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Dev Diaries

World of Warcraft previews Warlords of Draenor's Shadowmoon Valley

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Previews, News Items, Dev Diaries, Subscription

WoW
Blizzard's official World of Warcraft blog updated this week with a preview of Shadowmoon Valley. No, not Outland's Shadowmoon Valley from The Burning Crusade; this is the version of Shadowmoon Valley you'll be time-traveling to in Warlords of Draenor, or rather, you will if you're playing Alliance, since it's that faction's entry point for the expansion lands.

Senior Designer Helen Cheng explains the zone's setting as "one of the most beautiful places on Draenor." She writes, "The valley is tranquil and serene. Rolling green hills give way to lush, violet forests. Draenei temples stand proudly beneath a star-studded sky. Here, the draenei have built wonders of their civilization-the town of Elodor with its majestic Altar of Sha'tar serves as the proud home of the great Exarchs, while the shining Temple of Karabor acts as the font of all holy learning. Under Prophet Velen and Exarch Akama's watch, all is well."

Read more about the zone's backstory on the official site.

The Elder Scrolls Online illuminates its veteran dungeons

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, News Items, PvE, Dev Diaries, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ESO
A new Creating ESO blog post on the official Elder Scrolls Online site today aims to give players an inside look at the process of creating the game's veteran dungeons. These dungeons are "much more than just tuned-up, harder versions of the original dungeon[s]," the post insists; they're special boss encounters and storyline expansions that include complex mechanics and battles. They likewise include elite loot, the acquisition of which often requires repetition, something the developers say they keep in mind when writing dialogue and staging the area.

ZeniMax also emphasizes the importance of testing for these dungeons:
Much like we do for Trials, we have groups of skilled, coordinated testers ready to take them on. The Dungeon Team wants to kill you, don't get them wrong, but they don't want bosses to be unfair or impossible. It's a difficult tuning and balancing act to get them just right, especially considering the broad range of character builds that will be attempting them. When the testers wipe several times learning the fight and let out a cheer when they finally manage to scrape by with a win, we know we're on the right track.
The video that accompanies the post is embedded below.

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Star Citizen's new persistent universe director loves economic, strategic gameplay

Sci-Fi, Video, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

How important is Star Citizen's persistent universe? Important enough that Chris Roberts has hired game industry veteran Tony Zurovec to oversee its direction.

"The game has become so big that I can't actually direct every single aspect of it every single moment of the day," Roberts explains at the outset of a new 40-minute interview vid posted on Cloud Imperium's official site. Zurovec previously worked with Roberts at Origin and Digital Anvil. He also developed the Crusader series and brings a love of economic and strategic gameplay on a galactic scale to the table.

Roberts also mentions Zurovec's work on an unreleased Digital Anvil game called Loose Cannon that was essentially "Privateer on wheels" and a pre-cursor to the sort of open-world sandbox mayhem found in Grand Theft Auto III and its sequels.

Click past the cut to watch the full interview.

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Firefall introduces personalized missions-on-demand

Betas, Sci-Fi, Previews, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Dev Diaries, Firefall

Firefall
With Firefall's official launch approaching, the devs are in a frenzy proclaiming the new features and systems that players will be seeing when that day arrives. In a new dev diary today, the team highlighted a personalized mission maker, called ARES.

ARES Jobs allow players to create and launch dynamically generated quests during downtime. Players can choose from several story and gameplay options, and the system will pull together a mission that can be completed solo in the game world. The devs promise that ARES jobs will keep mixing it up with objectives and locations to avoid any danger of the missions growing stale. There are reportedly "hundreds" of jobs, and if a player so desires, he or she could level up exclusively through ARES.

"ARES jobs also help to make the world feel more alive: in the current system, it is rare that you run into another player in the world by random chance," the devs wrote. "ARES missions take place in a number of predetermined locations, and dynamic events like tornados or crashed thumpers draw players to them in a predictable manner."

