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Elder Scrolls Online gets another third-party auction house

Fantasy, Economy, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ESO Outpost
TESO Elite Marketplace isn't the only attempt out there to fill in the hole of a missing Elder Scrolls Online auction house. ZAM announced today the start up of ESO Outpost to meet the needs of buyers and sellers.

The service uses "a web-based interface and companion add-on" to buy and sell gold and items. The addon includes a customizable description field, optional screenshots, comments section, tracking, and post-trade feedback.

Elder Scrolls devs: Low-percentage drops on AH would harm 'gear chase'

Fantasy, Economy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

Elder Scrolls Online
ZeniMax has released an Elder Scrolls Online Ask Us Anything variety pack that covers everything from taunts and maintaining aggro to server maintenance times. The devs also field a question about guild stores and why they're for guild members only.

"Our goal is to make the economy more player-based, but not to have a system that allows you to find anything at any time because there are so many players involved on a megaserver," ZeniMax says. "With extremely large communities, low-percentage drops can become highly available in auction houses. It ends up harming the 'gear chase' portion of the game."

Working As Intended: What Guild Wars 2 got wrong

Business Models, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Endgame, Guild Wars 2, Crafting, Housing, Working As Intended

Back in March, I spent an entire Working As Intended column discussing the game mechanics that Guild Wars 2 got right. But that's just one side of the story. In order to be completely fair to the game and to myself, I want to grump about the things it got wrong. Don't take this as utter condemnation for the MMO; we're most critical of the things we love precisely because we love and know them so well and want them to be so much more. And in spite of all the things I love about Guild Wars 2, it's far too often living in the shadow of its older sibling.

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EVE Fanfest 2014: EVE's Kronos expansion is an industrial revolution

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

EVE Online title image
The EVE Online keynote presentation finished just a few hours ago at EVE Fanfest 2014, and it looks as if there are big plans for the year ahead. This summer will bring us the Kronos expansion, which is scheduled for June 3rd and aims to revolutionise every aspect of industrial activity in EVE Online in terms of both gameplay and accessibility. The economy has become quite stagnant over the past year as players have long since worked out all the most efficient ways to manufacture and trade, so CCP has planned its very own industrial revolution with a complete overhaul of industrial gameplay.

Kronos also marks another important milestone for CCP, as the company will be switching from releasing two major expansions per year to a more agile strategy of releasing 10 smaller updates each year. The Kronos release was originally planned as a full expansion before the changeover to a 10-release schedule, so it's as packed as a full expansion. In addition to a deluge of industry overhauls, we'll be getting a shiny new mining ship, major pirate faction ship revamps, an enhanced new player experience, and a cool new effect when players warp into or out of an area.

Read on for a breakdown of the EVE keynote presentation and to find out why CCP is moving away from its usual two expansions per year.

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EVE Fanfest 2014: Economy talk highlights PLEX prices and reveals titan production statistics

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Business Models, Culture, Economy, Events (Real-World), Guilds, PvP, Opinion, Events (Massively's Coverage), Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crafting, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

When we asked our readers to to pick the EVE Fanfest panel they most wanted to hear about, the most popular choice by a comfortable margin was Economy: Into the Second Decade. So today I popped in to hear what CCP's Lead Economist Dr Eyjo had to say on the year's biggest economic events and plans for the future. The talk started with the usual comparison of ISK sinks vs. ISK faucets, showing the various ways that ISK enters and leaves the game. Too much entering could cause rapid inflation, while not enough could cause economic collapse.

A net value of around 20-25 trillion ISK is reportedly injected into the game each month, a level that Dr Eyjo insists isn't enough to cause any inflationary problems in the economy. The big focus of this year's economics talk was the destruction of around $270,000 US worth of Titan class supercapital ships in the recent Bloodbath of B-R5RB. Also on the table for discussion was the recent rapid increase in price of the 30 Day Pilot's License Extension (PLEX), an item that can be bought on the market for ISK and exchanged for game time. This can effectively make EVE free-to-play, but prices are now at over 700 million ISK and are starting to become prohibitive for some players.

Read on for a detailed breakdown of CCP's entire economics talk from Fanfest 2014, including surprising stats on how many titans are built each quarter.

