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Dev Diaries

EVE Evolved: The Sleepers are coming!

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Game Mechanics, Lore, Patches, Previews, PvE, Opinion, Hands-On, Roleplaying, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
Ever since the announcement of 100 new wormhole systems and the unique Thera wormhole hub system, some interesting things have been going on in EVE Online. A new star appeared in the night sky and began rapidly growing in brightness like a supernova, and curiously, the light from that star was able to be seen from every star system in New Eden simultaneously in clear violation of the laws of physics. Two days prior to the event, Sansha's Nation were seen scattering from an Incursion site and leaving the area without using wormholes, hinting that something big was happening in their home system. Combined with the intruiging story of Thera, this has had even non-roleplayers scrambling through the EVE lore to come up with theories about what's to come.

Players slowly set apart picking the mystery to pieces, conducting a galaxy-wide search to find the origin of the bright star and sending people into the test server to get clues. The mystery intensified when players discovered that the star was likely near or within restricted Jove space, and soon after they began finding strange cloaked structures throughout known space. While observing these structures, players even found that an all-new form of Sleeper NPC called the Circadian Seeker was periodically warping into the site and using some kind of scanning beam on the cloaked structure. All of this comes in anticipation of the public release of the Rhea patch on Tuesday 9th, which will introduce hidden Sleeper sites in known space and kick off the arms race to discover tech 3 destroyers.

In this lore-heavy edition of EVE Evolved, I look at everything we know of EVE's new Sleeper storyline event and try to figure out how it all fits together.

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Camelot Unchained tackles building systems, ability crafting

Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Camelot Unchained

Camelot Unchained
City State Entertainment has continued its daily Camelot Unchained updates with another batch of notes on the ongoing state of the build as the team gears up for alpha testing in 2015.

Studio boss Mark Jacobs says that his crew has done a first pass on the building system as well as the ability crafting system UI, mage VFX and casting, and the grass system. The team is also working on improvements to client performance. "Last month we rocked the network and PhysX side," Jacobs wrote. "Now we begin to do the same on the client side."

Critical improvements to duck pedestal collision are also included in the notes. Check the whole list out on the official site to understand that joke.

EVE's Rhea tweaks star map functionality

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

Rhea's on final approach, and EVE Online developer CCP has published another dev blog designed to clue pilots into the patch's new features. Today's installment tackles the star map, which has been tweaked with new visuals, a windowed mode, and zoom functionality that represents the beginnings of a consolidation project that will marry the star map with EVE's solar system map.

There are some smaller changes as well, so click through to the dev blog to learn more.

Star Citizen's November report is long, informative

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Star Citizen

Welcome back, Star Citizen fans, curious onlookers, and trolls of all shapes and sizes. It's that time of the month where Cloud Imperium publishes an absurdly huge wall-of-text detailing exactly what it's doing with its crowdfunding windfall and provides some fairly unique insight into the making of a triple-A online game.

But, eh, why bother reading all that when you can just skip to the comments and call it vaporware? On your marks, get set, go!

[Thanks for the tip, Cardboard.]

Elder Scrolls Online says there's still 'work to do' on its console version, no launch date yet

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

eso
The self-imposed six-month delay of Elder Scrolls Online's console release has come and gone, and it looks as though fans will be waiting a while yet to see the title come to Xbox One and PlayStation 4. In a new Road Ahead post, the team admits that the adaptation has been tricky but that progress is being made.

"We have been (and will continue to be) steadily working on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of ESO. They are playable and fun right now, but there's still some work to do before we can set an official launch date," Game Director Matt Firor said. He mentioned that, among other tasks, the team is designing a new UI from the ground-up and adding voice chat for the consoles.

Firor also discussed Update 6, which is scheduled for January. The update will contain the new champion and justice systems, the latter of which will allow players to pickpocket NPCs and steal from vendors. However, this will be but the first pass for the justice system, as PvP will be integrated at a later date.

