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Diablo III's 2.0.4 patch makes resplendent treasure feel more resplendent

Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Crafting, Diablo III, Buy-to-Play

D3 2.0.4 logo
Blizzard has patched Diablo III to version 2.0.4 in the Americas. There are a decent number of class tweaks in the patch as well as an adjustment to the drop of unique legendary crafting materials. They've been "significantly increased," if you're wondering.

There are a few itemization changes, too, including an adjustment to to treasure drops from resplendent chests. "The treasure from Resplendent Chests has been improved to feel more resplendent," Blizzard says.

ANet answers community questions on GW2 Feature Pack livestream

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

GW2 livestream
If you've got questions about Guild Wars 2's April Feature Pack, ArenaNet has answers. In fact, it's already published a few of them via a livestream that happened yesterday and is now archived on YouTube for your viewing pleasure.

Associate game director John Corpening, gameplay programmer Ryan Diederich, and UI designer Kate Welch are your hosts, and they spend about 17 minutes powering through community-generated queries collected from forums and social media.

See for yourself after the break!

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The Secret World's Joel Bylos takes on mankinigate

Horror, Business Models, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, The Secret World, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

The Secret World's Lead Content Designer Joel Bylos has just posted an explanation for last week's mankinigate episode. As we reported on April 4th, a mankini outfit for male characters was added to the game's cash shop as part of the April Fools' Day patch but was later removed from that shop and from those who had purchased it, with no reason given. Today, Bylos told forumgoers that the mankini wearables were always intended to be a limited-availability April Fools joke and that players were meant to keep them. But...
Funcom management feels strongly that the Mankini outfit goes against what The Secret World intellectual property (IP) is all about and they did not want this item to stay in the game permanently. We all agree on the fact that The Secret World should be the best urban contemporary horror MMO out there, and they want to make sure that everything we bring into the game stays true to the setting and the atmosphere we have created – however it is safe to say that there is sometimes disagreement on nuance. For that reason, Management made the decision to pull it from the game entirely.
While he disagrees with purging the gear from those who bought it, he stresses that it was "pulled due to concerns over the integrity of the IP, not because of the gender or skimpiness of the outfit." The female wetsuit has also been removed from the store but will remain wearable by those who purchased it.

[With thanks to tipster Snurx! We've included Bylos' entire post after the cut.]

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Customization and playing together in Guild Wars 2's feature pack

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

Plush bobblegriffon!
As of last week, ArenaNet has revealed all of the major features Guild Wars 2 players can expect to see in April 15th's highly anticipated feature pack. When I say "highly anticipated," I mean that a large part of the playerbase is collectively vibrating and may soon gain enough momentum to will April 15th into arriving immediately. If they don't manage it, at least we've only got a week to wait.

Until then, we've got plenty of GW2 discussion to tide us over. Most of the feature pack announcements have been well-received, and there's a lot to look forward to, but I still have a few minor nits to pick. Blame it on nits being easier to find when everyone's head is 200% bigger.

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The Secret World's Sidestories: Further Analysis is now live

Fantasy, Horror, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, The Secret World, Buy-to-Play

TSW Sidestories: Further Analysis
Funcom's latest Secret World DLC is now available for purchase. Sidestories: Further Analysis marks a departure from the regular issue-based release structure and features four new investigation missions designed to test your puzzle-solving skills and deliver "four fresh stories spread throughout the game world."

The DLC is available in the game's item store. It costs 960 Funcom points if you have a F2P account, with discounted rates applying to subscribers and lifetime members.

Guild Wars 2 encourages patch mystery and player speculation

Fantasy, Interviews, Patches, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

Death to Guild Wars 2 patch notes? ArenaNet might not be going that far, but it may be getting a lot more secretive about them in the coming months.

In an interview on IGN today, Lead Developer Colin Johanson said that the team learned a lot from the first season of GW2's living world, especially how much the players loved to speculate and discover patch additions organically. He said that the team observed players becoming more engaged when ArenaNet dropped in content that wasn't spelled out in the patch notes.

Johanson said this trend will continue: "You don't know what's going to happen and you don't know what you're going to find. Every week you want to search every corner of the world because the next hint for the living world could be hidden anywhere."

Johanson talked about the great changes to the world, especially in regard to the team nuking the city of Lion's Arch. He mentioned a player who predicted that the event would occur back in January: "It was really interesting for us to see that, and to be able to point back at him and say, 'Hey man, you nailed it!' and to be able to call that out was really cool."

The Nexus Telegraph: Is WildStar a World of Warcraft clone?

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

This isn't a metaphor.  Metaphors are subtle.

That was quick, so we can all -- oh, wait, no, I need to write more. Also saying we can all go home is pointless; most of you are reading this from home. All right, we'll start over. This is one of those things that gets trotted out every time a new game comes along, and in WildStar's case it comes out twice as regularly, since it's the first game in history to use colorful and stylized graphics other than World of Warcraft, except that it isn't.

It's kind of ridiculous, and it's a bit of a pet peeve. As someone who has played World of Warcraft extensively, I find the list of similarities between the two pretty shallow, and it comes across more as a way of dismissing the game without bothering to learn about it. So let's talk about where WildStar does take its cues from Blizzard's game, where they differ, and why saying it's just a clone is absurd.

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Funcom yanks mankini costume from The Secret World

Horror, Sci-Fi, The Secret World, Humor, Buy-to-Play

Players who logged in this week to The Secret World might have noticed that there was a new male costume option in the game store: a neon green mankini that covered very, very little. However, those who purchased said mankini discovered the costume gone today, as Funcom pulled the April Fools' Day outfits from characters' dressing rooms, refunded the points spent on them, and gave each previous owner a free mystery box.

