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Dev Diaries

Firefall brings multiple raids to launch [Updated]

Betas, Sci-Fi, Launches, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Dev Diaries, Dungeons

Firefall
If you live and breathe big battles with lots of friends in MMOs, then you're going to be delighted when Firefall launches next week. The retuned sci-fi shooter will feature not one, not two, not four, but definitely three 20-person raids from the beginning.

A new dev diary posted today talks about two of the raids, the titans of Baneclaw and Kanaola. Baneclaw is a giant scarab that will roll around and unleash little hellclaw minions at any intruders. Kanaola goes the "big lava worm" route due to its proximity with a volcano. This fight will get tricky as molten hot magma will be rising as the fight progresses.

The raids will have some of the best loot in the game and will be on a seven-day lockout timer when beaten. These titans will become available when the playerbase works to gether up enough Dark Crystite to unlock the instances.

We've got a video of the new raids for you after the jump!

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APB shames cheaters, talks usage and purchasing stats

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

APB Reloaded's latest dev blog post details the implementation of cheat detector FairFight into the MMO shooter. The update also reveals some pretty interesting stats related to cheaters as well as the game's overall performance. "The number of cheaters who log in to the game stayed pretty constant around 1.2 percent of all players (some of which were re-rolls)," wrote GamersFirst's Bjorn Book-Larsson.

Surprisingly, 60 percent of those cheaters were paying players. Book-Larsson says that only about 10 percent of APB's monthly unique players make new purchases in a given month, while 30 percent of players have made a purchase at some point during their account history.

Book-Larsson goes on to say that APB is the 19th most-played game in the history of Steam, just ahead of Borderlands 2 and just behind Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Finally, GamersFirst has publicized a list of banned cheaters for the month of July, complete with player and clan names and various other account statistics.

Tree of Savior introduces new classes in Q&A #9

Fantasy, New Titles, Community Q&A, Dev Diaries

Tree of Savior
Tree of Savior, the upcoming MMO from Korean studio IMC Games, has unveiled its ninth Q&A about the game, revealing more classes, costume details, an explanation of the Chronomancer's time-travel skill, and some special hidden content.

With an advertised 80 classes in the game, these four new class introductions just scratch the surface, but we do get some details and animations from the Thaumaturge, Archer, Pyromancer, and Centurian.

Be sure to check out the video after the cut for more on the new classes. If you have any questions for the dev team that you'd like answered in the next Q&A, send them along to the game's Facebook page or the developer's blog.

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McQuaid says a playable Pantheon will happen 'in a matter of months'

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

Pantheon
Brad McQuaid is back with a mammoth 3,200-word update (treatise?) on Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, specifically to rebut misinformation about the project without returning to his former "evangelist" mode. What's most interesting is how he indicates that there will be a playable build much sooner than anticipated.

Pantheon is now "truly client-server," he explains, allowing users to log in and explore the game's single zone, Halnir's Pass, while the database saves persistent information. McQuaid said that the team is revising the game lore and working on a world map. The plan is for Pantheon to have nine playable races and three starter cities when it launches.

"Our goal is to make adventure, exploration, and combat working pre-alpha," McQuaid wrote. "We're going to be grouping up, exploring, and killing mobs in a matter of months, not years."

[Thanks to Kirsan for the tip!]

Warlords of Draenor encourages the return of free-form world PvP in Ashran

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

wow
World of Warcraft players who pine for the "good old days" of open world PvP may get to sup from that cup again come Warlords of Draenor. The devs are whipping up a new island, Ashran, that pulls upon lessons from past PvP zone designs to create something that encourages as close to the real open world PvP experience as one can get (and still have it designed).

Ashran is for level 100 players who want to pop in and engage in up to 100v100 battles. Unlike past PvP zones, players won't have to join a raid group to partake in the fun and can choose between world and objective-based PvP. "We want players to get caught up in the moment and become emotionally invested in the outcome of each new encounter, whether it's just getting the drop on a member of the opposite faction player or getting revenge for a stolen kill," Blizzard wrote.

