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Dev Diaries

STO Producer's letter hints at anniversary celebration and story to come in 2015

Sci-Fi, News Items, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Anniversaries

Star Trek Online's first producer's letter of the new year hailed 2014 as a fantastic year and suggested that 2015 may be even better. After recounting many of the additions to the game over the past 12 months and summing up the story arc thus far, Stephen D'Angelo stated that the past year was just setting the stage for what's to come! The continuation of this arc includes some challenges that even the grand alliance may not be able to handle. The next step in the story, along with the first of the new captain and bridge officer specializations, will release with the anniversary update in that's just over three weeks away.

Just what kind of events and celebrations can players expect for this fifth anniversary? D'Angelo didn't share, but he did say that the details on that -- as well as the future content -- will be forthcoming piece by piece in dev blogs starting in the next few days.

DDO looking at Warlock class, level cap bump in 2015

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Classes, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Dev Diaries

'Tis the season for Turbine producer letters and since we've already seen LotRO's, how about one for Dungeons and Dragons Online?

Executive producer Robert "Severlin" Ciccolini does the honors, and he mentions the game's "next big update" which will include a large dungeon called the Temple of Elemental Evil. There's also a bit about an upcoming new class, which Ciccolini says could be a Warlock. New storylines and new festivals are coming in 2015, too, as is a level cap bump to 30.

Star Trek Online revamps bridge officers

Sci-Fi, Patches, Previews, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries

sto
Your loyal Star Trek Online crew deserves some recognition for its tireless work at raking you in XP, don't you think? Well, even if you don't agree, Cryptic is planning to give some major love to bridge officers in an upcoming patch.

The team posted a dev diary today outlining the revamp to players' faithful companions: "From a high-level standpoint, the updated bridge officer training system is focused on allowing players to invest in their bridge officers by training them in any of their class and specialization abilities, which can then be easily swapped in and out on the fly."

These changes will allow for a more flexible and customizable crew that can cross-train in intelligence and other potential specializations. The dev diary goes on to detail how officers will be trained going forward and what benefits players will get from these buffed-up buddies.

PlanetSide 2's PS4 beta arrives on January 20th

Betas, Sci-Fi, Business Models, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Dev Diaries, PlanetSide 2, Sandbox

Planetside2
A post on the official PlayStation blog today confirms that PlanetSide 2's PlayStation 4 beta will begin on January 20th.

"We'll be using this beta period to test our servers, performance, and various other aspects of the game, and we also want you to share constructive feedback on PlanetSide 2," says SOE Executive Producer Clint Worley. "How does the game look and feel? Is navigating through the menus intuitive and utilizing DualShock 4 in the best way? All players in the Closed Beta will have access to our special Beta forums, which will be the primary location for development interaction and feedback. We want the massive battles to make your heart pound and adrenaline pump, so share your thoughts with us."

Beta signups for the PS4 edition of the game have been live since early December. PlanetSide 2 has lately made news for its frank discussions about monetization; SOE president John Smedley admitted that "PlanetSide 2 only recently has turned profitable on an operating basis."

City of Titans shows off socketed model

Betas, Super-hero, Screenshots, Dev Diaries, Miscellaneous

city of titans
There's a long way to go before City of Titans reaches the superheroic heights of its spiritual forebears, but the team is eager nonetheless to show that progress is being made. That's why it's putting on a 12 Days of Devmas series, kicking off with the revelation of the fully socketed body model that the team is using for testing purposes.

"Odo's an artist's model we're using while we continue to develop the base body mesh," the team posted. "He lets us continue work on the rest of the game while we develop the sliders and other parts that make the characters super. Of course, you'll notice he still has every joint that the final character will have. Fingers and all. He's the digital version of a wooden artist's mannequin, with all the flexibility of our real model."

In successive posts of the series, Odo is shown with various weapons including a slide rule and keytar.

[Thanks to Bryan for the tip!]

Shroud of the Avatar lays out plans for early 2015

Betas, Fantasy, Dev Diaries, Music, Shroud of the Avatar, Buy-to-Play

shroud of the avatar
If stated plans are any indication, Shroud of the Avatar is in for a busy first few months of the new year. In a recent newsletter, the team recapped the "flexible" schedule for the game's early 2015 updates.

January's Release 14 will expand zone connections, add in the Shardfall biome, begin testing on a new version of Unity, and add things like player banks, an encumbrance system, and in-game pledge rewards. February's Release 15 has its eye on several new mainland areas including the Necropolis, more magic spells, housing fees, dyeable outfits, teachable emotes, and crafting skills. Finally, March's Release 16 is going to add Steam achievements, a cover system in combat, and localization.

The team also released one of the backer rewards, a cover version of the classic Ultima Stones theme by the band The Space Bards, and you can listen to it after the break!

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Latest EVE dev blog charts module rebalancing

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox

EVE's forthcoming Proteus release will feature the second round of rebalancing work that CCP has termed Module Tiericide. Today's dev blog explains some of the changes courtesy of a sizable chart that shows stats like CPU usage, optimal range, powergrid usage, and more.


There are a lot of numbers to parse, but if you're into that sort of thing, CCP says that it will be collecting player feedback and acting on it prior to Proteus' January 13th launch date.

EVE Online plans security crackdown on RMT rule violators

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Patches, Previews, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription

eve
Players who have been skirting EVE Online's TOS might find themselves on the bad side of a ban come 2015, as the studio is rolling out tougher rules on violators in the new year. CCP posted a security blog in which it outlined how real-money traders will be punished, as well as those engaging in other activities such as input broadcasting and multiplexing.