While there was no explanation as to why the outfit was removed, Funcom apologized for the handling of the joke on the forums: "You may or may not be aware, but the mankini was removed. Anyone that purchased the item has been refunded points and has received a mystery box for the inconvenience. However, if you had purchased points in order to buy the mankini, you can contact customer service for a refund of those points. We're terribly sorry for the trouble, folks. Our CS staff will be happy to help."

Guild Wars 2 offers 50% off sale on digital editions

Fantasy, Business Models, Events (Real-World), News Items, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

Guild Wars 2 is ramping up for its feature-pack patch due out in less than two weeks with what ArenaNet is calling an "unprecedented" worldwide sale. From today until April 13th, the subscription-free, buy-to-play game is 50% off its usual price. According to the studio,
Players can get access to one of the most popular MMO games of all time at the unprecedented discount of 50 percent off, and get all of the exciting content ArenaNet has planned for 2014 and beyond without ever paying a subscription fee. The offer applies only to the Digital Heroic Edition, now available for $24.99 (€ 19.99 / £ 17.49), and the Digital Deluxe Edition, now available for $34.99 (€ 29.99 / £ 24.99), when purchased through the official Guild Wars 2 online store from April 3 at 12pm Pacific Time through April 13 at 11:59pm Pacific Time.
If you've been on the fence about the game, it's a good time to pick it up... if you aren't, you know, playing The Elder Scrolls Online this weekend.

[Source: ArenaNet press release]

How Guild Wars 2 megaservers affect guilds, WvW, events, and world bosses

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

Yesterday, ArenaNet announced that it will soon begin to roll out megaserver technology for Guild Wars 2 in order to eliminate overflow and underpopulated servers. Today, it has delivered a pair of blog posts intended to clarify those plans.

The first post tackles guilds and WvW. ArenaNet aims to unify guild chapters split across home-worlds so that all members contribute to and benefit from the same version of the guild. But the studio does note that WvW won't be negatively affected by megaservers and will continue to be based on competition between worlds.

The second and more meaty entry focuses on world bosses and events. The API governing boss timers on individual worlds will be replaced by a more consistent schedule such that world boss events will start at the same time across the entire game. There's even a 24-hour proposed schedule ready to go.

The Secret World's first mission pack announced for next week

Horror, Real-Life, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, The Secret World, Dev Diaries, Buy-to-Play

Those thirsting for new content in The Secret World are getting a little something to help tide them over until Tokyo is opened. In his latest Game Director Letter, Joel Bylos announced the game's first ever mission pack. Available in the item store next week, Sidestories: Further Analysis contains four new investigation missions spanning the TSW map and a new undisclosed feature. These missions will delve players deeper into the backstories and lives of various groups and characters like Dr. Aldini and the Draculesti.

Bylos also gives more details on the AEGIS system, explaining that these items will be equipped in new gear slots and how the core of the system, controllers, come in three distinct types. On top of that, he noted that a few PvP fixes in patch 1.9 change the way relics are handled in El Dorado. You can catch all the details of these changes in the March letter.

Diablo III's expansion moves 2.7 million first week copies

Expansions, MMO Industry, News Items, Diablo III, Buy-to-Play

Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls logo
Reaper of Souls is popular, but is it as popular as Blizzard would like? Diablo III's expansion pack moved 2.7 million copies combined in retail and digital markets, which is well short of the 6.3 million units sold at DIII's 2012 original release.

The expansion adds a new story act, a new class, a new game mode, and an increased level cap.

Defiance throws an extended anniversary celebration

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), MMOFPS, Defiance, Anniversaries, Buy-to-Play

Today is Defiance's one-year anniversary and Trion is pulling out all of the stops to celebrate... twice.

Defiance will host a global boost to XP gain, skill gain, and loot drops from Wednesday, April 2nd, at 3:00 p.m. EST through Thursday, April 3rd, at the same time. The studio acknowledged that some people can't play during the week, so this global boost will be re-activated from Friday, April 4th, at 3:00 p.m. EST and continue through Monday, April 7th, at the same time.

ArenaNet rolls out the Megaserver for Guild Wars 2

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Patches, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

As part of what ArenaNet calls "just the beginning of our new approach to enhancing the in-game social environment," the Guild Wars 2 developer is announcing a new Megaserver technology that will allow similar players to play together more easily and more frequently.

Launching with the April 2014 Feature Pack on April 15th, the Megaserver System will introduce a new metric that will restructure the way servers will work. According to the studio, this system will place players on servers that have more of your friends and guildmates, and more players who speak the same language as you. It hopes to eliminate overflow servers and dead shards.

The Megaserver System will start out as a test on the level 1-15 maps, main cities, and the PvP lobby. The team hopes to roll the technology out to the entire game by the end of the year, if all goes well.

Elite newsletter talks alpha progress, to-scale celestial bodies, and more

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

Elite: Dangerous Coriolis station
Frontier has released Issue #18 of its Elite: Dangerous newsletter. It's a good 'un, too, especially if you like development progress updates, videos, and answers to interesting questions.

There are bits about the state of the game's 3.0 alpha client, a docking tutorial video, and a look at the redesign of the iconic Coriolis space station from the original Elite title. One of the more interesting fan questions relates to the size of celestial bodies. "Celestial bodies and the distances between them will be correctly scaled wherever possible [and] real astronomical data is being used," Frontier says. "To give you an idea we're currently at 116,000 stars from various catalogues and [that] includes pulsars and black holes as well as main sequence stars. Exo-planets are the other big import which we're about to start working on."

We've embedded the alpha progress video after the cut.

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