Frontier's David Braben has announced that Elite: Dangerous will launch on PC on December 16th.

Braben told Eurogamer that a game is "launch-ready when it is a great game," in spite of the flaws those close to the title might still see. He expressed concern over feature-creep and diminishing returns from gameplay polishing. "At Frontier we have been doing this for a long time," he said, "so we are confident the date we have announced is a sensible one."

Elite's third beta phase, open to those who've already ponied up for the game, began at the end of October. After spending September playing through the beta 1 release, Massively's Mike Foster wrote that he "would happily recommend it" but for the beta price tag. The Mercenary pre-order edition is available for $50 from the official site.

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The Daily Grind: What do you think Blizzard's big secret announcement is?

Business Models, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

WoW
Blizzard employees have been dropping hints over the last couple of weeks that there's a big announcement to be made at this year's BlizzCon, which starts later today. Speculation runs the spectrum from a new Diablo III expansion to World of Warcraft's next-next expansion, but the fan-favorite rumor suggests that Blizzard will in fact be announcing a new game altogether. The genre of that game -- and whether or not it will fill the void vacated by Titan -- is up for debate.

What do you think Blizzard's big secret announcement will be? Yes, you get a gold star if you turn out to be right.

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!

The Think Tank: Did Star Wars Galaxies' NGE poison the MMO development well?

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

Sad Stormtrooper
The MMO community's favorite hyperbole must surely be "that's such-and-such-a-game's NGE." Star Wars: The Old Republic redoes talent trees? SWTOR's NGE! Guild Wars 2 revamps its noob game? GW2's NGE! World of Warcraft adds a panda race? WoW's NGE!

This bugs me for several reasons. It distorts and devalues the very real impact the NGE had on Star Wars Galaxies, which if nothing else is annoying from a historical perspective. The NGE was a lot more than a talent tree revamp or goofy race, and it also changed over time. But more importantly, lazy use of the term might make MMO developers change-averse, even when changes are desperately needed.

Do people overuse the term? Has there ever been an MMO trainwreck as big as the NGE? And above all else, did NGE poison the well -- are developers afraid of making sweeping changes, however much they are needed, lest they be unfavorably compared to one of the worst disasters in MMO history? These are the questions I asked the Massively team in today's Think Tank.

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The Crew hints at 'new PvP mode,' season pass info

Real-Life, Business Models, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Races

The Crew hasn't launched yet, but Ubisoft is already marketing a season pass for its racing MMO that will include everything from new missions to themed car packs to a "new PvP mode." The announcement doesn't say much regarding the new mode other than that it exists, but there is a lot of info regarding the rest of the obtainables on the game's official website.

Elder Scrolls unveils its six-month loyalty reward

Fantasy, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, The Elder Scrolls Online

ZeniMax has revealed its six-month subscriber reward for players of The Elder Scrolls Online. The devs are continuing with the vanity pet theme introduced for the three-month reward, only instead of a High Hrothgar Wraith, this time we have the Dwemer Sphere.

Keep in mind that the reward months accumulate whenever you have an active sub, so if you leave for a month or two and then resubscribe in the future, you'll retain your progress in terms of loyalty rewards.

Activision Blizzard earnings bolstered by Destiny and World of Warcraft

Business Models, MMO Industry, Miscellaneous

Nothing we hadn't heard, but it's still worth saying.
Another financial quarter is fading into memory, and that means it's time for another earnings call for Activision. The financials tell a fairly bright story for this particular quarter, with the continued sales of Destiny, overall success of Hearthstone, and the subscriber bump for World of Warcraft pushing the company up in revenue compared to the same quarter last year. Destiny, Activision says, has now racked up 9.5 million registered users.

As a result of these figures, the company has increased its overall earnings forecast by two percent, with the upcoming phone releases for Hearthstone, a new Call of Duty title, and the Warlords of Draenor release accounting for the increased profits. You can read the whole thing yourself if you want to take a closer look at the company's financial workings.

The Repopulation lowers its alpha access pledge prices

Betas, Sci-Fi, Business Models, News Items, Promotions, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, The Repopulation

Repopulation
Crowdfunded sci-fi sandbox The Repopulation has today announced a change to its pledge packages that should increase the number of backers -- and testers. The new packages cost $50 and $25; the $50 version grants immediate test access, while the $25 edition will sweep buyers into the alpha starting on November 21st. Above and Beyond says it will be altering its packages at that time to remove perks like housing plots and NPC naming, but the $25 buy-in will still "be the cheapest for awhile."

During the ongoing testing, the studio has vowed to keep the servers up around the clock outside of patch downtime, and it will avoid region locking, though the servers are located in North America. As the test is an alpha, a strict NDA is in place and pre-release wipes are still expected.

[Thanks, dirtyklingon!]

Make My MMO: October 26 - November 1, 2014

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

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Valiance Online launched its Kickstarter and Camelot Unchained got the band back together for an audio stretch goal and a look at the Tuatha De Danann.

Star Citizen reached a significant milestone when it added ESP to the latest version of Arena Commander. No, that's no extra-sensory perception but instead Enhanced Stick Precision, which brings the game's level of control and space-simmy feeling closer to creator Chris Roberts' original intention.

The rest of this week's crowdfunding news roundup is just past the cut.

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Star Citizen's latest patch adds ESP, improves control

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

Cloud Imperium has officially released version 0.9.2 of Star Citizen's Arena Commander. It's kind of a big deal thanks to something that the company is dubbing ESP, or Enhanced Stick Precision. CIG's Chris Roberts explains how this latest version of the alpha software, which combines ESP with significant changes to the ITTS and HUD systems, comes the closest so far to achieving "the level of control and sense of dogfighting that I had in my head when I first pictured how space combat should feel back when I started the journey that is Star Citizen."

The latest patch also doubles the size of Arena's Commander's maps. You can read the full patch notes here.

CIG also unveiled the Drake Herald this afternoon. Be sure to click the web page's decrypt button to see all the details.

[Thanks Cardboard!]

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