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Fantasy

Donate to Age of Conan board game Kickstarter for an in-game MMO mount

Fantasy, Age of Conan, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Promotions, Crowdfunding

AoC
If you're an avid player of Funcom's Age of Conan MMORPG, chances are good you're a Conan fan and a gaming geek, so why not combine the three with an Age of Conan board game? Funcom posted today that Ares Games is remaking the Conan-flavored strategy board game complete with a new expansion called Adventures in Hyboria.

The catch is that the board game's designers are seeking Kickstarter funding, but it's already raised $52,000 more than asked for as of the time of this writing, so faith in the project appears high. There's even a tie-in for Age of Conan MMO players who pledge funds to the campaign. Writes Funcom,
[W]e are happy to announce that anyone who contributes to this Kickstarter will get the all new Strategist's Steed mount in our Age of Conan Unchained MMORPG! Once the Kickstarter is finished, anyone who has contributed will receive a key which can be used on the Age of Conan account pages. This key gives the Strategist's Steed armored swift horse in-game (requiring advanced riding training to use), which can then be claimed in the Item Shop once per account.
Stretch goal rewards for the Kickstarter include special miniatures, bonus cards, and die-cut board pieces.

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ArenaNet teases Guild Wars 2's road to war

Fantasy, Interviews, Lore, Patches, PvE, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

GW2
After a break, a feature pack, and the yearly antics of the Thorn family, the second season of Guild Wars 2's living world will soon be back in business. The business is, of course, preparing to fight Elder Dragons; the

We got to talk with ArenaNet's Lead Writer Bobby Stein and Associate Game Director Steven Waller about how the living world story has marked out what the team calls the "road to war" against Mordremoth and its minions. But as Game Director Colin Johanson said in his latest blog post, "The road to war is paved with points of no return." That doesn't exactly sound good for Tyria, but it may be exciting for GW2 fans who are looking forward to something big.

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World of Warcraft to relocate Oceanic servers to Aussie data center

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Business Models, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items

WoW
Blizzard has just announced a new Australian server infrastructure for World of Warcraft, deploying ahead of the release of Warlords of Draenor in November. The existing Oceanic servers (Barthilas, Frostmourne, Thaurissan, Saurfang, Caelestrasz, Jubei'Thos, Khaz'goroth, Aman'Thul, Nagrand, Dath'Remar, Dreadmaul, and Gundrak) will physically move to a new Australian data center, ensuring reduced latency for players down under. Aussie and Kiwi players currently housed on North American shards will be granted free but optional character transfers and guild master realm transfers in the two weeks leading up to Draenor; Blizzard assures Oceanic players that LFG and PvP pools and queue times won't suffer unduly as a result.

In other WoW news, PC Gamer has a new interview with lead encounter designer Ion Hazzikostas, in which he discusses the "obstacles" facing aging games, the dilemma of graphics upgrades, and the non-Blizzard MMOs he enjoys. When asked about subscription models across the industry, Hazzikostas reiterated that subs still make sense for WoW: "We deliver high value for the monthly subscription because it allows us to provide a steady stream of content, and we don't have any plans to move away from that any time soon."

Final Fantasy XIV 24-hour patch downtime and cash shop controversy [Updated]

Fantasy, Patches, News Items, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, Subscription

Bring it on already.
If you've got any lingering business in Final Fantasy XIV you want to get finished before patch 2.4 launches on Tuesday, you'd better get it taken care of on Sunday. Yes, Sunday. Because of the new wards being added, database maintenance will also be undertaken while the patch is being applied, and it comes down to a 24-hour maintenance downtime from 3:00 a.m. EDT on October 27th until 3:00 a.m. EDT on October 28th. The maintenance might take a bit longer to complete, but players will want to be finished up and logged off before it starts. [Edit: Square-Enix has announced that the maintenance will be extended by one hour until 4:00 a.m. EDT on October 28th.]

Patch 2.4 also introduces to the game the cash shop, which has already provoked extensive player discussion, including requests to keep past seasonal items out of the shop. Opinion on the matter is split, and there has been no official word yet from Square-Enix, although it is possible that there will be more concerns addressed during the London Fanfest this weekend.

Leaderboard: Which 2014 MMO will be the most financially successful?

Fantasy, Business Models, MMO Industry, Opinion, ArcheAge, Sandbox, WildStar, Leaderboard, The Elder Scrolls Online

2014 is winding down, and when it comes to big triple-A MMO releases, it's basically over already. The Elder Scrolls Online, WildStar, and ArcheAge all debuted this year and apart from their differing premises, mechanics, and reception, they also differed in terms of their business models.

