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Economy

EVE Evolved: Wormholes should be more dangerous

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
When unstable wormholes began forming all over the EVE Online universe in 2009's Apocrypha expansion, players approached them with extreme caution. The promise of riches in the form of new loot and Tech 3 cruiser components was balanced by the incalculable risk of facing a powerful new enemy in untested circumstances. Between the Sleeper AI that had been reported to melt players' ships in seconds and the player pirates taking advantage of the hidden local chat channel to sneak up on unsuspecting victims, we had no idea whether any ship we sent into a wormhole would ever make it back out again.

The risk of venturing into something truly unknown made wormhole exploration the single most exciting thing I've ever been a part of in an MMO, but the past five years have completely eroded that danger. Farmers now know exactly what to expect in every wormhole site and can efficiently farm Sleepers with the minimum of effort or risk, and PvP alliances can rapidly cycle through systems to find weak targets to attack. We've mapped and tamed all of the wormhole frontier, systematically reducing the risk to the lowest possible levels under the current game mechanics. Tuesday's Hyperion update aimed to shake things up with a few disruptive changes designed to keep wormholes dangerous, and I think it's a definite step in the right direction.

In this week's EVE Evolved, I look at some of the changes in Hyperion designed to keep wormholes dangerous and ask what more could be done to keep things interesting.

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Latest Pathfinder Online devblog emphasizes player-driven economy

Fantasy, Economy, New Titles, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crafting, Pathfinder Online

Although players in Pathfinder Online's Alpha 7 run will earn 5,000 XP per hour (in order to help them test more things), the latest devblog warns that things will get decidedly harder once gameplay starts after Early Enrollment. At that point players will face a "cold start," beginning the game with only simple peasant clothes, a club, and 1,000 XP to spend on initial feats. Everything else, from feats to gear to cash, will grow from that.

The devblog also details the player-driven economy; by design, nearly everything characters use will be player-crafted. Mobs will drop only starter equipment, coin, salvage, or -- the rarest and most valuable -- recipes. Players can only upgrade gear past the starter level through crafting, and gear can be crafted with certain key words that add bonuses when combined with specific slotted feats. For full details, and a look at what Pathfinder devs are doing at PAX Prime, check out the official site.

Destiny: No trading with others allowed

Betas, Sci-Fi, Economy, MMOFPS, Destiny, Buy-to-Play

destiny
One major staple of online gaming won't be present in Destiny when it launches: trading. The developers have made it clear that all of your gear must be attained with blood, sweat, and tears instead of swapped for another player's loot or bought for virtual bucks.

"We want you to earn 'em. You should be able to tell a badass story for every sweet jewel in your arsenal," Bungie wrote on its blog last week. "Once you earn them, the various Guardians under your account will be able to trade them, but weapons belong to the players who acquire them through action and bravery."

The team reported that it did one final internal playtest of the game this past weekend: "Though Destiny may be basking in the gold light of release, we're already looking ahead to the next milestone, and the next one after that."

The Daily Grind: What do you buy in MMOs?

Culture, Economy, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

neverwinter
Every so often I like to be nosy and pry into your personal finances. Wow, you blow through a lot of Candy Crush microtransactions, don't you? And your Pez eBay purchases have gotten out of control.

But let's just pretend that I don't have unparalleled access to your checking account and ask you to share what you buy in MMOs with real money. Looking back, probably my biggest purchases from the past six months were a subscription to WildStar, various cosmetic outfits and minipets in Guild Wars 2, the new mission packs in The Secret World, and a ghost companion in Neverwinter.

What do you buy?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

SMITE raises money for world championship pot by selling items

Fantasy, Video, Classes, Economy, Free-to-Play, MOBA

smite
SMITE has a new plan to raise money for its World Championship prize pool called The Odyssey. Basically, the Odyssey program allows players a limited-time window to purchase exclusive items and sets for the game that will never be sold again. Part of the proceeds from those sales will go into the prize pool for the championship.

In other SMITE news, the game has added a new Mayan god. Cabrakan is a "destroyer of mountains," which is a good thing if you have a mountain coming at you down a lane. He's good at crowd control, protecting allies, and blocking enemy progress.

We've got videos on both Cabrakan and the Odyssey program for you to watch after the break.

