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Flameseeker Chronicles: The case for mounts in Guild Wars 2

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

You'll have to excuse my dog, he's never seen a rug before. It's flying? Oh, I didn't notice.
I love my new rug. It's a little on the thin side, but it's got a nice pattern and gets great gas mileage. It floats high enough off the ground that my cats can't get hair all over it, although it also probably helps that it exists only inside the world of Guild Wars 2.

The only drawback is that, like the very similar riding broom, the magic carpet isn't a true travel mount. It's just a bundle toy you can ride around on at normal speed, although the difference is small enough that it's ignited the cyclical discussion about whether or not real mounts belong in GW2 again. It's a topic near to my heart, so jump past the cut and I'll address some of the common arguments against mounts -- as well as explore the peculiarities of ArenaNet's stopping just short of adding them.

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The Nexus Telegraph Extra: WildStar's deafening silence

Sci-Fi, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, WildStar, The Nexus Telegraph, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Answers so mysterious they've decided not to share any of them.
How many people are currently playing WildStar?

I don't know. You don't know, either, beyond vague guesses based on things like Raptr numbers, which say more about what Raptr users like to play than about actual game popularity. But it seems like the sort of answer that could be used to at least deflect a great deal of criticism, doesn't it? If Carbine Studios is sitting on two million players at a reasonable level of activity, that wouldn't shut down all discussion of the game's myriad problems, but it sure as heck would demand some rethinking.

That's precisely what I asked when I, at Carbine's behest, sent the team questions about the health of the game over a week ago. The bad news is that Carbine still hasn't answered my questions, nine days later. But the good news is that in the interim, Carbine was willing to tell another site that WildStar does not have a "player interest" problem, which seems like the sort of waffley question you'd answer if you really didn't want to be specific.

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Jonathan Sharp bids farewell to Guild Wars 2

Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

Oh, cool, my ride is here.  See you guys!
Jonathan Sharp has been involved with Guild Wars 2 for eight years as an important part of the public-facing development team. But all good things must come to an end, and Sharp's time with ArenaNet has done just that. Associate Game Director John Corpening announced on the forums last night that Sharp is moving on to pursue an undisclosed opportunity elsewhere. Sharp included a personal farewell:
Hey all. I'm sad to say that I'll be leaving ArenaNet after 8 years with the company, and it's been an amazing ride! I've chatted with many of you on vent, we've debated on State of the game, we've tossed ideas back and forth on the forums, and I've met many of you in person at various cons! It has been my privilege, pleasure and honor to work with such a passionate and intelligent group of fans. You guys have always kept me honest, you've pushed me to better myself, and your ideas have helped to create GW2's success – we couldn't have done it without you. Thank you for your love, passion and communication. I will always look back on my time here with love and gratitude, and much of that is owed to you, our wonderful fans. -Chap
Sharp's role on the GW2 PvP team will be filled by PvP designer Hugh Norfolk, already well known to players who follow the game's developer activity with zeal.

[Thanks to Dystopiq for the tip!]

The Nexus Telegraph: Dribs and drabs of WildStar

Sci-Fi, Culture, Opinion, WildStar, The Nexus Telegraph, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Admittedly, talking about it seems a little silly.
The past few weeks have not been a fun time to be a fan of WildStar, and we still have heard distressingly little about what's coming in the next patch. Heck, the most I can think of hearing about in recent memory is the announcement that the game will not feature any sort of holiday content this year, and as those of you who know me will probably guess I kind of wanted a Halloween event. (I like October.)

But let's talk about what we do know and where we are right now, since barring any further developments, there's not much more to be said about what isn't working. Either things get addressed or they don't. So let's talk about the next drop, what we will and won't be getting from it with any measure of luck, and about the complete lack of holiday content and why anyone should care. Yes, even if you normally don't care about holiday content!

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Destiny knows you want a looking-for-raid tool

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Endgame, PvE, Consoles, Community Q&A, Dungeons, Destiny, Buy-to-Play

In Destiny's latest letter to the playerbase, Bungie Community Manager Deej says that a looking-for-raid tool might be on the table. "You've been heard," he tells a player asking for raid matchmaking. "We're having conversations about how Matchmaking might support the more challenging activities in Destiny." He suggests that PUGs for dungeons thought mostly un-PUGgable are already happening.
You don't need to sell us too hard on the value of Matchmaking at Bungie. It's something we helped to pioneer. Yet, we understand its limitations. In the recipe of a Bungie game, Matchmaking has always contributed the ingredient of a team built to play one match of competitive multiplayer. As you've probably witnessed in recent weeks (or years), many of those fresh allies have failed to go the distance together.

