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Game Mechanics

H1Z1 dev vid talks cities, barricades, and more

Horror, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, H1Z1

SOE has published another H1Z1 dev spotlight vid. Environment artist Ruby Opfer is your host, and she spends the clip's three-minute running time expounding on various fan-submitted questions.

Want to know about the zombie gankbox's underwater exploration potential? What about cities and the ability for players to take them over? How about structural barricades and whether or not you can line your bunker with crafted wooden spikes?

All these questions and a few more are touched on just past the break.

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'This is EVE,' and it's pretty slick

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Sandbox

If you've got even a passing interest in sci-fi sandbox EVE Online, you'll want to take a look at the new trailer just unveiled by developer CCP at today's EVE Down Under player event in Australia.

The clip runs for nearly four minutes and is comprised entirely of in-game footage. It's also underscored by the voice comms of actual EVE players (NSFW!), which CCP has cut together to form a rather scintillating soundtrack that attempts to answer the question "what is EVE."

This is EVE, according to the trailer's title, and you can soak it up just after the cut!

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Raph Koster explains how WoW changed MMOs

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items

There's liable to be a lot of virtual ink spilled over World of Warcraft as it celebrates its 10-year anniversary this month. You can save yourself some time by just reading famed MMO designer Raph Koster's lengthy and informed analysis, though. He covers a ton of ground, both negative and positive, including WoW's roots in EverQuest and the DikuMUD while also touching on all of the genre features that Blizzard cut in the name of "fun" and accessibility.
Among the things left by the wayside were features that were proven. Gone were the richer pet systems that had driven so much engagement from players in earlier games. Player housing, past and future source of endless devotion (and revenue) in other games, absent. Never mind stuff like towns and politics and the like. Crafting took massive steps backwards from the heights it had been developed into in [Star Wars] Galaxies or even Sims Online, and went back to being more like that in EverQuest. Even the robust character customization that we slaved over in Galaxies, a system which today is in every RPG on earth, was gone.
Koster credits WoW as the true innovator of the quest-led game, but he also points out that the game stifled MMORPG innovation in numerous ways.

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The Soapbox: In praise of SWTOR's 12X experience

Sci-Fi, Culture, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, Roleplaying, Star Wars: The Old Republic

It's taken 12 times the normal XP rate, but Star Wars: The Old Republic is finally my main MMO (at least for another week or so). Well, OK, it's also taken a series of spectacularly ill-considered decisions by XLGAMES and Trion, but that's a rant for another day.

I've been playing SWTOR quite a lot over the past month since BioWare's subscriber-only pre-expansion boost has cut all of the godawful grindpark garbage right out of a galaxy far, far away. Too bad it's just a temporary fix, though -- here's hoping that the devs give veterans the option of keeping the XP bonus long after December 1st.

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Elite: Dangerous considers granting even more refunds

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Legal, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Elite: Dangerous, Buy-to-Play

Elite: Dangerous might grant refunds to more people than originally thought.

Last week, Frontier admitted that it had canceled a planned offline mode for the game, which led to David Braben's announcement that limited refunds would be given to preorder customers who'd never logged in to test the game but not to other backers. As of last night, Frontier is apparently reconsidering that decision. Wrote the studio boss,
We initially declined some people's request for refund as our records showed they have already played Elite: Dangerous online. After listening to many of the comments I received after my AMA here, we have since re-opened these requests and informed those people that we will be contacting them so that we can fully understand their individual situation before making a more informed decision. We will be contacting them each in the next few working days.
If any Massively readers have successfully received a refund, let us know in the comments.

[Thanks, Cotic.]

The Daily Grind: Do special currencies in MMOs annoy you?

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

A reader discussion in a past Guild Wars 2 update article made me realize, once again, how much I loathe special event currencies. You know the type: It's patch day, and here's an event, and if you want the rewards, you have to grind a shiny new currency to get them! Never mind that you already have a pile of gold (and in Guild Wars 2's case, karma and gems) earned through your adventures up until now; those credits are mysteriously useless at the new reward vendors, who accept only some new currency.