One thing they had in common, though, was expensive production values as well as the pressure of carrying the financial flag for their respective development studios. While it's hard to accurately predict the future, that's exactly what we're going to do in today's Leaderboard. Which of 2014's big three do you think will be the most financially successful in the long run? Vote after the cut and don't forget to explain your vote in the comments!

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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Trion removing illicit gold from ArcheAge

Fantasy, Economy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, ArcheAge, Sandbox

Trion is serving notice to gold buyers that some of their ill-gotten gains are being removed from ArcheAge. "If you bought or were gifted gold from [a gold seller], you may see it disappear," the company wrote on its official forums. "We do have the ability to trace coin, and that's the gold that's being cleaned up right now."

[Thanks Direpath!]

World of Warcraft previews the creatures of Gorgrond

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Lore, Previews, News Items, Subscription

Hello, I'm more interesting than orcs.
Draenor is not the same as Azeroth. Sure, the release of Warlords of Draenor will bring the heroes of Azeroth into a lush and vibrant version of Draenor, but World of Warcraft players will have to deal with creatures that most decidedly do not exist on Azeroth. Case in point: The preview of the creatures who inhabit Gorgrond shows off sentient plants and stones that have stood and wage war against one another on the steppes and in the jungles of the region.

The Botani are a race of sapient plants that wage war against the Gronn, the Goren, and their minions. They revere their walking demigods, the Genesaurs, and they are more than capable of gestating the seeds of their offspring in living hosts to produce shambling beasts called the Infected. Take a look at the full preview for more lore details, and get ready to sharpen your sword against a hostile plant-person when Warlords of Draenor releases.

Choose My Adventure: The once and future Swordsman

Fantasy, Historical, Polls, Expansions, New Titles, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Choose My Adventure, MMORPG, Swordsman

Swordsman
For the last three weeks, I've been whipping and kicking every bad guy I can find in Perfect World Entertainment's Swordsman in the hopes of understanding this peculiar wuxia MMORPG. My Choose My Adventure experience thus far has been mixed; I've enjoyed Swordsman's theme and setting, but its mechanics and hard-to-follow narrative have made the experience a touch less manageable. Swordsman from 1-30 seems at best like an extended tutorial and at worst like a game that plays itself.

That's not just my opinion. All of the feedback I can find on the game seems to point in one direction: Swordsman's early levels aren't the main attraction. The real Swordsman exists in PvP (unlocked at level 30), guild quests (unlocked at level 35), and instances (unlocked at 15 -- not bad). Last week's combat discipline discovery at 25 further cemented the idea that Swordsman is a game designed to reward players who stick through the initial grind.

I didn't have much time to play this last week, but I did get a chance to sit down with PWE product manager Gabrielle Heiland to talk about Swordsman's first expansion, the future of the game, and how Perfect World feels about the game's current "wait and see" design.

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Guild Wars 2 restricts gem store purchase options [Updated]

Fantasy, Economy, Patches, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

gw2
An attempt to streamline Guild Wars 2's gem currency exchange may be causing more consternation than celebration among the game's playerbase.

ArenaNet simplified the exchange in a recent build, giving players preset options to buy gems with gold or sell gems for gold. However, as the lowest gem bundle price point is 400, it's irked players who wish to buy smaller increments for some of the cheaper options in the store and feel as though they're overbuying gems in these situations.

Forum Communications Team Lead Gaile Gray gave an explanation for the change and said that the team is evaluating feedback: "The goal was to make the gem store more like other shopping experiences, and if you think about it, there is more of that feel to it now. You may be surprised to know this (I know I was) but very few people bought gems at smaller denominations than the first one offered in the new system. That's not to say they never did, nor that there wouldn't be the desire to do so. But overall, the current options were selected based on player purchases in the past. The team is going to listen to your feedback and, if and when it's practical and desirable, they can look towards adjusting the new system to better meet your needs."

[Update: Gaile Gray has reassured players that ArenaNet will reverse course on GemGate. "In light of your feedback, we will update the Currency Exchange so that you can decide how you want to use it," she wrote on the official forums. "We will keep the new streamlined system and also offer a new 'Custom' button on the panel that you can use to exchange any increment of gems or gold. We anticipate rolling this out soon. Stay tuned!"]