The Raid was designed for solid teams of killers who have made a commitment to solve a dense and explosive riddle. Most of the raiding parties who have emerged victorious from the Vault of Glass have sworn that one weak link would have doomed their chain. There have been other stories, of course. We've heard tell of Guardians who met each other just outside the door that leads into that vault. Strange tales have reached our ears - tales of total strangers who have banded together to see the Raid all the way through to a triumphant finale.
After announcing that he wouldn't be fielding queries about rumors, Deej also addressed the companion app, factions, feedback, and class balance. "The next batch of enhancements, refinements, fixes, and tweaks," he says, will be released "very soon."

The Stream Team: Guild Wars 2's fire and ice

Fantasy, Video, PvE, Guild Wars 2, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, The Stream Team, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Guild Wars 2
Massively's Mike Foster has been having a grand old time with the recently revamped Guild Wars 2 starting experience and his brand-new Elementalist character, so he's keeping things rolling this week with more starter content and more centaur mass-murders. If you're curious about Guild Wars 2 or what's new with the updates, tonight's stream is the place to be.

Tune in at 7:00 p.m. EDT to catch the action or join the fun; Mike's always on the market for party members and will gladly accept any help you can offer.

Game: Guild Wars 2
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Friday, October 3rd, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Diablo III on sale this weekend

Fantasy, Promotions, Diablo III, Buy-to-Play

d3
If you're one of the few holdouts on this here planet Earth who hasn't picked up a copy of Diablo III or its expansion, Blizzard is prepared to make you one tempting offer. From now through Monday, October 6th, Diablo III and the Reaper of Souls expansion is 50% off through the Blizzard store. This puts the core game and the basic expansion at $20 apiece, with the digital deluxe edition of Reaper of Souls marked down to $40.

Diablo III recently patched up to 2.1.1 and announced a month ago that it has sold 20 million units.

Guild Wars 2 requests input on guild halls

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Housing, Buy-to-Play

ArenaNet Design Director Chris Whiteside has given a glimmer of hope to Guild Wars 2 fans hungry for more and better private spaces in the game. Earlier this week, he posed a broad question to the community about how it'd like to see guild halls implemented -- assuming, of course, they are ever to be implemented. ArenaNet has previously stated that it'd like to include guild halls but wasn't actively working on them. Whiteside isn't making any promises either, but it's likely a big hint all the same.

Personal housing was rumored prior to 2012's launch but has since been ostensibly supplanted by weakly upgradeable home instances. Guild Wars 2's elder sibling, Guild Wars, featured decadent instanced guild halls with both PvP and PvE accoutrements. Massively's Anatoli Ingram wrote about housing mechanics in the two games earlier this year.

The Secret World adds new mission for the Halloween season [Updated]

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), Previews, The Secret World, Post-Apocalyptic, Buy-to-Play

tsw
The Secret World's Halloween offerings are expanding this year with a new mission chain called The Broadcast on October 20th that sends players to investigate mysterious radio signals affecting the dead. Funcom said that it will also be offering "a new loot setup" for the holiday as well as the return of the Cat God and Spooky Stories missions.

Today's newsletter also announced a special double AP golden weekend starting on October 9th that will feature the encore of the golden guardian fight.

Producer Joel Bylos spent some time in the letter discussing Issue #10, of which he said that the team is working on a nightmare monster section for Tokyo, postponing the release of the new auxiliary weapon, and allowing players more freedom to customize their user interfaces.

[Update: Funcom has delayed the Halloween events but expects them to go live before Halloween itself.]