Commenters rightly pointed out that if modern devs did what old timey devs did, players would just rush in and buy everything on day one and not do the grind. But so what? Why should it bother us that people get to actually use the currency they've already earned and banked? That's the whole point of gathering money in MMOs in the first place. And if there's so much existing currency in the world that everyone could buy everything without additional grind, that's the studio's problem for providing insufficient sinks and a poor economy in the first place, not ours. In fact, special events themselves could be an awesome gold sink! Instead, event currencies signal to players that their existing achievements and savings matter not at all and that the event isn't really going to be much fun on its own merits.

What do you think? Are you also sick of special currencies in MMOs? What would you prefer to see in their stead?

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!

Ultima Online publish brings holiday gifts, veteran rewards

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, Ultima Online, Sandbox, Crafting, Subscription, MMORPG

UO
You might forgive 17-year-old Ultima Online for long stretches between patches, but fortunately, you don't have to. The antique sandbox's Halloween event is now over, being replaced yesterday with a new patch that ushers in the winter holiday event and its attendant gifts. This year, Santa's bringing us a fireplace, a plant grinder, a power scroll book, and "a steam powered beverage maker that can be used in conjunction with the cooking system to create new items listed in the 'Beverage' section of the cooking menu." Yum.

The update also includes a new monthly game hunting competition sponsored by the Skara Brae Ranger's Guild, with special hunter-themed rewards like a new title and weapon. PvPers can look forward to a new leaderboard to track PvP progress in the still-fresh vice-vs.-virtue PvP system, and long-term players will find new veteran rewards are available, including new statuettes for youngish accounts, an ethereal hell hound mount at the 15-year-mark, and a sewing machine and smithing press for sevenbies.

The Crew gets an everything-you-need-to-know trailer

Betas, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Races

Ready for another trailer featuring Ubisoft's The Crew? This one is a bit meatier than previous clips, as it runs for nearly eight minutes and serves as a sort of everything-you-need-to-know visual guide to the upcoming open world racer.

You'll learn about the world and its 12 major cities as well as everything from skills to missions to factions to customization and the game's "CarPG" progression mechanics. Hop in and go for a spin just past the cut.

Don't forget about the game's console open beta which starts on November 25th!

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SWTOR's Guardian, Juggernaut discipline changes detailed

Sci-Fi, Classes, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Star Wars: The Old Republic

Another day has brought us another Star Wars: The Old Republic dev blog detailing the class changes coming in the Shadow of Revan expansion. This time around, the focus falls squarely on Jedi Guardians and Sith Juggernauts.

BioWare says that both versions of SWTOR's single-saber tank will get new passives, new utilities, and more thanks to the discipline tweaks scheduled to hit the game's class trees in December 9th's 3.0 update.

Gloria Victis implements dialogues and other improvements

Betas, Fantasy, Historical, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Sandbox

Should we talk about the weather? (Hi hi, hi.) Should we talk about the government? (Hi hi, hi.)
The Gloria Victis pre-alpha is getting a bit more chatty today with the implementation of the dialogue system in the most recent update. Said update also contains the first implementation of bow-wielding NPCs defending cities, the addition of buff and debuff descriptions, and various bugfixes and improvements -- all good things unless you try to open a dialogue with a bow-wielding NPC and get an arrow in response.

The design team promises that this is just the beginning of major changes, however, with the next patch slated to add the first pass of the questing system into the game. Territory capture mechanics are also coming, allowing an entire nation to benefit from captured lands. So onlookers can enjoy a more robust rollout in the coming weeks as the game adds more features in.

Guild Wars 2's revamped sPvP rewards skillful play, not just wins

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

GW2
ArenaNet's Justin O'Dell is on dev blog duty today for Guild Wars 2, and his post is all about planned updates to the game's sPvP matchmaking and ladder ranking systems.

"We decided to move to a score-based search method that takes into consideration several metrics that we believe are important for a match to be fun," he explains. "We chose a score-based system over other methods because we found that it's a good compromise between the often competing goals of match quality and short queue times." The system will do its best to match players by skill level, rank, party size, and so forth.

Points awarded through the ladder ranking system are determined by final score and odds of victory in an attempt to ensure that playing well in spite of a loss is encouraged and that luck isn't the driving force in ranking.