RIFT's Nightmare Tide expansion launches today

Fantasy, Business Models, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Launches, New Titles, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Dungeons

RIFT
After a brief postponement, RIFT's Nightmare Tide expansion will launch today. It opens up the Plane of Water, introduces a minion system, revamps endgame classes with masteries, ushers in endless nightmare rifts of all levels, and tweaks the mentor system to scale players' level upward, not just downward.

Earlier this month, Massively's Justin Olivetti explored the expansion's key features and weighed the pros and cons of the collectors editions. He noted that free players who don't pay for the expansion will be able to play most of it but will lose out on earring slots, Planeswalker: Water gear, and the Manguo League, though some of the restrictions can be removed with in-game effort.

West coast-based Trion Worlds says to expect the rollout this afternoon.

EverQuest Next video talks about Ogres and Dwarves

Fantasy, Video, Previews, News Items, Races, EverQuest Next, Sandbox

Because you dearly want to play a dwarf again.
When you talk about basic fantasy races, Dwarves and Ogres are up there as the classics. But which do you find more interesting to learn about in EverQuest Next? The latest episode of the game's Workshop Show is available now; art director Rosie Rappaport and creative director Jeff Butler are joined by lead content designer Steve Danuser to show off the style and lore of both races while players vote over which one should be the next workshop focus.

Dwarves, for their part, are fairly familiar to anyone who has played EverQuest or EverQuest II (or pretty much any fantasy game from 1967 to the present): short, stocky, bearded, ancestral, and traditional. Ogres, meanwhile, have changed a lot, with a renewed developer emphasis on making the race more appealing to players in general whilst offering a wider range of available style options for players. You can watch the full show past the break, but be forewarned: It's a long one.

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Hearthstone due out on smartphones early next year

Fantasy, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Trading Card Games

Technology used on your portable technology to make something that is already portable and replicates another portable game... our sci-fi future is weird.
The one thing that Hearthstone currently lacks in comparison to traditional card games is the simple portability of a deck of cards, but that deficiency will soon be rectified. A new update on the official site shares an infographic with players and talks turkey on the upcoming clients for iPhones and Android phones.

The client for Android tablets is nearly finished and should be ready before the end of the year; the iPad version softlaunched last spring. But the iPhone client is taking just a little longer to polish up. As a result, the clients for these devices will not be ready until early next year. So you won't be able to bring the game with you on your phone to winter holiday gatherings in 2014, but before long, you'll be carrying an entire deck of cards in a device that is smaller than an actual deck of cards.

We've included the game's playerbase infographic below.

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Ultima Online dares you to seek the Treasures of Doom

Fantasy, Bugs, Events (Real-World), Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Ultima Online, Promotions, Sandbox, Dungeons, Anniversaries, Subscription

UO
Ultima Online's publish 87 arrives on all shards today, bringing with it Halloween gifts as well as a fresh round of 17th anniversary gifts meant as an apology for their tardiness. The patch introduces a new Halloween event, Treasures of Doom, which funnels players into the dungeon Doom. Artifacts collected inside the dungeon can be traded to new NPC researchers stationed outside in return for brand-new titles and loot items, including named lanterns, unique slayer bonus buffs, and several pieces of high-end gear.

The update also installs bug fixes for the vice vs. virtue PvP system, trade quests, and enhanced client.

The game's standard trick-or-treating events run until November 19th, while the Treasures of Doom promotion continues until December 1st and won't resume again until Halloween next year.

Arcane Legends infographic reveals 15 million installs

Fantasy, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Anniversaries

arcane legends
Arcane Legends has recently released on Amazon's appstore, and to celebrate this milestone Spacetime Studios created an infographic of all of the other milestones that the game has hit over the past two years.

Prepare yourself, for big numbers are coming your way: Arcane Legends has clocked 15 million installs, 365 million play sessions, 140 million play hours, and over 7.5 billion creatures slain. But if you need spiffy graphics and real-world comparisons, you'll be best served by checking out the lengthy infographic after the break.

[Source: Spacetime Studios press release]

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ArcheAge's Hartsman: 'We're banning about 5K a day'

Fantasy, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, ArcheAge, Sandbox

Trion CEO Scott Hartsman took to Twitter today to address concerns over botting and economy-destroying exploits in ArcheAge.

He says that some of the shenanigans making the rounds on Reddit are legit and are "on XL's plate for fixing," though "much of it is false forum bragging." He also says that Trion is banning five thousand bots per day and has "dozens of people here working on this very thing."

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