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Dev Diaries

Marvel Heroes plans for a more awesome team-up system

Super-hero, Previews, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, Dev Diaries

marvel heroes
While it's all groovy to have a sidekick to run around with your superhero in Marvel Heroes, apparently the team and the community felt as though the team-up system needed more work. That's why Gazillion has a major revamp of team-ups planned for Q1 2015.

According to a new dev diary on the subject, the revamp will cover a range of improvements to the system. Team-up characters will see more customization, expanded power trees, a level cap of 60, increased survivability, synergy bonuses, and new powers on top of improvements to old powers. Players will also gain more control over what their team-up companions do on the battlefield.

In addition to the developer diary, there's also a forum FAQ to deliver even more information on the planned revamp.

PAX South 2015: SWTOR reveals its plans for this year

Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), PvP, PvE, Free-to-Play, Races, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dev Diaries, MMORPG

Pax South 2015: SWTOR reveals its plan for the year
When Eric Musco, the Star Wars: The Old Republic community manager, took the stage at the Community cantina last night at PAX South, he revealed that in 2015 the team wants to do something a bit different with this and future cantina crawl events. In the past, it has been policy not to reveal anything at the cantinas; they were intended to be social events where players could get some face-time with the developers of the game that they both enjoyed. However, going forward, the community and development teams have decided that each cantina will reveal that had not been mentioned before.

The reveal at this weekend's cantina came in the form of the yet-to-be-published producer's letter by Bruce Maclean. The completely made-up story is that it was stolen from his computer while he wasn't looking and printed out to share with us at the cantina.

After the break, you'll find a copy of that letter as it was dictated to cantina goers. The caveat, of course, is that this is not the final version of the letter that will appear on the official site in two weeks, so everything is subject to change.

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Marvel Heroes hands out free cows and plans team-up revamp

Super-hero, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, Humor, Dev Diaries

marvel heroes
The Cow King is on the move in Marvel Heroes, and a call is going out for all supers to join the most ridiculous battle in the universe. During the weekend Cowtastrophe event, players will get an 40% XP bonus and a portal to the game's bovine levels, where they can slaughter beef for better loot. Marvel Heroes is even giving out a free mini-cow pet for any players who log in on Saturday.

In other Marvel Heroes news, one of the next big projects for Gazillion is a revamp of the team-up system. While all of the details of this revamp are not clear as of yet, we do know that the revamp will allow players to customize team-up's power pools much like main characters.

Firefall is prepping an all-new crafting system

Sci-Fi, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Dev Diaries, Crafting, Firefall

firefall
Good news for those disillusioned with the state of crafting in Firefall: Red 5 is preparing an "all-new crafting system" to replace the current setup. New crafting dev Gortok spoke a little to this on the forums over the past month, saying that as a person who's designed four such systems for MMOs, he finds Firefall's crafting both pointless and grindy.

Fortunately, Gortok has ideas to make it all much, much better: "It will take some time, and my plan is to actually rip out the existing recipes and research, replace the entire thing from scratch, and implement an entirely new system for the actual act of crafting. There are a lot of great things that we lost, and I want to bring some of those feelings back without the complication and confusion"

Some of the changes include restructuring research, consolidating recipes, crafting in batches, and making thumping "more desirable" again.

[Thanks to Eri for the tip!]

Das Tal devs: 'We don't even own a gauntlet'

Fantasy, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Dev Diaries, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, Sandbox

Das Tal
Yesterday, we posted about an article penned by Das Tal Head of Communications David Wells in which he threw down the proverbial gauntlet, as we put it, at ArcheAge's feet; he laid out many of ArcheAge's faults and explained how Das Tal, an admittedly indie sandbox, could improve on the format and avoid some of ArcheAge's infamous mistakes. This prompted a fiery debate, particularly among ArcheAge's fans and frenemies, over sandbox design in the indie and AAA space.