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SOE updates Landmark, pushes back international Player Studio rollout

Betas, Fantasy, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Contests, Economy, Patches, Free-to-Play, DC Universe Online, EverQuest Next, PlanetSide 2, Landmark

It was the best of times for SOE and it was the worst of times. It was the season of glorious patches and of disappointing delays. It was also May 1st, in case you haven't checked your calendar.

SOE delivered an update to Landmark's beta today, including claim feedback, chat improvements, new props, and the ability to teleport to other claims from the gallery view. The studio also launched its first competition, this one to create visually stunning landmarks for the game's environment. The competition will conclude on May 7th.

Unfortunately, international players of SOE's library looking to partake in Player Studio goodness will have to wait a while longer: "Initially, we hoped to expand Player Studio to Canada, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom on or before May 1st, but given the intricacy of the program and our recent launch of the new All Access Membership plan, we have decided to roll out international support for Player Studio at the end of May."

The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the best economy?

Economy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Crafting, Player-Generated Content

I'm an incurable trader and merchant, maybe even more than I'm a crafter, so I'm forever droning on about the good ol' days in long-gone sandboxes where players, not raid bosses, delivered all the objects used in the world. Making stuff is great, and lots of MMOs, even themeparks, have that, but I also I like setting up shops, trading on auction halls, finding great deals, and knowing just when to buy low to sell high, which isn't always the type of creative PvP gameplay that modern MMORPGs enable, let alone embrace.

But you can't trade in long-gone sandboxes, either, so today I want to tap the collective wisdom of the Massively readers: Which MMO has the most vibrant crafting and trading economy, right now, in a legally playable and living MMO? Specifically, where's the best MMO to truly be a player merchant?

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!

Leaderboard: Does Elder Scrolls' lack of an auction house bother you?

Fantasy, Economy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, Leaderboard, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

Elder Scrolls Online doggie
Yesterday's Massively Speaking took Elder Scrolls Online to task for not having an auction house. Normally I would agree, given my long-standing passion for MMO economies and crafting.

So far, though, the lack of an AH hasn't affected my playstyle at all through the first 30 levels. I'm a member of two trading megaguilds as well as my normal guild, and from the inside looking out, there's no difference between selling to thousands of faceless people in your "guilds" or selling to thousands of faceless people via an AH.

I can't say whether ZeniMax purposefully designed ESO's economy this way or simply ran out of the time and money necessary to make an AH. But it doesn't really matter, personally, because my pre-launch expectations amounted to "yet another themepark crapfest," so I continue to be pleasantly surprised by how wrong those expectations were -- even without an AH! What about you, ESO players? Does the game's lack of an AH bother you? Vote after the cut!

Ever wish that you could put to rest a long-standing MMO debate once and for all? Then welcome to the battle royal of Massively's Leaderboard, where two sides enter the pit o' judgment -- and only one leaves. Vote to make your opinion known, and see whether your choice tops the Leaderboard!

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PAX East 2014: Pre-launch words with WildStar's Jeremy Gaffney

Sci-Fi, Economy, Interviews, Launches, Endgame, WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

This is the sort of stuff that got me excited for the game in the first place.
WildStar is being released in about a month and a half. It feels as if it's been forever since the game first revealed its announcement trailer. Now we've finally got a release date in sight, and the last few features for the game are being revealed to the public. It's one of the last chances that we'll have to talk about the game before it releases.

On the last day of this year's PAX East, I had a chance to sit down with executive producer Jeremy Gaffney to chat a little bit more about the game before it launches. While the game has gone gold and the discs are being manufactured, the team is still refining and improving the game and plans to do so up until the day of launch. That meant talking about the endgame, the development process, and the changes that have been made already in the most recent stages of beta.

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EVE Evolved: Anatomy of a mining op

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Economy, Game Mechanics, PvE, EVE Evolved, Guides, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
When EVE Online was first released in 2003, it was designed as a massive universe of competition and conflict between space-faring megacorporations in the distant future. Players bought into the premise completely and soon set about building their own empires and waging wars with neighbours. Corporations ran regular mining operations for resources to build frigates and cruisers for their members, and some of the larger corps co-operatively mined to build the first ever battleships in the game. The mining op has been a staple activity in the game ever since, providing a way for groups to work together on large manufacturing projects or just make some ISK during their down-time.