Bungie confirms Destiny DLC leaks, but DLC is not 'finished'

Sci-Fi, Bugs, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Destiny, Buy-to-Play

Destiny
Leaked info about Destiny's upcoming The Dark Below and House of Wolves DLC is accurate but incomplete, says Bungie Community Manager DeeJ on the official forums today.
"We noticed that you noticed that we already have plans for upcoming content packs in Destiny. We do! They have activity names (which may or may not change) and we have a really good idea what they're going to contain. They even have placeholder nodes in the Director, as you've already discovered. But neither of the Expansion Packs we've announced [is] finished. People at Bungie are hard at work to complete content for our first post launch pack, The Dark Below, as I type these words. It will be finished soon. It releases in December. Soon, we'll detail it out for you so you can see exactly what we've been working on."
In other Destiny news, Massively's sister site Joystiq offered a handy PSA this morning about unofficial website DestinyPublicEvents.com, which tracks in-game events on timers so you know exactly where the action is.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2's gender divide

Fantasy, Culture, Lore, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Buy-to-Play

I'm about to disappoint anyone who thought I might be okay with GamerGate.
When I sit down to write an installment of this column that is strongly critical of Guild Wars 2 -- a game I love, in case that was ever in doubt -- I try to follow a simple format in order to keep my criticism from turning into a venting session. That format is to establish that there is a problem, explain why it's a problem requiring a solution, and finally to offer any ideas or suggestions I think might be useful to that end. I do this because I want my articles to be helpful on some level to both ArenaNet and other fans, and while blowing off steam is excellent for the bilious humors, it's not so great for creating actual change.

Sometimes, though, the only suggestion I can offer is to please stop doing something because the fact that it's a problem is reason enough for it to require that solution. This is especially important when the issue isn't gameplay or monetization but rather something that personally affects me and the people I play with.

As a warning, several of the source links in this article lead to discussions of graphic and disturbing language and events.

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EGX London 2014: Guild Wars 2 promotes e-sports

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, PvP, News Items, PvE, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

GW2
ArenaNet was in London this past weekend promoting its Guild Wars 2 e-sports angle to show-goers, including some who might never have played or even heard of the MMO. A pair of videos serve to explain how Guild Wars 2 works; the first covers PvE from character creation to skills to armor, and the second, hosted by Competitive Community Manager Joshua "Grouch" Davis, covers all things PvP. We think having a Competitive Community Manager is a pretty serious declaration of your e-sports intent. Enjoy the vids below.

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Defiance prepares its Aftermath update

Sci-Fi, Patches, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, Post-Apocalyptic, Defiance, Buy-to-Play

Just once, it'd be nice to deal with the antemath, you know?
Now that it's a certainty that Defiance's tie-in television series will be getting another season, are you eager to jump back into shooting things in the Silicon Valley? The Aftermath update is coming, and it will bring with it plenty of new things to shoot. Seven new missions will be added to the game, bringing players from Silicon Valley to Paradise and back; a confrontation with the Pilgrims of the Guiding Light and an attempt to start a war between the Earth Republic and the Votanis Collective both await players taking on the update.

New enemies, new pursuits, and new contracts will help to round out the patch, giving players new things to fight along with new reasons to take part in the battle. There are also several planned quality-of-life improvements, including mission replay and improved co-op balancing for the season 2 maps. No release date has yet been announced, but it sounds as if players will have plenty to do when the aftermath hits.

The Stream Team: Throwing fire in Guild Wars 2

Fantasy, Video, PvE, Guild Wars 2, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, The Stream Team, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Guild Wars 2
Massively's Mike Foster continues his investigation of the changes made to Guild Wars 2's starting experience, dropping flaming dragon's teeth on every bandit that stands in his way. Tune in at 7:00 p.m. EDT to catch ArenaNet's streamlined introduction to its massive fantasy game, and feel free to ping Mike in-game (Elerit) if you'd like to tag along. When it comes to Guild Wars 2, more is always merrier.

Game: Guild Wars 2
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Thursday, September 25th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Chaos Theory: New Sidestories show The Secret World's innovative side

Horror, Real-Life, The Secret World, Chaos Theory, Buy-to-Play

When I talked about 10 of the most compelling missions in The Secret World last time, I purposefully left out the new Sidestories mission packs. One reason is that I've already spoken a bit about Further Analysis; the other is that the third and latest pack was slated to arrive soon and I intended to talk about all of them together. As it turns out, it actually released the same day that Chaos Theory did! Since then, I've had the chance to dive in and experience some of those missions. As usual, I was not disappointed. Besides providing the expected interesting new characters and great stories, The Last Pagan highlighted something else: TSW continues to be innovative!

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