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Lead producer pens requiem for Molten Games

Culture, MMO Industry, News Items

Blunderbuss pitch video
Former Molten Games lead producer Oksana Kubushyna has penned a lengthy requiem for the recently closed studio on her personal blog. Molten was working on a title called Blunderbuss when it unexpectedly lost its funding last month.

The post features a series of snapshots and videos detailing what it was like to work at the San Diego studio on a daily basis, and Kubushyna also says that the game itself was pretty far along. "It was a complete vertical slice with an installer, patcher, back-end platform (multiplayer, basic matchmaker, persistence, monitoring, telemetry), back-end administration tools, automated deployments, automated test framework, gameplay systems, UI, and of course content -- multiple champions and a beautiful map," she writes.

You can view the Blunderbuss cinematic demo after the cut.

[Thanks Paul!]

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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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One Shots: Up close and very personal

Screenshots, Culture, Guild Wars 2, One Shots, Champions Online, RIFT, EverQuest Next, Miscellaneous

I am pleased as punch today because several of you took me up on the screenshot challenge to get an "up close and personal" picture of an enemy. Without stealth or a sniper scope, this is a very tricky proposition, but even so, three of you came out with the photographic proof.

First up is reader Wolfger, who escaped by the skin of his teeth in Guild Wars 2. "Here's a shot of Brewer Foster getting up in the face of one of the game's favorite loot piñatas, the champion boar in Queensdale. It catches the beast reeling from a blast as our hero is facing it down with a... slingshot?"

Mmm... anyone want a ham dinner? Either way, scoot closer to your monitor and prepare to have your eyeballs blown from the awesome images to come in this week's edition of One Shots!

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The Daily Grind: How have you gotten outside of your gaming comfort zone lately?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

I think that one of the secrets to avoiding the "routine rut" as you age is to constantly be challenging yourself to try new things and get outside of the comfortable bubble you build for yourself. As a nester who likes his routine, this is a difficult thing for me to do but I try to do it nevertheless. In 2014, I made it one of my resolutions to get outside of my comfort zone as a gamer and continually try new things instead of going down the same-old paths as I always do.

So I'm trying new classes. I'm playing ugly characters. I am giving crafting, PvP, and even roleplaying a go. I'm diving headfirst into sandboxes and plucking away at older titles that have eluded my attention for years. Sometimes this is very frustrating and reminds me of why I like what I do, but once in a while I make a pleasant discovery and grow a bit more as a person and as a gamer.

So how have you gotten outside of your gaming comfort zone lately? What have you discovered?

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!

There are 5.0952187*10^58 possible character variations in Elder Scrolls Online

Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

Big ESO numbers
On the eve of The Elder Scrolls Online's "official" launch, Bethesda has released an infographic with all kinds of big numbers relating to its new fantasy MMO opus. For example, did you know that you would need to kill 119,050 mud crabs to reach level 50?

Or how about the fact that there are 2,235 books filled with 480,000 words in the game? There are over 40 million weapon variations too, as well as some huge number of possible character variations that my math-averse mind can't even read, let alone comprehend.

Click past the cut for the full infographic.

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The Daily Grind: What was your favorite April Fools' Day prank?

Culture, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Opinion, The Daily Grind, Humor, Miscellaneous

You might not have noticed, but yesterday was April Fools' Day, and in the MMO industry that means a lot of studios blowing off steam by being abnormally silly and trying to trick players with weird promises. Some people like the goofs, some don't, but I'm willing to bet that there was at least one that got your nod of approval.

So what was your favorite April Fools this year? Did you get genuinely tricked by anything or find yourself laughing in delight at the cleverness of developers?

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!

Roberts praises Oculus-Facebook deal, says Star Citizen will remain independent

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

Star Citizen dying star art
Star Citizen topped $41 million in crowdfunding yesterday, and Cloud Imperium boss Chris Roberts penned a new Letter from the Chairman as a result. The latest stretch goal unlocked the procedural generation R&D team, but perhaps more notably it served as an opportunity for Roberts to weigh in on the Oculus-Facebook debate and reassure Star Citizen fans of the game's independence.

Roberts explained how Facebook's investment will help defer the obscene manufacturing and supply chain costs involved in bringing new hardware to the mass market. He also pointed out that Star Citizen features none of those costs, so there's no desire to sell to a larger firm.

"We don't need to go to anyone with deep pockets to make our dream a reality," Roberts wrote. "Luckily our ships are digital so we have hardly any cost of goods, just the cost of developing the universe of Star Citizen and running servers that Star Citizen's universe will be simulated on. Thanks to the generosity of the Star Citizen community we have these two things covered."

EVE Evolved: Mining is broken, but it can be fixed

Sci-Fi, Culture, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved: Mining is broken, but it can be fixed
Mining has a reputation for being the most boring activity in EVE Online, but it's always filled a niche role as a low-effort way to make ISK and play with friends casually. When there's no PvP going on and you can't give your full attention to smashing NPCs in missions or anomalies, mining fills that downtime with something more lucrative and social than spinning your ship in a station. The problem is that mining has slowly become obsolete over the years; alternative mineral sources now supply much of the market's needs, and the risk of flying a defenseless barge just isn't worth the mediocre payout.

