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Game Mechanics

Shards producer letter talks maps, admin servers, and more

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox

We've been wondering what's up with Shards Online, and today we're learning a little bit about that via its new producer's letter.

Looks like the team is "making progress on the first map and getting the server in the hands of early admins." Project lead Derek Brinkmann has also been "working to optimize the Lua script engine to make sure we have the ability to support enough servers" for those early admins.

There's much more to the report, but you'll need to visit the official Shards website to read it!

[Thanks Omedon!]

Bungie aims to fix parts of Destiny's economy in House of Wolves

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Consoles, MMOFPS, Destiny

For a given value of fix, obviously.
Bungie made some mistakes with the first bit of Destiny DLC. That's not editorializing; that's a takeaway from a post that designer Luke Smith made regarding mistakes that will not be repeated for the game's second bit of downloaded content, House of Wolves. Smith explains the shard economy essentially functioned as a barrier to prevent people from actually equipping their shiny new pieces of kit, thus invalidating and minimizing the effort put forth by players.

Ultimately the goal is to make reaching level 32 with gear easier while giving players more incentive to keep tweaking their setup via new upgrades and better traits on items. Smith also states that the economy is not going to be adjusted this tier simply to ensure that the people who have already put this much work in will not find themselves invalidated again. It's a change to be made moving forward, one that will hopefully improve everyone's experience in the game once the second DLC update drops.

The Daily Grind: Are there any MMO dailies that don't make you cringe?

Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

GTA Online
You know what I don't think MMOs need more of? Dailies. I think most core MMO gamers are tired of a mechanic that exists, transparently and unashamedly, to keep us completing repetitive tasks on a daily basis and keep us logging in, and in some cases, paying our subs. Even a well-constructed daily achievement system and totally benign daily login rewards can be irritating.

But out on the fringes of the MMO space, gamers are just discovering the allure of the daily. VG247 pubbed an editorial last week arguing that GTA Online ought to copy -- wait for it -- Destiny's "intrinsic" dailies and rewards; without them, the writer opined, players are "reminded that the grind is most certainly real."

Call me jaded, but I say themepark dailies are usually just as grindy as whatever formless grind they're meant to replace, and I suspect the players who need something to do at the "end" of online co-op shooters would probably be happier with a sandboxier MMORPG to begin with. But surely there's some sort of dailies that we do like. Are there any MMO dailies that don't make you cringe? Which game can boast the best? (And can we tell GTA Online to copy those, please?)

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!

Not So Massively: The pseudo-MMOs of PAX South 2015

Betas, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Trading Card Games, Consoles, MMOFPS, Events (Massively's Coverage), Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, World of Warships, MOBA, League of Legends, Crowdfunding, Destiny, Elite: Dangerous, Path of Exile, Hearthstone, E-sports, OARPG

NSM - Gigantic
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.

This past weekend was PAX South 2015, the first PAX held in San Antonio, and our reporters covered not-so-massive online games in addition to MMORPGs, including Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Shroud of the Avatar, Gigantic, Moonrise and State of Decay, Pox Nora, and TUG. Here's what else the week brought not-so-massive fans.

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World of Warcraft unleashes its full patch 6.1 patch notes

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Subscription

Loud noises.
The first major patch for World of Warcraft's latest expansion is here! If by "here" you mean "on the test realm," anyhow. So not here at all. The opposite of here; still preparing to be here. One might even go so far as to say it's there. But the full (preliminary) patch notes for the test realm are available right now for those who'd like to see what's around the corner aside from brand-new Blood Elf models.

Garrison fans will have plenty of things to enjoy, with new visitors offering quests, new follower missions, and a new music box available. Players can also make use of a new Twitter integration feature and the new heirloom collection tab. Several classes are also seeing talent and balance adjustments, including across-the-board buffs to healer damage output for adventuring in the world. No word yet on when the patch will drop, but you can see what it contains from the patch notes.

Here's how to steal from NPCs in Elder Scrolls Online

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, The Elder Scrolls Online

"Justice is coming to Tamriel," according to ZeniMax's latest website notice. It's probably more accurate to say that criminality is coming to Tamriel, though. More specifically, Elder Scrolls Online's upcoming Update 6 features the justice system which will enable your avatar to participate in a variety of underhanded activities including murder and thievery.

The latter involves relieving hapless NPCs of their valuables while avoiding those pesky town guards, and the former involves assaulting and even killing AI citizens. At some point you'll end up with a bounty on your head, which in turns affects how guards react to your presence. Click through the links below to read the rest of the details.

Defiance developers answer a dozen player questions

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Consoles, Community Q&A, Post-Apocalyptic, Defiance, Buy-to-Play

We hope you like shooting, because it's all shooting from here on out.
Good news, Defiance fans: Your questions have been answered. Assuming that your questions were closely tied to the 12 questions answered here, of course. Otherwise your questions remain unanswered. But if you want to know more about expeditions or the upcoming Alcatraz hub, the answers have you covered. Whether or not you'll like the answers is another story entirely; expeditions are very much about straightforward shooting engagements with a full group using a drop-in-drop-out approach to forming a party.