"Imagine a world where everyone took the saying 'It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game' seriously," O'Dell says. "Wouldn't that be great?"

Norrathian Notebook: Landmark's AI will be a game-changer

Betas, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Free-to-Play, Player-Generated Content, Norrathian Notebook, Landmark

It's really hard not to be all giddy and excited about the introduction of AI to Landmark; it's quite literally going to be a game-changer. Some might even argue a game-maker! Only one other feature, combat, comes close to the impact that this system will have on the sandbox. Even then, combat doesn't rival it; it complements it. In truth, it will be an early Christmas present for all those players who've been waiting as patiently as possible for this next step: Monsters are slated to be released into the wild on December 10th. I am sure I mirror the sentiments of many when I say the Storybricks system just can't get here soon enough!

Before you get your hopes up too high, know that this first iteration of the AI system does not include the much-anticipated storytelling features that players will have access to on their personal claims. Those will come in time. But that doesn't diminish the magnitude of what is coming in just a few short weeks. The introduction of mobs will truly be the big bump that makes Landmark an actual MMORPG in the eyes of the world as opposed to "just a building game," an inaccurate description the game's had a hard time shaking. And did I mention, I can't wait?! If you are fairly new to following Landmark, you may not know what all the excitement is about. Let me share that with you.

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TERA's Fate of Arun expansion is coming December 16th

Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, TERA

TERA fans, mark December 16th on your calendars, as that's the launch date for the fantasy MMO's first proper expansion. Fate of Arun features a mysterious new continent, a level cap bump (65), new class skills, new dungeons, and a new battleground based around competitive PvE.

The game's enchanting mechanics will also be simplified, and a new quest UI will "streamline 60 to 65 leveling, allowing players to teleport right to the action, find groups, or turn in quests from any location."

Finally, you'll want to log into TERA prior to December 16th and pick up your free Northern Initiative Pack. It includes rare potions, campfires, buff charms, a white tiger mount, and more. TERA's Fate of Arun expansion will be a free content update via Steam and the game's official website.

[Source: En Masse press release]

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Elite: Dangerous has begun issuing refunds over offline play debacle

Betas, Sci-Fi, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Sandbox, Elite: Dangerous, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Elite
Elite: Dangerous' latest newsletter has arrived, and predictably, Q&A about the game's recently canceled offline mode dominate the post. David Braben reiterates his statements from earlier this week that the single-player mode will still be accessible, just online-only. "Any offline experience would be fundamentally empty," Braben explains, stressing that Elite: Dangerous is an MMO and "technically [...] always has been" and that "always-online entertainment is already a reality for the majority." He also says that Frontier has already begun issuing refunds strictly to those who pre-ordered the game through the online store and had not accessed the alpha and beta; Kickstarter backers and active testers are not eligible.

Of note to MMO fans in particular, the studio boss promises to "take regular archives of the game and the servers, to preserve the game for the future," with plans to release the server code publicly if the servers are ever shut down.

The newsletter also highlights Beta 3.9, which arrives on the test server today, bringing with it overhauls to the map and ship outfitting, new ways to reach the rank of Elite, and open-mic voice comms. Beta 3.9 will be followed by Gamma 1.0 this coming Saturday. The game is still set for an official launch on December 16th.

Lineage Eternal gets a gameplay demo at G-Star 2014

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items

If you're wondering where in the hell her shirt went, well, you aren't the only one.
We've known about Lineage Eternal for a while, but actual details have been in short supply despite that fact. The game's showing at G-Star 2014 might put some of that curiosity to bed, however, as according to Steparu there's a gameplay demo and a 25-minute look at the game in play just past the break. While full character customization was not available on the show floor, those at the con can choose to play the heavily armored Guard Knight or the transparently armored Element Warlock while previewing different allegiances, outfits, and clothing colors.

As for the actual gameplay... well, if a picture is worth a thousand words, nearly half an hour of moving pictures is surely worth even more words. So jump on past the break and check it out! The demo covers the early stages of several game regions as well as a 20-person quest leading players to defeat various raid monsters.

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