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Fantasy

Blizzard's Chilton: Expansions are barriers to people coming back

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, News Items

In the aftermath of World of Warcraft's latest subscriber number downturn, Blizzard game designer Tom Chilton says he's unsure if the fantasy MMORPG will rebound like it has in the past. "We really don't know if it will grow again," he said, according to MCVUK. "It is possible, but I wouldn't say it's something that we expect. Our goal is to make the most compelling content we can."

Chilton also touched on Blizzard's decision to provide a level 90 character with its Warlords of Draenor expansion. "By building expansions, you are effectively building up barriers to people coming back. But by including the level 90 character with this expansion, it gives people the opportunity to jump right into the new content," he said.

RuneScape opens up Soul Reaping for fun and profit

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Browser

Have a seat, let's talk about what kind of reaping program I can get you into.
How do you feel about reaping souls? Would you consider it as a potential career choice? The latest RuneScape update really encourages players to take part. After all, Death is really backed up, and he could use your help taking down some of the game's bosses. Just stop by Death's office, let him assign you a target on a daily basis, and you're off to the races! In this case, "the races" means "kill the boss and claim its soul."

So why would you do this other than the simply joy of serving as Death's administrative assistant? Successfully reaping bosses provides reaper points, which can be cashed in for rewards like a reduction to instance creation costs, an increase to bonfire health boosts, and new crafting items. There are also cosmetic rewards if you'd rather just look really pretty. You can read all of the details on the official update page, which should encourage players to really jump in there and start clearing away bosses for a good cause.

Not So Massively: Path of Exiles' Master of the Hunt, Destiny's expansion, and BioWare's Shadow Realms

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, League of Legends, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile

POE
Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.

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Diablo III previews the Vault

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, News Items, Diablo III

One of them is here because of greed, and the other one is... also here for that reason.  Huh.  I think we've reached a nadir.
There's nothing worse in Diablo III than seeing a treasure goblin waltz up and snatch a valuable item away from you whilst you're dealing with a pack of monsters. It's endlessly satisfying to catch the little monster and take it down. But what if you could head back to the goblins' base and start taking stuff from them for a change? That's the idea behind the Vault, a new area being added to Diablo III with patch 2.1.

Whenever you take down a treasure goblin in 2.1, there's a chance that a portal to the Vault will spawn. Inside the Vault there's a ton of items pilfered by the treasure goblins, as you'd expect. There's also the Baroness Greed, who doesn't take kindly to having her space invaded and her pilfered goods re-pilfered by someone else. Still, it turns the game on its head; instead of being annoyed when a treasure goblin pinches your loot, now you'll have a chance to get something even better.

Riot Games starting programs to help support retired e-sports players

Fantasy, Culture, MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, MOBA, League of Legends

Some day you could be appearing in a mattress commercial as a former player of League of Legends, and at that point it's time to just clock out of the future of the species because it no longer makes much sense.
So what do you do when you're too old to play e-sports on a professional level? Do you accept that you had a good run being treated like a rock star for playing a lot of games and move on with your life? Heck no. You need to start worrying about leveraging your brand and your media training. That's the sort of material covered by a new program headed by Riot Games, guiding professional League of Legends players on the path from the start of their career to their expected retirement at around age 27.

The accepted retirement age for professional players is due to a decrease in fine motor control and reflexes, which means that as in physical sports, it's impossible to continue playing as you get older. While the symposia Riot is offering don't yet go into detail about what players can do after playing, they are meant to help keep professionals in the spotlight and support them when they can no longer keep up with the events. It's useful training for professional e-sports players looking to move through their career and have some direction for after the game.

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.

How your Guild Wars 2 class will change in September

Fantasy, Classes, Patches, Previews, Guild Wars 2, Dev Diaries, Buy-to-Play

gw2
When Guild Wars 2's second feature pack crashes down on our heads next month, there will be none of us unscathed from its impact. A new dev diary posted today reveals that the feature pack will contain balance changes for all of the game's classes.

Among the changes are a rework of Elementalist and Thief grandmaster traits, love for Engineer kits and elixirs, an improved Spirit Bow ability for the Guardian, a revamp of the mimic skill for the Mesmer, improved survivability for the Necromancer, more flexible pet choices for the Ranger, and tweaks to the Warrior's adrenaline resource. Overall, it all sounds pretty positive, although there could be a nerf or two lurking in the mix.

Origins of Malu's Dunham talks phased release, Unreal 4, and more

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Origins of Malu

So, what's going on with Origins of Malu? Quite a lot, as it turns out. Recall that the sci-fantasy game recently updated its website and hinted at huge upcoming changes. Lead developer Michael Dunham then took to YouTube over the weekend to talk about what's basically a complete revamp of both the game and the development process.

The dev team has switched to the Unreal 4 engine as well as DirectX 11, which of course involves plenty of labor, testing, and the like. Dunham also mentions that OOM's original scope was way too big, and even though the team has already spent nearly five years and 60,000 hours on the project, a "much smaller scope for initial release" is driving the current plan. There's a "much, much higher focus" on combat at the moment, Dunham explains, though he says that the end goal is still a skill-based sandbox.

You can watch the full devlog after the break.

