| Mail |
You might also like: WoW Insider, Joystiq, and more

Game Mechanics

WoW Archivist: WoW's talent system has come full circle

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Opinion, WoW Archivist

Circle of Healing
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 April 11th and is included here by permission.

The Warlords of Draenor patch 6.0 notes have revealed the latest changes to WoW's ever-evolving talent system. Talents have remained a core system in WoW since its earliest days; it's the primary method that allows players to make their characters distinct.

In the beta for WoW and throughout vanilla, talent trees were a bit of a mess, as Archivist covered. Today, we'll examine how those early trees came to be expanded, refined, and then scrapped for a very different system. We'll also look at how Warlords is bringing back the earliest version of talent trees in a brand-new way.

Continue Reading

Make My MMO: April 6 - April 12, 2014

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

Make My MMO header
This week a reader named TrollsRoyce (no relation to Massively Editor-in-Chief Bree Royce, we swear) brought a new crowdfunding project called Red Blood to our collective attention. The game's IndieGoGo campaign will run through May 5th and the staff, which includes former CABAL Online and Perfect World developers, could use your help.

What exactly is Red Blood? It's a "triple-A MMORPG title that's based on the popular comic book series Red Blood," the project site explains. "Set in a post apocalyptic future, the world is a changed land where science and magic coexist and humans have been recreated by changing DNA. Four opposing countries have risen in an attempt to gain total control of the world using their new armies of genetically modified mercenaries."

Listed features include a full pet system, non-targeting combat, and an infinite number of instance dungeons. User Games and Gorilla Banana have released a trailer, and Steparu has posted an extensive review of an early build.

Continue Reading

PAX East 2014: State of Decay eyes multiplayer, stays offline

Horror, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Consoles, Events (Massively's Coverage), Post-Apocalyptic, Miscellaneous

I know we're fleeing from zombies, but would you guys like to hit Burger King on the way?  Maybe... no?  All right.
The ground is fairly littered with zombie games of some sort these days. That isn't meant as a mark against Undead Labs' State of Decay, but it does raise questions of focus. How do you make a zombie game more unique? According to the studio's Jeff Strain at this year's PAX East, you focus upon building at the community level rather than individual survival. While games like DayZ focus on the personal, State of Decay is much more focused on the idea of putting society as a whole back together and trying to accumulate resources and structures for survivors as a whole.

Of course, most of our readers are more interested in what comes next, specifically Class4. That's the proposed sequel to State of Decay, previously codenamed Class3; it's meant to be a full MMO according to previous statements, a game in which you can worry about rebuilding not just a local community but the world as a whole. And Undead Labs certainly isn't hurting for talent that's familiar with online games, especially with the acquisition of ArenaNet co-founder Patrick Wyatt in January. So what's happening?

Continue Reading

PAX East 2014: Guns of Icarus Online's expanding environment

Game Mechanics, Opinion, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Events (Massively's Coverage), Miscellaneous, Crowdfunding, Steampunk

If I don't look at you, you can't shoot me out of the sky!  I think?  Those are the rules, right?
PAX East taught me that I am apparently not the right person to pilot a ship in Guns of Icarus Online. In my defense, I was trying to do what my ship was designed to do. The co-op mode on display is all about delivering supplies to a final point on a map, and I was flying the fast scoutship. So I figured, why bother slowing down? Why not just jink left and right and avoid anything in my way?

As it turns out, the reasons to not do that are quite simple: The boss encounter at the cargo dropoff requires two people, and you need to actually retain control of the point rather than just wing to it at full speed. So I may have sent my ship crashing to the ground in a tumble of burning wood and broken steel. (By "may have" I of course mean "I definitely did this.")

This isn't a failing on the part of the game, just a failing on my part for trying to bull-rush through something. But it's still fun; the game gives players a variety of things to do while they're busy crewing the various stations across the ship. And it's just one place the developers are going with the game.

Continue Reading

PAX East 2014: PlanetSide 2's Higby on weekly updates

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, PlanetSide 2

The influx is coming.
It's been three months since PlanetSide 2 started updating once every week, if you don't count one update that was pushed back simply because it wasn't quite ready. As creative director Matt Higby put it to me at this year's PAX East, the schedule comes second to making sure that every update is the best it can be. But it's still been quite a ride, and it means that the game has kept up a schedule that's astonishingly fast.

More than a year out from launch, Higby has a lot to say about the game's development process as well as the updates it's already undergone. It's not an unmitigated success story, but it's filled with a lot of lessons and improvements. And like any MMO, the game's development is far from finished. In PlanetSide 2's case, it's a complex process that requires supporting new players, veterans, casual gamers, and professional gaming, sometimes in unconventional fashions.