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Perfect World Entertainment continues to rake in money

Fantasy, Economy, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Neverwinter, Swordsman

pwe
Perfect World Entertainment continues its hot streak of revenue generation, posting gains both quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year. The company released its Q2 2014 financials this past week, and reported revenues of $149.6 million, of which $138.8 million come from PWE's online games. Gross profit was $109.4 million during the same quarter.

PWE CEO Robert Xiao attributed the company's financial success to Swordsman's release, Dota2's launch in China, and several new mobile titles. Xiao said that the company was looking forward to releasing Legend of the Condor Heroes, as well as pushing Neverwinter into the Chinese market.

World of Warcraft's Chinese partner sees increase in profit and revenue

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Economy, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Diablo III, Hearthstone

wow
Earlier this month, Blizzard claimed that a "disproportionate" amount of its 800,000 lost World of Warcraft subscribers were from the east. While that may be, China is doing quite well with the studio's games.

Gamasutra reports that Blizzard's partner in the region, NetEase, posted a "modest rise" in both profit and revenue during the second quarter. The company reported revenue of $376.6M, a rise of 13% from last year. This financial summary includes NetEase's own titles along with World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, and Hearthstone. Hearthstone was singled out as a "strong earner" due to its recent launch in the region.

Both Blizzard and NetEase are working to bring Diablo III and Heroes of the Storm to the country in the future.

WildStar and Guild Wars 2 boost NCsoft profits

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Aion, Lineage, Lineage 2, Economy, MMO Industry, Guild Wars 2, Free-to-Play, Blade & Soul, WildStar

ncsoft
The second quarter of 2014 was a very good time indeed for NCsoft, as the publisher announced today that revenues and profits are up thanks to WildStar's launch and Guild Wars 2's move into China.

In today's earnings report, NCsoft shows that sales went up 20% and operating profit increased 46% from the previous quarter. The company said that it saw a marketing expense increase due to WildStar and that Lineage "recovered meaningfully" during this period.

As for sales per game, Lineage is still at the top with 32.2%. Following that is WildStar (15.9%), Guild Wars 2 (12.6%), Blade and Soul (10.8%), Aion (10.4%), and Lineage II (7.7%).

RIFT addresses player auction house concerns

Fantasy, Economy, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT

Look, I appreciate your irritation at the rates, but I am relatively certain we have bigger concerns right at the moment.
RIFT brought some major changes to its live servers yesterday, but one change wasn't mentioned in the patch notes and produced more than a little player irritation. Along with all of the other auction house changes, helpfully compiled by RIFTJunkies, the transaction cost was changed from a flat fee to a 5% scaling tax. That's kind of a big change if you're used to only having a minor hit whether the auction sells or not.

According to the development team, this change will not be reversed, but modifications will be made to help make the shift feel less punishing to players. The goal is to both recover some money from the economy and cut down on unnecessary auctions for trivial sums. Players can expect to see a hotfix next week to make the taxes both lower and dependent upon the length of the auction; read the full auction house breakdown for more details as well as an in-depth look at the other changes.

Flameseeker Chronicles: The curse of Guild Wars 2's precursor weapons

Fantasy, Economy, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Flameseeker Chronicles, Crafting, Buy-to-Play

Ten thousand thank yous to eirstegalkin of Tumblr for this awesome manip of my characters together!
My wife doesn't play Guild Wars 2 any more. She hasn't exactly made a deliberate choice to leave the game and never come back, but she used to play every day. Some time around the end of season one of the living world story, she started logging in only every week or so, and then finally not at all. She dips in for a few seconds to unlock the new story chapters, but only because I remind her that they're out.

This is the first time the two of us have been seriously invested in different MMOs. When she stopped playing GW2 as often, she dived headfirst into Final Fantasy XIV, which is totally understandable because it's a great game and I play it casually myself. Normally I wouldn't consider this development to be article material because people drift away from games they used to love and find new ones all the time, and it's not necessarily a bad thing. But this wasn't a natural split: When I told her about all of the cool story stuff happening in season two, my wife's response was, "That sounds neat. Has ArenaNet implemented precursor crafting yet?"