While CCP didn't post the number of bans it performed in 2014, it did show a few graphs illustrating where the problem areas lay. Banned accounts this year, permanent and temporary, were divided up by macro use (56%), ISK selling (18%), ISK buying (5%), modified clients (4%), ISK spamming (1%), and other (16%).

On the brighter side of news, the team is hard at work on January's Proteus patch with sneakier combat recon ships, improved asteroid belt visuals, and the retirement of industry teams.

[Thanks to Chrysillis for the tip!]

MapleStory 2 begins closed beta signups next week, will include a jail system

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Business Models, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Player-Generated Content, MMORPG

MapleStory 2
Another day, another game we can't have yet. This one's MapleStory 2, the sequel to Nexon's MapleStory, which in spite of its cuteness is still one of the biggest MMORPGs in the world. Steparu reports that MS2 is set to enter its first closed beta phase on January 21st; signups go live for Korean players on Christmas eve.

Over on the official site (in Korean), Nexon further discusses the MMO's jail system, something fans of games like Ultima Online and ArcheAge know well. This particular jail is meant to hold those who make wreckage of chat channels, though Nexon says will punish counter-abuse "severely." What could possibly go wrong?

We don't yet know whether the game will come here, but since classic MapleStory has a global version that's earned Nexon boatloads of money, it's pretty darn likely.

We've embedded Steparu's MapleStory 2 customization video below.

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EVE Online nixes industry teams

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription

eve
Not every new idea is going to take off and be a smash hit, as CCP definitely understands this as much as anyone. The EVE Online developer said that the implementation of industry teams earlier this year has been vastly underused, and as a result, teams will be removed from the game entirely in 2015.

"We have been closely tracking all related industry metrics and dials and it is apparent to us that usage of teams has been very low relative to the goals we set for it -- with single figure percentage use in manufacturing jobs and near nonexistent use in research," CCP wrote.

Industry teams had allowed players to hire NPCs to help out with industry jobs. The feature will be "methodically removed" over the next few months, although players will be able to use teams until they are forceably retired.

On another note, EVE tweeted that it has freed up over six million names from former trial players and has made them available for general use.

Echo of Soul has 'everything an MMO player could want'

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

eos
"At launch, Echo of Soul will include everything an MMO player could want," says Global Development Project Manager Junhyung Jung. "With 68 areas and over 1,600 quests, EOS offers far more initial content than other games."

Them's fightin' words, Mr. Jung. But also playin' words, too. The above quote comes from a new Echo of Soul video dev diary, in which Jung makes a case for why this title should have broad appeal. He runs down the features list, including PvE content, PvP battles, and solo and team challenges. The level cap is also mentioned as where the game "truly begins."

You can watch the full dev diary after the break.

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EVE Online speeds up game installation and access

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Previews, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription

eve
To "get people into the game quicker," CCP is smoothing out the download and installation process for EVE Online. This new method of deployment is scheduled to go into service at the start of 2015.

This means that the installation package will go from a 7GB download to a zippy 200MB one instead. Once that game client is up and running, it will then download the rest of the game's resources as needed.

"On a fast connection you probably won't notice much of a difference -– load times may be slightly longer at times. As you play more, more resources will be cached and fewer and fewer need to be downloaded. The client will be smart about pre-fetching resources it expects will be needed soon," the team said.

The Elder Scrolls Online's Undaunted Pledge system promotes daily dungeons

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

ESO
Are you wandering around The Elder Scrolls Online in a post-Update 5 haze, lost on what to do? Wander no more: ZeniMax has released a dev blog today to give you some guidance.

The guide details the pledge system of the Undaunted, whose tasks are reminiscent of daily dungeon quests in other themeparks. Starting at level 45, players can swear themselves to the Undaunted faction, which offers two daily quests to complete dungeons, one veteran and one not. Depending on how well they complete the dungeon and the difficulty of the encounter, players will be awarded reputation with the faction as well as a key to unlock a sweet chest of loot. "The Undaunted chests can contain a variety of helpful loot, from valuable Ornate items and soul gems to unique items sets and attention-grabbing shoulder pieces fashioned from the very brutes you've slain," writes ZOS.

The full guide is on the official site.

Guild Wars 2 is revamping dailies... again

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

GW2
ArenaNet has just announced that it's revamping Guild Wars 2's daily achievements... again. "We want to give players the opportunity to try things they may not normally experience and feel like the rewards they earn for doing so mean something," says the studio. "Rather than [give] a generic reward for all achievements, each one will give players something that is thematically tied to the content they're playing." Completing dailies will allow players to earn everything from achievement points to fractal relics and badges of honor, depending on the daily's difficulty and type (PvE, PvP, WvW).

The studio is also rolling out a new achievement track that replaces the old monthlies system and rewards players just for logging in. "One way to think of this is like a holiday calendar that gives you a new present from ArenaNet each day," the devs write. "There are 28 individual rewards on the track, each one building toward an epic chest containing a permanent 1% increase to account gold find and your choice of either ascended crafting materials, materials necessary for crafting your legendary weapon (including mystic clovers), an additional sum of laurels, or tomes of knowledge."

Yesterday, the studio revealed that the ongoing season two plotline will be on hiatus through the holidays, being replaced by Wintersday. Season two resumes on January 13th.

CCP dev blog talks PBR and 'making EVE look real'

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

Have you ever wondered about the math behind the visuals in your favorite games? If so, look no further than the latest EVE Online dev blog, which regales us with tales of the Phong Reflection Model and how it's giving way to something called Physically Based Rendering or PBR.

The post features a bunch of equations, literally, and plenty of associated smart-person talk. Fortunately for me it also features quite a few pretty pics of internet spaceships! You can read it for yourself via the links below.

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