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Dev Diaries

EVE Vegas 2014: CCP on the new player experience and permadeath

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, Events (Massively's Coverage), Livestream, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

Every time some huge scandal or record-breaking battle erupts in EVE Online, thousands of new players flood into the game ready to create epic stories of their own. Confronted with a confusing interface and a practically mandatory tutorial that takes most of the day to complete, most of those players, unsurprisingly, don't stick around. The past few updates have improved things by adding tooltips to the main UI elements and introducing a new notification system, but there's more to come.

At EVE Vegas 2014 this weekend, CCP Rise discussed his plans for a new Opportunities system that will replace the tutorial. To help design the system, developers got together groups of gamers who had never played before and dropped them into EVE with little to no instructions. The playtests highlighted a lack of action compared to expectations and showed how confusing things like the map, station UI, and hangar inventory system can be for newcomers. Many of these problems are very easily fixed and may even be solved in one of the two remaining patches this year.

In an interesting move, Rise went on to talk about his idea to add a form of permadeath to EVE Online. Although you lose your ship when you die in EVE, it's actually only a financial loss as your character is reborn in a fresh clone. What Rise wants is for people to make new mortal characters with no clones and a fixed number of skillpoints to allocate to skills. It's possible that this could close the gap between old and new players by allowing newbies to purchase single lives with the focused combat skills of a veteran. This isn't something that will be introduced any time soon or even that's definitely coming, but the fact that CCP is talking about the idea publicly now is intriguing.

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EVE Vegas 2014: December's Rhea update adds tech 3 destroyers

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Classes, Culture, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Events (Massively's Coverage), Livestream, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

During the Keynote speech at EVE Vegas 2014, EVE Online developers revealed some big news for the game's next two major updates. We heard the broad strokes of CCP's plans at the latest EVE Fanfest back in March, when it was revealed that the company would switch from releasing two expansions per year to around ten smaller releases. The upcoming Phoebe release planned for November 4th will improve Tech 2 Invention, improve life in the lawless nullsec regions with heavy nerfs to capital ship movement, and introduce a highly requested unlimited length skill queue system.

While players are certainly looking forward to Phoebe, it's December's Rhea update that will really pack a punch. The Blackbird, Falcon, and Rook electronic warfare ships will get new models, and a new type of freighter codenamed the "Tug" will be introduced that can move large numbers of fitted ships around the game. But the big news coming out of EVE Vegas 2014 today is that a completely new set of tech 3 ships will be added for the first time since 2009's Apocrypha expansion. The new ships are tactical destroyer, and they aren't just smaller versions of the tech 3 strategic cruisers.

Instead of being built out of a set of subsystems, tactical destroyers will have the ability to switch between several modes on the fly, transforming them from snipers or tanks to speed demons as required. If you've ever wanted to transfer full power to your engines or shields like something out of Star Trek, these new ships are for you. Thanks to winning a recent research race event, the Amarr version of the ship will be released before the other races.

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EVE Vegas 2014: Tune in with our free livestream

Video, EVE Online, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Hands-On, Events (Massively's Coverage), Livestream, Dev Diaries

EVE Vegas
While the main event of the EVE Online calendar is undoubtedly the annual Fanfest in Reykjavik, Iceland, new events have popped up around the world over the years. Player-run meetups are frequently organised in London, and EVE Down Under is starting to gain major traction with the Australian playerbase, but the most well-established by far is EVE Vegas. The two day event runs each year in Las Vegas in the USA and is attended by hundreds of fans and is kind of like a mini Fanfest, with presentations on the future of EVE and roundtable discussions with developers.

Today's schedule includes a keynote speech from CCP Seagull on the future of EVE Online, a screening of Rooks & Kings celebrated video Clarion Call 4, and talks from three nullsec alliance players on the topics of Fleet Commanding and Alliance Logistics. There will also be talks from CCP Rise and CCP FoxFour on changes to the new player experience, altered restrictions on trial accounts, and the plan for third party developers. All 500 tickets for the event were sold out in record time this year, but those at home can tune in for free right now on CCP's Twitch livestream. I'll also be tuning into the stream throughout the weekend to bring you the highlights on important reveals and information.

Whether you're a die-hard fan of internet spaceships or just a gawker on the sidelines, EVE Vegas is the EVE Online and EVE Valkyrie event of the season. Follow Massively's Brendan Drain as he reports on the Vegas event's starpower, scheming, and spoilers, and watch CCP's streams of the best panels live here on Massively!