Mining gets a lot of flak for being one of the most boring and least profitable professions in the game, but that's not exactly true. Solo mining can be a great way to spend your downtime while doing other activities, and it ensures that you're online when something exciting happens like a live event, your wormhole system being invaded, or a titan being tackled by your alliance. Co-operative mining ops also offer the social value of bonding with your corpmates when there's nothing else going on. Some players even run dozens of accounts at the same time to turn this ordinarily placid activity into an intensive profit-making activity focused on efficiency and organisation skills.

With mining due to make a resurgence in the summer expansion, this edition of EVE Evolved is dedicated to the humble mining operation. I'll take a look at the various options for mining ships, the different haulers available, and the four different areas you can mine in.

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Working As Intended: There's nothing wrong with soloing in MMORPGs

Business Models, Economy, Game Mechanics, Guilds, MMO Industry, Opinion, Miscellaneous, Dungeons, Working As Intended

A Massively community member recently wrote into the podcast to tell us that he prefers to solo, to craft for himself, to avoid group quests, and to skip guilds. Still, he told us, he loves MMOs and doesn't want to leave them to play single-player RPGs. "What the hell is wrong with me?" he asked.

Nothing. Nothing at all. There's nothing wrong with soloing in MMORPGs.

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Elder Scrolls Online recommends third-party auction forum for trading

Fantasy, Economy, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

One of the more interesting omissions from Elder Scrolls Online's feature set is a lack of an in-game auction house, as the team preferred guild stores instead. But that hasn't stopped the fans from filling in the gap and even the developers from pointing players to the workaround.

ZeniMax tweeted a recommendation today that fans check out TESO Elite's Marketplace forum as a facilitator of in-game trading: "Looking to buy, sell, and trade in-game goods and services in #ESO? Then @TesoElite's new marketplace is for you."

The studio previously explained why it decided to omit an auction house from the MMO: "You don't necessarily want to do a global auction house for a game with one giant server because that generally leads to all the best gear being available at very, very cheap prices. A lot of times that can trivialize the game. You cannot have a healthy economy when there are no restrictions on getting the best stuff in the game."

Landmark replaces its trading post with the showcase

Betas, Fantasy, Economy, Patches, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Crafting, Landmark

Say goodbye to Landmark's trading post; the closed beta sandbox has replaced the old TP for a new and improved showcase. The showcase will not only sell items, but will allow players to vote in item competitions and browse through claims. SOE has even made the showcase available outside of the game for you work slackers out there.

Today's Landmark update also contains an expansion of the claim system. Players now have the ability to own two root and three attached claims. While you're claiming choice spots left and right, you can check out the new pink lumicite crafting material and swappable hotbars as well.

World of Tanks makes more per user than LoL, GW2, and everyone else

Historical, Business Models, Economy, MMO Industry, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, World of Tanks

Highest ARPU
Wargaming's tank-based lobby battler generated more revenue per user than League of Legends and Dota 2 over the past 12 months.

In fact, World of Tanks generated more ARPU than any other major F2P title, according to Superdata. "There's World of Tanks, which has a monthly active user base of around 9.1 million and makes $4.51 per month per user. And there's League of Legends, with 58.5 million average monthly actives over the past twelve months, and a $1.32 spend per user. Five times the audience, but less than [a] third of the earnings per player," Superdata says.

After WoT, the top five includes Team Fortress 2, Guild Wars 2, War Thunder, and PlanetSide 2.

NCsoft relents on Lineage II's hero coin prices

Fantasy, Lineage 2, Economy, Patches, Free-to-Play

Lineage II
The outrageous -- and expensive -- Lineage II hero coin program is receiving a nerf in favor of the players. NCsoft announced today that it has reduced prices on "top-tier prizes" in the hero coin store by 40% or more. As an example, the Dark Amaranthine Weapon Pack has been reduced from 375,000 hero coins to 100,500 as a result of this change.

NCsoft also said that it will be giving players a hand with affording these items: "For those of you who might still be lamenting your inability to afford the reward items of your choice, take heart. We'll be introducing some special promotions both this month and in the future designed to help you increase your hero coin balance."

The launch of the hero coin program earlier this year was met with strong resistance and criticism for its exorbitant nature. Hero coins is a bonus currency that is given whenever a player spends real money in the game's store.

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