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Game Mechanics

Elite: Dangerous aims to be future-proof

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, Elite: Dangerous

Elite: Dangerous
Time is not always kind to video games -- especially MMOs. So Frontier Developments decided to plan ahead by future proofing its sci-fi space MMO Elite: Dangerous.

"Moore's law is our friend," company head David Braben told Eurogamer in a recent interview. "Even if your PC of today can't run [Elite] with all the features on, your PC of tomorrow might." The thought is to plan ahead by implementing graphical features that are so advanced, they can't even be run on modern computers yet. So when technology catches up, the advancements will already be in place.

Check out the entire interview for more on how the team at Frontier aims to plan for the future in Elite: Dangerous.

WoW's Warlords of Draenor beta: A disappointing start

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Opinion, First Impressions, Subscription

Yeah, I know those feels, all right.
My time with the Draenor beta has been an overwhelming disappointment.

Warlords of Draenor is to World of Warcraft as Man of Steel is to the Superman mythos. It's an effort to collect classic elements with no regard for the setting in which they make sense, throwing them together like line items. It's aware of the history of the franchise only as a resource to mine, and it's just giving us all of the old familiar pieces without the parts that made those pieces memorable.

Imagine watching Harrison Ford pretending to be Indiana Jones despite being far too old for the role now, locked in a script with no sense of momentum or energy, going through the motions in a way that's not just lackluster but actively kind of shameful. Imagine Frank Miller writing Batman as a parody of what people thought his original versions of Batman were anyway without the slightest sense of irony. That should give you some idea of where I am when it comes to Warlords of Draenor. It's loads of classic ideas, stuff that I desperately want to like, but it's ultimately just not very good, and it certainly doesn't come together.

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The Crew's PC closed beta starts July 21

Betas, Real-Life, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items

Shelby GT500
Ubisoft's open-world racer The Crew kicks off its PC closed beta on July 21st. The firm has posted a news blurb on its website stating that the first test phase will run through July 25th, which is earlier than previously announced.

Players will be able to "explore the entire United States with no loading screen" including all missions and skill challenges in the Midwest, all skill challenges on the East Coast, and free roaming in the South, Mountain State, and West Coast regions.

The Crew launches on November 11th.

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Tamriel Infinium: Elder Scrolls' ginormous post-50 update plan

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, Opinion, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription, Tamriel Infinium

Tamriel Infinium - Elder Scrolls art header
Earlier this week, Elder Scrolls Online creative director Paul Sage dropped by the Elder Scrolls OTR podcast and proceeded to drop a ton of update info on fans of ZeniMax's fantasy themepark MMO. We put out a corresponding news post, of course, but there was so much meat on those bones that I couldn't let an issue of Tamriel Infinium go by without adding my two cents.

Plus, hey, it was only two weeks ago that I was advocating for an adjustment to the game's post-50 approach. Ask and ye shall receive, right?

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The Daily Grind: What's the ideal death penalty for an MMO?

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

Fallen Earth
If your first MMO was a modern themepark MMO, you might not realize that a corpse run and a small repair bill are fairly light penalties for death. In Ultima Online, if you couldn't make it back to your body in time, a devious player (or mob) might come along and relieve your corpse of its loot. If you were a murderer, you'd even lose stats! Your gear was safer in EverQuest, but you'd lose experience, and you'd still have to run from your bind spot back to your body, assuming it wasn't in such a dangerous place that you needed a Necromancer to summon it. And games like Asheron's Call and City of Heroes once had experience penalties so harsh that it was possible to cripple a character so much that you might as well just reroll.

MMOs are torn between wanting to make death feel meaningful enough that people are careful but not so punitive that players would rather log out than recover. What do you think is the ideal death penalty for an MMO?

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!

Camelot Unchained emphasizes horizontal progression, won't rule out story

Betas, Fantasy, Historical, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Lore, Previews, PvP, News Items, PvE, Camelot Unchained

Welcome back to our coverage of City State Entertainment's batshit-crazy days for Camelot Unchained! A few weeks ago, we spoke with CSE co-founder Mark Jacobs about each of the topics being revealed this week via livestream; this afternoon, on the last and final day of BSC, let's tackle character power and progression.
Massively: We're curious about how, exactly, the vertical progression will keep new players competitive. After the initial rush, new players will spend a long time being less powerful than their player enemies. What exactly is the benefit to creating the equivalent of a long level grind in a PvP game that lacks PvE? Isn't the team worried that power discrepancy might cause newcomers to wash out the same way raid gear or levels might in a game with both PvE and PvP?

CSE's Mark Jacobs: Not at all. First, the horizontal nature of this game means that while the veteran player will have some scaling in his stats and abilities, the difference will be a lot less than in any MMORPG I've played. Please keep in mind one of the things I said during our Kickstarter, which is that I want a new player to be able to meet a veteran (just for example, say a six-month one) on the field in a 1:1 match. The new player needs to know he has a chance of either winning or at least putting up a good fight. Now, compare that to any other MMORPG that has meaningful PvP or RvR, and can you say the same thing? I know it wouldn't be true in any I have played.

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Camelot Unchained's territory control isn't just for uberguilds

Betas, Fantasy, Historical, Game Mechanics, Guilds, Previews, PvP, News Items, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained, MMORPG

Welcome back to our coverage of City State Entertainment's batshit-crazy days for Camelot Unchained! A few weeks ago, we spoke with CSE co-founder Mark Jacobs about each of the topics being revealed this week via livestream; this afternoon, we're examining the RvR map and territory control.
Massively: Taxes and maintenance costs are absolutely necessary to keep territory from being owned by absent players, but if they're too burdensome, they can prevent people from wanting to claim or improve land at all, figuring that a richer guild will do it. How does the team plan to solve that problem?

