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Game Mechanics

Star Conflict launches September 4th

Betas, Sci-Fi, Galleries, Screenshots, Business Models, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play

Star Conflict
Sci-fi space sim MMO Star Conflict has today announced its official launch date: September 4th.

The EVE-like soft-launched as an open beta title on Steam last year; this formal release will include a special invasion mode still currently in closed beta. What's invasion mode?
Invasion Mode features an underlying story in which an alien race that disappeared into another dimension of space and time has now returned to invade and conquer. Players must team up in parties of four to explore the new 'Open Space' area and combine forces as they take on new quests and engage in PvP and PvE battles. These new activities provide new loot, which players can use to construct unique armament options and protection for their spaceships.
While the game is ostensibly free-to-play, it offers half a dozen purchaseable DLC packs running from $19.99 to $79.99.

[Source: Press release]

The Stream Team: Random drafting in Dota 2

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, PvP, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, MOBA, The Stream Team

Dota 2
Newcomers to Dota 2 often stick to the game's All-Pick mode when searching for matches. In All-Pick, every hero currently in the game's hero pool is available for selection. This makes character selection more manageable for new players (since you can pick heroes you know), but it also leads to an All-Pick All-Stars syndrome in which the same few heroes show up time and again to crush teams and bust ancients.

Tonight, Massively's Mike Foster is exploring a different game mode known as Random Draft. In Random Draft, players take turns choosing from a pool of randomly selected heroes. There's still flexibility in terms of individual hero choice, but the full pool isn't available, and thus teams must get creative using the heroes that appear. Sometimes this goes well; sometimes it doesn't.

Tune in at 7:00 p.m. EDT to see how it turns out for Mike.

Game: Dota 2
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Thursday, August 28th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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The scoop on Elder Scrolls Online's Dragonstar arena

Fantasy, Super-hero, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, News Items, PvE, Dungeons, The Elder Scrolls Online

ESO
When The Elder Scrolls Online's fourth update arrives next month, a new type of content will open to players: themed PvE arenas. The first of 10 such arenas, Dragonstar, is the subject of a new developer essay on the official site today.

The Dragonstar Arena is located in Craglorn and will pit a group of four players against five waves of monsters with "escalating intensity," though not necessarily escalating numbers; ZeniMax promises there will be no "cannon fodder" to waste your time. Hazards inside the arena -- like poisonous clouds, lava flows, and immobilizing blizzards -- will further impede groups' progress through the challenges.

ZeniMax says that arenas are intended to provide difficult combat encounters and elite rewards to small, highly skilled groups, but more casual players can skip Veteran mode for normal mode if they choose. We've included the brief Dragonstar arena trailer below.

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Captain's Log: Star Trek Online's expansion and communication

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, Captain's Log, Subscription

We're hard at work developing stuff, some of which will come off as tone-deaf.
So we finally know what the next expansion is going to be for Star Trek Online, and my speculation regarding the Xindi and points related turned out to be way off. Nope, we're heading into the Delta Quadrant, which is less interesting to me than the Gamma Quadrant, but I suspect the powers that be are exploring all the angles of existing content first. It's coming with a level cap increase, a new tier of ships, a bunch of new tricks, and apparently some bonus communication misses.

Delta Rising is really on track to be a pretty divisive expansion anyway. It was inevitable, really; raising the level cap now was going to lead to problems no matter how it was handled. Unfortunately, Cryptic Studios hasn't done a great job communicating what's in the works for players, nor have the first few things that we've heard exactly countered some early suspicions. It was a minefield that's thus far been navigated largely with a push and a blindfold.

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Guild Wars 2 is revamping the new player experience

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Buy-to-Play

Darn it, I'm still getting the hang of this.  Can we call a do-over?
If you've been playing Guild Wars 2 since launch, you're probably intimately familiar with the ins and outs of the game's mechanics. Unfortunately, this doesn't necessarily translate for new players, who can find themselves overwhelmed in the early parts of the game with a wide array of statistics, abilities, game modes, and the like. Along with all of the other improvements the game is making in the September 2014 feature pack, the new player experience is receiving an overhaul.