Das Tal Managing Director Alexander Zacherl hopes to expound on that treatise with a letter to players of his own; he emphasizes that Fairytale Distillery's intent was not to provoke a duel with ArcheAge but to improve the studio's corner of the genre. We've agreed to publish that letter in full today. Read on!

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Das Tal boasts that it will 'do things better' than ArcheAge

Betas, Fantasy, PvP, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, ArcheAge

das tal
Consider the gauntlet thrown down from one sandbox to another. Das Tal Head of Communications David Wells posted a new essay today in which he says that his title will best ArcheAge: "Unfortunately I, like a lot of others, have come to the conclusion that ArcheAge is probably one of the worst MMOs to come out recently -- but the reasons why are not straight forward. I am going to go over the good and bad, as well as shamelessly point out how our game will do things better."

Wells says that ArcheAge stumbled with a messy housing system, bad monetization, cultural differences, hacking, heavy grind, lackluster PvE, no solid PvP, shaky server tech, and a lack of good communication by Trion. He goes on to provide a counterpoint for each these items, explaining how Das Tal will succeed where ArcheAge has failed.

Or, if you're looking for a TL;DR version, "How we do it better: To put it simply, we give a s**t."

Hungry? Elder Scrolls Online is revamping provisioning

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Dev Diaries, Crafting, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ESO
When The Elder Scrolls Online's Update 6 launches later this month, characters with the provisioning skill should go make us a sammich. Just kidding. But if you do decide to make us a sammich, you'll find the process much more streamlined and effective, as ZeniMax is plotting a major overhaul of the profession.

In a dev blog posted last night, the studio explained that it will be reducing the overall number of ingredients in the game, adding new recipes, updating the cooking UI, and giving food additives some oomph. Roleplayers will be happy to learn that lootable food-related objects will soon yield appropriate ingredients (apples from apple baskets, for example), and food buffs will make a bit more sense, like "meat dishes [that] increase your health and fruit dishes [that] increase your magicka."

If you're not actually a cook yourself, all you really need to know is that you should start skinning fish, cows, and chickens for meat and that drink buffs won't suck anymore. Hooray!

TUG is pushing out multiplayer updates

Betas, Fantasy, Patches, Dev Diaries, Sandbox

tug
The multiplayer lifestyle will be all the rage in TUG in the coming weeks, as the devs have said that they're preparing to push updates out to get more people playing together. Survival and creative modes will both be getting multiplayer love, although the team has asked for players to help spot and report bugs during this testing cycle.

The team did warn that these builds will start small: "Multiplayer in this iteration is still fairly early, so don't expect crazy furry parties just yet. With more time and more tech, the experience and player count will improve. As to what that count is, we still cannot say."

Pantheon dev roundtable promises a public Vision

Betas, Fantasy, Dev Diaries, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen

pantheon
You know how the other day we reported on how Pantheon's maiden podcast was teasing an upcoming developer roundtable? Well, that roundtable has arrived indeed, and you can listen to the full hour-and-a-half discussion with the team after the break.

One of the topics was over the team's "foundational principles," which players say they were promised over a year ago. Brad McQuaid apologized for not having posted those tenets yet and said that they would be forthcoming on the website before too long. "The Vision of Pantheon as a whole has not changed," he assured listeners.

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EVE Evolved: Rebuilding EVE's corporation tools

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Guilds, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription

EVE Evolved title image
The MMO genre is defined by the online interactions of thousands of players, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the single-shard sandbox of EVE Online. While it's possible to play EVE solo, it's the players who make most of the game's meaningful content, and it's only in your emergent interactions with other players that I think the game truly comes to life. Some time ago, I wrote about the importance of CCP supporting EVE's power players, the corporation owners, fleet commanders, and event organisers who give the rest of us something fun to do. Now it looks like CCP is starting to deliver that support, with developers currently looking at updating EVE's archaic corp management tools.