CSE's Mark Jacobs: Balance is always a PITA, and this is a perfect example. There is no magic formula to solve this problem, but one thing I will say is that while money may not buy happiness, it may also not buy a piece of land. Just like crafters, players will not be able to simply have money dumped on them by an alt, friend, etc. and then be able to buy whatever land they want. They will have to earn the right to buy it, and that won't happen Launch Day +1 (or 2 or 3).

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Age of Wushu Warrior's Ascension expansion coming July 31

Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Age of Wushu

Snail has announced that Age of Wushu will be getting its "next major expansion" on July 31. The new content is called Warrior's Ascension and it includes a cross-server PvP tournament system called the Sky Ladder as well as new level six gear.

The firm hasn't gone into a lot of detail just yet, but you can check out the full verbiage as well as a couple of images on the official announcement page.

The Daily Grind: What upcoming MMO are you giving a second look?

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Sandbox, Camelot Unchained, Subscription

Up to this point I've been pretty meh about Camelot Unchained. It's nothing personal, I always enjoy Mark Jacobs' game development perspectives, but to be frank neither Warhammer Online nor Dark Age of Camelot held my attention for more than a month. Blame Star Wars: Galaxies, I guess.

Then I started reading some of these "batshit crazy" CU reveals and now I'm thinking that this game might be for me. I'm saying "might" because I've followed this genre long enough to take grandiose design docs with a grain of salt. But hey, at least I'm hooked and will keep reading, right? What about you, Massively readers? What upcoming MMO are you giving a second look?

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!

Watch a TUG artist design a hostile predator

Betas, Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, News Items, Sandbox

Mountain lion butts! That's what's in store for you in the latest TUG "In the Works" behind-the-scenes video. Nerd Kingdom "Ninja Rigger and 3-D Artist" Eric Stodolnik is featured in the brief clip as he shows viewers how one of the game's many hostile predators is modeled from start to finish. The video is included below!

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Elder Scrolls Online offers new guild heraldry

Fantasy, Screenshots, Game Mechanics, Guilds, Lore, Previews, News Items, The Elder Scrolls Online, Subscription

ESO
If you're excited for August's Elder Scrolls Online upcoming update, then today's ZeniMax devblog will be a welcome one... though not one that promises sweeping changes for the game. Specifically, the new post previews some of the new symbols that guilds can adopt as their official crests. "You'll probably recognize some of them, like the symbols for the Divines and the Daedric Princes," write the developers. "Combine these with even more crests, a huge color palette, and different tabard shapes, and your guild will have its own memorable look."

We've included the images below. See one you like?

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Camelot Unchained plans a robust, anti-mule crafting economy

Betas, Fantasy, Historical, Economy, Game Mechanics, Previews, News Items, Crafting, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained, MMORPG

Welcome back to our coverage of City State Entertainment's batshit-crazy days for Camelot Unchained! A few weeks ago, we spoke with CSE co-founder Mark Jacobs about each of the topics being revealed this week via livestream; this afternoon, we're digging into my personal favorite: crafting and economy.
Massively: I just wrote about a game with excessive recovery time for crafters, likewise implemented for economic reasons, and wow, players hate those restrictions. Doesn't introducing (I'm going to say it) "designed downtime" for crafters encourage crafter mules and arbitrarily interfere with the natural economy? Aren't there more organic ways to slow down crafting? Why allow combatants to fight 24/7 but not allow crafters to craft equivalently?

CSE's Mark Jacobs: It's a really good question and a definite concern for us. My feeling was that I wanted to create a system where crafters don't have to sit around, crafting 24/7 in a manner that could lead to carpal tunnel. Other games, including Dark Age of Camelot, were more like that. Crafters shouldn't have to sit around and simply click-click-click, etc. The comparison isn't totally correct though, because combatants have downtime to recover their health or power, during travel, etc. (especially in an RvR MMORPG), while crafters can sit in a shop and use the Vox Magus to craft.

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Camelot Unchained's UI powered by Chromium, community

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Camelot Unchained, Subscription

Camelot Unchained's information dump continues with a brief blurb about the fantasy PvP sandbox's UI. City State says that UIs typically "consume a large amount of developer bandwidth on the design and engineering side," and as such the firm will not only be building CU's UI "out of the web" but it will also be open-sourcing the entire codebase.

The UI is powered by Chromium, and City State has already made the code available on GitHub and is inviting the community to contribute to it (pending developer approval, of course).

Das Tal alpha starts July 20

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

Das Tal has tabbed July 20th as the official start of its alpha testing period. The build will focus on "good old-fashioned PvP combat," according to a Fairytale Distillery press release. Gameplay will feature clans battling to control five landmarks as well as three armor classes, three weapon sets, and "fast-paced and diverse combat situations."

You can still apply for an alpha slot, and you can also read the full press drop after the break.

[Source: Fairytale Distillery press release]

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Camelot Unchained will feature a customizable 'component combat' system

Betas, Fantasy, Historical, Game Mechanics, Previews, PvP, News Items, PvE, Camelot Unchained, MMORPG

CU
Welcome back to our coverage of City State Entertainment's batshit-crazy days for Camelot Unchained! A few weeks ago, we spoke with CSE co-founder Mark Jacobs about each of the topics being revealed this week via livestream; this morning, we picked his brain about the game's innovative combat system.
Massively: Can you explain why the component combat system and player design of combat abilities doesn't render the concept of classes moot?

CSE's Mark Jacobs: Absolutely! Think of the combat system in the same way you would magic. As a member of a certain Realm, you might not have access to particular components, whether for magic or melee combat. Further, your class might have further restrictions in terms of combinations of components. For example, the HelBound will be able to use some healing components that pure fighter classes can't, but they won't have access to the vast majority of magical components.

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