Players will now receive a clear reward window indicating what is unlocked at each level, with features such as PvP and WvW initially locked away until higher levels so that players can familiarize themselves with the game systems first. Veteran players can still navigate to these features via the map at lower levels. The personal story is now tied into the story journal, major rewards have been reworked, and the interface will serve to more efficiently guide players to points of interest. Check out the full posting to see how leveling in Guild Wars 2 will get just a bit more friendly with the next major patch.

Heroes & Generals tops 2.6 million registered players, releases 'Rommel' update

Historical, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, War, Free-to-Play, Browser, Dev Diaries

Heroes & Generals' latest update is codenamed "Rommel," which seems rather appropriate given the new general characters and officer rank overhaul. "The Rommel update is an important update, as it wraps up our vision with the character progression tree," explains Reto-Moto game director Jacob Andersen. "So you may start your career as a foot soldier and work your way up to become an officer and finally a general in order to command armies and wage war resources."

Rommel also adds FG 42 and M1 carbines for paratroopers, new win conditions for wars, a "much larger" campaign map, improved tank handling, and more.

Reto-Moto's press release says that Heroes & Generals now has more than 2.6 million registered players. Don't forget to view the seven-minute Rommel dev vlog after the break.

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Elder Scrolls' fourth major update teased in new concept art

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

When Elder Scrolls Online's fourth major update lands in September, players will be able to "discover the ruins and delves of the last region of Craglorn," according to a teaser on the fantasy MMO's website. Upper Craglorn holds the key to the mystery of the fallen constellations, apparently, and it also boasts something called "the Serpent Trial" and "treacherous new delves."

ZeniMax has posted a few concept art wallpapers to whet your appetite for the new content.

Landmark's combat patch goes live

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Landmark

Combat has finally come to Landmark, but there's much more to this update than just armor, weapons, and death. There are plenty of new Kerran-themed props, new materials (10 new color of Stucco variations and 16 new Burled Wood tints), movement props, and bug fixes. On top of that, there's a new way to pay claim upkeep; those who desperately want to keep their claims but don't want to bother with copper now have the opportunity to pay with Station Cash at a cost of 10 SC per day per claim.

And here's probably some of the best news from the mouths of the devs themselves:
"We've made a number of optimizations that should improve framerates for many players. This does not include the Multithreaded Rendering, which we are still working on."
If you plan to dive in and check out combat, SOE has posted instructions for setting up the PvP games on the forums to help answer any questions. Full details on the update can be found in the patch notes. For now, all claims will be flagged for PvP until the observer mode can be added.

Finally, the Workshop livestream is moving! Starting August 28th, the show focusing on the collaborative development of racial buildings will be broadcast on the EverQuest Next Twitch Channel Thursdays at 2:00 p.m. EDT.

Blizzard's Tom Chilton on World of Warcraft's slow content pace

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Patches, News Items, Subscription

Blizzard's Tom Chilton has been making the rounds this week in one candid interview after another. World of Warcraft website Icy Veins recently asked him directly why recent content releases haven't been meeting the originally planned six-month cadence, and Chilton didn't dodge, explaining that scaling the team up to make Warlords of Draenor resulted in a slower-than-desired pace for releases:
We did a good job earlier in Mists of Pandaria, having the content come at a more frequent intervals, and certainly we had hoped to have Warlords of Draenor out a couple of months ago. The reality is that scaling up the number of people that we have, to work on multiple projects at once has slowed us down. Honestly, it should have not come as a surprise to us. We increased the size of the team by 50% and the majority of those people had never worked on World of Warcraft before or any other MMO, so it is really difficult for them to create content right away, without getting up to speed. So we ended up redoing a lot of the content that we were doing for Warlords to make sure that we would get it at the quality level that we would expect. Also, the garrison feature turned into a bigger thing than we expected it to be. Quality is the most important thing, so if we have to make a choice between getting you something two months ago or getting you a great expansion in November, the choice is obvious. I think we are in a better position now for the future, we already have zones in production for our next expansion. So, if things go well, there will be less of a gap.
Chilton also discusses alternative subscription models for niche players (there are no plans for such), the possibility of making Outland and Northrend parallel level 60-80 content paths, and the potential for visual and aural upgrades beyond character models.