The team also previewed another one of Warlords of Draenor's zones with Gorgrond. Gorgrond is an area split between the themes of creation and destruction and the biomes of heavy flora and barren wasteland.

Trove: 'Let everything in the game be made by the community'

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Culture, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Trove

trove
User-generated content isn't just a pipe dream of the Trove team; it's the central tenet of its design philosophy. In a new video, the devs talk about why allowing players to design the world, both inside the game and outside of it, is vital to drawing the community into it.

One of the results of listening to player feedback is the creation of a new biome called Dragonfire Peaks, which is full of canyons, lava, and most likely heartburn.

"We've taken the development cycle and pried it open for everyone to see," says Art Lead Brian Clarke. The team goes on to show off several player-made dungeons and talk about how the community has made better content than the dev team thought possible. We've got the video after the break, so check it out and see if you've got the Trove stuff!

[Source: Trion Worlds press release]

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Warlords of Draenor's Talador is at the heart of the Draenei civilization

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

wow
World of Warcraft continues its exploration of the new zones of Warlords of Draenor, this time with the gorgeous land of Talador.

Talador is the predecessor to what eventually becomes Outland's Terokkar Forest, and while players will see familiar sights like Shattrath, it won't be quite as they remember. The area is a warzone as the Iron Horde has besieged it, and players must do all they can to push back the wave of invaders.

"Talador is home to the heart of Draenei civilization," Blizzard writes. "It is stunningly beautiful, and the zone has a palette of oranges, golds, and greens that make it incredibly vibrant. The zone really showcases the breadth of Draenei life: the sprawling trade hub of Shattrath, the massive mausoleum that is Auchindoun, the iconic city of Tuurem, the mythical Telmor (it does exist!), and so many others."

Heroes of the Storm's Garden of Terror swaps between night and day

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

heroes of the storm
It's the gimmick, the hook that makes a well-designed MOBA battleground truly memorable, and Heroes of the Storm's Garden of Terror thinks it has its hook: a night-and-day sequence.

Unlike the mostly cosmetic lighting filters in MMO day/night cycles, Garden of Terror's transition between the two will change the fundamental rules of the match. While during the daytime players can check out mercenary camps, the nighttime is a whole different story. The camps go away when the sun goes down, and out pops nighttime horrors as players' visibility decreases. The daytime only comes back when all of the horrors are killed, giving players control over how long the dark lasts.

One of the Garden of Terror's objectives is gathering up seeds to plant so that a huge player-controlled mob can be summoned. Learning when and how to use the summon will be a key to dominating the match.

Star Conflict adds Invasion and Observer modes

Betas, Sci-Fi, Patches, PvP, PvE, Dev Diaries

Star Conflict
Gaijin Entertainment's Star Conflict was updated recently with a new Invasion and Observer mode, as well as several UI and bug fixes as the game continues its beta testing (but is technically launched on Steam) this month.

The space-based MMO's Invasion mode is described as a PvE and PvP game feature that allows players to join up against alien invaders. This includes quests, resource gathering, and crafting to work toward certain goals. Be sure to check out the video embedded after the cut below as well as the official patch notes for more information.

[Thanks to Simon for the tip!]

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Skyforge previews its Lanber Forest zone

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Galleries, Screenshots, Lore, Previews, News Items, Dev Diaries, Skyforge

Skyforge
Obsidian and Mail.ru have just unveiled Lanber Forest, a key area in the companies' upcoming sci-fantasy MMO Skyforge. Lanber Forest was once "an oasis of pristine nature" distant from industry and politics but is now overrun with a dark evil awakened by a traitorous god, along with more mundane baddies like "looters, smugglers, [and] evil men, who have decided to cash in on the grief of others." That, of course, is where you come in.

Read on for the complete lore description and a few screenshots of the (damn pretty) zone.

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LotRO Update 14 is now live

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Game Mechanics, Patches, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries

Gondor archers
Today marks the official release of Lord of the Rings Online's Update 14, and with it comes the highly anticipated West Gondor content, as well as Epic Story Volume IV, the new Essence System, the level 100 cap, inventory tweaks, class balancing, bug fixes, and more.