Continue Reading

PAX East 2014: Landmark's current tools and future crafts

Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Sandbox, Landmark

Any pun based on the sky being the limit will sound cheesy, but eh.
We've all seen what gamers are capable of making in Minecraft. A quick search online turns up replicas of everything imaginable, sublime works of art, even inexplicable cat fountains. According to Dave Georgeson, this is exactly what led to the creation of Landmark, and by his own admission the development team owes Notch a Christmas card solely because of that. Without that limitation, Landmark wouldn't be what it is now, nor would it be developing into what it will eventually be.

At this year's PAX East, Georgeson explained to me that as much fun as Minecraft is, it lacks something crucial: a way for players to see all of these creations. Landmark, by contrast, is designed from the ground up not just to allow that sort of interaction but to actively encourage it. And that's only the beginning; the game's current status as a sort of super-Minecraft is the simplest core expression of the game's promise. By the time it's done, the whole point is to make a game that can be anything, a game for all seasons and tastes.

Continue Reading

Age of Wushu celebrates anniversary with events, expansion info

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Anniversaries, Age of Wushu

Age of Wushu anniversary
Snail has unveiled a new page on its Age of Wushu website dedicated to celebrating the martial arts sandbox's anniversary. It contains links to various social media events as well as info on in-game activities including special world bosses, XP boosts, and more. The festivities run through April 24, 2014.

The firm has also published a letter from AoW game director Hao Han that summarizes the upcoming Tempest of Strife expansion. Snail plans to launch said expansion soon.

PAX East 2014: WildStar's panel is all about the endgame

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Endgame, Events (Massively's Coverage), WildStar, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

Maybe get a pet?
So what happens when when you reach the end of WildStar?

You've got a while to think about it, obviously, the game isn't even out just yet. But it's an obvious concern. People are going to hit the level cap, and what are they going to be doing then? Staring at the walls, singing songs, perhaps clawing desperately at the metaphorical walls in the hopes of getting the next major patch somewhat sooner?

According to the WildStar panel at PAX East, the development team is hoping to launch with a fairly robust endgame no matter what you're hoping to do. The panel went through pretty much every part of the game, from items to PvP to solo story questing, all of which is intended to work together to create an environment wherein you don't run out of things to do and don't find yourself forced out of what you find fun. How well it will work remains to be seen, but there's certainly a lot on the table to start with.

Continue Reading

Camelot Unchained discusses resource systems, BOP gear, and housing

Fantasy, Historical, Game Mechanics, News Items, Community Q&A, Sandbox, Crafting, Housing, Camelot Unchained, Player-Generated Content

Camelot Unchained
The Camelot Unchained devs have just released issue seven of their Piercing the Veil series, blog posts dedicated to answering player questions about the upcoming PvP sandbox. The highlights?
  • Not every tree in the game will be harvestable, but the devs are considering (not promising!) a dynamic resource ecosystem.
  • There will be expandable storage, but inventory management annoyances will be downplayed.
  • The team isn't planning NPC cities beyond the starter cities. The players will be creating that part of the world.
  • Bind-on-pickup gear "does not make good sense for [the] game given that all but the starter gear will be crafted, rather than dropped."
  • Housing will differ in format based on whether it's in the open world or safe zones, and you won't need to be a crafter to set up a basic home yourself.
  • Non-stat player clothing will be in the game.
  • The devs will most likely put limits on guild sizes.
  • Solo play will probably be a viable option.
You can read the complete Q&A on the official site.

Smedley talks H1Z1's map size, population density

Horror, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, H1Z1

H1Z1
SOE CEO John Smedley's not done talking about zombie sandbox survival MMO H1Z1. Earlier this afternoon on Reddit, Smed posted a lengthy comment addressing questions about the game's map size. Rather than summarize it for you, I'll just go ahead and leave the whole thing here.

I've seen a bunch of people asking questions about the map size. Forgelight is built to handle arbitrarily sized worlds. Our plan is simple -- we're building the core of "anywhere USA". When we first open it up to users the map will be huge, but nowhere near as big as it's going to be in short order. Our map editing system allows us to quickly add massive areas. We want to make sure we clearly understand how the players are playing the game before we do that. On PlanetSide 2 we made a mistake by making multiple continents before we had a strong enough idea of what worked and what didn't. This game is different. We're doing it smarter.