APB's lead designer on the changes in 1.18.0

Real-Life, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, All Points Bulletin, Dev Diaries

If you're curious about what's happening in the world of APB: Reloaded, why not read the latest dev blog? Lead designer Ricardo Viana writes that the team's focus for the forthcoming 1.18.0 update is on APB's missions, dynamic events, and visual effects.

He also mentions that the patch will tweak APB's team leader system, primarily by adding messaging, the ability to request the leader role, and an AFK parameter for the existing demerit system.

Elder Scrolls game director talks Update 5, performance upgrades

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, Dev Diaries, The Elder Scrolls Online

Elder Scrolls Online game director Matt Firor has just released a new Road Ahead update post. Much of what he has to say relates to the forthcoming Update 5, which includes a new vet dungeon, new facial animations, repeatable pledges and writs, dungeon level-scaling, and additional stuff like the Dwemer crafting style and chat bubbles.

Firor also mentions "a series of stability and performance improvements for Cyrodiil in the works right now." Additionally, ESO players will be getting new performance options to "cull visual effects" and improve client framerates.

SWTOR's experience boost enables altaholics, story-lovers

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Classes, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Lore, News Items, Free-to-Play, Roleplaying, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Promotions, Dev Diaries

SWTOR
Eagle-eyed gamers probably noticed the "leveling boost" tucked in with Star Wars: The Old Republic's Shadow of Revan pre-order announcement, but just in case you missed it, BioWare wants to make absolutely sure you understand what it entails, and it entails story -- a whole bunch of stories in a short amount of time, in fact. In a new dev blog, the studio is calling the boost a "class leveling event" in which players are effectively "treated to an all-new epic BioWare roleplaying campaign, uninterrupted." The 12.32 multiplier to experience that players pick up by preordering the expansion and subbing up for a month is "enough to play through the game all the way to level 55 playing only epic story missions," meaning that you can play through the class stories with no quest grind in between. Skill training is free during the promotion too. But you'll have to move quickly; the promo ends on December 1st.

I've already lost two writers and three guildies to the leveling frenzy. Jef thinks he'll be done leveling all eight of his characters in 10 more days. Who'll be next?!

EVE Online tightens things up for Phoebe

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

eve
A new blog post at EVE Online reveals that the team is working on streamlining a few of its existing features for the upcoming Phoebe patch.

The first tweak is to exploration, as the team will be making data sites more valuable and frequent. Career agents will also stop blabbing so much in the mission boxes, with shorter text messages to emphasize the objectives.

Finally, the team is bringing its semi-hidden expedition content into the light with easier-to-follow breadcrumbs and bug fixes: "We've added in some messaging to guide you towards these specific structures. We have also increased the percentage chance of the rarer types of expedition occurring as we simply found these figures to be too low. These combined changes should help somewhat in bringing this 'hidden' content to the surface for you to enjoy."

Darkfall makes plans for a localized economy

Fantasy, Darkfall, Economy, Patches, Previews, Dev Diaries, Sandbox

darkfall
The Darkfall team is deep in preparations for the creation of a "localized economy package" to boost this critical part of this fantasy title. "For us, as well as the community from what we see, a functional economy is the stepping stone for a proper sandbox, so our attention is focused on it," the team stated.

In a forum post today, the goals of these plans were outlined. This package will include new raw materials, additional recipes, a better inventory system, tiered clan vaults, nerfed instant travel, quicker land travel, beasts of burden, and a focus on localized markets instead of a worldwide trading system.

This economy update is tentatively planned for either December 2014 or January 2015.

[Thanks to Dengar for the tip!]

EVE Online: Phoebe improves quality-of-life for subscribers and trial members

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

eve
Unpacking EVE Online's Phoebe content update is so involved that it takes another one of CCP's epic posts to do it. The big thing to take away from the notes is that this update features several quality-of-life improvements for both regular and trial players.

When Phoebe hits on November 4th, players will have to adjust to jump fatigue during long-distance travel. To offset that, there will be the ability to set skill queues to unlimited length, place multiple market sell orders, enjoy better exploration rewards, and experience new cloaking effects.

Trial players will also see some of their limitations lifted after the update, such as being allowed to fly battleships and be a part of faction fights.

World of Warcraft's garrisons will send Leeroy Jenkins to protect you

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Previews, Dev Diaries, Subscription

wow
Part of the potential fun of owning, building, and operating a garrison in World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor is that you'll be leader to several NPCs known as followers. A new garrison dev diary today talked about the acquisition and benefits of followers and how that will change your gameplay.