While none of this is a surprise to players, what did come as a surprise was some changes mentioned in executive producer Aaron "Rowan" Campbell's letter in the forums. First off, there will be no more level cap increases for this year to allow players to take their time and explore the new content. In addition, a new advancement system is being added to legendary items allowing them to grow with you without deconstruction for a new item at level cap. And lastly, the upcoming Beorning class will start at level 1 and include its own starting experience through Eriador.

Be sure to check out the complete Update 14 patch notes as well as Rowan's Producer's Letter in the official forums.

H1Z1 graphics programmer hints at other weather types

Betas, Horror, Video, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, H1Z1

h1z1
SOE Graphics Programmer Ryan Favale is the target of a new H1Z1 video. In it, he discusses the games that he's playing, notable bugs, and his role on the upcoming zombie sandbox. Favale said that he's primarily working on the dynamic weather system.

"That's my main job on H1Z1, to bring as many weather conditions and effects and environmental immersion as possible," Favale said. He teased the possibility of hurricanes, tornadoes, and dust storms, but didn't promise that they'd make them into the game.

You can watch the video after the break.

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DC Universe Online dev weighs pros and cons of recent update

Sci-Fi, Patches, Free-to-Play, DC Universe Online, Dev Diaries

dcuo
Lead Content Designer Donovan Kennedy has a new dev blog up on Gamasutra in which he breaks down the challenges the team faced with DC Universe Online's recent Amazon Fury Part 1 DLC pack.

He first identified three "strengths" of the DLC: helpful early internal feedback, cool story missions, and the opportunity to visit familiar locations. "These missions were right on target and players have given overwhelmingly positive feedback-not just on the cool game mechanics, but also for Wonder Woman and Circe's personalities really supporting their personal objectives and how they interact with the other Amazons," Kennedy wrote.

On the flip side, Kennedy said that the studio over-planned the map, needed more internal playtesting, and got pushback from players not always happy that they had to learn new combat mechanics for a couple of the missions. He was especially apologetic about pushing out an update that wasn't fully polished: "When Amazon Fury was pushed out to our public test server, there were a few glaring bugs that came back to bite us (after they were found by players -- ouch!)."

World of Warcraft's male Draenei gets only minor cosmetic tweaks

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

wow
Blizzard continues to show off the new character model art that's coming with World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, this time with the male Draenei.

Unlike some of the other races, Big Blue here only required small changes as the dev team considered the model already pretty well-done. The changes made were to increase fidelity and provide better animations for emotions. Rawr!

Infinite Crisis refocuses development on new player experience

Super-hero, MMO Industry, Dev Diaries, Infinite Crisis

Infinite Crisis
The dev team behind DC-Comics-based Infinite Crisis has come to a realization: there are a lot of MOBAs out there. So to set themselves apart from the rest, Creative Director Cardel "Annuvin" Kerr has penned a post on the official forums detailing how the devs will be putting some new content on hold to focus on revamping the new player experience. Luckily for us, the major tasks have been bullet-pointed:
  • We will be holding back new Champions until the September Update -- We're still building Champions behind the scenes, and will resume their normal release schedule starting in September.
  • Balance patches will be released as we iterate on design improvements -- You can expect these updates about once a month. We will continue to focus on the iterative cycle that is the foundation of good balance. Technical patches will be released with balance updates to make the game more stable and less prone to crashes. Crashes lead to more AFKs, and that quite frankly, sucks – so we'll continue to push out fixes.
  • Credit -- err, Bug Stomping -- We will continue to fix bugs that you file, and that we find on our own.
  • Expect an even larger presence on the Forums -- We're working on a lot of stuff, and much of it is based on what we've seen you all doing and saying. As a result, you can expect even more posts from developers asking and answering questions!

Be sure to check out the entire post for more details on the team's plans with Infinite Crisis over the next few months.

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