CCP Punkturis recently asked corporation owners for a list of the most annoying "little things" they'd like to see fixed with the corporation management interface and was instead flooded with requests for big features and complete overhauls. Developers later confirmed on The o7 Show that at least one highly requested big feature is definitely on its way: CEOs will soon be able to switch off friendly-fire between corp members. The threat of corporate infiltrators attacking corp members has been a massive barrier preventing corps from recruiting new players, so its removal is good news for everyone (except spies). So now that corporation management is finally back on the drawing board, what other features do corp owners need?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at a few ideas for corporation tools and features that would make EVE a better place for everyone.

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Trove vows to become 'the ultimate sandvox'

Betas, Fantasy, Classes, Economy, Previews, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Trove

trove
Trove Game Director Andrew Krausnick isn't above making grand statements, saying in his 2015 preview letter that he wants the title to become the ultimate sandvox. "Modest, right?" he begins. "Simply put, if there's something fun to do with voxels in an MMO adventure setting, we're going to be there and we're going to be the best."

With that out of the way, Krausnick goes on to outline some of the big goals for the coming year. He said that the team is working to add gliding, sky islands, rune crafting, water islands, fishing, swimming, more block types, more mechanics, and definitely more classes.

Another big focus Krausnick mentions is to expand the economy: "We also think it should be easy and rewarding for everyone to trade and participate in the economy, so we'll be creating a system this year to make the trade channel simply a small part of a larger economic system!"

He finished his letter by saying that the open beta test will be ending "sooner rather than later," indicating an early 2015 launch.

Echo of Soul hopes to make a strong Western impression

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries

echo of soul
What does it take to make a new MMO that can gain traction in this day and age? In a new video dev diary, the Echo of Soul team says that it's spent over four years and 110 developers to pursue a goal of "uniting MMORPGs and mobile games" while making it appealing for both an Eastern and a Western audience.

The video goes on to talk up Echo of Soul's Asian launch; it claims the game is "constantly ranked among the top 10 Korean games" since then. Aeria Games Chief Manager Nara Kang concurred that the reception has been strong: "Players feel that EoS is the best MMORPG in a very long time."

You can watch the full dev diary after the break!

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RIFT plans improvements to dimensions and minions

Fantasy, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Dev Diaries, Housing

Two of RIFT's more popular systems, dimensions and minions, will be getting some major dev love when Patch 3.1 arrives.

In a new dev diary that went out yesterday, the team lays out a list of improvements for these systems. Dimensions will be getting a free-fly camera to allow for even more building precision, permissions options for visitors, ban lists, and -- prepare for this to blow your mind -- a bigger +1 button.

As for minions, players will have even more options in how they deploy these hard-working followers. The team is adding minion stamina potions, the ability to shuffle adventures, and the option to link to minions in the chat window.

Age of Conan has its eye on achievements, crafting for 2015

Fantasy, Age of Conan, Previews, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries

aoc
Is Hyboria one of your planned destinations for 2015? If so, then you're in luck, as Joel Bylos has a taste of what's in store for Age of Conan this year in a new game director letter.

The two big initiatives for the year revolve around the brand-new achievement and revamped crafting systems. The first iteration of achievements are coming with update 4.5 in a few weeks. These will include achievements for completing speed challenges for dungeons. Following that, players will get to dive into a richer crafting experience.

Bylos hinted at a few other highlights for 2015, including the return of the world boss system and PvP festivals. "We are still nailing down our production schedule for the year," he wrote. "You can expect to hear more about the status of Palace of Cetriss and The Slithering Chaos in an upcoming letter."

The Secret World's Bylos on 2015, Tokyo, and more

Fantasy, Horror, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, The Secret World, Dev Diaries

The Secret World game director Joel Bylos has penned an end-of-the-year/beginning-of-the-year producer's letter. The first half of his post serves as a tidy summary of TSW's content releases in 2014, while the second half focuses on how Funcom will complete the Tokyo storyline, improve the new player experience, and release new multiplayer content over the course of 2015.

"There is a significant backlog of planned Tokyo content that we need to evaluate," Bylos explains. "We have material for a few more side stories as well as a new scenario map, auxiliary weapon, and lair content."

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