Age of Conan gives rewards for testing achievement system

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

aoc
Age of Conan is hopping on board this cool, hip achievement train that all of the kids are talking about these days with its Update 4.5. In November's game director letter, Joel Bylos said that the upcoming achievements will be merely "the first wave" in an ever-expanding system. In fact, if players help the team test achievements before they go live, they will be given a random pet as a thank-you.

Bylos said that work is also progressing on revamping the world boss event "to provide a more entertaining experience." He also asked the community for its input on which one of two styles of lore entries that players preferred.

The Repopulation expands alpha and focuses on bots

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Housing, The Repopulation, Player-Generated Content

The Repopulation
Above and Beyond has published The Repopulation's end-of-November report, and it's a doozy. The studio discusses the embiggening of its alpha thus far and the addition of new servers to handle the load. The devs have also been working on housing and city locations, a new character versioning system, a new cloning system, nation deeds, facial animations, and tooltips.

Perhaps of most interest to sandbox fans disillusioned with this year's sandbox drama is A&B's focus on its bot detection code. "Our philosophy with bots is that once the game launches it is not really beneficial to ban characters unless they already invested a significant amount of time into the characters, otherwise they can just create a new free account and you need to detect them all over again," the devs wrote. "So we've focused our attention on reducing the benefits of botting. In addition skill gain penalties and stoppage, botters will see their harvesting results capped in quality, and a complete shut off of loot."

Capping off the dev letter are 17,356 words' worth of patch notes. We counted. Check every last one out at the official site.

The myth of Skyforge's Celestial Fortress

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

Skyforge
Guess what, story fans? Skyforge has lore!

Today's dev post explains the myth behind the Celestial Fortress, an epic construction project floating in the sky meant to safeguard the planet Aelion from its own inward-spiraling moon. "While historians still argue about its true origin and meaning," intones the narrator, "only one historical fact remains clear: the Celestial Fortress which the symbol represents prevented the destruction of Aelion." Well, that and the Roche limit, but this is sci-fantasy lore, not astronomy. Carry on, storytellers!

We've included the new concept art of the Celestial Fortress below. Don't forget that Skyforge's browser minigame competition to win a beta key and other prizes is still ongoing for the next several weeks.

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Elder Scrolls Online walks you through crafting writs

Fantasy, Dev Diaries, Crafting, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

eso
Fun fact: Elder Scrolls Online's Update 5 is about a month old at this point and is now able to roll over and distinguish shapes. Among its treasure trove of new features was the introduction of crafting writs. However, in case you are a little confused or curious what these are and how to do them, ZeniMax has crafted (get it?) a new dev diary to walk you through the process.

To be able to take on writs, players will first need to become certified in a desired crafting profession by undertaking a related quest. Once completed, players can accept a task from a writ board to craft specific goods and turn them in for rewards. Each category of writ can only be fulfilled once a day, and completing them can even net you survey reports to point you toward a cluster of harvest nodes.

Here are some screens from SWTOR's new planet

Sci-Fi, Expansions, MMO Industry, News Items, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dev Diaries

Star Wars: The Old Republic's website has updated with a new developer blog called Rishi: Places of Interest. Actually, let me back up. It's not really a developer blog, even though it's listed in the site's developer blog section.

It's actually something of an in-character journal/travel log, but don't worry if you're not a roleplayer. You can still look at the pretty screenshots that focus on points of interest around the planet Rishi, which debuts in this month's Shadow of Revan expansion.

The Secret World's nightmarish Issue #10 coming 'in next couple weeks'

Horror, Real-Life, Events (In-Game), Expansions, The Secret World, Dev Diaries, Buy-to-Play

Content-loving The Secret World fans will be happy to hear that the next issue is just a couple weeks away. Joel Bylos' November Game Director letter has announced that Issue #10 Nightmares in the Dream Palace will go live "in the first half of December." That means more Tokyo locations, a new mission chain, new AEGIS shields, and more interesting characters will soon be available to enjoy. Want to wander the docks and the shipyards? How about prowl around an abandoned quarantine camp or the Orochi tenements? Those locations and more will be available for exploration. Can't wait to hear and see more? Keep your eyes peeled for Massively's hands-on with issue #10 this week!