When we open up the early access there will be a massive map for players to enjoy. Over time (very quickly) they'll magically just be able to keep going further than they've gone before. It's a very unique way of doing it, but we actually think this is a better way to go.

So not to worry. Zombie Apocalypse isn't going to be any fun if it's like Disneyland on Spring Break and super-crowded. We want remote... haunting... being scared when you see someone. Your first instinct needs to be to hide. If there are 20 players in your view it's not a very convincing Apocalypse.

So how many players per server? Who knows. As we add more land the number of people we can hold on a server goes way up. So we're excited. We have a ton of zombies for you to fight too. You'll be seeing hordes, oh yes you will.

PAX East 2014: First impressions of Warlords of Draenor

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Game Mechanics, Opinion, First Impressions, Events (Massively's Coverage), Subscription

One thing I'll definitely give Blizzard, they do a great job of modeling slope-browed drooling ogres.  I don't know if that is exactly a compliment.
The biggest problem that Warlords of Draenor is facing right now is one of first impressions.

This isn't a mark against World of Warcraft so much as it's the nature of the beast. I wrote a while back about how World of Warcraft can't really be back, all things considered; it's too firmly a part of the establishment to ever shake the image that it's created over the past several years. You know what it is. You know how it plays. Odds are good that you've played it.

Warlords of Draenor also features no new races, no new classes, no overhaul of the talent system, and in the build I got to play, very few of the new models. That's where the first impression problem crops up. A lot of the things that are being baked into the expansion just don't show up at first glance. That isn't to say that the first glance is bad, just that it overwhelmingly sends the message of "this is still World of Warcraft; no need for elaboration."

Continue Reading

Marvel Heroes now featuring Team-Ups

Super-hero, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes

Marvel Heroes team-ups
Gazillion has unveiled a new Team-Ups feature for Marvel Heroes. You can now recruit a few of your favorite heroes to battle by your side, according to the game's latest website update. Current Team-Up possibilities include Spider-man, Falcon, Firestar, and Magik. More heroes will be added "in the weeks, months, and years ahead," Gazillion says.

Team-Up heroes have "their own unique set of skills and abilities," as well as a few other specifics that you can learn about by reading the FAQ.

[Thanks Sounder!]

Working As Intended: There's nothing wrong with soloing in MMORPGs

Business Models, Economy, Game Mechanics, Guilds, MMO Industry, Opinion, Miscellaneous, Dungeons, Working As Intended

CoH
A Massively community member recently wrote into the podcast to tell us that he prefers to solo, to craft for himself, to avoid group quests, and to skip guilds. Still, he told us, he loves MMOs and doesn't want to leave them to play single-player RPGs. "What the hell is wrong with me?" he asked.

Nothing. Nothing at all. There's nothing wrong with soloing in MMORPGs.

Continue Reading

You can milk cows in Black Desert

Betas, Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, PvE, Sandbox, Crafting, Housing, Black Desert

Black Desert - Can your MMO do this?
Ready for another achingly awesome Black Desert trailer? That's good, because Pearl Abyss has released one that features "everyday life" in its action combat fantasy sandbox MMO.

Activities on display include crafting, trading, mount taming, housing, camping, and even cow-milking. There's more, too, but you should really just click past the cut and see for yourself.

[Thanks everyone who tipped us!]

Continue Reading

PAX East 2014: Star Citizen and the DFM are 'more than just PvP'

Sci-Fi, Video, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, PvE, Sandbox, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

Star Citizen: We're more than just PvP!
Chris Roberts took the stage at a backer-only pre-PAX event in Boston last night to show off some of Star Citizen's alpha dogfighting footage. Despite a few technical glitches, fans were able to get an extended glimpse of the game's first playable module, which Roberts said will likely release in a month or so.

The dogfighting module will be presented as part of the in-universe fiction and thus will take the form of a space sim called Arena Commander which released to gamers in the year 2944. Players will load into the DFM through their pre-existing hangar module where they'll choose between five alpha game modes: Free Flight, Battle Royale, Squadron Battle, Capture the Core, and Vanduul Swarm (basically a horde mode). Cloud Imperium is including leaderboards and plenty of stats which will show up both on Star Citizen's web-based player and organization profiles as well as in the finished game.

The upcoming module will also feature co-op capabilities along with PvE AI. "At the end of the day, for me, it's not all about combat," Roberts explained, "so if [combat's] not your thing you don't have to worry about it."

Click past the cut to watch the full livestream.

Continue Reading


Featured Stories

Engadget

Engadget

Joystiq

Joystiq

WoW Insider

WoW

TUAW

TUAW