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The Mog Log: Expectations for Final Fantasy XIV 2.35

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, Opinion, Consoles, Final Fantasy XIV, The Mog Log, Subscription

Playable Tengu!  I mean Ixali.  (This is for you, Anatoli.)
I realize it's kind of silly, but I'm still annoyed at Final Fantasy XIV's methods for numbering interquel patches. I get the schema, I really do, but "2.35" to me says a patch that's preceded by 34 others. "2.3.5." would indicate a patch partway through the 2.3 patch cycle. Could we get another dot in there? Please?

No, evidently not. And yes, I know we'll probably have an expansion long before we'd be that far through 2.x, it's the principle of the thing.

As I write this, we still don't have a preliminary set of patch notes or anything on 2.35, but while it's a "minor" patch it's still adding a fair amount of stuff into the game. This is one of the great parts about playing the game, that however bad some parts of it might be when it comes to balance, it pumps out content as minor patches that makes other studios look painfully lazy. Specifics are left to the audience for speculation. So what am I expecting from this week's little patch, the known and the unknown?

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WoW getting a price hike in the UK

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Subscription

A Blizzard moderator spilled the beans regarding World of Warcraft's upcoming price hike over the weekend. The catch, so far, is that the increase only applies in the UK. The fantasy MMO will transition from £8.99 ($15.00) to £9.99 ($16.72) per month, while 90- and 180-day sub prices will also rise.

The firm mentions "changes in light of local and regional market conditions" as factors behind the price increase.

Here's Shroud of the Avatar's opening cinematic

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Shroud of the Avatar, Buy-to-Play

Shroud of the Avatar's Release 9 is less than a week away, and Portalarium is whetting fan appetites by showing off the fantasy sandbox's opening cinematic. There are a bunch of other interesting tidbits in this week's newsletter, too, including pics and maps of Release 9's Ardoris, a call for player-written books, and even a level designer job opening.

The cinematic's the main attraction, though, and you can view it after the break!

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Gamescom 2014: Blizzard says World of Warcraft 2 is 'something we have talked about'

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, MMO Industry, Subscription

wow
World of Warcraft fans are not the only ones who have speculated about a sequel to the hit MMO. Blizzard Game Director Tom Chilton gave a surprisingly non-evasive answer at this year's Gamescom about whether the company was thinking about creating World of Warcraft 2.

"It's something we have talked about," Chilton said. "It's something we have talked about for 10 years. I think that there are a lot of challenges there in seeing how World of Warcraft 2 relates to World of Warcraft, do they live alongside each other, does one feed into the other, what is that product, etc. These are challenges that have to be figured out before that becomes a reality."

The Daily Grind: Will you be playing Landmark once combat goes live?

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, The Daily Grind, EverQuest Next, Sandbox, Landmark

So, Landmark's getting combat in a couple of weeks. Pretty interesting combat, at that. We'll keep today's Daily Grind short and sweet. Did the recent SOE Live reveal pique your interest? Assuming you're not already playing Landmark, will be doing so once combat makes it live?

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!

SOE Live 2014: Dragon's Prophet to join All Access, add hatching system

Fantasy, Interviews, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), Dragon's Prophet

While much of the SOE Live attention has been on other titles, Dragon's Prophet was on hand with some announcements of its own. The two biggest pieces of news are the upcoming hatchling system and the addition of the game to SOE's All Access pass, and Producer Todd Carson shared the details with us as well as gave the heads up on a couple other upcoming changes.

The new hatching system will allow players to find and raise their own dragons. Carson explained that how long it takes the egg to hatch depends on what activities players do to care for their eggs. Additionally, the stats of the dragons will be influneced by the egg's care. More specifics on that system will be coming soon.

The other really big (and welcome news) is the addition of Dragon's Prophet to the All Access plan. Carson noted that it has taken time to work out the details because of the unique differences of the game since it is made by Runewaker. Within the next month or so players will be able to become a part of the system that gives special monthly bonuses in all SOE games, 500 station cash, and a 10% discount on all items in the store. Dragon's Prophet players will receive a nine in-game items every month worth $50, including a 30-day repair hammer, teleportation, revive tokens, and more.

Carson also described the recent renovation of the starter experience and the change to the class masteries that give them more defined roles in combat that await new players who try the game out thanks to the All Access changes. He gave us a heads up that a new zone expansion is coming at the end of the year and special roaming merchants that will be added to the territory islands. Another new feature will be the ability to pay to have your house packed up and moved to a different island. Carson is also taking into consideration panel attendees' requests to add Vanguard dragons into the game.

What happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas, at least where SOE Live is concerned! Massively sent intrepid reporter MJ Guthrie to this year's SOE Live, from which she'll be transmitting all the best fan news on EverQuest Next, Landmark, H1Z1, and the other MMOs on SOE's roster.

WoW Archivist: The classic Molten Core experience

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Hands-On, Dungeons, Subscription, WoW Archivist

Lucifron
WoW Archivist is a biweekly column by WoW Insider's Scott Andrews, who explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold? It first appeared on our sister site on August 15th and is included here by permission.

Are you ready to return to the Core? Last week, we learned that Blizzard is planning a 40-player LFR version of classic's Molten Core raid as part of WoW's 10th anniversary celebration. Regardless of what the studio has in mind, the experience is certain to be very different than it was back in 2005.

Sure, you've probably solo'ed MC or cleared it with a few friends. But what was a Molten Core run like during classic WoW, when conquering Ragnaros and his fiery lieutenants was the pinnacle of endgame content?

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