It's currently more efficient for an individual to buy minerals with ISK made via some other form of PvE, such as level 4 missions or incursions. And on the macroscopic level, such huge quantities of minerals hit the market from alternative sources such as reprocessing loot that the economy could potentially function with no miners at all. CCP has tried to make mining more appealing over the years with buffs and new ships, and the devs recently announced plans to nerf mineral compression as part of a campaign to make mining worthwhile, but I think it'll take a lot more than ISK to get people mining again.

In this week's EVE Evolved, I look at how mining and reprocessing are at odds and suggest some ideas for new mining features that could revitalise this long forgotten profession.

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One Shots: The kiddie pool

Screenshots, Guild Wars, Culture, One Shots, The Secret World, Miscellaneous, WildStar

What does an insane kinetic interstellar critter do on his or her day off? Why, soak in an outdoor pool and try not to think about why the water suddenly got warmer, of course!

Reader Crazyrabbit63 (probably not his real name) sent in this WildStar picture to kickstart our fun this week: "This is my Chua, BuzzCracker, sitting in his kiddie pool and relaxing after a long day of hunting Exiles across Nexus. After a few minutes in the water, BuzzCracker realized he had too many Spicy Jabbits for lunch!"

If diminutive pools aren't your thing, we've got the excitement of both Hell and singing mushrooms after the break!

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The Daily Grind: Do you separate your in-game and out-of-game behavior?

EVE Online, Culture, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Sandbox

EVE Online Ravens
CCP recently released an official statement condemning out-of-EVE harassment. In that same statement, though, the company said that in-game bad behavior is not only acceptable but essential to its version of a sandbox.

The separation between player and player character is a common sentiment among MMO fans, of course, whether you're a griefer, a raider, or a roleplayer. What say you, Massively readers? Do you try to separate your in-game and out-of-game behavior, or are you the sum of your actions in both virtual worlds and meatspace?

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!

Free for All: Will there ever be another setting like Ryzom's Atys?

Sci-Fi, Screenshots, Culture, Game Mechanics, Ryzom, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Races, Casual, Free for All, Post-Apocalyptic, Sandbox

Ryzom map
Ah, Ryzom. To this day it remains one of my favorite MMORPGs for several reasons. I was reminded just how much I still enjoy the game when I logged in to witness a storm rolling through the land, lightning sizzling from the sky, rain falling straight down on my character's head. The planet that Ryzom players find themselves on is called Atys, and it's no ordinary planet. In fact, it's not a planet at all. Instead, it's a giant rootball that floats in space.

Yes, a rootball.

I'm no scientist, but I'm pretty sure that a massive rootball is an impossible thing, but it doesn't matter. The game's original designers were French, and if you follow French MMOs, you know they always seem to come up with something completely unique. In this case, Atys is literally made up of a wad of giant roots and bark. I have to wonder: Why aren't there more unique settings like Atys in gaming today?

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The Daily Grind: Do you hate model recycling?

Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

I have one minor but persistent pet peeve across all of the MMOs that I've played, which is that it really bugs me to see armor and weapon models recycled over and over again. Yes, I know it's a silly complaint because it's just not realistic to expect artists to come up with an endless supply of unique-looking gear, but every time I get a drop with better stats that either looks identical to something I own or something I used to have, I give a deep inward sigh.

I guess there are degrees of model recycling, depending on how many variants there are in the game, but I always wish there would be more. Do you hate model recycling, are you indifferent to it, or do you think I'm being a jerk to the art team by just mentioning this? Is the solution to crowdsource model art to the community, as is being done in some MMOs?

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!

CCP: Real-life harassment 'morally reprehensible,' in-game villainy integral to EVE

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Sandbox

EVE Online
EVE Online developer CCP has released an official statement regarding real-life harassment in the wake of the sandbox title's latest brouhaha.

CCP Falcon says that the company, in collaboration with the player-powered Council of Stellar Management, "have agreed and would like to state in the strongest possible terms and in accordance with our existing Terms of Service and End User License Agreement, that real life harassment is morally reprehensible, and verifiable examples of such behavior will be met with disciplinary action against game accounts in accordance with our Terms of Service."

The forum post also states that "the freedom to scam and commit piracy, espionage, and extortion are all fundamental to the EVE Online experience, and CCP will never change that."

[Thanks Pierre!]

The Think Tank: How MMO players prepare for launch

Culture, Events (Real-World), Launches, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

Launches are a big deal to MMO players. Diablo III and SMITE both released this week, Landmark made a break for closed beta, and The Elder Scrolls Online, the first major MMORPG of the year, will become a reality next week. So how do you prepare for these launches in an era of digital downloads? That's exactly what this week's Think Tank asks the Massively team members, who cleverly pretended that they don't call in sick from Massively itself on launch days. Ahem.

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Neverwinter releases post-Shadowmantle infographic

Fantasy, Culture, News Items, Free-to-Play, Neverwinter

There are a lot of numbers.  Should probably go tell somebody.
So how is Neverwinter doing these days? The game's been a little quiet since the launch of Shadowmantle. But it looks as if it's doing fairly well, judging by a brand-new infographic, which is embedded just past the cut. More than 2 million new characters have been created since the launch of Shadowmantle, with Hunter Rangers turning up as the most popular new character and Devoted Clerics as the least.

Beyond that, over 3 million characters have died in PvP matches and a combined total of 405 years' worth of experience has been gained. If you can't get enough of numbers about games, go ahead and jump past the cut to see exactly how the game has been doing since its last update. On a numerical level, it seems pretty solid.

[Source: Perfect World Entertainment press release]

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