Followers can be obtained through several means, including quests, reputation, and a once-a-week headhunter service. Once there, followers can be sent out in missions alone or as a group in order to bring back rewards for their kind and generous master. Players can accumulate up to 25 active followers of various quality types and can level them up over time.

Probably the most interesting facet of follower ownership is the use of a select handful as bodyguards. Players can attach a bodyguard to them for general world questing, asking such famous figures as Leeroy Jenkins to fight by your side. Once enough reputation with that NPC is reached, the bodyguard will attain several helpful abilities, such as being able to summon friends or create a portal back to your garrison.

Lord of the Rings Online begins Update 15 testing

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Classes, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries

lotro
Good news for those spinning their wheels in Lord of the Rings Online: Update 15, with its brand-new class and additional high-level content, is heading to the test server this Friday.

Executive Producer Aaron Campbell posted an update of LotRO's development on the forums today. He said that Update 15 would be the final big release for the year, and it includes the Beorning class, Central Gondor, a continuation of the epic story, and a new epic battle centered around Pelargir. As for the shapeshifting class, the Beorning will have three trait lines that will allow for choices between tank, DPS, and heal/utility, and will begin in a new mini-zone, Vales of Anduin.

Campbell did notify players that there would be a few adjustments to the previously stated schedule, most notably that the legendary item update is now pushed back to Update 16 in early 2015. Other 2015 additions include Osgiliath and Minas Tirith.

CCP is upgrading EVE's sensor overlay

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

CCP's latest EVE Online dev blog is all about the sci-fi sandbox's sensor overlay. More specifically, it's about sensor overlay 2.0 that's likely coming in EVE's Phoebe update. The current overlay basically allows pod pilots to view cosmic anomalies and signatures in space rather than as text entries on a scanner.

The upgrade will add "a number of other objects in space [...] along with filtering options and a new compass view," according to EVE's developers. It's quite a lengthy dev blog, and it's also got plenty of pretty pictures to further the explanation. You'll find it all via the links below.

League of Legends reimagines Sion, the undead juggernaut

Fantasy, Classes, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, MOBA, League of Legends

lol
A new and terrifying Sion is stomping across lanes in League of Legends lately, thanks to a long-overdue "reimagining" and re-release.

Riot Games was pretty harsh in its post-mortem of the old version, saying, "Old Sion had countless problems: He was a mage with an ax, he'd end up with two redundant abilities regardless of how he built, his model had aged horribly, and he had some pretty... interesting voiceover."

The team decided to rebuild him to fit his profile as an unstoppable undead warrior. The new Sion is tanky with powerful attacks that can be deployed dupliciously in order to mess with the reflexes of opponents. You can check out Sion's champion spotlight video after the jump.

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Allods Online offers ship test arenas

Fantasy, Patches, Previews, PvP, Free-to-Play, Allods Online, Dev Diaries

allods
Players looking to learn the ropes of their flying ships in Allods Online will soon have a friendlier and cheaper option: the Astral Arena.

Coming with the 5.0.02 update, the Astral Arena is essentially a series of test rooms for players to pit their ship against others with a variety of rulesets. The arena won't be as hardcore as normal PvP encounters, as ships can be repaired after fighting in them for no cost.

The Astral Arena is divided into the maintenance system (for ship repair), the firing zone (with dummy ships), the stable zone (PvP with three astral anomalies), and the scintilliation zone (another PvP mode with two anomalies).

EVE Online kicks off a new story-driven competitive event

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Contests, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Lore, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox

EVE
A new post by CCP Fozzie on the EVE Online website outlines an ongoing plotline running in the sc-fi sandbox right now. Reacting to research on unusual behavior of Sleeper Drones in W-Space, each of the four factional groups in New Eden has requested help collecting stuff... for science. Capsuleers, that means you'll be rounding up Neural Network Analyzers and Sleeper Data Libraries and turning them in to your factions in a competitive galactic donation drive.

Fozzie notes that the results of the story-driven event will directly affect tech rollout for the game:
Out of character, I can reveal that this storyline and the associated donation drive will lead directly to new technology falling into the hands of players in the near future. The relative success of each empire's donation drive will determine in what order each faction will get access to this new technology. Each faction navy will also express their gratitude through a special ingame item representing an honorary commission to their forces. The commissions will be given to the character that donates the highest value of Neural Network Analyzers and Sleeper Data Libraries (combined and weighted) to each faction over the course of the event. Each commission will be a unique item that will forever contain the name of the winning character in the description.
Players can donate the relevant items from Sleeper Drones via item exchange contracts to their factional contacts. The event is live now and closes out on October 14th.

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