Massively Exclusive: Elsword's two new systems

Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play

elsword
Elsword is adding in a pair of new systems for two of the MMO's key characters, Aisha and Eve. Both of these systems have something in common, which is the ability to automate or streamline some of the fancy combat moves.

Aisha gets the memorization system, which takes three skills and mooshes them up into a single button press. Players can activate Aisha's legendary memorization during play, assigning specific skills in order for use later. It's helpful that MP is used while setting up the skill chain and not when triggered, although the chain will do only 70% of normal damage.

As for Eve, she is being granted with the core release system. Players can trigger Eve's awakening mode to unleash automated attack and defense moves. By choosing certain skills during this phase, players can change the core from an automatic laser that lashes out at enemies to a protective shield.

We've got pictures of the memorization and core release systems below!

Guild Wars 2 previews crafting backpacks

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Crafting, Buy-to-Play

I said there's got to be some good reason for your crafting themed backpack, gold stack, turn around your gems are back, yeah.
Do you consider yourself nice and crafty in Guild Wars 2? Are you fond of being a master of your chosen profession? If so, you're going to be nabbing some nice upgrades when the September 2014 feature pack rolls out. For example, there's the new line of craft-based backpacks available to players that don't take much to make but show off just how good you can be at making stuff in the game. If you've ever wanted to haul around a miniature forge on your back as part of your wardrobe, your ship has come in.

Players can also look forward to new exceptional weapons that can either be crafted for leveling characters or found via exploration, giving your character a little boost while leveling through Tyria. There are also loot changes that make you more likely to receive items you can use on a character rather than receiving an endless string of greatswords on your Thief. Take a peek at the official post for more details.

The Crew's closed beta PvP is lobby-based

Betas, Real-Life, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Races, Buy-to-Play

What's PvP like in The Crew? You can find out if you're playing the PC closed beta this week. If not, you can read the latest news blurb on the racing MMO's website to get the general idea. It says that PvP races are enabled at level 10. Curiously, given Ubisoft's focus on The Crew's open-world design up to this point, the post also mentions that the closed beta's eight PvP races are lobby-based.

"The PvP lobbies can be accessed directly from the map," the company says. "The Midwest PvP lobby being in Detroit and the East lobby in New York, both represented by a yellow lozenge."

Guild Wars 2's feature pack will improve dungeons and the crafting UI

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Dungeons, Crafting, Buy-to-Play

I think we can all agree that the Norn fellow on the right is quite striking and will hopefully show up in a variety of future promotional materials.
September is just around the corner, which means that the next major update for Guild Wars 2 -- the September feature pack -- isn't far behind. The pack aims to improve several parts of the game, starting by demolishing the concept of dungeon owners. Currently, the first player to zone into a dungeon is counted as the "owner" of the dungeon, which can lead to problems if that player disconnects; by contrast, after September there will be no dungeon owner, avoiding issues with progression if that owner leaves or gets kicked.

The game's crafting UI is also receiving an overhaul, making it faster and easier to access crafting sub-components without navigating away from the main item that you want to craft. The update will also bring a number of performance improvements to make the game run faster and better on various bits of hardware. Take a look at the full update for a few more details as the feature pack release approaches.

Tree of Savior Q&A 13 on tradeable items, scouting, and more

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

Tree of Savior's latest English dev blog features some interesting gameplay nuggets, chief among them the binding/trading mechanics and the game's map system.

Lead developer Hakkyu Kim says that all in-game items are freely tradeable, which differentiates ToS from many of its bind-on-equip or bind-on-pickup contemporaries. There is a catch, though, and it is that an item's Potential stat will decrease by one whenever it's traded.

The map system generally shows the location of your party members but not other players. However, Scouts can "select a spot on the map to find out which players or enemies are there and share this info with party members." There's more to this week's dev blog, so click through the links below to give it a full read.

EVE Online's Hyperion update adds PvE missions, tweaks wormholes

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Sandbox

CCP pushed EVE Online's latest update to the game's live server this morning. Hyperion features "the biggest wormhole changes since they were first discovered" as well as new PvE missions. CCP Guard also notes the patch's "ton of quality-of-life features" during the latest In-Development video dev diary, which you can view by clicking past the cut.

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