Not all the goodies are dependent on owning the issue, either. The accompanying patch brings quality-of-life improvements including bug fixes, a UI editing mode, and an updated con system to help newer players. And what's TSW without a great holiday event? The letter also introduces this year's new Christmas event, which will run from the middle of the month until just after the new year. Called The Christmas Conspiracy, it begins with an invitation to see a performance of "The Magic Flute" at the Albion Theatre and entails working to stop the Phoenicians from stealing the very heart of Christmas itself. Previous Christmas events will also return.

Shards Online has big plans for balancing crafting vs. loot

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crafting, Crowdfunding

Shards Online
Yesterday, Citadel Studios released a video dev blog highlighting how crafting will work in its upcoming sandbox, Shards Online. Lead systems designer Bruce "Logrus" Bonnick explains that the team will balance looted and crafted items by making those items truly distinct. "Rather than make loot and crafting compete with each other, I prefer to kind of have them co-mingled," he says. Different properties will exist on gear depending on how it is acquired, thereby suiting different playstyles.

Massively's MJ explored the current build of the game with Citadel's Derek Brinkmann over the holiday weekend via livestream. Shards Online's second Kickstarter reached its $50,000 goal last week.

The crafting vlog is below.

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EVE Evolved: What does Thera mean for EVE?

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Game Mechanics, Guilds, Lore, Patches, Previews, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
If you've been keeping up with the recent news updates on EVE Online, you've probably heard about the upcoming Rhea update scheduled for December 9th. This mega patch will introduce the new tech 3 Tactical Destroyer ship class, Sleeper incursions into normal space, hands-on WASD flight controls, and 101 new wormhole systems (including 25 that are limited to small ships). The new wormhole systems have had all of their planets shattered by an as-yet unknown stellar phenomenon, and clues as to what transpired there will be hidden in the rubble. This infusion of new content and story will mark the first time the wormhole storyline and gameplay have been significantly expanded in over four years.

Each of the new shattered star systems is guaranteed to have at least one outgoing wormhole leading to normal space at all times, increasing the likelihood that pirates will catch you exploring or farming them. And since these systems won't have any in-tact moons, you won't be able to put up a permanent starbase to retreat to if hostiles appear. I'm pretty excited for exploring this new lawless frontier, but it's a unique shattered star system called Thera that I'm most looking forward to finding. Thera will be the first and only wormhole system to have fully kitted NPC stations and will serve as neutral ground for anyone who wants to live there. It's been described as the Mos Eisley of EVE, a permanent home to pirates, PvP corps, and smugglers looking to make some quick ISK.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at how the Thera system could revolutionise EVE for a lot of players and where the EVE storyline could go as a result.

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Guild Wars 2 streamlines PvP queuing, adds map voting

Fantasy, PvP, Guild Wars 2, Dev Diaries, Buy-to-Play

gw2
How can Guild Wars 2's PvP experience be improved? By streamlining the flow, baby!

A new dev diary posted today talks about how ArenaNet is working to improve match flow, starting with the elimination of PvP rosters and simply allowing players to queue solo or with a party. Other significant changes include replacing AFK players before matches begin, group voting on favorite maps, and using the dishonor system to ding those who leave or go AFK during matches.

To get into PvP matches, players will now be required to go to the Heart of the Mists, which is being outfitted with additional core services so that it can be a fun social hub between games.

EVE gives more market data tools to the mod community

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

eve
EVE Online is such a mod-happy game that there's an official site for it, and it's on this site today that CCP said that it will be giving another valuable information-gathering tool to players with the advent of a new searchable resource.

"We also are making available the MarketType resource. MarketTypes is a collection of all possible MarketType resources," the devs posted. Being able to search market history and orders will help modders pull in data from multiple regions and should be in the game with the Rhea content patch.

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