MechWarrior Online video blog answers game balance questions

Sci-Fi, Video, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, MechWarrior Online, MOBA

MWO
MechWarrior Online has just released its fifth dev vlog, in which the team answers questions about the title in an eight-minute video. Some of the topics up for discussion today are clan battlemech cockpits, general game balance, and updates on the matchmaking system.

You can check out the full video after the break to see if your pressing concerns got addressed!

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Star Trek Online Season 9.5 revamps crafting big-time

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

STO
Star Trek Online Executive Producer Stephen D'Angelo has just one word for you concerning July's Season 9.5: crafting.

OK, he's got more words than that, but you probably can guess where he's going with it. D'Angelo posted a short dev diary today stating that the team will be focusing on a crafting overhaul for the next big update: "In this release, the STO dev team has completely reworked every element of crafting in the game... Our goal is to have a crafting system that our players enjoy and are excited to use."

D'Angelo said that players will have new ways to earn crafting mats, multiple schools of crafting, and a fresh UI to explore. Duty officers will also be utilized in the revised crafting system.

Albion Online's mounts are for riding, not fighting

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Dev Diaries, Sandbox

albion online
A new dev diary regarding Albion Online's mounts reveals that the beasts will be strictly for transportation only.

"The player is unable to fight, gather or interact with any buildings while on horseback. Mounts will provide a number of buffs to the character, which are effective immediately when they mount, and deactivate when they dismount," the team posted.

While mounts won't be trampling over enemy's corpses, they will come in armored versions that can shrug off more damage if a player is attacked. Mounts are not only represented by horses, but oxen as well, with the latter being more suited to transporting goods over long distances.

You can see a quick video of Albion's mounts in action after the break!

[Thanks to Dengar for the tip!]

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EverQuest Next will feature Ambassador D'Vinn and Fippy Darkpaw

Fantasy, Video, Lore, News Items, Free-to-Play, Races, Humor, EverQuest Next, Dev Diaries

EQN
EverQuest Next's 39th round table video is now live, and in it, SOE Senior Brand Manager Omeed Dariani and Senior Game Designer Bill Trost pair up to discuss the EverQuest franchise's nemesis characters and which ones players want to see in EverQuest Next. Ambassador D'Vinn, the Dark Elf NPC who terrorized newbs as the deadly caboose of pretty much every train to the Crushbone zone line in classic EverQuest, won the player poll and will be featured in the upcoming MMO.

As to Fippy Darkpaw, Trost promises he, too, will be present in EQN. "I believe in his mission, and I hope someday he succeeds!" Trost joked.

The devs also highlighted the alignment of the Dark Elves and the curious nature of NPCs who have agendas independent of the players. Enjoy the full video on YouTube.

SWTOR's Spoils of War update offers casinos, tweaks group finder

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dev Diaries, Dungeons

SWTOR
In Star Wars: The Old Republic's most recent dev blog, designers Chris Schmidt, Alex Modny, and George Smith discuss the major game systems headed to servers with the 2.8 Spoils of War update -- specifically, the Nar Shaddaa Nightlife event, PvP tweaks, and the story mode ops group finder.
  • Nar Shaddaa casinos will feature slot machines that award special buffs, weapons, armor, cosmetic abilities, and mounts -- like a ridable Rancor -- to lucky gamblers.
  • Participants in Galactic Starfighter matches and Warzones will begin receiving double rewards, and two new ship variants, the Assault Bomber and Skirmisher Gunship, will become available.
  • In an effort to reduce queue time, the group finder will utilize the 16-man story mode difficulty for operations and bolster gear rating for all players. Rewards will also be increased.
Read the full dev blog at the official site.

RuneScape shows you the making of an epic quest

Fantasy, Video, PvE, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Browser, Dev Diaries

runescape
RuneScape puts more thought than most MMOs do into the creation and execution of its quests, so when the devs want to share how they make one of these, it might behoove you to show some respect. No, you don't need to kneel. Maybe give it a solemn nod or something.