At this point there's no exact ETA for when the Alcatraz update will be available on the game's test server, although the developers are hopeful for "soon." The answers also discuss some long-standing issues and a few bugs as well as take on the issue of character customization, which isn't going to be expanded any time soon. Even if your question isn't among the ones answered, it still would behoove Defiance players to take a peek at what's in store for the game.

MMO Burnout: Engineers in spaaace

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Sandbox

I missed the whole Minecraft craze. I was stupidly grinding my virtual life away in various MMORPGs, plus I couldn't get past Minecraft's so-fugly-it's-hip aesthetic. No matter, though, because Space Engineers takes Minecraft's core concepts and dolls them up with pleasing visuals, a nifty near future sci-fi setting, and addictive gameplay that's much more than the sum of its parts.

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Make My MMO: January 18 - 24, 2015

Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Crowdfunding, Make My MMO

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Star Citizen's release window made headlines, as did the new VAT tax that's about to hit Euro fans of the space sim opus. We also heard from TUG and Shroud of the Avatar, while Pantheon hosted a dev roundtable and promised a public vision.

Click past the cut for our weekly crowdfunding news roundup.

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PAX South 2015: The Untitled Game is whatever you want it to be

Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Interviews, PvE, Hands-On, Events (Massively's Coverage), Sandbox, Crafting, Crowdfunding, Player-Generated Content, MMORPG

The Untitled Game, better known as TUG, is one of the many recent titles that have earned a small crowdfunding fortune by shouting the word "sandbox" as loud as the internet will allow. The game's initial Kickstarter campaign raised $293,000; launching on Steam's Early Access marketplace helped Nerd Kingdom rake in an unspecified amount of additional dollars. The studio had a bold plan for an open-world, innovative crafting MMORPG, and it appeared as though players were ready to pay for it.

Things haven't gone so swimmingly since then. Funding issues in late 2014 forced the studio to lay off around half of its staff. Many MMO industry followers have been wondering whether the project will ever be released or it's just another crowdfunded pipe dream.

I took a look at TUG on the show floor at PAX South 2015 and talked to COO Brennan Priest about crowdfunding, layoffs, and killing things with axes. The one thing I can say for sure is that there is definitely a game here, and it seems as if it could be a good one.

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Here's a trailer from that Borderlands thing you'll never play

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items

Borderlands Online is still a China-exclusive title, but if for some reason you want to watch the trailer for a game you'll probably never play, we have it for you after the break!

MMO Culture reports that Borderlands started its "technical test" today. It also says that the game is an "instance-based online shooter," so really you aren't missing too much if you're a fan of the original series and its open world ethos.

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Betawatch: January 17 - 23, 2015

Betas, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Massively Meta, Betawatch, Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding

Star Citizen
This week, crowdfund legend Star Citizen laid out a testing timeline for the next two years; it plans to publish the "planetside/social" and FPS betas this spring, while alpha for the persistent universe portion of the game is expected before the end of 2015. What else is new in the world of MMO testing? Read on for the full Betawatch list.

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RuneScape's sub fee hike goes into effect March 1st

Fantasy, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Browser, Sandbox

RuneScape
Jagex announced a sub rate hike for long-running sandbox RuneScape back in November, and this week, the studio has declared that the new fees will go into effect beginning March 1st. While the game is still free-to-play, the optional sub will increase from $8 US to $9.49 US; the official site includes a conversion chart for the international community and multi-month subbers. For existing Premier Club customers, Jagex posted a reminder about grandfathering in the old rates as long as the sub is maintained:
Don't forget - as long as you're a member and don't lapse out for more than 14 days, you're eligible to keep your current rate of membership. Subscribe now to secure access to all of RuneScape's members' content at current prices.
The studio is also talking up its inbound ports expansion; there's a fresh trailer on the mechanic after the cut.

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RIFT's 3.1 Storm at Sea arrives next week -- with capes

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, RIFT

There's a preview of RIFT's new Tyrant's Throne content on the game's official website. On January 28th, Trion says, players will see some "titanic zone events" as well as a new 20-player raid, a 2-player chronicle, and more.
The journey into RIFT 3.1 Storm at Sea is nearly at hand. On January 28, players will make landfall at the harbor of Tyrant's Throne – just in time for titanic zone events that bring ancient akvan lumbering out of the abyss! Ascended will have one week to wipe them from the island before the opening of Tyrant's Forge, a new 20-player raid pitting the strongest Guardians and Defiant against the Dragon Queen of Air.
The most important bit, of course, is capes. Yes, capes. "New capes debut for all," says the studio.

Red 5 tweaking Firefall's reputation system

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Firefall

Firefall's latest news blurb concerns reputation. It's not all about grind and 20 different currencies that will clog up your inventory, though. In fact, Red 5 says that the work-in-progress rep system will ultimately feature reputation points that function like experience. Which, OK, is still about grind. But yay for inventory space!

The devs are also enthused about the future of the rep system, which they say will make use of Firefall's NPC corporations that "aren't much more than flavor" in the current build. You can read all about rep at the official Firefall website.

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