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Neverwinter exploit results in emergency maintenance, no rollback

Fantasy, Bugs, Business Models, Economy, Events (Real-World), News Items, Free-to-Play, Neverwinter

Neverwinter's emergency maintenance this afternoon fueled speculation among players that another currency exploit was to blame and a rollback was imminent, but Perfect World Community Manager Akromatik says no rollback is planned. On the official forums, he wrote,
Due to an exploit we had to bring down the servers for an emergency maintenance. The exploit was brought to our attention by our fantastic community. Your efforts, enabled us to find and implement a fix as soon as possible. Unfortunately the fix required downtime and will likely require additional maintenance following our investigation. While there is no rollback planned, we will be taking action against people who abused this exploit. Thank you for your patience, diligence and understanding. We will keep you updated as the situation develops.
A serious currency exploit in May of 2013 after the game had soft-launched into "open beta" did in fact result in a rollback.

[Thanks to Jeremiah for the tip!]

Darkfall introduces PLEX-like 'D.U.E.L.' subscription currency

Fantasy, Darkfall, Business Models, Economy, MMO Industry, News Items, Sandbox

Darkfall
Yesterday, Aventurine added what it called a "minor" new feature to PvP sandbox Darkfall: a payment system remarkably similar to those found in EVE Online, WildStar, ArcheAge, and most recently Anarchy Online. Says the official site,
Several minor changes were included in the same update, also the addition of a shop item named D.U.E.L which, when purchased with selentine gold, will add 30 days of subscription time to your account if activated. The purpose of D.U.E.L is to give Darkfall players in-game options to renew their subscriptions.
Redditor mmochallenge notes that the in-game D.U.E.L. items are currently selling for around 150,000 gold.

SWTOR will charge a cool 50 million credits for guild ships

Betas, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Economy, Game Mechanics, Guilds, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic

We hope Star Wars: The Old Republic players have been saving up their credits for a rainy day because that rainy day is here and it wants its money. BioWare Community Manager Eric Musco announced on today's livestream that guild ships, expected in next month's Galactic Strongholds expansion, will cost a whopping 50 million credits, making it arguably the most expensive single item in the game as it surpasses the cost of the ST-7 Recon Walker and Dathomir Rancor.

Massively's SWTOR expert Larry Everett notes that while it's not uncommon for a lone player to have a tenth that amount and the 'wealthy' title is granted for amassing 10 million credits, small guilds might struggle summoning the funds for these ships.

Camelot Unchained plans a robust, anti-mule crafting economy

Betas, Fantasy, Historical, Economy, Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Crafting, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained, MMORPG

Welcome back to our coverage of City State Entertainment's batshit-crazy days for Camelot Unchained! A few weeks ago, we spoke with CSE co-founder Mark Jacobs about each of the topics being revealed this week via livestream; this afternoon, we're digging into my personal favorite: crafting and economy.
Massively: I just wrote about a game with excessive recovery time for crafters, likewise implemented for economic reasons, and wow, players hate those restrictions. Doesn't introducing (I'm going to say it) "designed downtime" for crafters encourage crafter mules and arbitrarily interfere with the natural economy? Aren't there more organic ways to slow down crafting? Why allow combatants to fight 24/7 but not allow crafters to craft equivalently?

CSE's Mark Jacobs: It's a really good question and a definite concern for us. My feeling was that I wanted to create a system where crafters don't have to sit around, crafting 24/7 in a manner that could lead to carpal tunnel. Other games, including Dark Age of Camelot, were more like that. Crafters shouldn't have to sit around and simply click-click-click, etc. The comparison isn't totally correct though, because combatants have downtime to recover their health or power, during travel, etc. (especially in an RvR MMORPG), while crafters can sit in a shop and use the Vox Magus to craft.

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EVE Evolved: Making ISK from the Crius release

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, PvP, PvE, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crafting, Player-Generated Content, Subscription

EVE Evolved title image
‚ÄčEVE Online's economy has been studied over the years for its resemblance to the real world, and it is often cited as an example of a hyper-capitalist society with no laws or regulation. But underneath the emergent interplay of supply and demand that has fueled everything from freighter businesses to virtual investment banks, EVE is ultimately a game. The biggest influence on the markets by far has always been CCP Games and the changes it deploys in expansions, which shake the universe up and force players to adapt to new circumstances.

There's always money to be made from major gameplay changes, and accurately predicting how an expansion will impact on the market can put you on the head of a short-lived but very lucrative gold rush. Though EVE's updates now come in the form of ten smaller releases per year, the upcoming Crius release scheduled for July 22nd has practically a whole expansion's worth of changes to industry and research. That gives you just over two weeks to prepare for the change, train any skills you might need, and figure out how to cash in on EVE's industrial revolution.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I run down some tips for how to prepare for the upcoming industry revamp in Crius and make some ISK.

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