In a new video -- one that you, yes you, can watch after the break -- Jagex takes its playerbase on a tour of the making of "The Mighty Fall" quest. Get a feel for where this quest fits into the greater storyline as well as see how an entire team works together to fashion such a mission. We don't think you'll be disappointed.

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Black Gold Online brings mechs to PvP battlegrounds

Betas, Fantasy, PvP, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Steampunk, Black Gold

Black Gold
When you head to the PvP battleground in Black Gold Online, don't be surprised if you're the only chump walking around on two legs while everyone else is lording over you in mobile fortresses of steel, iron, and beastial flesh.

In a new dev diary, Snail Games elaborates on the Battle Carrier system in Black Gold's PvP. Players will be able to choose and customize their own walking mech or creature out of over 100 models. The Battle Carriers come in five varieties -- Raid, Assault, Siege, Aerial and Anti-air -- and each of them are strong against some and weak against others.

Producer Kee Zhang promised that no one Battle Carrier will dominate the landscape in PvP: "The idea of using a battle mount, with its own damage and attacks and such, came into the mix pretty early. The real light-bulb moment came when we thought of this 'Rock, paper, scissors' assortment -– every Carrier has advantages and attack bonuses over certain other Carriers, and in turn is vulnerable to another. It makes teamwork and strategy a must."

Elder Scrolls Online begins testing Update 2

Fantasy, Patches, Previews, Dev Diaries, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ESO
Elder Scrolls Online's Update 2 is currently on the public test server, and any interested subscriber can now check it out.

ZeniMax announced today that its test server is now open to all active account holders and gave details for the game's second update. Update 2, which is scheduled for June 23rd, will contain a new veteran dungeon (Crypt of Hearts), a field of view slider, more object interactions, and plenty of bug fixes and balance tweaks.

In the team's "Road Ahead" letter, ZeniMax informed the community that it's working to carefully balance the classes, get the EU megaserver online, create additional player customization systems, rework quests, and improve the veteran system.

Guns of Icarus dev blog talks player feedback, Hurricane Sandy

Sci-Fi, Culture, MMO Industry, News Items, Dev Diaries, Crowdfunding, Steampunk, Buy-to-Play

Sandy in NYC
Launching an online multiplayer game is challenging in the best of conditions. Try launching one in the midst of a natural disaster, though. That's what Guns of Icarus developer Muse faced in October of 2012 as Hurricane Sandy battered the northeastern United States and left New Yorkers -- including Muse staffers -- without power and internet for weeks.

Muse CEO Howard Tsao tells the full story in the fourth part of his Guns of Icarus post-mortem, which Gamasutra published this morning.

EverQuest video gives you the skinny on franchise news

Betas, Fantasy, Video, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Free-to-Play, Dev Diaries, Landmark

Landmark
SOE released a new video today updating its playerbase with what's going on with each of its EverQuest titles.

EverQuest just released its level 95+ Tower of Rot and the living legacy raids and has more content on deck for those who own the Call of the Forsaken expansion. EverQuest 2 is giving a helping hand to players so that they can level up for the new expansion later this year. As for Landmark, the team is pretty excited about its water tech, caves, Player Studio, and Landmarks of Landmark contest. Unfortunately, EverQuest Next did not make the cut and was voted off the island.

You can watch the video after the jump.

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Anarchy Online prepares 'huge' fall patch

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

AO
Funcom's Joel Bylos posted a producer's letter today for Anarchy Online, promising a major patch for the game later this year.

Among other features, Patch 18.7 will include changes to the Martial Artist and the Trader classes and will begin to automate seasonal events. "In the 18.7 branch, we have placed out all seasonal spawns in the game world and we will start testing on the closed beta in the upcoming weeks to ensure the automated system works as intended," Bylos reported.

The "huge" patch will be put on the test server this summer with a release date sometime before Halloween.

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